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Royalcourtier

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35 reviews in total 
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Doomsday Gun (1994) (TV)
Flawed criticism, 9 May 2014

One reviewer claimed that the idea of a Supergun was impractical due to the huge flame that could easily be observed from satellites, and that such a gun would take days to clean out and reload.

This is not correct.

A supergun can work, and is no more impractical than a fixed airbase or missile launch site.

The German superguns did work, and many rounds were fired both in testing and operationally - at Luxembourg.

Iran would have had difficulty destroying a firing site. Its ground attack capability was not good, and the gun itself would be a small target. Flames could not be seen from space, even if Iran did have a satellite over Iraq at the time of firing.

It would also have been an ideal weapon with which to launch projectiles against the state of Israel.

Pompeii (2014/I)
6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
bad effort, 28 March 2014
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Canada should really stop making movies. This was a shockingly poor affair. A big budget and some good actors does not make up for a feeble script, confused and muddled plot, limited characterisation, totally inaccurate history for a historical film, and a surfeit of political correctness.

Like most Hollywood epics, the Roman Empire's heart seems to be in Britain. And that was where this film commenced. But it was nothing like the real Britannia. A clichéd damp English weather, and assorted rebelling "horse tribes". A pointless massacre of said rebels, and a boy left inexplicably alive. This was apparently a major military campaign to "open the Northern trade routes". Sounds more like a amateur attempt to paint Romans as evil from the outset, and set up a revenge sub-plot. A child could come up with a better plot.

The mysterious "Celt", having survived against the odds becomes not a horseman like his father, but a gladiator. Having overcome all competitors in Britain, he is sent not to Rome but to Pompeii.

This Pompeii is nothing like the real city. Its residents do not regard themselves as Roman. Odd that, as Pompeii was part of the Empire, its citizens were Roman citizens, and the city was a Roman resort. Rather like the citizens of Bournemouth hating Londoners and not regarding themselves as British.

Pompeii is dominated by a huge active volcano, which disturbs the locals from time to time. The real volcano looks only half the size (I have been in Pompeii) and it was not known to be active until the eruption itself.

I know modern audiences like gladiators, almost as much as Romans did. But what is entirely omitted from the movie is that gladiators were part of a religious rite, and that the fighting was both drama and intended to honour the Gods. Real gladiatorial combat did not always result in death. In fact gladiators were too valuable to kill swiftly. Most combat during the course of the day was not lethal. This movie represents gladiatorial combat as simply a form of mass murder, as brutal and swift as possible. Dozens killed in minutes. Even during the most costly games in Rome itself gladiators were not "used up" so swiftly.

The eruption of Pompeii looked impressive, but was completely wrong. The real mountain released clouds of pyroclastic material that suffocated and buried thousands, and collapsed buildings. Rather like a build up of snow on buildings. Most residents escaped. In this version there was a preternaturally hot pyroclastic flow, incendiary missiles, tsunami and other mayhem. No one survived, and in fact nothing of the city would have survived.

Culturally the movie got it wrong too. Apart from the erroneous view of the city of Pompeii, the role of slaves was misrepresented. In this version of history they were either "animals" and treated as such, or friends and companions whose status was only shown by the use of "master" from time to time. No sign of manacles or of slaves being whipped, no sign of social classes at all.

The young girl Cassia was for some unexplained reason sent to Rome to grow up, accompanied only by a slave. No chaperone, and no reason why a young girl would be parted from her parents. She returns only to avoid the snares of an evil senator. Convenient plot device, but highly improbable.

The emperor Titus is implied to be a degenerate despot, uninterested in the cities of Italia, much less the Empire. The real Titus was a soldier, and a popular and good emperor.

Many people do not believe that historical accuracy matters in a historical film. To a degree they are right. However history should not be changed unless it fulfills a purpose in the movie. The departures from historical accuracy in this film just make it confused, illogical and a bad film.

5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Comedy rather than comic strip, 16 March 2014
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It is probably undeniable that the standard of movies has declined over recent years. Whilst technical resources have become more advanced, originality, scripts, acting, plots and characters have declined in quality. Many directors no longer seem able to properly use the technical resources and massive funding given to them.

300: Rise of an Empire is a good example of the worst type of modern film. Vast budget, over emphasis on CGI, weak script and characterisation, and bad acting. It was often hard to see what was happening in the murky darkness. Slow motion splattering of blood became tedious, as did the number of beheadings. It often looked as though the film was a cartoon, both visually and because of the "plot" and inane script.

The film is set in ancient Greece. A time and place well-known to moviegoers. Yet this Greece bears no resemblance to the historical reality. 300 is not meant to be a docudrama, certainly, but it could not be more inaccurate if it tried. It was often hard to follow what was happening, and there were many unexplained or disconnected events.

