Reviews written by registered user

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53 reviews in total 
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Passengers (2016/I)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Pretty good if you just accept the many scientific goofs, 12 April 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is definitely one of the better SciFi movies, on several counts. Firstly, the CGI is spectacularly good even by today's high standards. I watched the movie on a (clear and sharp) inflight video screen and the effects were excellent: I must see it again on a big screen. Secondly, although there are a few wham bang scenes, they are thankfully few and far between: far too many movies now rely on destroying things in massive explosions rather than good plotting and dialogue. Thirdly - and most importantly, the script gives the audience something to think about: the ethical dilemma of Jim, the sole awakened passenger on an interstellar ship as he agonises whether to cut short the hibernation of the beautiful Aurora. He longs for company and, hopefully, "company" - Arthur the bartender isn't quite the same. Despite the scientific advisors the producers must have employed there are many goofs plainly visible (the "Goofs" section here brings up a large number) but IMO they don't spoil the movie to a great extent except towards the end. At about the halfway point the movie seems to stray away from thoughtful analysis of Jim's dilemma and comes close to being wham bang (See above.) One of the most notable scenes is where gravity disappears: it is a stunning mix of live action and CGI - and also one containing a large number of scientific goofs, not that this spoils the effect. The ending is, I think, the worst part of this movie. Hollywood likes a happy ending so, despite Jim's death in space (a pretty unequivocal passing, given the extent of his exposure to heat, radiation, anoxia and cryogenic temperatures!) he is miraculously resurrected in a truly biblical fashion. Shortly afterwards - in movie terms, if not relativistic - the film ends rather as if the editors had been given a deadline. A continuation of the more thoughtful first half would have had him die and stay dead: the final scene might have shown Aurora herself facing the same dilemma about waking a good looking guy to provide company - and "company". Fade to black/credits....... 8/10 but still a good watch.

16 out of 29 people found the following review useful:
Awful: just awful, 21 October 2016

The original concept of Star Trek, millennia ago, explored the interpersonal relations of the characters, morality, chain of command and so much more. The shonky sets and pre-CGI effects did not detract from the thoughtfulness of the writing.

None of this applies in the "Beyond" disaster.

The only thing I can say in its defence is that the CGI effects are up to standard - although they are often so bang-bang-bang that they lose the plot.

It appears to me that the direction of this movie comes from the "Hello Kitty" far East mentality, where a logical plot line and exploration of the characters' motives play very much second best to infantile effects - however well they are done here..

I managed some forty minutes so the ending cannot be reviewed by me. Do yourself a favour and don't bother even with forty minutes.

I was not a great fan of most of the previous Star Trek films - they lost so much from the original TV concepts - but this one is just dire.

400 Days (2015)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Possibly the worst movie of all time?, 21 October 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have to admit that I watched this through to the end.

Only because I needed to see if it was as bad as I thought. The answer to that is : yes.

Nothing made any sense whatsoever. As far as I could make out someone was in jail, then part of a simulated 400 day exercise in space travel. There were the expected scenes of interpersonal rivalry and aggression, some sort of external earthquake/explosion, leaving the underground facility and finding a whole group of weirdos/survivors/aliens? then a short, unexplainable and unexplained final shot with the director saying they had done well. End of story.

It may have made sense to the scriptwriters and even possibly the cast and director, but it did not to me or apparently to most of the IMDb reviewers.

I give it one star (awful) only because there's no zero star available.

Do not waste your money and buy this absolute rubbish.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A must-see, 3 August 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie was made in 1983. I must have seen it on TV sometime in the nineties, and the central theme has stayed with me since then - in fact, even more so as time has passed. So I have just bought and viewed the DVD. It was relevant then, and probably a lot more so in 2016, when I write.

People worldwide are rebelling against the "system": the Star Chamber shows part of the reason - the increasing gap between common sense justice and the way the law has been perverted almost to the extent that the victims of crime are almost made into the perpetrators by the judicial system.

Douglas is, as always, excellent as the judge who is drawn into the clandestine group of likeminded judges acting, with the best of intentions, outside the law to provide a form of vigilante justice. In fact the film is well cast altogether.

There are several slight holes in the story, not least of which is how the hit men are funded, but these don't detract in the slightest from the beautifully constructed plot. It draws you in, especially because you can sympathise with the utter frustration of the people involved in a way that is rarely seen nowadays.

One or two scenes could be shortened to good effect - the car park chase isn't up to Bullitt standards and probably slows the overall plot down rather than helping it along, and the finale warehouse chase is a little overdone.

Overall, though, a film that should be compulsory watching for anyone debating how society is being allowed to disintegrate partly because of, rather than despite, the law.

3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
A truly awful movie, stunningly bad., 11 April 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Thanks are due to Singapore Air, who put an end to my utter boredom when the aircraft landed and the videos were switched off, towards the end of the scene in what I suppose was some sort of matrix.

I mention this because the fact that it was viewed on a 17" screen with noise cancelling headphones on might be relevant, although I don't think so.

One line in this dreadful attempt at an epic sticks in my memory: "This data makes no sense". (Ignore the grammar). Correct: very little of this movie makes any sense at all. The characters are hardly defined, the plot - if indeed there is one - is so incoherent that it left me angry, the track is numbingly monotonous and overwhelms much of the dialogue and the "science" (my quotes) is infantile.

