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I have just watched 'The Cuckoo's Calling'. This is a great take on the hard on his heels private investigator gets an opportunity story. JK Rowling's content is as well written as a John Grisham/Agatha Christie with the added frisson of cool London locations and culture. I particularly like the casting of Tom Bell as the rough-round-the-edges sleuth and the engaging Holliday Grainger as his ever so capable assistant; they are both so watchable. I look forward to the next series (and for any critics of this series yes I am perfectly happy to overlook any plot holes).
L'écume des jours (2013)
Bizarre, irritating, compulsive and ultimately depressing
Imagine Wes Anderson directing a film while under the influence of psychedelic drugs and not in a good way. You will then you get a feel for this movie.
Ever since Amelie I have had expectations of every film in which Audrey stars. This must be the worst.
Find some way to preview a bit of this film before buying it. Don't be taken in by the blurb on the DVD case. And don't be seduced by enthusiasts waxing lyrically on this site.
I had a reputation in my family for choosing duff films. I have just exceeded myself. Be warned.
Frustrating to say the least. Not a 7.5 in my book
I would not describe it as a romance, nor a thriller. Certainly clever-clever, and I can see why french film buffs would rate this so highly but a very frustrating farce of a film and I want the last two hours of my life back.
If you like ordinary romances, action films, thrillers or maybe even those enigmatic witty A-list french films then I wouldn't recommend it. I don't agree with some other critics that it is pretentious because it is very original, well-made and arty. But without wanting to spoil it, the plot is deeply unsatisfying.
I feel compelled to write this review because you have to be warned that just because 8000 people rate this as 7.5 it doesn't mean you will like it. If you are choosing for a group of people, you'd do better to go for a film that 80000 rate highly.
Age of Heroes (2011)
This is a good film for a UK audience
I would liken it to a small but well-formed Heroes of Telemark and if you liked that you should like this.
Sean Bean and Danny Dyer are excellent, and I enjoyed the introduction of Isabella Miko. Other casting was adequate (although I would have preferred someone like Susannah York - ex Battle of Britain - for the role of Holbrook) I have a hunch that the negative reviews of this film may be from a non-UK audience; one that is not comfortable with ordinary heroes, realistic language (the F-word), and the audience being left to complete elements of the story. The ending is sufficient, and the suspense well-maintained throughout, with plenty of action - some a little more unpleasant that you might want in a 15 - but that is the nature of war. Nothing gratuitous, but nothing patronisingly anodyne.
I have watched a lot of war films over the last 50 years and this is definitely one of the better ones.
Disappointingly unoriginal and not that funny
If you have followed the phone-hacking saga and the demise of NOTW then you will be familiar with the territory of this film. Now satire is not a genre that always results in belly-laughs, but this was a touch disappointing as humour and the satire lacked the incisiveness of real exponents of the genre; it tended to follow predictable story-lines and the acting lacked the 'edge' of a series like 'The Thick of It'. Michael Kitchen plays his relatively small part well and what a contrast from his role as Inspector Foyle - it demonstrates the skill of the actor and must have been fun for him as a role. But fans of Kitchen's Foyle will probably be disappointed; they should not expect this to be a reprise of his mastery of that wise, self-controlled and precisely nuanced character.
The Rescuers (2011)
Genocide, and the diplomats who took risks to rescue people
This documentary looks at genocide. It compares and contrasts stories of Holocaust survival with the massacres in Rwanda. Although graphic it is not gratuitous. The overall message is one of encouragement to us not to be bystanders and that even in awful situations there arise people who will do good. This is the positive thread that keeps the film inspirational.
Although slanted towards current diplomats there is a message here for all. This is a film that anyone who has a concern for what is right should watch. It refreshes beliefs in the injustice that was meted out to the Jews and Tutsi. It is also an excellent historical documentary, touching a subject in breadth that is sometimes restricted to the well known stories of particular refugees.
It is a little slow to start, and to me there was some awkwardness from the narrators/interviewers and some weak camera-work, which gives a slightly amateurish feel. However it soon becomes fully engaging. Any weaknesses are overcome by the supreme quality of research (much helped by Sir Martin Gilbert), writing (Anthony Valleta) direction (Martin King). The interviewees are authentic and well worth hearing.
The film runs through various examples of courage shown by diplomats in WW2 which led to the saving of hundreds of thousands of Jews. Alongside this is contrasted the situation in Rwanda in 1994. Interviews with families of Holocaust survivors and their rescuers are interspersed with archive WW2 footage and montages of WW2 and Rwandan stills. Sir Martin Gilbert and Stephanie Nyombayire provide narration, interaction and continuity throughout.
The message the audience carry away is that although the phrase "Never Again" became a mantra following the Holocaust, genocide still continues. Although not covered in this film, the film offers a line of support over the approach taken by NATO in Libya. And you may find it challenges you over other current situations where thousands are dying.
Black Dynamite (2009)
A bit dire unless you are a 70's anorak
It was scoring 7.4 on IMDb when I agreed to watch this. But it really does make me want to better understand how IMDb works.
I could have watched the original A-Team, Dukes of Hazzard, or Kojak and had a much better evening. True there is some clever 70's pastiche. There are a few laughs. But the rendition is so predictably dire it is cringe-making or tedious rather than funny. There are also some rather gross moments that would never have made it past 70's censors.
I am not saying that the other reviewers are wrong. It is just that I come away being so glad I don't have to live through the 70's again. Perhaps if you didn't then this film will give you an insight into how bad some 70's films and TV were in one shot.
Stark Raving Mad (2002)
One of the few films I've stopped watching
About a heist, perpetrated under the cover of a rave.
The look of the lead character, and the scenes of fast cars at the beginning give it a lot of promise, with a good idea and some action, but the film soon slowed, became repetitive and then relied on a series of clichéd moments for effect.
Some of these ancillary plot lines are rather tacky. They include alternative forms of sex, including with a 16 yr old, and drink-spiking.
Personally I would have rated this as an 18.
We stopped watching after an hour and I am terribly sorry, but I have to say it was one of the worst films I have ever seen.