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20 reviews in total 
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"The Fall" (2013/I)
Why Don't You Save Me?, 30 December 2014

'The Fall' is dark, gritty and gruesome look human nature. Many of the other reviews have focused on the 'sexuality, disturbing violence, blah, blah, blah' but the real focus should be on the masterful way the show is crafted to explore the fragile, damage and often unrelenting evil that exist in everyone- though in varying forms. I am sure if you have not watched the show, you are thinking 'what the hell does that mean' and those who have watched are like 'this chick is crazy' but allow me to attempt to explain.

Gibson (Anderson) has the coldness and hardness of the woman she is meant to be, the acting is well and not something that needs an explanation. Her character is meant to be some sort of moral compass for the show, to expose, hunt, chase and capture the man responsible for the brutal deaths of women in Belfast. However, I find that she is not some beautiful woman in her mid-life that contains a moral compass- on the contraire; we learn that she is s narcissist, devious and arrogant woman. She has sex under her own terms, with who she wants, regardless of their marital status, keeps incompetence around her so she can manipulate, whether women or men, them when she needs to and secrets that wake her in the night. There is a name for people who act like this…and while we are meant to root for her to catch her killer, I was left with, she is obsessive, manipulative, and cunning. Perhaps to catch a killer is that to know your enemy you are best to be just like them.

Which leads me to Spector (Dornan) and he is so creepy, the indifference of his idealist life (the wife, the kids, the home the steady job) is something that eats at him every day and it is evident in the way he lives in the dark, when he is alone. His character is complex, there is no obvious 'oh, you are a crazy murderer'. The audience, I believe, is meant to see him as a man who appears to have what everyone wants, yet finds that having everything is suffocating. I get that others will see him as some ruthless killer who deserves no sympathy, but they are missing the point. There is a reason for all actions and we are meant to find the why? And Dornan does an excellent job of showing brokenness, animosity, hatred, and even moments of compassion (but not where one would expect). There are no clear excuses for him, I mean he kills women for no point (so it seems) simply because he has lost control of his own life and craves it somewhere. His outlet is the hunt, the capture, the ability to suffocate someone else.

Past the violence and death emerges the fact that there is little difference between him and Gibson (Anderson) except her way of obsession is legal (and we have yet to see her physically take a life, but she does damage nonetheless).

The subplots are what slow the show down. I really do not care about the rich-coke-man-boy and his daddy issues, nor the life of dirty cops. If Series Two can tie all these together, that would be helpful and surprising.

Overall, this is a great export from across the pond and if you can get past the imagery of death and violence you are in for a deep investigation into evil, whether accidental or deliberate.

Shame (2011)
0 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Addiction in Secret, 4 August 2012

If ever there was a missed opportunity for greatness, it is this film. Addiction is covered in so many different ways in so many different films that I have seen, but I cannot remember ever seeing a film about sex addiction, which is so crippling.

The film begins with an expedition into the drab, white wall, plain furniture, corporate world of Brandon, played by the talented Fassbender. (Side note- Fassbender should have received an Oscar nod, he is the destructive heart and soul of this film and performs so well, he is simply amazing). Brandon appears to be a man that has it all, sex, money, work and a few buddies that he goes out with. Of course what makes 'Shame' such an interesting film is that McQueen does not want the audience to feel sympathy for Brandon, but feel nothing. The entire point of the film happens behind close doors, this is where the shame lies. Brandon appears completely control of everything around him, but it is in the dark corners, crummy bars and swanky hotels that that we find Brandon always drawn too because for some reason (a reason that is never fully explained only hinted at and therefore very frustrating for the audience) Brandon cannot make a human connection to save his life.

The level of depravity showcased in this film is expected for someone who has an addiction to sex. I found that those scenes fully represented the need for sex just as other films represent the need for alcohol or drugs. Sex is nothing to Brandon, it is showcased as something he does and checks off his list. The interaction between his sister, Sissy, played with passion by Mulligan, is perhaps the sickest element of the film. Again, their lives growing up and what happened to them somehow fits into the film but never materializes which would have elevated the film to a different level. It is very difficult to feel empathy for someone's malfunction if you do not know the foundation. But, then again I think that was the point of the film- that sometimes there is no clear cut answer as to why people are the way they are, sometimes there is no excuse to hind behind.

This film is not for everyone. I would not recommend it either because it is difficult to watch and even harder to get out of your head after-wards and quite depressing. Brandon is that emotionless, bottomless pit of darkness that only experiences slivers of light. The ending posses the ultimate question : when does what we do in secret destroy us?

