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Theo Robertson

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3556 reviews in total 
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24 out of 40 people found the following review useful:
An Almost Satisfying Conclusion To An Often Unsatisfying Trilogy, 17 December 2014

I almost gave this a miss . I fell in love with Jackson's LOTR trilogy and found myself often underwhelmed by large segments of the other Hobbit films which often took a long time to go nowhere . Even the title THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES conjures up what to expect - big overlong battles realised by some dodgy CGI . On top of that I'm not really a great cinema goer down to the fact you have to share an auditorium with other human beings and Hell can indeed be other people . None of this is helped by certain cinema chains allowing food and drink in to the showing . The first trailer was an advert for the Odeon's Croma Pizzeria where patrons can walk in a showing guzzling their ugly fat faces on pizza and I can confirm this temptation was too good for some salad dodgers to pass up . Bad enough cinemas are full of people slurping drinks and munching on crunchy popcorn but now respectful cinema fans have to endure the stench of jalapeños wafting around . We're not allowed to smoke in public places but we're allowed to annoy innocents with junk food . Sorry Odeon cinema you've just lost a patron for life . And this conclusion had better be bloody good in order to distract me from the stench and noise of the present cinema environment

So did it ? Just about . The third part is the strongest part of the trilogy as with the previous two films less would have been much much more and you're aware of the very cynical marketing trick of making three films each lasting on average 2.5 hours when you could have had a superb film lasting three hours . One thing I did notice early on is that I'd forgotten who most of the characters were since I hadn't bothered rewatching the two previous films and if you can't remember who was who and how they fit in to the story this must be seen as a creative failure of sorts , but to be fair the plot isn't exactly taxing and it's easy to pick up what's previously happened . Perhaps even better it's easy to pick up where it's going and several scenes do overlap in to the narrative of the later LOTR trilogy . One thing the LOTR trilogy was very good at was pointing out that greed for money are ultimately self destructive and again we see the same sort of subtext which nothing else means Jackson's stream of six films are very consistent

One wishes that Jackson had kept to subtext but unfortunately he himself becomes greedy for spectacle and so has to introduce overlong battle scenes which soon outlive their welcome . To give the director some credit a few of the fight scenes do contain extras involved in intricate choreography in the fights but there's often a reliance on sweeping shots that don't entirely convince you that they're anything more than something created on computer software . Like so much of this trilogy bigger is not necessarily better

So in summary apart from the unwanted smells and sound effects emitting from the audience I don't really feel I had wasted my time and money visiting the cinema to watch the Hobbit trilogy . This conclusion is darker in tone than its two predecessors but unlike LOTR I wasn't totally blown away and one hopes Hollywood can stop all their cynicism by making a story with two hours plot in to a franchise which unfortunately is becoming more and more common as seen in the TWILIGHT and HUNGER GAMES franchise

0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Potentially Pointless But Likable Blockbuster, 14 December 2014

I've absolutely no idea why Hollywood feels the need to do reboots . Well maybe it might be down to money and director's vision ? Regardless of why there the narrative dead end of having to set up the characters once again . Anyone going to see a Spiderman film will know who Peter Parker is . A geek boy who leads a double life as Spiderman , a web slinging , roof top bounding crime fighter with special powers who takes on villains who use their own special powers as a force of evil . Because of my own familiarity of the backstory and premise I didn't bother wasting my time watching THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN from a couple of years ago since I'd already seen the trilogy by Sam Raimi a few years earlier so didn't want to watch a film whose runtime is going to be going over old ground and only watched this sequel because of a chance to watch a recent blockbuster for free

There's not a lot here that can be called groundbreaking or original but for what it is - a big budget Summer blockbuster - it functions very well . I do consider Sam Raimi as being one of the most underrated directors in the last couple of decades and while Marc Webb might be an inferior director at least Webb knows how to make a marketable Summer film . I definitely found Andrew Garfield a more impressionable Peter Parker/ Spiderman than Toby MaGuire . Garfield job is made easier by having his Spiderman make wisecracks which never becomes as silly as it could have been . Garfield's smouldering good looks and his character interaction with Emma Stone's Gwen Stacey is obviously produced to rope in the TWILIGHT demographic but I thought this aspect worked fairly well . It was also nice to see Peter Parker/Spiderman have Harry Osborn / The Green Goblin as an equal of sorts . The downside is that Jamie Foxx Electro seems shoehorned in as a subsidiary villain , and at the end of the day THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN 2 is nothing more than a big budget superhero blockbuster though it's a superior and likable one

