Reviews

35 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
Bates Motel (2013–2017)
6/10
Flawed but engaging
6 January 2018
I was worried it would be a bad prequel to a brilliant classic. Many have said it's a wrong angle they took. I don't agree, it's what it is and that's ok with me. I find the storyline a bit strange simply because it seems to just wander endlessly.

I do not like "mother", had I been Norman, I'd have killed her off in the first season. I also don't like the character Norman, the only positive is he looks remarkably like the Norman Bates in the classic original Psycho.

After a while, it just turned into another t.v. soap opera. There are, for me, some outstanding characters, Dylan and the Sheriff in particular are both wonderful. Emma is outstanding, as well, but the breathing apparatus is just annoying (yeah, it might have seemed like a good idea at story board time ...).

Look - there is far worse on the tube, it's not all that bad, just over winded.
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2/10
Carol Ay-un, Carol Ay-un … FFS
15 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Successful films RARELY turn into successful series. Even Alien, which is brilliant, only had two of the four worth watching (Alien and Aliens).

The 'Poltergeist' trilogy really takes the prize for truly awful becoming truly-truly awful and insanely stupid. I can only hope nothing stays with me from THIS abysmal chapter in the series. Not to speak ill of the dead, but Heather O'Rourke truly showed her (lack of) acting here. Granted, this is the first time in the series she's been expected to really perform (beyond 'They're here' and 'They're back'...oh, and a LOT of shrieking), and she was only 12 at the time, but who would build their movie around a performance that would embarrass a drag queen?

And that awful, hideous Zelda Rubenstein: 4'3 of bad voice, lard and acting. She really should have stuck with her career as a lab assistant. She might've actually made a difference to the world.

Now I know special effects have come a long way since this shocker. But seriously, it all looked like goopey snot. The costumes, well, no complaints as they were part of that awful era of large, hoop earrings, gaudy coloured vests and BIG hair.
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The Tudors (2007–2010)
4/10
Historical nonsense
30 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
OK, so I'm not going to put up a synopsis as I don't see the point, plenty of others have. I have MAJOR issues with some aspects of this production.

1) Music 1.1 the title music with modern drum kit, why? 1.2 the violin used is wrong as is the bow, the bow picture in this did not evolve to the shape shown for another 300 years 1.3 Henry VIII was a very keen musician, yet no mention here

2) Historical facts, most of them are completely wrong, or twisted or misrepresented, even outright wrong. Please, read your history books if you don't believe me.

3) Actors: like most of them except the goose who plays Henry VIII: not a ginger, not of large stature, no huge manhood, why?

