Reviews written by registered user

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12 reviews in total 
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11 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
Misogynistic religious recruitment., 20 October 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Not just rubbish, offensive, insulting rubbish. It's difficult to give a single reason why this... product is so bad. Calling it a movie would be a disservice to the film industry.

The acting, which is painfully flat & wooden, is perhaps the least awful aspect of 'Paradox Alice'. While the set, effects, lighting & shot composition are bad they aren't as woefully poor as the script, or the director's incompetence.

However it's not the sloppy direction, bad acting, banal plot, truly mindless dialogue & apparent lack of any available stage technicians which really lets it down; Should you make the error of watching this monstrosity the script is probably one of the worst you'll ever have the misfortune to encounter.

This production is essentially an incredibly clumsy recruitment advertisement for Christianity, the sole message it delivers seems to be: "It's acceptable to rape a woman if the voice in your head tells you to." Truly vile.

Be warned & steer clear.

Brotherhood (2010/I)
6 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Infantile., 3 August 2012

I find it difficult to articulate how truly awful this film is. The whole premise relies on such a staggering suspension of disbelief as to be literally incredible. The characterizations are shallow, the acting ineptly relies on constant shouting in an attempt to conjure up a semblance of emotion & drama, the direction & cinematography are very sloppy, relying heavily on irritatingly shaky hand-held camera work.

The biggest flaw however is the script; a childish, incoherently written mess with an unbelievable premise, clumsily executed.

In all this film is quite an insult since, by presenting it as a genuine narrative work, it assumes that its audience will have such a feeble intellect as to somehow miss the utter ineptitude it really is. I'm not sure if this is the worst film I've ever seen, but it's certainly the worst film I've seen this year.

44 out of 85 people found the following review useful:
Saccharine, clumsy, vapid, & trite, with all the narrative depth of a puddle., 5 July 2011

Falling Skies Episodes 1 to 4: To the casual observer this series might appear to be a merely formulaic rehash of the now tried & tested sci-fi/action soap opera (e.g. Battlestar Galactica; The walking Dead; Lost; etc.). Unfortunately the apparent truth is even more unfortunate; not only are the stereotyped stock-characters laughably undeveloped (partially due to the apathetic acting of the cast), the basic premise that the US (& by extension presumably the Earth) has been invaded by a hostile alien occupying force is yet another thinly veiled cliché for the childish 'USA #1!' propaganda which leaves the rest of the world shaking its collective head in bewilderment.

That the narrative of a presumably successful, planet-wide invasion can be dealt & presented with such clumsy banality is utterly astounding. It's certainly the only surprise this series seems to have to offer, as each episode (currently from 1 to 4) predictably shambles on mindlessly, apparently deliberately avoiding any chance of character or plot development in favour of repetitively sentimental set-pieces, constantly regurgitating the attempted rhetoric of 'We never had it so good'.

This series is neither for adults nor children who are capable of basic reasoning. Essentially it's as much an insult to one's intelligence as The Expendables.

"Zen" (2011)
25 out of 30 people found the following review useful:
Italian panache made with English subtlety., 16 January 2011

There's always a risk when adapting the written word to a screenplay; the risk that the nuances of the one will be lost when rendered to the other. Fortunately the BBC has a fine pedigree when transferring both book & play to the screen (from 'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy' to Charles Dickens, & any number of Shakespeare's plays), as well as when working in collaboration with international broadcasters (who could forget the excellent 'Rome'?).

Their vast experience in this field has really paid off with 'Zen', a detective series based on the novels of English crime writer Michael Dibdin. Although there are some differences between the novels & the television series, they are minor & serve to facilitate the adaptation from the written to the visual. The television characters are perhaps slightly softer than their written counterparts, a necessity of economy when one considers that each episode is only ninety minutes long. Despite that the characters are well-rounded, with Rufus Sewell doing more than enough to cement his place in what is bound to be remembered as a modern classic of television.

In addition to Sewell's excellent suitability for the role, he is surrounded by an equally impressive international cast. The direction, lighting & shot composition all contribute to producing a superb whole, & it would be remiss not to mention the wardrobe, who do a fine job of catching that Italian verve.

In essence 'Zen' is a hugely enjoyable series of tasteful whodunnits, which never reveal who really did do it until the end. At the time of writing, the real mystery is whether all eleven of Dibdin's novels will be televised - it would be a crime if they weren't.

Altogether a stylish series with a sophistication brought about by understated subtlety.

Heidi (2005/I)
5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
An uplifting & faithful adaptation of breathtaking execution., 23 August 2010

To keep this short & succinct: An awesome retelling of Spyri's novel, with minor deviations from the original story.

This (Paul Marcus' 2005) version of 'Heidi' starts with a gripping psychological intensity which it maintains throughout the duration of the film. To some degree this intensity is conveyed by the excellent shot composition evident during the entirety of the production, which masterfully captures both the geographic & emotional context of the narrative. The main credit however must go to Emma Bolger, whom I can only describe as a true prodigy of her craft.

