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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Damon Dynamic in Best of Bourne., 6 August 2007

This review contains NO SPOILERS for this movie - "The Bourne Ultimatum". There are some SPOILERS for "The Bourne Identity" and "The Bourne Supremacy".

Firstly if you're a fan of Robert Ludlum's books don't look to the movies as a comparison. The movies follow an entirely different plot through the entire series and there is no continuity between them.

The Bourne Identity took us through Bourne's first ventures into self-discovery after waking up on a trawler without any idea who he was. The end of the story left him with his girlfriend (played by Franke Potente) romantically reuniting at her beach front store.

"Identity" was a defining thriller because it had been a long time since we'd seen a credible "secret agent" with a serious thriller tone that had a fulfilling plot and glut of fulfilling action sequences. Add to that a series of cameo characters (such as Children of Men's Clive Owen) and "Identity" had it all and rightfully has become a fondly remembered example of the genre. 8/10

The first sequel - "The Bourne Supremacy" - took us directly from the end of "Identity" where very soon Bourne's girlfriend is shot dead and Bourne goes on the hunt for revenge and carries out his threat that he issued in "Identity" that if the CIA unit that created him ever came after him he would bring the fight back to their door.

"Supremacy" desperately seemed to lack any actual "support" from the supporting cast. Whilst Damon is an accomplished actor one man rarely if ever holds an entire movie. A Russian speaking Karl Urban did little to present a charismatic bad guy.

"Supremacy" disappointed in terms of the action sequences and in terms of a fully developed plot. The lack of any role for a supporting cast almost rendered "Supremacy" a thorough waste of time. There were, however, some bright moments, and some character development.


In watching "Supremacy" in fact it was my initial feeling that I had watched a movie that was simply intended as a bridge to another sequel. I feel I was right for more reasons than I could imagine but you'll have to see all three films to know what I mean.

Cue the second sequel or "Threequel" – a popular trend this year - "The Bourne Ultimatum".

I would recommend anyone thinking of seeing "Ultimatum" to watch or re-watch both "Identity" but particularly "Supremacy" as everything will make more sense – particularly, and I think I can say this without spoiling anything, the sequence in New York City.

As is now expected with a "Bourne movie" one is treated to vistas of cities across the world. It has a Bond-esquire feeling if only for the fact that we are repeatedly treated to the sounds and sights of spectacular cities and magnificent vistas.

This time out the journey feels much more natural and plot driven and it takes us back to the roller-coaster feeling we had in "Identity".

Matt Damon is superb throughout – his acting chops have considerably improved over the past decade or so since we saw him in the 2002 release of "The Bourne Identity".

In "Ultimatum" Bourne is fearsome, awesome, and devastating. It no longer feels like it's just a character – this time Bourne has a persona – and he can be petrifying with every carefully choreographed movement.

Julia Stiles has had a checkered career thus far – granted she's only 26 now in 2007. Sometimes Julia Stiles reminds me of a "Star Trek" holographic character – but one with only two or three programmed personas.

Stiles has perfected and should have maybe patented the character I would call "What-ev-r" – or "Valley girl with bad attitude". As for her other setting - she has always seemed to work to great perfection that character of "Scared bunny rabbit" or "Deer in the headlights". There is, I suppose a third, but to be kind to Ms Stiles - Let's quickly skip over her performances as "Reluctant White Urban Dance Princess".

So – I'm writing about Julia Stiles, the actor, as 'Nicky Parsons" and perhaps I should have always limited myself to that.

Here in "Ultimatum", Stiles seems to have found a way to rewrite her own programming and has come up with a more than acceptable actress. She's not a Charlize Theron or a Nicole Kidman yet – but her improvements are unmistakable. Stiles seems smart and genuine even in this limited role.

To summarize, This is by far the best of the Bourne movie series. You need to have seen the others to understand the whole story – but this is a definite high point in this franchise that can be enjoyed stand-alone.

Matt Damon deserves acclaim for a truly memorable performance.

The action sequences will leave you breathless, the story is intense and reminiscent of one of the Harrison Ford "Jack Ryan" movies, and the trademark shaky camera now seems successful in conveying the organic quality that was intended.

