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8 reviews in total 
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"Goliath" (2016)
33 out of 39 people found the following review useful:
One of the best dramas I've seen this year, 15 October 2016

Binged-watched this one in 3 days and it was an absolute pleasure. It's not that the story itself is so thrillingly addictive, but mainly that almost all of the main characters are so fascinating, well crafted and brilliantly performed that you just keep wanting to go back and discover more about them. All of them deeply flawed, and yet vividly human and (for the most part) to at least some extent likable. Furthermore, the sheer amount of fully fleshed out, round and interesting characters that the show manages to create and build in just one 8-episode season is seriously impressive - there must be around 10 main supporting characters and by the end none of them feel under- served.

It helps of course that the cast is one of the most talented and charismatic ones put together for any show this year, with special mentions going to Thornton, Maria Bello and Nina Arianda, though literally everyone (down to even minor characters like the judge) is at the very least very good, if not excellent. It also helps that the show is masterfully written and beautifully shot, has a very strong visual identity and takes great advantage of LA as its location, particularly with the driving scenes and time- lapse shots.

Don't be fooled by people calling it a legal drama, it might have a lot of lawyers and a few courtroom scenes but the way it's shot and paced, the amount of detective work involved, the score and the atmosphere the show maintains make it feel much more like classy film noir than any legal drama I've ever watched.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Would you want to be friends with anyone on this show?, 18 September 2016

Bosworth aside, this is a show about a mostly really annoying bunch of people. It's well shot and directed, occasionally very well, and for the most part well acted (Lee Pace you are as handsome as you are a walking cliché and a caricature of Don Draper) but sadly, apart from the parts that actually somewhat deal with tech, entrepreneurship and the history of computing, it's pretty badly written.

I gave it a "chance", that chance being two whole seasons. I really wanted to quit half way through the first but TV reviewer Andy Greenwald, whose opinion I hold in very high value, kept going on about how the second season is so much better. Well having just finished it, this is one of the few occasions where I disagree with him, and strongly - the second season is even worse than the first. And what's even worse is that I've been with these characters for two whole seasons and I don't care even the slightest bit about any of them. They're all capricious, dishonest and mostly (apart from Donna to some extent) extremely egocentric. None of them ever seem to do anything good for anyone else, or be nice, or have any fun since somewhere back at the beginning of season one, instead they just lie to and hide stuff from each other and then constantly get surprised when it blows up in their face. I spent every episode wanting to slap each of them in the face half a dozen times. Thank god for Bosworth! He doesn't appear nearly enough, but when he does he's the only thing on screen I don't wish I could impale with a voodoo pin.

Again this is nothing against any of the actors (again apart from Lee Pace, it's definitely against him). They're all (Lee Pace aside) doing fine jobs with what they're been given, but unfortunately for them what they're given is mostly soap opera-level silliness with a bit of insightful tech talk to fill in the gaps. Which is a shame, because this could've been a really fascinating show about the history of digital technology and how it shaped our world, and instead that's a side-note in a story about a bunch of unlikable people constantly annoying each other, themselves and everyone else.

4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Worth seeing if only for the incredible score and visual extravaganza, 24 August 2016

There have been others here who have done great full reviews of the film so I'll avoid that and just try to add my own two cents.

This certainly isn't Refn's best film (for me that honour still belongs to Drive) nor his second or third best. It seems like with this one he fell in love with himself, and with his persona as a director, a bit too much and started overemphasising the audiovisual aspect at the expense of story, emotional depth and character development. As good a job as some of the actors did, I simply didn't feel anything for any of the characters, not even the poor naive boyfriend, and didn't at all care what happened to them.

That said the audiovisual aspect is phenomenal, even more awe-inspiring than any of Refn's other works, and it's worth seeing this film just for that. Cliff Hernandez's score particularly is just another level of analogue synthesiser heaven and by far his best work to date. It gives the film almost every bit of emotional depth it has and lifts it from an "interesting but ultimately superficial" to "exceptional and utterly unique" piece of work -- and this from someone who still bears begrudges Refn for dismissing the Johnny Jewel soundtrack for Drive in favour of Hernandez.

In summary, go see it and enjoy it for what it has to offer, even if it's noticeably flawed in other ways.

Triple 9 (2016)
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Thrilling action and brilliantly shot, I just really wished I could care more about the characters, 8 May 2016

This is action done properly, and it's absolutely packed dense with it, the adrenaline level rarely dipping below 100% throughout. And I suppose that's what the producers wanted, because it seems like most of the character development scenes were left on the cutting room floor, which is a real shame because without that it's pretty hard to care about neither cops nor robbers enough to make the stakes high enough and the action as emotionally gripping as it could be.

