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simonparker1990

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111 reviews in total 
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53 out of 101 people found the following review useful:
The best since the original Pirates, 20 May 2011
9/10

I would like to begin by saying that I very rarely review films anymore, but after reading many reviews for this film by various critics I felt compelled to give my own verdict. Purely because every review I have read has been unnecessarily venomous, and simply seemed to trash the film and its two predecessors at every given opportunity. I am a fan of the Pirates trilogy, the original is by far the best, and three may have some problems with its convoluted storyline, but there is nothing wrong with Dead Man's Chest and as a trilogy they all worked very well. This fourth instalment like the others is great fun, the storyline may not be Oscar worthy stuff but neither was the storyline in the others. It is an entertaining fantasy flick that you can sit back, relax and enjoy. The idea that Johnny Depp has become bored of the character of Jack Sparrow and plays him in this film as a shadow of his former self, is simply ludicrous. Depp is on top form in this movie, brilliant for me considering following the awful performance in Alice in Wonderland I had begun doubting him somewhat. On Stranger Tides is easily the best movie since the original, and I would be more than happy to sit through another two films.

Now onto the performances. As previously mentioned Depp is simply outstanding as Jack Sparrow. By putting him to the forefront means we get to spend more time with him, though thankfully the writers hold back on having him on screen too much. His one liners, especially one involving a Spanish Convent had me in stitches. His relationship with Angelica (Penelope Cruz) really adds that extra bit of spice to the film. It also helps that Cruz and Depp have outstanding chemistry together. While the character of Angelica can be a bit complicated at times, her motives are vague at best, this can be overshadowed by the fact Cruz plays her with some real gusto. Geoffrey Rush as Barbossa for me really stole the show, and it seems the writers gave him quite a bit more storyline this time as well. The idea of moving him to the kings navy really played off, and his scenes for me were definitely a highlight of the film. Ian McShane is a great villain, while not as good as Davey Jones or Barbossa for that matter, he still has a great storyline and some really menacing moments to make him a worthy adversary.

My one major issue with this movie would be the storyline of the missionary and the mermaid. While thankfully it isn't given enough screen time to be a really annoyance, I do question its point in the first place. Keira Knightly and Orlando Bloom are not remotely missed, so why try a romance replacement which just isn't that good. The mermaid action scene however is a thing to behold. As said the storyline is not amazing, the quest for the fountain of youth is entertaining and it has less betrayals than the far too long At World's End, but it isn't a story that will be winning awards. Nevertheless it maintains your interest and never feels like an excuse to get to the next action scene as it was in something like Transformers 2. The fact it is a one story arc is also a nice breath of fresh air following the second and third movies. Overall this is a great Summer movie, the kids will love it, and if you're a pirates fan you will also love it. The trashing of this film to me is slightly irritating as this is genuinely a very good film that deserves recognition. I will stand by the Pirates films until I genuinely see one that is rubbish, this film is a great Summer blockbuster and anyone that looks at it otherwise must either be deluded or trashing on it because they no longer see Pirates as "cool". I cannot recommend this film quite enough, just go out, watch it and have a great laugh, I know I did.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
And the trailer looked so good, 21 March 2011
3/10

When I first saw the trailer for Battle: Los Angeles I was surprised at how excited I got about it. I'd heard nothing about it until I saw the trailer, and from then onwards the film became on my must see list. Working at a cinema meant I was able to see odd snippets of the film from doing screen checks, every scene I saw looked action packed and exciting so I got even more excited, Yesterday I sat down to watch the film, and after two hours I felt numb. Sure the film is action packed but in essence this is the biggest problem with the film. It's a continuous action scene that just bores you half to death by the time the credits roll. There really is no story, aliens come, try to colonise earth, humanity fights back, that really is it. Independence Day may not be a masterpiece but at least it tried to get you invested in the characters and featured some sort of plot running through it. Battle: Los Angeles is closer to a two hour video game trailer, sure I'd play the game, but watching it be played is just dull.

