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16 reviews in total 
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Maybe I'm old-fashioned..., 6 November 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

...but I don't need a film to have a proper beginning, middle and end...with all the subplots wrapped up...

And maybe it's because I love stories for the sake of stories - and music, simply for its ability to tell its own stories - but I loved Elizabethtown, and struggled to understand why so many people disliked it.

I see the movie's flaws, certainly, mainly with editing - many subplots weren't properly developed. And I personally don't think Orlando Bloom is the world's best actor. But really, this film is about people, and stories about people.

Which is interesting, because in its imperfections, Elizabethtown says more about itself than it could. People are imperfect.

Things like the video the kids watch - I think that sums up Elizabethtown. The video had nothing to do with the plot. It was just there because it was interesting.

The climax (arguably, both of them, but specifically the memorial) was great - aside from the somewhat annoying comedy/dance sequence from Susan Sarandon. I loved the bird, and fire, the music.

And the road-trip, which almost seems tacked-on...but it was a vital, beautiful part of the film. It dripped with Crowe's love for his country, and love for his music.

It comes back to two things - the characters, and the music, I think. You don't have to love the songs in the film. I didn't know half of them. But I loved them when I heard them. And you don't have to like the characters - but you feel for them, want them to be OK.

5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
flawed people are much more interesting, 31 July 2005

Joan Allen is in superb form here, abandoned by her husband, angry, and left to deal with four teenage girls – although they deal with her just as much.

It's a little long – all her girls go through various troubles – but her relationship with Kevin Costner (a retired alcoholic baseball player) is fascinating, as both characters are flawed and intriguing. The acting is brilliant...Allen could be up for an Oscar nomination she's so good, and this is Costner's best performance since 'A Perfect World'.

Writer/director Mike Binder's movie is populated by real and flawed people. It's an honest look how anger can effect people; admittedly, he needs someone to edit his own performances a bit, and there are plot holes, but this is still a good movie.

The Island (2005)
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Bay's the wrong guy in the wrong place at the wrong time, 31 July 2005

Michael Bay is so, so, SO incredibly frustrating. He's able to present outrageous and breath-taking action sequences, but give the guy a script with plot and the need for thought and he's got no chance of making a good movie.

Honestly, he reminds me of a teenage boy – he's only got one setting.

I think I enjoyed all his movies until Bad Boys II - which was just violent for violence's sake.

The premise of the Island is fantastic (although not entirely new), the look and set design is amazing – I loved where they lived, the look of the city in the future - just as crappy, but obviously moving forward with technology.

But Michael Bay simply can't make a movie without blowing something up every couple of minutes. What begins as a fascinating sci-fi film ends up an action movie, which essentially ruins it.

While great chunks of The Island are fantastic, and McGregor and Johansson act it well, Bay was the wrong choice as director.

And what THE HELL was with all the product placement? I couldn't believe how obvious it was - at one point, Tom Lincoln picks up a bottle of water and takes a deep, obviously refreshing drink. A very expensive advert.

3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Meh., 7 July 2005

Overly-long, plagued by an uneven script and relying too much on fantastic special effects, Constantine also suffers from Keanu Reeves' acting – maybe his worst ever.

Reeves is a sort of supernatural detective, who goes about pulling demons out of little girls. Teaming up with Rachel Weisz to try and save her hell-bound twin-sister, he ends up needing to save the world from Satan's son. Yep, you read it right.

Constantine is nicely dark, and full of starts strongly, and occasionally has some nice set design, but quickly flops into a mire of CGI. That looks great, but it's pretty obvious the producers saw the rushes and decided to try and blow the audience away with special effects, to distract from, and make up for, the awful acting and script.

Oh, and why try to be 'unusual' or clever when depicting Satan? His appearance was possibly the worst part of the movie. No, wait - that was Reeves' acting. My mistake.

Luther (2003)
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
While flawed, a fascinating movie, 7 July 2005

This a biopic of Martin Luther (played by Joseph Fiennes), is certainly flawed in structure and jumpy (the editor seems to have given the job to his 11-year-old niece about half way through the film), but it's still an intriguing look at the person – and history – behind one of the most defining stances in history.

Yes, there are issues with the direction, which seems at times either trying too hard or not trying at all, and Fiennes doesn't seem to have been directed at all.

Brilliantly supported by Peter Ustinov, Fiennes is occasionally out of his depth – but history buffs and Christians will find this eminently watchable and fascinating.

8 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Harvey seems bored, 7 July 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

An OK flick, set in Mexico, about a hit-man (Scott Glenn) who hitches a ride with struggling American writer and his Mexican girlfriend after a hit. He pays them to take him to the border – but things get out of hand.

