Reviews written by registered user
ellisfamily

8 reviews in total 
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Taxi 4 (2007)
2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Rollicking fun, 2 March 2009
6/10

I watched this movie with subtitles, having not seen the previous 3 films. I enjoyed the format, not knowing that previous episodes supposedly offered more/better car chases according to other commentators.

The Inspector irritated me, until I bought into the Pink Panther / Insp. Jacques Clouseau homage (http://www.imdb.com/find?s=all&q=Pink+Panther&x=23&y=7) and "Silence of the Lambs" / Hannibal Lecter thing, then I just rode the wave of good humour and rollicking fun.

This movie was always meant to be taken lightly rather than literally or (worse) earnestly.

3 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Bad Language by the Narrator, 2 February 2009
1/10

This is a great documentary drama, except for the constant bad language of the narrator, Gina McKee.

McKee has at least as big a bad language problem as George W. Bush. Neither Bush nor McKee can say "nuclear": Both say "nucular". And, if anyone tells you that is not bad language then do not believe them.

For an actor, or journalist, or what ever McKee is, a single word mispronounced in a show might be forgiven. However, this is bad constantly. The narrator can not avoid it, especially as the subject is about the prospect of "nuclear" war so the word comes up constantly.

However, after the Producer (Henry Chancellor) and Executive Producers (Taylor Downing and Sam Organ) and/or almost anyone else involved had spoken to McKee about the project, and done nothing, then they become equally responsible for the bad language.

What if a show is about writing a book, and the narrator constantly talks about the "wroter" of the book? Or, about elephants and the narrator calls them "efalants". Or, about television and the narrator says "telovision".

This show deserves a re-dub, to take out the constant bad language of the narrator, Gina McKee.

Otherwise, it scores 8-9.

Dirty Pictures (2000) (TV)
Sceptical about the values of the United (States of America), 8 December 2007
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

By the standards of the 'prosecution' in this case, many of the earliest artistic objects unearthed by archaeologists would be considered "smutty" and unworthy of display in any museum or art gallery. Think about the "First Amendment" when you think of whay is written and painted on walls all the time since 1990, when the case began, or more

The film-making process shown necessarily displays many Mapplethorpe pieces. It's a pity that this should be the case, as they scandalise what might otherwise could be a 'family' movie.

That Rushdie and others are interviewed makes this as much a fiction of journalism as a fiction by a writer.

Beware the temptation to laud Barrie (James Woods) in "winning" over the Cincinnati prosecutor, who comes across (with the techniques of the 'anti' side) as sleezy, but well intentioned in a morally broken way.

That the Judge was held somehow responsible, and soon voted out of office, says much about the USA's system of justice and not much that's good about about it's elector's reasoning or intellect. But, in the end, voting is subjective -- and "local".

In Dreams (1999)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
More compelling than an F1 race., 13 May 2007
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm a car racing nut, and tonight this was up against an F1 race carried live. At the end I chose Bening's and Downey's compelling performances over the end of the race. This is an adult film that keeps you there despite some predictability.

Some read into this that Claire Cooper (Bening's character) is the one with the real mental issue. I can see why this thought process occurs to and is helpful for some viewers, but I subscribe to the more "orthodox" view that Vivian Thompson (Robert Downey Jr.) is "the original and the best" when it comes to brain sludge.

Some characters need to die in these kinds of movies. Why did it have to be Claire's child Rebecca (Katie Sagona) and husband Paul (Aiden Quinn)? Because we wouldn't care about Claire unless they had died. Will she be believed by her doctors and the Police? Will the Police arrive in time? Will Vivian become sane or judicially killed? Is Claire turning vengeful and "joining the dark side" by getting into Vivian's head at the end, or is it all Vivian? Can you see coming the chase through the apple factory? How about the wrap-up with the water? Okay, so "no metaphor will go un-resolved". So what?! And, writers, please use a male name that's sexual ambiguous rather than sounding 1920s and 30s (I'll say it; "sissy") in the modern age, even if the works in the context of the movie. (Apologies to all the males named Vivian.)

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Twice in two days was good., 11 May 2007
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw this twice in as many days, once on cable TV and then on a flight. A fellow traveler and I laughed at the appropriate places; he was seeing it for the first time. I enjoyed it both times, and for a male that's saying something.