The performances in the film are not necessarily bad. I had to keep wondering quite way Aaron Eckhart signed up for the movie when his character has such a bland storyline. The term cliché is the best way to describe every character, when one convenient character suddenly announced she is a veterinarian you have to stifle back snickering. Anyway, Eckhart is the best thing about the movie, in one scene talking about his lost men from a previous tour in Iraq, the film actually seems to be getting somewhere in terms of character development. It's the one scene that perked my interest and then I was thrown back into the endless gunfire. Michelle Rodriguez gets to repeat her role in Avatar, though with much less enthusiasm this time. Once again it's not necessarily a bad performance, but you can't help but feel she is as bored as the audience is by this point.

The movie does feature some impressive set pieces, but unfortunately they all seem to merge with one another, by the time the finale comes about you've seen it all before. My friend who saw this actually never got bored in the movie, so maybe that means I was just in a funny mood, but I was genuinely on the verge of falling asleep at various points in the film. The CGI has its good moments at times, but the aliens themselves are a huge disappointment, and not once did I genuinely believe this alien invasion was actually happening. It's a huge shame as the trailer seemed to promise an almost realistic invasion movie, one that was on the same lines of Cloverfield but possibly more epic. What we get instead is a film I would even go as far to say is worse than Skyline. Skyline was by no means a good movie, and the ending of that film is still one of the worst I have ever seen, but Battle: Los Angeles just has nothing new, nothing interesting and nothing worth watching.

Overall this film was a huge disappointment to me, I even doubt it will get hyperactive teenagers interested by the end. If Eckhart was not in it I would have lost all interest in the film in the first fifteen minutes, luckily he makes the film that little bit better. But by no means is this a good movie, and if you want a good alien movie watch Starship Troopers or even Independence Day, not this.

Cyrus (2010/I)
1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Great acting, but average movie, 15 September 2010
6/10

Cyrus was one of the very rare movies that I go to see without having seen the trailer, not knowing anything about the plot, and just generally having little knowledge of its existence. I knew John C Reilly was in it, and that Jonah Hill would also be in it. But that really was the extent of my knowledge. In a sense I am glad I knew little about it, because what few laughs were to be found in this movie I am sure would have been used in the advertisement campaign, leaving the film feeling even more tired than it does. Cyrus is an odd movie, its not a laugh out loud comedy, nor is it a straight up drama, its an odd blend, an indie movie that seems confused where its loyalty should lie. I have no problems with a movie blending comedy and drama, nor was I saddened this wasn't an Apatow comedy as I expected, but what does irritate me is when there is such a good cast, playing their parts very well, yet the script and the movie seem to not have the balls to do an awful lot with them. It aims for an almost "real" feel, and with this comes the consequence that the movie just is that little bit dull.

Okay, enough of the criticising of what the movie is not, as despite what this review may sound like I did in someway enjoy the movie. John C Reilly is one of my favourite actors at the moment, even bringing life to the dull Cirque Du Freak. He can handle his comedy and his drama both very well, and here he seems in his element. But the real star of this movie, and almost a revelation, has to be Jonah Hill. Yes I've found him funny in films, but I've also felt he's a one dimensional actor, he will make a career playing one character over and over again. He seems to have proved me very wrong. Here is does have the best lines, but he's also very toned down, and the realism of the story comes fully rounded in his character. Come the ending you have a much deeper understanding of the character, and Hill is definitely the reason for this. Marisa Tomei, whom was robbed of an Oscar for The Wrestler, does equally as good a job.

Cyrus also delivers towards the ending, I won't spoil it but everything gets nicely rounded off, and not in a sickeningly slushy way that comedies of recent like to do. Here it allows the actors to shine and deliver a nicely concluded movie. Its a shame then that the movie takes such a plodding route to get there, the beginning is as slow as ever and never has as much bite as it seems to think it does. The introduction to Cyrus is done well, and as things progress with the character the movie does pick up speed. Yet when Cyrus is actually off screen the movie starts to struggle, and the unnecessary background story of John meeting his ex-wife for advice just seems downright pointless.

