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22 reviews in total 
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14 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
Painfully Accurate, 11 January 2004

For our American readers

This is West Yorkshire in the 1970's and 80's as it really was.

Do not watch 'The Full Monty' - that film couldn't be more full of rubbish if it came in its own dustbin.

This is Bradford as it was. I've heard arguments where virtually the same script followed in this movie has been used.

If you don't like swearing and rough sex this movie is not for you, though there is no pornography involved here just accurate observation of a society.

Andrea Dunbar's safety was at risk in Bradford when this came out because there were people who thought that the characters were based on them - men who wore white suits may have had a lot of explaining to do to their wives, as locally this film was believed to be spot on accurate.

This is a very funny film - it is also the British working class shown as many of them really are - being part of that group I can vouch that this is so.

8 out of 10

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
One For All, And All For Fun, 26 October 2003

One of the best versions of stories featuring Dumas famous heroes

Excellent sword fighting, accurate costumes and period detail. A star laden cast performs impeccably but some may find the constant jokiness irksome. However, anyone looking for spectacle and fun will not be disappointed.

8 out of 10

6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
The best portrayal of Hitler, 24 August 2003

Alec Guinness plays Hitler wonderfully, taking into account that the dictator was certainly terminally ill at the time of his suicide.

Some viewers may find this a rather dry film, devoid of sensation, because it is based on a serious historical work which is still worth reading.

I'm amazed that the other user who reviewed this think most of the cast 'unknowns'; they comprise a galaxy of stage and screen talent of long standing in Britain. I'm sure that most film fans have heard of Simon Ward 'Young Winston' ; Adolfo Celi (Largo in 'Thunderball') Joss Ackland (who was a villain in one of those awful 'Lethal Weapon' movies)Timothy West, Eric Porter and many other actors and actresses well known in Britain (Angela Pleasance is Donald Pleasance's daughter; Phyllida Law is Emma Thompson's mother and Diane Cilento was married to Sean Connery and is Jason Connery's mother)

It's a first rate cast and a tense TV play style movie which may move too slowly for some but satisfy those who like their drama to have substance rather than empty action

7 out of 10 if only for the quality of the acting talent involved

The Pest (1997)
3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
The Most Unfunny 'Comedy' I Have Ever Seen, 31 May 2003

I can't believe that there are people out there who voted 10 for this garbage! Have any of you gained access to a computer in the madhouse where you are undoubtably kept, or is there a special colony where especially crass people are secretly imprisoned that I don't know about?

If I was to say what I really thought of this film, none of it would get published.

To begin with its 'star' is a no talent idiot who acts like a bad impersonator of Jim Carrey who has hoovered enough angel dust up his nose to resurface the Sahara desert. His name will be a total guarantee that I will not watch a future film with him in it - even if he plays a rock hidden by a crowd.

As for the 'plot'. One more crime that we can chalk up to the Nazis is that they were so awful that they can be considered fair game as 'baddies' in tripe like this; mere criminals and murderers would have the audience on their side in a trice.

To the people who made this movie - Give up making films and if not then confine yourself to making advertisements, where your efforts will at least have the virtue of being fleeting in duration.

Finally, a criticism of IMDB - Why don't you have the facility to vote 'Zero' for a film? Or perhaps not. To express my contempt for this tripe I would then have to vote double zero, or something.

62 out of 83 people found the following review useful:
Very Good Movie, 20 November 2002

I guess this is a movie you either love or hate; I belong in the first category.

This movie shows what happens when people shed the moral constraints which normally control their conduct and give free rein to their vicious urges. It is a morality lesson and reason(if you need one) never to kill - or at least if you do not to burden yourselves with accomplices.

The reactions of those involved range from complete horror and remorse (Stern) to pure psychopathy (Slater) - who is able to dehumanise the first victim immediately, demeaning her to the mere status of an inconvenience to be disposed of (this is how many serial killers think)

This film gives lots of other valuable insights - and if you only come away from it certain that morality is not a democratic process but a matter of absolute right and wrong, then this movie has done what few achieve; it has educated you morally - following the majority blindly is one of mankinds greatest follies.

Slater is brilliant in his runaway amorality, as is Stern in his bouts of tortured guilt (the scene in the gas station when his kids demand 'Whizzers' is excruciatingly funny and at the same time so poignant that you may experience guilt yourself at finding the mental collapse of the most decent character in the film so hilarious)

Cameron Diaz plays the bride from hell with assuredness and gusto - if this movie puts you off murder it may well also put you off marriage. Her eventual fate, revealed in the closing scenes - is one of the most satisfying payoffs of a loathsome character in the history of film.

Comedy at its darkest - movie making at its best 9 out of 10

Red Dragon (2002)
Manhunter 2: A Disappointing Remake, 21 October 2002

This is sometimes a scene for scene remake of the 1986 film Manhunter (Don't watch this movie or here is no point in watching Red Dragon)

In fact, this would have been a decent film if it all hadn't been done before. Apart from the opening sequence, which was only talked about rather than shown in the original, this film has nothing new to say

I rate it poorly because Ralph Feinnes is so inferior in his role to Tom Noonan, who is genuinely creepy rather than being a well spoken and good looking man with what looks like shaving cut on his lip whining about how women find him so unattractive.

