Reviews

18 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
Stardust (2007)
9/10
Get carried away
8 March 2010
I caught this film on terrestrial TV in the UK last night. For all you non-UK readers, terrestrial TV in this country leaves a lot to be desired. Sure, there are nuggets of gold, but you can't rely on top quality viewing every night of the week. So when I stumbled upon this movie, I though "let's give it a go." I'm very glad I did! I was glued to my seat. And for two and a half hours (including ads), that's a very good sign.

So whenever I see a movie that I either really love or really hate, I come onto IMDb, see what other people thought and sometimes give a review. I just couldn't believe the negative reviews, so felt compelled to review this movie and give my reasons for the positive score.

Fisrtly, I think all those who "read the book; hated the movie" should get over themselves. This is a pet peeve of mine. If you ever fall in love with a book, either (a) Don't watch the movie - it WILL be different, or (b) Watch the movie with an open mind, expecting it to be different. For what it's worth, I've never read the book, but now I might (and get this, if it's different from the film, I won't go writing negative reviews on book forums!).

Those who just hated the film. It seems that, from the language used in your reviews, you should, like, totally grow up or something. Okay, maybe I'm getting a bit personal here. Everyone is entitled to their views, so to get back on track, this is why I liked the film.

Story/plot: Far fetched, sure. Borrows from other stories, guilty. A few holes, maybe. But still magical, engaging and heartwarming. If you want a hard-hitting, realistic thriller don't watch this movie. Simple. But if you want to forget about things and just enjoy some lovely silliness, and some good old-fashioned romanticism, then this movie is for you.

Acting: Well, you can put your RADA critiquing hat on and rip everyone to shreds, or else you can just get lost in the movie and allow the more-than-adequate turns to carry you along to the movie's climax. I though the ensemble did a great job.

Score/Cinematography: Almost invisible in the background, but doing enough to bring the magic on the screen to life. Sure, I'm not going to remember either to my dying days, but then sometimes it's nice to allow a score/visual to just carry us along for the ride. Subtlety was king here.

So all in all, in case you haven't guessed, I loved this movie. In it's field (if you'll pardon the pun), I think it stands alone as an outright bobby dazzler. If you're like me and prefer to go into a movie with no preconceptions, then give this one a go. You might not like it, but if you let yourself go, you more than likely will.
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The Truth (2006)
8/10
Brilliantly stark; intelligently dark
16 January 2006
The brilliantly stark backdrop to this movie is mirrored by an intelligently dark script. But it's the clever sprinklings of light relief that make this film so watchable. William Beck as Scott is the real star performer, effortlessly transforming a turn of phrase into all-out comedy. But the whole ensemble earn their spurs, turning a story that teeters on the edge of believability into a thoroughly plausible and engaging yarn.

As British independents go, this is a good one. In true Brit flick style, rather than pandering to Hollywood, it pokes fun at it, to hilarious effect courtesy of a great turn by Elizabeth McGovern as the Zen-aware Donna. But rather than simply joining the bandwagon, it actually contrives to give it a knowing nod, before going on to develop in its own unique way.

All in all, this is well worth a visit to the cinema, so get out there and support new British talent!
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Nochnoy dozor (2004)
6/10
Flawed, but the hard edges make a change from Hollywood
11 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I still can't quite decide what I think about this one. Certain elements were really good; others were less so. But at the end of the day, I was entertained. It was certainly a very stylish movie, and some of the cinematic techniques were really, really good - why have subtitles been so boring for so long?! But then there were the slightly dubious aspects. What was the owl/woman all about? A van can't really perform a jump like that! And the curse was lifted how? But you can sometimes get hung up on the small details, when all you should really be concentrating on is the whole.