Overall the movie is decent but ultimately something very forgettable.

7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Not for me, but why is it actually for anyone?, 3 August 2010
4/10

Let's get this out of the way first, the Twilight saga is not my cup of tea. Sure I like vampire movies, but this is not a vampire series, nor a werewolf one. Its a series full of long, tedious pauses padding off as "sexual tension", and actors whom hormonal teenage girls can pander over. With that in mind I question why I still continue to see this dross. I have now seen all three currently released on the cinemas, the first being a complete and utter waste of my time, the second being mildly diverting in the final half hour, and then now there is this one. This one bemuses perhaps the most of the series as I had gone in after reading quite decent reviews. While I didn't expect miracles I at least hoped to see some improvement. Sadly I'd argue this was just as bad as the first one, all the mild improvement made in the first one now being put behind us. The three leads do their roles with some decency, Taylor Lautner by far being the best of the mediocre bunch. But the story is still where I get frustrated. I swear in this movies absolutely nothing happens, the promise of a wedding at the second one does not even come close to being fulfilled here. And the action comes in such short supply most male minds will have switched off far earlier.

Robert Pattinson is still the weak link for me in this series, quite why he's screamed at over is beyond me. His scenes are just painful, he pouts, he acts far too emotional and he has long pauses. It is a terribly written role for a terrible character. Kristen Stewart at least has got over the whiny stage of the second movie, and here she has livened up, but still she gets the bulk of the horrific lines involving souls and whatnot that make your eyes role. So like the sequel it is left to Taylor Lautner to add some energy into the movie. Sure once again he is the eye candy, I mean does he really need to be shirtless that often? But at least he's got a spark of charisma, something I can see coming out when he has much better roles. The rest of the cast are the usual cardboard cutouts. The vamps and werewolves so underwritten you wonder why they're there. And as for the recasting of Bryce Dallas Howard, why bother?

Story wise this feels like a short story at best painfully dragged to feature length movie. Once again the pace is slow, the action few and far between and special effects ranging from average to downright awful, I still despise the vampire running sequences. I will be fair and say for fans of the Twilight saga this will no doubt be a hoot for them. I don;t understand why that is at all, but I have just chosen to accept it for now. Sadly we have another two parts still to come, and as cliffhangers go, well its not exactly something that makes me want to go running back to the theatre when Breaking Dawn arrives. The final action scene is admittedly fairly decent, not too keen on the vampire death effect though. But its the closest the series has come to even trying to entertain the male audience, so for that it has my slightest gratitude. But without the gravitas of Michael Sheen like its predecessor, this movie sadly is just another overlong piece of tripe pandering to fans who seem almost blinded at how terrible this series truly is. So strictly for fans, or for those like me that have got this far ans in a sick way just go to see if it can possibly get any worse.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Hopefully the final destination..., 29 August 2009
3/10

The Final Destination is hardly known for its subtlety. Like the Saw series the movies storyline eventually became slightly irrelevant, OK by Final Destination 2 the story was pointless, as least the Saw series tries to keep its storyline sort of cohesive. Final Destination just kept the same formula every movie, huge death scene, turns out to be prediction, they survive, get picked off one by one, ending that tries to be a twist yet not really. While its not original, and the acting was often awful, the movies kind of worked. They were fun, and the death were generally quite well done. It also helped the movies were very tongue in cheek. So the latest should be a success, I mean keeping the same formula and adding 3d sound an ingenious idea, right? After the impressive, if way too CGI filled opening, the movie proves that just adding 3d (and not very good 3d I must add) does not make it a good movie. Nor a scary one, actually not even really a funny one (well I laughed at it, not with it). Instead the movie is actually verging on quite lame, sure the deaths are smirksom (a incident with a truck and fire was pretty funny), but the dialogue, acting and storyline more than drag the movie down. In fact come the ending, which I think the writers thought was going to clever, I was just rolling my eyes.