Apart from these minor issues, love it, very much. Especially the costumes, thought I'm no expert but those "in the know" say they are not quite accurate.
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Rage (2014)
2/10
Boring, unoriginal, tedious
28 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This is just the most boring load of drivel I've seen in ages. Nicholas Cage simply can't act, all he does is posture and rant like some baboon who is p.i.s.s.e.d...o.f.f about his turf being violated. To add insult to injury, the scenes where he is crying over the dead body of his daughter were actually really excruciating, and I don't mean because of the anguish here, simply because of Cage's bad acting. He has about as much talent for characterization as a cardboard box. Give me Meryl Streep, Kathy Bates style of actors any day. To add insult to injury, just in case you didn't get the subtlety of this waste of time, the music is unoriginal, predictable and leads you along emotionally ever step of the way. That's probably a good thing, because if there were no music score this film would just seem pointless. The acting certainly doesn't carry it along. Take, for example, Bridges of Madison County (different genre I know): very little music and brilliant characterizations from Streep and Eastwood. Do NOT waste you time on this one, just pure nonsense.
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1408 (2007)
7/10
disturbing and upsetting
31 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
First off, I am a big fan of Stephen King's books and, apart from The Shining, I don't much care for the movie versions (obviously for reasons of space they leave way too much out). This is a movie version of a King book, though one I've not read. So we find Mike Enslin, a spectacularly unsuccessful author (relegated to paperback book bins, as one of this film's characters refers) undertaking research for a book about hauntings. He is a sceptic and has no belief in god, ghosts or any paranormal bulldust. He hears about this hotel in Manhattan and decides to book a night in the infamous room 1408. He attempts to book 'the room' and is told it's not available, a lawyer tells him he can due to some legal technicality which I didn't get. Anyways, he ends up in 1408 and his night of terror begins. Although the "night in a haunted house" scenario has been done to death, Mikæl Håfström for the most part effectively plays his audience with an eerie, often jarring, soundtrack, clever cutting, and a minimum of effects. "1408" is a ghost story, not a horror or slasher flick. It is much more about the 'unseen' terror – and this he achieves with panache. John Cusack is brilliant as the beleaguered "soon-to-be-new-ghost" character AND I loved Samuel L. Jackson. He gives a chilling performance as a manager whose intent is ignored. I also kind of got the feeling his character was one of the many ghosts. The music was unmemorable and the stupid radio kept playing "We've Only Just Begun" a song I loath. The graphics/GCI were very fine, indeed. I loved the various people leaping from the window!
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8/10
Hilarious, dark, fun.
3 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Our protagonist's life does not begin well, as a baby his parents fight and end up suiciding jointly over the balcony of their apartment. He is then brought up by an equally obnoxious aunt/uncle, so once he's an adult he moves to Paris. He works in an accountant's office for a moronic boss BUT he spies a gorgeous lady teaching ballet in the studio across the road from his office. He 'steals' her wallet and then phones her to return it (a muse to try and get a date) ... it all goes terribly wrong.

Not a big fan of comedy, I must say but this was absolutely brilliant. All set against the backdrop of Paris versus the Bretons in a soccer (football) final. There are some outrageously odd sight- gags, including many that are set in the background. Really worth backtracking and watching this for a second time when you're finished. Brilliant, love it, hilarious.
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7/10
Charming and disturbing
7 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
"Monsieur Lazhar" is a substitute teacher who approaches a school principal to get work. He fails to tell her that he is a 'political asylum' seeker, not a permanent resident, to get work. Of course, he does get the job. This, by the end of the film, made me wonder why he didn't undergo a background check ...

I loved this film, M. Lazhar (played incredibly well by Mohamed Fellag) is a teacher I wish I had but never did. He's charming, sensitive and really gets his student's minds back to learning (after their teacher hangs herself in the classroom). As an Algerian immigrant, he has ended up in Canada after his family were murdered by political extremists. His role, from what I could understand is to get his children to talk about death. This seems to be a taboo subject and the politically correct Canadian education system has troubles with this.

However, for me the best characters in this film were the students, what a great bunch of young actors, amazing: Sophie Nelisse and Emilien Neron were amazing.

Loved it, big time.
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Death Proof (2007)
7/10
Girl power
4 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I love QT's movies, they are not to everyone's taste, granted. I notice the criticism on here, and I think you have missed the point. Did you not realise it's made in honour of a specific type of film that was made here (Australia) decades ago?

I love the symmetry of it, two groups of four girls, two different outcomes. If you ignore the dialogue, which the use of 'motherf*cker' in too many times for my naive tastes and simply take this as a spoof/play on/homage (call it what you will), then you might just enjoy it.

The leading man, Stuntman Mike, is nasty and a coward and splendidly played by Mr. Russell!. His sole purpose in life is wrecking other's lives. The first group of girls annoyed me, and their demise was a little over shown (too many repeats from different perspectives) but I was glad they died.

The second group of girls, whilst no less annoying, introduce an actor from Auckland who is fantastic. I mean the scenes of her on the bonnet of the car are incredible. I guess they used stunt doubles. Just amazing.

Stuntman Mike has met his match ... well worth watching IF you keep the historical context in mind.