Funny- to the point of Tears, 5 July 2012

I waited for 21 Jump Street to come to the local video stop and after watching it, I will not do that with the sequel that is coming.

This was the first film that I have seen Channing Tatum in and he was great. I am not a fan of his looks (I know, I know) but what impressed me is that for a so call 'pretty boy' he made the film. Tatum has the look of a rookie policeman and definitely the look of the jock in high-school so the casting was spot on. I did not expect his acting ability with his funny one lines, startled facial expressions and mingling with the computer nerds- he clearly is out of place in those scenes, but he makes it work somehow. Bravo Mr. Tatum.

Jonah Hill I like- to a point. I enjoyed him in 'Moneyball' and thought he was a likable slacker in 'Superbad' however, in '21' his performance seems almost forced? I think, and it pains me to say this, that Tatum out smarted him and out shined him. Hill walks the line between wanting to be the cool kid for once and being the nerd, which is one of the plot points to the movie. Hill did not fall flat at all, he just was not his usual hilarious self that I have seen in other films and I think it was a missed opportunity for him to a certain extent. The relationship between Hill and Tatum is excellent and somehow Tatum is the one that pulls the weight.

The minor characters I enjoyed, especially that of cutie Dave Franco. I did not go in to this movie knowing all the supporting characters, but I really like his performance, the prom scene is particular great. Franco is not just a pretty face, must run in the family. Ice Cube was hilarious as the captain and the few scenes that Ellie Kemper was in were great.

The only problem that I thought slowed down the entire movie was the last scene in which the cameos occurred. I know that a lot of people were excited to learn of the famous cast of '21' appearing in the new film, but I thought it was not needed and only put in there for those of the older generation. I am not in this school- '21' was not on the air when I was growing up so I thought it was really weird that these few cameos were necessary.

There is a lot of swearing, reference to drugs and alcohol and a few quick scenes of sexual situations and one ridiculous sexual scene that was added for shock I guess. This is a film for the older young adults.

Great cast, great music, great concept of moving on and letting go of life in high school.

3 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
A Delightful Web, 4 July 2012

I was slightly hesitant to watch the Amazing Spiderman, having grown up with the idea that Tobey Maguire was the boy wonder. I was happily surprised, however, that I spent the money and time with a Spiderman for a new generation. Some argue that not enough time has passed between the Amazing Spiderman and Spiderman 3 (which I thought was awful), but I beg to differ. At the rate at which information travels, how social networking shapes the daily lives of all around the world, and when CGI changes the way we watch film, a Spiderman for 2012 is a welcomed addition to Marvel.

While the story is similar to that of Spiderman 1- the story is based upon the comic book tale of Peter Parker for crying out-loud and so will be the same- I found that what made the Amazing Spiderman amazing was the fresh, tender face of Andrew Garfield. It may seem strange to think of Spiderman as tender, but above anything else this movie offers- action, love, revenge, responsibility- it offers a reality check for all those out there who think that being a superhuman offers the best of both worlds. Garfield makes Spiderman more than a mask, more than a super-human who fights for what is right. Garfield as Spiderman struggles to find his way and demonstrates that it is not always easy to find the right path and stay on it. Life, ultimately will get in the way of whatever and whoever you decide to be and how the Amazing Spiderman deals with living a life of secrets and power, is what makes this film soar.

There are a few cheese-filled scenes that slowed the film down, but overall they did not alter the theme of the movie. Emma Stone was brilliant, as always and casting her alongside Garfield was simply one of the best matches I have seen in a long time. Rhys Ifans was a likable villain, which is something that must happen in superhero films these days. No longer is being bad 'just because' a characterization, the villain (whether Voldemort or even the Joker from the Dark Knight) has to have justification for being evil because just as being good is defined by choices, so is being bad.

Ifans seeks to be change who he is and uses science as the way to reach his goal. His experiment backfires and he is left changed in more ways than one and the last half of the film focuses on the results of mixing unknown science with human desire.

Throughout the Amazing Spiderman is this idea that wanting something and changing who you are do not always yield greatness. Peter Paker struggles with his new identity and powers, just as Dr.Curt Conners must accept his fate. The interaction between the two characters is, in the beginning genuine and so it makes the fallout from their alter-egos all the more interesting. The struggle of whether or not being different is a blessing or a curse is flushed out, as well as the loneliness that often follows the cost of greatness.

The CGI and music are acceptable, a misplaced Coldplay song through me off a little, but I like any movie that plays the Shins. The action scenes with the instrumentals was lacking, loud piano cords do not a scene suspenseful.