I would talk about the acting at this part of my review, but I actually won't go in-depth. Its terrible, nobody is good at all. A scene where one victim talks about how he accidentally killed his wife and child aimed to be moving, it failed dramatically, it felt forced, lame and just random. The main guy, don't know his name, don't really care, was by far the worst. He just made me laugh every time he saw a prediction, his version of acting appeared to be open eyes wide and look slightly constipated. Anyway the actors do not matter, what does matter are their deaths. I mean that's what everybody goes to see a Final Destination movie for. I won't lie the deaths can be fun in this movie. The big opening, while nowhere near as good as the one in the second movie, is very fun. The following deaths are very gory, but they looked very fake. One man appears to be made of butter in one death, and a pool death just left me confused what had happened at first. But the priceless moment of the movie, the car wash scene, I am pretty sure that would do nothing, so why the girl screams as her face could potentially get whipped a little bit is just beyond me.

As I mentioned earlier the 3D effects of the movie are actually quite shoddy. A shame as the opening 3D is actually kind of decent, also the 3D credits worked quite well. Matters didn't help that the film followed the 3D avatar trailer, which actually does look impressive in 3D. However by the time flying plasters and embers come out at the audience, and a champagne cork flies into audience you just feel you're watching the cheap, tacky 3D that dominated the cinemas in the days of Jaws 3D. I thought it had moved on from that, 3D being used to give depth, not lame jumpy moments. Oh speaking of jumpy moments, I must point out this movie is not scary at all. So why it's listed as horror is just confusing.

The Final Destination really is hopefully the final of the series. It stinks of desperation, and the 3D does really nothing for the movie. Come the terrible finale that lacks any originality you will want the extra money you forked to watch this in 3D back.

Brüno (2009)
221 out of 441 people found the following review useful:
Better than Borat, 1 July 2009
9/10

I got free tickets to an exclusive screening of Bruno last night, I went in expecting to find it funny, but the memories of Borat, and the catchphrases that haunted me months after the movie came out still lingered. Yes I loved Borat on first viewing, yes it was shocking, it was original, but it was brilliant. Sadly it became way, way too popular, and sadly the joke wore very thin by the millionth time I had heard many of the lines from the film. When Bruno was first announced I had no interest in the film. The character was good, but in my opinion also very one note and lacking the comedic potential that Borat had. Yet I can safely say after watching it, that it is by far one of the funniest movies in ages, narrowly just above The Hangover I would say. Bruno is a hugely risky comedy, and will offend many people. Yet it doesn't seem as offencive as Borat, and as a result possibly funnier. This isn't to say Bruno is tame, far from it. A scene with a talking penis more than sees to that (also the funniest scene I have seen in many a year). But credit has to go to Sacha Baron Cohen, is really is the modern day Peter Sellers. Like Sellers he has perfect comedic timing, has a vast array of characters to play with, and truly seems to inhabit his roles. At no point in this movie did I question that Bruno didn't exist, thats how brilliantly he plays the role. Sure Bruno may grate to some viewers, but he is actually a decent character. The short run time, while questionably too short (possibly the missing Latoya Jackson interview might have made up for this), makes sure the film never outstays its welcome.

Cohen truly is perfect in the movie, and also a very incredibly brave man. While I question whether some scene weren't actually staged, the man does seem to put himself in very risky situations. An interview with a terrorist being frighteningly realistic, and the crowds reaction at the end basically coming across that he could be murdered at any second. But the key to this type of humour is the public's reactions, and some members react absolutely brilliantly. The most horrifying and shocking for me being an interview with parents who want their children in show business. What they are willing to do is absolutely horrifying. I question Paula Abdul's interview not being staged, but it is funny all the same. Bruno's assistant, Lutz, played by Gustaf Hammarsten, is amusing though not as great as Borat's manager. The pair do have some great scene, especially when they're locked together in a rather sexual way, that is pretty damned funny.

