Reviews written by registered user
paulmamak

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42 reviews in total 
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The Reader (2008)
3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Faithful to the novel, but no where near as moving., 7 January 2009
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Stephen Daldry hit the nail on the head for his interpretation of the novel. His choice of location, cinematography and casting were spot on, which enabled him to deliver a well depicted version of the novel.

Kate Winslet and David Kross were the backbone of the film, as they portrayed Michael Berg and Hanna Schmitz, respectively, as they were written in the novel. Ultimately, their chemistry and interplay was particularly electrifying and makes the audience really feel for their characters. Surprisingly, Ralph Fiennes portrayal of the older Michael Berg was a major let down, as he did a poor job in emphasising the pain and suffering that the character goes through.

The court scene is another disappointment. Although it is depicted as written in the novel, the scene would have been strengthened if the film makers had shown flash backs of the events surrounding the Holocaust, which was the major event of this film.

The film is worth watching, but it is no masterpiece.

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Spectacular! Leone's climatic ending to the Spaghetti Western era., 4 November 2008
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Leone equals and even succeeds his Spaghetti Western trilogy predecessors to bring you Once Upon A Time In The West, one of the best Westerns in film history.

Leone tells a story of a secret railway station of great value, which involves three of the most legendary film characters. Charles Bronson is harmonica, the mysterious loner, who smoothly drifts his way through each scene by means of his slick dialogue, his quick and sharp shooting and his harmonica. Jason Jobards is Cheyenne, the comical, yet philosophical, criminal, who has the more humane role. Finally you have Henry Fonda as the dirty and gritty Frank, a role that Fonda was surprisingly well suited. The entrance and interplay of each of these three characters result in one of the most thrilling films you will ever see. As well as thrill, Claudia Cardinale is based within the centre of the trio, who brings a sense of hope that separates her from many of the dark aspects that are involved within the film. Furthermore, Frank Wolff plays the tragic Brett McBain, who has very limited screen time, but uses the time he is given to portray an unforgettable character, whose death sparks off the whole plot.

Ennio Morricone also provides an electrifying score, a true masterpiece, which energises every scene and knocks the film into a completely different ball park.

Ultimately, Sergio Leone's directing is the reason why this is such a classic. His masterful cinematography and camera-work was the piece of the puzzle that brought all this outstanding work together. Including the shootout at the Railroad, Frank's entrance, Harmonica's brothers death and panning over Sweetwater.

This is one of Leone's best films and one of the best films in cinematic history.

Recount (2008) (TV)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A great depiction of how the Presidential Election of 2000 was controversially won., 2 November 2008
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It was great to see a movie that covered the controversy that surrounded the Presidential election of 2000. Great emphasis was put upon how the votes of Florida were all most unrecognised that would have meant an unjust victory for the Republicans. Instead the recognition of this anomaly leads to the long and hard battle that the Democrats had to undertake in order to resolve the matter and doing everything in their power to fight the corrupt politics that surrounded the matter, as well as remaining head strong when facing the consistent Republican protests. As a result, the audience experiences the overall frustration that the Democrats were experiencing on the matter.

Although the film went for a more authentic look, much of the acting resulted in many wooden performances, despite the impressive ensemble of cast. This meant that there were times where the plot just seemed to casually flow, causing the viewer to lose interest at times. Yet, there were scenes that reminded you what the film was about, including the court scenes, the riot scenes and the learning of the overall outcome that the Democrats faced.

Overall, a film that is worthwhile watching to learn more of the aspects that surrounded the Presidential Election of 2000. However, the inconsistent acting weakens the plot.

7 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Endless unrealistic action and not enough plot., 31 October 2008
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Casino Royale reinvented the Bond franchise to give bond back some dignity by digging the franchise out of an ugly hole. Sadly, the franchise seems to be digging itself back into the hole, by having endless action sequences with little in terms of a strong plot.