If the future of superhero films is telling the tale of why superheros are not so different from the rest of us, the future of superheros is bright indeed.

3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Good Expectations., 4 May 2012

While I have read 'Great Expectations' probably about three times in my life and am blown away every single time I do- I find that I have yet to find a film that captures the importance and reverence that the book generates. I understand that film is not suppose to replace the book- but interpret for the screen, it becomes troublesome when certain aspects are not done properly and therefor the story suffers- this occurs in books, just as is does in film. The BBC adaptation is not a disappointment, necessarily, but it lacks in certain areas that cannot be over looked.

I start with what was good- First, the scenery and cinematography was spot on, from the home of childhood Pip, to the streets of London, it was close to what I experience when I read the book. Miss Havisham's home was perfect. It was a ghost of a home, just as she represents a ghost of a woman. There was just enough creepiness and sorrow with a dash of destruction. It may seem silly, but the scene- is almost a character in film- there is a deep impact or lack that can come from how something is represented visually.

Everything from Pip's transformation from blacksmith to gentlemen was well done. Douglas Booth's (Pip) physical appearance did not change, but using clothes, there is a reality to his progression that is necessary to the story and was handled well. I am constantly blown away with regard to BBC Masterpiece Theaters ability to take me to a different place and time so masterfully and 'Expectation' was no different.

Second, Jillian Andreson's Miss Havisham was great. I thought she captured how love is a true destroyer well. When she was in any scene she was the center- she hold the audience with her use of voice and appearance. It was amazing. Shaun Dooley was also very good as Pip's uncle and teacher, Joe Gargery. I thought that he played the 'father figure' well and when he confronted Pip about his behavior and new life-he demanded attention to not only Pip's choices, but as the book captures so well, the deeper themes of social class struggles, family versus money and honesty all took center stage. His performance was a joy to watch. The minor characters, such as Able Magwitch (Ray Winstone), Herbert Pocket (Harry Lloyd) and Jaggers (David Suchet) were also very good and fit nicely into their individual roles.

The bad was really not all that bad for all intensive purposes, but I felt that a few things just brought down the film adaption.

Pip. Oh, Pip. Played by Douglas Booth, who is perfectly wonderful to look at was flat. I never felt the passion that he carried for Estella, which is suppose to be the center of the tale. At its foundation 'Expectations' is a story about love and desire, and I do not think that it was captured here. Since it was clear early on in this adaptation that Estella and Pip encompassed the main theme, it was on the shoulders of Booth to carry the film and he struggled. Perhaps he was too young of a choice to play Pip, while he is close to the actual age of Pip in the book, but he seemed to struggle with how to emphasize his desire, his call for greatness. Booth's performance was not terrible, but it was not great and that was what it needed to be.

The same problem occurred with the female lead, Vanassa Kirby, who played Estella. I understand that she is mean to be a destroyer of men, but she came off as if she was a robot. Seriously, there was nothing to her and that is NOT how she is suppose to be. Ugh, I just do not even want to think about it.

Overall, this adaption was not bad, but it failed where it mattered and left me skeptical of how many more Dicken's classics will be interpreted. Keep the cinematography guys, the music, the costume, the adult actors- but find young actor who can act- not just look the part, but be the beloved character.

In Time (2011)
Somewhere a Clock is Ticking, 20 March 2012

The thought behind 'In Time' made me want to see this movie. I usually do not find action movies worth my time (hahaha) but I found that living in a world that values time as currency was interesting enough for me to pick it up.

This is the first movie that I have seen with Justin Timberlake and while he was likable as Will Salas, there was no real hook- he looked good in his tux, played the rags to riches man well and the romantic, but it came across as generic or robotic. Maybe there is room to grow here but it seemed that as the main character he failed to pull me in to his world, yes he displayed some emotion and that was what saved him in the end. He appeared tough when he needed to be, sweet and angry, sad even but all the while I was thinking, Will could have been so much more.

I am not a fan of Amanda Seyfried and here she was a spoiled little annoying rich girl. One thing that really drove me crazy was something that she probably had no direct control over and that was her make-up and hair, not to mention the dresses and heals. I am sorry but do not expect me to believe that she (or anyone) for that matter can run over roofs, down dark alleys, up fire escapes in four inch heals and be okay. I mean I know this is a fantasy film, but that was just pushing it. The story between Seyfried, who plays Sylvia Weis, and Timberlake is so predictable it was ridiculous. Make an assumption in your head about what happens between the poor cute boy and the rich hot girl and there you go.

