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andynortonuk

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56 reviews in total 
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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A Review of American Beauty (1999), 17 January 2007
10/10

As far as debuts go, they can impress cinema goers to see more from that director, such as Tarintino's Reservoir Dogs, and Orson Welles' Citizen Kane- although that one took some time thou! Now we have another one to add to our favourite directorial debut lists, as Sam Mendes directs one of the most memorable modern dramas, in an era filled with effects laden blockbuster epics.

American Beauty, for those who have yet seen this yet, is, if you boil it down to the basics, about a middle aged father going through a mid-life crisis- and what a crisis it is too, as he has fallen in love with a high school cheer leader. But haven't we all seen films involving a mid-life crisis narrative before? Yes, but not like this!

Beautiful shot scene by scene, Mendes is a director who knows how to make the most of the camera for cinematic impact; whether it comes to either directing video camera footage of a plastic bag, to that renowned dream sequence- yes, this is the one with partially naked girl on the ceiling of rose petals! Mendes also knows how to get the most of his cast, in particular Kevin Spacey in the main role- when you though he outdone himself in the Usual Suspects, then you should see him in more dramatic action in this film.

One of the things that this film does is to have an original message- and it is not something along the lines of not getting sidetracked in your marriage! The universal message of seeing "beauty" in everything around you with definitely bedazzled film goers alike- either that or they start starring with burning passion at plastic bags blowing in the wind!

Having seen all of Mendes' current outings at the silver screen, the intriguing comic book adaptation Road to Perdition and the excellent war biopic Jarhead, American Beauty will definitely be the one he will be most remember for with great reasons: Kevin Spacey's finest performance since the Usual Suspects, the picture perfect cinematography, the fascinating message of "beauty", and reinventing the mid-life crisis movie forever. Also, this film, like most classics, has memorable usage of music, and definitely one of the best, and memorable, directorial debuts in this recent chapter of movie history.

4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Martin Lawrence's Family Comedy Venture 2- A review of Big Momma's House 2, 24 February 2006
1/10

Men in Black 2...Son of a Mask... do they ring any bells? Yes, they're all sequels of hit family films, which sucked! And, guess another family film sequel that sucks... that's right; Big Momma's House 2! Who on earth thought that this was a good idea to get Martin Lawrence cross-dressing again as an elderly obese nanny to find out some information on another suspicious character? Well, some half-brain-cell executive thought it was a good idea to do that, and the results speak for it.

A lacklustre plot involving a dad of this family of stereotypical outfits in Orange County is being tracked down by the FBI for creating this virus to make military databases available to all. So, FBI agent, Malcolm Turner, gets dressed up as Big Momma once again to hunt him down, despite the fact his wife is 8 1/2 months pregnant. And before you ask, I did pay attention to this narrative to make this summary, but lost all hope of this being any good from the start of this film!

To say anything that will make it sound different from every other review is impossible, as they all come to the same conclusion that this is rubbish. The script doesn't do justice as it sounds like a run-of-a-mill family comedy Hollywood has been churning out since Home Alone, and the likes of, no surprise, Big Momma's House.

Martin Lawrence doesn't make it even worthwhile, even if you love him to bits,as he is just recycling a role he already did for its predecessor. So,nothing new to look forward on his part; shame on you!

The other cast of characters don't seem to inspire a lot of good out of this film; the all-dancing young daughter, the delusional teen daughter, and the mute "little stunt man" baby son are all characters we have seen in one form or another over the years. So, don't expect to enjoy the new cast of characters in this franchise!

Although sequels tend to be a lot weaker than its predecessor, this makes no excuse for making such a cinematic dog's ear out of this! I can honestly say that this is the worst sequel since Son of the Mask, and that is saying a lot, if you ask me! Avoiding this is not a suggestion, or an option, but an order, when it starts playing in your local cinema!

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Miyazaki Takes to the Sky: A Review of Castle in the Sky, 10 October 2005
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Hayao Miyazaki has become the toast of the animation world with his effortless successfully epics, like Princess Monoke and Spirited Away, establishing a reputation of international acclaim. But, long before he made epics with environmental messages and films with more magic than you can shake a magic wand with, he made this; Tenkû no shiro Rapyuta, better known as Castle in the Sky, which pre-dates all of his box-office grossing fantasies he has become renowned for the world over. In addition, in my humble opinion, Castle in the Sky remains his best film by far.