This film was pretty good, and certainly a refreshing change from the Hollywood machine and its soft focus superstars. It seemed to be quite heavily influenced, though never came across as a rip off. And Quentin Tarantino loves it!! But only good for me. Maybe the follow ups will shed a little more light onto proceedings, but until then, this one gets 6 out of 10.
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Donnie Darko (2001)
9/10
Draws you in, spits you out, then leaves a tear in your eye
15 June 2005
Movies are meant to entertain, be that via humour, shock, surprise, fantasy or whatever. But one thing that all movies have to do in order to make them watchable is make the viewer empathise with the characters. This empathy doesn't always have to have a positive spin, but the characters must always make the viewer love, hate, feel sorry for them. With Donnie (the brilliant Jake Gyllenhaal), we have a character that draws us right in, spits us out, then leaves us with a tear in our eye but a smile on our face. The movie carries a really good concept, and the direction is excellent (and what about the musical score - wow!), but it is the empathy that Donnie demands that really makes this film so watchable. And the ending is one of the most powerful and emotionally confusing that I've ever witnessed. A brilliant movie.
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The Matrix (1999)
9/10
The best "concept" film since Total Recall
15 June 2005
This movie is a real winner. I often judge a movie by how often I can watch it without getting bored; and I have yet to reach that stage with The Matrix, five viewings later! The concept is awesome, the visuals are outstanding, the score is perfect and the acting is, well, let's say efficient. The two sequels lose a bit of something as they try to explain everything away, but this first instalment of the trilogy contains that bit of mystery and wonderment. It's one of those rare moments in sci-fi when you think "hang on, this could actually be true!" It's hard not to think of The Matrix without its two slightly uglier sisters, but if you do (and I wish they had've done), then what you get is sci-fi at its very best.
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6/10
This is quite a good movie
6 May 2005
I notice that the people who hate this film are the "die-hard" fans of the book/radio show/TV series. Listen, this isn't the book/radio show/TV series; it is a relatively good standalone movie. Okay, so it isn't perfect. There is a lack of explanation regarding some of the 'inside' jokes, and it does edge towards Hollywood a little too much (love interest followed by rescue attempt followed by shoot out etc). But come on, it's funny, lighthearted and visually great. And it hangs together quite well, no matter what the die-hards tell you. If you go into the cinema hoping to see an jumped-up repeat, then you won't get it, and all the better in my opinion. Instead, head in there expecting to see an entertaining movie, and hopefully you shouldn't be disappointed.
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9/10
Beautiful, poignant, real
3 February 2004
This is only Sofia C's second effort, but it looks like the work of an accomplished director (and then some). It's the whole reality of it that gets me. As a person accustomed to the potential of isolation in a foreign country, this movie hits the nail firmly on the head. Helped along by a soundtrack that both conveys the general mood and captures the whole essense of that particular period in time, this is a nailed on masterpiece. The cast is excellent, the cinematography is superb and the script is just right.

