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Nothing like as bad as it's made out
I honestly cannot see why this movie merits a score of only 3.8. It seems to me that there must be a horde of Boll-trolls who delight in marking down this particular director. OK, Lord of the Rings it isn't, though it borrows heavily from that trilogy. It has a strong cast who make the best of a somewhat clunky script. The battle sequences are rather good, with a bit more in the way of tactical movement than a lot of similar movies. Jason Statham is, well, Jason Statham up to his usual action tricks. Claire Forlani is excellent and well supported by Ron Perlman. Matthew Lillard is gloriously over-the-top as the villainous nephew of the king. All in all I found it an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours, with my brain in neutral.
Absolute Zero (2006)
Not Good, but not THAT Bad
OK, the Earth's magnetic poles can and have reversed polarity many times in the planet's history. And, as we know, ice ages do happen, and surprisingly quickly, too in geological terms. But one does not cause the other. I guess the scriptwriter needed a plot device to cause a sudden big freeze in which to set the events. But why "Absolute Zero", a temperature not found anywhere in the entire universe, and which causes more plot problems than it solves? I guess it made a better title than "Awfully Cold". And why Miami? There are very good reasons why ice caps are situated at the north and south poles of the planet rather than in a band around the equatorial regions. And by poles, I mean the axis of spin, not the magnetic poles. It may have been a trifle more plausible to have situated the action in Vancouver, where much of it was filmed, rather than Florida, but even then, credulity would be stretched thinner than graphene.
Yes, the "science" is ludicrous, and I can't help feeling that the writer tried too hard to "explain" things. Yet, people seem quite happy to accept the impossible physics and engineering of superhero movies. It's called "suspension of disbelief", though I admit it does jar anyone who has a modicum of scientific knowledge. What I found irksome was the lazy production values: the CEO of a "billion dollar" organisation having such a meagre office; the neatly sawn-off tree flying through the air; the stock shot of rush hour traffic purporting to be the evacuation of Miami. Someone should have told the director that in an evacuation, traffic generally moves in one direction!
Much criticism has been directed at the acting. It's not Oscar standard, sure, but it's not terrible, either. It's hampered by a poor script and even poorer direction. True, the mother and daughter did not show a great deal of emotion when the father died, but I'm sure the actors could have, had they been asked. I think it's terribly unfair (and sexist) to call Erika Eleniak an "aging playmate". One does not refer to Arnold Schwartzenegger as an superannuated bodybuilder. Oh wait, perhaps I'm wrong there. Everyone ages, and I, for one, think that Ms Eleniak has aged gracefully, and is still a beautiful woman.
So there it is: cod science, ropey special effects, dicey script, earnestly acted. "The Day After Tomorrow" it isn't, but even that film would not stand up to much critical climatological analysis. It is a TV movie after all, if not a particularly good one. As entertainment, it doesn't exactly succeed, but it's not a utter failure, either. I think the general consensus of 3 stars is about right.
Mansfield Park (2007)
I really have little time for people who adopt an almost pious outrage when a film doesn't match their vision of a book. Even Lord of the Rings had to depart from the story on a number of occasions for the sake of making a coherent movie. One reviewer used the term "book-to-film-nazis", and while this may be a little harsh, I think it manages to convey the meaning succinctly. Undoubtedly, this version of the tale was not close to a faithful adaptation of Mansfield park, but it is a very entertaining hour and a half for those of a more open disposition. I also think the opprobrium heaped on Billie Piper was completely unfair: the reviewers seemed to blame her for the fact that she was not like the Fanny of the novel. Having seen her in many productions, I think Billie is a fine actress, and she delivered precisely what was asked of her for this version of Mansfield park. Her performance, and that of Blake Ritson made this a real feel-good movie: and yes, I have read and enjoyed the book.
Moulin Rouge! (2001)
I think Baz Luhrmann is taking the p***!
Over-acting, poor singing, mugging, excruciating dialogue, irritating camera cuts, great music mutilated, this film has it all! This is clearly a self-indulgent movie which has artistic pretensions. It's the Emperor's new clothes in celluloid. I think Baz Luhrmann is taking the p***!