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Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014)
Not sure why this is being re-booted
I have found it hard to work out why Paramount have decided to re-boot this character - I liked Harrison Ford playing the role back in the 90s (so I guess that is half the reason for the 'newer' audiences), and thought his age and portrayal to be reasonably close to what Tom Clancy was writing about. The historical (literary) background was certainly more in line with that.
Things have changed, but taking Jack Ryan 30 (roughly) years forward didn't work for me - he was a 1980s 1990s operative with little connection to what is happening now - he would (in reality) be enjoying a long overdue retirement. I liked Chris Pine as an early Kirk (heaven help us if they ever try to reprise James T in his prime though), but didn't seem right as a young Ryan. Costner did his usual workman like job. Keira Knightley - WHY??? The movie was awfully formulaic, shot 'nicely', had the usual plethora of ooh aah action, but sadly was disappointing. I give it a 6 as JUST watchable, but it is barely there...
I enjoyed Kenneth Brannagh (as ever), found it odd he got a director credit - thought it shoulda woulda been better with him driving it...
The Rover (2014)
Interesting film in the genre (sorta kinda) of Mad max
A very odd and at times hard to watch movie (you may be wondering where it is going at times), but ultimately a nicely shot film with some oddly good performances from Pearce and Pattinson. If you liked Mad max back in the late 70s you will probably appreciate this (in some ways) as an homage to the original.
Unlike the original Mad max, there is little in the way of camp or comedy, this is essentially dark and disturbing the whole way through...
Pattinsons dialog is awkward (but seems 'ethnically' correct), so you might want to put on subtitles if you are not used to Aussie accents. If you like post apocalyptic, Mad Max, big open cinematography and odd loners, this one is for you.
Darren, what have you done?
I don't know where to start, I had so many expectations from the director and the cast, so in no particular order: Editing - sketchy at best - some odd blackout cuts, some that looked high school at best. Direction - sad, sad sad. Where was this movie supposed to be going - certainly didn't follow the bible, seemed more like a bad version of transformers at times (Michael Bay wannabe maybe?), I felt sorry for the actors who had so little to work with. Acting - well, the dialog was awful to begin with, so I will give them a break, but all have done so much better in other movies it was sad to see them struggle so. Russell Crowe brought the best performance, but that's really not saying much. The rock people all acted better... Cinematography was sadly weak given such biblical material - the flood was over and done all too quickly (but took about nine months in real time apparently), the closing rainbows were appalling. And that's it - in a nutshell a weird sci-fi biblical epic gone terribly wrong. Your mileage might vary...
Island of Lost Souls (1932)
Short Sharp Shock
Definitely not what I expected, definitely not what you will expect either. 80 - yes 80! years on from the origins of the movie you have to take a few steps backwards in expectations of (where do I start.. color, sound, effects, music?). Some glorious camera-work for the day, some amazing (given the era) makeup, some great scenes of potential romance, some things you can not see these days (real 1930s dock scenes). Go in with eyes open, understand what they were working with technically, and give this the vote it deserves. Great use of tone, makes the movie as dark as it was written. Little known actors other than Laughton, they all did a bang up job. Again, close off pre-perceptions and just watch.
Jonah Hex (2010)
I watched this earlier this evening and hoped a good meal and a few drinks would give me a better feeling about it, but no... I can not think of one good thing to say. The actors seemed to be sleeping through the script, the editing is disjointed, the direction is aimless. After so many successful (and some only middling) interpretations of comic book titles I have to wonder how this got out of the studio.
At times I was completely clueless about what was supposed to be happening, maybe because the dialog was almost incomprehensible, but also maybe because the characters came across as unbelievable. I don't think this could be an issue with the actors, as I've watched most of them in Oscar nominated movies.
I've not read any other reviews, but to be honest after wasting the time watching it, I don't need to.
Watch at your own risk - you have been warned.
Mo'nique Mo'nique, Mo'nique!!!
DAMN!!!! I went into this thinking I would be seeing some fairly above-standard- Lifetime Movie type stuff. Boy, was I wrong!! Plot-some plot holes-but never subsided into the "Teacher saves reckless urban student" that I expected.. Gabiree ((sp?) awesome too-much better than Sandra Bullock in the BlindSide (than again Ashley Olsen circa 1990 was better than Sandra but I digress) At any rate, movie on the whole MUCH better than I expected, a little cheesy in parts but loved the fantasy sequences (found the fantasy sequence where she looked in the mirror and saw a white blonde skinny girl especially moving...and troubling), also thought they brought back '87 in a big (yet subtle) way Ending-ehhhhh- a lot of directors don't know how to end a story and this one was no exception....cheesy, quick ending...and SPOILER ALERT .........................we know she is gonna die, being it is '87 and all-at that point it kind of seemed "Book of Job" or something-and, well, not sure what the point was there...but..... this brings me to .... Mo'nique!!!! Mo'nique!!! Mo'nique!!!! Monique!!! MY GOD!!!! "Rock of Love", "Flava of Love" girl brought it to the table!!! In a BIG WAY!!! DAMNNNNN GIRL!!!! I expected something good, something real good-but I expected good like "oh, thats cool, she hosted Charm School and now she's acting" good. I didn't expect some "Oh, sh%$!!!!!! She's giving Meryl Streep a run for her money!!" ...but she did...she did... and not by yelling and acting like a b**ch (which she did well) but by the subtlety between all of that...and the last scene...My God the last scene...blew me away...She was a bitch-you hated her-but My God that last scene...... Mo'Nique..never knew you had it in you (as an avid watcher of Charm School)...Rock on Girl, that scene (along with the rest-but THAT SCENE especially) will be a scene to be remembered for years to come.....
The Garden (2008)
An unfortunately poor documentary
This was nominated? Why? Appalling editing, cinematography, an almost complete disconnect between the farm and the farmers (were they illegal immigrants, poor LA folk or what?), nothing useful to show that Horowitz was a rich profiteer (just a shot of him leaving the courtroom after his deposition in a Mercedes?). I could not connect with the people, but did like the shots opening and closing of the farm and the dirt patch left afterwards. I did not understand fully if all the farmers got new land or not. The LA politicians were only as expected, crooked and cranky. I do not care about the politicians to be honest - I was expecting a film where I would learn something more about the individual farmers, and that's where I felt let down the most. I love the idea of urban green, we should do more for this in US cities, and this was a great opportunity to make a case for an active city farming community. In my humble opinion an opportunity wasted.
United 93 (2006)
Moving, tragic and real
I wanted not to see this movie for the longest time, but was persuaded by a good friend that I trust (at least in movie taste!). I thought it started a little slow.
Like early mornings in September no-one expects much to happen, but the build up is both relevant and brings to the fore the general feelings of us all on that day. After 30 minutes it took off and I could not take my eyes off the screen. The opening shot with the Muslim prayer turned out to be one of the most scary things I have seen given the context. The lack of 'stars' was a positive plus, the list of people playing themselves an added bonus - in many ways this was more of a good documentary (and in my opinion way better than the Michael Moore documentaries that have been made recently). A worthy Oscar nominee, it's a total surprise to this viewer that the usual suspects have made the grade, and this wonderful, moving and tearful movie has not been considered.
I've flown many many times and the realism of the in-flight scenes and the real life lack of 'ultra-heroism' was a refreshing change from the normal Hollywood pic. The passengers as depicted showed emotions and actions that left me feeling like someone who was on the plane with them.
A truly amazing movie - if you have not seen it, you have no excuses, go see it NOW!