I can't wait for the next one Sofia.
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Ghostbusters (1984)
9/10
A true 80s classic
20 October 2003
There's little to say about this movie other than it is the quintessential 80s comedy. The cast is superb, the script is sharp, the story is great and the effects are perfect (their cartoon-like quality makes them all the more enjoyable and fitting). This is one of those films that I can watch over and over again without getting in the slightest bit bored. If you haven't seen this movie, then watch it, and then watch it again.
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Just Married (2003)
4/10
Uninteresting, unfunny and unbelievable
27 August 2003
This movie is a bit of a stinker. I see that some of the young ladies really like it, possibly due to Kutcher(!). However, I judge a movie on more than just the fanciability of the cast. I mean, Brittany Murphy is pretty hot, and that's worth at least a point, but the movie as a whole is quite lame. Kutcher and Murphy do seem to have a bit of chemistry, and they do show sporadic flashes of real acting ability, but in all, this movie doesn't really go anywhere. It's a bad advertisement for the new wave of "brat-packers". American Pie was always going to be tough to follow, but nothing since has come close, and Just Married is light years away.
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Raging Bull (1980)
5/10
The whole isn't better than the sum of its constituent parts
13 June 2003
I'm not the biggest fan of biographies, and I'm afraid this failed to turn the tide. In actual fact, it took me three attempts to watch it the whole way through (I fell asleep on the previous two occassions). Now I know that De Niro pulls off a fantastic La Motta, and there is no doubting Scorcese's directorial excellence, but this film just failed to engage me. It crawls along with a premise of some kind of story, but just bores. I can't really say anything more, other than this movie must be highly rated based on its constituent parts, because the whole certainly doesn't do anything for me.
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Fight Club (1999)
9/10
Stylish; cool; sexy
16 May 2003
This is a very stylish movie. From the pounding intro, through the schizophrenic middle, to the mind warping end, this film engages the viewer in a totally unique way. The casting is absolutely perfect: Norton's deadpan narration is great; Pitt is just so cool; and Bonham-Carter is very sexy (but in a rough kind of way). Even if you don't pick up on the quite heavy political undertones, this movie can still provide you with enough entertainment to last the day.
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Rom-com heaven
9 May 2003
This movie is great. It has more than a passing resemblance to the previous Hanks/Ryan flick Sleepless in Seattle, but is slightly more polished in my opinion, and Ryan and Hanks are slightly more charming (perhaps having grown into their acting relationship over the years). It's not groundbreaking stuff, there aren't any real laugh-out-loud moments and the script isn't the strongest in the world, but this movie just works. It contrives to give the audience a gentle warm glow by the end - well, it certainly did for me (and I'm a guy!)
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Daredevil (2003)
3/10
Awful
14 April 2003
This movie is bad. The calibre of the actors on show demanded so much more than this weak plot, awful score and terrible script. I always watch a movie with pure escapism in mind. Sometimes I will then notice other things on top of that, such as the cinematography or the soundtrack. This is the first film that has ever had me wondering about the editing. It looks like a patchwork job, with scenes put in the wrong order, other scenes edited out completely, and then scenes that were consigned to the cutting room floor picked up and reused. Character development was glossed over, while the standard comic-book hero touches were made to look and sound ridiculous. My eight year old nephew wasn't even fooled by this movie, and that to me is the biggest giveaway - don't watch a comic-book hero movie that kids don't like. Even John Faverau couldn't save this one.
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Pi (1998)
10/10
Cohesive, stylish and innovative
11 April 2003
The predecessor to Requiem for a Dream, this is arguably more stylish and engaging. This is helped largely by the simply outstanding soundtrack. Aranovsky's use of a haunting yet modern score binds the movie together perfectly, aided by some fantastic cinematic techniques that disorientate the audience in time with the music. The character narration is also a great cohesive tool, with the deadpan delivery more than matching the tone of the piece. This film is not as beautiful as Requiem, nor does it have quite the same gutwrenching effect, but nonetheless, this is still some film. If you like your movies very hollywood then this is not for you; but if you like stylised innovation, then you have to watch this.
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Groundhog Day (1993)
8/10
Good concept, good characters, good film
11 April 2003
This movie is built on two things: a great concept and the right actors for the right characters. The whole idea for the movie is superb. To start with it makes you think "what if", but by the end it has you thinking a little bit deeper. I mean, there is no real indication of the duration of the characters stay in limbo - has he lived the same day over for a few days, weeks, months, years or centuries? This is just one question of many, in a film lacking (though not really needing) any answers. Then of course there is the casting of Murray. This, along with his Ghostbusters outings, seems to be the perfect role for the guy. He revels in the sarcastic humorist role, but is totally believable when he softens to the effortless charms of McDowell (who also fits her character like a glove). Great film.
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Play for Today: Abigail's Party (1977)
Season 8, Episode 3
9/10
No real plot... but so compelling!!
11 April 2003
I reckon that this is the sort of movie that gets film students all excited. There are so many levels to this flick that you could probably go on for days pulling apart and examining the different characters, relationships and commentaries. But I recommend you watch this film purely for entertainment purposes - it's great. The actors are believable, the story is simplistic (yet so effective) and the period touches are great - because this is essentialy a period drama (the period being very firmly in the 1970s). For a film to have such little plot yet remain so compelling is testament to each and every element that makes up this movie. Watch it.
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9/10
Same as the first? Sure, but who cares!?
8 October 2002
Okay, so this is pretty much a repeat of Home Alone, but that begs the question, how on earth did it make me laugh so much? The slapstick of Harry and Marv is nothing short of genius, and Kevin is as ingenious as ever. I know that it's cheesy, and I know that slapstick isn't everyone's cup of tea, but come on, just enjoy it for what it is - brilliant and silly comedy.
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9/10
Yeah!!
8 October 2002
Truly wonderful, from the opening score to the final credits, this film exceeds all expectations that one would wish to throw at John Landis. The Murphy/Ackroyd combination is perfect, and with excellent support from Curtis and Elliot, there are laughs galore. Murphy really is in his element as the fast talking Billy-Ray Valentine, while Ackroyd excels in the pomp of Louis Winthorpe III. But it is perhaps the lines of the 'incidental' actors that really set this movie apart. The two black cons are a wonderful double act - something like little and large, without the little. Meanwhile, Denholm Elliot as Coleman is his scathingly brilliant best. Watch this film, enjoy it, then watch it again!
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