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Talk Radio (1988)
"Sticks and stones can break your bones but words cause permanent damage!" - Barry Champlain
Never having seen an Oliver Stone film before, nor any films starring Eric Bogosian, I didn't know what to expect from this film. Having toyed with the idea of buying it for a while, I finally got it for free as a supplement with a Sunday newspaper and I was hugely impressed.
It tells the story of Barry Champlain, a talk radio host who can be incredibly rude towards his callers, often putting them in their place before they realise what's going on. Though this is what has made him a popular radio show host, it has also earned him numerous enemies.
The acting in this film was hugely impressive with not one dud actor in it. Eric Bogosian is brilliant as Barry Champlain, the troubled talk radio host with Alec Baldwin turning in a strong performance as Barry's boss, Dan. It also features the voice of, and cameo appearance by, Michael Wincott (my reason for wanting to see this).
The story was really well written as, despite his arrogance, you feel for Barry as more about his troubled life is revealed and you see how vulnerable he really is.
I'd recommend this film to anyone as it is captivating and, more importantly real on numerous levels, two of which being that is was inspired by the life of an actual talk radio host and the fact that you do actually get radio show hosts, and callers, like the ones featured in the film in reality.
High recommendation and 10/10.
Aye yours, Cat Squire
"Your men are obsolete" - Mekum / Todd
I'm not going to say that Soldier is not the best of, or not the worst of, its type because I haven't seen any other films like it (still haven't gotten round to Blade Runner). However, despite all the negative comments about this film, I found it very enjoyable. For an action film it actually has a plot. Granted, it's not the most detailed of plots, it's pretty simple but that's what makes it good - you can just take it on face value, accept 2 + 2 = 4 and there we go.
Kurt Russell did a really good job in his part, not showing emotion for the majority of the film but when he does it is moving because we have seen how he has been trained and what he has been through. Jason Isaacs is good as Mekum, the bad guy of the film. I bought this film after discovering he was in it and reading a bit about it. It was also going cheap. One thing I would say, Isaacs doesn't have his Harry Potter / The Patriot voice here, the voice people may see as familiar to him, but he is menacing when he has to be and is a very good actor. Steadily becoming on of my favourites.
I have noticed there has been some dubiety as to the alignment of Gary Busey and his two side-kicks. The simple answer is they are neutral. Church (Busey) wants to stick with the veterans like Todd (Russell) rather than Mekum's (Isaacs) genetically modified soldiers. However, if the new soldiers prove to be more efficient in combat then Busey will be happy to use them. He neither causes any problems for the good guys or causes any problems for the bad guys in an unequal measurement. He's a bastard to both and a nice guy to both.
To conclude, Soldier is a very good film with a good balance of story and action. Sci-fi / action fans will enjoy this film if I'm going to generalise. I'm not a sci-fi / action fan, I'll watch most things, and I thought this was great. Great acting, great visually, great action and story.
8 / 10
Name: Belle Gunness, Age: 34, Murders: 42
Rebecca Fairbanks (Hurley) is finally returning to the silver screen, after a three year absence, in the role of serial murderess Belle Gunnes. Fairbanks is acting alongside her old flame, movie star hunk Jake Fields (Sisto). In order to totally immerse herself in the role and get the best performance she feels she can give, Fairbanks resides on set trying to live the life of Belle Gunnes. However, all becomes tragic when people begin to turn up dead and Jake is arrested as a suspect.
Method (or Dead Even as is titled on the UK DVD) is a very good thriller and is, at times, quite unnerving. The film Method features scenes from the film 'Belle' that Fairbanks and Fields are starring in. As such you get 'real action' mixed with the action for the pretend film. Iy has been said in at least one comment that it is hard to tell what is the 'real action' and what is the fake film action. I would have to disagree with this as I thought it was perfectly clear, but maybe I'm just more preceptive than some other people. The acting in this film is very, very good with the stand-out performance coming from Jeremy Sisto, brilliant actor. Elizabeth Hurley looks very good in this film, as does Jake Field's wife Bethany (Hannah Yelland). I feel sorry for Fields having to choose between these two, it's a tough call. Olivia du Sautoy is very good as Mona, the mother of actress Fairbanks, who controls her life and seems very over-protective of her daughter. I watched this last night for the first time and am left feeling the longing to watch it again tonight which is a sign of how much I liked this film. It really is a great thriller. 8/10
One More Kiss (1999)
"I don't want to let anyone down" - Sam
Sarah (Valerie Edmond) has returned home to Scotland, having lived in New York for seven years, to tell her childhood sweetheart, Sam (Gerard Butler), and her dad, Frank (James Cosmo), that she is dying of cancer. She wants to spend as much time as she can with Sam and complete her list of things to do with him. However, Sam is now married to Charlotte (Valerie Gogan) who doesn't like the idea. However, Sam agrees to spend time with Sarah and gradually his marriage starts to fall apart. Then Charlotte presents him with opera tickets for his birthday and Sam is left with the ultimate dilemma: Charlotte or Sarah?
