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7 reviews in total 
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3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
A very long ending, 23 February 2015

I'm hoping that this movie has more meaning and nostalgic value to a Japanese audience and that it has just lost something when taken outside its original cultural context.

For a foreigner, with no interest in or point of reference to the old-style Samurai TV series whose demise the film laments, it was really going to take something special to grab my interest. Unfortunately the acting is as wooden as the actors' swords, the dialogue torpid and the general premise of the young girl studying under the old extra was just silly.

The message of the movie is conveyed crystal clear within the first five minutes (end of an era, no appreciation for old skills, vapid modern culture taking over, etc, etc) but it goes on for another 100 minutes adding nothing more.

108 out of 161 people found the following review useful:
Failed attempt to shock, 14 September 2011

Saw this at the Venice film festival last week. It had quite a few walk outs near the beginning (probably the strong Yorkshire accents with lots of background noise made it unintelligible for non native English speakers) and they were the lucky ones as it certainly did not improve over the following 2 hours.

The director's main aim seemed to be to try and shock audiences who thought they were coming to an Emma Thompson type costume drama by making the film as morose as possible and throwing in lots of swearing, violence and a bit of necrophilia. Unfortunately the only shocking thing was that they had managed to make such a bad film out of a classic novel.

There were numerous petty things which annoyed me about this film, e.g. the use of pathetic fallacy with the weather is way over the top (the Earnshaws live under a constant biblical downpour whereas there rich neighbours in the next door valley have a climate from a fruit juice advert); the cameraman either had Parkinson's or had been previously employed in one of those American police series where reality is represented by a constantly jerky camera; the actors playing the adult Cathy and Heathcliff look nothing like their younger selves - Heathcliff even appears to have changed race!; would a 19th century strict Christian father be happy with someone sleeping with his teenage daughter in the house?; would a 19th century Heathcliff be able to swan around Edgar house willy nilly? I could go on.

Most importantly I think the director fails completely in making us feel any sympathy for her characters. Heathcliff has a hard time of it in his youth but has no redeeming features. It's not helped by the fact that the actor playing the adult Heathcliff is atrociously bad at his job.

I have no problem with making Wuthering Heights dark and brooding but make it a bit less daft.

34 out of 137 people found the following review useful:
Pointless, 14 September 2011

I was in Venice last week so saw this film before its general release. I've been inspired to write the review because of the sheer volume of PR the producers are throwing at this movie ahead of its UK release, making out that it the greatest thing since Citizen Cane and a sure-fire Oscar winner.

My main feeling at the end of the film was, "What was the point of that? Why on earth would someone want to remake a 70s spy drama as a carbon copy of countless BBC efforts". There was no attempt to bring anything new to the genre, no hint that they might be making some comment about the modern world (or even the Cold War world) or telling us something we didn't know. If you are over thirty (and you're the target audience) you have seen this all before. The roles are not exactly taxing for the actors who get to speak in their usual RADA accents and be as stiffly upper-lipped as possible.

The plot itself is pretty silly (yes, I know it's based on all the Kim Philby type cases but I'm referring to the specific twists and turns of the storyline) and the pace of the action plodding.

It's by no means the worst film ever made, just completely unnecessary and on the whole not entertaining.

3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
OK adaptation of an OK book, 22 February 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

My second film adaptation of a well-known novel in 2 days at the Glasgow Film Festival, this was a better effort than Murakami's Norwegian Wood. I have read the book and found it to be a middling effort for Garcia Marquez, not his best, certainly not his worst (don't even think about reading "12 Pilgrim's Tales!), and readable enough without offering anything very deep. I also know Cartagena well so was interested in how it would look on film.

The movie passes the time well enough. The cinematography is attractive on a slightly grainy film that gives it a nice period feel. They obviously had problems with modern life intruding on their shots of Cartagena and didn't have much budget so a lot of the images are restricted views of a bit of colonial wall or doorway.

It's a love story between a 36 year old priest and a 13 year old girl (nothing changes!) set in colonial Cartagena. The girl is accused of being possessed by the devil after being bitten by a rabid dog and the priest is sent to examine her and decide if she should be exorcised, although the bishop is set on this outcome, come what may. The film is a bit more anticlerical than I remember the novel being. In the movie version the girl is shown to be normal and definitely not "possessed" while the novel is a bit more ambiguous about any special powers she might have.