3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Efficient But The Short Film Was Much Better, 12 December 2014

I saw Jennifer Kent's short film MONSTER a couple of hours ago and if there one thing more shocking than the scare tactics in that film it's how easy it is to find online the feature length film MONSTER inspired . If nothing else it means that a film that would have remained unknown and obscure as been given a much wider audience . The question is if it's worth seeing ?

The answer is probably yes but with rather strict reservations . If you're looking for an expanded version of MONSTER unfortunately you might be left a little disappointed . Where as in that short the monster was the focus of the story here it's little more than a plot device and its great strength was scare tactics which it carried off brilliantly . Here however it's the mother / young son dynamic that is important and the horrors are of a more psychological nature . Despite being written and directed by Jennifer Kent THE BABADOOK doesn't share a lot with MONSTER

The flaw with THE BABADOOK is that there's not a lot of narrative drive . We get hints that something is not right in Amelia's household but nothing really happens until well in to the second half of the movie . Before then the story revolves around the mother Amelia and her son Samuel . Essie Davis as Amelia is good in her role but the character is rather unlikable and unsympathetic , and you get the feeling the producers are trying a bit too hard to get a few mainstream award nods for Davis . Unfortunately Noah Wiseman as Samuel is simply dreadful and one of those irritating kids you hope something nasty happens to

In summary THE BABADOOK is efficient as a psychological horror film . It relies on suspense and mystery rather than violence and gore but if you've seen MONSTER then all the things you loved about that short are conspicuous by their absence so this version isn't really a version of the short but still manages to get a generous 7/10

Monster (2005/I)
I Jumped Out Of My Seat !, 12 December 2014

AS the title character in DOCTOR WHO once stated " The most frightening place in a universe is a childs bedroom " . True even if it may be stating the obvious . Living on an island as a child I was sometimes worried about an incursion of Sea Devils and worried they could squeeze up the U bend of the loo and come crashing in to my bedroom before I knew what was going on . This short film by Jennifer Kent plays on that fear

The film is somewhat minimalist taking place entirely in one house featuring a mother , her young son and the protagonist of the title . I notice IMDb legend Bob The Moo has reviewed it. . Let me reveal a closely guarded secret about The Moo - he doesn't like horror movies and as he's stated he had hoped for a bit more space and development and looks forward to seeing the feature length film this short started off as . As for myself I can take each and every horror film on its own merit but often lament how difficult it is to do something new with a tired and staid genre . That said yesterday I saw a sci-fi horror called EXTRATERRISTIAL featuring a bunch of horny teens in a remote cabin which had nothing new to say to the audience and yet managed to compel and creep out this audience member . Kent does something similar here . Okay it's down to the obvious cheap tricks of using fast movement and silence followed by sudden loud noise which caused me to jump out of my seat . If I was watching this in the dark late at night I'd be running to switch the lights on and having difficulty sleeping . Compared to the monster in this film the Sea Devils are small fry

Unoriginal But Does What It Does Brilliantly, 11 December 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A bunch of horny adolescents depart to the sticks to partake in a few nights of naughtiness involving sex , alcohol and certain herbs . As in this type of genre there's a price to be paid for their hedonism and find themselves under threat from n alien incursion

Let's be honest here , the premise is an absolute dog of a movie that's been done to death and probably wasn't all that great first time it became fashionable . This did show some promise by having The Vicous Brothers in the credits . They were the team who did GRAVE ENCOUNTERS yet another film featuring the tired clichéd formula of lost footage formulaic cinema but one that was very effective and did spook me

