Reviews written by registered user
|14 reviews in total|
first off, all the people claiming this to be an important and accurate
piece of social commentary on todays Britain are way way off the mark.
yes there are council estates where nasty characters such as those
portrayed in this film do reside, and yes they are a deplorable stain
on our society, BUT that does not mean the answer lies in shooting them
all in the face!
The straight forward knuckle-headed logic within Harry Brown and the eagerness of audiences to cry out their approval (people were whooping and hollering in the screening i went to - mostly, i may add, middle aged) demonstrates a shockingly widespread and simplistic view of this problem. People have no interest in the problem itself, no desire to hear of back-story (which in fairness to the film-makers was probably left out to not convolute the plot too much - though the film suffers greatly from this entirely one-sided approach) of the kids on these estates or to hear ideas of long term solutions - not that i'm suggesting i know better than others, but surely there's more effective answers than the Rambo styled 'let's go shoot all the bastards!'
The broad strokes with which the characters are drawn in this film works great for the plot. From Plan B's gang leader to the gun-selling-cannabis grower, all are horrendous and utterly despicable people - making them easy to hate and feel little sympathy for when Harry does away with them - 'always maintain your weapons' being the best scene in the film. After that it all goes rapidly down hill.
The comment on the police force is confused, seemingly wanting to say that they are ineffectual and provocative in areas like these but without going into any reasons or intelligent thought on the matter. Just that they are. That seems to be what Harry Brown is saying all over - that they just are bad and that he is good and we like it when he kills them cos then he can walk under the road safely. The End - except its not is it? you can't shoot a social problem to rid it, life is not that simple. We may all wish for an easy answer but this isn't it. Trust me, i'm from a ghetto-ised area of Sheffield, I have seen firsthand the effect guns and violence have had on my area and it is not good. It says a lot about British people's mentality that this film has done so well, and while i don't blame the opportunistic film-makers, i am worried about the state of our nation who have greedily lapped it up.
On the plus side though, the film looks great.
It's rare that a horror film shocks me beyond all belief, but this was
one of them. Not for everyone but an incredible ride nonetheless. I
hated almost every second of it yet found it to be peculiarly enticing,
a great story that keeps you guessing and thoroughly disturbs
throughout. I'm still in shock! The idea of martyrdom expressed here is
to the furthest most extreme and something I wouldn't wish on anyone.
I'm appalled, absolutely disgusted, but in a good way. much credit must
go to the makers and their originality, and to the cast who must have
endured so much just during the filming, let alone the living with
their experiences there after.
I know this ain't real, but it sure does a good job making it feel so, and not since switchblade romance have i felt so uncomfortable and in need of a sick bucket, BUT also had a satisfactory ending that delivers along the lines of the narrative set before it. An awful idea, great film!
This is not a 'things that make you jump' horror film, despite an early red herring. It's more of a suspenseful and brutally violent horror that makes you squirm in your seat, taking advantage of the recent 'horror' stories of gangs, asbos and knife crime. We're all afraid a group of mean looking kids will randomly choose us to inflict their sadistic hatred on, though as this film acknowledges early on, as long as you keep to yourself, they might be annoying, but they won't hurt you. This is the clever aspect of this film, while it has the usual blood thirsty chases in the woods, there is an issue and a point this film is trying to address. Why are these kids like this? Are the parents to blame? Or any other adults? What role does the media play? The film makes many points and hints without ever singling out a definitive reason, until, perhaps the ending. What is clear though is the high number of innocent casualties, a clear indication from writer-director James Watkins of the real effects of this violent culture. It is often the unassuming bystander who falls victim to this sort of thing, as happens here, though also with varying degrees of guilt. Not since The Descent have i seen as effective a Brit-horror as this. Aptly, James Watkins is working on the sequel to that brilliant film, so i hold out hope it will be a worthwhile sequel. Eden Lake is by no means on a par with Descent, but is a worthy follower, and even makes a few nods in its direction - the disgusting bin scene anyone? There are problems such as how easily the violence escalates and the ease with which the kids are led and the lack of anything redeeming about them, save for Turgoose's character. This leads to some problems with the reading of the kids as victims themselves, but this is a minor fault. Kelly Reilly is great, as is Fassbinder. The gang are almost believable, but there are moments of misjudged acting - too snarly or not snarly enough, and they feel slightly clichéd and two dimensional at times - save for Turgoose. So yes it scared me, in a squirm in my seat kind of way but also felt like a well-plotted essay on youth-violence, especially with the chilling ending. Eden Lake - approach with caution!
