Reviews written by registered user
TFrauline

5 reviews in total 
Index | Alphabetical | Chronological | Useful

Prometheus (2012/I)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Fails to juggle thinking and thrills but a great film nonetheless., 8 June 2012
7/10

Science fiction has always balanced and blended the idea of presenting a thought-provoking subject matter with entertainment and everything that's ever been labelled 'sci-fi' has leaned a little more towards one than the other. Prometheus attempts a balance of these two that is rare for a visual presentation of sci-fi,and unfortunately suffers for it somewhat. But it is still ultimately a highly entertaining film.

I won't dwell much on the technicalities as they've already been covered, to summarize: The performances are solid overall with Fassbender and Rapace the unquestionable highlights, both are stellar in their roles. The plot is somewhat less firm, several characters don't act realistically and there are holes (not glaring errors but they are there). The visuals are nothing short of jaw-dropping and extremely well presented.

These things have already been said by others, but I'd like to defend Prometheus from the surprising number of negative reviews I'm seeing on here. All of 'great' sci-fi films from Hollywood in the past have had very little actual sci-fi in them. Certainly the idea of space or a near future provides unique thematic elements and settings, but films like 'Alien' (which everyone seems to lord over poor Prometheus) is barely sci-fi at all. It was a horror film first and foremost and its goal was to entertain. Prometheus has the exact same goal but instead of being a pure horror film, it attempts to engage the audience with some interesting questions regarding what it means to be human, a classic science fiction subject.

Does it do it well? Not really. Its vague pseudo-philosophical bent falls pretty flat and only distracts from the action, and i'm sure it would make a better film if it was cut out entirely. But I want to acknowledge and admire the effort, even if it didn't really work out, of adding some actual sci-fi to a big budget Hollywood movie. From what i'm seeing the poor handling of these themes is what has upset people, yet the films requirement that it be an entertaining thrill ride similar to previous films like Alien are what prevent theme from being explored in a much more effective and deeper fashion. Prometheus's only fault is that it tries to balance thrilling entertainment with deep thinking in a genre where it would seem that being truly great requires you to chose one.

So don't go into the theatre expecting the answers to the universe, just a really great film with just a bit more brains behind it than usual.

"Sherlock" (2010)
6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Great series that stands apart from the Holmes canon, yet is thoroughly enjoyable., 8 February 2012
7/10

This is an enjoyable and well-made production that stays true in spirit to the original Doyle novels. I've just finished watching the first season and feel that both a fan of the novels (such as myself) and someone unfamiliar with the original Holmes stories will find equal entertainment in this series.

Cumberbatch's portrayal of Holmes is excellent, it is more than adequate as the bedrock of the show and he delivers that signature brand of Holmes-esque aloofness and brilliance quite well. In particular I enjoyed how he can inject humor into the character while still keeping with the traditional, rather unlikable, image of Holmes. (I liked Downey's portrayal as well but I felt it was a little too charming) I also like how he takes a more dramatic approach with the "flash of insight" moments and how abrupt he is with others.

Freeman is of equal importance to Cumberbatch in his portrayal of Watson as the two characters get equal screen-time. Again it's a good portrayal that deviates slightly from the standard formula by making Watson both a little more critical but also a little closer towards Holmes.

The mysteries themselves are good, not quite as brilliantly conceived as the stuff of the original novels, but still very solid. I also found myself really enjoying the 3-90 minute-episode format for some reason. I thought it flowed very well in giving them adequate time to explore characters and solve the mystery without cramming in a bunch of needless filler, which I tend to find annoying in most other TV shows that run more than half an hour. I also think this format helped inform the universally excellent editing and cinematography of the series.

However, the thing I like most about 'Sherlock' is its build-up of Moriarty over the course of the whole season and his continual relevance to Holmes throughout. This is a significant deviation from the books but its something I've always wanted to see. Moriarty is a brilliantly conceived character in the novels, yet I was always disappointed by the fact that he only crops up in a single Holmes story. Given his abilities and the brilliance of his rivalry with Holmes it was a big letdown. Obviously we've seen him as the villain in the Downy movies but again it is just one big story. Here he works behind the scenes to test Holmes with a variety of puzzles and it feels far more like the subtle 'Napoleon of crime' that the character is described as in the books. Not to mention that the glimpse of Moriarity at the end of the series is brilliant and I loved what we saw of Scott's portrayal.

However, for all of these great things going for it the series is still not perfect. Some of the supporting acting is pretty wooden and Detective Inspector Lestrade is an incredibly pathetic character. He is bumbling and poorly treated by Holmes, a far cry from the capable and well-respected Lestrade of the books.

In addition, while I fully believe in the need to keep Holmes fresh through different characterizations, incarnations, and settings I cannot help but feel this urban, sleek, abrasive, and very modern Holmes loses some of the magic held in the Doyle texts. Don't get me wrong, the liberties this series takes are almost entirely to its benefit, and yet without the trappings of Victorian England there is undeniably something missing from Holmes's character. Perhaps it is the lack of cynicism and world-weariness in the original novels, or even just their clothing, environs, and society. I can't help but disassociate what I see on screen with my love of the novels, at all times for me it felt like I was watching 'a modern version of Sherlock Holmes' and not JUST 'Sherlock Holmes'. (if that makes sense?) My final complaint is that the little cliff-hangers before each commercial break are a little overwrought and I found they broke the immersion of the show quite a bit. They're quite contrived and never let you forget that you're watching a TV show. This is hardly unique to 'Sherlock' though so its relatively minor.

But overall it's a great series and one I'd recommend to anyone. It can stand both on its own merits and against the original novels quite admirably. It is just plain fun really, and you should be watching it!