There is nothing original about this movie and is a mix of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS , SIGNS and THE X-FILES . If you're someone who dislikes the horror and science fiction genre then I won't force you to watch but this is one of the most unsettling low budget movies I've seen in a long time . It's not difficult to create a brooding nihilistic atmosphere to a horror film . Just film everything in the dark , throw in a thunderstorm and have something nasty just outside of frame . It say it's not difficult but most of these type of movies leave me unmoved if not proactively bored but here everything come together to make something rather compelling

There are some flaws . I did think the aliens and their spacecraft were going to remain enigmatic and their environment would have been left in the air and it was a somewhat dubious that the inside of their craft and possibly their home world is revealed late in the film . There's also maybe a bit too much crammed in to the ending which again owes a lot to THE X FILES if not George A Romero which is the only self referential post modernist aspect to the film and is a film that is very enjoyable and creepy

Inside (2012/I)
Good In Parts But Could Have Been A Lot Better, 11 December 2014

Myles a newly arrived prisoner in county jail is assigned to his cell next to a truculent hard timer . Soon after lights out screams are heard and Myles and the rest of the cell block find themselves in deadly danger

You can see what INSIDE is trying to do . It's a minimalist horror thriller with a very small cast . Some congratulations should be in order because it's always nice to see a low budget movie trying to scare the audience and at the same time not having to rely on gore to appeal to the lowest common denominator . On this level the film is moderately effective

The downside is however that if you're trying to make a try classic in this genre then the screenplay should be perfect . It is some what clichéd but that's not the fundamental problem . The problem is that there's some very obvious plot holes that'll have you saying to yourself " Why didn't so and so do such and such a thing because if that was me I would have done the sensible thing and ... " Well you get the idea ? In other words the screenplay needed a bit more development to set it apart from its peers . That said I didn't bother reading the opening credits and wasn't until I came to this page and found out the protagonist is played by pretty boy Bros member Luke Goss who despite being the front man of a very untalented manufactured British pop band from the late 1980s did manage to convince me he was an American actor playing an American character

0 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Botox, 10 December 2014

I had relatively high hopes for this since I found the second film in the series relatively enjoyable . You know what you're going to get in advance , lots of mindless action and snappy one liners and here there's an added bonus - meta-fiction . Snipes character states he had a little bit of a problem with tax evasion . And if the IRS aren't after one of the expendables then the CIA are after a bad guy played by Mel Gibson ! What's he wanted for you ask ? Arms dealing on the black market I think , but since he's played by Gibson one of the most deeply unpleasant individuals working in Hollywood it could be a number of any organisations you want to name . Such as Mossad , or the English Defence League , or the feminist lobby or African American groups , or the American draft board evangelical Protestants or ...hold on it seems like the only people who don't want to throw Gibson in jail are the CIA . Gibson must have found his role a challenge

As you expect this is the type of film featuring lots of stunts and explosions and editing by someone who has taken a near fatal overdose of cocaine so what sets it apart from its peers ? One word:


That's right - botox . You can see the results a mile away and certain persons in this film look like they've been the result of a genetic experiment where mad scientists have created a hybrid of a human being with a fish . That't probably explains why the same people have trouble saying their lines because there faces are a bit too stretched out . " If God wanted us to fly he would have given us feathers " spouts one cast member who probably has never been near a botox clinic . Maybe the meta-fiction in this film is either appropriate or ironic . Make up your own mind

4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Good Enough As Long As You Don't Think Of It As A Horror Film, 10 December 2014

I remember the 1992 version of Dracula by Francis Ford Coppola and thinking that the best part of that version was the anti-heroic Prince Vlad defending Europe against the Ottoman invasion . I do believe there is a market for a historical epic featuring the true life story of Vlad the impaler . This version from 2014 does come close to it in some ways but let's be honest and say no one is going to watch any movie with Dracula in the title unless it features a vampire in the title role and one wonders how many people might have been disappointed by the marketing if not the title alone ?

