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The Thing (2011)
Disappointed and the shaky camera thing please..
**SPOILERS** I was really looking forward to seeing this film and felt reassured by the reverent comments the makers made to Carpenter and the original. But to me this film was a real let down and it was as if they set out to tie the story into the original and then couldn't be bothered and so just tagged the dog and the two Norwegians bit on at the end because they had virtually nothing to do with the actual plot progression to that point. There was also very little character development where the original gave us individuals this just gave us a bunch of homogenous Scandinavian clichés. There were some good moments but overall I was very disappointed and do people really still do the shaky camera thing? To me it was always annoying and naff and now it's really annoying and really naff.
White Heat (2012)
Clichéd, lazily written and just very, very dull
I like to support original drama that isn't entirely period, but I have to say that if this is the best script the BBC had in the offering recently the future of original programming in this country is in big trouble. The characters not only don't gel they are as dull as dishwater, which at least matches the storyline, much as there is one. It's as if someone born in the 80s was commissioned to write a story about the period and advised by someone who may have been around then but who didn't go out much nor pay any attention the contemporary culture that was going on outside their firmly bolted front door and blacked out windows. And then we are asked to believe the dreary characters who all have nothing in common and lead dreary lives have actually formed lifelong friendships which had one miraculous effect on them: by the time we reached the present day they all look at least one decade younger than they would in reality. So boring characters, zero storyline and managed to make the 60s look dull. Ridiculous dumbed-down nonsense dressed up as drama for the dumbed-down generation.
Green Lantern (2011)
Succeeds where Marvel fails
All in all I thought this was a pretty good superhero movie. I have always been a big Marvel fan and especially Spider-man, but their films may usually be competent they always leave me feeling under-whelmed. But where they fail every time DC has succeeded in this very comic-like superhero offering. Yes Green Lantern was predictable and there were somethings that grated (the constant banging on about the corp was a bit to gung ho conjuring up more visions of brainless violence than superhero good guys for me, but that is just nit-picking really. The humour on the part of Reynolds was good and the not all bad bad guy was also carried off quite well by Sarsgaard. Got to say I gave a little silent cheer when sleazy senator Robbins got his fork-tongued comeuppance - or was I supposed to be sorry he got the chop? The action sequences where also executed well with none of the usual confused mayhem of too much going on CGI a la Transformers, many of us got tired of long ago. Saw the final little sequence coming way back in the film though.
Great film but..
**SPOILERS** A great film from my favourite modern director Michael Mann (who never makes a bad movie with the exception of Miami Vice - what a turkey that was). This Cruise's finest performance and Foxx is as always excellent. Mann really captured the feel of a city at night and the under-stated nature of the whole film was wonderfully executed. But the whole thing with Annie was way too contrived and it would have been far better for her character to have remained incidental to set the tone of Foxx's nature instead of her turn up later as an integral part of the plot. It didn't spoil the film for me but it did jar a bit and is the other thing I can criticise it for.
Everything is wonderful in the corporate America! Wow! How bad was this movie?
What kind of people would watch this and enjoy it I really can't imagine, unless they are deluded head in the sand Ostriches who only ever peak at the real world when something shiny is pointed in their direction. This is more like an ad for look how wonderful corporate executives are in their botoxed bubblegum worlds. You seriously have to be a real dummy to fall for this trash, but sadly there are a lot of dummies out there and that's why this movie was made. It honestly made me want to vomit and Elliott Gould what are you playing at? The fact you are in this mammon worshipping movie proves you are just like it i.e. all about the money even though it pretends it isn't.
The Hide (2008)
Nicely acted under-stated little gem
I enjoyed this film a great deal. It was beautifully shot and on an obviously low budget, but the makers wrung out every ounce of value out of every penny. The two principles were excellent. Alex McQueen is already well known, but I hope to see more of the impressive Phil Campbell in future outings. Make no mistake this film is dark and slow and if you like noisy boring muscle-bound cgi stuff this film isn't for you, but if you like films that take their time and treat the audience as adults then it just might be. In my opinion we need more of the latter and far fewer of the former, but then again I'm old-fashioned and the story and character development come before flash, bang, wallop for me every time.
Taking Sides (2001)
Missing the point
Anyone who thinks this film is about the dilemma of whether art and politics should mix are completely missing the point.
For me there are two major issues covered. The first being it is so easy to judge and be judgmental when you personally have not walked in the shoes of those you are judging. Keitel constantly passes comment on how those he was interviewing and investigating should have acted under the regime. But honestly, how many of you know for sure what they would have done? Sure we all would like to think we would stand up, but faced with the reality would we? We only have to see how propaganda in unjust wars in many countries have shown the populace to follow the sheep mentality, because it's not only easy, but none of us really want to accept that our country could be embarking on the road of evil.
Secondly the way Keitel conducts his interviews surely mirrors the regime that the allied forces have just replaced. When Keitel is given his brief from his commander he is told to find a certain outcome before he has even read the notes on his target to shut up the 'Washington liberals' - but isn't liberalism the very thing that had been missing from Germany under the Nazi regime?
Keitel constantly compares legitimate insurance practises with the Nazi style of administration. The conductor asks Keitel why another conductor (who was a Nazi Party member) was already allowed to work again when he was not and Keitel dismissed his question by simply saying 'but that's not your case'. A chilling example of how much of the modern world works.
This film was a warning that we should be very careful not to become that which we loathe when we have the opportunity to change for the better.
Gung Ho (1986)
The worst film I have ever seen.
This is quite simply the worst film I have ever seen. It's nothing more than an anti-worker propaganda exercise to make everyone think that workers everywhere deserve everything they get. I am sure such a crass message works on the right wing, but to sane people I would hope they see it for the load of 'bosses good-workers bad' garbage that it is. It's almost as though the bosses of the biggest American industries got together and said 'look we all know how successful the Japanese economy and a lot of that is down to a highly disciplined robotically obedient workforce - how could we make American workers perform similarly?' And they came up with this utter rubbish.
At the time I was visiting the cinema at least once a week and saw some very good and alternatively some dreadful films, but this one was in a league of it's own and was singley responsible for me deciding to reduce my cinema visits from then on.
Another Neocon Aryan Race wetdream
So just what were the real messages in this film? If you're ordinary and the world is on the brink you're going to die and no one will bat an eyelid. But hey let's not let the little doggie die. But stick the billion in the back pocket of private enterprise and you're worthy. Also if you aren't white you also stand very little chance of surviving because you won't be selected for the big boat trip. So to summarise - if you're mega rich and white you are deemed fit to repopulate the world after the big gene pool clear out. Did Fox have anything to do with this movie because it's got their nasty little prints all over it. Frankly I feel like I need a good scrub after watching this spiteful mess of free market propaganda.
Trust the Brits to soapify the great original
Gone is the plain and simple direction, superb characterisation and treating the audience as adults of the brilliant Swedish original. Instead we have the mad dad, stroppy daughter, social issues, dodgy camera angle (YAWN!) and silly baby music over-laying the dialogue, or in other words the Britification of the original. And for good measure then direct it like it's Bergman meets the Bill and voila the mess is complete. OK so this isn't the worst thing I've ever seen, but compared to the superbly understated but much more emotionally charged original it stinks to high heaven. Personally we should be looking to what the Swedes did right rather than how can we change and mollify it for British consumption. The BBC should heed: if you always play to the lowest common denominator then that's all cater for.