Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
People Like Us (2012)
A fine family film that makes you think.....
A film that perhaps was overlooked by many, People Like Us is a great movie that has its mixture of moving and humorous moments, all entwined with wonderful imagery and a dense musical score. It's a film detailing the trials and tribulations of a fractured family life and how perhaps everyone has a "skeleton in the closet" as the saying goes. And as it's inspired by true events on behalf of the director Alex Kurtzman, he shows the viewer the emotional aspects of broken families and strained relationships with admirable tenacity; it makes you wonder what goes on behind closed doors.
The performances in this film were second to none, with Elizabeth Banks the stand out in my mind. Banks delivers an alert and moving execution of her role as Frankie, and she shares a wonderful chemistry with Chris Pine, who also proves he is more than just a pretty face. While Pine's character of Sam may at first appear to be a bit pompous and big headed, Pine is able to show how he actually is not so bad after all; the touching moments he shares with (still stunning) mom Michelle Pfeiffer, the eventual truth regarding his true relationship with Frankie, as well as the conclusion to the film prove this.
People Like Us is simply a movie that packs a huge emotional punch about love and how life is not always as simple as it could be. We do make mistakes after all; but when those mistakes cause pain and suffering to those around us, it's time to take a step back and re-evaluate that life, and that is what makes People Like Us one of those films that instantly touches you. 9/10
Gran Turismo 6 (2013)
A worthy game in the franchise
GT6 has proved (at least for me) to be an acceptable game and a definite improvement over GT5, which had been seen to be a little fussy and complicated. However, I was intrigued to discover this game was not a Playstation 4 title, but nevertheless the excellent graphics certainly prove the astute attention to detail; up to a point. There are still some missed opportunities such as 'standard' vehicles having straightforward black interiors and the lack of windscreen wipers for example. There are other imperfections; the AI - as with GT6's predecessors - leave a lot to be desired, and if using a car up to the newly introduced PP limit, winning races really isn't that difficult. In other words, it's not challenging enough.
The inclusion of 1200 cars is obviously a winner, although from what I've seen, many vehicles seem to be from the 1990s and early 2000s, so the vast majority are nothing new to me. I appreciate the game makers are Japanese, but the bias towards cars from that part of the world (as with the earlier games) is annoying; how many Mistubishi Lancers, Subaru Imprezas and Nissan Skylines do we need?! There are also some interesting omissions from the line up; a list of cars I could mention is endless so I won't do that here.
Nevertheless, in a nutshell, I enjoy GT6; I prefer it to GT5. Then again I sense the GT franchise is beginning to lose its edge to other games of a similar nature, such as Forza, Ridge Racer and so on. It may have been the class leader in the car racing genre, but time has moved on. However, as a major fan of the Gran Turismo franchise since the series began in 1998, GT6 is a game that cannot be ignored from someone like myself, and is worth having in my collection.
Gravity did grab my attention
With all the hype surrounding this movie, and being a fan of Sandra Bullock in the process, I simply had to see what it was all about; needless to say I liked it well enough but can't help but wonder if all that hype is misguided.
Alfonso Cuaron directs a 90 minute film in fine style; the spectacular cinematography and effects are conducted with such tenacity you can't help but feel you're actually in space! It really is astounding work, that alone marks a 10/10!
The casting of Sandra Bullock and George Clooney is an interesting aspect; in my opinion, Clooney is bordering on the annoying side but Bullock adds a real sense of sensitivity and emotion to the part of Ryan Stone (even if she is just talking to herself nearly all of the time), while any dramatic scenes add a sense of urgency and feeling to the viewer to want to stick with the story and find out what happens next. It is these characteristics to Gravity that make it stand on its own two feet well enough.
However, although Gravity proved an amiable enough film to me (perhaps due to the technical complexity surrounding it), too much emphasis has been placed on this. In the not so near future it may be seen to be a slightly - if not highly - overrated movie. 6/10
Crimewatch UK (1984)
Important crime fighting series
An important tool in the fight against crime in the UK since it began in June 1984, Crimewatch has detailed thousands of serious cases involving murder, robbery and rape amongst others. Continually supported by police forces across the country along with detailed reconstructions as well as CCTV footage of incidents, it simply puts into perspective the enormous good there is in people who phone in with vital information that can help convict those responsible: at least one-in-three cases featured on Crimewatch are solved thanks to viewers; a pretty good statistic.
Broadcast once a month on BBC1 (although in more recent times, a little less frequently) Crimewatch has had numerous presenters over the years. Of course its most prolific is Nick Ross; hosting the show for 23 years until 2007 ranks him as one of the longest serving presenters of the same series in TV history (working alongside female broadcasters Sue Cook, Jill Dando and Fiona Bruce in the process).
Ironically, Crimewatch in itself would be the victim of a terrible crime when Dando was murdered outside her house in London on 26 April 1999; sadly one of Britain's most infamous murders that remains unsolved.
Admittedly, I have to say the look and feel of the programme has diminished in quality in recent years, what with overzealous acting and unnecessary background music during reconstructions in what could be said to be "dumbing down"; what happened to just giving us the facts without resorting to the superfluous? Nevertheless, Crimewatch has been responsible for bringing many dangerous and prolific criminals to justice over the years thanks to viewers' responses and will hopefully continue to do so.
Gran Turismo 5 (2010)
A worthy successor
There's no doubt the GT series redefined the car racing genre. GT5 certainly ups the ante compared to its excellent predecessors. Although admittedly, the objective of GT mode is pretty much the same (win races to unlock new vehicles and so on), the inclusion of just over 1000 cars will in no doubt please the most devoted fans.