I watched the finale of this show last night and was left feeling
delighted by another great series from The Wire creators, but also very
much wanting to see more from the superb cast and production team.
Having said that though, the contents of the 7 episode series is more
than enough for viewers to appreciate the best fictionalisation of the
war in Iraq so far.
Generation Kill offers a view of the invasion from the perspective of a Battalion of US Marines, who have an 'embedded' reporter from Rolling Stone tagging along with them. Evan Wright (the reporter), i have just discovered, really did this in 2003 and won an award for his articles before also publishing them as a book. This is not something i was aware of when watching, i thought the characters were fictional, but it looks like their names and likely their characters, are very much the real thing. So it's the writing that is undoubtedly the driving force behind this miniseries, but nothing should be taken away from the production team who brilliantly recreate the look and feel of Iraq - not that i've ever been there, I just experienced it from the comfort and safety of my TV armchair - which they managed on location in Africa. Susanna White in particular caught my eye with the episodes she directed and we'll no doubt be seeing much more great projects from her in the future (how many women have directed war movies/TV? not many i can think of).
The soldier's motto's of 'get some' and 'stay frosty' are great summations of their time in Iraq. While they want to see action like any committed soldier would, they also have strict codes and orders from on high to adhere to - some reasonable, some perplexing. Incompetence appears frequently, both in command and lower down the ranks. One itchy trigger finger leads to the christening of Whopper Junior, while their Captain's committence to his country's cause earns him the name Captain America. Iceman though, like many people, was my favourite character. Watch out, the Skarsgard's are coming! The morality of the Battalion is superbly played out, and it's hard not to like any of them, even the more suspect Whopper Junior as they warm to the reporter and the Iraqis during their mission. The series is not really critical of the soldiers, but in truly Wire style, critical of the process and of command, of politics and society, not of Americans but of the systems and powers that govern them with humour and humanity shining all the way through. A really nice touch is the real audio of soldier re-con at the end of each episode. The final ep brings with it the weightiest of these clips where a soldier, ironically or seriously, eloquently assesses his role as a marine, by saying 'On the seventh day, when god rested, we overran his perimeter and we've been running the show ever since...' A brilliant truth of American attitudes toward the world, war and god.
Where to start? Hmm, first of all, the premise of the movie isn't too
bad. A future world which is ruled not by countries but by corporations
who are at war over our remaining resources. Sounds quite good. But the
WW1 trench-like war scenario at the beginning seems lazy and the movie
never really recovers from this point on. It's 700 years in the future
apparently!! The script feels two or three drafts short of acceptable.
The mutant idea is silly and implausible, if you can even bare to try
listening to the explanation. The corporation part is not explored
enough and there's too many English or American actors. It did not feel
futuristic and there's enough patriotic nonsense to make a Yank feel
sick. I like Ron Pearlman but found his character pretty boring really.
Malkovich holds your attention early on but unfortunately, he has a
rather small part. Thomas Jane's Hunter (original) is supposed to be
rebellious and fighting for people and not business or religion, and he
pulls it off, but still cannot save this movie which has an identity
crisis at its core.
It doesn't know if it wants to make comments on a globalised economic structure or just be a dumb action movie. Unfortunately it achieves neither, too slow at the beginning and when the action does come it's too little too late. I did admittedly get quite excited when they finally make it underground, but as i said, by this point I was watching out of politeness. Then the ending wants to set up a sequel, at which point you just shake your head and think, 'really? you really reckon that deserves a sequel? well, good luck with that...' Overall, could have been interesting but i'd had enough after 20 minutes. a good cast is wasted, as was British film money, already a scarcity, on a movie naively aimed at US markets and probably suffered from too many producers chucking ideas around. Simon Hunter's done alright and if there's a final cut to come then maybe it can be improved, but the stories still weak, unoriginal, poorly plotted and just stupid. At least a film like Wanted knew it was silly, this one could have done with more self-effacing humour. A story this daft cannot be taken seriously...
As one reviewer said, this is an existential puzzle box of a movie, the
true meaning of the title being revealed at the very end. It's not just
about escaping from a prison, nor is it a pretentious metaphor. Its
just very very well made.
