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The English Patient (1996)
The best film of all time.
Now let me start by balancing my review :P This film isn't perfect, the story is pretty slow in parts, not so much the first time you watch it but after that there's bits that take a long time to add little value to the film. Also let me say I'm not some art student, fan of art-house films or anything other than a normal movie goer so I don't really understand people using big words to review a film.
However I am happy to say that this is the best film of all time. I've watched a lot of films to the point where I've almost run out, I've worked my way through other peoples lists of 'best films of all time ever' and gave them a fair chance. But this film is fantastic! The reason why I like it is very soft I'm afraid, it's such a raw depiction of how real relationships happen. You become completely immersed in the unspoken desires of the core characters, you *will* the relationship to unfold and if something goes wrong you're screaming "NNNNOAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGHHHH". You can imagine times that the same thing has happened to you but your life did/did not pan out like that.
Ralph Feinnes does what he does best, plays a reserved Englishman masking incredibly intense emotions as best he can. In other films it's not appropriate and you can see that his range is quite narrow but here he slots in perfectly. Kristin Scott Thomas does exactly the same with flair. Everything else about the film is technically perfect. If you haven't seen this film then you're missing something special.
An aimless miss mash of copied ideas
This film is pretty bad. I cant think of a single thing good about this film and I love movies. Lets start with the cast, matt dillon has been great recently but his character has no back story, hes a determined cop with no obvious motivation. On the evil side of the plot none of the actors have enough time on screen to shine as individuals. Paul walker and idris elba can carry a film but mixed in with musicians doing cameos they completely lose their shine. The film moves quickly offering no back story to any character and the most shallow of motivations for most of them, so quickly that you cant follow or maintain interest in the plot. The heist parts of the plot are lifted from numerous other films, die hard, Italian job 2002 remake etc. Its hard to believe they managed to produce not much from so much potential. The icing on the cake is idris elba not being able to manage an English accent despite being from London.
Margot at the Wedding (2007)
Powerful, complex and funny
Any attempt I make to describe this film isn't going to do it justice, in short: if you like dark and powerful films then watch this, you won't regret it. In long: I was bored so I watched this with 0 hype on cable. I watch 1-2 films per day almost every day but I was completely blown away by how powerful the screenplay is on this film. It features Nicole Kidman, someone who wasn't on my radar of good actresses and Jack Black - a slapstick comedian, what on earth was I suppose to expect here? The reality is that the screenplay for this film could be performed by a twig alongside a slice of apple pie and the twig would win an Oscar. It's an extremely dark depiction of a relatively normal event, a wedding, through the interactions of half a dozen flawed adults and the three children that they drag, kicking and screaming, through childhood.
The writers really paint the complexity of everyday people, these aren't people that have extreme mental disorders - these are people you work with that often find themselves thrust together and bound by the most semantic of bonds, family, friends, marriage. Nicole Kidman blew me away as 'Margot', arguably the most flawed of the characters but by no means the protagonist or villain. Jack Black really suppressed his usual over-the-top slapstick to give a subtle performance of a serious character.
I was watching avidly until the end which was like a punch in the face. I mean in the middle of a scene it just says 'Fin'. This film should have been twice as long as it was! Maybe I was just so into the film that I didn't want it to end, either way I make it an 85 minute film when I wished it was over 2 hours.
The Weather Man (2005)
What a gem!
This is a fantastic film! I had never heard of it 'til it hit cable and really enjoyed it. Nicholas Cage has done some (in my opinion) lame films recently so I stopped watching things with him in but this is an exceptional performance by him. Michael Cane is also fairly good as a supporting actor. The film has a great combination of dark and warm themes with some excellent comedy in. The themes mainly revolve around relationships, family and career success addressing how hard it is to balance all three from the eyes of a man that has got it completely wrong for the last decade. The film is an incredibly funny and grim account of how 'the weatherman' tries to reincorporate his children and ex-wife into his immensely successful life. There is a lot of comedy around how local celebrities are treated and a lot of laugh-out-loud moments. Nicholas Cage isn't a comedian but he executes the writing well and reacts excellently to the jokes that he is the but of. 8/10
Bad in many ways
Often you watch a film and think "This sucks so hard that I don't know where to start" but with Cat-woman the errors are glaringly obvious and easy to break down.
1) The score, the first thing that hits you when watching this film is that the score is completely inappropriate. The timing is off, it will kick in while someone is talking and kick in with heavy rock music when a couple is on a date. When someone takes their jacket it off it will sound like the final scene from cliffhanger before a much more uneventful scene. If there was any chance of immersing the viewer in this film, the score was the final straw.
2) The choreography, I'd like to think for Halle Berrys sake that someone else told her to move and walk like that when she is in 'cat-woman' mode. (In my opinion) The way cat-woman walks is not provocative, confident and carefree... it looks silly and ruins any chance of cat-woman being a decent protagonist.
3) This history of cat-woman. I'm not a marvel/batman expert so I don't know much about this but I do know that Michelle Pfeiffer in Tim Burtons Batman universe... well she rocked as an incredibly dark and mentally disturbed cat-woman. The 'sex in the city' cat-woman created in this film just doesn't paint the same sortof picture at all and anyone over the age of 25 will remember Michelle Pfeiffers cat-woman well. While I'm at it, there are strange undertones to the dialogue when explaining cat-woman in the film, like instead of just making someone that goes a bit crazy and gets bitten by a cat they start trying to make a statement about how a woman behaves without hibitions. All a bit too much for me.
