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Little Men (2016)
Near perfect portrayal of adolescent friendship
This film is a joy. I'm a long way from age 13, but this film reminded me of the ups and downs of teenage relationships. Two boys, one shy, one feisty thrown together by circumstance. They form a strong bond just as their respective parents grow apart. The boys don't have the emotional experience to understand the reasons why there is a rift between their respective parents. They resort to childish ploys to restore the status quo. Clearly this doesn't work. I won't give away the ending. But please go and see this film for the two outstanding performances from the two boys. Just breathtaking. And familiar. And a brilliant light touch from the director. I just want to see it again.
X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
Even the actors looked bored
If you like to mindlessly waste an hour or two of your precious existence, then possibly this cinematic garbage might be for you. However, if you want your cinema to be entertaining, then stay well away. This movie could (and should) have had at least 30 minutes cut from the running time. The pacing is so slow and not helped by the overuse of set CGI pieces that somehow were not thrilling at all. There was better stuff in The Mummy.
This is lazy film making. And the response from the audience I was part of? A considerable amount of audible yawning.
One of the worst films I've seen this year. Let's hope the plug is pulled on this franchise. It's overstayed its welcome.
Stupid Title. Brilliant film
If you liked '4 Weddings and a Funeral' (and who didn't) then you will love this film. The premise is simple: a collection of Brits of a certain age decide to spend their early retirement at a dubious, run- down hotel in Jaipur, India. This decision obviously involves a physical journey but more importantly, an emotion journey too. Gradually we learn the back story of these characters, and these stories are very fascinating indeed.
An absolutely stellar cast are well served by an intelligent witty script with some killer one-liners which are guaranteed laugh out loud. Only occasionally does it get sentimental, but somehow this doesn't matter, because the seductive nature of India weaves its spell not just on the characters but also on us.
It's good to see a film that doesn't treat retirement aged people as idiots. These people are intelligent, funny, curious and I would willingly share a g&t with them. An absolute gem of a film.
Kill List (2011)
Why do British films have to be this bad?
It must be that logo for the National Lottery that rings the death knell for certain movies. Remember the so-called comedy 'Sex Lives of the Potato Men'? Well this is the so-called horror equivalent.
The films lasts around 94 minutes. It feels like days. There is no need for the first 30 minutes. No character development, no sharp dialogue, no style, no decent acting, no tension, no plot.
It makes me ashamed of the British film industry. If this is the best you can do, then clear off. Saying f*ck a lot and hitting someone with a hammer does not make a good film.
If you want to see 'violence' with style, you need to look to the Far East. 'I see the Devil' released last year was inventive, stylish and highly watchable. 'Revenge - A Love Story' from Hong Kong also pushed boundaries.
This was a low budget disgrace.
London Boulevard (2010)
Dull and tired
So what was in the director's mind when he started this movie? Forget Guy Richie ...let's make yet another London gangster flick .... so lots of swearing .....like c*nt and f*ck but that's alright because they're said by some good looking actors. Not much of a plot ... but a great soundtrack from the 60's that has nothing to do with the time line of the movie. So who could think of such a thing? Only the screenwriter from the wildly over-rated film The Departed. - Hollywood's shallow remake of Hong Kong's brilliant Infernal Affairs. Colin Farrell deserves better material than this. The charismatic and engaging gangster from In Bruges is here hijacked by a senseless and shallow screenplay. A waste of the actors' time ... and a waste of ours too.