The film is meant to follow straight on from where Casino Royale finished, yet it seemed as though Bond had entered a completely different world. Although the storyline managed to involve familiar faces, such as Mr. White, Felix Leiter, Mathis, and a photo of Vesper Lynd, the plot and acting was so weak that it did not live up to being a sequel. The action sequences performed were too unrealistic and blurry that seemed to be a take of the Bourne franchise, but in this case was badly done. Unlike Casion Royale, Bond was less humanised, which was the reason why Casino Royale was so widely praised, instead it had Bond acting too much like a Jason Bourne, constantly rampaging across different locations giving him more of a 2D persona with little done to emphasise his reason for action. The acting was another floor, Craig did his best to bring back the his original interpretation of Bond, but the plot made it impossible for him to do so. The rest of the characters just seemed to be there to keep the plot flowing. However, Olga Kurylenko deserves appraisal for her performance as the long suffering victim, who has done everything to gain vengeance on the culprits who did this to her. Yet, her character development was also suppressed by the poorly constructed plot. The film ends with a totally unoriginal climax, involving the fight scenes and explosions at the villain's headquarters. Furthermore, it has Bond gaining his vengeance for the loss of Vespa by the weakest possible circumstances, resulting in him going back to his own ways.

Overall, the film did very little to carry the franchise and should really have stayed true to how Casion Royale was depicted.

3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
An original interpretation of the matters surrounding The Holocaust., 25 September 2008
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Not only did this film strongly depict the novel, but took it to the next level by giving the story more of a plot and giving some of the characters more depth.

The locations were perfectly chosen and beautifully shot and strongly carried the film's storyline as a result. Many of the actors were perfectly cast, including Asa Butterfield as Bruno who emphasised the innocence of youth, Rupert Friend as Lt Kotler who gave the film that sense of danger, darkening the film's plot, and David Hayman as Pavel who made great emphasis on the overall suffering that was taking place. Vera Farmiga deserves the most appraisal, as she gave an extremely powerful performance as the distraught mother dealing with the aspects of the Holocaust and the ordeal that she is going through when she learns of her son's circumstance ends the film with an orchestratic climax. Nevertheless, David Thewlis was wrongly cast as the Father, as he lacked the presence of a Nazi officer and was not at all convincing with his acting. Jack Scanlon was also not at all convincing as Shmuel, either in presence or when acting, which let the film down considering his importance in the plot.

Some scenes were done better than others, the emphasis of the incinerators was all most too painful to watch and the questioning of Lt Kotler at the dining table gave the film more of an edge. Unlike the novel though, many aspects of the Holocaust were briskly skimmed over, which was due mainly to the lack of screen time of Shmuel, which made the overall concept somewhat casual at times.

Overall, an interesting concept of The Holocaust that definitely worth viewing.

Visually breathtaking with inventive tales of the Dark Knight, 27 July 2008
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This a thoroughly enjoyable DVD that would appeal to all Batman fans. It is a set of short tales and adventures of Batman that takes place between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Each story has important morals that strengthen both Batman's role and his view to society each with a slight alteration in the animation format, including Japaneme. The use of Japaneme makes many of the scenes visually breathtaking and has the viewers ride a thrilling roller-coaster ride.

The selection of stories also brings mention to some of the Batman villains that have gained no mention in any of the film franchise, including Dead Shot and Killer Croc, making it somewhat more interesting.

What lets the DVD down though is some very poor choice of animation for some stories and the short time length.

Overall, well worth watching!

1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Visually breath taking, but a long awaited disappointment., 27 July 2008
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Dark Knight did everything to bring the new franchise to the next level, which acted as a double-edged sword. What makes the film praiseworthy is the fact that it was shot on a broad cinematic scale and it also comprised many original ideas. The fact that it was shot on large locations, including Chicago and Hong Kong, made the film footage extremely breathtaking as Batman swooped from the building tops. It also introduced some original and inventive ideas, including how Harvey Dent becomes Two-Face and greater emphasis on the Gotham crime lords.

Nevertheless, the film was an overall disappointment. Firstly, the sound quality of the film was absolutely appalling. Therefore, thorough concentration was required throughout the course of the film to pick up the dialogue of the characters and follow the film's overall plot. Secondly, Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker was both original and creative as he managed to explore the character's darker origins while throwing in some humour. However, the character was too far-fetched and unfaithful to character from the comic book's origin that was no where near as good as Jack Nicholson's portrayal and is certainly not Oscar worthy. Ledger may have given it his all for the role, but instead turned out to be a little too silly, which made it hard to believe that he was the criminal genius that he was. Instead, Aaron Eckhart should be given the most praise as he embodied the role of both Harvey Dent and Two-Face perfectly, which is impressive considering the amount of screen time he was given.

There was also too many sub-plots with little development, which made the plot too complex and also lacked depth, causing viewer's to lose their interest to both the film plot and the character's. They could have been strengthened if they were left to the next film in the franchise. For example, it was a crime to have killed off Two-Face/Harvey Dent over the course of one film.

Overall, the film was a long awaited disappointment.