One would expect fine performances from such practised professionals as Rigg, Chaplin & von Sydow, but it is only when the final credits roll that it becomes apparent how stunning Bolger's performance really is. This is a film where one does not need to suspend disbelief in order to be enveloped & caught up by the narrative, instead it is a truly superb synthesis of cast & crew working harmoniously to produce something truly valuable.

Do yourself a favour & see for yourself.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Understated elegance, charm & wit ensure this is worth a second look., 2 August 2010

Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel is an engaging tongue-in-cheek romp through the titular Sci-Fi genre. The theatrical style & sarcastic, dark, absurd, often self-denigrating humour is typically British; combined with the deliberately minimal use of special effects & computer generated images this will undoubtedly put off those who prefer garish spectacle & canned laughter over solid content & narrative.

The premise of three average everyday friends accidentally & unwittingly caught up in a fantastical series of events beyond their control is intelligently dealt with, & competently realized. Subtlety in both narrative & performance adds hugely to the overall enjoyment, as does the fastidious attention to detail. The latter aspect is of course vital in tackling a subject so rich in paradox, & is dealt with so elegantly that it's necessary for the narrative to explain to the audience when & where it's been done.

All in all an intelligent & refreshingly novel film whose strengths some of the audience might miss due to it's modest & unpretentious presentation. Recommended!

Four Lions (2010)
5 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
A modern gem. Beautifully crafted & intelligently written., 20 July 2010

When I saw this at the cinema my one criticism was that I had trouble hearing it at some points because the audience was laughing so much. Easily the funniest film I've seen this decade, but a film which also clearly & competently addresses serious issues with a maturity rarely seen in the media.

Without a doubt this film will have its detractors, but one should bear in mind that much of this will be due to the sensationalist bias we are so often subjected to in the papers & on television but which Morris deliberately avoids.

Once again Chris Morris demonstrates his genius for objectively critiquing contemporary media & politics by creating high comedy.

Paperhouse (1988)
5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Content & Style: 1; Brash Loud Banality: Nil, 21 September 2009

I'm glad that this is available on DVD now. This film is an excellent example of the triumph of content & style over empty-headed flashing lights & constant loud noises.

Essentially, if you have a short attention span or lack the wit & imagination to engage with literary narrative you won't like this film. The reasons for this are quite simple, but unfortunately rarely achieved: Matthew Jacobs has done a fantastic job of transposing the story of Catherine Storr's novel 'Marianne Dreams' successfully to a screenplay. An unenviable task as anyone who has seen a film of a book will undoubtedly know.

The casting is excellent, allowing director Bernard Rose to use the actors in a way that is rarely seen now; they indulge in the craft of acting! I know, I know, actors doing their job & acting instead of resorting to mugging inanely at the camera lens whist a kaleidoscope of car chases, explosions & fire fights break out around them is a genuinely rare treat, but it does actually happen in this film.

This brings me to the final reason that this is a film for the imaginative thinker & not the spoon-fed tabloid reader - Apart from a solid script, direction & acting, it relies on atmosphere, suspense & implied horror. If it is to be categorized as horror then the presentation of 'Paper House' is more in the vein of Sophocles than Tobe Hooper.

In conclusion then, if you like lots of loud noises, explosions, constant cuts, & bright flashing colours you'd be better off watching 'Transformers', but if you like a suspenseful story which unfolds through a skillful & evocative use of narrative without insulting your intelligence by force feeding you cacophonous nonsense then this might just be your thing.

15 out of 31 people found the following review useful:
For the stupid only., 25 May 2008

The rampant xenophobic paranoia of the US, heightened by the attack on the World Trade Centre, should have been easy pickings for anyone to ridicule and satirize to great effect. One has to wonder then why the best that the writer/director partnership can come up with is a muddle of insultingly predictable, unoriginal set-pieces and gags, presumably aimed at an audience which can barely tie its collective shoe laces let alone conceive of an original thought.

Anyone familiar with the first 'Harold & Kumar go to White Castle' film should expect much the same this time; very much the same in fact, but without any originality, creative humour, spontaneity, sensitivity, inventiveness, (the list goes on).

While the first outing addressed significant issues with a refreshing lack of pretension, this sequel fails miserably from the outset and just goes downhill fast from there.

Definitely aimed at the sub-100 IQ audience.


7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Superior to Hollywood blockbusters in every way., 25 April 2008

A beautifully melancholy and poignant story about companionship, loyalty, and hope. An incredibly strong cast (including the classically trained John Hurt and Patrick Stewart) give this excellently scripted tale a fully believable life of its own, more vivid and heartfelt than the majority of blockbuster Hollywood movies you're likely to see this year (or any other for that matter). If the fact that this is an animation puts you off, do yourself a favour and don't let it. Once the narrative is under way I defy anyone to find the animation detrimental to the experience.

Certainly in regards to the genre of animated films this is superior to anything Disney have ever done, both in respect of visual and intellectual content, and stands alone as a benchmark of what can be achieved in the genre.

From the creators of 'Watership Down', this film shares the same author and production company, but despite its PG certificate you should be warned that some scenes may be upsetting, not specifically for younger viewers but for everyone - this is a genuine tear-jerker of a film.

Highly recommended. If you don't watch it you are doing yourself a disservice.

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