What is disappointing is the lack of "cockpit" views in "standard" vehicles and their 'less attention to detail' graphics wise - look closely and you can see where the game-makers have cut corners. The newly introduced damage model makes little difference to a vehicle's handling (you would expect some differences); sounding the horn and flashing the headlights seems pointless, and the AI leaves a lot to be desired. This is what lets the game down.
Nevertheless, the plus points of GT5 - namely the astute attention to detail regarding the "premium" vehicles and their interiors and the welcome return of old track favourites - outweigh the negative aspects of the game, and there is no doubt that GT5 will be adored by the masses all over the world; just like its predecessors! But then again, if gamers find this new GT game a little too complex for their liking (as it can be frustrating at times), there is always the previous editions to enjoy.
Settle the Score (1989)
An intriguing TV film
As a fan of Jaclyn Smith, this was one of her films I hadn't seen, and I have to say that it was one of the most intriguing. Settle The Score is not a melodramatic film as such; it details very deep and disturbing facts that may leave viewers surprised.
Jaclyn Smith gives out a believable (if slightly flat) performance as Kathy in a role where she simply wants to take her revenge for an unforgivable event that happened to her years previously. However, the supporting cast - namely Richard Masur and Howard Duff - steal the show with their worthy performances.
A dark and brooding Jaclyn Smith TVM that stands out from other roles she has done in her career. 6/10
The Jackal (1997)
The Jackal is certainly not the best film ever made perhaps due to its lack of subtlety if compared to 1973's The Day of the Jackal, which is used as its main inspiration. I think what lets it down a fair degree is the casting of Richard Gere as an IRA henchman (although it is hilarious having to listen to his character Mulqueen's accent though)! On the other side of the spectacle, Bruce Willis as The Jackal is convincing enough - although the many disguises he uses are quite laughable - and Sidney Poitier is always a class act.
The action jumps from one place to another perhaps a little too quickly, one scene focusing on the Jackal's preparations, the next we're seeing the authorities planning their own next move. The supporting cast - including Diane Venora and JK Simmons - perform well although Jack Black's inclusion is a bit mellow.
In a nutshell, The Jackal is a (very) loud and brash sort of action thriller that is good enough to pass the time with a bucket of popcorn with your friends, but it certainly won't go down as a memorable movie of its type. 5/10
Shoot to Kill (1988)
A first-class thriller
I enjoyed this film very much upon first viewing and I've must have watched it hundreds of times since and never get bored! Deadly Pursuit is a nail-biting, intelligently thought out action thriller made all the more stronger with its excellent cast and mountainous settings. It is certainly a welcome return for the legendary Sidney Poitier after a decade away from the screen.
The intrigue regarding which of the five members of Kirstie Alley's (as Sarah) hiking group is a deranged jewel thief and killer is there in abundance; perhaps all have something to hide, you just don't know! This point is heightened thanks to the casting of actors well known for portraying bad guys, namely Andrew Robinson and Clancy Brown. When we do find out who the killer is, the cat-and-mouse game reaches new heights.
Deadly Pursuit is a simple title for a simple film, but it does move along at a good pace, and adds full-on tension and interest to keep the viewer entertained; for example the turbulent yet vital relationship between Poitier's Stanton and Tom Berenger's Knox, two very different individuals coming together for one and the same purpose; the sometimes humorous moments (Stantin's struggles with a horse, a scene where he and Knox have to shelter from a snowstorm as well as their encounter with a grizzly bear), mixed with great action that doesn't go over-the-top as proved with other similar movies.
Sidney Poitier and Tom Berenger are a pleasure to watch together. Despite their character's sometimes volatile relationship, the two actors do share a certain chemistry, while Kirstie Alley performs well despite limitations to her character.
I enjoyed Deadly Pursuit to the full. Roger Spottiswoode directs a well crafted action thriller that can be watched again and again. 8/10
The Frost chapter comes to a close.....
I'm quite certain many people were trying to guess the fate of D.I. Frost; does he meet his maker or simply retire peacefully and live happily ever after? There were three different endings filmed to mark the end of show, and even the cast members themselves had no clue as to which 'ending' was going to be broadcast.
I was personally satisfied with the conclusion; I wonder what other people thought of it? An alternate ending was shown on the internet immediately after the show was broadcast, and the DVD release also includes this.
The end of A Touch of Frost certainly brings to a close to one of the most popular drama series on British TV, which in no doubt kept us viewers hooked with its superb story lines - which sometimes dealt with difficult subjects such as paedophilia and racism - strong and believable acting, and its mixture of humour and versatility. The show will be greatly missed, but I hope to see Sir David Jason in other worthwhile roles in the future. 8/10
The beginning of the end
If Dogs Run Free sees Frost having difficulty in trying to convict criminal Gerry Berland, who masquerades in drugs and illegal dog fighting. Berland's son believes a former friend of his was responsible for tipping off the police in the first place and takes matters into his own hands. However, he doesn't take into account that there is a witness to his crime. There is also the case of unsolved crimes coming back to haunt Frost, which he soon realises is putting his life at risk.
Of course there was much hype surrounding this two-part edition of A Touch of Frost, as we all know that it was finally coming to an end after nearly 18 years. David Jason, at age 70, had to come to the conclusion that this excellent series could not go on forever, and that his advancing years was becoming a major concern. Nevertheless, Part 1 of If Dogs Run Free certainly keeps the twists and turns and strong acting usually associated with the show, and should not disappoint viewers.