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I'm surprised that this got made
This is a film about a pretty young lady (Jordyn) who was told that her mother died when she was born. She has been brought up with her aunt, and has two friends (whose appearances in the film are as props for the horror rather than as part of any proper plot). Her aunt is a former nun who dies at the start of the film. Jordyn is haunted in various ways after her aunt dies.
I struggle to find any upside to this film. There is hardly any plot. The horror starts early on and carries on at almost the same pace throughout. A good horror film has changes of pace. If the horror is continuous, then you don't get that shock that makes you jump up in your seat. There's nothing very original here. Many of the scenes are reminiscent of other films in the horror genre. The attempt to include religion was very clumsy. In addition, ridiculing Christianity feels a bit old-fashioned now. We're not living in the 1960s any more.
Daria: Boxing Daria (2001)
Good episode but very sad
I love the series Daria, but one of its problems is that it darts around a lot. Some episodes are just zany antics and are not trying to be based in reality. Other episodes deal with serious social issues and stir emotions. This episode stands above all the others as the darkest.
It seems to have a slow start, with a new fridge being installed and a lot of talk about a cardboard box left in the garden. Daria remembers playing in a box as a kid. She gets upset when her mum says that she doesn't remember Daria doing much playing at all. Bit by bit, Daria remembers how she put stress upon her parents' marriage by her unusual behaviour and her difficulties with making friends.
There are two parts of this episode where I felt Daria's pain. The first came when Quinn remembers the same story about their parents' fight. The second was when Daria hugs Jane, which did not happen in any other episode.
It's a good story, and provides more information on Daria's childhood and inner turmoil. This was the last in the series of regular episodes, but there was a light-headed TV film to wrap everything up. I can't help but wonder whether they only made the TV film because they decided that this episode was just too morbid a note to end on.
Perhaps the most offensive B&B episode
Well, this episode contained a plot of drug-smuggling, racist depictions of Mexicans, and cruelty towards children and animals. The only episode of B&B that I think can compete with this one in the sickness department is "Heroes".
However, this is a much more entertaining episode than "Heroes". It has them going on an adventure. There are some funny moments when their tacos are too spicy and when they're being interrogated by the border police.
It must've taken a while for them to animate the walking. In these early episodes, they walk in a very strange way. The animation's not great but it's not the worst. It's not like "At the Movies", where you can hardly tell what's going on.
This Sporting Life (1963)
I don't understand how this won Oscars
I was born in and went to school in Wakefield, where this film is set. I was surprised when I heard about it at age 22; no one had mentioned it in Wakefield.
After I watched it, I could see why it's been forgotten. It's very boring. The plot is almost non-existent. I don't know why Frank is in love with Margaret, as she doesn't do much to entice him and doesn't have much character. The rugby and the romance elements are like two completely separate stories that you switch between throughout the film. The accents are ridiculous: this was set in Yorkshire, yet Frank has an Irish accent and Margaret has a south-eastern English accent.
To say a few good things, there are some good scenes in the film. It's vaguely amusing when Frank makes a lout of himself in a restaurant. The scene at the night club, where he does a bit of karaoke and has an unfortunate discussion with the rugby club's owners, cooks up a good atmosphere. Those scenes get three points.
Apparently the film was a commercial disaster when released, and it's barely remembered even in its own home town anymore. Why did it win Oscars?
It's brought a lot of pleasure to people
This has been ridiculed on "The Canned Film Festival", "Mystery Science Theater 3000" and "Cinematic Titanic": the only three to be mocked on all three bad-film programmes. Everything about it is so tacky that you can't help but laugh: a Santa Claus with a pipe who says "No Sirreee", a melodramatic Martian ruler, a polar bear that would be unconvincing in a pantomine. Still, the fact it makes you laugh means that it's not that bad. It wouldn't been on all three of those programmes if there were not a lot of fun to be had from laughing at it. I'd rather own something like this than, say, Richard Harris's first film "This Sporting Life", which is so boring that there is no way of getting any enjoyment from watching it. This is a bad film with a bad plot and it does get boring in parts, but it'll cheer you up on a bad day.