Hugh Grant as the "has-been" pop idol is a neat play on his real life ups and downs and ups. Drew Barrymore has come a long way since she showed David Letterman her chest as a birthday gift (and, I was watching the show that day.) So, 'redemption' hangs heavily in the air for both leads. Redemption is what the love-song of the title is about, equally for the songstress 'Cora' (Haley Bennett) for whom it's written; for the two leads' careers; for their relationship; for the goofy agent (Brad Garrett) who is trying to keep his client and the money-stream; for the gushy sister (Kristen Johnston) and her fading youth and so-so marriage; for the vacuousness and shallowness of the recording industry and its 'star' cycle; and so on.

The small-part players are well done. For instance, the DJ, Derek (Billy Griffith), comes across as not only a hanger-on.

The music is also a player. The three main songs ("Pop! Goes My Heart" the song under the titles, "Way Back Into Love" that is written in the movie, and "Don't Write Me Off" sung to win back the girl) are all good. I could sing them all after the movie had ended. Well done to their authors.

All this is dealt with in a quaintly unromantic way, while the romance takes another thread through the movie. The reality-meets-fantasy threads cancel out what could be sickly-sweet and make it a great watch, with a few things to think about on the way.

Marc Lawrence has written and then made a good vehicle for the talents in the movie, including his own.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Four men, four approaches to women, one friendship., 26 August 2006
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

These four men have so much in common that you'd be forgiven for thinking that they weren't a four-man football (soccer) team.

They show the friendship that men can have: Secrets, lies, and truth, in measures enough to make the friendship viable, even necessary.

The ensemble of women around them make the men look like angels, at times, until you see the signs of the men's individual and collective guilt about some of what goes on among this extended friendship group: The character that seems best settled into bachelorhood turns out to be truly a modern male lover; love turns to dust and back again; what seems a shallow, flippant fling turns into real love; the one you like at first turns out to be a misogynist after all, or is he?

The film has a little of almost everyone in it, so it resonates for us all.

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt "get it on"., 29 March 2006
6/10

Only in retrospect can we see how, and why, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have become a couple in their personal life. However, the chemistry and electricity between them must have been obvious on-set, too, as it certainly comes through in the film.

The device of the to-camera marriage counseling sessions (from the point-of-view of the counselor, presumably behind a desk) allows several revelatory occasions that help to tie the movie's time-line together.

The emergence of the Smiths as coolly efficient killers is brought out by degrees. Once established as a 'fact', the killings then multiply.

SPOILER: The scene where the good/bad guys come for them, dressed in black (with an appearance like Ninjas), and are obviously defeated, is in the end a gratuitous scene of carnage. This scene is reminiscent of the "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" shoot-out scene, complete with the dressing for the occasion, but the body-armor saves the scene from becoming a remake.

10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
An uplifting late-50s film of hope when the UK needed it., 29 March 2006
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This B&W film is "of its era" (1958) when bomb sites in London and elsewhere around England were still easily found, and people were still "doing it tough".

The name of the main character, the main 'innocent', the young orphan girl Lovejoy Mason (June Archer), is intended to convey a meaning about the bitter-sweet nature of the plot. She is the thread through the film, a real character, with a child's foibles, irritations, likes and dislikes. And, her character conveys love and joy to those around her. In so doing, the film also conveys the mood of the late '50s England that was just seeing the joy after 10 years of recovery from World War II.

Around this character are several well-crafted child and adult characters who will determine Lovejoy's fate: an institutionalised orphan or a child accepted in a family.

SPOILER: The interplay of dark and light created by this dramatic tension is brought out in the final moments when the (predictable but still unexpected) death of one of the adult characters creates the opportunity for 'redemption' by another adult, with the then inevitable 'salvation' of Lovejoy. The final scene is a mild 'come-uppance' of one of the child characters but, considering the austerity of the era and the film-making, the crowded and obviously positive mood street scene with many extras might have been done more cheaply in a quieter setting; however, this would have perhaps wasted the overall uplifting mood of the film.

Players: This is an 'ensemble' film, and the players come and go. June Archer (as Lovejoy) played another child part a few years later, and could have gone on to be a good actor, but did not. Flora Robson was in the middle of her incredible 50 year career (1931-1981) and gives an important though minor part a great lift. Similarly, Edward Chapman brings gravitas to his role, in the middle of his career. David Kossoff and Lyndon Brook were then both busy actors relatively early in their careers, and this displayed their talents.

Director Philip Leacock was learning his trade but not new at it, and here conveys a mood in B&W that was obviously well learned as he went on to a long career on both sides of the Atlantic.