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38 reviews in total 
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Entrapment (1999)
Zeta Jones kills this movie. Surprise, surprise., 7 August 2016

The presence of Sean Connery can often rescue a dire movie but not when it is a truly dire movie because one of the main actors, Catherine Zeta Jones, has not talent whatsoever. This Welsh woman can mimic an American accent but that is all she does, mimic not convince, nor can she convince us that she is a savvy , experienced, hard-nosed insurance investigator. Without her, the movie might have been a success, but her presence was required because she was married to Michael Douglas. She has never provided a memorable performance in any of her movies, and not even in the little English TV comedy drama from which she sprang. She cannot even make the light romance with a much older man, Connery, believable, even though she had plenty of experience with her aged husband.

4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Begins well, 12 January 2016

Starts well. Attempts to b e homage to the old Bond movies, but goes on far too long and just becomes silly. I only stayed with it because I paid for it. However, it at least shows that Colin Firth is everything that Hugh Grant can never be. It also demonstrated that Samuel L. Jackson must not be rich enough to turn down such nonsense. This must also apply to Michael Caine, even though I do understand why he was cast. The disgusting crudity at the end I presume is the result of one of the creators being married to Jonathan Ross. How can a film include a sequence such as this? I imagine there will be sequels. I will not be watching them.

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Long-awaited remake a disappointing waste of money and talent, 10 December 2015

From the start, I had my doubts. Solo is an American but uses a very English phrase and an English word rather than the American equivalent. This is the kind of sign that a film has been made sloppily. The director is English and should have known better. The set up is not what I expected as a remake of the slick 1960s series that was so ahead of its time in all sorts of ways, but this is explained right at the end. But the movie is the damage done. None of the main three characters are in any way appealing and there is no tension between them at all due to lack of characterisation. One just doesn't care about them. The plot is absurd and very hard to follow (I didn't really care but as I had rented it for a fixed time from iTunes, I wanted to get my moneys worth and saw it through although I did stop and start a lot). Because the dialogue and action are so dull it would have seemed to long at 90 minutes but this turkey goes on for almost two hours. The introduction of Hugh Grant as Mr Waverly was the last straw. Don't they know he can only do drippy romcoms? And making him a Commander of Naval Intelligence as a nod to Commander Bond of Naval Intelligence, created by RNVR Commander Ian Fleming of Naval Intelligence, who also helped create the Man from UNCLE is just a bit of a stretch. And if he did hold that command, he would have been dressed in an RN Commander's uniform when aboard one of Her Msjesty's ships. Avoid this film at all costs. And the sequel!

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
So bad in every single way, 24 October 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I really had to review this to vent my spleen. How bad is it? Let me count the ways. Long and rambling with no real plot. Doesn't the writer know about the three act structure? It was obvious from the start that there was another reason for the incident at the end of the jeweller robbery but it took the Sweeney a long time to figure it out. Winstone and his tough Cockney geezer stuff is so boring particularly now he's a fat old git. And fat old its don't get young women except in the movies and on TV and why couldn't we see her arse instead of his fat old one? The proper tension between Haskins and Regan that was in the TV series isn't there. Damian Lewis as Haskins just seems to share a lot of sympathy for Regan's approach whereas Haskins in the TV series always had an eye on upstairs, probably because he was a Superintendent not a DCI like Lewis is. And Carter in the series was a sergeant not a DC as in the film. No constable not enough a DCI could afford to live where Carter lives. They use the term 'Officer' and 'gun and badge' and 'You have the right to remain silent' which are all American terms...Did they think that would help them succeed in America when 'Sarge' and 'Inspector' and a different caution would have been understandable? And overuse of Canary Wharf is a sign of low budget and totally unrepresentative of London. It's easier and cheaper to film in CW than in real London and as a result too many films and TV feature the grim background. Carter is a joke, looks like a bum and looks like he couldn't fight out of a paper bag. The music at the end has an arrangement that nods slightly to the great theme of the TV series. I only watched it to the end because I was stuck in a strange country and had paid money to download it. What a lot of rubbish.

The cuddliness of evil, 18 February 2014

I watched this last night after buying DVD even though I probably have another copy anyway, because I do like the film despite its many flaws. In the end, it's Forest Whitaker's portrayal of Idi Amin that carries it off. Neither of the actors who play Amin in the Entebbe films quite bring it off, although they tried hard. In this film, the cuddliness of evil is done very well. Even though the Scottish doctor is fictional, his story is believable because he is weak, needy and self-destructive (sleep with a murdering president's wife when there are plenty other women available, and it's why he bonds so well with Amin. He is slimy so it makes it easier for us also to bond with Amin and hate ourselves for doing so. People that are old enough, like me, remember well our ambivalent view of Amin. A monster, perhaps, but one who both loved and hated the British; a phenomenon that exists still in Africa. And for those who comment on Gillian Anderson's British accent......she was born in Britain and adopts a British accent when she is in Britain.

1 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Drama that pegs Liverpool as Self Pity City, 22 October 2013

While Bleasdale wrote a lot of this before it was screened, it has always been obvious to me that the BBC put it on the year after the great success of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, on ITV, done by the then Central TV franchise rather than Tyne Tees TV, the franchise for the area where the Auf Wiedersehen Pet boys are from.

AWP covered the same subject as BFTBS, the joblessness of working class blokes from the north where de-industrialisation was taking away their livelihood and way of life.

But the difference was the AWP dealt with it with guts and optimism and, to paraphrase a misused quote from a Tory at the time, 'they got on their bikes and looked for work', and did it with good humour as well as having some human problems along the way. By contrast, the writer of BFTBS made it overly and overtly political so you couldn't believe in the characters. Instead, the much better writers of AWP would have the leader of the gang, Dennis, say stuff to his mates within a plot: 'I've seen blokes like you before, you lose your money, you lose your passports, and you get absurdly patriotic for a country that couldn't employ you in the first place!'.