I appreciate some similarities with Shawshank Redemption for obvious reasons, but really this film stands up on its own rights. The reasons for escaping are wholly different - SR was to right a wrong while here it is familial breakdown and taking responsibility for ones own actions. Brian Cox's character, and the rest, are believable and fleshed out enough to engage with but the real achievement here is in the pacing and structuring of the plot.
The film cuts between the actual escape itself and the events and planning leading up to the escape. Dominoes, diamonds, and of course, drugs all play a part in the set-up of the escape, which plays out with breathless excitement. The grim presentation of the prison, Damien Lewis' character in particular, appears shockingly believable. Prisons are not ruled in the way they should be, and a character like his, having a grip over the institution rather than the other way round, seems sadly truthful. He is very scary...
The end, like Shawshank, is uplifting in a downbeat kinda way. It reminded me of The Descent, which i hope is not a great spoiler for people. I almost cried but actually you're left feeling quite happy for the central character. There is not the same redemption as SR, which is a good thing, so don't go in expecting happy endings, or heaven forbid, Prison Break The Movie. For that it is not, though its existence probably owes something to the success of that over-running TV show, and the ingenious escape route is one Michael Schofield would be proud of. But really, this is a great little indie movie which came and went at the cinema very quickly, but will no doubt find an audience in the years to come.
At the time of writing i'm about 40 episodes in to this awesome series.
And i don't just mean awesome in the 'dude, check this out' sense, nor
of the dubbyah style shock and awe meaning, more just wide-eyed and
open-mouthed enjoyment. Basically, watching this anime left me going
'whooooaaaaaaa....' if you know what i mean.
The story is so tightly plotted, barely a second of screen time is wasted. But the show also finds time to be very funny, never taking itself too seriously whilst also keeping you gripped as to story arcs. Ichigo, the central character, is hard to dislike, as are all the characters on show. All of them are well fleshed out, with intriguing backstorys that are slowly revealed as the show moves forward and gathers pace. While the show began by mainly focusing on Ichigo, it has now began rotating its episodes from character to character, making each the focus of an episode, whilst still driving forward the central plot. This attention to detail really draws you in and quite a few times i have sympathised with both the good and bad guys.
I won't reveal much of the plot - except that Rukiya sees potential in Ichigo, who's headstrong and fierce, and begins teaching him of the spirit world. As he learns and is inducted into this world, so are we - a classic way of introducing a fantasy idea and it works very well.
Like with most animes though, the action scenes are what people watch them for and in Bleach they are very impressive. The hollow fighting in season one does become a little tedious after a while, a fact obviously recognised by the show-makers as season two kicks off in the soul-society, where Ichigo faces an all-new battle. It is here where the show is at its strongest and most impressive, both in its animation, breathless fight scenes and philosophy - i love all the over-coming impossible odds AND the fine line often walked between bravery and insanity. But all the stuff about souls and spirit pressure is a great philosophy in itself. It reminds me of chi - something i believe in but don't really understand - and Bleach gives a great idea for what it could all mean.
In summary, Bleach is exciting, vibrant, funny, human, cool and a great world to lose yourself in. I'm not sure if they can sustain the brilliance I have seen so far, it's on season six and is ongoing, but I really hope so. This show is too good to be allowed to just fizzle out. From what i've seen so far i don't know where they're gonna take it next, but golly, i wanna find out! I think everyone from teenagers to thirty-somethings will like it, male or female as there's enough to keep both sexes satisfied. You probably have to like anime but if not, this show could be a converter. See it and don't look back.
After the Oscar success of Six Shooter, and a great reputation as a
play write, much was expected of Martin McDonagh's first feature film.
He duly delivers with In Bruges, a fantastic film with commercial
appeal that renews faith in British film.
The story is simple, and on the surface may draw groans from people sick to death of British cinema's never-ending obsession with gangster films: two Irish criminals must lay low in Bruges for two weeks while the 'heat' from a bungled hit in London passes. As they wait on a phone call from their boss, one of the men is keen to explore this new town, making the most of his time there, while the other despairs at being in a place he compares to purgatory, failing to see the point in going round looking at buildings. All he wants to do is drink Belgian beer and wait it out. Meanwhile, in London, their boss (cockney gangster a la Don Logan) begins to reveal the real reason for sending them to this town...