Geu nom moksori (2007)
I doubt very much whether this film will be released in the UK in the near future as we sadly have a very high profile child abduction case in the news at the moment. However, this film is extraordinary. Based on a true-life (unsolved)case from 1991, Han Kyung Bae (Sol Kyung Gu) plays a successful, yet ruthless news anchor with a beautiful wife (Kim Nam Joo) and a nine-year-old son. But suddenly his successful life comes crashing down when his son gets kidnapped. In the next 44 days, the parents continuously receive calls from the kidnapper with instructions and requests for ransom. The police are determined to find the kidnapper, but he effortlessly eludes capture; not only is he a step ahead at every turn, he seems to enjoy toying with the police in this cat-and-mouse chase. As the kidnapper keeps walking free, Kyung Bae becomes increasingly desperate and frustrated with the police, as he knows time is running out for his child. This is an uncomfortable subject but the acting from the two leads is quite astonishing. And given the title of the movie, we know the outcome of the case from the start. But that doesn't detract from the grip the film has on the viewer. Not surprisingly, this film has been the highest grossing Korean film of 2007 to date. And wait for the end credits to hear the actual voice of the murderer. That's really chilling.
This was akin to looking at a very poor student film. A vacuous plot, terrible acting - no sorry - TERRIBLE acting and direction so loose and indulgent that you wonder why this director ever got funding in the first place.
How do British films like this ever get the big screen? There was nothing of merit here. Our director was just trying a cheap trick with a movie building to a supposedly 'shocking' extended final rape scene. But even this was badly done.
What was the point of this film? There was no character development; it had nothing profound to say about British youth. It was just a bad exploitative film where the excessive use of four letter words were used in place of well written dialogue.
Let's hope this is the last we hear of director Thomas Clay.
Fu zi (2006)
A Huge Disappointment
First things first. This is not so much a dramatic heart-wrenching film, more a self-indulgent melodrama. I have just had the misfortune to sit through the director's DVD cut of this movie. 159 minutes of self indulgent twaddle. One thing's for sure - the distributors sure got it right when they axed nearly 30 minutes from the running time for the cinema release.
Why is this so bad? 2 major factors - the writing and directing. Please put your hand up Patrick Tam. If you're going to make a film that centers on a father/son relationship, please make the father 3-dimentional and believable. Here we had a total loser from the first minute; one who railed at his own (self-inflicted) misfortune and had an on/off loving relationship with his 8 year old son.
Can I quickly say that this little boy was by far the best thing in the film and acted everyone else off the screen and is the ONLY reason to watch this film.
The great mystery is why this nonsense garnered so many awards? Somebody called Roger Garcia is quoted on the back of my DVD copy as saying that "After This Our Exile is the first masterpiece of Hong Kong cinema of the 21st century ..." I think he's wrong. And if he's right - then God help HK cinema.
A worthy but ultimately tedious exercise
This is not so much a film more a docudrama. Nick Broomfield chooses to tell the story through the experience of one girl. Whilst it is certainly shocking to see innocent people manipulated by heartless people-traffickers and exploited (in this case by British Chinese as well as British Caucasians), I couldn't help but feel that I was being 'hectored' by the director.
Strangely, in spite of the awful outcome of this sorry episode, I felt little compassion for the central character. This was in part due to the lack-lustre acting by the ensemble cast. Much of the film had the feel of improvisation about it. And there was so much repetition - endless shots of our illegals being driven in a mini van to yet another low-pay employment opportunity. The pace of this piece is funereal.
What really irked me though were the end captions. Nick Broomfield informs us that most illegal Chinese immigrants never make it back to their homeland. Fair comment. But then he declares that the British government have refused to pay off the debts of the Chinese cockle-pickers that survived this tragedy. Does he really expect the government (of whatever colour) to pick up the tab for debts incurred in other countries by people who are working here in the black economy? I think the story of the Chinese cockle-pickers is a story worth telling. It's a pity this film didn't do a better job of it.
Hot Fuzz (2007)
Don't believe the hype
To judge from the plethora of glowing reviews on this site, you might be lured into the idea that 'Hot Fuzz' is quite the funniest film made this decade.
It's not. It's quite appalling. And very very dull and predictable. I can only surmise that all those 5 star reviews were written by friends of the production. I have just come from my local cinema where the substantial audience grew more and more restless as this tedious film wore on.
The cast reads like a who's who of British acting talent. Sadly you see very little of most of them. Bill Nighy must have had no more than 6 lines to say and Martin Freeman and Steve Coogan even less.
A truly bad cinematic experience.