Bruno will either drive you into hysterics, as it did me and everyone in the audience. Or will horrify and shock you, yet as I just said it didn't appear to do so in my audience, in fact unlike Borat (where at least 10 people walked), nobody left Bruno at all. The comedy is brilliant, and while it is shocking you cannot help but laugh. It balances wincing with embarrassment with shock humour to perfection. It's an incredibly funny movie with so many memorable lines (that possibly I may hate in a month because of the movies inevitable popularity), and scenes that are just hilarious. My only gripe with it is the length I guess, which is both a blessing and a curse for the movie. It just seems lacking a bit more, ten/fifteen more minutes would have been perfect in my mines just to make the movie flow that bit better. But when a movie is this funny, how can you really criticise it for not falling into many comedies traps? Just running on far too long, yes 40 Year Old Virgin as much as I love you I am looking at you.

Overall Bruno is a must see of this summer, which so far seems to be lacking in many quality movies. Anyway if you want a short, sharp, shock, but a funny shock, of a movie then Bruno is definitely for you. Just don't go with your parents!

11 out of 22 people found the following review useful:
More angelic than demonic, 15 May 2009
8/10

The Da Vinci Code movie was received with a mixture of enthusiasm and disappointment when it first arrived. The fans of the book couldn't wait for it, the Catholic church were going mad about it being released, and the average person was being shepherded to see a movie that they just wanted to know what all the media attention was about. I'll be the first to put my hands up and admit I was looking forward to it. I loved the book and wanted to see a great adaptation. I admit I enjoyed the movie, though a lot really didn't, but I will admit its slow moving, a bit tedious and way, way too faithful to the book. However I had read Dan Brown's other Langdon novel before Da Vinci Code, and I always found Angels and Demons the far superior story. And so here is the inevitable adaptation, and much like the books I prefer Angels and Demons. Demons is a fast paced, beautifully shot and brilliantly acted piece of popcorn entertainment. Yes it has its flaws, the story is still a bit all over the place, and various changes from the novel are not very welcome in my eyes. But for the most part this is a piece of superior entertainment, and after the disaster of Wolverine it is nice to see a sequel with a bit of thought behind it.

So onto the acting. First off is Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon. First things first, the hair has been improved, I know that was a huge distraction for a lot of people in its predecessor. Hanks is pretty good here, I'm not going to lie and say he's incredible, as sadly Langdon isn't the greatest character ever. His motivations are vague at best. Still for the material he is given he makes the most of it. Ewan McGregor gets a great role in this movie, he was always the character that intrigued me most in the novel and McGregor does him justice. I won't spoil about him, but you understand after the halfway mark why such a famous actor was cast in the seemingly unimportant role. Ayelet Zurer does a great job as Vittoria Vetra, but the lack of screen time she gets in comparison to how much she is in the book really did frustrate me. Stellan Skarsgård is a bit wasted and I'm not too sure why he signed on for it all. Armin Mueller-Stahl is my personal favourite, have never really encountered the actor before, but his performance definitely is a highlight.

The key to Angels and Demons superiority is in the pacing. Da Vinci Code had very sluggish moments and too many endings for its own good. Here the movie is set over a night, and it works all the better for it. The plot zips along, and all the talky dialogue is usually done while driving or running to the next location to prevent a murder. The murders themselves are shot superbly, although the Air murder is nowhere near as gory as depicted in the novel. The Fire and Water murders are superb though. I liked the execution of the twist for the most part, and I don't think it was as blatantly obvious as I feared, considering it completely threw me when I read the book. The helicopter bit from the novel however is still ludicrous, and the whole antimatter scenario is a OTT for its own good. But these are the flaws of the novel, and at least the ridiculous divine intervention garbage has been scrapped.

