10 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
District 9 (2009)
A film about hope
31 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Just the other day, I was lamenting the fact that films these days seem to spend less than 5 minutes building up the story and developing characters. Then this film came along.

District 9 started off in a documentary/news style, which made it appear more 'real'. The film took its time building up the kind of man that Wikus was, and we the audience are better for it. From start to finish, there is a real transition in his character development, which is something that's generally lacking in films (not just science fiction films).

What sets District 9 from other alien films is that it avoids sci-fi techspeak. Yes, there are some great CGI effects, and we see all manner of explosions. But the way the story is delivered, it was social commentary disguised as a sci-fi film. It reminds us that we're all suspicious and prejudiced against things we don't understand.

This film made me feel the same way as The Shawshank Redemption. Ultimately, it's a film about hope. A film that shows how cruel people are (or can be), and how (despite all that) the protagonist is shown not to have acted in vain.

If you like films that aren't completely predictable and even a little leftfield form the norm, you won't be disappointed with District 9. Yes, certainly elements of the film are predictable (as with any film), but ultimately I doubt many viewers can actually 'see' where the film is going after the first 30 minutes.

~ squodge ~
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Words cannot express the joy I felt...
10 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Words cannot express the joy I felt when this second installment of Lord of the Rings hit the screens. My joy was short-lived, however, as I discovered that this second in the trilogy was as painful as exercising on a push bike with diarrhoea.

The first of the trilogy was an excellent film, even for someone like me who isn't a big fan on there so-called 'fantasy epics'. Did no one mention to Tolkien that he'd just rewritten the Conan Chronicles, with the only difference being that he couldn't even be bothered to make more female characters? Okay, so we know Tolkien must have been gay for that reason. No matter. The film of the first book was spectacular - battle scenes like I'd never seen before, dialogue that was crisp and sharp, and I really felt for the characters.

The Two Towers was just the opposite. The fight scenes were nothing new - in fact, if they had taken out all the fight scenes, there would have been nothing left in the film! I'm very disappointed that they didn't make this film more dialogue-driven rather than effects and battle-driven. Granted that the book has numerous battles, to me this translated badly onto the cellular screen. For me, films must be ADAPTED from books, not merely copied scene-for-scene.

One person commented that this film require a new scale because 10 cannot do it justice. Erm, 10 means perfection; and as far as I'm concerned, no film ever deserves a 10. The Godfather comes close, so does Star Wars (episode 4), and perhaps Casablanca.

Watching the Two Towers gave me the same feeling of disappointment that I felt when I watched Matrix Reloaded - it put me off wanting to watch the final installment. Which is a shame, because the last of the trilogy (both Matrix and LOTR) is much better than the second of the trilogy in both cases.

In terms of 'completeness', I would recommend watching this film only because you need it to bridge the first and third LOTR films. If you want to watch a film purely for its entertainment value, you're better off watching "I, Robot". At least you get to see Will Smith get beaten up many times lol.

The Two Towers scores a generous 3/10 for me, only because you need it to watch the far superior final installment.
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Mean Girls (2004)
Ordinary film with extraordinary performances and dialogue - GO SEE IT!
20 October 2004
I watched this film on a flight back from Japan and it was possibly the best film I'd seen in the last twelve months, which is saying something because I've seen about 300 films since January this year.

Basically, I was expecting your average teen flick, but I discovered that this film has a lot more going for it. The usual gags are there, as well as the usual stereotypes. But stereotypes can be exploited in a positive way - in Mean Girls, the stereotypes were there to help us identify with the characters very quickly so less time is spent on character development.

The scene in the gym where the teachers ask each kid to atone for their sins (after the 'book' is found) is classic. It was hilarious watching the kids say nasty things and then apologise for them.

After seeing the awful Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, I was expecting the worse from this film. How I was so wrong! If you ain't seen this, take off your thinking cap and enjoy ^__^

~ squodge ~
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Century Hotel (2001)
A little disappointing, but still some some moments worth savouring...
7 April 2003
I got this film on the strength of one actress that I like... Lindy Booth. Her performance in Century Hotel seems a little below par, but it was adequate.

The film doesn't seem to go anyway in the first hour, but then it unfolds nicely after that. Which is unfortunate since the film is only about 90 minutes long.

The Cantonese pronunciations were absolutely crap. I didn't they just stick to using imitation bad English (Canadian) accents instead of getting the actors to speak very poor Cantonese? Or perhaps they should have rewritten that part of the script. Sorry, it's a nitpick, but I believe films are an art form and, as such, should be given more TLC than Century Hotel was given.

I did like the little "twist" regarding the soldier guy who was soon to be married to his sweetheart who he hadn't seen for a long time. Watch the film and you'll find out!

All in all, this wasn't a bad film. But they could've done so much more with it. 6/10 is a fair indication of its entertainment value.
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Oktober (1998– )
Great drama, sadly unavailable anywhere.
29 March 2003
I didn't realise that this mini-series of three episodes was only 5 years old! I remember seeing the first episode and thought it was amazing drama. The final scenes were nothing short of breath-taking; although some of it was predictable.

Nonetheless, I'm surprised that the producers never thought of releasing this to the public on DVD or VHS. It would certainly give some people something entertaining to watch on a Sunday night.

