Reviews written by registered user
ruthnoakes

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12 reviews in total 
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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
You think Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is just hype?, 10 September 2010
7/10

I deliberately resisted reading the whole book before watching; I read enough chapters to love the book, but avoid clouding my judgement of the film. I was hoping for another Swedish gem, something I could enjoy as much as I loved Let The Right One In (not the remake).

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo ("Män som hatar kvinnor"), was directed by Niels Arden Oplev and based on Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy. I loved the story telling within the film, the tale itself is irresistible, as is the heroine Lisbeth Salander (played by Noomi Rapace). But again that is mainly credit to the book, not necessarily the filmmakers.

I admit the film was atmospheric, held my attention, and the story seduced me. But some chunks of the tale felt like they were included only to appease the book's fans. For example, we probably didn't need such routine intervals of Lisbeth's past. Her past is vital of course, it grants context, but so much of it added nothing to the plot, and felt like it was there just to break the pacing between sub-plot and main-plot.

We could have instead been teased with briefer hints and flashes to her past. But I suppose they wanted to find a balance between her tortured past and tortured present. It felt too prescribed, too calculative, trying too hard to force us to see everything of what she is, rather than letting us interpret. I suppose I found it mildly patronising.

I was not offended by the more graphic scenes, which I won't reveal as I don't like spoilers. I actually liked the fact that she was portrayed as a strong, independent female. Her dynamic with the journalist Mikael Blomkvist (played by Michael Nyqvist) was effective, and there wasn't anything startling wrong with the film. It just wasn't everything I had hoped for.

I should refer back to the film I mentioned before. Hoyte Van Hoytema was responsible for the cinematography in Let the Right One In, his style is subtle but irresistible. Whereas The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, despite not being poorly filmed, certainly had no distinctive style or anything visually new to offer.

I think the girl With the Dragon Tattoo is living proof that the books are always better than the film. But I am glad they made it into a film, because it means more people are encouraged to read the books, which I have found to be excellent. I would recommend watching this film, but don't do so if you're expecting something groundbreaking or revolutionary.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
5 Stars just for making me laugh so much, 10 September 2010
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

My friend stayed over and watched The Human Centipede (directed by Tom Six) with me last night.

The worst (best) part was Dr Heiter, played by Dieter Laser. He was truly creepy looking, and his acting made you feel like perhaps he was this scary in reality too. The film was about his being a surgeon; he used to separate conjoined twins, but then becomes fixated with joining living things.

Naturally, this leads to his ideal of a human centipede, connected by sewing their mouths to each others butts, so that they share one digestive track. Implausible in the long-term, and hilarious, so I was glad when one of the three victims died from infection. That was the most medically accurate part.

The film was not scary, but hilarious. I just couldn't stop laughing at what idiots the characters are. One of the two female leads had the chance to escape, but hides instead of smashing the window to escape straight away. And the Japanese guy, played by Akihiro Kitamura, who is also a captive, actually stabs Dr Heiter with a scalpel, but only in the foot and leg. He goes crazy and bites him, but instead of using his chance to kill the crazy Doctor, or knock him unconscious at least, he chooses to just attempt to run away (difficult with two girls surgically attached).

I had no real sympathy for the characters because their survival instincts were poor, I like it when characters truly try their best and are beaten down, but these three were mainly moronic and therefore deserved it. The very few chances they had to escape they wasted completely.

As ridiculous as this film was, it's worth watching because it's one of the funniest films I've seen in a long time, and wasn't too badly shot.

Dear John (2010/I)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Dear John, sob stories don't ensure a great movie. Richard Jenkins was the best part!, 6 September 2010
5/10

Despite my reluctance, I just watched Dear John (2010), directed by Lasse Hallström. This is because my friend insisted.

It's not entirely fair for me to slate the filmmakers just because I did not enjoy it at all. My lack of enjoyment came mainly from the fact that I'm not a stereotypical girl who falls for the lead male every time, or dreams of that kind of thing. I have everything I need in that department. I do like films about love, but they must have something more to offer.

So, aside from getting people to relate to the smushy love scenes, what else does this film have to offer?

Well, my favourite aspect was John's father, played by Richard Jenkins. He has always had an affinity to play loner roles, and fatherly ones. Six Feet Under, the Television series which ran from 2001-2005, is a good example, with his role as Nathaniel Fisher.