A mesmerising film that gives you a true experience of what it was like to live in 1962., 29 May 2008
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

American Graffiti is a true masterpiece. George Lucas was able to make a truly realistic film sharing his "cruisin'" days in 1962 with a budget of $750,000.

The overall cinematography of the film was outstanding. You have the film shot at night with unforgettable scenery, cars and cinematography, with familiar characters that everyone can relate to at some point of their life.

The film also comprises many talented stars, including Ron Howard, Cindy Williams, Charles Martin Smith, Paul Le Mat and Harrison Ford to name but a few. Each character paints a bold picture of the times that they are living and they are also important in the overall progression of the story.

The film is also backed by an excellent soundtrack that set the mood for each of the scenes and enable you to relive the times.

The film also has unforgettable scenes, including the drag racing scenes, the school dance, the loss of the police car axle and the cruisin' scenes.

This film was a true triumph for Lucas, just watching makes you want to be a part of the times. It should be watched at least once during a life time to enable you to experience or reflect the times of 1962.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Brilliant! Excellent plot, cinematography, acting and absolutely hilarious!, 29 May 2008
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is a true work of art that combines action, thrill, romance and humour. Newman and Redford make the best on screen couple, with Newman playing the colourful and fast witted Butch Cassidy and Redford playing the reserved quick shooter the Sundance Kid.

The film holds many memorable scenes including the knife fight that you think is going to be messy, but cleverly ends before it has even started, with hilarious consequences. The train robbery with Woodcock was truly legendary in the way that Cassidy is able to leer Woodcock out of the carriage and the way in which they blow the safe with a little too much dynamite. Also the scene where they try and rob a Bolivian Bank without speaking the language. These were just a few of the side splitting scenes. Then we have the more touching moment shared with Newman and Ross on the bicycle to "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head", a true cinematic masterpiece. The film would not be a Western without action of which there is plenty of, including the scene where they are escaping from the gunmen. The most memorable and moving scene of the whole film is the gun fight, between the two heroes and the Bolivian law enforces. Not only do we witness the heroes becoming wounded, but they continue to share their electrifying wit with one another, even when they are at the lowest.

The film finishes spectacularly with the two heroes running out to confront the Bolivian law enforcers, not realising that the Bolivian army has in fact gathered. You are then left with a freeze frame of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, while all you hear is gun shots in the background.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
An unforgettable epic undertaken by two of the greatest cinematic heroes in film, 26 May 2008
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Last Crusade takes the franchise back to the more familiar origins of Raiders.

The film starts with Indiana Jones' first adventure, where River Phoenix takes on the role of Indiana Jones. Phoenix is an absolute pleasure to watch on screen, not only does he show some resemblance to Harrison Ford, but he even throws in some of his actions and facial expressions. He deserves the most credit for the action sequence that he undertakes on the circus train. The circus train revisits the franchise as B movie material and it does so with a twist. You learn how Jones develops a fear of snakes, how he uses a bull whip and how he develops a scar on his chin. It has to be one of the greatest scenes of the whole film.

Ford delivers his usual business as Jones in terms of his acting and activity in terms of the action sequences. However, Sean Connery steals the show and he does so in a more subtle manner. Considering that he was one of the main influences for the Indiana Jones character, he did not just revisit his origins, but instead played completely the opposite as a academic, calm and reserved person. Nevertheless, he manages to top his son at whatever he did, including sleeping with the same woman, coincidentally escaping from the Nazis and bringing down a German mesherschmit by the means of seagulls. Alison Doody also Dr. Elsa Schneider deserves appraisal for her very convincing role as a female Nazi. Julian Glover is outstanding for his role as the main villain and both Jonathan Rhys-Davies and Denholm Elliot return as Sallah and Marcus Brody return as more of a comic relief.

The film continues to comprise many unforgettable scenes, including the tomb of Sir Richard, the boat chase in Venice, the rescue and escape of Henry Jones Sr. from the Nazis. There is also the Nazi blimp scene and the escape from the German mesherschmits, the reclaiming of the Grail diary from the Nazis, with a cameo of Hitler, the tank battle and the overall finding of the Grail.

What is particularly touching is that it was not just a case of finding the Holy Grail, but it was instead a story of father and son finding one another.

The film ends warmly, as the Jones Jr., Jones Sr., Sallah and Brody ride off into the sunset, which will be the last time we ever see this quartet together on screen together. It is this scene that will always be remembered for their completion of "The Last Crusade".


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