For those of you who have not viewed this epic yet, the storyline is a boy becomes friend with this girl, who has fallen from the sky but landed safe fully with a magic medallion she wears. They soon end up being chased by pirates and agents trying to hunt down her medallion, as this is the only artefact to a floating castle known as Laputa; you need to bear in mind that the boy always wanted to explore this legendary castle. So, with his passion in mind, the boy and girl eventually team up with the pirates, and set off to find this castle, although they have been followed by the agents to steal its treasures. I will leave the story there, but will note that the ending is climatic and exciting, as they work out who the girl really is.

With such a story that is never that straightforward at times, there is more that such a fantastic story that makes this my all-time favourite animated film. Why, you ask? For starters, there are action-packed sequences, like the chase sequence through the mines, executed with great suspense as well as being entertaining to the audience. There are also some great comic moments, such as the men showing off their muscles before they start a fight in the street. Trust me, with the character designs for these guys, and the character animation done well to exploit their expressions; it is only just the tip of the iceberg of some great comic moments present in Miyazaki's masterpiece. Also, as a member of the audience, the development of the main characters is done brilliantly, as we view a relationship between the boy and the girl throughout this film. This is something you do not see that much in animated cinema, as such schmaltz in over polished western animated films spoil this progression tragically.

So, for those who think Hayao Miyazaki is just another celebrated animation director for this current climate of animated cinema in recent years, they better think again. This is because he has been successfully establishing his trademarks, such as the focus on children and his indulgent passion for flight, brilliantly for a long time before he made his truly deserved impact on the international scene. Castle in the Sky shows Miyazaki at his best, which is a standard he has been developing ever since, entertaining and fascinating millions worldwide along the way.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Maddocks with his Jet Set: A review of Jimbo and The Jet Set, 29 August 2005
7/10

Peter Maddocks is one of those people who are often associated for his work in television animation from a particular era. So for anyone growing up with Penny Crayon, The Family Ness, and Jimbo and the Jet Set during the 1980s will understand his impact in British television animation. So, from what I have seen from Jimbo and The Jet Set, this is probably one of Maddocks' weakest series for the small screen.

With the formulaic approach to the narrative, with the exception of the origins-of-the-main-character episode, having Jimbo doing a command from the Chief only varies the storyline. From going into space, or to the jungles of Africa, the spectrum of such adventures can sometimes be tiresome, especially when watching over a dozen episodes on a DVD. The animation is common for most TV animation, focusing mainly on the lip sync of the character, while the character remains static, or does a particular action, like flying. It is unusual to note the traditional pencil animation on such aspects as the waves for the ocean, while basic cell animation is used for most of the character animation.

The vocal talents here are the main highlight of the series, with Peter Hawkins providing his trademark vocal range on numerous characters, while Susan Sheridan gets the job of doing Jimbo, and any other women characters appear occasionally throughout the series. I find this tragic, or sexist depending on your observation of the amount of female characters present, typecasting for Sheridan. But this didn't stop her from becoming renowned for such voice work in Noddy, and the Animal Shelf.

I can probably recommend this series to fans of Hawkins' and Sheridan's voice work, despite the fact that their vocal talents being used in more successful and more popular series, such as Captain Pugwash and Disney's The Black Cauldron. Kids may enjoyed the antics once in a while, but I won't be surprised if kids will be hooked with such simple story lines, with the voice acting masking such basic animation. I suppose if all things Peter Maddocks is your cup of tea, you might as well give it a shot, because I think you will find Maddocks' humour present from the comic strip presented here, but you may find it not that impressive. So for the series with Maddocks with his Jet Set, you may find it a bumpy ride with episodes becoming a tad formulaic.

2 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
The Pointless Sequel To The Mask: A Review Of Son Of The Mask, 25 July 2005
1/10

It is common, especially for Hollywood, to churn out a sequel that is not as good as its original blockbuster. Watch the very weak Men in Black 2 to understand this completely in contrast to its witty sci-fi comedy of an original. However, after viewing such a flawed fantasy, I recommend this is how low you can go to make a horrible sequel! Choppy editing. The camera work was poor! You name a flaw in film-making and realise how many you can find in this doomed project. This is a visual guide how not to make film, unless of course you are a studio executive, who couldn't care less that such a film is bad, but a money-making venture for its franchise. As you cannot tell, I think this is how such a poor sequel was introduced.

So, what did I hate about this film? Was it the fact that they tried to be more creative than its predecessor? Yes, by the bowl full! In the original they at least had someone who gave an "animated performance" to the main character, who pulls all sorts of codes and convention from the world of Hollywood animation. I am talking of no one but some Canadian comedian known as Jim Carrey, in a role I thought was suitable for his brand of goofy talents. However, viewing the Son of the Mask, they fail to impress me with such antics that I could not stand any more, and cringed for every time such an antic was performed.