Overall Angels and Demons is a fun thrill ride for the summer. Its a superior movie to Da Vinci Code, and I just hope The Lost Symbol (the upcoming Dan Brown novel) is good enough to warrant Ron Howard and Tom Hanks to sign on for yet another one.

Watchmen (2009)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
As close an adaptation we could ever get, 8 March 2009
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Watchmen has often been referred to as the "unfilmable text", the comic so complex, so full of ideas and so intricately written that it could never realistically be filmed. To some extent I did agree with this, I only read the graphic novel last Novemember, but immediately I fell in love with it, and questioned how they could ever do the story justice. Well when I left the cinema last night, and for most of today, I have been questioning the film. When I left I acknowledged how amazing a movie it was, but I needed time to think on it. How the cuts of the novel worked, how the slight changes worked, and how the storyline flowed as a whole. It's literally only in the past hour that I have come to love the movie version as much as I do at the moment. Watchmen the movie is the closest adaptation we could ever hope for, realistically it could never be done to perfection, but to have something so close just shows how special a movie this is. I'm not saying this is as good as The Dark Knight, personally I will be amazed if I ever regard it to be as good, but what it is is the best superhero movie bar Dark Knight. Overlong it may be, slow it may be, but I wouldn't want it changed for the world, and I cannot wait to see the extended cut and watch this numerous times in the cinema.

Let me go onto the acting, as Watchmen in my eyes has always been a group effort in terms of characters. I will start with the best by far, Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach, whom was always my favourite character in the novel. Haley is perfect, there is no other word for it, I'm talking Ledger as Joker levels of perfection, arguably more so. He simply is Rorschach, both in and out of the mask. In fact his scenes in prison are probably some of my highlights. The voice is how I always imagined it, but the emotion in the character is something I never expected. I don't come close to crying in cinemas very often, but his very final scene, goddamn it had me damned close. Patrick Wilson as Nite Owl was pretty brilliant, never liked the character too much though to be honest. Malin Akerman is awful as Silk Spectre, no other way to put it. I dislike the character, but she's not a good actress. Matthew Goode is the biggest surprise for me, he looks nothing like Ozymandias, and really shouldn't work in the role (though they make his involvement too obvious), but the voice and his monologuing scenes are actually perfect. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is good, but amazing, as Eddie Blake, though he does feature in one of the best scenes. Billy Crudup is incredible as Manhattan, I'm not sure how much was effects, and how much was the actor doing motion capture, but the voice itself was brilliant for the character.

Now Watchmen is bigger than the characters, its all about the ideas and story in my eyes. The action is very much left to the background, that isn't to say there isn't any, in fact my slight moan is that they have amped some action up a tad too much. I disliked the Comedian's death at the beginning, the fight went on far too long and felt unnecessary. Some quick inter-cutting flashes of what happened would have more than sufficed. Thankfully the ideas still survive in the movie, and this of course brings me onto the ending. Here I forewarn you that there will be SPOILERS. Still reading? I'll assume you either want it spoiled or have seen the movie. Well there is no squid, not a bad move in my opinion as I always feared it would seem to bizarre for the average viewer. No instead we get an explanation of Manhattan being the alleged cause, which actually really works. In fact I loved the ending a lot, especially the aftermath, until we have one scene with Nite Owl and Ozymandias, which I absolutely hated. I mean I pretty much sat there screaming at the screen I hated it so much. But considering that was the one scene that really annoyed me I was pretty impressed with how they did the ending.

Any scene with Rorschach truly is a highlight of the movie, his final scene as I said it truly amazing how it is done, and his line "You're trapped in here with me" still remains my firm favourite of both the comic and the movie. Manhattan's scenes on Mars are truly beautiful, especially his final speech with Laura "turning air into gold". But arguably my favourite sequence in the entire movie happens in the first ten minutes. In fact it's the opening credits, done to Bob Dylan's "The Times are A Changin". For non-fans it might be meaningless, but for fans it will basically give them a geek-gasm.