"Identity" felt like it succeeded on youthful exuberance taking it to the very edge. "Supremacy" felt like a dutiful but near-blind old workhorse, willing but unable to find it's true path. "Ultimatum" feels like a truly purposeful and yet unrestrained stallion of a thriller.

See it in the theatre – it's well worth it for such a great ride.


Finally some notes on awards.

Award worthy performances for supporting cast come from Joan Allen reprising her role as "Pamela Landy" and the excellent Albert Finney as "Dr Albert Hirsch".

Notably, 71-year-old Finney has never won an Oscar, despite being nominated 5 times (most notably as supporting actor for 2001's "Erin Brokovich" and for leading actor in the 1974 production of "Murder on the Orient Express"). It's about time, methinks.

Rollerball (2002)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Truly painful viewing - The worst movie and the biggest insult to quality movie making I've ever seen, 17 April 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie is so bad it is not even funny. Positive Numerical ratings do not cut it –Negative numbers are required to rate this revolting pile of manure.

The 1970's original starring James Caan was a masterpiece reminiscent of Michael Chrichton classics like "The Andromeda Strain."

Absurd casting becomes obvious early on, for example – the lovely Ms Rebecca Romijn has a sexual relationship with Chris "I'm going to look like I'm 16 til I'm 65" Klein! It is a truly disturbing and distasteful looking mismatch. Today it makes one think of the infamous Florida teacher "Debra Lefave" and her sexual relationship with one of her 14-year-old students.

The entire first half of this modern "Rollerball" I felt nothing but pity for LL Cool J – a man working hard to broaden his entertainment career - saddled with a script that could have been concocted in a bar between drunken cocaine-fuelled movie exec's with a collective IQ of a single Madagascan Cockroach.

One sequence is a chase through the desert, filmed entirely in green-tinted night-vision. The sequence contains sparse dialogue, which, like the rest of the movie, is utter nonsense and without any sense of a plot. When this long sequence finally ends, one is genuinely left with the feeling that someone cut the whole Night-Vision sequence in accidentally – perhaps during a drug binge, or while sleepwalking.

In the 1970's "original," the fictional game of "Rollerball" is understandably a clearly explained core element of the story telling. Many of the originals exciting sequences involve watching the game in progress. The sport of "Rollerball" is a violent game involving people on roller-skates and motorbikes and many violent tactics and incidents. There is an elliptical course for the players to follow and the aim involves the battle between teams of 8-12 men struggling to gain control of a sphere that must reach a receptacle high up on one of the banked walls around the course.

In the remake, the game makes no sense at all. Instead, this 21st century version uses a tiny set (perhaps because of budget constraints) which makes the game itself a self-parody reminiscent of a hilarious performance of a song named "Stonehenge" in the movie "Spinal Tap."

We are supposed to leave the theatre thoughtful of the subject matter about real-life unfortunate young athletes who suffer crippling injuries early on in their career and about how moral it is to put such pressure on their performances when they are so young and have the hopes and dreams of so many on their shoulders.

We are supposed to be left with a profound morality tale that is supposed to provoke thoughts about the morality of big business in sports. The James Caan original left me personally thinking about professional sporting competitions, and how they have such a powerful attraction to young people – especially ones who have grown up in poverty. Surely the aim of the subject matter is to provoke thought and discussion on the absurdity of the unimaginable wages being offered for such young talents before they have established a maturity which might give them the much needed discipline and know-how. At 18 or 21 almost no-one thinks about providing for their future and the real sports we play are dangerous enough that some can be crippled for life or injured in such a way to end a career.

In the remake, the players revolt and turn their violence upon their employers. The morality tale is entirely lost and the thought-provoking nature of the story disappears behind a fog of abysmal direction, camera-work, acting, script, and dialogue.

Don't even watch this as a joke – go watch "Gigli" or something truly amusingly bad. This mess is disturbingly sad for a story which has so much potential, it is consistently nonsensical and lacking in any kind of coherent plot or even a signal of intent from the director beyond making a trendy little slice of sci-fi-lite.

Despite the fact that this movie is cut together like a trendy music video it is not in the least bit exciting, well-paced, entertaining or even basically satisfying being played on a TV in the background.

Watch only as a lesson in how not to make movies.

