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Philip_Pugh

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8 reviews in total 
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Host (1998) (TV)
7 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Boring and uninspiring., 8 December 2003
1/10

This film is totally pointless and boring. Not even Peter Gallagher can save this movie. It's a shame that such a good actor can only get leading roles in TV movies like this one.

The film is far too long, being 130 minutes, the acting is merely adequate from most, the little kid is annoyingly awful, the production design is boring and dull (summing up the whole film) and the story is totally uninspiring. The woman who is supposed to be seducing Peter Gallagher's character doesn't pull off her role very convincingly and wouldn't make anyone want to leave their loving wife for her and why exactly Peter Gallagher pays her so much interest is beyond me. Further more, why his wife is still with him after his fling and even after he puts the dead woman's chopped up body in their freezer is even more of a conundrum. I haven't read the book `HOST' on which this film is based so I don't know how faithful an adaptation this is but the film doesn't inspire me in any way to track down a copy and give it a read, infact quite the opposite.

I can't think of one good thing to commend this film. Give it a wide birth, unless you suffer from insomnia.

1/10

Magnolia (1999)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
One more masterpiece from PTA, 8 December 2003
9/10

Paul Thomas Anderson follows up Boogie Nights with a longer,

bigger, more rapidly paced film with even more characters than his

previous film(many of the same actors from Boogie Nights appear

in this film). Set around San Fernando Valley, the film charts an extraordinary

24 hours in the lives of the 12 main characters who are all from

different backgrounds, of different ages and with different

sensibilities. Each character is in some way connected to at least

two other people either prior to or during the course of the film. This film is absolutely brilliant and proves again what a truly

original and audacious writer/director PTA is. The writing is

extremely clever in parts being able to weave around, back and

fourth between all the different stories and characters. But of

course, a film as big and as complex as this has it's occasional

flaw in the writing (The amount of time Stanley Spector is allowed

to waste and then ramble on for on live television before they pull

the show off air and cut to a card is one such flaw). But the ending

is a work of genius and comes as a huge surprise. The directing is again, what else could one expect from this

director, astonishing. The long, dynamic, well rehearsed takes

help add to the sense of frantic urgency to some parts and slower,

remorseful drawn out moments to others. Only when it looks like

it's turning into a music video with the cast singing along to Aimee

Mann's `Wise Up' did I feel that it had gone a little too far. The acting is also a joy to watch. With the ensemble cast of mainly

character actors you don't feel that anyone is trying to steal the film

from anyone else. Tom Cruise's performance as Frank T.J.

Mackey a sex guru is a little over rated for my liking. Cruise is IS

good, but only as good as the other 12 strong cast. I prefer the

performances of the socially repressed John C. Rielly, the guilt

ridden Julianne Moore and the kind and quiet Phillip Seymour

Hoffman myself. The rapid and urgent score by Jon Brion is a very clever addition to

the film helping to hold it all together and make it seem like there's

always more to come and moves along the running time very

quickly. Three hours seems a little indulgent, but there is not one moment

or scene that I feel could have been cut and/or shortened to make

a better film. The cut is perfect and I never once got bored. Mainly

because you aren't allowed to get bored with the films manic pace

and not to mention how thoroughly entertaining and humorous the

whole thing is.

9/10

Bully (2001)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Careful who your friends are., 8 December 2003
10/10

Larry Clark returns with something a lot more like Kids (in it's

style) than his previous film ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE.

Bully is about Marty and his relationship with his long time buddy

Bobby Kent who is constantly bullying him with both physical and

verbal abuse. The bullying wins Marty the sympathy's of Lisa, a

frumpy, lonely girl, desperate for Marty's attention. Lisa can only

take so much watching her new boyfriend get beat on by his so

called best friend and Bobby even rapes her himself, so she

decides to gather together some friends to kill Bobby.

This film, inspired by a true story, is really a performance piece

and all the young leads pull it off superbly. All of them adding

another string to their bow. Rachel Miner (Lisa) proves there's a lot

more to her than just being Macurly Culkin's wife (now divorced).

Nick Stahl makes a wonderful ‘bully' portraying Bobby Kent

(Around this time IN THE BEDROOM was also released in which

he plays a drastically different character proving him to be a very

versatile actor). Brad Renfro (Marty) shows a more sensitive side

as the `bullied' and demands sympathy playing this repressed

character. Bijou Phillips (Ali) is phenomenal as the slutty friend of

Lisa. Michael Pitt (Donny) is hilarious as Ali's junky boyfriend. And

Larry Clark proves once more what a brilliant `visually real' director

he is.

The film is shocking, real and spookily entertaining. In particular

the last ten minutes of the film are totally brilliant with the choice of

music, editing and strong performances.

An absolute masterpiece. Easily the best work the cast and

director have done to date. Much better than kids.

10/10

Spun (2002)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Spun is fun!, 8 December 2003
8/10

For a start this film takes the prize for the most interesting and

unpredictable casting EVER. Patrick Fudgit whose most notable performance was in Almost

Famous as the sweet natured, mild mannered, well brought up

William Miller. A young rock journalist well out of his depth, in Spun

he plays a spotty, dirty, gawky, drug addicted, computer game

playing trailer trash kid with an obese mother. Mena Suvari who we all know from American Beauty as Kevin

Spacey's beautiful cheer leader love interest is here the

unbeautiful, constipated junky love interest of `Spider Mike'. Brittany Murphy who's been seen this last year in 8 mile and

looking pretty glamourous in the comedy Just Married couldn't be

any less glamourous in this film. And then there's the lead, Jason Schwartzman who's been seen

playing some colourful and interesting characters in Rushmore

and Slackers, couldn't be any more dull as a Ross in this movie,

simply going along with peoples journeys to score his next fix for

free. The film is about Ross and the druggies he meets along the way.

