Reviews written by registered user

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17 reviews in total 
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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Dumb sequel to a franchaise that needs to be put down, 22 March 2004

Granted, i was on the final leg of a 24 hour flight back to the UK from New Zealand and i was pretty tired..but really, this dumb ass entertainment can only do so much. It is neither stimulating or engrossing. I am a big fan of Paul Walker- the stud, but i find it hard to take Paul Walker- the actor- seriously. If he wants to avoid being recognised for his appearance and more for his talent, i suggest he quits this franchaise fast. This installment is marginally better than the original, but that was blighted by one of the most overrated actors, Vin Diesel who has as much charisma as my little finger.

It's glossy and it is fast, sure. Some boys will love it for the predictable racing and fight scenes which are nicely choreographed but i think that this core audience will not remain faithful if this franchaise continues much longer..2/5

Abduction (2011/I)
10 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
A movie that's as badly directed as it is acted., 29 September 2011

Lautner plays Nathan, a seventeen year old guy who seems to live two separate lives. He is the popular adrenaline-seeking kid who rides to school on car bonnets, gets drunk at house parties, and has unspoken feelings for the girl next door, Karen - overacted here by Lily Collin. He's basically Mr 90210, with less cash.

But then there is the other side to Nathan. Behind closed doors, he regularly spars with his father in physical battles that become increasingly aggressive and relentless. He also suffers from insomnia and bouts of rage, issues that he discusses with his therapist, Dr Bennett (Weaver) in regular counselling sessions. In short, he is a mixed up young man.

And if life wasn't tough already, it's about to deal him one more major bad hand. When assigned to work with Karen on a project about missing kids, Nathan's life comes crashing down around him, when he sees his face staring back from one of the ads. Suddenly he has to deal with the fact that his parents aren't who they say they are, that his whole life is built upon a lie, and that everything he thought he knew, he didn't.

It's no surprise then, that he is rather preoccupied by the time the bad guys arrive to get him. Men with guns turn up, Nathan does a runner with lusty Karen in tow, and what ensues is a cat and mouse chase across the country. It usually sees the youngsters get to one place, a phone call gets tapped, and then they move on. Then some foreign guy turns up to beat them up, they beat him up. They move on. It's quite straightforward really. Predictable to a 't'.

That's not to say that it's not entertaining. Remember in the '90s, those action movies where the ability to act was a 'would like', and the ability to kick the asses of Eastern European villains was a 'must have'?

Well, those action movies were EVERYWHERE. A corrupt government or body take on one guy who is pretty good at high kicks, and which typically ended in some mass chase-cum-action sequence, set in a massive public forum such as a football game or a crowded theatre.

That is the standard of movie we're talking here. And if we consider Lautner's performance at that level, then he didn't do too badly at all. He may still have the acting prowess of Joey Tribbiani from 'Friends', but there's also something rather watchable about him.But, my guess is that this wasn't supposed to be seen as a B movie. It feels like a botched attempt to put together a Bourne movie aimed at the teen market. But the Bourne movies appealed to the teen market, so why dumb the formulae down? One of the big failings of 'Abduction' is that rationale and reason becomes so diluted, that you have to throw all common sense out of the window, for this movie to hold together.

But that's the least of the worries. By far, the biggest problem with this movie was the script and direction which was absolutely diabolical.

The camera work seems very lazy. When chatting with his therapist, the camera just pans back and forth, back and forth between Nathan and Dr Bennett, as if the man behind the lens is filming a wedding. Scenes in the gym with the Nathan and his pals, have so much happening on screen that you don't know who to look at. But with Lautner skipping up and down off centre, in a vest and short combo, you can imagine where my eyes were focused.

The worst part - or funniest part, depending on how I look at it - was that you never felt you were watching a natural performance from anyone involved. It felt SO staged throughout. In fact, this is the first time that I have watched a movie at the cinema and literally felt like I could input the director's comments at every appropriate moment.

"Taylor, hold her in your arms. Kiss her head. Now look up to the sky." What makes me feel like this is more a direction fault is that it was not exclusive to Lautner. Even acting legend, Sigourney Weaver moves like a spasmodic marionette, and whilst she delivers her dialogue, there is no real emotion behind them.