One More Kiss is a very moving film and should strike everyone on some level. The characters are played believably with the best performances coming from Gerard Butler (the reason I bought this film) and James Cosmo. Valerie Gogan is very good as the jealous wife, but Valerie Edmond came across very rehearsed, it didn't seem natural and Danny Nussbaum playing Jude, a fellow cancer sufferer, was also a weak performance.
You react strangely to the characters than you would expect. Sympathy lies with Sam who's best friend is dying and his wife is getting very angry with him. You also feel sorry for Frank, who is lovable and rather clueless and out-of-touch, which adds some comedy to the film. At first you dislike Charlotte because she's trying to stop Sam from seeing Sarah, despite her condition. However, this initial thought changes as you see, along with Charlotte, her perfect marriage crumbling before her. She is very cold in things she says about Sarah. At one point Sam says "She's dying, Charlotte" and Charlotte says that Sarah should "get on with it." This doesn't really strike as a cruel blow because her life (Sam) is being taken away from her for someone who is doubtful that they'll last the year. At first you feel sorry for Sarah as she has returned home to spend time with her childhood sweetheart and his wife is reacting coldly to her. However, Sarah appears more and more selfish, wanting Sam to put his life on hold for her to live what she has left to the full. You see the presence of Sarah tearing apart the marriage of Sam and Charlotte, until it comes right down to the dilemma mentioned earlier.
A stand out quote in this film, which I really liked, is when the cancer sufferer group is in a meeting and Jude is being a whiny, self-pitying child and says in a raised, angry voice: "Would anyone like to buy more f*cking cancer?" and one man says softly "I would buy it from you, Jude. If I could." Just a very touching moment.
As I've said the story is great, the acting is great and I strongly recommend this film to anyone. I'm a horror movie fan and I loved this. 10/10 from me. Check it out and see if my character summary is right.
After Darkness (1985)
Strange - Unusual - Different - Good
Not the greatest film I have ever seen but still I found it pretty decent and, in a way, similar to The Shout, which also starred John Hurt. The film moves along quite slowly, but when something happens it really happens. Obviously a low budget film but the acting is generally OK. I bought this DVD because Julian Sands is in it and I thought he pulled off a good performance, as did the legendary John Hurt. Although I thought this film was good I didn't really understand it. It can be quite confusing and I am yet to watch it again so once I watch it again and see if I understand it I'll update my comment here. Current opinion though, decent low budget horror film with a pair of good leading actors.
Jaws: The Revenge (1987)
Far from good!
OK, we have a shark out for revenge against the Brody family. Something tells me that the shark had a private investigator noting the movements of the Brody family and relaying them to the shark. - Sound stupid? Well, yes, but so is the film and if/when you see it you'll know what I'm on about.
The Plot: Sean Brody has to go out at night and detach a bit of driftwood from a buoy. As he attempt to do this, his arm is bitten off. He sits in the boat screaming to the land for help but they're busy rehearsing music for Christmas and can't hear him. As he's leaning (rather stupidly considering what's just happened) over the edge of the boat shouting for help, he's munched - tasty! Anyhoo, Ellen Brody has the feeling that the shark is hunting down her family and goes out to the Bahamas to stay with her other son, his wife and his daughter. While there Michael Brody and his partner Jake are tagging snails when they discover a huge great white shark which quickly tries to attack Michael - see what I mean about the P.I? So, Jake and Michael try keeping track of the shark and when Ellen's granddaughter is attacked by the shark she decides she's going to go and try and kill it, and thus we get a stupid ending. Mario Van Peebles (Jake) is out on mast sticking out the front of the boat, sticks something in the sharks mouth but goes in as well sideways and the front mast breaks as Jake's dragged bleeding underwater. Michael's then using an electric charge to drive the shark crazy, Ellen Brody steers the broken front mast straight into the shark as it rises out the water due to the shock Michael gives it and the shark explodes. Yes, that's right. When you stab a shark with a sharp piece of wood it explodes. Oh, and Jake survives. The shark let him go because, as Jake says "Sharks only like white meat!"