First of all, the location is master stroke. A picturesque town in Europe that not many will have heard of before, as the poster points out, below the title in brackets it says: (it's in Belgium). This is the first of many jokes delivered with aplomb. As for the acting and characters, at first i wasn't sure i was going to like Colin Farrel's character. He seemed ignorant, annoying and a little OTT, but he quickly grew on me, especially when his interest is finally sparked not by the prospect of sightseeing but instead by a midget on a film set. As more is revealed about his character, the more i liked him. As for Brendan Gleeson, who was also in Six Shooter, he is a very good actor, versatile and intelligent, he has a face that draws you in and keeps you comfortable. Ralph Fiennes as Harry, the boss with a clear code of ethics and conduct, is blatantly doing an impression of Don Logan from Sexy Beast, but he does a good job and by the end we find this is not only amusing but appropriate to the plot line. The other performance worthy of noting is that of Elizabeth Berrington, who plays the beautiful Dutch love interest for Colin Farrel. Her accent is convincing and her character is cheekily likable.
The script is brilliant, full of jokes, satire and poignant moments. The story fizzes along and on reflection not a second of screen time seemed wasted. The plot ties everything in by the end, but refuses to end sympathetically. The final twenty minutes or so do become very dark, and those familiar with Six Shooter may not be surprised by this, or McDonagh's ability to retain the humour and believability despite the nasty things that occur. This is best demonstrated by the self-effacing humour as the film knowingly sends up previous gangster films whilst never really feeling too familiar.
All in all, i went to see this expecting it to be good, and was happy to find it is better than that. The audience in the screening i attended also thoroughly enjoyed it, laughing all the way through and passing positive comments afterwards. I can't wait for Martin McDonagh's next film, it seems we Brits have another star director in the making.
To begin with, this movie isn't just another torture porn flick that
we've seen a glut of in recent times (Saw, Hostel and the like).
There's actually a decent plot regarding the murderer and their
victims, something that examines humanity's darker side yet goes beyond
the base sadism displayed in actual torture porn, which this isn't. The
marketing campaign gave it the appearance of such a film and i was
nearly put off, however my optimism got the better of me as I confess,
I am a huge horror fan and there were glimpses that it could be quite
good. And it is, in fact it's very good.
There's a rugged brutal efficiency in the way this film goes about delivering the goods. You've got your cops, new and old, with sketchy case files and hints of crookedness, a scientific theory of genetics being exploited by our murderer and a gang of outlaws who are being targeted. All of it is carried out with appropriate macabre and occasional wit and humour, good, edgy hand-held camera techniques, clever acting and a pacey script. I thought it was great on an intelligence level and I squirmed every time there was a 'nail' scene.
I was even more surprised to learn afterwards that this was a British production, was shot in Belfast and used a largely British cast, yet had me fooled as to it's New York setting and convincing accents. What more can i say apart from wow, i love this movie? I also realised after that Waz is Saw backwards, and a cynic may say that is opportunistic marketing, but to them i say, see the movie and tell me it doesn't at least give Saw a run for it's money, if not kick it's stupid face off. Saw's ideas were good, but their killer seemed a flimsy afterthought to me. In Waz, the killer and their motives are integral to the plot,(which surprises before a satisfactory ending)and it's hard not to find empathy for the killer, something i never got in Saw. The great script and acting add depth and character to the story, which hit me with surprises and left me feeling contemplative, which is unusual for horror today.
Verdict: Come for the torture, stay for the good movie
I went to see this movie with high hopes on the back of a good rating
from this very site...that rating has since dropped dramatically.
I must say i was disappointed and a little confused by what i saw. It all starts off well enough, gripping and engaging horror elements - a spooky child has caused many accidents at a section of the road KM 31. A twin is hit by a car on her way to her sister's house and they and their boyfriends become drawn into the mystery surrounding this haunted road.
There are some genuinely creepy moments as the story unfolds. The problem i had was that as the history is revealed, the situation becomes more confusing than explanatory. Somehow the sisters and their dead schizophrenic mother are connected to a weird back-story of why the road is haunted in the first place. I began to flag halfway through and must admit to not understanding the connection properly, but my friend afterwards also found it a little confusing.
Then it ends very stylistically but still with little actually explained. I don't really mind that, but all style and not enough substance do not a great horror movie make. You can leave much to the imagination, but there must be some comprehensible way of connecting the dots for your watching audience.
And the over-used child figure of recent horror films from around the world has become old hat. Horror fans will find things to enjoy here but most will be left scratching their heads and lamenting a missed opportunity of originality and revival of Mexican horror.
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