The leading actress is pretty wooden (probably trying to look mysterious) but the Spanish priest is well played. Another review somewhere mentioned a dislike for the mix of accents on offer but I think they can justify having different Iberian and South American accents based on the setting.

13 out of 36 people found the following review useful:
Same faults as the book, 22 February 2011

I have a feeling I am in a minority of 1 when I admit I read Norwegian Wood and hated it. I got dragged along to see the movie version as my wife unfortunately did enjoy the book and insisted on seeing it despite having watched the uninspiring trailer on-line. The book is a poorly written (or if you're feeling generous, badly translated into English), misogynistic, would-be Japanese answer to The Catcher in the Rye with a cast of characters far too good looking and vomit-enducingly cool to be as miserable as they are.

A lot of fans of the book seem to be complaining that the movie was not long enough to fit in all aspects of the novel. This is nonsense, as it is actually very faithful to the original and you can't expect any adaptation to cover every sentence. The film is in fact over long as they drag out the tedious conversations mainly revolving around handjobs (can I say that on IMDb?). If any of the characters' motivations are not clear enough then that is the fault of the original source material, not the movie. The only large chunk of the story they left out was Reiko's reason for being in the sanatorium, which was the most outrageously unbelievable and puerile plot line in the novel (giving the infantile novelist the chance to imagine himself having sex with a middle aged lesbian as he'd already had his way with every other female character in the book). The film makers obviously realised this and left it out on purpose.

The cinematography is not as wonderful as others have stated. The actor playing Watanabe is wooden and unsympathetic (so does a good job translating the character from page to screen), as is love interest number 2, Midori. Love interest number 1, Naoko, goes from smirking and simpering to hysterics in alarming leaps on cue from the director. I won't go on as my dislike of the novel probably means I'm not the most balanced reviewer, suffice to say it was unlikeable, slow and empty.

32 out of 65 people found the following review useful:
Ocean's Eleven meets Friends meets a Ralph Lauren ad., 22 February 2011

This is definitely a homage to big budget American series like thirtysomething, ER, or Brothers and Sisters. Unfortunately I hate big budget American series like thirtysomething, ER, or Brothers and Sisters.

Imagine a group of extremely well groomed French people in their 30s sitting around Arcachon drinking wine, hanging out on a yacht and generally being as cool and Gallic as possible while discussing sex. Then contrast this with the preposterous storyline that they've all gone on holiday there immediately after their supposed best friend has been involved in a road crash and is teetering between life and death in a Paris hospital. If they love him so much why are they all swanning around like they were in a perfume ad?

You can just imagine the movie studio execs putting this one together.

- Right, we have to get a fantastic ensemble cast, you know like a French Ocean's Eleven - Exactly, how about François Cluzet as Max? - Surely he's too old for the part and would be completely unbelievable as part of the group of friends? - Yeah, but he'll be great for marketing the movie and getting more ticket sales……etc

It is a completely contrived, gut-wrenchingly fake affair. Even the soundtrack has been chosen by a robot programmed to look for middle of the road cool. The main comedic element is a running joke about one of the male heterosexual characters having a crush on his long term male buddy – a bizarre, unbelievable set-up, wedged in to create some 60s style set piece scenes.

Two and a half hours of scene after scene or perfect dentures and and beachwear cool mixed in with some pseudo-intellectual mid-life crises whining was just too much for this poor reviewer's backside to bear.

Submarine (2010)
67 out of 80 people found the following review useful:
Great Directorial Debut, 19 February 2011

We had the pleasure of seeing and listening to Richard Ayoade in person at last night's screening at the Glasgow Film Festival.

I am normally a bit scared of coming-of-age movies, mainly because of potential cheesiness and annoying child actors but Submarine managed to an accurate, funny portrayal of the hell of teenage UK school life. There were some slightly Adrian Mole-esque moments but that's not a bad thing.

The audience at the screening seemed to think that the whole thing was a rip-roaring comedy and laughed at points which were obviously supposed to be more poignant or sad. Overall, however, the tone is one of wry comedy at the horrors of growing up and even subjects such as brain tumors & divorce are treated as lightly heartedly as possible.

Don't be put off that Ben Stiller's production company was behind funding the film - it has nothing in common with a Hollywood teen movie. One of the best British films we have seen.