I love the camera work, first class. The score, um I don't remember any of the music so it was probably good but unmemorable.
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1/10
Excruciating but for the wrong reasons
2 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I was a bit anxious about this little shocker as it seems to have most reviewers here polarised. I understand that a lot of the actors used in this abomination are 'top notch' British actors, if this is the case, why would they have agreed to be in it? The humour is loud, obvious and not funny. The dialogue is laboured and predictable, it's full of clichés. The main characters seem to be a pack of wealthy stupid Hooray Henry types. The father, whose funeral it is, had a midget lover who turns up with the intention of extorting them, please. Then he passes out and is placed in the coffin with his dead lover? I just can't see how people could possibly find this entertaining? I guess it could have been worse, it could have had Hugh Grant in it...
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2/10
Utter crap
15 October 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I only gave this 2, not 1, because I thought some of the acting wasn't too bad. Terrible story, boring and tedious, predictable script. I ground my teeth through this and kept thinking, if this is the state of Australian cinema then I give up. With brilliant movies out there like "Love and Other Catastrophes", "Muriel's Wedding", "Wolf Creek (1)" why did this ever get past the script sketch? If you really want to watch GOOD Aussie cinema try "Romper Stomper" or "Bad Boy Bubby". There was precious little music throughout, and thank god because the "born again" sounding music used in the final credits really had me grabbing the remote to turn it off. Steer clear of this boring, tedious crap ... my two cent's worth.
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9/10
Beautifully filmed and thoroughly captivating
3 May 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Attenborough's commentary seems a little unnecessary at times, however, I cannot praise the fine camera work enough, just so beautifully done and so wonderful in capturing the luscious colours of The Undergrowth. Each segment is wonderful yet I yearned for more. If you love colour and form this will amaze you. The sound track, too is very fine, gorgeous. I had no real idea that the plant and insect kingdoms were so interlocked, the scientists that. I assume, provided the technical data must be congratulated. Had my lessons in Biology been this interesting I might've paid more attention. If you get the jitters looking at bugs, then this probably will upset!
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Signs (2002)
9/10
Subtle and terrifying in places
25 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
OK so I had no idea what this was about, I assumed it was just going to be a film about crop circles.

So it dawned on me this was an alien invasion flick, little did I realise that NOT clearly showing the creature, until the end made it very bloody creepy. The first time it was fully viewed in a reflection on the TV screen (ie hinted at) scared the s.h.i.t out of me. Also sounds of them running around the house trying to get in were really very hair raising.

Brilliant special effects, wonderful score and terror begat of the viewer's imagination.

Great acting from Gibson, Phoenix and especially the two children.
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1/10
The most tedious load of nothing
27 June 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This film sucks on so many levels. If there is a story it takes so damned long to evolve that you're prone to losing the plot trying to keep tit in your numb brain. The acting is dreadful, except maybe the child, whose daughter is 20 years older than her, wtf? There was no music that I could recall except some excruciating 'song from the future'. A gun is drawn and at last I thought thee might have been some thrill. Wrong, yet another pointless scene. The secret sign made me cringe and reminded me of some childish fantasy, but way too tedious and stupid for a child to make up. The director should take up tiddly winks, might give his life some meaning.
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8/10
tender, poignant at times hilarious
16 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Now this was on the queue of Foxtel's movie line ups. Despite the title I watched. What a wonderful find! Not the best period drama ever put on screen but a totally engaging one. I love Dench and Smith, so gracefully acted ... the man who plays the Polish castaway is very good. Such a shames his violin playing was rather less obviously shown, no amount of pretending will make a virtuoso, and it shows. There is a rather predictable twist, I shan't spoil it. Truly heartbreaking. The characterisation of the locals is brilliant, the maid wonderful and the cinematography and musical score top shelf. What comes through very clearly is the British distaste for foreingers, I guess as it was set in the 1930s ...
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Primal Fear (1996)
3/10
badly scripted, nicely acted, lacking subtlety
15 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Let's just say that this move lacked finesse. I hated Gere in this, he over acts, he uses stupid facial expressions too much. However, the rôle of the psychiatrist (Frances McDormand) is wonderful. Such a shame she features only infrequently. I loved Edward Norton-despite Gere's awful acting he played the disturbed guilty party beautifully. There are no red herrings, nor surprises, it's all tediously predictable. John Mahoney's rôle is nasty, and it worried me as I still see him in his Frasier part. In all it's not a bad movie just not a good one. Fancy an Archbishop of the Catholic Church being involved in a sex scandal?!
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6/10
Not so bad to deserve the rating here
24 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
While remakes can be just insulting, this one (for me at least) was not. The rôle of Jill is very well acted (Camilla Belle looks good and plays a stalkee beautifully). Ythe house used in this version is great, and loads of creepy dark corridors. I think Tommy Flanagan is not right, too weedy and pathetic.

