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neil_mc

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45 reviews in total 
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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Terrible in every way, 11 January 2006
3/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

You could have stuck the name of any number of numpty directors on the front of this and genuinely believed they'd produce such throwaway trash. But for a respected filmmaker to proudly proclaim in the opening credits "John Carpenter's Ghosts Of Mars", what an embarrassment for him, and it just goes to show how far he's fallen.

It's probably been criticised enough on here already, and rightly so, but a few more digs can't hurt. The concept and plot of the film is so inept, it physically hurts you to sit through; the idea of revisiting scenes and following different characters' adventures separately may have been smart, were it not for the complete lack of a timeline. For example when the Commander goes missing, Jericho has a 2 minute strand compared to Melanie's 10 minutes, yet when he calls her she's there and ready to speak to him, when in reality she would still be fighting with Williams.

The script is lazy and the direction half hearted, resulting in action scenes that are both repetitive and boring, including a scene lasting WAY too long where they shoot the hosts in two's as they march through a door. And the main 'villain' in this rotten plot is a Marilyn Manson lookalike who yells and screams his way through the film without ever making an impression or doing anything at all.

A really poor effort. 3/10

10 out of 23 people found the following review useful:
When voice-over narration went wrong, 28 December 2005
4/10

In my opinion Kevin Costner's acting ability is not in question at all - he was great in the far superior Western, 'Wyatt Earp' - it's just the rank awful writing that spoils the day here.

It starts off immature, "these people were my friends", "I am a celebrity", then gradually descends into cheesy sentiment, "I came to understand that every last one of these people were great and the white men are so, so bad", before finishing off at downright sickly "he only smiled and talked of simple pleasures, a good fire was better than anything" - but however bad the voice-over journal was, I managed to cringe my way through it somehow.

It was a case of Costner over-egging the point to the stage of ramming it down our throats - I think every one of us understands now that all Indians weren't murdering vigilantes with daft names. Okay so they do have daft names, but by no means is this a criticism of them and I don't mean to offend any Indians or Costner by saying it. And Fist In The Mouth or whatever he was called was obviously a very dignified character, as was made abundantly clear on more than one occasion - about eight I think.

One thing that got me though was how Dunbar and co. were crying over some dead buffalo in one scene, but then ten seconds later were themselves having a 15-minute heroic buffalo chase, which was so over the top you felt sure a rabid Dunbar was going to start eating one raw.

It was too much for me this film, I like to make my own mind up while watching films rather than be spoon-fed a load of sentimental claptrap like this. 4/10

4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Brilliant, 26 December 2005
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you didn't necessarily associate Katharine Hepburn's name with comedy before this film, then you certainly will afterwards. To be fair though she's been been in some belters with Spencer Tracy, 'Woman of the Year' and 'Adam's Rib', plus the excellent Philadelphia Story also with Cary Grant. But she genuinely excels in Bringing Up Baby, alongside a flawless Grant.

I was actually very surprised to see some poor opinions of the film in this comments list, some people obviously have no taste at all - although common sense has clearly prevailed given the very impressive average score and a secured place in the top 250. And there is some real genius to be had along the way here - the use of the leopard is comedy gold dust, putting glasses on Cary Grant is an inspired move, and to have David casually miss his wedding day to spend it digging holes in a 26-acre garden, the whole thing will leave you wondering just WHY you haven't seen this film sooner.

The cast is universally excellent but the pick of the support was undoubtedly Charles Ruggles as Major Applegate - or "Appletree" if you were listening hard enough - he turned in a fantastic and hilarious performance during the dinner scene.

I can't praise this film enough and it's one of my favourite comedies of all time, no doubt. 9/10

4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Crazy, 24 December 2005
7/10

Having watched Ray Winstone star in Tim Roth's directorial debut, 'The War Zone', a couple of weeks back - where he played an incestuous father abusing his daughter - I thought there was a good chance of something similarly shocking on the way in this, Gary Oldman's debut behind the camera. I wasn't wrong. As one destructive scene follows the other, it is really worth making a mental note of trying to avoid everything to do with Ray Winstone when he's in a bad mood. He's one scary fella.

For all the epic scenes in this film though, there is some real indulgence on Oldman's part and "cut" should really have been yelled a lot sooner on a few occasions. The amount of times we see some loser addict shooting up gets ridiculous, Ray's breakdown scene with the phone and the mirror is well acted, sure, but goes on forever, plus Billy is allowed to talk AT LENGTH about some dog he had when he was a child. There are quite a few scenes which are dragged out similar to these - the editing just wasn't up to scratch, and the momentum drops sharply particularly when Billy is in the film.

And for all the world it seemed as though the ending would come following Val's speech to Ray outside the flat where she puts him firmly in place. Such a fitting ending I thought. But no. There follows a scene in the kitchen where everybody's having a laugh and playing happy families. Didn't fit at all.

I've given 'Nil By Mouth' 7 out of 10 - it is a heavyweight British effort that everybody should take a look at - but that doesn't mean I'd go near it again. Once is definitely enough.

12 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
A bit of a flop, 17 December 2005
6/10

I dare say this film would have been much better received had it cast the film logically rather than have 'everybody's favourite Cockney' Michael Caine playing somebody called Pierre Boussard - I mean, Caine has never struck me as a "Pierre" somehow. And we can say for sure, that it couldn't have done any worse, a $22m financial loss is testament to that.