I think at the time when Oktober came out, there was a lot of promising British TV, but unfortunately most of them were either canned or really dumbed-down for the audience. I can remember seeing "Crime Traveller" and thought that was fun, although nothing new.

There was also "Cracker", which came out a little earlier, I think. "Cracker" was controversial at the time because, if I recall, there was a sex scene that came just seconds after the watershed and provoked outcry by those members of the UK society who obviously had nothing better to do.

Anyway, catch Oktober if you can. Not sure where you'll get it. But it's fun, albeit in a dark sense!
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Amélie (2001)
Great cinematography!
28 March 2003
LyCifer says that this film has been "done before". Well, tell me which film hasn't been "done before". Good cinema is not judged by originality, but on entertainment value and good cinematography.

If a film can inspire you, make you cry, make you laugh, make you think, and make you feel good after you watch it, then it has done well. All films should be approached in this way. All films provoke some of those responses... but Amelie provoked all those responses in me.

If you haven't seen this film, you have missed out on an odyssey of emotions and feeling. Watch it with friends. Watch it alone. Above all, watch it! You won't be disappointed... unless you watch the Polish dubbed version. You have been warned!
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Without the special effects and battle scenes, this is a pointless film.
16 February 2003
Well, what can I say that hasn't already been said? So many people spilling out so many superlative about this film, I may as well be the one who disses it.

Fundamentally, this film fails in the same way as "Gone in 60 Seconds". In other words, if you're not into cars (or battle scenes, as is the case of The Two Towers) then this film is kind of pointless. It supposedly follows Frodo on his trail of adventures, but every single hindrance is a battle of some type.

As far as I'm concerned, films are supposed to be the director and producer's interpretation of a script. They've made no attempt to interpret anything here. It's just battle scene after battle scene.

Even the humour attempted is very poor. There is the play on the dwarf's height, which is over-done, it's stale. I must say that, for a film that's serious, the humorous moments should have been a lot funnier. I'm not expecting belly laughs all the way, but something to at least make me laugh a bit would have been nice.

Anyway, I'm sure the whole world and his dog will go and see this film. For those of you want to be adventurous, try a different film instead. Try "Ring" (or "Ringu" as it's transliterated from the Japanese) which has far more suspense than this pile of cr*p.

All in all, a waste of time of a film, except for Lord of the Rings fanatics and those who really don't know what the genre of film is supposed to be about.
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Alias (2001–2006)
Half-decent viewing amid today's poor taste TV
18 January 2003
The pilot episode showed how television has not really progressed much. Much of the elements of the so-called-plot were predictable, such as Sydney escaping, her father being somehow involved in it right from the start, and discovering certain things like her mother is dead. These seem to be a staple in American television shows. Are ALL families this dysfunctional?

That said, I think Alias has a lot of promise. The characterisations are stereotyped - we have the kick-ass heroine in Sydney, the over-complex Jack Bristow, the jealous friend Will, the token black girl Francie, the rather clumsy-sounding Marshall, and the typical baddie-types like Suit and Glasses.

I think the stereotypes actually work in its favour here. Usually, in an espionage/thriller series, it is hard to remember who is who, etc. But the characterisations help here.

Only time will tell whether Alias will actually get anywhere. The stories tend to end in cliffhangers, which is all good and well, but sooner or later, the show will have to give closure. Otherwise it will end up with the same fate as Dark Angel, a another show that started out with huge promise, but disintegrated from poor scripting and even worse acting.

Points out of ten? 6/10
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Virtual Nightmare (2000 TV Movie)
Could have done so much more...
18 January 2003
Virtual Nightmare is one of those films you catch on cable television by accident. I was one of the lucky people who did just that, over the Christmas period in 2002.

This was one of those films that did well to show the acting talents of virtual nobodies. The only criticism I have of the film is the ending, which I felt was a little unsatisfactory. That said, Virtual Nightmare does give food for thought, and the last film that made me think in this kind of way was "Cube", which was a completely different genre, but still made me feel "claustrophobic".

Nevertheless, this is one film that should be seen. It highlights the rot of consumerism and globalisation, and how we are all blind to it.
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Dark Angel (2000–2002)
Let Dark Angel die a peaceful death
18 January 2003
Dark Angel started off full of promise. However, just like most contemporary American television, producers seem to think that good looking actresses make for good viewing. They don't.

Dark Angel suffered from about the second or third episode into the second season, and the television networks did well to drop it like the proverbial plague. Bad storylines coupled with poor acting made this one of the worst shows ever. Even "The Simpson" has better acting, and they're all celluloid!

I think Cameron should have made Dark Angel a movie rather than a television series. He should have spent more on a script and drafted a decent actress. And it was scandalous how they dropped John Savage without warning - he was definitely one of the highlights of the show.

Bring back Dark Angel? No, let it die in peace. Lots of good moments, but sadly far too many duff ones. There was also too much stereotyping. Main star (Alba) is eye candy, then there's the black girl friend with "yo mama" speech built-in, and a nerdy type (Eyes Only). Pur-lease! Show some originality! This typecasting was evident in Knight Rider of the 1980's...why, oh why, are producers still coming out with formulaic stuff? Especially when it fails to work.
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