The scene where she hides in the fish pond is intense, especially as he grabs her from above. Why she didn't bite one of his fingers off is beyond me, I would have.

I loved the sound track, too, perhaps a touch too noisy, more silence would've worked well? The cinematography is adequate to quite effective. In all, with precious little blood and guts, it manages to be creepy without being corny. I enjoyed it, a nice addition to the repertoire.
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1/10
A terrible waste of time
31 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I can't think why this load of tripe scored above 4 by reviewers here. There was basically no story line, the acting was dreadful, the blood and gore a CGI bore and not once did I even flinch. The character of the serial killer was pathetic, and not even remotely terrifying. I regret the hour and a half it stole of my life. I'd rather watch The Paranormal Activity franchise - at least they all made me jump. Do not waste your time with this. If you want a better time, go stand in front of your bathroom mirror or scrub your shower recesses.

The ending was predictable and one reviewer here said the train driver was an alien. I must have drifted off to sleep as this wasn't evident, but as I won't watch it again, I'll leave that to their better perception. The sound track was totally unmemorable, wad there music playing? No memory. The chases through the train were silly and boring. Yuck, just dreadful.
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7/10
disturbing and engaging
8 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This isn't just a violent prison story, though it certainly has that, it really is a story about an innocent's slide into despair. There are moments where humanity shines through. Furlong's acting is powerful and naive and Dafoe's subtle, menacing and compassionate. It is very disturbing at times and unpredictable in its twists and turns. Fortunately a lot of the gang violence is often hinted at and not shown. there are even moments of humour, though rare. It's not too distant from Shawshank in its ambiance, not story, and I found it just as compelling. There are several minor roles, especially the drag queen, that are wonderfully played, poignant and unsettling and Mickey Rourke is top notch. The setting is dirty and ugly, but it is a prison of course. A film with subtle and natural dialogue, and a film with a nice pace and flow.
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Insidious (I) (2010)
8/10
Very Disturbing and at times amusing
2 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Now the last time. I was freaked by a film was Wolf Creek. So now having watched Insidious I'm not going to sleep without always wondering what made that noise. No blood and guts and amazing camera work. Some truly scare the barnacles of you scenes, especially the figures lurking in the shadows type effects. Not all the frights happen at night. There are moments of humour, thank god, as they give you brief respite from the chills.

The acting is pretty good really, especially the husband and wife. I know one thing for sure, I'd have moved out immediately. Seriously quietly, insidiously creepy.

This movie actually had the hairs on my neck stand up and quiver.
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The Gift (2000)
8/10
A haunting and flawed thriller
19 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
For starters Cate Blanchett can do no wrong in my humble opinion, she's a very natural actor with an amazing ability to totally absorb the role she's playing.

I found the story weak and some of the scenes incredibly predictable, the jump out and scare you moments, whilst only a handful are over done with sudden explosions of noise from the film's score. Totally un-needed as the tension works a wonderful solo.

The cards she uses to get her 'visions' are weird - what are they. This, for me was the biggest weakness. They are an unnecessary prop, the character's psychic ability could very well stand on its own as visions and dreams.