It starts well enough, but quickly struggles and dies.


The eventual relationship twist is badly set up and difficult to believe. An absence of passion, and essentially no reasoning behind her leaving one man for the other, made it ridiculous - and the ending was predictable and dull.


Harvey Keitel is the US agent on the hit-man's trail, but he seems a little confused as to how boring and slow the script is...

11:14 (2003)
38 out of 45 people found the following review useful:
Clever and intricate, 7 July 2005

A clever little thriller/black comedy, which holds interest. 11:14 tells the inter-connected stories of a group of people, all revolving around a tragic car-accident. We see the accident, which occurs at 11:14pm, from different perspectives, as the puzzle slowly comes together.

Sure, the story works a lot on coincidence, but it's still a great build up and interesting ending, despite it being somewhat of a let-down.

The very black humour includes two sections which might just be some of the most cringing moments for men in cinema history – one of them in particular had me cowering fear.

Good performances from Patrick Swayze and Hilary Swank make this a good cinematic treat.

Don't Move (2004)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A minor masterpiece, 7 July 2005

A minor masterpiece, Don't Move is the story of Timoteo, a surgeon (played by Sergio Castellitto, also directing), and his affair with Italia (Penelope Cruz), a troubled, lower-class woman.

Told in flashback, we slowly learn about how the affair began, and how it grew – as Timoteo's only daughter lies on an operating table, after falling off her bike. The use of flashback often annoys me, but here's it's just beautiful. We get enough of the story to understand why what's happening in the present is important, and the movie's flow is in the past. However, the past is so important to the present.

So while the script isn't overly original, it is fascinating as Timoteo tries to break up the affair – and fails. What makes the script come alive is the brilliant acting. It's truly captivating. Cruz and Castellitto are stunning as troubled people from different backgrounds who seem to fall in love – Cruz in particular, disregarding her usual glamorous on-screen persona, is almost unrecognisable.

I think Italia was slightly under-written, and a little obvious in her troubled past - but Timoteo is an intricate character, a brilliant description of a torn man - torn by sex, love, and a desire for simple happiness.

A moving, stunning study of love, wonderfully written and acted.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Trust Spielburg to get it right, 7 July 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Hey…would you look at that…it's actually pretty good. Trust Steven Spielburg to get it right.

Everyone knows the story of H.G. Wells' classic alien-invaders story. Spielburg has changed characters around for his version, and created a mixture of terror, humanity, war, fear and sci-fi.

Tom Cruise is a not-so-good divorced Dad who's got the kids for the weekend. Pretty quickly, the alien Tripods erupt out of the ground and start killing.

That stunning sequence, shot with unsteady,hand-held camera, is brilliant, seen through the panicked reaction of hundreds of extras surrounding Tom Cruise. In fact, through out WOTW, Spielburg bounces his film off Cruise – rather then place the superstar, with his too-familiar face, in the middle of the action.

Yes, it's frightening. Yes, it's terribly tragic. Yes, many people die. But Spielburg manages the horror by presenting a drop-beat Dad in the midst of death, trying to do his best.

The acting is surprisingly good. As Cruise's daughter, Dakota Fanning proves yet again she's got a true talent. A scene where she sees hundreds of bodies floating downstream is horrific and incredible – her acting plays right into Spielburg's story-telling ability to present tragic disaster with dignity.

Some sections drag – an extended segment in a cellar as Cruise, Fanning and Tom Robbins hide from the aliens doesn't have the suspense it should've contained...but I appreciated the looseness of the ending.

On the whole, this is a fantastic movie. Placed in context – post September 11 and post the Asian Tsunami – it's even more compelling. One line, from Dakota Fanning, stands out days after viewing – running from the aliens, she tearfully begs to know: "is it the terrorists?"

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Nostalgia, 19 May 2005

After repeated viewings, I think I've changed my mind a bit...

After the first time, I remember walking out the cinema, feeling close to how I felt after I saw Return of the Jedi for the first time. That feeling being touched by the story, exhilarated...sad it was over, wanting to see it again. It wasn't exactly the same feeling, but it was close.

Ep 3 is still great, but I now I see the flaws in Lucas' direction.

I think I love Ep 3 purely for nostalgic reasons. It's only great because it finally comes around to the characters - and storyline - that I loved originally. Everything it catching up on the Jedis. Their time is ending. That rushed, dark, malevolence, that feeling that something evil is hanging over the universe - that was a cool feeling.

And it's those loose ends that George (sort of) ties up, that's what makes me love it. OK, there's a few he misses, sure.

The start of Ep 3 is great though, isn't it? I think I sat transfixed for the first 20 mins or so, unlike Ep 1 and 2.

I still think he should've got someone else to direct it.

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