This is a very stupid, crap Jaws film, basically. What more can I say? I think I've given enough above for you to make up your mind. Mario Van Peebles is the best actor in it, shame he had to be in such a crap film.
2 or 3 out of 10
Dear Frankie (2004)
"You protect him every single day!" - The Stranger (Gerard Butler)
I ordered 'Dear Frankie' off play.com because I am a fan of Gerard Butler, and because it had a high rating on here. So, it came through the door today and I have just watched it and I thought it was truly excellent.
The acting by all involved is brilliant and Gerard Butler is just amazing in his role as The Stranger. He brings this character to life and you see how his feelings towards Frankie, and the situation he's now in, change. Most probably now my favourite actor just because of his talent to go through completely different roles, from Dracula ('Dracula 2000'), to the Phantom ('Phantom of the Opera') and now to a stranger being paid to pretend he's a deaf boys father and brings all these characters to life. Also the fact we're both Scottish.
Emily Mortimer and Jack McElhone are also brilliant in their roles. Emily Mortimer brings so much realism to her character that you can actually see and feel how frail her character is. Jack McElhone does really well portraying the deaf boy Frankie. Definitely a full 10/10 for acting.
The story and movement of the film are both very good. It's not a quick paced film, but it's not plodding either. It moves along at what I felt was a perfect pace for the movie and the story doesn't tell you everything about the Morrison family right from the start; as the story progresses more information is revealed. It was brilliant.
This film comes with a high recommendation from me! A full 10/10
PS. Why is this film not on the top 250 list when it's rating is higher than other films on it, like Jaws?!?!
Something new and fresh in the horror genre
I ordered May on DVD from play.com a couple of days ago and it came through this morning so I sat and watched it and I must say I was rather impressed. I had read comments on the IMDb saying that it was good to see something new in the horror genre and about the excellent performance by Angela Bettis and this inspired me (along with the fact Jeremy Sisto is in this film) to buy it.
Anyhoo, to the point! May is a wonderfully fresh movie in amongst all the blood and guts horror films of today. It moves slowly but it holds your attention well with brilliant performances by Angela Bettis, Jeremy Sisto and the supporting cast.
Not much more I can think to say about this, my mum and brother are arguing in the next room and distracting my train of thought. It's a crazy life.
Basically, a very good film. Horror fans would love this, as would people who just appreciate good, lower budget films. I bought this and enjoyed it very much and thought it was a good purchase. You might not feel the same so I won't *tell* you to go out and buy it, but I would advise that it is worth it.
8/10 from me, Cat §quire
This was nothing like I expected it to be....
I am just back from the cinema after seeing Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith and I must say I was not very impressed. OK, the special effects were very good, my hat is off to ILM who have done brilliantly with the effects. Most of the performances by the actors were OK. Samuel L was good in the role of Mace Windu, giving a believable performance, as did Ewan McGregor. Another IMDb comment said "the usually competent Ewan McGregor spouting some rather silly lines" but in Mr McGregor's defence, the lines he said are in control of the script writer, not so much the control of the actor, though may have some influence on a few lines.
Overall, this film is not as good as I expected, actually quite far from it. This film had excellent potential but I think it failed when it came right down to the crunch. OK, it tells the story but there were some really crap moments, not surprisingly they happened when Hayden Christensen was on screen. A cardboard cut-out with an electronic voice box attached to the back would have given a more believable performance than he did. And *spoiler* the "NOOOOO!" near the end from Darth Vader was terrible. Incredibly corny and completely uncalled for.
All in all, I am disappointed at this movie and will stick to the classic original trilogy.
Flood: A River's Rampage (1998)
"We need every man you've got"
The story: Constant raining is causing the Mississippi river to rise faster and higher than it ever has before. A female engineer is assigned to a small town to build a levy to protect most of the town. We find out she was once 'engaged' to Herb, a local farmer who helps rally the townsfolk to build the levy. As the movie progresses we discover that the estimations made by the higher ranking engineers are wrong. I think their estimates increase about 3 or 4 times throughout the film, just so we can have more footage of people sandbagging.
This is by no means brilliant! It's not even really good! Or good! This is just an average 'made for TV' film. I am actually watching 'Flood: A River's Rampage' as I am typing this. This is about the second time I have seen it and I am still not impressed and the only reason I have it on is because there's not much else on.