It was the performances of the minor characters that held it together, though for the life of me I cannot believe that Cillian Murohy agreed to some of the dialog that came out of his mouth. I like him as villain and he did well, but it not the best performance I have seen from him.

I do not really know much about Matt Bommer, but I really liked his character and the role that he played in the film and he was easy on the eyes thats for sure.

Alex Pettyfer was a confusing addition but once I started looking at him like a slum lord, his character made sense.

The action was well placed throughout the film and was not over done. I found the romance element annoying and on a side note it was frustrating how every romantic scene was preceded by music- a couple times I thought I was watching a bad Lifetime movie or something.

The film no doubt is a message about the 'half and half not' of the universe. Time is the currency and so the more one has the more powerful and longer one lives. There is a feeling that people beg, barrow and steal time in order to live forever and that is the driving force behind the mission that Will takes upon his shoulders. Its a metaphor for out current situation and the financial crisis that his happening across the globe, but I did not feel as though I was being preached too, which is rare. There was one speech that I rolled my eyes at, but I get what the writer was getting at, it was not necessary, but then again I do not think the target audience were adult, college graduates. I knew what they were selling before the movie was half way over, I did not need the rhetoric, but I did expect it.

Overall it was a descent film. The music and the make-up department was a bit over the top- do not even get me started on the makeup of Vincent Kartheiser (who played Seyfried's father). The premise was excellent, the actors mediocre and the production over the top. 'In Time' also laid the foundation for a sequel, which I may check out it I have the time.

Anonymous (2011/I)
7 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Just. No., 24 February 2012

I enjoy films that are based upon a new idea. I thought that with Anonymous that was what I would be watching- Shakespeare a fraud- highly doubtful, but I thought it would be interesting to watch how Hollywood would interpret a historians account of why Shakespeare was not who he said he was. The film Anonymous attempts to be seductive, sexy, witty and adventurous- all of the attributes of any of Shakespeare's work, but it instead some across as troublesome, clique and annoying.

Rhys Ifans I have been a fan of for some time, but here is his role of Earl of Oxford he is almost unrecognizable as an aging man who believes the world can change by force of words as opposed to force of sword. Noble are his thoughts, but his actions through the film- flashbacks to his romances with the ladies, the violence done by his own hands as well as a marriage that was paved with selfish intentions- all beg to differ. The Earl of Oxford pretends his whole life and comes up with these brilliant stories about life, love and death and the audience is expected to accept that this wimp of an Earl is the brains behind the words that have shaped the English language and is the goal of any writer to strive for the grandness that is Shakespeare. No way- Ifans does not pull it off. Throughout the movie there is no remorse for his ill-fated life and the shocking secret! that is reveled towards the end of the film takes it over the top awful. Serously?!?!?

While I understand the talent of Vanessa Redgrave, it is wasted here in this mediocre film. Rafe Spall as the real William Shakespeare should not have been allowed to play such a pompous, womanizing, idiot. Throughout the film the use of William Shakespeare is slung with amazement and wonder- but Spall plays an actor who is needed in name only, but even so, the character of Shakespeare was one that truly put the nail in the coffin of awfulness that this film does to the real William Shakespeare.

There are some positives about this film and that is why I gave it 3 stars instead of 1. The way that England is portrayed- everything from the taverns, the scenery, the Globe, is excellent. The costume and the music elevates the film, but cannot save it. The history- that of Queen Elizabeth is just wrong. If Shakespeare's memory and life was dragged through the mud, than Queen Elizabeth was pulled along with him.

If one is truly interested in watching a film about the life of Shakespeare that are so many others the surpass this film. Shakespeare in Love- for all its wrongness, is leaps and bounds better than this Anonymous.

Or just do yourself a favor and pick up a Shakespeare play or sonnet- that would be time well spent.

0 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Loyality & Guns, 14 September 2011

Loyalty and friendship within the law breaking club of SAMCRO and the Sons of Anarchy is done so well, that you forget that these guys are bad, like really bad. Between killing, stealing and dealing there is this lovable part of each of the main characters that makes you look at what it means to be placed in a situation that makes it almost impossible to change the course of your life.