I loved his fragility, it evoked more feeling from me than Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried's love scenes ever did. His coin collection made a great metaphor throughout the film, and was like another character.

Sympathy tactics are not enough to make a great movie for me though, it did not change the fact that the film was predictable, relatively shallow, and did not fully convince me. Despite all-round acceptable performances, Richard Jenkins was the only fully convincing part.

Didn't hold my attention the whole time, but worth watching anyway, 6 September 2010
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've decided to at last review The Wolfman, directed by Joe Johnston.

It lacked the charm of older supernatural movies, but offered a modern take, and the atmosphere was mildly reminiscent of Sleepy Hollow.

Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro made great performances, and had obvious chemistry. Needless to say Anthony Hopkins was on usual top form.

Best Parts: 1) In the forest when Del Toro (in wolf form) catches up with the gentleman stuck in a bog, the man tries to shoot himself in the head before Del Toro kills him painfully, but there are no bullets left, so he has his head savagely sliced off by the wolfman.

2) I loved the trippy montage within the asylum.

Visually impressive, well cast and atmospheric, but it didn't grip my attention the whole time, and I am still trying to work out exactly why. It felt like there was an ingredient missing, or perhaps it was just too long, like not enough butter stretched over too much bread. The plot twists did not feel very surprising, and I do not think the film offered anything new to me. Still, I don't have any serious complaints, and think it's worth watching.

The Idiots (1998)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Brilliant, bold, pushing the grey area in the moralistic spectrum, 6 September 2010
9/10

I watched this a long time ago but never reviewed it. The Idiots' is a film directed by Lars Von Trier in 1998, it was made in compliance with the Dogme '95 Manifesto; an avant-garde filmmaking movement started in 1995, and was his first film. 'The Idiot's' focuses upon the tale of a group of people who feign mental disabilities in pursuit of their 'inner idiot', their 'spassing out' is an attempt to release their inhibitions.

The film was deemed shocking, despite many disability groups approving of the film and agreeing that it exposed underlying social prejudices against disability. Micro-elements contributed to the shocking effect which this film induced upon some audiences. Realism was used to suspend the audiences sense of disbelief, such was achieved through sound, which was mainly diegetic. The dialogue seems real, unrehearsed and alike to everyday conversation but for the content of the conversations between characters. In making the dialogue believable, and in casting the characters to be believable, the film seems more real, thereby engaging the audience attention, forcing them to relate to it. The shock value is inevitably heightened.

My personal interpretation of the film is that it aims to educate the audience about society's general view and attitude towards disabled people. The female main character begins oblivious to the groups intentions and ways (like the audience) and as she is led into their world so is the audience. The film seems to be about seeking deeper meanings, and sharing different perspectives, whether it be sharing the perspectives of someone completely healthy, someone disabled, someone inside the group or outside of it. I think that initially the main character acts as a representation of the ignorance of a lot of people to disability, and is a tool within the film to educate the audience. The film does not seem to hold bias as to a certain perspective, but rather it is exploratory of different perspectives, whether they be shown through conflict between the characters, or contrast between general society and the group.

I highly recommend this film, and suggest viewers put aside their judgements until the credits scroll.

3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
I highly recommend this film, 6 September 2010
8/10

I watched 'The Bothersome Man' ('Den brysomme mannen'), directed by Jens Lien, quite a while ago, but it stuck with me. These are just my thoughts on it, not a conventional review.

I was impressed by the way the film's surrealism juxtaposed the very deliberately superficial depiction of reality. The satirical element of the film appears almost to exaggerate the day- to-day monotony of both professional and domestic routine, transforming emotional coldness into emotionlessness, the characters' wants into complete materialism, and rendering human functions such as eating, drinking and fornication into meaninglessness tasks without pleasure, but with an acknowledgement of the idea of what 'pleasure' may be. This would seem to counteract the ideals of hedonism, but actually it appears to depict that the character's are in fact extremely hedonistic; seeking beauty and luxuries, but that they have merely lost the ideas of what values lie beneath things…the characters seem so preoccupied with the idea of pleasure that they have forgotten what it is to feel it. Darkly comedic from start to finish.

I don't want to give any spoilers so I will leave it at that. But I highly recommend this film, even aside from the engrossing plot, it was very well made.

5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Hilarious from start to finish, 6 September 2010
8/10

Black Dynamite (2009), directed by Scott Sanders, stars Michael Jai White as 1970′s action star Black Dynamite. When his brother is killed by drug dealers, he instigates a campaign of action and violence, opening a can of kick-ass on all of the local dealers to uncover whom was responsible.

