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Very very very British, I say.
29 April 2006
In the olden days everyone spoke very very fast and opened their mouth a very very small amount, especially Noel Coward. As such it is not only quite hard to understand what they're saying but there is a certain inclination to roll around the floor laughing instead of watching the actual film. This should be overcome at all costs as this is a very very good film and one must keep the side up. Don't you know there's a war on? This film is occasionally romantic, often touching and ought to cause a tear to well up in even the staunchest manly bloke. It's stirring and full of stiff upper lip and may in fact be the most British film I have ever seen. It has a frightfully British upper class ship Captain and his terribly noble and understanding wife, it has a variety of chirpy chappies and staunchly reliable lower class types, a smattering of loyal mothers and wives and a rather dashing ship's doctor.

They don't make wars like this any more, if they did we might actually have to be proud of fighting one instead of ducking our heads in shame at the dirt and dishonour of today's armed conflicts.
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It's Funny Because There's Naked People
20 April 2006
I'll come straight out and say I'm in it too. Not a surprise as it's not got distribution yet to have been seen by many outsiders. I really enjoyed the film and I'm generally the worst critic of anything, especially stuff I'm in. This is that rare very low budget production that's actually worth watching and although it's not perfect it is enjoyable and funny. The humour is rude but it doesn't slip over the porn line and it's strength is in the great characterisation particularly of the lead Jack Innov and characters like Bunty Shades and Thom Cruz. If your watching this for titillation you will probably be disappointed, there's some but not a lot. If you're watching this for a laugh then you'll get one.
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Spivs (2004)
Psychological drama with too little insight
5 October 2004
This wasn't at all what I expected. I was expecting something along the lines of Snatch and instead got a reasonably thoughtful story about a middle aged man realising he has wasted the majority of his life on cheap con tricks.

I went to see this for Dominic Monaghan and let's be honest, Dom is barely in this and his character is, though entertaining and sweet, largely irrelevant to the film. In fact one of his scenes is so irrelevant you suspect it of having been inserted merely to up his screen time.

I didn't actually enjoy the film all that much, not because it was bad but I think because I could find no handle with which to identify with the three main characters. They lived lives I would never live, behaving in ways I would never consider, and the lead character (Ken Stott) more so than the others. There were a few moments when you felt emotion for him, but for me the whole thing was just too far from my sphere of experience. I am not a con man, I could never be a con man and have no desire to be one. I don't understand the mindset. Dom's character is actually easier to empathise with, for me anyway, and not just cause I can feel some sort of connection for any character played by Dom cause the connection already exists. He's a simple minded lad who doesn't think much about what he's doing, he drifts through his life in a cloud of cannabis smoke and that's enough for him, he's the pettiest of criminals, not out to hurt anyone in particular and not looking for the big time. He comes across as a sweet if slightly deluded guy, not the best influence in the world but not the worst either. He does add a nice lightness and goofiness to scenes that might have been a bit heavy otherwise. I would have liked to see more of him but there wasn't room for him in this script which settled down into a psychological drama with gangster side salad.

The film was good, but not great. It lacked connection and I can't take all the blame for that, a truly great film can make you connect with it's characters no matter how far they stray from yourself. Perhaps it was too tight lipped, you could never quite see deep enough into the characters to touch what was implied.
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Van Helsing (2004)
Yes, it is bad.
2 September 2004
Yes it's very bad, yes it's almost very good too, but not quite.

David Wenham did an adequate job of playing the sort of character that Paul Bettany plays a lot, his ears were a bit disturbing though. Hugh Jackman was suitably lickable and did get the majority of his kit off towards the end, thank god. The bird was grating and annoying, shock horror. The vampires were pretty neat. The effects were mostly very good in a computer animated coolness kind of way but occasionally stupid looking (usually where they were trying to do something fairly basic like making a character look as if they were jumping from horse to horse). The script was... um.... I don't think the script was really the point. They also did their very best to jam every other movie genre that ever existed into this one movie and the Wolverine references were... a bit silly.

I particularly liked the very beginning up until we got to Transylvania and Hugh Jackman getting his kit off.
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Emile (2003)
Easy to identify with
2 September 2004
I liked the movie a lot more than I expected. Not that I thought it was going to be a bad movie, but I had no real concept of what I'd think of it so really enjoying it was a nice surprise. We had heard it was slow, but I actually found it to be quite gripping and as such it didn't appear slow at all. At first it was a little distracting watching the movie with Ian McKellen two rows behind us and a couple of seats along, but my focus settled down as we got further in. Not particularly helped by the antarctic blasts of cold coming from the air conditioning right in front of me. I'm lucky I didn't die of hypothermia before the end of the evening. The movie was much more easily identified with than you might expect, being a movie about a 65 year old man and me being anything but. The theme was something I think can get to anyone and what really got me was the story of Emile leaving his two brothers behind and what happened to them subsequently. I think anyone who moves away from their family can understand the need to separate and how easy it can be to let that separation become too vast. As someone who has never lost a close member of my family, and lives in vague terror of the day it finally happens (as it must do unless I'm hit by a bus in the near future), I found the movie very touching and even teared up a couple of times. On a less precise scale, Emile's flaw was that he ran away from responsibility and difficulty and as a result never really lived his life, as far as we can tell. It's always easy to tell ourselves that what we're doing is for the best, but often that can be an excuse for not doing something that seems too hard.