Anyway, the acting is poor on most parts. Harry Anderson (from Stephen King's 'IT') does a good job but the supporting cast should probably consider acting lessons. Not really much point to this production, especially the whole thing with the grandfather on top of the house. All the footage of Herb's (Harry Anderson) children is rubbish. Neither of the girls playing his children are convincing in their roles.
All in all, if there's nothing else on then do something other than watch this. If you have nothing else to do (like me just now) stick it on and you can keep yourself amused at this poor production.
As always, Cat §quire
Amazing and Powerful
(may contain spoilers, dunno if anything I say will spoil it so warning just in case)
"'Thirteen' - just another movie about teen angst with an 18 (UK) rating due to scenes involving drugs and sexuality. High rating? I'll see what it's like!" That was my thoughts before watching this film and my idea of it being "just another teen movie" couldn't have been farther from the truth. The film, in a nutshell, shows the downfall of a nice 13 year old girl (Tracy), with nice friends and good grades, in the 4 months that she was hanging around with the girl all other girls want to be, and all the boys lust after: Evie! Evie introduces Tracy to stealing, drugs and sex. Tracy starts to go off the rails, giving abuse to her mum and her mum's boyfriend. Tracy gets drawn in by the nice girl Evie but also Evie's wild side and this allows Tracy to be easily manipulated; something bad happens, Evie turns on the nice girl act but usually she's wild and that appeals to Tracy. Suddenly she's desired by boys, loves Evie and hates her mum. She begins self harming when she has arguments with her mum, putting cuts in her wrists with a pair of bathroom scissors. She goes completely off the rails and all the while she's being manipulated by her 'best friend'.
This film must be the most powerful film I have ever seen. The fact it was low budget and mainly shot with a hand held camera makes it a lot more realistic. The script was excellent and the cast were amazing. Excellent work by all but worthy of mention are: Holly Hunter (Mel, Tracy's mum), Eva Rachel Wood (Tracy), Nikki Reed (Evie and co-script writer) and Jeremy Sisto (Brady, Mel's boyfriend). Eve and Nikki were believable in their characters and brought life and reality to the film. Holly was brilliant as the mum trying to hold everything together but at her wits end. And Jeremy Sisto - the boyfriend hated by Tracy - was brilliant in portraying the caring boyfriend who wants everything to run smoothly and does his best to help. At one point I felt sympathy for him when he tries to help Tracy and she abuses him.
All in all, an excellent film, more than worthy of watching/purchase and definitely deserves a higher rating than 7.1 as it is realistic, amazing and powerful. The transition from nice girl to bitch is shown brilliantly. I think I've run out of words to praise this without repeating myself, it just took my breath away.
10/10 As always,
" Well, he's certainly dead now. Why would anyone want to kill him twice?" - Wadsworth
A group of people are invited to a house and they all have one thing in common - they have all been getting blackmailed by the same person. When the man is confronted by evidence from the butler, he turns out the lights hoping that the people will kill the butler and carry on business as usual. But when the lights are turned back on, the man is dead. The group (including the butler) go to the kitchen and discover that the cook is dead also. They return to the study where they then discover the dead man is not actually dead at all - he's got up and moved. One of the women goes to the bathroom and finds the undead man in the bathroom - dead! So who was it? Was it: Wadsworth (the butler), Mrs Peacock, Miss Scarlet, Mrs White, Col. Mustard, Prof. Plum or Mr Green?
In a similar way to 'Murder By Death' the film thrives on comedy and confusion and, although you may find it confusing at times, everything makes sense when compiled at the end as it leads towards (on the DVD) one of three surprise endings. 'Clue' is funny from start to finish with some gags I can honestly say I didn't see coming. But this film would not have been as good were it not for the 3 C's: comedy, confusion and Curry.
Tim Curry was excellent in his role as Wadsworth the butler, stealing the show from all of the others with charisma which is present in all of his roles. The other actors were brilliant as well, just adding to the quality of an already great film. I preferred this to the aforementioned 'Murder By Death' and I think the reason was the comedy - I found 'Clue' more amusing than 'Murder By Death' though both are really good films.
I highly recommend this film to anyone and everyone, definitely worth the money. And to those who think this films rubbish - "Frankly Scarlet, I don't give a damn" - Wadsworth!!
PS. If you liked this then check out 'Murder By Death' or vice versa!