As it is, despite a pretty fantastic cast (Aaron Paul, Anthony Mackie and Woody Harrelson in particular somehow manage to impress despite being given almost nothing to work with) in what should be an intelligent ensemble action flick in the mold of Heat, Ronin and The Departed - but grittier than any of those three - it becomes at some point pretty hard to feel anxious about anything other than the popcorn you're crushing with such a furious adrenaline rush between you're teeth, and least of all about the fates of these poorly fleshed-out and almost entirely despicable characters.

Which isn't to say that it's not an enjoyable watch - on the contrary. It's actually both a very entertaining and quite well-made movie, as well as being a pretty massive wasted opportunity at the same time. With as little as 20 additional minutes to set up back stories for these people and make them appear somewhat human this could have been one of the best action films of the decade, instead it's one we'll probably forget within a decade.

The Gunman (2015)
1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Significantly better than the reviews say, 13 March 2016

Pretty hard to fathom why this film got such a bad rap in the media while too many cheesy formulaic crowdpleasers from the Hollywood hit factory get 4 and 5 stars from well reputed outlets. This is a smart, superbly cast and extremely well shot international thriller - the sort that rarely gets made these days - and why such an intelligent production that actually aims to be credible and somewhat educative scores so much lower with critics than the endless parade of Bonds and Furious 7's with their ridiculous jumping cars and chewed up one liners, I have no idea.

For once the story and script are actually believable, a rarity in modern action cinema, and Penn and Bardem give great performances that are perfectly matched by beautiful dynamic cinematography of a fair few exotic locations.

I'm not easy to please with thrillers and action movies but found this one utterly enjoyable.

10 out of 22 people found the following review useful:
They forgot to hire real writers and actors, 10 January 2016

Was looking forward to some Game of Thrones-style intelligent fantasy drama, instead got a badly written, badly acted young adult cheese-fest. Almost none of the characters' actions are believable and none of them seem even remotely like real people.

On the plus side, it looks OK visually, though even here some big thumbs down for the direct proportionality between beauty and "goodness" - e.g. demons are the most evil and therefore ugliest, elves are pure good and are all beauty kings and queens. Doesn't exactly send the best message to kids out there who haven't been blessed with model good looks!

1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Enjoyable despite the plot holes - the good outweighs the bad, 18 June 2011

I generally find it quite hard to enjoy movies that have so many plot holes and inconsistencies, but managed to this time. The great, engaging cast (January Jones aside) and depth of characterisation had much to do with this, as did the flawless editing and cinematography.

It's a shame they didn't spend more time working out details like why Raven seemed to grow up most if not all of her life in England yet has an American accent for some reason (I know the real reason was Jennifer Lawrence being incapable of mastering an English accent, but what about in the movie?), how her brother-sister back story relationship with Xavier is completely inconsistent with anything in previous films/comics, how non-Americans can so easily find themselves working for the US government, and I could go on and on.

None of these issues completely drag the plot down since none of them are completely crucial to it, but you get the feeling that if they had spend a bit more effort addressing these problems this could have been a real masterpiece (well at least as far as big budget epic blockbusters go). Shame!

Thor (2011)
309 out of 569 people found the following review useful:
An insult to Marvel fans, movie goers, and human intelligence in general, 28 April 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Honestly, seeing that Branagh directed and J. Michael Straczynski wrote the script is a large part of why I went to see the movie. Plus I'm generally a big fan of Marvel and their movies.

Unfortunately it's one of the dumbest things I've seen in years, and is completely full of moronic clichés and the most superficial faux morals. Please do yourself a favour and spend your money on things that are more deserving of it, especially if you've worked hard to earn it.

Just in case you want to know what you'll be missing ---

* spoiler alert * (though really I'm giving this film a massive compliment by suggesting you could 'spoil' anything in it)

Thor's father takes his hammer away and sends him to earth for punishment. While there Thor literally changes overnight from being an arrogant, rash and violent idiot to a wise, humble and pacifist purveyor of all things noble, and the only possible reason for this that's presented in the movie is that he met Natalie Portman and was then told that his father died while he was gone. Once Thor the god of thunder completes this astonishing and instant transformation and sacrifices his life for others, his hammer flies back to him, revives him and he beats the bad guys with it.

If you really, really love Marvel movies and viking folklore (to the point where you don't mind these things being made a joke out of) and have 2.5 hours in which you'd otherwise be causing harm to humanity or this planet, go see it. Otherwise you might as well spare yourself from this glorious waste of time and brain cells.