The only flaw I would pick with the movie is that occasionally the music was a little too much. Aside from that the acting was excellent, the script was excellent and the shooting was beautifully done. I think a lot more people will find something to associate with in this movie than might think they would. Have you ever moved away from home? Have you ever not kept in touch when you knew you should? Have you ever been hurt by or betrayed a family member?
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Troy (2004)
Made for Mocking
2 September 2004
This is a movie that was made to be mocked. I think I have read about five separate parody summaries of it and every one was hilarious. Despite this it is in and of itself quite a good movie, despite alterations to the original storyline.

Eric Bana is the standout performance of the film (setting aside Brad Pitt's bottom, nothing can stand up to the power of Brad Pitt's bottom). He prevents the film from being ridiculous by being convincing, heroic and touching. The film is also aided by strong female performances, Briseis does a good job of distracting us from the fact that we all know Achilles was really supposed to be shagging Patroclus all along. However, just because the film-makers did a good job of covering up their cowardice at portraying a gay hero doesn't make their actions any less pathetic. Andromache and Helen were also well played.

Orlando Bloom was perfect as Paris. He's just not cut out to be a convincing hero, but as a spoilt young princeling who brings everything tumbling down around him thanks to his own poor judgement he's ideally cast. He's innocently delusional and foolishly romantic, I particularly liked the scene where he tells Helen they can run away and live in a cave and he'll hunt rabbits and then everything will be okay.

Brad Pitt occasionally suffers from overly dramatic cinematography but aside from that he's ideal as Achilles. Stunning in a sarong, convincing as a slightly one dimensional pouty egotistical young warrior who has to face up to the fact that this battle is not going to be like any other in his past.

So they changed the story, I thought I would mind but on the whole I didn't. Kassandra wasn't required, the Gods didn't need to actually appear, changing Agamemnon's death made perfect sense in a movie context, changing Achilles' was less palatable but logical. Actually one of the weakest points of the movie was where they stuck to the story of the Trojan Horse, cause let's face it, that was never the most convincing story ever told. "Oh look they've all gone home and left us a big horse, let's take it inside the walls. What could possibly go wrong?"
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Too little, too fast
2 September 2004
Totty score: 4/10. Awesome destruction: 1/10. Scary monsters: 8/10.

Favourite bit: boys dormitory scene (not for that reason!)

It seemed very rushed though, when you know the original so well it's hard to leapfrog through the story like that.

Gary Oldman was great, David Thewlis was perfectly good acting wise but not quite right for me as Lupin. The new Dumbledore had two problems; his accent was a bit distracting and he had a McGonagall clone thing going on in his mannerisms. Hermione was no longer irritating, a feat I did not think was possible, although she did rather take over the story towards the end of the movie. Ron was sweet, Harry was better though still shaky in places and Malfoy was hot. Neville looks really different and both Seamus and the Weasley twins were leaps and bounds better acting wise. Crookshanks was perfect. The set and style were really really good. The Dementors were awesome and scary and Buckbeak was pretty cool. The werewolf effects were pretty good too.

The new direction has improved the film by leaps and bounds from the previous two, most particularly by improving all of the children's acting. But rushed, a lot of it felt rushed to me, I'm hoping for an extended version.
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Once an X-Fan always an X-Fan
2 September 2004
X-Men 2 rocked. Better than The Two Towers. Better than both Harry Potter movies.

Wolverine is sexier than Aragorn and Orlando Bloom put together, plus he could kick their butts to Mordor and back without breaking a sweat.

How much did I love this movie. let me count the ways...

1. Nightcrawler. How fab was the "bamf" effect! Also loved the angelic scarring and that they kept the religious stuff. Also love Alan Cumming to death anyway.

2. Playing into the Phoenix Saga! I knew they were thinking about doing it for the next film but I had no idea they were going to play into it with this film.

3. More nearly nude Wolverine! Yay for the regular removal of Logan's clothes and the frequent vest wearing.

4. Colossus! Hardly in it but yay anyway, cool transformation! And yay Artie and yay Shadowcat and Pyro and Siryn and Beast and apparantly Jubilee was in it but I missed her and Gambit's name appeared.

5. Yay Methos! Peter Wingfield as cute but evil soldier guy.

6. Yay slash! Scott and Logan so slashy esp after Jean "dies". And I thought Scott was going to kiss Prof X just before that.