Was another reason the fact got anything to do with the plot of a struggling animator wanting his idea to become a show? Through that perspective, I guess not. But this sub-plot failed to make such a focus on the narrative of this film, instead they went to re-invent the antics that made The Mask entertaining, that I couldn't even care less about this animation-orientated sub-plot. Also, the fact is the film focuses on Poki trying to get that Mask back to his father was the main narrative. In fact, because of that narrative, the filmmakers, who I do not want to hear about unless they make something really worth watching, the excuse to proceed such badly-timed antics.

While on the subject of the main narrative, I will have a moan about costumes; that god's outfit looked so cheap and nasty that I think an amateur drama society could make a better job than that piece of ghastly clothing.

Also, while we are on the subject of the god, I found some dialogue either poorly written or badly acted. It was hard to tell. So I will blame both such a script that relied on the clichés of a family film to make the film have some continuity. Although from viewing this, I wished the writers had writer's block and go on to write something else. I will also put blame on some of the actors and actresses. Actually, I won't blame them; performing such rubbish deserves recognition, which will unfortunately be a Razzie Award. Well, the actor that played the god was terrible and so unknowingly, that I wish someone with much better acting training had the role. But I hope Brian Blessed will have turned down that role at such a sight of a poor project.

There you go. I have survived watching such rubbish, and hopefully go on and have a better life, and hopefully forgetting that such a flawed film even existed. But they do say, with bad films, that it is so bad it's good. That will never apply to this pointless sequel to The Mask.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A Film That Was More Of A Battlefield When Making It, 16 June 2005
1/10

Never, in the history of motion pictures, have I seen a film that is as bad as it is slated, until now. This piece of cinematic tripe is one of the worst films I have ever seen with my own two eyes, and the fact that is only at number 44 in The Internet Movie Database's 100 worst films list makes me wonder what on earth the other top 43 films are like.

I have no sympathy for anyone making, or related to anyone involved, in this battlefield of a project. First of all, the script is a right and honourable flawed, with some of the most irritating insults I have ever hear, and one of the most annoying and poor insult in the history of cinema on a repeatable basis. I was fed up by the number of times I heard "rat brain" from Travolta's screen-hogging character, that I lost faith in listening to another line of dialogue ever again in this film with tolerance.

And you thought slating the script was going to be my main argument for this appalling film. Well, you will be wrong. That is only the tip of the iceberg of such rubbish! The imagery made things so bland and flat, that if failed to make me understand what is going on throughout the whole film, which is has not been helped in the least by some of the most shoddy slow-motion effects I have ever seen, especially when it comes to seeing those long-hair humans getting hunted down by an alien is extremely dull. Even a fly landing on the TV screen would have been more entertaining to watch then that sequence, and, while I am still slating it, for the rest of the bland sci-fi action.

The effects don't do justice either, as I have seen more better effects in films made 40-50 years ago then watching the attempt of some poor blue-screen work making some scenes in it almost unbelievable. Moreover, if anyone finds this effects believable should seek therapy immediately for the sake of humankind! Well, that's it! I am even fed up of writing a review of this film, so I want to conclude as quickly this film grabbed my attention, which was not that long! This film is an insult to sci-fi film-making, I will never trust John Travolta as a respectable actor after a performance so poor as that, and I advise anyone that really wants to watch it, to view something else, with effects that are more effective (The Day the Earth Stood Still, anyone?), a film with better imagery (like 2001:A Space Odyssey), or has a script with sharper dialogue (may I suggest Aliens for this one, for its much better insults to the aliens.) And, have I mentioned that it is definitely the worst film I have ever seen? I have? Good. I shall leave you to watch this film at your own risk.

1 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
I didn't find it as impressive as people say it was., 13 November 2004
5/10

I didn't find it as impressive as people say it was . I found the dialogue predictable and corny (it sounded like the sort of stuff you would hear on Saturday morning cartoons to make it funny or more corny, not the sort of stuff sci-fi animated films are supposed .)

Also, some of the voices provided were either good for the mise-en-scene (Orson Welles as Unicron was certainly recognisable and enjoyable in the sheer boredom of the 2-dimensional characters), or utterly cringe-worthy (Eric Idle as Wreck-Gar must have been a complete embarrassment for Idle, for me, a Monty Python fan, to hear his voice used so inappropriately in an animated film like that!)

On a positive note ,which I found very hard to note while watching this, was the soundtrack, which was an unusual mix of hair metal, and non hair metal music ("Weird Al" Yankovic's Dare To Be Stupid was unusually used, making a particularly uninspiring a little bit more tolerable to watch).