With lines like "I hate balloons" followed by a dramatic pause, you can understand why she might not be investing everything in to this rather underused character. But if she wasn't happy with the script, she'd have not taken the role.

The romance between the two youngsters is supposed to be fledgling and, to give them their dues, there is chemistry there. However, when the pair aren't getting amorous, the dialogue is laboured and riddled with clichés that leave you either laughing out loud, or cringing in to your seat.

Karen: Two days ago, we were high school kids. That seems like a lifetime ago.

Nathan: That's because…(pause)…it was.

As the pace picks up, Lautner actually leaves the cocksure Nathan behind him, which comes as a relief, and indeed shows some actual character progression. A few big bangs, and action sequences are thrown in to the mix and those also help to maintain general interest levels, entertaining the audience for fleeting moments in time.

However the final denouement is a real let down. No originality. No risk. No surprise. The bog standard, by-the-book ending is as lazy as the direction and I left the cinema feeling a little bit cheated. If 'Abduction' had presented itself as the kind of movie that it ended up being, I'd have known what I was letting myself in for. This is a no-frills B-Movie. Don't let the supporting cast make you think otherwise.

Had me laughing, 22 March 2004

Definitely my kind of humour. Yeah, we all know that Stiller excels in this kinda role and we have seen it many times before, biut why shouel he change it when he does it so well?!! He still belts the laugh and is a much better fall guy than, say Adam Sandler. It would be nice to see him do something serious a la Jim Carrey and see if he can still succeed but i am happy with these ambling performances circa Something ABout Mary, Meet The Parents, Zoolander... Aniston goes up another rung on teh ladder. Whilst she was good in Bruce ALmighty, here she is even better. Kooky and cutesy, she plays a varaition on her Rachel character. Again, the filmmakers are just giving us what they know the audience likes!! The humour is basic and works, the story is predictable. But what makes this film is the reliability of such performers as Stiller, Azaria and Hoffman as well as showcasing the talents of Debra Messing and Jennifer ANiston. Go and see it. It will raise a few belly laiughs and keep you tittering until the MEet the PArents sequel, Meet The Fockers, is released anyway!! 4/5

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Back From The Dead, 1 April 2004

After watching The TExas Chainsaw MAssacre remake last night, I did not really fancy going to watch another multiple body count movie - let aone one that was yet another remake of a 70s horror classic! But hey, i found myself down the local VUE cinema, checking in to see the 2004 version of George E Romero's 1978 original, Dawn Of The Dead. What mainly appealed about this movie was the high calibre cast. Sarah Polley is distinguishable for her somewhat eclectic choices when it comes to picking movie roles. The last film i saw her in was Doug LIman's 1999 film, Go and if both films are anything to go by, she has a good eye for good scripts. I dont want to spoil too much but the basic plot involves zombies taking over a neighbourhood and a group of locals trapped in a mall trying not to be picked off one by one! I have to admit, i have yet to see the orginal but maybe that enables me to provide an objective opinion on this remake without making unnecessary comparisons to the original. As it stands on its own, thsi film is am enjoyable, yet gory, horror film. The acting is of a standard you would expect form a high calibre cast including Polley, Ving Rhames and Mekhi Pfiffer. The storyline is simple yet effective and is reminiscent of the 70s action films where you have a group of strangers united in a building formwhich the yhave to escape. It is not as relentlessly horrific as the texas chainsaw massacre remake..Some comedic moments are entwined, the best being the jay leno /burt reynolds zombies!!

Definitely watch this film if yo uare a fan of horror remakes.. Don't go in comparing this to the original, let it stand alone as a film in its own right. Post success of 28 Days Later and Dog SOldiers, it was surely only a matter of time for this zombie classic to be remade!

Anyway, 8/10!! That is my final word!

Firewall (2006)
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Haven't we seen all this before?, 1 April 2006

The only thing this film had going for it was it's ability to shock me with it's incredulous dialogue, storyline and casting.