11 out of 28 people found the following review useful:
Sheer genius melds a unique combination of noir fantasy with intensely intelligent themes, characters and dialogue., 20 April 2005

"Buffy the Vampire Slayer". Four words which are the beginning of a million profoundly meaningful conversations about life, love, and growing up against all adversity.

Never really about "Vampire Slaying", "Buffy" is a television series that uses intelligent and witty dialogue to explore themes of interpersonal relationships, coming of age, personal responsibility, purpose of life, good and evil etc. in a wonderfully engaging and genuinely charming, funny and thought-provoking way, and as such is a unique viewing experience which absolutely transcends its medium.

In this confessed fans opinion, never before has and never again will a television show so bravely and accurately represent the pains and joys of camaraderie and personal growth.

Buffy's fantastic setting is constructed upon a fictional California town, Sunnydale, and the concept of a "Hellmouth", an opening into the underworld that makes Sunnydale a nexus for Vampires, Demons, Majiks, and supernatural happenings.

A natural progression of the movie of the same name, Buffy the Vampire Slayer - the series - is centered on the title character, Buffy Summers, who, through some mystical fate bears the title "The Slayer".

"Slayers" are a line of mortal teenage girls, 21st century "Butt-Kicking Babes" granted superhuman strength, endurance, and agility who have been chosen to protect the natural world from the influence of evil demons, and to slay anyone, and anything, that threatens the safety of humanity. There is always one slayer, and another one is born every time one Slayer is killed.

Buffy is assisted by Rupert Giles, Buffy's "Watcher". The Watchers are a council of English patriarchs, one of whom is chosen to train the Slayer in combat technique and supply her with intelligence about the foes she faces.

Buffy is also supported by a gradually expanding group of friends, starting with the seemingly ordinary Willow and Xander.

All of that said the supernatural theme is really never more than a means to express tangibly the trials and tribulations of running the razor blade that is the path that lies beyond childhood, through the teenage years and into adulthood.

The most basic outline of the generic "Buffy" episode goes like this; 1. In the regular course of slaying vampires, Buffy runs into something she cannot slay easily. 2. Buffy fights valiantly but takes a beating and eventually makes a strategic retreat. 3. Buffy seeks out Giles, Willow and Xander who together provide comic relief. 4. Together Buffy, Giles, Willow and Xander work out how to kill the evil that Buffy could not easily slay. 5. Buffy seeks out that evil once again and kills it, glibly spitting out yet another witty one liner.

If this was all the show ever was it would have been a fun show to watch and would have attracted a small following, finally whimpering its last breath after about 15 episodes.

However, "Buffy" was a seven-season cult phenomenon which spawned another successful TV spin-off series about a Buffy's former boyfriend and vampire-with-a-soul, "Angel", an international following of rabid fans who meet at hundreds of international conventions which are still attended in their thousands years after the series have ended, a merchandising empire, console games, and more web pages than you can shake a dusty stake at. In short, Buffy the Vampire Slayer lead by its creator and father, Joss Whedon, is the kind of worldwide hit that can only aptly be compared to the franchise phenomenons of Gene Roddenberry's "Star Trek" and George Lucas's "Star Wars".

All of this goes to distract many who are not fans of Whedon's work from the real core of the show and the reason that it is such profoundly intelligent and meaningful television and that is the joyful irony in the fact that Buffy's life outside her "Slayer duties" was just as traumatic, if not more so, than the daily fighting and killing of horrific and vile demons.

During its run Buffy went through an episode featuring no dialogue whatsoever ("Hush"), an episode in which the characters constantly broke out in song ("Once more, with feeling"), which is one of the funniest and most entertaining of all, and a painfully and profoundly moving episode that explored the impact of the death of a loved one ("The Body").

Forget the superb fight scenes, fabulous special effects, movie quality make-up, sets and costumes, forget even the top-notch dialogue, beautifully honed characters and still you have "Buffy", a show about young people living through the very real and non-supernatural perils of love, friendship and growing up in a very real crazy world that all of us deal with every day.

Quite simply "Buffy" is a unique television classic which deserves to be hailed and celebrated for the maturity and bravery with which it dealt with such important and fundamentally moving, emotional and profoundly controversial subject matter.

