Reviews written by registered user

9 reviews in total 
Index | Alphabetical | Chronological | Useful

0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
An Average Film; Nothing More, 24 May 2005

I can't see what is so good about Million Dollar Baby. It is an average film; that is all. The biggest problem I have with it is that the storyline seems to attempt to be true-to-life but if you examine it, it is so utter preposterous: a woman in the first flushes of middle age (Hilary Swank) decides to start boxing and convinces a reluctant veteran (Clint Eastwood) to train her; then within a year or two she is a boxing world champion defeating the stereotypical evil European opponent. (Frankly, when I see an American film that contains a "foreign baddie" (and sadly, so many do), it's a pretty clear indicator as to what kind of audience they are targeting.) Give me a break. I can't see how anyone can take seriously such an absurd tale.

Are you detecting shades of Rocky here? Yes, so was I. So not only is the storyline preposterous, it is unoriginal as well. The only thing that saves the film is the emotionally stirring scenes near the end as the boxer deals with tragic events that afflict her life. They are excellently acted and brought a lump to my throat. However, not even that can offset the ever-predicable and toe-curling subplots about the loud-mouth bully being put in his place and the no-hoper who just never gives up. You don't need me to elaborate on those subplots any more - you've seen them in a thousand other films. Aren't audiences getting tired of this by now? Where's the originality? Where's the realism?

Sonatine (1993)
7 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Dull, Inflated & Childish, 5 April 2005

This production is about a gangster who loses his appetite for a life of murder and violence and longs to lead a normal life. It's a great basis for a movie, but Sonatine can't carry it off.

The bulk of the film features a group of gangsters who are sent to a beachside location, and who await a call to action. We then proceed to see the incredible tedium of the situation, and the gangsters engaging in numerous childish games to entertain themselves. This, believe it or not, takes up about an hour of the film. I can watch this kind of behaviour in a school - I cannot understand why the producers thought this would be entertaining. The dialogue is witless and absolutely no stimulation is created for the viewer. There is also an entirely predictable love interest in the latter stages of the film, which does at least provide a minor distraction but that is about all.

Anyone watching this as an action flick (and I assume most would, as it has been marketed and packaged to give that impression) is going to be hugely disappointed. I am a Beat Takeshi fan, but this effort should have ended its days on the cutting room floor.

No Man's Land (2001/I)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
An Honest Appraisal On The Absurdities Of War, 5 April 2005

This is a very good film focused on the break up of the former Yugoslavia and the war surrounding it. It cleverly makes a point about the horror of war without having to go into gory detail. We often become desensitised to the effects of war - all we see is a newspaper headline or a 30 second news bulletin; this film goes some way to reveal the reality. But the movie is not just an intellectual exercise: the black humour will make you chuckle and you'll also be gripped by the storyline.

The film is based around two characters from opposing sides in the war who end up stuck in "no mans land" between the two warring factions. It creates a darkly comic situation of two enemy soldiers having to cooperate to get to safety. It's interesting to see that the characters are often unable to cooperate because of the blind nationalism and petty prejudices that armed conflicts create.

I have only one criticism: the second half of the film introduced numerous United Nations personnel and the media as additional characters (the UN trying to rescue the soldiers in "no mans land", the media reporting on it), and frankly I thought the film was poorer for it. It simply tried to cover too much ground and too many issues and the attention on the main characters became diluted. Perhaps the scriptwriter wanted to make a point, but showing that the media are like vultures in a wartime scenario seems an obvious statement to me and none of the media characters were in the least bit interesting. Their appearance became a tedious distraction from the intrigue. In my view, a better approach would have been just to script the UN's role in this war and its methodology (something which may surprise many people) and just have the media as peripheral figures. It is for this reason that I have given the film 8/10 rather than a higher rating.

Overall, though, I can say that investing your time and money in watching this film is well worth it. It is one of the best films I have seen in the last five years.

4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Almost A Masterpiece….But Not Quite, 24 March 2005

Irreversible is of the violent vigilantism genre. I think to elaborate on the storyline further would spoil the film, because it is not knowing what is happening that makes the film what it is.

It is a very good film, but not quite a great one. Why not? Firstly, because the film is effectively played in reverse, you spend parts of the viewing time wondering what on earth is going on - and in a frustrating "lost" way rather than a captivated "held in suspense" way. It is not until near the end that you realise why the characters have been behaving as they have. Also, characters pop up out of nowhere - this has the effect of, at times, going beyond curiosity to create sheer frustration. (Personally, I thought Tarantino's concept of starting the movie in the middle (Reservoir Dogs) was more effective - it created two intriguing questions: what happened before and what happened after? You then got to see the beginning, followed by the end. THAT worked perfectly.) Secondly, rather like I Stand Alone (another Gaspar Noe effort) the violence is gratuitous and excessive. I am not easily shocked or prudish but was it really necessary for the graphic rape scene to last several minutes? There are other violent scenes that also go on for an unrealistically long time - the beatings dished out would, in reality, kill people long before they die in this film. What is the purpose of this? However, I am emphasising the negatives. Don't let this put you off. While frustrating at times, the film being played in reverse is what makes it so brilliantly thought-provoking and thrilling - it's a real brain teaser working it out. Overall, this is a riveting, brilliantly acted and original production. It's a worthy additional to anyone's collection. It's also a great display of how we can jump to the wrong conclusions about people by making snap judgements. The victims aren't victims, and the bad guys aren't bad at all! (Watch the film - then you'll understand.)