Firstly, I think casting directors aren't so concerned with reality anymore. The opportunity to have HArrison Ford on board for this vehicle was obviously paramount. I am sure that there are many 40-somthing actors who would have been better suited to this role. It is almost sad watching someone in his 60's hobbling about trying to save his family before being beaten up by someone less than half his age. Anyway, so Harrison is too old to be the father of a 7 yr old, the husband of Virginia MAsden, and the hero of this movie. If anyone really expects us to believe that he would be able to see out the heavies in the way he does, it makes you wonder what audience they are appealing to. There is no denying that Ford is a terrific actor. However the performance was on autopilot and the monotone with which his character speaks sent me to sleep on a number of occasions. Well, that and the clunky script which limped from one incredulous scene to another. There was no spark between husband and wife, and the only subtle, understated and therefore standout performance, was that of the role of Janet the secretary. Unfortunately with the dialogue these actors were given, it would have taken a miracle to pass it off as true. Bettany put in a career worse as the bad guy and his decisions to scare Harrison Ford by eliminating a few of his own gang members, thus putting Ford's character in a stronger position, almost had me laughing.

By the time the show staggered to it's predictable, banal conclusion, I was almost transfixed to the screen. Ford is so picky and methodological when picking scripts it makes you wonder how this ever appealed to him.

Its a cracker!!, 3 June 2004

Like some of the other reviewers, i agree that it is best to see this installment as an extension of the first film.

On reception, i am sure it could not have even compared to the original's suspense building tension and camera work. Afetrall, by the time that the sequel had been released we had also been given the Friday 13th saga and so it was becoming a bit commonplace. Lookin back in retrospect though, we are able to see that the two fit together nicely, the sequel in some ways even going to surpass some of its predecessors features..

The body count for example is a lot higher so those of you who like their slashers to have lots of inventive and fun death scenes, you will enjoy!!

death by scalding swimming pool? Check! death by blood being drained through a drip? Check! death by syringe in the eye? Check

Ouch, ouch and double ouch!!

The explanation of the relationship between Michael and Laurie is very credible yet sad but the performances of the main characters are strong. Sure, some of the bit players tend to read their lines as if they are porn stars but we dont mind that because it is a staple ingredient of a horror need the cheesy boys and girls who get naked and then die horrible deaths (see swimming pool reference above). The only thing i really wish was that you could feel a little more involved with some of the doctors and nurse because half the time you are just waiting for em to peg it. With films such as Scream, teh secondary characters are developed as much as the leading roles..and it makes tehir deaths even more poignant. Also, how did Jimmy actually die in this film? can somebody please answer me that question!!?

Overall a good sequel, that is still enjoyable to watch!

3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Stunning, 5 March 2004

I first watched this film nearly ten years ago and, to a thirteen year old, it went right over my head. Today, I watched it for the first time since, mainly because it is featured heavily in my dissertation and I can not really find much to criticise. In my (humble) opinion, the relationship between Mike and Scott is reminiscent of that of John Voight's and Dustin Hoffman's characters in Midnight COwboy. There is a real screen chemistry that makes Mike's feelings towards Scott even more poignant. I have to agree with many of the other users comments that the campfire scene was beautifully written and touching in its simplicity. I also admire Van Sant's bravery. Few directors would tackle homosexuality in their films for fear of alienating audiences at such a time and equally, few actors would take the roles. Admittedly, this film is not about homosexuality per se, but the undertones create such tragically compelling relationships..Firstly, Mike is abandoned by Scott who also then goes on to break Bob's heart. MOPI displays some remarkable acting and it goes without saying really that River Phoenix's performance stands way above those of the impressive supporting cast. It is amazingly real and is so emotive that it makes you want to go and watch everything else he ever did.

Although everyone is entitled to their opinions on any film, i really think people should give it a chance, rather than dismiss it after ten minutes.It is not a commercial or mainstream is something better than that and actually makes you think. Give it a while and you too will find yourself drawn in to the lives of the characters. MOPI now has a place in my top three films of all time just ahead of #2, Dancer In The Dark. I didn't think i would enjoy it so much that it would leave me with such an after feeling of both emptiness and fulfillment. 10/10

(Excuse the focus on homosexuality - my dissertation is on representation of gay men in 90s film - i did obviously notice other themes but i focussed on this!!)