Never before have we seen and never again will we see anything that comes close to this. Out of ten? Don't make me laugh.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Solidly good looking sci-fi. Not the sharpest tool in the box but fun., 12 June 2004

Pitch black left us in a spaceship with a young girl called "Jack" who was pretending to be a little boy, and a holy man, both rescued by our protagonist, ex-con and anti-hero, Riddick.

Riddick, quite possibly the toughest man in the galaxy, starts out this movie as a wanted man, although that doesn't really seem to bother him too much as he can kill adversaries in a flash with almost no trouble at all.

Chronicles is a solid sci-fi thriller with great special effects, exagerrated costuming (particularly an ophidious Thandie Newton), and some of the most gob-smacking fight scenes since the recent "Matrix" movies.

I have some new-found respect for Mr Diesel after this movie as he manages to capture Riddick's anti-heroism with some considerable acting skill.

If you are a fan of the Matrix films you are almost sure to find Chronicles to be a wholy satisfying little romp around the galaxy.

Personally I found the premise, storyline and other content to be very enjoyable, just don't go expecting too much and you'll probably come out like me - glad to have spent the $10.


Duplex (2003)
3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Danny DeVito creates a killer comedy - America ignores it., 3 October 2003

Poor old Danny DeVito.

Duplex is a perfect little comedy with great performances by Stiller and Barrymore, but even greater performance from Eileen Essel as the cute little old Irish Catholic who lives upstairs.

Unfortunately this movie is already disappearing from theaters, it really deserves to have a long run and to be praised because it is genuinely laugh-out-loud funny - something which is rare these days.

One could blame the timing of the release what with a surprisingly good fall line up of movies, but I think it was simply the fact that the promotion for the movie basically consisted of Danny Devito appearing on daytime talk shows - Regis and Kelly's regular audience does not match the demographic who will enjoy this film. To my mind they should have had Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore on late night talk shows and waited a few weeks until they could get the both of them presenting SNL.

In short, this is a great movie, badly promoted and sadly will not get the return or the praise it deserves. It draws its hilarity from classic farce combined with the modern gross-out TSAM type stunts. Maybe everyone is waiting for the DVD extras, goof reel and added scenes. DeVito deserves to make good money off of "Duplex".

Excellent stuff.


Suspend your disbelief for a moment and enjoy., 28 June 2003

Certainly there are many who would say that "28 days later" is based on an unrealistic premise, and has several chronological impossibilities, and conceptual absurdities, however this is very enjoyable Sci-fi movie, and enjoyable sci-fi horror movies are very few and far between, so realise the good in this one and it might just make your day.

Suspend your disbelief for one moment and enjoy the mood of this film.

I'm a Brit too and seeing my beloved London does admittedly bring a tear having lived in the states for over a year now, but with my own personal motivations aside this movie is striking and captivating throughout.

Consider this: Everyone is dead but you and a few others.

What would you do? drug yourself into a coma? break into shops and steal whatever you can lay your hands on, perhaps spend your last days feasting on the finest foods and drinks you can find? Would you look for a way to renew civilization? would you fight against adversity? Would you kill to stay alive? Would you kill a friend to stay alive?

These thoughts were all on my mind in the first ten minutes of this movie.

It is no spoiler to say that H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds is very much brought to mind when watching this film, but the alien killing machines are replaced with former humans - now killer zombies so-to-speak.

The Aliens saga also comes to mind, it's kind of like the story was written by the illigitimate and miraculous lovechild of Steven King and Michael Crichton.

The horror, gore and violence level is high, and in the theatre I was in I saw some dumb woman had brought a young son to the movie, who I felt very sorry for, he's likely going to be in therapy for a long time.

Don't bring kids to this one guys, I know it says R, but you should be warned, this will given the timid and the little ones nightmares on epic scale.

The cinematography seems very fresh, fluid and yet juggled with complex camera angles and tracking shots. The mood is dark, and filled with suspense and a tension between the characters which constantly nears breaking point, but somehow there is humor too.

Yes, this movie isnt exactly realistic, you'll have to forgive the writers that, but if you give the director a chance he'll keep you on the edge of your seat for two hours.