Overall Watchmen is simply incredible, it does have issues, but I need to watch it over and over again to see how noticeable they really are. If you loved the novel you should love this, and if you don't then you need to understand that the novel can never be truly filmed scene for scene. This is the closest thing to the perfect Watchmen movie we will ever get, much as The Dark Knight is the closest thing to a perfect Batman movie we will ever get. This is a smart movie, and one that requires thinking and patience, if you can do that then prepare to be truly amazed.

445 out of 726 people found the following review useful:
A different kind of Bond, 31 October 2008
8/10

When Casino Royale arrived two years ago I was a very happy person. I was one of what feels like the few people that actually wanted Craig to do well as Bond. I wasn't moaning about him being blonde, I wasn't moaning about the lack of gadgets, I was just happy to see one of my favourite fictional characters back on screen. As many people know I am a huge Bond fan, I have all the movies, I love them all in their unique way, and even if Casino Royale had been a disaster I would have found some enjoyment out of it. Thankfully it wasn't a disaster, it was actually one of the best Bond movies made. Quantum of Solace is a direct sequel of Royale, and so I once again had high expectations of it. Perhaps even more so than with Royale, as now I knew Craig is a superb Bond, and I wanted the story to evolve more. Let me start off by saying Solace is not as good as Royale, and for many people that will be a problem, as so many people were expecting an even better movie. While it is an extremely good movie, and a brilliant Bond movie, its just not one of the best and does have a few problems. Still as a Bond fan I still absolutely loved nearly every minute of the movie. It isn't overlong and outstays its welcome like Royale, but neither is it rushed as I feared. The performances are incredibly strong once again and there are some thrilling action sequences thrown in as well.

Daniel Craig once again is very strong as Bond, and unlike what a lot of critics have said, is actually good fun. He can deliver a pun quite well, and he also does the dramatic and seriousness of Bond to perfection. In short he is definitely up there in terms of quality with Sean Connery. He feels a bit more comfortable as Bond this time around, he doesn't have to say the famous line which sadly felt a tad forced at the end of Royale. Instead he does get his fair share of brooding, although his verbal sparring with Gemma Arterton is pretty brilliant. The lead Bond girl this time is played by Olga Kurylenko, who I last saw in the dismal Hit-man movie. Thankfully here she plays a very interesting, although different Bond girl. She doesn't appear much for the first half, and her first sequence seemed more random than interesting. However she does develop quite nicely and by the end she is definitely one of the better Bond girls. Lead villain duties go to Mathieu Amalric. I have to say he was a bit of a disappointment after the brilliant Lechiffre in Royale. Amalric is a slimy villain, and he does put in a good performance, but his villain just isn't all that menacing, and I can see him being one of the easily forgettable Bond baddies. Judi Dench gets an awful lot more screen time this time round, and its all the better for it. M has been rewritten as a superb character, and gets some nice bit of swearing to do. Finally Gemma Arterton is fairly decent as a wasted Bond girl. She has way too little screen time, and far too little to do, however she does shine through, and features in one of the more memorable moments of the movie.

Quantum of Solace story wise is perhaps where the problems begin to slip in. Royale's story was simple and very easy to follow, while Quantum is nowhere near as confusing as people are making it out to be, the movie is a bit overcomplicated for its own good. The villains plan is nowhere near as diabolical as it really could be, and I feel I need to watch the movie again just to get the intricate details of the movie. However as most Bond fans know story is not always a Bond movies strong point, just look at Live and Let Die, Die Another Day. So long as it manages to entertain I am quite happy. Solace thankfully is a brilliantly entertaining movie for the majority. I will admit, the pre-credit sequence is a very big disappointment. I know the stunts were good, and it should have been thrilling, but I felt so oddly bored by it. However once the credits sequence began, to a song I am steadily coming to like, the movie kicked off. The rest of the action sequences were particularly well done, my personal favourite being a bit in an opera house, extremely well edited. Drama wise the movie is very solid, there are some lighter moments to keep people happy, and some amusing one liners, but the movie for the most part is pretty down to earth.

