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Looks like a great thriller - it ain't
What looks like being a great thriller is unfortunately just a set of clichés and unlikely scenarios. The whole premise hangs on terrorists gaining US visas from the American Embassy in London. However the Romanian scientist whose field is explosive gasses seems dodgy to Kate Abbot so she denies his visa, activating one of the world's top hit men who has now been tasked to kill her and her fellow visa authorisers. Kate survives the initial attack and it becomes apparent that she has a secret past and is perhaps a CIA operative, making it all the more unlikely that every action she takes for the first hour serves only to further implicate her in the eyes of the UK and US authorities. A stellar cast working hard to make this story work just cannot overcome the poor plot, stilted dialogue, slow direction and clumsy conclusion. Pierce Brosnan is the only one who manages to give a convincing and enjoyable performance in his role. Milla Jovovich is constantly running and fighting and implicating herself until she becomes an uber-fighter at the end. Angela Basset as the Ambassador is too quick to believe the guilt of her former protégé and even refuses to ground a flight she has been told has a terrorist on board because Kate may be lying. The whole premise is totally unbelievable and unsatisfying, such as why would the terrorists risk exposure by performing a big hit on the US visa team in London? Why not circumvent the visa somehow, using a different nationality scientist or a doppleganger to get access? Despite the frantic scenes in London many scenes still drag and are overlong or unnecessary, rather than spending 5 minutes showing Kate at departure gates or sitting on planes it would have been more visceral to simply show she was at her destination. Unfortunately the director and screenwriters phoned this in and it shows. The film is reminiscent of 3 days of the Condor and the Day of The Jackal but fails to provide any of the excitement of those superior thrillers.
H£ir Hunt£rs (2007)
Ghoulish low budget self aggrandising daytime tripe
I felt that I had to give my opinion on this British daytime TV program.
Every episode is essentially the same, in that the firm being portrayed scours obituaries for intestate deaths that they may be able to profit from.
Their intention is to find relatives of the deceased so they can impart the remaining monies to them and take a commission (otherwise the money goes to the government).
The firm will only chase up an intestate death if there is a substantial amount of money left, and if there is a good possibility of tracing the deceased's family tree, so they would need to have a fairly unusual surname also.
Reading between the lines, it is clear that these companies are just looking to make money for themselves but the program attempts to portray them as caring about the poor deceased and being determined to find surviving relatives for them. In addition the program goes on to give the life story of the deceased and explain the past life of the deceased, and relies heavily on newsreel footage and interviews with "experts" where necessary, typically the deceased will have been through WWII so 10 minutes of the show will talk about the blitz or evacuation etc.
We see also the investigator tracing the relatives and contacting them "good news your uncle's dead, give me money" or words to that effect.
This is without a doubt the most despicable and ghoulish program I have ever seen. The BBC should be ashamed of themselves. It is obvious that the budget for daytime TV must be almost non-existent, but I cannot understand why they would commission programs that delve into the personal lives of deceased individuals that obviously had no say in this matter, and attempt to portray the company involved as though they are providing a service to them. I had thought traffic wardens were near the bottom of the barrel but these ghouls are much much worse.
Also the program is not even interesting, so they are going through dead people's dirty laundry on TV to make money, whilst trying to present themselves as good samaritans and it is not even interesting to watch - the testcard was better than this.
Hologram Man (1995)
As far as half-baked low budget sci-fi curiosities go there are worse ways to spend a couple of hours.
From the beginning this film is relentless swearing, dubious shootouts, massive explosions and over the top characterisation. I liked it.
This was broadcast in UK on the Movies4men channel, there are absolutely no romantic elements to this story.
In the future a criminals are kept in cold storage and their minds reprogrammed in holographic stasis (what?). One such criminal escapes in holographic form, it is up to the man who captured him etc etc.
It is easy to see the influence of hit films of the era such as Demolition Man, T2, Robocop, The Lawnmower Man and Virtuosity.
Presumably Bruce Campbell and Lance Henrickson were busy hence their absence from this movie.
Quite why some of the other reviewers are so critical is beyond me. Did the title and synopsis indicate to them that this film would be shortlisted for the Oscars? Unlikely as it isn't about AIDS or the holocaust luvvies.
Technically the film has been quite well shot and very well edited.
The sound quality is passable but nothing special.
Overall this was quite a fun film to with an interesting enough premise, and would be good to watch with friends with a few beers
Upstairs Downstairs (2010)
One of the best British TV series I have ever seen - full series please
It was with much trepidation that I watched this series on BBC over the Christmas break, I was sure that it was going to be a major disappointment as a remake of the classic 1970s TV series. However I am glad to say that I was very wrong.
Rather than a remake, this is a continuation of the story of 165 Eaton Place in Belgravia, the scene of the original series.
Jean Marsh, who appeared in and co-created the original series, returns as Rose Buck, and helps the new tenants assemble a new retinue of housekeeping staff.
The new series is set in the late 1930s and to add to the trials and tribulations of the new servants, we see initial interest in British fascism and the ensuing riots, Jewish fugitives from Germany and evidence of aristocratic flirtations with Nazi Germany.
The three episodes were very poignant and involving and included much humour also. The entire cast were uniformly excellent and I can only hope that the episodes were successful enough to result in a full blown series.
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)
Leave your brain at the door and you'll enjoy this movie
Having watched this film today, I'm a bit perplexed at the attitude of the critics who have criticised the CGI effects and acting in this movie, both are fine, and are part of a very fun no-brainer of a movie. Personally I like to eat steak sometimes, and sometimes I just want a burger or popcorn, this doesn't have the weight of an Ingmar Bergman film, but it wasn't intended to. There is plenty of action, some surprise cameos, and an OK storyline, which is quite complicated considering the target audience/demographic. An expensive commercial for toys this may be, but then so was Transformers (and also Superman Returns if you read Kevin Smith's blogs). There was also a twist in the story that I didn't see coming (not that I tried that hard).