Much, much better. For me, people like Bleasdale give succour to the people who call Liverpool 'Self Pity City'.

Liverpudlians, Scousers, love to think they are funny. They are not.

The Geordies of AWP were funny, and Geordies generally are.

No wonder AWP got two more series, which BFTBS didn't. BFTBS only got its chance because it was funded by a British poll tax called the TV licence fee.

36 out of 65 people found the following review useful:
Worst film I've seen in a long time; a big missed opportunity, 7 February 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What a pity one cannot give a 0 score. There's absolutely no saving grace to this film at all, not even the denouement - the attack on the 'fortress' where Bin Laden is and where he is killed. (NOt sure this is a spoiler since we were told by the US that OBL was there and was killed). Hilarious anyway that one of the choppers crashed. It seems that in all American rescues they must destroy at least one helicopter, from Iran through Somalia to Pakistan.

Anyway, it takes a long, long time to get there, in which we have to watch completely unsympathetic characters about which we care little, witness torture scenes where the torturers take too much delight in their work and seem worse than Nazis, and where we follow a completely bonkers CIA woman who probably cannot spell the word insubordination never mind avoid it No CIA analyst or any government employee would last five minutes with her attitude and actions.

It got to the point where I was cheering when anything bad happened to the Americans, who are supposed to be the good guys.

Also the audio used at the beginning from Sept 11. Whether it was real or not, it was an absolute insult to the victims and their families.

Crap dialogue, totally unfocused 'story line'.

When one thinks of low budget revenge films such as Raid on Entebbe and Victory at Entebbe and classier ones such as Munich which were gripping and made one feel good about the actions taken, one would think Hollywood could have made a superb movie about this event.

After Homeland and the manic Carrie and this with the crazy Maya, I would expect lots of off the wall women thinking they were ideal candidates to be front-line CIA officers in the fight against terrorism.

A missed opportunity to tell a stirring tale, possibly because a woman director wanted to make a feminist statement using a woman as the main character, drawing the men as idiots who were all wrong when the woman was totally right.

And creating a film that depicts US servicemen and civilian officers as amoral, torturing murderers is not the best way to convince the population that the fight against terrorism is not in fact the right way to stir up even more hatred and even more recruits to Jihad against the Great Satan.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Not sure I'll get thru this, 3 November 2012

I cannot imagine why anyone likes anything about this film. I'm about 20 minutes into it, taking a break from the boring task at home of putting some curtains up. Putting up curtains is becoming an attractive alternative to watching this piece of rubbish. It's a good argument for countries not to have a film board, as I see this was subsidised by the Irish Film Board. Quite why a country would use its tax money to finance a movie that shows its capital as full of violent loan sharks and hapless drug addicts is beyond me. It seems to be an inferior Irish copy of the already inferior type of gangster Mockney movies produced by the former Mrs Madonna.

Savages (2012)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Bought it because of Oliver Stone's name and disappointed, 10 September 2012

Let me first say that I bought a pirate copy of this...on a whim from a Nigerian hawking outside the restaurant I was in on Corfu, so sorry about that. In the end, I was glad it only cost me a couple of euros, otherwise I'd have felt robbed if I bought it on Amazon or went to see it at the movies.

All I can say about it was it was OK for a slow evening watching it in a hotel room. I thought it would be good because it was Oliver Stone. It was just a succession of episodes from one to the other. I couldn't identify with any of the characters, and Travolta....well, he just wasn't trying at all.

I didn't care about the kidnapped girl and like other reviewers, I have absolutely no idea why this menage a trois was supposed to be so solid that the two guys - who are very different so how does the girl love them both? - risk everything, including their lives, for her.

Forget every other criticism, the central aspect of the menage just does not add up so the entire plot is built on nothing. Two extremely rich young guys living in southern California who don't have to work share one woman? I don't think so.

And here's a slight spoiler. At the end, the narrator, O, says people may be wondering where they are 'In Africa, or Kenya, or....' Well, young miss, Kenya is an African country. I know Americans are insular, and understandably so, but how could no one on the production team pick up on this clunker?

1 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Great series, apart from miscast daffy Mac character, 8 September 2012

I just finished watching the final episode today and while I'm very positive about its pulling power and entertainment value, I do find it a bit niggling that, as with the West Wing, there is a bias towards liberalism. With of course the added trick here that (possible spoiler for those who have not seen all episodes) that Will is a registered republican but still acts like the typical media person liberal. This is probably the price we have to pay for quality TV but it is irritating nevertheless.

Extremely good tho' the way real-life stories are dealt with by a fictional newsroom.

Biggest mistake of all, however, was the casting of Emily Mortimer, a fully paid-up member of the British luvvie set whose father was the playwright, film and TV screenwriter, John Mortimer, so she is also part of the British media aristocracy and whoops no wonder she gets parts she doesn't really rate.

For instance, it rankles that she uses a British accent, even though she is meant to be American. Couldn't she learn an American accent. Other British-born and raised actresses have done so, including Gillian Anderson (who speaks with a British accent when in the UK), Rachel Weisz and Michael Douglas' Welsh-born wife (her name escapes me).

It's a bit lazy of the writers to pass off her accent as because her father was 'Mrs Thatcher's Ambassador to the UN' (Countries, not prime ministers, have UN ambassadors, and given that she seems to be about 40 and Thatcher was in power between 1979 and 1990, I do wonder when her father was supposed to have served....).

And her performance is daffy in the extreme and it's unbelievable that such a lightweight character could have been a tough war correspondent and a TV news station executive producer.

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