Almost Magnificent 8/10

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Deeply disappointing attempt at a serious role for Sandler, 28 June 2003

I'm stunned after seeing this film, just utterly amazed that Sandler agreed to do this movie, did he read the script??

It's an empty movie with no dynamics, it goes nowhere from start to finish, and when it does end one is left wondering if what we just watched was actually a movie.

If I ever see Adam Sandler I will ask him for the $4 I paid to rent this movie, plus the 2 hours of my life back.

Somewhere in here there is a love story, Adam Sandler and Emily Watson make like the most awkward and unendearing lovers I've ever seen, and a bizarre story about a sex-line call that Sandler's character makes.

There are moments of insane violence against inanimate objects, they are inter-sprinkled with moments of awkward scenes between the love interests.

The location of Hawaii makes an appearance... for a few minutes of the film and the relevance of this location change is quickly realized and spent into meaninglessness.

There is a seeming betrayal by Sandler's character, and then for no apparent reason that is forgiven and forgotten.

The love stories in teeny movies have deeper meaning, and the "love" itself is less believable than in pornography.

I read somewhere that this was an "art movie", well if that's the case then I don't like art movies and I certainly would recommend that anyone that enjoys films miss this one and watch "Mr Deeds" or "Happy Gilmore" to get their Sandler based kicks.

In this one, opera-man he aint.

As an addendum who the hell chose that awful song "He needs me"?

It has to rank as the most irritating song by the most untalented performer in any movie I've seen. I think the singers name was Shelley Duvall if so, Shelley, please find something non-vocal chord related to do with your life. Your singing is painful.

2/10 Would have been 3/10 but that song!!

0 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Gripping, if a little contrived at times, 20 December 2002

Training Day is the story of a rookie narcotics cop (Hawke) on the job for his first day with an unconventional veteran (Washington).... doesnt that sound like the plot of every 80's buddy cop film?

Well, take that plot premise of the buddy cop movie and shove it somewhere unattractive, embellish this action with a plethora of expletives because Training Day is nothing like you expect it to be.

Points here are mainly scored for its surprising story line, its morally perplexing outcome and the excellent performances by the two central characters.

What goes against it for the most part is the simply unbelievable premise that there are narcotics cops in the force who can behave in the way Washington's character does and live to become a veteran cop.

It's a jarring grinding ride of a movie, rather than a speeding roller-coaster, well worth the money to own it on DVD.

A definate 8/10.

203 out of 241 people found the following review useful:
A standing ovation for all concerned., 19 December 2002

It seems ridiculous to want to add my own comments to a slew of others that are already in IMDB's records, but I feel like I cannot sleep nor cease the throbbing in my chest until I release some of what I have so recently seen.

Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings is one of the bravest projects ever attempted by a filmmaker. Mr Jackson deserves every ovation he will receive, every award, every bit of the praise and adoration that will be spoken and written.

This second installment of the story is a masterpiece in every sense, forget your prejudices about the books, they are another way of looking at this beautiful story (I know this is slightly against the rules, but a I cannot resist saying that a previous writers comment - a comment that compared the Lord of the Rings Films and Books to the difference between Romeo and Juliet in screenplay and ballet formats - was entirely accurate).

Gollum was an excellent amalgam, so easily could he have been an annoying Jar-Jar-Binks-Alike. Instead the way that Jackson and Serkis (and doubtless many many others) chose to portray the CGI incarnation of "Smeagol" was incredibly emotive and powerful. Gollum is profoundly disturbing, amusing, almost lovable... Not even John Ronald Reuel himself could induce that range of emotions for Smeagol in me...

A truly skin-crawling performance by a superb Brad Douris as the evil Grima Wormtongue was just beyond words. Douris _Became_ Wormtongue in a skillful fulfillment of what was already inspired casting.

Probably the most definitive casting of this film though was Manchester born Bernard Hill as Theoden, King of Rohan. The casting for "The Two Towers" makes one shake ones head and wonder, in retrospect, whether anyone else could have filled these roles. Mr Hill's performance was truly first rate, a performance which contributed greatly to "The Battle of Helms Deep", scenes which were a spinning tornado of emotions for the viewer.