Of course I realise the book is in English, but there is a big difference between the two mediums and very rarely does a film pull off a stunt like this, see 'The Hunt For Red October' or Jude Law's Russian misfortune in 'Enemy At The Gates'. At least The Statement didn't slip into having Caine and co. adopt Gallic accents - that would have been too much to bare.

As for the film itself, it seemed a complete waste of police time to have half of the French PD chasing round after an OAP with a heart condition who'd been *ordered* to kill seven people 50 years earlier during German occupation. And for the film to set itself up as some sort of chase thriller, it very rarely gets past a stroll and the tension never really reaches the levels it should do.

All that said though, there are far worse films out there and this isn't an altogether bad way to spend 2 hours. 6/10

9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Needlessly confusing, 14 December 2005
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

So hands up, who knows which babies were swapped, when, where and why, who got run down by the lorry, why the mother went to live in a convent, and just what happened to the 'bad' twin once her death had been faked? Oh, and can anybody explain why none of this was explained.

Thankfully, all of the above has become clear to me now, but only after sifting through the IMDb message boards for this film. Turns out, the film's star Vincent Cassel doesn't have a clue either. It also turns out that "everything is revealed" on the DVD making-of. Great.

But it's a real shame though, because they genuinely had a tense thriller on their hands before it descended into Nazi nonsense. The atmosphere was simmering for the opening hour or so, and using the two detective's investigations as two separate narrative strands was some really intelligent film-making. But then the plot gets ridiculous and unclear, and when you do eventually realise the extent of the convoluted plot, you can understand why they didn't put any explanations of it in. It's a load of nonsense.

P.S. I've decided not to mention the 3 minutes of Jet Li theatrics somewhere in the middle of this film. I thought it would save embarrassment for all concerned were I to merely brush over it.

3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
'What sort of man builds kitchens on compassionate leave?', 13 December 2005
6/10

This film was given the slot following Film 2005 on the BBC last night, a slot which is usually reserved for the more decent efforts. And with my mind still on the excellent King Kong preview in that programme - it looks amazing and opens this Thursday - 'The One and Only' managed to divert my attention away from that.

It is a very effective film in it's own way, the jokes, wisecracks and one-liners come thick and fast once everything gets going and I must admit some of the stuff is pretty good. Apart from Richard Roxburgh's Geordie accent slipping into Welsh on occasion and Justine Waddell trying too hard at times for her character to be a bit wacky, everything plays out in a gentle, irreverent manner until an overly soppy ending which I wasn't a huge fan of.

There was also reference to Newcastle United's poor transfer policy and tendency to pay over the odds for anything that moves, with "7 million pounds worth of groin strain", 'King of the treatment room' Italian Andrea Buffeloni who's played only 34 minutes since his transfer. Which is currently very relevant considering Albert Luque's pricey transfer in the summer and his subsequent lack of games.

All in all, a surprisingly good film which is very funny in parts. 6/10

Car Wash (1976)
3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Richard Pryor, 12 December 2005
5/10

In a somewhat morbid coincidence, Channel 5 in the UK managed to have this scheduled for the day after Richard's Pryor's death. And to be sure - even though he only has a 2-minute cameo - it is a harmless, lightweight affair, and the sort of material that would attempt to be a tribute to a very entertaining career.

Although in truth, this is NOT a great film. A huge cast of characters all seemingly singing from the same hymn sheet, you'll struggle to distinguish between most of them given that they're all playing the same role. Each even mildly humorous wisecrack is greeted with a chorus of "YEAH, WOOHOO, YEAH"'s from the entire workforce. Very annoying. And the 'Car Wash' tune will be imprinted on your brain for a couple of days after you watch it, seeing as they play it close to 400 times throughout.

Nothing to write home about, but not altogether without its moment's. 5/10

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Pretty good, 8 December 2005
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The hopelessness of the characters, the sparseness of the locations and the bleakness of the plot all go towards making this a very well-made no-thrills drama. The film plays a real blinder by making the young teenage brother the main character in the story, and rather than have a soapy, watered down, immature vision of everything around him, we get an honest and streetwise teenage depiction of a pretty depressing Glasgow.

The film really benefits from this realism, and although characters like Malky Johnson threaten to overflow into creeezy Scottish caricature, it manages to stay on the right side of believable by getting rid of him before the end.

As you would expect, the accents are heavy, but any Brit should follow it easily as long as their recording off the TV is a good one. Mine wasn't unfortunately, but I got by.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Garbage, 3 December 2005
3/10

One quick glance at the quotes in Peter Greenaway's biography on this site will tell you all you need to know about this film - a smug, up itself mess with ideas way above it's station.

I must admit I was intrigued during the first 15 minutes or so, just what was I watching here, seemed original and somewhat interesting to begin with. But talk about over-doing it, we get basic repetition of scenes merely for the sake of it and it becomes very tiresome VERY quickly.

Plus we get the director's absurd fascination with Ewan McGregor's manhood, Greenaway seemingly living his own fantasies through an elderly Japanese publisher, who gets his way with Jerome on an all too regular basis for it just to be a plot device.

Don't expect narrative progression by the way, this is a rebellion against the filmic medium, this is art, this is the structured pictures of a painter. This is crap. 3/10.


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