There's not badly cast person in this thriller, especially the three boys who their roles brilliantly, one wouldn't know they were acting. If you love Blanchett, you'll not be disappointed. Had it been a little tighter and not so strung out, I'd have given it a 10 - as it is, 8's a pretty good score I reckon.
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Pope Joan (2009)
7/10
A flawed masterpiece
11 April 2013
I realise many criticise this movie for being 'based on fiction' but hey. It's a move and very good entertainment at that. I loved all the actors EXCEPT John Goodman who was cringeworthy as Pope Sergius. In particular, Johanna Wokalek is a revelation, I love her simplicity and pure spirt, at least that's how her "Joan" came across to me. The mediæval setting is well done, though lacks the glorious costumes of high budget productions. There is criticism that the crowd scenes are a little uncrowded, I didn't notice this at all. David Wenham's a gorgeous actor with an amazing voice I love his rendition of the almost gormless Gerold, so ruggedly handsome. I also like the all to short role Iain Glen was given as the Village Priest, what wonderful acting. Much praise also to the very sweet Tigerlilly Hutchinson (Tigerlilly??), she plays the young Joan with aplomb. Not the best historical drama I've seen but an excellent one, only thing missing was the fragrance of mediæval europe.
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Jennifer 8 (1992)
9/10
A sadly neglected film
11 April 2013
I really adored this film and have watched it a few times. Such amazing acting from such incredibly diverse actors: Andy Garcia is just perfect as the police sergeant (and incredibly sexy in this role); Uma Thurman plays a blind musician very convincingly and some scenes are truly terrifying; John Malkovich has a stern, unrelenting style that is seemingly perfect for him in this role (St. Anne).

It is, really, a love story, set amongst a brutal serial killer's shadow. The dialog is clear and lucid, the photography very fine and often very close to the actor's faces. For Andy Garcia, this is great as he is so damned sexy. If it's a film you've thought about watching but have not, please do so. Terribly underrated.
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1/10
Complete waste of time - don't bother
14 February 2013
When I read the short synopsis for this I thought, sounds like it might be a new horror film idea and not some redone crap.

Well, while the story's concept was possible interesting this film was completely ruined by terrible acting. The man cast as the doctor was just painful to watch, and the whining New Yorkers should have been killed off in the first 5 minutes to spare me their awful screen presence.

Had it been acted by some known stars, it might have actually fared well. The script was junk.

I'd like to end by saying this is the worst horror flick I've ever seen except for the four Paranormal films, but even they're better than this tripe. Don't waste you money hiring it and don't was your precious lives watching it. I regret having done so.
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Vacancy (2007)
9/10
Excellent piece of filming
21 November 2012
I just love a good, scare the Jaysus out of me horror film. Problem being, most of the ones that seem popular are too full of heads lopping off and torture that one gets desensitised. I was really bored with Fox I.Q. as most of the stuff they play on it repeats over and over and the ads are enough to drive you demented. A girl friend of mine who's a real "horror movie" nerd. Said - "David, you've just gotta watch Vacancy. It'll scare you socks off". She was right. Now I'm a big man, 6'1", 18 stone and I behaved like a Big Girls' Blouse - including holding my hand up to my face so I could only see the film through a gap in my fingers. For fu*k's sake, this movie really scared me BECAUSE of the tension that is built up. Brilliant - oh and the two main characters are pretty good eye candy! Loved it, big time.
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9/10
Visually stunning, moving and heartbreaking
9 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This is a wonderful film, bitter-sweet, stupendously realised, incredibly acted and one that left me bereft and hear-broken at its conclusion. The final scene actually had me in tears, truly heartbreaking. Norma Shearer's acting is incredible, she displays a naivety and innocence that must have been how the famous Queen really was. After all, the monarchy in France suffered very little from lack of anything AND they really were quite unaware of their population's plight.

I loved Tyrone Power's acting, he is amazing. The scandals that were obviously part and parcel of the life of an the ruling class were chilling tinged with false-modesty, poison-smiles and knife-in-the-back glances...chilling. From a view point of costumes and settings (despite being in black and white) it is truly breath-taking. The crowd scenes are to be seen to be believed (tried as I might, I couldn't find a wrist watch there!).

This is MGM at its sumptuous best. Incredible.
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