As neither a fan of the popular animated series, nor the popular toys for that matter, I could not find anything that interesting, or say anything interesting for that matter, of this uninspiring film to get to grips with. In other words, it is nothing but a pointless animated series spin-off, which belongs to the league of other embarrassing outings for an animated series to the silver screen, such as The Flintstones.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
So Graham Norton made for Comedy Central, for Americans, 14 September 2004

There is nothing new to the latest series from this popular camp chat show host. Same old jokes involving, same old shenanigans involving with the public, and the same old websites that are true but disturbing. In addition, of course, the same old phone call to some weirdo. Blatantly, this is the same format as So Graham Norton, where Norton would ask the audience about a certain sexual innuendo at the beginning of the show. Only, for this series, Comedy Central makes it for the American audience. So they have American guests, an American audience, shenanigans involving in the US suburbs, more phone calls to American weirdoes, and jokes about US current affairs. Nothing, from this US offering, is inspiring for a British fan of the UK series. Somebody, who has watched the series that made him so popular and award winning, like me. However, it is still as funny and rude, so I cannot complain about that.

4 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
One of those shows that amuses me, but forget very easily, 14 September 2004

I am either watching this for the following reasons: 1.I am watching BBC3, in particular their Comedy Tuesday schedules, which contains comedy programmes like this, Swiss Toni, The Graham Norton Effect, and Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps. 2. I am doing something else. I do not watch programmes like this that I have never heard of. However, if I do watch something that I have not heard off, it is probably I cannot change the channel as I am usually doing something else. 3. I want to watch The Graham Norton Effect, which is after this show on the BBC3 Comedy Tuesday's schedule.

As long as that explains how I have to watch this somewhat amusing show, I might as well comment on it.

I found it amusing in content, but not funny. The fact that in one episode featuring a "Sex-a-holics Anonymous" meeting, which had amusing dialogue but not many laughs will explain why I don't find it that funny. In addition, it is not memorable enough for me to remember what is actually happening throughout the series.

However, as long as it remains amusing at times with its comical dialogue, I will have the following options open when it is on TV. 1.Watch the show. 2.Do something else. 3. Wait until the Graham Norton Effect is on TV.

This show amuses me, but forgets it very easily. This is Because of the lack of memorable throughout the series. .

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Dark and thought provoking, with a puzzling ending (contains spoilers), 20 March 2004
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I absolutely loved this film for several reasons. First of all, the complex narrative, that develops throughout the film through different perspectives of different characters, which includes several replicants and the blade runner, wonderfully portrayed by Harrison Ford, himself. This, in my opinion, achieves a multi-layered and never biased account of what is going throughout this film as the blade runner attempts to track down these replicants. Secondly, whenever a specific sequence is made, such as Deckard's chase for the club performer or that replicant destroying its father, it is wonderfully structured as a sequence by establishing a master shot for that particular sequence by cutting in and out of the action to its master shot. Examples of this fine method of film-making is encountered with the owl being a sort of master shot when that replicant is destroying its "father", and the blade runner on that train and the dancer on those stairs on that chase sequence. Thirdly, one of things that are not completely conventional of a sci-fi film is that it ends in an unusual, where Rick Deckard and Rachael are going down the elevator together. This brings out one question that has not really been answered throughout this film. Was Rachael a replicant? And if the answer was no, how come she somewhat failed that test, where they answer questions to a replicant suspect? But I am glad that this film ended this way, maybe because Ridley Scott, the director behind this cinematic masterpiece, wanted to leave that question unanswered and leave that to the audience imaginations making this film somewhat thought- provoking for the audience to conclude to their assumptions. But I will not as I might not be watching or analysing the film this way to answer this question, but, at the moment, I guess she is not. But, then again, if I ever watch this sci-fi treat again, I may come to a different conclusion. Another thing that made me marvel this film was that ending sequence, where that replicant is hunting down Deckard in J.F. Sebastian's house. That whole pin in the replicant's hand really brought a disturbing exhibition of how the replicants cannot feel death, while this one wanted the ability to die. Then Deckard gets chased out of the house and on top of the roof of that building. He tries to jump over to other sides but instead is now grasping onto that girder. That low-angle shot, where Deckard is holding onto that girder over of busy city life of this futuristic cityscape, looks well composed and a very memorable shot from that whole film. This indeed does sums up the blade runner's struggle to hunt down replicants perfectly. Overall, this is a dark and thought provoking science fiction masterpiece, with a puzzling ending that should baffles audiences for generations of science fiction film fans to come.


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