Oozing with 70′s style, this homage to blaxploitation movies will have all of you jive turkeys booming with laugher, and wishing, just wishing, that you had your own soundtrack like he does. "Dynamite! Dynamite!" every time he enters a shot to do something awesome.

With the boom mic deliberately left in shots for comedic effect, and the hugely exaggerated facial expressions of the cast, you can't help but laugh with them, and imagine how much fun the film must have been to make. For anyone still making Chuck Norris jokes, forget it, Black Dynamite knocks them out of the water.

Salli Richardson-Whitfield is wonderful as Gloria, Black Dynamite's love interest. She has always been very good in anything I've seen her in. One of my favourite lines was where she disdainfully highlights how men think they can win a woman over with a wink and a smile, so Black Dynamite winks. She sardonically inquires where the accompanying smile is, and he says "I am smiling", whilst his face is as serious as a funeral attendee.

Definitely worth watching, and made even better if it's with a couple of beverages and friends on a Friday night.

Scarce (2008)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Cut this low budget film some slack, the effects were cool, 6 September 2010
5/10

Today I watched Scarce (2008), directed by Jesse T. Cook and John Geddes, a film about a group of snowboarders on vacation. During a snow storm they are forced to seek refuge, but little did they know they are safer out in the storm. The people who grant them refuge are cannibals, surviving on what they 'hunt' throughout the winter.

Overall a pointless film with a very slow start, but the effects were cool, especially because it was on a low budget. I mean, of course I only watched it for the blood; I wouldn't sit down and watch a film with that premise if I were looking for an intellectually challenging experience.

7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Surprisingly enjoyable, 6 September 2010
7/10

Last night I knocked back a few gins and stumbled across Seven Deadly Sins, the Canadian mini TV series that first aired on Lifetime Movie Network. Set in two parts, it's meant to be based on the popular Seven Deadly Sins novels Lust, Greed, Envy, Wrath, Gluttony, Sloth and Pride by Robin Wasserman.

I have to admit I was expecting to hate it, and part of me does. But overall I just can't resist the comedic indulgence into their teenage "highschool" dramas; love triangles/pentagons/octagons, especially where the twists got dark. If I had been the director I would have loved to have made it darker.

Rachel Melvin was great as Kaia, and Dreama Walker worked well as Harper Grace. Overall Seven Deadly Sins was well cast, nicely made and paced, and it isn't trying to be anything that it is not.

If I had to sum up the mini series with one description I would say it's a very loose hybrid of Mean Girls meets Murder by Numbers. Remember I said very loosely! This is really not my usual style, but it's worth a watch when there's time to kill and you've had a few drinks.

6 Souls (2010)
5 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Haven't been this jumpy in a long time, 5 September 2010
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's nearly 4am and I can honestly say I haven't been this spooked by a film in a long time. I just watched Shelter (2010), directed by Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein. And written by Michael Cooney.

Julianne Moore, whom I adore, plays a forensic psychiatrist whose patient (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) has multiple personality disorder...or so she thinks.

The fact that each of his multiple 'personalities' are that of actual murder victims, causes her to question herself. An inward battle between science and religion reigns as she tears through experimentation and research, finding nothing that makes sense to her.

What starts out as a psychological thriller becomes supernatural horror, which was quite interesting as it works as both. Some people complained about the 'switch', but in actuality there was no transition needed; it was always evident that this was more than just a man with multiple identities. Maybe some people are just a little slow in the brain tank. The filmmakers even showed the supernatural darkness very early on in the plot, leaving no doubt in anyone's mind other than Julianne Moore herself.

I was impressed with Jonathan Rhys Meyers's handling of the multiple roles, especially when he had to behave as a little girl crying after her wounded mother. He had the hardest task of balancing the many characters that made his part.

The film had a subtle style which never intruded on the plot; every voice over or scene transition was smooth, and the music haunting in all the places it needed to be. I did wonder why only the spine was fully changed when each of Meyers's identities switched, whereas everything else was left the same, but I guess that doesn't need to be explained. The convenient thing about supernatural genres is that they minimise the need to explain what is synonymously unexplainable, or without reason.

8/10 is a very fair rating I think. But I wonder if maybe I was only so jumpy during because I am sleep deprived, and alone in a cold dark house.


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