==Spoiler alert== Amongst the many anachronisms was the use of an "oil tanker" as a weapon. The "personal guard" suicide bombers swimming hundreds of yards underwater whilst carrying oil tank bombs was particularly absurd. The real Greeks fought in tight groups, wearing as much armour as they could afford. They were citizen-soldiers. These Greeks were described as farmers - though they came from a city - untrained, and fought largely without either armour or clothes. The real Sparta was known for its army. Yet this Sparta was a formidable naval power. The real battle of Thermopylae was between the Persians and a large Greek army. This one was fought by the 300 Spartans alone - Athens apparently did nothing to prevent being sacked. And two of the three main military leaders were woman, despite women having virtually no role in the real war. ====

I suggest that the people who fund these massively expensive turkeys should consider whether they really want to make travesties with their money, or whether a film with a semblance of intelligence, logic, historical reality, cohesion and a good script might be better.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Not the end of the world, 17 January 2014
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film is a satire on shallow American values and pointless "friendships". Though few reviewers seem to have noticed this - possibly because they are Americans.

Similarly the premise of a gas attack on one or more American city - an event which escapes the notice of call-centre employees overseas - is described by many reviewers and in the film description as the "end of the world". Sorry America, the end of a few American cities is not the end of the world.

The story is well paced, the developments never too obvious. There is much entertainment in watching the stupidity and pointless antics of these self-centres characters. They are blatant stereotypes, but that adds to the fun. The only galling aspect was their easy acceptance of the end.

Moloch (1999)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Remember this is fiction, 8 October 2013
4/10

This film is a work of fiction. Most of the other commentaries overlook that fact. The deluded and neurotic man portrayed in the film is a work of fiction. He bares little resemblance to the real Hitler.

Hitler is a popular target for hatchet jobs and misrepresentation. He was neither a fool nor a madman.

The supporting characters in Moloch are sycophantic. That is true enough - most powerful people - from Obama to Putin - are surrounded by sycophants.

Ironically the name suggests either a monster or a devourer of children. That description is more appropriately applied to Stalin.

This a strange movie. But it should be seen as a character study, not history.

3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Scary, but could have been better, 3 August 2013
5/10

This film is one of the scariest ghost and demon movies of the last couple of years. There are a number of genuinely frightening moments, and the film is quite original. But the whole is less than the sum of its parts.

The story is said to be based on a true event. Some people apparently believe that. But a claim that a story is based on real events is generally - as it is in this case - just part of the advertising. No one really believes that the Blair Witch Project was real, or that the Amityville Horror was anything other than fiction. But some people have ben taken in by this film.

The possession/ghosts are not clearly distinguished. Just random events. The girls are not given individual characters - except for the eldest, who shows a very 21st century cynicism and cheek. Events are not connected, and most of the frights well telegraphed in advance.

This could have been a much better film, given more professional direction, and a bit more thought.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Phil Silvers was a mistake, 28 June 2013
6/10

The Carry On films represent a particular type of English humour. They are slapstick rather than intellectual, but often show a degree of humanity and pathos lacking in American slapstick. For years it has been customary to condemn Carry On as being low-brow and low-budget. They certainly were low budget, particularly compared with their American equivalents, but they compare favourably with the American movies.

It was a mistake to introduce Phil Silvers into this film. He gives the impression over overacting, whereas the British actors are merely camp. His style of humour is crass rather than subtle. Some have said that he dominated the film. He does not. He detracts from it.

This is an enjoyable movie, though undemanding.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Intelligent horror - a lost genre, 1 June 2013
9/10

Frankenstein was a seminal movie. It was in many ways the first modern horror film. But is also marked the beginning of a decline. The subsequent Frankenstein films were poor copies. Other monster movies emphasised the horror and the deaths. The original film was a tale of a scientist dabbling in things that were forbidden. Secrets that cannot be kept secret. A monster that will inevitably destroy its creator. Along with the horror elements, there was pathos and humour. Who can forget the innocent playful interaction of the Monster with little Maria, ending with her unintended death? Frankenstein was an intelligent movie, something too rare these days. Perhaps its intelligence was because in many ways it was a British movie - with a English director and the two leading actors. Do not remake this movie, it would be a mistake. Watch the original, it cannot be improved upon.

PT 109 (1963)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Hagiography, 28 May 2013
3/10

I first saw this movie as a teenager in the 1970's. I remember it well, and I did enjoy it. As I have grown older and wiser, developed an interest in naval and political history, and served in the navy myself, I have realised the films limitations. On one level it is an exciting war adventure. But it was intended as more than that. The film was intended as a hagiography. Despite its best efforts, it is unable to elevate Kennedy above what he was - a self-centred, hedonistic, arrogant, elitist, who was sure of his own place in history. He used others to advance himself, even if that meant endangering the lives of his own crew, and claiming credit for their survival when credit lay with others.

Absolute Zero (2006) (TV)
Couldn't be worse if they tried, 24 May 2013
2/10

The advertising for this appalling movie claimed that "Millions of years ago, a thriving planet earth was engulfed by a sudden freeze so extreme that it wiped out all forms of life. Plants withered and died, dinosaurs faded into extinction, oceans froze - this was known as the Ice Age and it is on the verge of coming back." The Ice Age was not a single event, did not happen suddenly, was not the cause of the extinction of dinosaurs - and apparently ALL other life on earth - oceans did not freeze, and it was not a state of absolute zero temperatures. They couldn't have been more wrong if they had tried. Ironic that in the movie someone says that science is never wrong.

If there was to be a new ice age it would not start in Florida! Perhaps they would have been closer to the truth if they suggested that the big freeze started in the brains of Hollywood directors.


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