Spot the derivative and entirely unconvincing allusion to 'Psycho' as well - totally extraneous to the plot and not carried through

In fact - watch Manhunter instead, it's a better movie and was original

The Tooth Fairy only pulls 4 out of 10 from me

Amistad (1997)
My Mutiny Against The Critics, 10 September 2002

I was amazed when this film received a very lukewarm reception from some very respected critics. (Charles Taylor/Roger Eberts for example)

I rate it, alongside 'Schindler's List', as Speilberg's greatest work

We all know that Spielberg's besetting sin is over sentimentality - which is unsettling with as grave a subject as slavery or the Holocaust, tacky in the case of 'The Color Purple' and utterly unforgivable when centred upon someone's hand up a piece of rubber (ET)

A commanding performance from Djimoun Hounsou is at the centre of this piece, in which every player seems to bring life to his or her character as an individual as much as part of the whole.

Thank goodness Speilberg had the sense not to have the slaves speak in English (there are director's who would have done this) and that he did not gloss over either the brutality of slavery nor the vicious reaction it provoked in the case of the bloody mutiny which starts the film.

Of course, one may say, it is easy to make the modern person angry at the idea of slavery - it is also good that we are angry and that we are not spared.

Apart from some historical inaccuracy and the terrible and utterly unjustifiable indulgence of allowing the otherwise excellent Mr Hopkins an 11 minute speech to the Supreme Court, Amistad is an excellent film, almost a great one.

9 out of 10

10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Paul Ryan and the Unholy Grail, 2 September 2002

Paul Ryan (Michael DeGood) is an immature and socially inadequate young man of 25 who satisfies his sexual desires by visiting prostitutes and watching pornography.

The early stages of the film are painful to watch for any man who has suffered rejection and at this stage of the film Ryan is a desperately lonely and unfulfilled young man craving intimacy with a woman on more than a sex for cash basis but failing miserably and anyone who has been there will feel his pain all too acutely.

Unfortunately, after watching grainy and badly made porno films Paul decides that he can do better. His early efforts are promising and bring him into contact with the horrible Spano (wonderfully played by Craig Wasson) a long time maker and distributer of such films, who promises the naieve young man stardom if he will introduce a fresh unspoiled new talent into his stable of porno queens.

Here the film strikes its one wrong note - if Ryan is so inarticulate and unpersuasive that he can't get a girl friend how come he is so persuasive at getting girls to act in porno films?

Basically, Ryan is still an innocent abroad; despite his familiarity with the mechanics of sex he is clueless when it comes to the mind games and stealthy exploitation endemic in the world he has entered.

The Pornographer is a well acted and sensitive film that will make you think and for my money a better film than its higher budget and jokey simulacrum 'Boogie Nights'

Best Line - (Spano) We make twenty percent of the movies rented; we're more popular than basketball!

No need to take this one home in a brown paper bag - 8 out of 10

Insomnia (2002)
The detective who went into the cold, 2 September 2002

Its hard to talk about Insomnia without revealing its labyrinthine secrets, suffice to say it is more of a moral thriller than a mystery

Al Pacino is masterful. Within five minutes of his appearance in the desolate but stunningly beautiful Alaskan town where he and his partner have been sent to investigate the murder of a teen ager he has established himself as the yardstick by which detectives are to be played.

His passion for his job and his astuteness are to be his downfall and what has started as a straightforward investigation of which Pacino is totally in control descends into a maelstrom of tragedy, blackmail and lies.

The question this film asks is how much are we willing to sacrifice for the truth? Many of you will not like the eventual answer, I know that I did not.

But then I am not going to give anything away here but this is a beautifully filmed and constructed piece of work that satisfies on several levels of appreciation.

Treat your moral fibre to a sub zero test that will haunt you long after you have seen the film and perhaps give you insomnia too! One to see with intelligent company as the issues raised are the basis for lively discussion both philosophically and cinematically

A chilling 8 out of 10 (it would have been more if I had not felt that the ending was something of a cop out to conventional morality)

6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Sir Clichealot and Mac Dragon, 30 August 2002

A cliche ridden script and a truly awful performance from David Thewlis shoots through the heart what might otherwise have been quite a decent film

Dennis Quaid plays a post Arthurian knight killing dragons out of disillusion that the boy he sought to turn into a honourable king has grown up to be David Thewlis - who for some reason plays the king with a working class British accent. Jason Isaacs plays his foppish and posh henchman and a rather embarrassed Brian Thompson his laconic thug.

Whereas Arthur had Camelot, this king has Hamalot the land where no performance is too far over the top. This effect is enhanced by Sean Connery's charming and witty voiceover for the dragon Draco (though it is a revelation to me that dragons are Scots when they are the national symbol of Wales) and the pain of seeing the heartbreakingly beautiful and sublime Julie Christie reduced giving credibility minor role as the king's mother (she is well spoken - where the hell did his Majesty get the accent from?) wounded this critic deeply

There is a fiesty Maid Marion type figure with flowing locks (de rigeur for such films since Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) and a comic chronicler of Quaid's feats, played vigourously by Peter Postlethwiate - (though he must have wished that he had been in Monty Python's Jabberwocky instead)

Not knowing whether it wants to be a comedy or an action movie Dragon heart lurches from the funny and enjoyable scenes when Draco (Connery) is on camera to the scenery chewing antics of Thewlis (who is really a much better actor than the part he plays here)

Forsooth sires methinks I have heard this tale afore but better told

4 out of 10

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