The only contention for me was Heavy-Duty's awful mouth-full-of marbles "London" accent that Americans presumably think Londoners like me speak. Shame on you Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, you should have insisted on doing a real accent!
I was surprised this was a 12A in the UK as some of the fight scenes involve knifing in the eye,people melting and the milder 4 letter words.
Critics - get a grip - there are far more "worthy" films that you could be deriding.
I'll happily watch this again when its out on DVD.
Warning - too much brain candy may actually rot your brain!
Contains Spoilers: I really couldn't believe this film.
I don't mean I couldn't believe that a young guy could be plucked from his boring life and trained to be a super assassin.
I don't mean that I couldn't believe that by channelling adrenalin, he is able to alter his perception of time to dodge or catch bullets, is able to jump onto moving trains, and is even able to shoot around corners.
What I couldn't believe is that major film studios still insult their viewing audience with awful scripts such as this.
Despite all the slo-mo digital effects, this film had no characters you could empathise with, lousy dialogue, no humour and no sense of drama.
I don't understand why the studios would be prepared to pay many millions of dollars for top Hollywood stars and special effects when the script is so shoddy.
They are presumably quite happy that the film has made a lot of money, but it cost a lot and could have made even more if it was truly involving and entertaining.
Surely the cost of writing a decent script for this would have been negligible in comparison to the overall cost of this film.
Sam Raimi's Spider-man films show how you can portray "comic book" characters with plenty of action, but also sympathetic characters and humour, this surely greatly broadens the appeal of the films.
I bought the 3 Spider-Man films, I have all the Superman and Batman films etc, like this film, they all stretch credibility, but have the added advantage of good scripts and humour (well maybe not Superman IV).
There's no way I would buy this tripe on DVD, so they've lost out on an additional £15 from me.
Why did they base this on the comic book when it is such a departure from the storyline anyway, why did the publishers let them? The studio should revisit the accounts for this film in a year, and see how much net profit The Dark Knight and Iron Man have made with additional cinema tickets, DVD and Blu-Ray sales etc, and think strongly about sending the chimps with typewriters back to the zoo.
The Da Vinci Code (2006)
Perfect transfer ! in-flight book becomes in-flight movie
I don't know what's harder to believe: That Tom Hanks is in it. That Ron Howard directed it. That some people actually like it.
Watching this film was like watching a car crash in slow motion. This has to be the most patronising load of old junk I've seen in years. I'm still shocked at the 2 dimensional and unlikely characters in it.
My suspicion is that there was such a massive interest in the movie that the makers knew it wouldn't matter how bad it was, the audiences would still go to see it.
National Treasure was an obvious rip-off of this material (having to solve clues to find an artifact), but is far more enjoyable than this turgid nonsense.
Maybe it'll be in another book/movie (please no!) but I was surprised there was no exposition regarding the family's death - that perhaps the clergy had performed the hit, however this seems to have been merely a plot point (unless I dozed off while they were explaining this bit at me).
Iron Man (2008)
Great - waiting for the DVD now!
I've been a fan of Iron Man since the mid 70's and I'm more than satisfied with this movie.
As the first wholly Marvel produced film I'm glad they took the trouble to cast top-notch actors and provided a believable storyline and great FX.
The making of the film is the humour and the fun approach to the film, whilst still keeping a serious edge to it.
It's definitely worth seeing this film on the big screen, it'll be diminished on TV.
It's worth waiting for the inevitable Stan Lee cameo.
I have to see the Incredible Hulk now.
If it's half as good as this, it'll still be worth watching (and still much better than the Ang Lee film).
Really boring - seen it all before - great effects though
If you haven't seen 2001, Silent Running, Event Horizon, Dark Star or Alien, you might enjoy this film.
Otherwise you'll just find your mind continually wandering back to the previous films. If you've seen them then avoid this one, as they're much better films (yes even Event Horizon).
As stated in previous reviews, the FX are very good, but that alone isn't enough to save this film.
I read that Alex Garland wanted the film to be about meeting god. It's a shame he didn't want to inject some humour and more action into the story also, because its quite heavy going.
I'm amazed that Danny Boyle has produced such a turgid and morose (quite boring) film (by his standards that is).
Very enjoyable - unrated version could have been (even) longer!
I found this film to be very enjoyable and entertaining.
Acting throughout was uniformly excellent.
The film was very well shot and edited, and had a very effective soundtrack.
It was gritty like Blade but no there was no black leather, fangs, or apparent superhuman strength.
Nearest comparisons to the tone and style of this film would be "Near Dark" I suppose.
Judging from other user comments, I was lucky to see the 122 minute unrated version (on SKY TV UK) which retains the flashback sequences. Seeing this film in a straightforward linear format would have definitely reduced some of its impact.
However I would be interested to know what was else added to the unrated version, if it was the 2 topless scenes (Lucy and also Cameron Richardson) and the supposedly sexy bloody murder and rape of Sadie then I would question whether these added anything to the story or were just gratuitous.
I still feel this film could have been longer, as there were many elements of the story that could have been explored further.
But all in all I am glad that I took the time to watch this film as it gave Lucy Liu a chance to show that she can really act.
One stated goof in the film actually is incorrect - you can see Sadie's reflection in glass when she is a vampire. This would actually be correct with regard to vampires, as it is supposed to be the silver of mirrors that does not reflect their image.