4) The CGI. CGI is heavily used in this film, every single time the cat-woman does something that would seem inhuman they revert to a CGI version of Halle Berry in costume - OK, fair enough. Problem: The CGI isn't high quality enough for the close ups, they zoom right into the face of the fake Halle Berry asif to make it as obvious as possible that you're watching something that isn't real. Six years later they're just about got a believable Jeff Bridges in Tron 3D, why at that time they thought to do this I don't know. The over use of CGI continues with the use of over-zoomed shots and at one point even a CGI ferris wheel. Minutes later they use a real life version of the same ferris wheel, all seems a bit strange to me.
5) The acting. There are some good actors in this film but I found the acting to be unbelievable, there was chemistry between Halle Berry and the detective but little believability to their characters in my opinion.
A lot of films could take one of those 5 points and continue but cat-woman didn't have a chance. I made it an hour into the film but really felt asif every scene was ruined by one of my five points.
Just a good film
It's interesting to see other peoples reactions to the film and how much some people expected from the film. It's as simple as it looks - it's a horror film about what happens when someone with the medical skills sets his mind to joining 3 people together a**-to-mouth. That's it, it's not a thriller, it's not a comedy, it's not a drama, to my knowledge it wasn't even marketed so it would be unfair to claim that it was hyped or has misleading marketing. As with all horror it's subjective, if you're the sort of person that spots errors in 'paranormal activity' or 'blair witch' instead of allowing yourself to be engorged in emoting with the main characters.... well you're not going to like centipede. Personally I found it horrifying to imagine, for two hours, how I would feel if I was part of a human centipede and in that situation. I'm not particular to gore or a lack of it, the gore amount was just right for me, enough to make me turn away but quickly turn back in interest. I don't know anyone that has watched the film and disliked it, I just know people that refuse to watch it so give it a try.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)
The weaker of the three films
I haven't read the books but I was definitely disappointed with how little happens in this film. I saw all 3 films in a day and the first 2 were fairly fast paced and entertaining but for a film that sells itself as a romance novel *nothing* happens in it. There are some action scenes and some fairly impressive CGI werewolves but they still cut away a lot of the time when a vampire does something that would involve CGI which makes you wonder what they spent their $65M budget on. I was also pretty fraustrated with the constant swaying of the plot, its obvious whats going to happen at the end of the film but it goes backward and forward treating the viewer like a bit of an idiot. Honestly you could skip this film, knowing that theirs a fourth coming out next year I'd just wait for that.
Miss March (2009)
Quite a clever little 'harold and kumar' movie
I thought this was quite a good film that has a lot of lasting smiles. Its hard for me to quote the film without giving half of it away or frankly cursing :P The trailer doesn't do it much justice, it covers some of the mildly funny moments but the important thing to bear in mind about this film is it's not just a load of boobie jokes, the humour is really clever. Don't get me wrong, if you hate dirty jokes then you'll probably hate this film but it's definitely on par with American pie in terms of: quality - well set up humour, a meaningful if slow plot, sexual humour that demeans the men making it. It's virtually impossible to describe this film in more than 3 words: Just plain funny :)
The Reader (2008)
A wonderful surprise!
Who knew that a film called 'The Reader' would be a controversial film about paedophilia in post Nazi Germany. I suppose its like being surprised that 'The English Patient' isn't completely shot in a hospital. I'm a big fan of Ralph Feinnes, I may never have watched this film if he wasn't in it. I mean seriously it's called 'The Reader' - reading is not the most stimulating of activities when you're doing it so why make a blockbuster about someone else doing it!? But wrong I was, this is the most gut wrenching, thought provoking roller-coaster I have watched this year. It tackles two of the most sensitive topics imaginable with a completely unbiased brush only bent on telling a compelling and emotional story. If you like that sort of cold-but-true Ralph Feinnes film where nobody really conveys emotion but the emotions that are implied rip you out of your seat then you will love this film. Not much here for people that don't like romantic dramas but so much for people that do! The TV guide listed this as 'the performance of winslets career' and that is completely correct, immediately you're not looking at the lady that was in Titanic any more, she blows you out of the water. No bad acting all round really but everyone else has a pretty easy ride compared to winslets character.
Get ready to turn your brain off
This film is supposedly based in the bronze age where everyone speaks nordic, of course this wouldn't make a very good western film so everyone speaks upperclass English. The protagonist of the film isn't from earth so he speaks with a more Scottish American accent. I could let this much go but half way through the film all character depth is completely disgarded and new characters start having American names. All the technology within the film is quickly lost or thrown away within the first 10 minutes, either to keep the budget down or slow the pace of the plot. It's not a bad film, it has a nice gory atmosphere and a lot of genuine viking aspects but the heavy periods of just completely disregarding the authenticity of the period really ruin the immersion. The fact that they chose a monster that looks cool in the dark but never appears in full light really adds to the feel that this film got a budget way below what it deserved. You'd expect this from a 'Sci Fi Special' but a fully fledged box office film written in this way just seems below par.