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Royalcourtier

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39 reviews in total 
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11 out of 25 people found the following review useful:
Even worse than expected, 4 April 2016
3/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is even worse than I feared it would be. A very simple plot: An American single-handedly defeats literally an entire army. The enemy are two-dimensional assorted villains and Muslims (apparently the same). The supporting characters even more stereotypical and cardboard cutout than usual for Hollywood these days.

Amongst the many problems are the CGI. Probably the worst special effects that I have seen in years.

The plot makes no sense. All British policemen are apparently enemy agents - or whether they are or are not they are all shot down indiscriminately by the American.

An obscure MI6 agent happens to be well known to the head of London police, who is himself inexplicably junior, black and singularly inactive and useless. There is no explanation as to why Mi6 has a safe house in London, or is interested in domestic matters. Obviously the writers don't know the difference between Mi5 and Mi6.

The SAS manages to deploy, on foot, only a section led by a rather plebeian lieutenant, and their only role is to be shot while providing covering fire for the American. The rest of the Army and police are absent (apart from the dozens shot dead by the said American).

There is no logic to a lot of what happens, and whilst perversely fun at times, this is a stupid and illogical movie.

Many have said it is racist. I don't think that general hostility to Muslim terrorists is racism. But the way the British police and army are portrayed, and the underlying message that one American is superior to anything the UK has, is arrogant and offensive.

American war crimes are shown as good. An entire wedding party are murdered, and the Americans express outrage that the families of the victims want revenge. Idiotic - however this is realistic, as it is just like actual American policy, and the reason why the USA will lose the so-called war on terror.

"Fallout" (1995)
Misleading, 3 February 2016
3/10

The summary is entirely wrong. The Labour Party was not elected in 1984 on an anti-nuclear policy. The Lange government banned American ship visits, and later introduced legislation to ban nuclear weapons, virtually by accident. Lange had miscalculated American policy and politicians, and found himself in a corner he could not get out of. As with any blustering left wing populist leader, he then resorted to petty nationalism and anti-Americanism.

Supporters of the anti-nuclear policy still like to refer to "our" anti-nuclear stand. The policy was neither popular nor was it a stand by the people. It was a mistake. Opinion polls at the time showed a majority supported ANZUS and opposed the ship ban.

10 out of 23 people found the following review useful:
Effective retelling, 5 October 2014
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Normally vampire films portray the vampire as either a monstrous villain (usually) or as a (relatively) innocent character (rarely). This film gives a more nuanced interpretation, which was quite effective. In order to protect his family and kingdom (actually principality), Vlad is prepared to run almost any risk. One which ultimately ends badly for him.

There were a few bizarre errors of plot - for instance why would the Sultan send 100,000 men after a handful of stragglers in the mountains of a remote part of the empire. And how could they get there in only one or two days? Did the Porte have teleporters? And how was an apparently impregnable monastery entered so easily.

The Sultan's army had only a minor role. They were just there to be killed with convincing completeness.

When Vlad and his people were lamenting the invasion of the Turk, and Vlad was willing to try anything to defeat them, I could not help thinking of Washington. Just like Vlad, the Pentagon is willing to make a pack with the Devil to defeat the Taliban/ISIS/Al Qaeda/Turk. A very contemporary film, in some ways.

Well acted, as befits a British-made film.

All in all, a good film, but one not without its flaws.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Not as bad as often made out, 19 September 2014
6/10

This film is no masterpiece. But it is nowhere near as bad as often made out, perhaps by those who have never seen it.

The use of stock footage, and some cheap special effects, is not unusual for films of this vintage. For a low budget film, it actually made good use of the available resources.

I suspect most of the criticism is not based on the film itself, but its supposed political failings. However the politics of a film are not a reason to pan it. We recognise the Battleship Potemkin as a great film, despite it being communist propaganda. The same applies to Triumph of the Will as Nazi propaganda. Less successful but no less political films, such as Schindler's List, are rated on their merits, irrespective of their message.

Invasion U.S.A. adopts a narrative that is close to documentary. It does not include irrelevant romantic distractions, or complex sub-plots. It is rather more of a war film than an anti-communist work.

The enemy is not clearly identified. They look and sound rather more like Nazis than Reds. The identity of the enemy is not as important as the message that America needs to be ready to defend itself. I would have thought that the message that a country needs to be vigilant is as correct now as in 1952.

The course of the invasion, and its successful outcome, were refreshing after watching too many gung ho American films where the US heroes always prevail. This film shows the reality that the USA could have been invaded by the Soviet Union in 1952 - if they had been, the Soviets would almost certainly have won the war. Russia had a narrow window of opportunity, before the USA developed too many thermonuclear weapons, and invasion would be too costly. There were Soviet invasion plans prepared.

I wonder when we will see an American film about a successful Taliban or ISIS attack on the USA, with the message that the USA needs to be prepared.

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)
10 out of 13 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.

6 out of 13 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 3 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)
2 out of 5 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.


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