1 Day (2009)
A new spin on the gangland genre
Seeing as we have plenty of drugs gangs in Britain, it was inevitable that someone would make a film set amongst drug gangs in a Black community in an inner-city. This film follows Flash as he tries to pay off a debt to a drug dealer. He must also deal with three children from three different women, and his mother, who is a very bossy sort. There is some rapping in the film, especially in the first half. At one point, it felt like a musical: the gang go into a takeaway, the customers reach for their wallet and look nervous, and the gang start to rap about how they're not out to burgle everyone. There is one rap between two women towards the end, which I felt disrupted the flow of the film as he neared its climax.
There is not much violence in the film, although the subject of guns is discussed at length in parts. I'm glad that it tried to be different from the numerous US gangland films. The film is made more distinctive through the slang used, which is typical of the Black community in Birmingham. It's worth seeing, but I've given it just 7/10 because it lacks a clear meaning. There's no special kick that makes it stay in your memory.
This is a political thriller. It follows the story of Giulio Andreotti from the time of the Red Brigades' terror in the 1970s all the way up to his trials in the 1990s. The film takes the line that Andreotti did associate with mafioso and other disreputable characters, but he is presented as a cold and calculating figure who never made mistakes.
The film grabs your attention at the beginning with a string of violent incidents: looking back now, it is unusual how little violence there is in the rest of the film after the bloodbath at the start. The acting is excellent all around. It's difficult to play Andreotti considered how dry he seemed, but Tom Servillo plays it so that you see the ruthlessness behind the calm front. The soundtrack is sophisticated and provokes associations with high society. The camera work is good.
Any complaints? Well, I couldn't help but think all the way through, "Did this really happen or is it exaggerated?" Maybe that's just me, but there are some scenes (one interview in particular) in which I felt the directors were making their own speech to prove Andreotti's guilt.
Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
Great all-round film
This film was a huge success because it has something for everyone: romance, violence, humour, adventure and a good narrative. You need to pay attention to slot together the flashbacks to the answers that the main character, Jamal, makes in the Indian "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" game. The film shows the numerous setbacks and challenges that Jamal has had during his life, which is a theme everyone can relate to somehow.
On a second viewing, I concluded that the torture scene at the start was unnecessary. It can be hard to see how it fits with the game-show at the beginning, and it does seem unrealistic that Jamal would have been tortured so brutally before being sat down for a nice chat. They should have cut the torture scene out.
Easy-going, fun film
Most of this film is dancing. It's good to see how break-dancing started out: these people make you want to take it up as a hobby. The film came out in 1984, when hip hop was still a very small phenomenon. The whole scene is portrayed as safe, clean and fun. There is no gangsta rap in anywhere. It's sad that the positive image projected by this film was ruined by the gangsta rappers in later years. Ice-T makes an appearance as an MC here, but he was making deliberately outrageous music ten years later.
Many people criticise the plot. It's certainly not a classic plot, and the ending doesn't leave much of an impact. There are several scenes that demonstrate class differences or gulfs in understanding between different dancing cultures. The break-dancers with their scruffy clothes don't fit in with the smart jazz and ballet crowds, leading to some amusing scenes. That sort of culture-shock has been done in dozens of films since then. I'm not sure whether you can say that Breakin' influenced the following films, seeing as it's not very well-known anymore, but it was definitely amongst the first to do that sort of scene.
Most things worth banning are also worth watching
I do not watch cartoons normally, but I genuinely enjoyed this. The music and rhymes are quite clever. Everything fits together to make an impressive production. The story is different enough from Snow White to avoid feeling like a rip-off. The racial stereotyping is extensive. It shocked me in a way but, in another way, I thought that it was not all that different from Dave Chapelle shows or gangsta rap films. I wondered to myself, "What if I did not know that the maker of this film was White or Black?" It is very strange how the stereotypes in this film are still used today by mainstream Black comedians and entertainers. However, the slogan of the Murder Inc. firm is definitely racist against the Japanese.