6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
The Thriller That Doesn't Thrill, 24 March 2005

I do not understand why this film received the critical acclaim that it did. The references to Hitchcock seem to be a misleading front for the repetition of what is now a dated and unoriginal plot. I can sum it up in a few words: a guy meets an old schoolfriend by chance, the old schoolfriend seems unusually determined to get involved in the guy's life; the old schoolfriend turns out to be a maniac. It's a tired theme that's been repeated many times before, and this film doesn't stand out as doing it any better than others.

The whole basis of a good thriller is that its events are unpredictable. The fundamental problem with "Harry, He's Here To Help" is that it fails on this count. When well done, thrillers can provide hugely entertaining viewing. In their time, Hitchcock thrillers were excellent; this one is not. The comparison is inappropriate. Watch something else.

7 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
A Poor Version of Falling Down, 14 March 2005

If I could sum up this film in one comment, it would be: This is a poor man's Falling Down. The story is essentially the same for both films: a disillusioned white male flips out and decides to hit back at a society in which he feels marginalised.

The thing that made films like Falling Down enjoyable is that you were given an insight into what drives the main character's behaviour. You understand why he is angry and targeting particular people or groups with his brand of vigilantism. The problem with I Stand Alone is the violence is disproportionate and often mindless. Anyone can go to a bar in "the wrong part of town" and see a violent drunk lash out at innocent bystanders - it's not the kind of thing I pay to see in a film.

Not only that - there is a general lack of originality: as well as the plot from Falling Down, the monologues were straight from Taxi Driver and the avante garde moments are taken from Jean-Luc Goddard. The technique of the camera suddenly zooming in at a particular moment, accompanied by the sound of a gunshot was effective once…even twice….but it is plain annoying when it is repeated 20+ times. Don't bother with this one.

Solaris (2002)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
An Outstanding, Stimulating Film, 28 February 2005

One reviewer wrote that the basic plot is aliens appearing as human beings on a spaceship in the hope they will be taken back to earth. This is overly simplistic and displays a lack of understanding (midway through the film, when the main character wondered the reason behind the "alien" causing these people to appear on the ship, it was pointed out to him that his mistake was to assume that the alien needed a reason to do what it was doing). The "alien" is merely incidental to the basic plot of the film which is, in fact, centred around a man's struggle to come to terms with a personal trauma in his life and the desire to turn back the clock and have things turn out differently.

I thought this Solaris remake was an outstanding film - even better than the 1972 original. My beef with the 1972 version was that there was no depth or explanation behind the particular apparitions appearing on the ship - who was the boy? Why did the main character behave in such a way towards his "visitor" and what was behind his "visitor"'s behaviour? The updated version of the film answers those questions by giving an insight into the background of the main character and his "visitor", and the film is all the richer for it. Some people might claim this background information makes the film slow-moving; for me, it's essential to the enjoyment of the movie.

Don't let the appearance of George Clooney put you off either. OK, he overacts at times but otherwise this is his finest acting performance. The direction and the musical score are superb, all adding to the atmosphere.

If you want fast-moving action, comedy or a "feel good" experience, go elsewhere - if you want to watch a stimulating and thought-provoking film, based on a struggle and desire that many of us feel but rarely discuss, watch Solaris.

14 out of 39 people found the following review useful:
I could not see it through to the end - SO BORING!, 25 February 2005

I say this in complete honesty: this is the first film I have ever rented or bought that I have not watched until the end. Why this film received critical acclaim is beyond me.

It was painfully dull and I was checking for dirt under my fingernails after about 10 minutes. I really wanted the film to develop into something worth watching, but it never did. It was not exciting, it was not moving and it was not thought-provoking. It did absolutely nothing for me.

Truly awful - do not waste your time and money on this. If you want to bore yourself senseless, there are cheaper ways of doing it.

5 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Epitomises a Problem with many Eastern Asian Films, 25 February 2005

This film is another example of the curse of east Asian cinema: two or more separate stories rolled into one film. Other reviewers have obviously picked up on it as well because there are several mentions of the "first part" and "second part". How can you have any character development or a deep plot when the characters and the story are featured for such a short time? I was enjoying the first part until it abruptly stopped (it didn't "end", it just stopped in what appeared to be the middle of the story) to be replaced by an inane and totally unbelievable second part that seemed to focus around a girl rearranging and cleaning a guy's apartment (wow!) I look forward to the day when Wong Kar Wai is given a decent script to work with!