9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Cheerful with none of the Cheese, 30 January 2011
9/10

Considering our day and age, it isn't surprising that most decent comedy on TV these days is dark, ironic, and satirical. Shows like Weeds, Californication, Shameless etc. are definitely not for the faint hearted despite their brilliance.

But I'm pleased to announce that Community manages to avoid a jaded worldview and succeeds at being genuinely funny. The dialogue is sharp and quick, the acting is top-notch, and everything is very colorful. The humor has wonderful range from childlike physical comedy to lightning fast witticism. You definitely get the feeling that everyone involved with this project is having a great time.

Other modern comedies that have attempted to be this cheerful have never quite been able to hit the spot between too much sugary sweetness (Glee) and a crippling emotional weight (Scrubs). Yet Community achieves a perfect balancing act of presenting unique characters who develop in believable ways, without killing the mood with teary scenes or a rampant lack of realism. Even at its most serious (which is rare) you can always expect a great pick-me-up joke just seconds away and this is extremely refreshing.

I highly recommend this show to everyone. Its a fantastic comedy that will not let you stop smiling!

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Does its job as part 1, but a horrible movie., 20 January 2011
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film accomplishes its goal of setting the stage for the final Potter movie in part 2, but unfortunately this is all it really does. Even when viewed with the emotional history of the previous films/books in mind, and also with the knowledge its only part 1, this is still a bad movie.

The pacing is absolutely terrible. They used 2+ hours to explain basic plot points concerning a single horocrux, the sword, and the origin of the hallows. This is done through an annoyingly repetitive and linear plot structure of Harry finding one thing, to go and find another, to go and find another, to go and find one last thing. Then voldemort finds his own thing and the movie ends.

The plot is filled with coincidences and conveniences. Ron and Dobby randomly appear when they're most needed, and it just generally feels like they tried to take a chunk of the plot from the book and spread it too thin to cover more time. I feel like all the major/minor plot points and character development could have been dealt with effectively in 1 hour.

My final issue with the film is the appalling ending. The last confrontation felt really contrived and lacked buildup, significance, or action. The death of such a minor character as Dobby is really not the way I would end the film. Even with his history in mind, it felt like he just popped up to save the day then died for the sake of trying to tug a few heartstrings. There was a total lack of emotional investment in his death and I didn't feel any sense of immersion in the film when it occurred. In addition, even with Voldemort finding the wand it didn't feel like stuff was about to happen at the end which is what you want from a part 1. They could have literally ended the film at any point during the plot and it would have carried about the same sense of anticipation.

Please keep in mind that I am not considering how accurate it was to the book as a positive or negative thing. This is supposed to be a MOVIE and should therefore be reviewed as a cinematic experience, not just its relationship to the book.

Despite the brutal plot structure and weak ending, there is no way I can rate this movie less than 5 because it did do many things well. The opening scene of flight to the Weasley's left me breathless and was some of the best action I've seen in the entire series. The acting was uniformly excellent as we've come to expect from the gang. Despite the poor settings (forests for everyone!) the movie did manage to impart a general atmosphere of grim hopelessness and I'd say it's the darkest of the series so far. Finally, I thought the animated scene about the hallows was utterly mesmerizing and the best part of the last 30 minutes.

My advice, don't see this in theatres, don't even see it when it comes out on DVD. Wait until part 2 hits theatres and then watch it before you go see that. Because the only way this could ever be a passable movie is when its attached to part 2.

4 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
The best typical Anime you'll ever find., 14 May 2010
7/10

Deathnote's reputation as an excellent anime is well-earned in my eyes and it was a pleasure to watch. However, it is not without flaws and while I would strongly encourage any anime fans to watch it, I would also never recommend this to someone who didn't already have an interest in anime.

The series greatest strength lies in taking the relatively simple premise of the deathnote and building complex and highly engaging characters around it. The challenges and interactions between these characters is the singular driving point of the series, and what keeps the viewer engaged.

Kira and his continuous battles with his pursuers, most notably L, are fascinating to watch and well executed in concept and form. The visual animation is excellent and the production values, scripting, and voice work (in both Japanese and English) are very well done. I also noticed that the music for the last 7 episodes was especially perfect. The major plot twist at the end of the second act of the series is absolutely stunning and there have been few times I've felt so engaged in what I was watching.

Despite these winning combinations, I did find some faults with the series. First and foremost is that the final act failed to live up to the second. I found many of the key actions of the characters lacking in previous brilliance. Yet an ultimately satisfying conclusion is still there.

Secondly, the series can seem a little too long at times. While I don't think it could be fit into the usual 25 episode anime format without losing some of its quality, I did feel that there were at least 5-6 episodes that could have been cut out for being ultimately inconsequential.

My third and final criticism is more about my personal preference. I found that it held on far too strongly to the conventions typically associated with Japanese-animated film. Deathnote lost some of its potential by making use of several overt stereotypes, most notably the highly annoying character of Misa Misa who seems to exist only to provide fan service, and the far-too-perfect Chief Yagami who's every comment is both unneeded and boring. In addition, the over elaborate settings, resources, and quirks the characters are provided with are somewhat over-the-top.

The core focus of deathnote remains the brilliant game of cat-and-mouse between Kira and his pursuers, but the fact that it is framed within the overly-conventional aspects of anime means it lost both its accessibility and some of its potential to be truly unique. I'm aware that the series is extremely faithful to its source material and thus don't see this as any fault of the series creators. Yet this is why I consider more accessible/nonconformist works such as Watanabe's Champloo and Bebop to be slightly superior to Deathnote, and certainly a better introduction to anime for new-comers.

Despite my complaints, the pros far outweigh the cons and I'd like to reiterate that this is an exceptional series that should be watched by anyone who claims to be an anime fan.