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5 reviews in total 
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Better than expectations., 6 February 2008

This is not a serious film, and does not pretend to be, but it is not as bad as some of its reviews, it's title, and the first ten minutes lead you to expect.

The plot is very silly, but this adds to the light-hearted fun and enthusiasm which runs through the film. The characters are played sympathetically, and while they do engage in typical teenage angst, they generally avoid the sickly sentimentality usually to be found in this film genre.

Unusually set in London, sympathetic to geeks, this is well worth a watch if it happens to be on; if you want some tongue-in-cheek silliness, and don't mind suspending your disbelief.

21 out of 24 people found the following review useful:
An interesting oddity, 17 January 2008

This film had the potential to be much better. The charm and talent of Hepburn and Hope, the conflict of attitudes between East/West, Democracy/Communism, male/female. However, none of these elements work quite as well as they might have done.

Despite being rather over the top at the start, Hepburn is very good sporadically (the Russian accents and characters in general are stereotypical caricatures). Her androgynous persona is well cast, although used rather crudely at times - the film has a nervously defencive and jokey treatment of burgeoning feminist ideas, probably typical of the era.

Unfortunately, Hepburn's character is often relegated to be the foil for Hope's one liners. These are sometimes funny, but tend to predominate over characterisation, narrative, and the film in general, giving the whole piece an oddly disjointed, flat feel.

With a more pacey and intelligent script, the likable charm of Hope and the feisty emotion of Hepburn could have made a quirky, witty film. Instead, this rather dated film remains an interesting, although sometimes uncomfortable watch, as a snapshot of attitudes in the 1950s, and the unusual pairing of these two stars.

6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Perfection, 5 January 2008

This is an exceptionally beautiful and engrossing film, it must be one of studio Ghibli's best.

The artwork is meticulously done, often stunning, so that as with the characters, you fall in love with the Japanese countryside. This is really a pastoral story, conveying a love of nature, wistful feelings for the past, a sweetness and gentle sadness which you feel through the memories of this apparently unexceptional young(ish) woman.

Like many Ghibli films Only Yesterday has many deep resonances for most people - an exploration of what you might want from life, not from other's expectations, but through a remembrance and re-evaluation of your past life.

A really unique film, that avoids sentimentality, but subtly enchants you from beginning to end.

A must-see film!

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A pleasant but flawed film which is barely a pale copy of the book, 4 January 2008

This film is a classic example of book to film problems.

If you have not read the book, it could be seen as quite an enjoyable children's film - beautiful to look at, well cast and acted. The action simply follows the main character of Lyra - which is just as well, since the plot would be confused and confusing without knowledge of the book.

However, if the film is judged as a version of the book, although it starts to make sense, the problems multiply. The background to nearly everything in the book was missing, or wrongly portrayed - for example, at one point Mrs Coulter slaps her own daemon.Why? It is the same as slapping yourself, not something the self-serving Mrs Coulter would be likely to do. All the sinister and scary elements were ironed out of the film. It felt as though the plot was really rushed through, to fit everything in, and yet it never really seemed to get anything important in.

There is much to like in this film, it is a pleasant watch, but if you are looking for Northern Lights, it isn't here.

Apocalypto (2006)
5 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Violent Colonialist Propaganda, 29 November 2007

This film is visually stunning, which in most films would be a good thing.

However, unless you enjoy seeing the Mayan people, who cannot speak for themselves, being displayed without any regard for historical or cultural accuracy, in a deeply sadistic and violent way, this very very long film will appal and revolt you.

The characters are largely simplistic and stereotypical, serving mainly to highlight the inherent messages of the film, which seem to be that non-western/white/Christian peoples are inherently barbaric and violent, and so deserve to die out leaving the land to the apparently noble and brave incoming Spanish conquerors.

The narrative is not so much told, as being a non-stop portrayal of every type of violence possible, often shown in slow motion and close up just in case you wanted to especially savour the moment.

It should be noted that every portrait reflects the artist as well as the subject - in this case, as pure fiction, this film alone is a very nasty portrait indeed of Mel Gibson's psyche.

In short, unless you like being intellectually manipulated, and emotionally sickened, do not waste any time or money on this rubbish.