Viggo Mortensen goes from strength to strength. His performance is visceral and yet sensitive. The overriding emotion that Tolkiens vision of Aragorn induced (at least for me) was awe at his heroics. Mortensen's portrayal in Jackson's frame brings new aspects to the Aragorn character. Mortensen's Aragorn is emotionally dextrous to go with his physical dexterity, he is sensitive, seemingly empathic, warmer and more fundamentally human, and yet super-human in presence and charisma. "Definitive" is not strong enough of a word.

If you still view Jackson's epic with scepticism I implore you to put down your preconceptions and your prejudices, but most of all put down the books... This is beautiful way to see middle earth, don't pass it up - The books are the ultimate fantasy epic - the pictures you draw in your head are better than anything you can imagine, but The Lord of the Rings "The Two Towers" is one wonderful interpretation of that epic story.

Go, Laugh, Cry, and Sit in Awe of this cinematic treat.

Comedian (2002)
4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Not for the laughs., 1 November 2002

As a Brit in the U.S.A. I've largely missed the hype over the last couple of decades about Jerry Seinfeld and his television show. The Seinfeld TV show was an acquired taste to me, It took me a long couple of months to understand the premise of the show, and it's method of inducing humourous situations. It always seemed like Seinfeld was creating laughs through pain, like he was pulling himself up by his own barbed-wire-bootstraps, bloody fingers struggling to bear the weight of his own ambition.

To avoid overplaying the negative things about this film I feel compelled to explain first of all what this film is not. It is not another venture in the Seinfeld campaign of making you laugh. It does not explain how Seinfeld developed his humour, or how his Jokes come into being. It does not give you a real taste of the life, the trials, and the pain of being a funnyman.

Going with the wrong expectations is tantamount to a ruination of an evening to your local cinema.

The Film charts some choice exploits of Mr Seinfeld, and one of his cohorts, a Mr Orny Adams, and their interactions with other comedians, their audience, and the camera eye.

Adams is a 29-year-young aspiring joke-boy, he's arrogant (and proudly so) and he's terribly insecure. If this film doesn't kill his career, I'll be surprised. Throughout this movie journal with Mr Adams he displays a huge amount of his personality, and unfortunately little of his comedy. He complains about his audience, whines frequently about how hard it is being a young comedian, bitches to his manager about the comments of one of his contemporaries (despite them being encouraging and well-intended) and generally displays how unpleasant of a person he is. I think if Mr Adams views this movie now he would heartily wish that they had displayed less of his personality and more of his comedy.

The number of jokes audible in this film that aren't drowned out by the liberally inter-spliced Jazz soundtrack are likely numerable on the fingers of one hand, and one is left with the impression that this was almost entirely intended as a message to the rest of us who haven't experienced the efforts involved in making people laugh equipped only with a microphone, a microphone stand, and a bar stool, a message that says `Dammit, My soul is bleeding!, Who are you not to laugh?'. Seinfeld even voices almost this exact sentiment in one part of the routine that is featured in the movie, and the idea that Seinfeld only believes this jokingly is too much of a stretch to believe.

I can't escape the feeling that both Mr Seinfeld and Mr Adams hold contempt for the general public who watch their act, probably more so for those that don't. I'd even go as far as saying that given the opportunity they would throw full blown temper tantrums of resentment and anger against those who have decried their chosen professions as `Soft' or claimed them not to be `Real jobs'.

During one featured part of Mr Adams routine he begins by informing the audience that he is single, by his own choice, to which the inevitable reply comes back from a female in that audience `Are you Gay?' Mr Adams takes this as a terrible slight and even takes this after the show as something worthy of remark to his mother when he informs her that he is going to be featured in a Comedy Festival in Montreal.

If you like mainstream stand-up this film will make you laugh a couple of times. It maybe will make you feel as if you are getting inside the `Comedy Scene'; but it won't make you curl up with hilarity, and it won't give you stunning insights into the worlds of Mr Seinfeld or Mr Adams.

My advice is to wait for the video to come out if you are a fan of Mr Seinfeld, if you are not fond of his style of humour avoid this movie. If you don't know Mr Seinfeld at all this is not a good way to be introduced to him.

In my opinion Mr Seinfeld wants you to feel like you are getting in touch with the legendary figure that he feels he will become. I think he's a funny man, but this film was an misdirected effort, an effort that was not for the laughs.