To help secure his next fix he agrees to do some `driving' for

Mickey Rourke's character who is the `Cook' and the boyfriend of

one of his friends, Nikki. This film may be hard to watch for some with a record breaking

5345 cuts and hard to watch for others because of it's content. But

this film is entertaining, funny and well acted. The odd casting

pays off as every single actor pulls off their part convincingly

without question. They are obviously having a good time playing

characters they normally wouldn't have the chance to play. This film is very stylised and quirky, even giving every character

their own logo during the opening and closing credits. The quick

cutting emphasize the drug use while the grainy pale look

emphasize the derelict area and situation these characters are in. Funny and entertaining, but not overly original and due to the films

content it's not for everyone. But this is a great achievement for a

film made by a first time feature director, Jonas Akerlund (whose

music video past is more than evident here in it's style), in just 22

days.

8/10

Elf (2003)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
He Caan stay at the North Pole for all I care!, 8 December 2003
5/10

A typical christmas movie, full of light hearted comedy, family

values and packed to the brim with sick inducing sentiment.

Thankfully, the comedy is actually funny (unlike many of it's

contemporaries), mainly due to the lead character Buddy played by

the new comic genius of WIll Farrell. Having found his

performances hilarious in `Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back' and

`Old School' my expectations for his performance in this film were

still fulfilled thankfully, despite it this film actually being pretty dire. It all moves along well enough and is moderately entertaining, but

the end was a little too much to stomach for me with the obligatory

sentimental christmas message. The story and ending are

painfully obvious and adds nothing new. Unfortunately all the best

jokes were used in the trailer so if you are after something fresh

and funny, just watch the trailer and save yourself an hour and a

half.

5/10

Sleepstalker (1995) (V)
7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Sleep Baby Sleep..., 30 November 2003
7/10

A serial killer, thinking he's the sandman goes on a rampage trying to kill families that match a certain description. He is caught by police just as he's about to kill his intended victim, a little boy Griffin. The sandman is locked away. He later kills himself and upon his reincarnation he takes up from where he left off and sets out to kill a grown up Griffin.

Incredibly low budget and looks very cheap, but it's not the worst film in the world. It is infact moderately entertaining with a pretty good story. The production team make the best of what little budget they have, using some very low budget camera shots in places allowing them to spend a little more money on some bigger effects shots else where.

The acting and direction is fairly average but doesn't lower itself to being bad or too cheesy. The sentimental bulls**t is also thin on the ground which is pleasantly surprising for a film like this where they would try and make up for the lack of budget with sentiment and crap dialogue in the script.

Fairly good, watch it if it comes on TV but don't go out of your way to see it.

7/10

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Just Desserts, 30 November 2003
10/10

In his previous two movies Paul Thomas Anderson had a whole cast of geniusly devised and underused characters all playing against and/or off one another making huge ensemble masterpieces. Here he takes just one genius character creation, Barry Egan (played by Adam Sandler) and gives him his own 90 minute film.

With Boogie Nights and Magnolia both about 3 hours long each, 90 minutes seems a little short for this director, but this movie is, like I said, mainly about one character. However the 90 minutes doesn't seem quite long enough. Like PTA's other characters in previous films, he doesn't exhaust their potential and leaves plenty of room making you wish for more, which unfortunately you don't get (although there are a couple of inspired deleted scenes on the DVD).

The 90 minutes quickly slips by as we follow the incredibly shy and somewhat repressed business man Barry Egan as he deals with his verbally bullying sisters, a phone sex girl hell bent on getting money out of him and Emily Watson's character, a friend of one of his (seven) sisters who shows a lot of interest in him (She's even stalking him at the supermarket if you look closely).

The repetitive, hypnotic soundtrack, bright paint like visuals, blue light lens flare, hilarious performances and superb direction adds stacks of style and mystery to this little gem ensuring you'll want to give it a second viewing.

This film is absolutely brilliant and proves once again what a fantastic and intelligent writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson is.

But the best and most surprising turn comes from Adam Sandler who proves there's a lot more to his acting talents than childish, goofy, layabout, slap-stick comedy type characters he's become accustomed to playing.

10/10

324 out of 409 people found the following review useful:
Beautiful..., 29 November 2003
10/10

Probably the best film of 1999. This dark comedy drama marks two fantastic feature film debuts with Alan Ball as writer and Sam Mendes as director (both winning oscars for their sterling efforts).

Kevin Spacey plays Lester Burnham, a man on the brink of a mid-life crisis, who suddenly becomes obsessed with one of his teenage daughters friends played by Mena Suvari. His daughter (Thora Birch) is, as Lester tells us; "a typical teenager. Angry, insecure, confused...". And his wife Caroline (Annette Bening) has an obsession of her own, her public appearance.

Life starts off on a downer for the Burnhams and their new neighbours the Fitts despite their lives looking good from the outside.

As life begins to improve (with most of the main characters finding what they think is love or new relationships) it soon all comes crashing down in the climactic final day.

The writing is nothing short of brilliant and made even more amazing by knowing that it comes from a first time feature film screen writer Alan Ball (who had had years of prior experience writing TV sitcoms - not that you'd be able to guess from the tone of this film).

The directing is on a par with the writing and Sam Mendes manages to get some brilliant performances from the great cast, who are all faultless. No doubt Mendes' theatre directing past played a huge part in directing the actors so well.

Another person worthy of a mention is the late director of photography Conrad L. Hall, another one of the five oscar recipients for this film.

All the elements in this film gel perfectly together to make one superb masterpiece. Not one person, either cast or crew, steals this film or does anymore than anyone else to make this film what it is. Truly an ensemble effort. 10/10.