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Favourite 5 films of all time (no order): Dances With Wolves, Empire Strikes Back, Dawn Of The Dead (1978), Top Gun and Planes Trains & Automobiles.
Drivel. A failed attempt to make a Christmas movie out of Easter.
I took my two kids (5 and 8) to a preview of this. Usually, I enjoy a good kids movie - this was not a good movie. It tries to do for Easter what the Santa Clause movies did for Christmas, but misses the mark by light years. The main problem being that the iconography, the sights and sounds that characterise Christmas, just aren't there with Easter - and this leads to pretty much everything being forced, or coming across as a lame attempt to emulate the more expansive holiday period. None of the characters (inc EB) are very pleasant and attempt to have his story match that of the male lead is clumsy and obvious. On top of that, nothing interesting actually happens - characters don't develop, there is no sense of challenge or danger at any point and even the one possible exciting element (the Pink Beret's) are given nothing to do. OK, so both my kids said they enjoyed it, but I think I can put that down to the popcorn and chocolate they had. If they really like a movie it sticks with them, we'd barely got in the car before they'd moved onto another subject. 'Hop' is a lame rip off of a more successful movie franchise, don't be fooled by the fact that it's from a major animation studio. It is, quite simply, boring and unengaging for both kids and adults alike.
The Prisoner (2009)
It's very different - get over it!!
I am a huge fan of the original. Let's get that out of the way. I was well aware with how much people hated this and how 'bad' it was supposed to be when I sat down to watch this - so I have to admit that I was rather surprised with how much I enjoyed the experience. It is very different to the original version - it's polar opposite in fact, in that the 6 in this version is always one step behind 2 and is much more submissive than the Patrick McGoohan character. This change in character seems to have irked some people, but I didn't want a straight remake of the original and I found the whole concept here to be, whilstnot exactly fresh, intriguing enough to keep me interested and stimulating enough (especially Ruth Wilson) to have me hooked for six hours. What made the biggest difference to me was the fact that the ending made sense, it allowed the viewer to tie the knots and draw and out ones own conclusions, rather than just confuse and frustrate as did the ending to the 1967 version. The explanation was fascinating and the conclusion was very through provoking. If you do head into this, go in with an open mind and know in advance that it is very unlike the original. I believe that that will make all the difference. Like 'Lost', it doesn't make full sense, cannot be simply explained, but it's the journey that counts. I enjoyed the journey, was entertained for 6 hours and that means that this series (in the words of 'Hunter') "works for me".
United States of Tara (2009)
My wife and I have been watching this for several weeks now, I keep putting off watching the next episode, but always find myself back there... Why? Because this has to be one of the most uncomfortable viewing experiences in years. Don't get me wrong, it's good (make that very good), it's just, well, ikky viewing. The characters are all fully fleshed out and well acted, and for a lot of show, you can associate with them, and just as you settle into a character they do something that makes the whole thing very very uncomfortable... The whole series is like a trainwreck, the brakes squeal, the characters react, there is smash, then the pieces are scattered and we move through the wreckage picking over the pieces and uncovering more. It's challenging viewing for sure, and never predictable - and that is what makes it such a great show. It's like life, it doesn't play by the rules and throws multiple curve balls out - many of which will hit you in the face. Tara's alters are a disturbing bunch (especially now we in later series with the introduction of Gimmy) and whilst providing some entertainment, you find yourelf observing them with almost fear - what will they do next? And, for the record, I find Buck very distasteful and actively don't like the character. For me to get so engaged in a show and have such strong feelings about a character is very rare. Chris In The Morning (I cannot think of him any other way) is also great as Tara's husband, and I was on tenterhooks for several episodes waiting for his reaction to events - the result (like so much in the show) was quite, well, ikky!!! Overall, recommended. You may not exactly have fun with this, but if you can take it, you will at least end each episode thankful for the normality of your own life.
Lunar Jim (2006)
Fantastic, educational kids show.
Both my kids have loved this show - and my wife and I have loved watching it with them. It's fun, totally non-offensive, bright and colourful and very entertaining. Yes, the plots are simplistic, but the problem solving the characters undertake in each episode is clear and easy for the young to follow. My sons learned about many things form this show (magnetism, protecting the environment etc) and from them have further developed their understanding of these concepts. It's rare these days to have a kids show that has no conflict in it. I'm not adverse to conflict (my boys and I love things like Star Wars too), but this is real universal kids show and is all the more welcome for that. Most of all, it's a happy show that can be watched and enjoyed by all ages and so is a great program for the whole family to share.
Silent Hill (2006)
Chilling, surreal and horrifying.
I know nothing about the game - and it was with no knowledge (other than that this was a horror film) that I went into the cinema. I then sat through the best 2 hours of pure horror I have seen in a long, long time...
The tension kicks in at the off and gradually climbs in little notches until the audience in on the edge of their seats - not only wondering about the fate of the principal characters, but about the back story that will explain what is going on. And after 90mins of tightening the screws the final 30mins is a tour-de-force of revelation, revulsion, revenge and retribution.
The eerie and very effective use of sound, coupled with the surreal imagery is very disquieting and left me feeling quite uneasy through the whole movie. You know a film has hit it's mark when the gang of kids who laughed and chatted and made phone calls through the trailers shut up and go quiet very early on.