Sons focuses on Jax, played by Brit Charlie Hunnamm, and his inherited VP station within the SAMCRO. Jax, from the beginning struggles with the ideas of SAMCRO and those he has subsequently grown up with after the death of his father when he was young. His mother, played by the amazing Katey Sagal puts new meaning into the words 'Proud Mama'. If anything Gemma (Sagal) is two parts crazy bitch and one part mama. I love her in this role because she is so tough and has to be because she is surrounded by ruthless men who wish to bring her family down. Gemma is now married the Clay Marrow (Ron Perlman), leader of the Sons and they play well together and in the tender moments of husband and wife, there is a real sense that they too struggle with the life choices that they have made and they question how to continue this game of death and dealing. Such as Clay says- 'no health care, no savings' Clay is aging fast and with age comes the realization that perhaps the road he has traveled has in fact taken him the wrong direction.

The show, which just began its 4th season is packed with action, love, lust, guns and drugs- all the things that makes a great show. As the audience, the strong lead characters pull you in and make you understand that not all things in life are black and white- that sometimes loyalty and family forces you to do things that you would not normally do. The outcomes of those difficult choices do not just alter the lives of those involved, but even those who you do not know.

There is a lot of sex, violence and language in this show that adds to the destructive patterns that the characters continually fall into.

Either way though, I root for the boys of SAMCRO- because that is what loyalty is about and after three masterful season they have earned it.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Boys Will Be Boys, 7 June 2011

I am a huge fan of the brains of Merchant/Grevais and so that is why I ordered this little Indy-gem from Netflix a few weeks ago and I was delighted. I did not really know what to expect from this film, but I found my self laughing a lot and it turned a rainy Satarday night indoors into a fun time.

The story is set around three young lads growing up in the swinging 1970s in England. But, this is not the England that is often portrayed as roaring and influential as one who think, it the 1970's rural town that has one night club, few pubs, and the quintessential factory that ALL young lads usually end up in their whole life.

Bruce (played by a amazing Tom Hughes) is without a doubt the soul of this story. He is tough, sexy and a wild boy from start to finish who learns, perhaps the most valuable lesson in life- that sometimes youth does not bring all the answers. His two buddies, Snork (nickname that is instantly referenced too and equally awesome) and Freddie. If Bruce is the soul of the film, then Freddie is the heart and Snork is the constant. Freddie, dreams of being better then his father and ending up in a factory job his whole life- this is the plot throughout the film, but it is almost the back story- the catalyst for all the other minor stories. Freddie, played by Christian Cook reminds me of the Indy-version of Robert Pattinson, with boyish looks, charm and heart that really makes you root for him. I instantly liked him, but for me the best performance is Hughes and I am looking forward to his roles in the future.

The minor characters in the film are also authentic and lovely. Ralph Finnes as the go-to-rich business man plays the ass without over doing it. I love him in everything he does and he was just perfect for this film. Emily Watson, as his wife plays such a role that is heart-breaking and he does it with pose and grace that- just wow. Ricky Gervais, as Freddie's father, is also perfect. He has a conversation with his mother-in-law who lives with him and his wife, that I swear I had to grab some tissues to wipe the happy tears from my eyes and then re-watch it again. Felicity Jones is sweet as the young girl with a world full of dreams that stands as the love interest for Freddie. She was likable and over all a breath of fresh air in the film.

Cemetery Junction wraps the dreams, naivety, loss, gain, love, hate that comes with being young. The music is excellent and the clothes just add to the flavor of the film. It is as if, I was along for the ride with these boys and it was enjoyable.

An amazing heart-filled film, laughable moments that will not soon be forgotten, and time well spent in Cemetery Junction.

"Extras" (2005)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
You having a Laugh?, 30 March 2011

'Extras' is an amazing stand out comedy from the the genius brain of Gervais and Merchant. 'Extras' focuses on the life of a movie extra and his best mate, Maggie who constantly have interactions with famous people. The cameos of the series are extremely funny, especially that of Daniel Radcliffe, David Bowie and Robert DeNiro. I enjoyed this show, I bought it online, the best way to watch them over and over (which I do and you will). The story lines are fresh and there is never a moment when I was wishing that it would end already.

The brilliance behind this show is the writing. The fact that the writers have dealt with the industry that they are making fun of makes the scenes sweeter. The Kate Winslet, which is one of the first episodes, is so spot on that I could not believe that anyone ever thought that ending this show was a good idea. The jokes that even the start (cameos) deliver makes me believe that Gervais and Merchant can get an way with anything.

The unique thing that makes Gervais and Merchant so popular is that they see the funny things in life and make them even more disastrous. I love how they can point out the insanity of the movie industry, while making a point to remind the viewer, that it is because of the public movie stars behave the way they do and get away with it. The transformation from movie extra to big star to fallen star is one that is the main storyline, but I laughed the whole way through...either I missed the point of the series, or I fully get it.

If you want to laugh-

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