Pixote (1981)
28 out of 30 people found the following review useful:
Heartbreaking, 19 May 2004

The violent death of Fernando Ramos Da Silva only eight years after the completion of this film, only adds to the poignancy of dierector BAbenco's powerful message. The film is split into two halves - the first in a reformatory where a group of youngsters are abused and violated by the violent law enforcers and guardians. The second backdrop is the city where they are confined instead by their own actions and morality, which includes mugging, pimping and killing different characters who enter their lives.

The differing gender and sexual roles in the film allow for constant changes in the characters as they interact with other people. Particularly interesting is teh character of Lalica, a transvestite who is mother and lover to some of the children. Her reaction to the arrival of Sueli, a prostitute is both poignant and tragic.

There is no happy ending to this story and i reccomend to watch it with caution as there are some very uncomfortable scenes to watch especially in teh opening twenty minutes. But whilst watching it, it is important to remember that this is not just a fictional tale. The actors are not trained professionals but instead boys selected from the streetsof Sao Paulo. They actually lived this life that is portrayed so vividly on screen and in da Silva's case, died at the hands of the police who are depicted so brutally. A documentary? A piece of fiction. It borders on both but it certainly makes for heart wrenching material and is a film that actually leaves you breathless and thinking long after having watched it.


1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Baby Boom For The 21st Century with Spoilers, 8 January 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Gary MArshall at his best can produce some sweet romantic comedies that tick every box of the genre (Pretty Woman). HOWever, at his worst, he can take that formula, and allow insipid excuses for rom coms to filter through into the system (ie Runaway Bride).

With Raising Helen, Marshall has gathered some of his old favourites from the aforementioned movies, the formidable Joan Cusack and the reliable HEctor Elizondo and replaced Julia Roberts and Richard Gere with the fresh faced Kate Hudson and John Corbett. Wisely done, for the audience is used to seeing Corbett with another blonde, curly haired do gooder in Sex in The City, and so it is quite easy to see the connection between the romantic leads. However the romance in the movie provides a backdrop in a movie that Marshall himself describes as his tribute to motherhood.

Helen (a perky and likable Hudson), a high flying assistant in a fashion company finds her world torn upside down when her sister and brother in law are killed in a car crash, and she is left custody of her 2 nieces and nephew. During the course of domestication, Helen predictably finds support and love in the strangest places along the way. Joan Cusack of course puts in another layered performance full of comedy and empathy, outstripping anybody else who dares act alongside her, this having a slightly detrimental effect on the less experienced Hudson. However, Hudson does hold her own effectively and tries her best to bring to life a script that is quite reminiscent of Diane Keaton's Baby Boom; Successful career woman who gets saddled with kid(s), struggles to cope, moves to new area, falls in love etcetera etcetera. Maybe it is an unfair comparison but Raising Helen unfortunately falls somewhat below the marker held by its predecessor and the romance again seems to depend on the audience's familiarity with Sex and The City's Carrie and Aidan. I find it hard to believe that Corbett was cast for his charisma and unique talent. He doesn;t bring anything extra to the film, which is a shame as the character could have been a little more punchy and been more of a match for Helen. Instead he comes across as downtrodden and under the thumb. You kinda want Helen to get it back on with bubble wrap model.

So Raising Helen seems to lack its own identity. Relying on a trusted formula, trusted actors and seen before stories, it does come across as a safe film which is harmless enough and pleasant to watch but with no real bite and lacking in imagination

16 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
Worth Joining, 25 March 2004

Greg Berlanti's film is worthy of a lot of praise in a society where gay men tend to only fulfill certain stereotypes. A character, Howie mentions how he would like to see gay men being represented as something other than the woman's best friend, the hustler, the aids victim or the sex addict and this film does tend to try hard to avoid these stereotypes. The script is brilliantly written and sparkles when it is at its peak. At its worst, it may be a little bit cliche ridden but also has originality ( I have taken "Meanwhile" and now its commonplace down ere!) and is not afraid to portray gay men as just a group of lads who are falling in and out of relationships, liek any other group of young men. However certain characters do tend to bring the pace down a little and it does sometimes seem to have the sentiment that gay men have got it so bad compared to everyone else in the world. Timothy Olyphant stands out here in an able cast, made up primarily of TV actors. My only grumble was the inclusion of the lesbian couple who seemed to only be there to represent the ladies and also to give Howie a meatier role. 4/5

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