"Romasanta is not a man"
'Romasanta' tells the chilling tale of Manuel Blanco Romasanta, known murderer of 15 people (although confessing to murdering many more) and how he charms women before killing them brutally like a wolf. When we are introduced to Romasanta a wolf backs away in fear from him, and this saves the life of the heroine Bárbera. Romasanta is going with Bárbera's sister and they leave Bárbera behind to go to another town to secure a place to live and a home, running in fear of the wolves that have been killing the town folk. On the way to the new town, Romasanta kills his 'girlfriend' and her daughter and then returns to seduce Bárbera. She suspects that Romasanta has killed her sister and niece and sets out to have justice brought to him.
Julian Sands (Romasanta) is excellent in this chilling Gothic tale, portraying the character with such eerie class that makes the film as good as it is. This is no ordinary werewolf movie, it is a psychological thriller, looking at the mind-set of a man suffering from lycanthropy, making him turn mentally to a beast but making him feel the physicality of it.
All in all, an excellent Gothic tale, a new take on werewolf movies and I would say that it is better than most films involving werewolves. What's more, it is based on real events. Excellently filmed and acted, especially by Julian Sands. Definitely worth watching. From me, 9/10.
"The Romans have done great things but their time is past. What they have done, we can do. We should rule the world!" - Attila
After witnessing the destruction of his village and the death of his father, Attila successfully escapes with his life and is picked up by his uncle, who is king of a group of Huns. Attila grows up to be a strong warrior who has his mind set on invading and, consequently, taking over Rome. The deceitful Roman General Flavius Aetius goes to Attila's village to seek help from the Huns and suggests to Attila's uncle that Attila is to be taken to Rome with Aetius when the battle is over. Aetius is impressed with Attila and takes him under his wing. But when Bleda, Attila's brother, murders their uncle, Attila returns to his village and fights his brother for the throne, and then sets his sights on Rome.
This movie was really enjoyable, although some of the acting was rather stilted. The top actors were Powers Boothe as Flavius Aetius, the excellent Scotsman Gerard Butler in the role of Attila the Hun and, although not having very much to do in the film, only in it for 2 scenes, was Tim Curry who is, as always, terrific and amusing.
This is not a film full of gore, but it survives without it. The action scenes are good and liven the film up a bit but it does not have an excess of gore like other historical battle films.
Thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommended. 8/10 from me! As always, your faithful Scotsman, Cat §quire
The Punisher (2004)
"Do I like it? I love it!"
"Do I like it? I love it!" - Frank Castle. That quote from 'The Punisher' sums up my feelings towards this movie. It is by no means the greatest comic book to movie cross over but it is thoroughly enjoyable and filled with action - mainly shooting and explosions.
When Howard Saint's son is killed when the FBI turn up to stop the illegal sale of weapons he takes his revenge by having Frank Castle and his whole family killed while they are in Puerto Rico having a family reunion - only Frank does not die. Now he wears a t-shirt his son gave him on his last day alive which has a logo on it which is supposed to keep evil away. This logo is now the logo for The Punisher.
The story and acting are both very good, as is the action. Tom Jane (Frank Castle) plays his part excellently and John Travolta (Howard Saint) is smooth as ever. A lot of the characters are very plain, very one sided, but then again, the main focus is on Frank Castle and the other characters don't need to be developed for this film to work.
It is a good film to sit back, relax and watch start to finish. If you fancy a good action flick this is definitely a film for you. 'The Punisher' gets an 8/10 from me. A good film and worth a watch.
The Phantom of the Opera (2004)
The Phantom of the Opera is there........inside your mind!
I don't go to the cinema often but for 'The Phantom of the Opera' I decided to make an exception. Now, at the ripe age of 17, I have already seen a few musicals on stage and some on TV or video. 'Phantom....' is one of the musicals I have seen performed on stage about 7 years ago. I know I thought it was good at the time but couldn't really remember the story so I went with my mum to see this film, not really knowing how good it was going to be, not having read any reviews of it. I left the cinema with one resounding word in my mind:
WOW! It was an incredible film. As a music student I just loved every minute of the score, excellently done by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Emmy Rossum (Christine) has an excellent voice, so soft yet it creates a nice, round sound. And Gerard Butler (The Phantom, and home grown Scottish talent :> makes me proud to be Scottish) has a great voice for the role of the Phantom, especially for someone who is not a trained singer. It has power and aggression but can also be soft and serenading like in the song 'Music of the Night'.
A great film for lovers of musicals, for those who enjoy romantic films, drama, a hint of madness, a strong, captivating storyline. This film could be classed under many genre's and if there was a genre titled 'WOW!' it would come under that too.
All in all, an excellent film! Go forth and enjoy!