One group of people who will be bitterly disappointed will be Turks . While the Persians are still recovering from their portrayal in 300 and its sequel the Muslim Turks might have just been lured in to a sense of false security after MIDNIGHT EXPRESS but low and behold along comes DU . The Turks aren't painted in a good light and one wonders if there might be a rather dubious subtext when the Sultan demands a thousand boys for his army ? That said at least Vlad himself isn't a noble traditional type of nationalist hero and the film does show him struggling against internal dilemmas . It's not really an actors type of character driven cinema but Luke Evans is suitably brooding while best performance is Dominic Cooper as Mehmed who doesn't appear on screen often enough here and is probably the film's trump card

DU isn't a masterpiece and again it's very important that you go in to this film with the knowledge it's more of a dark sword and sorcery type tale rather than a horror movie . It wasn't until after I saw it that I found out Universal Pictures might be using it to do a reboot of their monster franchise from the 1930s and 40s which explains the ending that jars with the rest of the movie . Do we genuinely want another reboot series ? As it stands this version of Dracula is more than adequate and maybe we should let Eastern European vampires stay dead

" Claire Couldn't Care Less " ..., 10 December 2014

...said the voice over in the trailer and to be honest neither did Theo

I made a point of watching this sometime in the early 1990s due to the hype involving U2 contributing to the soundtrack . This was before the internet era so it was kind of difficult for a layman to check facts and film critic Kim Newman in a review suggested that Bono and the boys had more than a little input in to the soundtrack . The title of the film does of course come from a track from their 1991 masterwork album Achtung Baby so you can understand where I'm coming from . On top of that Newman suggested this was road movie meets the apocalypse and I do love speculative fiction and being vaguely aware of Wim Wenders who did a strange twist on the serial killer thriller genre THE GOALKEEPERS FEAR OF THE PENALTY . On top of that it does contain several well known names in the shape of Hurt , Neill and Von Sydow. It surely can't have been a bad film in that case?

An Indian nuclear satellite spins out of orbit and threatens to destroy the world so what does everyone do ? They stand around discussing their lives and the human condition . Is this logical ? Probably not . Is it compelling in any way ? Definitely not . This is really tedious stuff with the plot aimlessly wandering about . If you think there's a subtext to this where the plot line is mirroring the characters in the film I suggest you stop taking university film courses and try and find something more productive in life . I'm not being cruel just pointing out that this is the type of film that only gets produced to appeal to students and film snobs . I'm not defending the rubbish that Michael Bay and the rest of Hollywood churn out but there comes a point where the average audience member has had enough of slow moving brooding introspection and hope the film ends before the world does

Apart from having a severe lack of anything to hold the interest of the audience there's a painfully unrealistic depiction of the very near future . In the 1991 depiction of 1999 nearly everyone wears a hat . In the real world of 1999 the only people wearing hats were chavs sporting baseball caps so the film has got that minor detail wrong and a major detail about having a machine that can capture dreams . Perhaps the worst mistake with hindsight is Wenders claiming the soundtrack reflects the type of music the featured artists would be performing in 1999 . This patently unlikely especially where U2 were concerned . In 1999 they were working on All You Can't Leave Behind which was a departure from their 1990s material so I'm afraid Wenders got that one wrong same as he seems to have misjudged everything else about the film

Battleship (2012)
0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Sinks Almost Without Trace, 6 December 2014

I thought relax after a hard day at work by putting my feet up and unwinding with a big , loud , dumb , fun blockbuster . To be fair BATTLESHIP is big , loud , dumb but is it fun ? Not really

Some people on this page ( Hi Bob ) have mentioned the tone of the film and it's impossible not to notice just how jarring it is . For the first half hour the audience are subjected to much silliness and humour which almost had this audience member switching channels not least because it's presented in an almost lunatic Michael Bay style . Then for some reason the story cuts to amputees from the real life conflicts of Iraq and Afghanistan which comes close to being both poignant and offensive in equal measure

I suppose being a Summer blockbuster the audience don't want sombre , character driven drama - they want lots of action and they get it but again much of the work here is substandard . Did someone mention Michael Bay ? Well that's what we get . Lots of action , lots of elliptical editing and lots of explosions . Sorry I mean lots of CGI explosions . Indeed much of the computer generated images aren't much better than the ones you see in the average SyFy mockbuster and is pretty dreadful . To be honest if it wasn't for the fact that Liam Neeson ( Basically a cameo appearance ) and that popular female singer *( Can't be bothered spelling her name ) you'd probably think you were watching something on the SyFy Channel

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