If the makers of the movie (and I say makers because the director is only one of the guilty, albeit the one accountable) had any inkling as to where the storyline was going, I do wish they had taken the trouble to share the information, because frankly I hadn't a clue. Perhaps I was too engaged with counting the constant barrage of laughable improbabilities to follow the flashbacks and flashforwards.

A film attempting to explain such things as time relativity and black holes to the uninitiated needs to use the concepts in a logical way. Falling back again and again on fantasy rather than developing the sci-fi theme is the sign of a failure of imagination, not the reverse.

You will notice that I make no mention of the cgi or use of stunts: good or bad they cannot rescue a dog of a storyline. I felt zero connection with any of the characters because none showed any sort of believability. A long retired astronaut cum farmer gets into a spaceship and immediately knows its systems? The ship itself is built, hidden from the world, by a handful of people? A robot made of chunky blocks can manipulate switches let alone run around on and in water and ice? Etcetera etcetera. Please.....

Again, thanks to the airline for saving me the ten bucks that I was actually looking forward to spending at the cinema, having read the glowing critics' reviews of this movie.

Ye Gods...., 9 August 2014


I can't believe I actually sat through 1Hr 30m of this drivel, which goes on for an interminable 2 Hr plus. (I fast forwarded through the final scenes just in case something came up. It didn't.) Comedy, even fantasy comedy, has to have a structure. It doesn't necessarily have to be a logical structure (some of the best Monty Python sketches ARE the best because of their zany lack of it) but it must make sense on some level. This effort has absolutely nothing going for it, or for the tens of millions of dollars that were sunk into it.

Robin Williams must have been having an off day when his agent suggested getting involved, and his non-appearance in the listings says it all.

Gilliam's input in the Monty Python series was the weakest part and in Baron Munchausen we can appreciate just why.


0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Absolute rubbish, 15 July 2014

I stuck this one for thirty minutes, until I could take no more.

Is it a comedy? No, it's not in the slightest amusing.

Drama? Nope.

Romance? Definitely no.

SciFi? Possibly, the characters don't seem to inhabit any of the planets I'm familiar with.

Seriously, this is a terrible effort. Long, meandering shots which lead nowhere. Dreadful people with accents that are incomprehensible. Situations that have absolutely no relevance to whatever plot there may be. Cuts from one venue to another with no indication what connection they have.

The cinematography is quite reasonable. That's all, folks.

38 out of 133 people found the following review useful:
Oh dear...., 16 March 2014

The original, Sagan, Cosmos was for its time a blockbuster. By today's standards of CGI presentation it is, of course, pretty old fashioned; but who could forget the heartfelt narration, the "little blue dot" which still brings a lump to my throat.

An 'updated cosmos" this ain't.

With all due respect to Dr Tyson, he should have told the producers of this to get lost. I have seen him many times on TV expounding with authority on many of the wonders of the universe, but in this effort he has been badly let down.

I think it's fair to say that the majority of those who choose to watch this sort of programme are interested in science, know a reasonable amount about it and want to be instructed, not merely entertained with anime-style cartoons and cheesy CGI fly-throughs of star systems, pretty though they may be. Unfortunately, the twenty minutes of the episode that I managed to stick with convinced me that my time would be better spent making a cup of tea. So I made a cup of tea.

Two and a bit decades have passed since Sagan made the original series: his "spaceship" looks like something from an old SciFi movie to us now. But the present obsession with smart graphics and "exciting" background "music" (my quotes are deliberate in both cases) renders the message in irrelevance.

Must try harder - cheaper would be better.

13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Unwatchable, 12 March 2014

I managed about ten minutes of this movie, and that was quite enough.

The editing makes it, for me, completely unwatchable. The cutting is more frenetic than any film I have ever seen before and after the first couple of minutes my brain had been battered into "please let me die" mode.

There really is nothing clever or innovative about such a pace: I suspect the editors were brought up on cut/cut/cut videos and imagine that this "technique" (being polite) makes a story exciting.

News for them: it doesn't in commercials, and it sure doesn't in a full length movie. Grow up and learn to make a story stand up for itself without this sort of activity.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Not what I was expecting, 18 December 2013

Nothing that I write here is any kind of comment on the actual military operation in Iraq, nor on those involved: it's purely reflections on the movie.

I don't know what I was expecting except that the film was to do with IOD management in a war zone. It does, to my limited understanding of the subject, a reasonable job in that respect.

What spoiled it for me was the almost comedic gung-ho attitude displayed by most of the soldiers and in particular the over-use of the hand held camera.

The latter is a hobby horse of mine, but almost all the modern directors seem to be enthralled with this clichéd technique, usually in totally inappropriate movies.

Hand held camera-work has its place - and that place is when the story is being told as if from the viewpoint of, for example, a news cameraman in a firefight. It gives authenticity to the sequences. All too often it is used indiscriminately in films that have absolutely no use for it, and is merely irritating.

(I was going to see Captain Phillips last week, until I saw a review that mentioned the director's signature hand held camera-work - I decided to give it a miss.)

The ironic thing about the Hurt Locker is that it is just the sort of story that IS appropriate for the technique. The trouble is that it is completely over the top: the shots are often so deliberately jerky that I was thinking more of my irritation than following the storyline.

It's a valid technique that is so often got wrong, in so many ways. Pity.


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