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The Tree of Life (2011)
A lot of reviews are describing this film as pretentious but it's not really.
I think a lot of the negative reviews have been from people that tried to construct a story from the film and haven't been able to because there isn't a story. If you watch it expecting a plot then you will get bored and frustrated.
What this film is is an emotional and even spiritual experience, a film that you let wash over you, that generates gut feelings. Switch your conscious brain off and just feel what you see.
It's like watching the stars at night. There's no story, nothing to construct, just an awe inspiring spectacle of nature's beauty that can't help but make you feel something inside.
Watch it from that perspective and it becomes an enjoyable experience.
I liked it.
Planet Earth (2006)
This is a beautifully shot series looking at nature in all it's natural wonder, showcasing a breathtaking diversity of life from the poles to the deserts.
With the spectre of global warming rapidly looming I wonder just how much of these wonderful ecosystems are going to survive. I just hope that in 100 years time people will not watch 'Planet Earth' with the same curiosity that I have when look at etchings of the Dodo from old books.
TV like 'Planet Earth' has made me think a lot more about the natural world that surrounds me and the impact I am having on it. We can't sit back and let this disappear. It's for all future generations, not just this one.
Those Lucky New York Fans
What a crazy laugh the New York Cosmos must have been back in the 70s! This is the story of one man and his dream to turn what was not much more than a pub team playing in a delapidated stadium into one of the best. Although the wheels came completely off in the early 80s it must have been huge fun whilst the show was on the road. As a football fan what would I have given to have Pele and Beckenbauer in my team (maybe even the crazy Chinaglia too), football is all about passion and dreams and the management team at the Cosmos delivered the fantasy in spades.
The film runs at a slick pace and there are lots of funny moments, the Mick Jagger bit made me laugh out loud. If you love football go and see it, you won't be disappointed. If you don't you'll still enjoy it as this is as much about all the clashing egos as much as what the team did on the pitch.
Vanilla Sky (2001)
I watched this film recently and judging by some of the comments on here frankly I was expecting a film that was a bit up itself and completely confusing.
Happily though I decided to watch it anyway and after viewing it I think it is a great film, the plot is interesting and although the film needs your attention it is not so complex that you wouldn't understand it if you just engage with the story.
Acting was terrific esp Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz and overall I would give this a big thumbs up.
For people in the UK who are reading this and wondering whether to watch it, I thought that this film had shades of the TV series 'Life On Mars' about it.
My Summer of Love (2004)
Warm Summer Days
Like all the best films that I have seen I had no prior expectations of My Summer Of Love. However as soon as the film started and the Goldfrapp tune Lovely Head came on I was instantly transported to a lazy summer school holiday ; Lying in the grass talking for hours about nothing in particular, swimming in the river, long summer days and nights without a care in the world.
The film is a simple story of girl meets girl and the ensuing relationship. Everything meanders along at a leisurely pace which gives the characters time to unfold themselves before you and keeps in time with the summer feel. The two girls and the brother are well drawn and the interactions and differences between them always keep you interested.
If you are the sort of person who likes films about people rather than action and you have a couple of hours spare get this on DVD, you won't be disappointed. I certainly wasn't.
The Filth and the Fury (2000)
How to change music with one album
The Filth and the Fury is the best musical documentary I have ever seen about one of the most influential bands ever.
The Sex Pistols were an explosion that could only last a short time but one whose ripples still influence bands of today which is amazing as they only ever released one album.
The footage of the band was excellent with lots of previous unseen shots and I really felt that the film tried to show them as human beings rather than caricature bad guys. I also thought that the director did a great job of explaining the social climate of the time and why punk came about, an honest account about how ordinary people in the UK really felt about what was happening at the time.
All in all a fitting epitaph, their music was raw and brilliant, I just wish I could say that about most of todays offerings.
Touching the Void (2003)
One of the most gripping docudramas I have ever seen.
As I sat in my nice comfy cinema chair watching the drama unfold before me I kept on asking myself if I could have gone through what Joe went through and come out alive and I'm quite sure that there is no way that I could. He was an exceptionally strong guy both mentally and physically and even though I knew that he survived I had no idea how he was going to do it.
You do not need to be a mountaineer to enjoy this because ultimately it is about human experience rather than mountaineering.
Definitely try to see this in a cinema, the large screen is the only way to do the scenery justice.
Deliverance? More like Disappointing..
Having read many positive reviews on this film I was looking forward to seeing it. Unfortunately I was really quite disappointed with what I saw.
Firstly I thought it moved far too slowly. If you are going to make an action film that moves this slowly then make sure that your characters are interesting enough to carry the viewers attention. This film could really have explored it's characters much more than it did - there were lots of opportunities to find out what these guys thought about life and their current predicament but I never found anything out about these guys other than background details.
Secondly the hillbillies were portrayed as stupid and/or bad and nothing else. They were just cardboard stereotypes, surely they could have been shown to have a few more facets to their character. Again it would have made the story more interesting.
Thirdly Burt Reynolds acting was completely over the top in a superhero type way. I know he was supposed to play the macho outdoor type but when I saw him on the screen I kept on thinking of Adam West as Batman in the TV series. At least Adam West can use the excuse that he was playing a real superhero.
The best bit for me was the duelling Banjos scene. As someone who enjoys Bluegrass I really enjoyed listening to the guitar and banjo players playing together. The kid was playing so fast I'm sure I saw sparks coming off his Banjo!
Gentle Story Of Everyday Folk
This is one of the best films I have ever seen, a gentle story describing the various lives of a group of people linked around a cigar store in New York.
The usual Hollywood formula for thrills and spills is replaced with beautifully crafted characters and intelligent dialogue, peaking with the wonderful christmas story as told at the end of the film.