The explanation for the movies premise is one of the most horrifying I have come across and is brilliantly handled (i.e, without excessive gore)by the director. This also one of the few horror movies of recent years that remains grim throughout and never seeks to lighten the mood with ill-placed humor or a a ridiculous 'macho' ending. The action is driven by the love of a mother searching for her daughter - and for that is very believable.
Make no mistake, 'Silent Hill' is something special. A real horror film in every sense of the word. It doesn't rely on on just one element (gore, violence, horrific story etc) for it's success, but manages to use just the right amount of each to create a spell binding and knuckle whitening whole. See it now!!
As a fan of low budget sci-fi (especially Rutger Hauer movies) I have to admit to being biased towards this before I'd even seen it. But, not only did it live up to expectations, it far surpassed them. This is a slick, well directed and acted and fairly intelligent entry into the 'alternate dimension' genre.
It's fast paced and the gorgeous Andrea Roth certainly adds to the enjoyment factor. Rutger Hauer is his usual sardonic self, always great value. Josh Charles is excellent in what I think is the best film of his career!! OK, so the budget is low, but the makers have done wonders with what they had to work with and it looks like a much more expensive movie - the cinematography is fantastic and gives the whole movie a lovely 'gloss' look. There is lots of humor, an excellent villain and some very exciting actions scenes - what more could you want? A lot of people compare this to the Matrix, which I feel is unfair. The Matrix is (great fun, but) very overblown and pretentious, whilst this movie plumps solely for entertaining. Some of the themes are the same, but the similarities end there. I'd go for Crossworlds any day!!
Weird early example of computer animation
My friend and I obsessed for years over the identity of the short film we saw, whenever we went to see 'Return Of the Jedi' in the UK in 1985. I remembered the images of the Easter island Head being shot and he remembered the bigger fish swallowing the smaller fish and so on... After a through search I managed to track it down on DVD - and I was not disappointed!! The 'story' is simple, the film tells of the developments of man, and how all we are doing is inventing new and bigger machines and working towards war and our own destruction. But, it's the imagery that always sticks and the often very strange soundtrack. The film was applauded on it's release as it used computers for animation for one of the very first times (how things have advanced), but I remember it as the short film before 'Return Of The Jedi'. Having finally tracked it down I was able to fully relive one of the moments of my youth - and it was good!!
The Orgasm Raygun (1998)
Witty, fun and original.
Having been witness to several short films by Mr Gooch I can honestly say that I cannot wait until he breaks into feature films. The verve, energy and humor displayed in this, 'Arthurs Amazing Things', 'The Curse of Ian Spatchcock', 'The Horn' and 'Eddies Sticky End' (to name a few) is very rare in todays cinematic climate. Often likened to a new Monty Python (whom he often names as a major influence) Gooch films have an incredible energy and wit all their own. 'The Orgasm Raygun' is a short film detailing the (mis)adventures of a man who invents a gun that when fired at people gives the victim an instant orgasm. Masterfully narrated by Leslie Phillips and directed at a crisp pace by Mr Gooch this short film has been a firm favourite at every festival it has been shown. One can easily see why Mr Gooch has been a multiple winner of the BBC's talent competition and this short leaves you wanting more.
More fun than you can shake a lighsaber at...
What do we want from this movie? Lots of lightsaber action? The mother of all duels between Anakin and Obi Wan? Jedi Slaughter? Palpatine being really, really evil? Numerous references to the other movies? Unsurpassed space battles? Yes? Then we should all be very happy indeed with 'Revenge of the Sith'. I've been waiting for over 25 years for this movie, the events in it have been hinted at and discussed for decades - and now we finally get to see them. And, man, are they good!! George Lucas has made a movie that should please everyone without a stick up their ass!! of course, there will be those who comment on the acting, the Dialogue etc - to them I say "get a life". This movie is about fast and furious storytelling, visual overload, pleasing the legions of fans and providing us with a damn good time. It succeeds at all of these admirably. The satisfaction of seeing the creation of Darth Vader is immense and anyone who has followed the series will be very happy indeed with what they get. I just want to say that I went to this movie to have a good time, and I did, along with the hundreds of others in the audience. The force is indeed with Mr Lucas on this one.
Motel Hell (1980)
Perfect example of 80's schlock horror.
Having been increasingly disappointed by the recent slew of 'horror' films that have bee released I was greatly cheered when I caught this at a late night show recently. It was a timely reminder that there is good horror out there - even if it is over 20 years old!! For once, the blending of horror and comedy really works. The film is played dead straight (most of the time) and that is why it succeeds where so many recent horror/comedies fail. By not constantly tipping it's hat to the audience and pointing out how clever it's being it allows the audience to really appreciate how ludicrous it is - without the frequent reminders that the filmmakers think they're cool. In the space of 90mins we get nudity, cannibalism, amateur surgery, a hilarious 'love' story, creepy characters, a dumb policeman, a chainsaw duel, lots of gore and some very spaced out characters. What more could you ask for? It's this movies overwhelming sense of fun that really works. You can imagine the filmmakers laughing their asses off making this - and that enthusiasm comes right of the screen and is very infectious. The audience I saw this with laughed, clapped and some gave it a standing ovation at the end. Do you need a better recommendation?