Quantum of Solace as I've said is a great movie, and no doubt many people will love it, although some will be a bit disappointed by it. Either way Craig is still a great Bond, and I cannot wait to see more adventures with him as the lead. Although we could do with a more interesting villain next time round please.

Saw V (2008)
4 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Disappointing ending, but good movie, 24 October 2008
8/10

How much you enjoy Saw 5 really depends on how much you enjoyed the other Saw movies. If, like me, you love the past Saw movies, enjoy their inventive twists, their clever story lines and the great traps, then you will enjoy Saw 5 a great deal (well maybe be a bit disappointed with the ending, more on that later). If you feel sick at the very idea of the traps then Saw 5 is clearly not for you. Saw 5 sticks to a very solid formula. In many ways this is the most original of the Saws. Yes it has the usual amounts of gore, yes Tobin Bell shows up as Jigsaw, despite the fact he is dead. However the movie itself just seems a lot more story focused, seems much more of your average thriller than intent on getting the next person into a violent scenario. This isn't to say the movie is tame, by no means is it tame. Two scenes in the movie are some of the nastiest in the Saw series to date. Two of the traps are very disappointing, nothing really inventive happens with them, but they are still quite clever and never lose your interest. So overall Saw 5 is once again another good entry into a series I really enjoy. However as I said the ending, well it won't impress an awful lot of people. If anything its just a set up for Saw 6, which now has to be made so some answers are given!

Cast wise once again this is your typical Saw movie, however this time lead duties have changed hands. No longer is Tobin Bell setting up the traps, instead he is actually dead and relegated to flashbacks. Instead taking reigns as the Jigsaw is Detective Hoffman played by Costas Mandylor. While Mandylor does not have the presence of Bell, he is actually a very good actor. Hoffman is made out to be very multi-layered, and one of his flashback scenes where the pendulum trap takes place, shows what an intriguing character he is. Tobin Bell is amazing once again in his flashback scenes. The scenes he shares with Mandylor are by far the highlights of the movie, especially the scene where Jigsaw converts Hoffman. Scott Patterson gets a lot more screen time this time around, a huge surprise for me who assumed he'd be bumped off in the first five minutes. Patterson's character Strahm is much more interesting this time around, and has a couple of very good sequences. However the rest of the cast are the usual. We get the usually bunch of screamers who just have to die, and the people who enter the traps are as pretty two-dimensional as normal. Hell but I don't care, they die in a nasty fashion, they serve their purpose.

Saw 5's storyline is perhaps its highlight, and I know an awful lot of people will disagree. Story wise this is actually quite simple, hence the noticeable lack of any big revelation at the end. Still the storyline sucks you in, much more so than Saw 3 or 4 ever did. In fact for once I found I would have enjoyed the movie to be a bit longer, the storyline just seemed to want to be fleshed out a bit more. Not necessarily with violence, but some more talking, and especially some more Hoffman flashbacks that really interested me. The gore factor is both amped up and lowered a bit with this entry. The opening pendulum trap I have to say is downright nasty to watch. Some of the middle traps, an electricity one especially, do not live up to what they could have been. But the final traps, especially a particularly nasty one with saws, is really inventive yet really nasty as well. Still ending wise I did feel a bit blank, and this is definitely a movie I will have to revisit. The ending itself has a semi-twist, its interesting, and could develop out quite nicely in later films. But in comparison to the legendary twist from the original Saw you do feel a bit disappointed.

Overall Saw 5 is probably my middle favourite of the Saw movies. It nowhere near up to the standard of Saw 2 and the original, but it is a lot better than Saw 3, and probably on about the same level as Saw 4. As I've said not everyone will like Saw 5, but I personally found it great entertainment.


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