7. Yay Bobby! Liked Iceman much better this time around, less of a kid.

8. More psycho-Wolverine! It may be wrong but he just wouldn't be the Wolvie we know and love if he didn't gut a few people along the way. Also loved the putting the cigar out scene.

9. Ian McKellen, Magneto so much camper than Gandalf. So wry, so sad when betraying Xavier, so cool when breaking out of prison. Mystique also muchos cool.

10. Patrick Stewart. The only man they could ever have cast as Prof X.

In short. The movie is a masterpiece of nerdish comic-book heroism, tight outfits, slash and groovy effects matched up to some pretty good acting and is thus best film in world ever. Wolverine is a sex god beyond belief. Aragorn's ass is out the window. But I still want Orlando Bloom to play Gambit in the next one because I am strange that way.
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Apocalypse Then
2 September 2004
I finally got around to watching Black Hawk Down last night owing to it being too early to go to bed and yet me being too tired to do anything other than sleep or stare mindlessly at the tv. It was strangely Apocalypse Nowish in places, I suppose all war movies end up a bit 70's Vietnamish. I really liked it, there were lots of cute boys although they did wear far too much clothing including big helmets that made it really hard to tell who was who. I spent a lot of the time going, "Where is Ewan?" Ewan rocked in it way more than blubbery cry baby Josh Hartnett, he also got rockets shot at him way more than anybody else. I think he dived out of the way of a rocket about 7 or 8 times. I'm sure Andrew can give a far more comprehensive list of who in it was cute so I won't bother. Orli wasn't in it enough, of course, but then I knew that before I saw it. At least they didn't kill him. I also watched the doccie on the DVD, they need to bring out a Big Brother style doccie just on them at boot camp, that would be awesome. I also really liked the songs that played over the credits at the end.
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Matrix 3 Plot Meeting
2 September 2004
W bro 1: So like they're inside like this giant computer game right!

W bro 2: Yeah, so cool. And like they learn to control the game.

W1: And Neo is like totally the best at that.

W2: Yeah, he's like the King of the Matrix man!!

W1: And so this Smith guy is like the computer version of him yeah!

W2: And they have to fight it out man!

W1: Yeah, it's kill or be killed!!1!

W2 (has moment of frightening clarity): So what does it look like when a computer program and the disembodied mind of a man fight it out in a virtual universe?

W1: They punch each other really hard man!!!!!

W2: Oh right! Cool!!! Like Superman v Batman d00d!!!


Did anyone else think Hugo Weaving was in a different movie? It was like everyone else was in the real movie being all serious about the st00pid plot and Hugo was like "Hey, gr00vy. This is a spoof right? Mwah-ha-ha-ha! I shall keel y00 dead Meester Anderson!"

Man, that was a stupid film.

I thought the first and second parts were stupid films too. The whole thing is under developed and nowhere near as cool as it thinks it is. The third was the weakest of all of them and that's never good in a trilogy. I probably liked the second part best. The first suffered badly from over-hype and the third from 'I am so fabulous I no longer require acting or a good script'.
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tiny!Daniel is the cutest thing ever
2 September 2004
1. Charles Dickens is still depressing

2. Bob Hoskins was less annoying than expected

3. tiny!Daniel is the cutest thing ever invented

4. I have a crush on the little red headed girl who lives in the boat

5. I want to live in a boat

6. That older kid at the school was pretty cute too

7. Mrs Copperfield and Peggaty are so Frodo and Sam

It's actually pretty good, I enjoyed it quite a lot and as I'd avoided reading the book on account of it being by Charles Dickens I didn't really know what was going to happen.

Unfortunately grown up David was terribly unappealing. I think when Daniel Radcliffe grows up they should digitally insert him into the second part so he can play grown up David too. Steerforth was much better looking. Dora was so terribly wet I was most thankful as to her fate (shame the dog didn't share it), Emily was much better than Dora.
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For rest of scene see extended edition
2 September 2004
Did I cry? Not really, actually. I thought I would cry a lot but I didn't. I got tearful three times, but not all out crying. Those times were when Merry and Pippin are seperated, the look on their faces is heartbreaking. When Pippin sings over the Osgiliath scene. When the Rohan fight the Mumakil.

Did I like it? Yes. And then again no. It wasn't the experience that Fellowship was for me and I don't think it ever could have been. I'm too tainted by behind the scenes footage and technical effects explanations and knowledge of the actors to see the movies the way I saw Fellowship. When I see them I still tend to think Dominic before Merry and Orlando before Legolas etc. I know too much.

OTOH I think this will be similar to the way TTT was for me, I will settle into the DVD much more easily than I did to the movie in the peace of my own couch in the dark with a cup of tea and no pressure.

I am inclined to say that Peter Jackson has one main weakness, an occasional lack of subtlety. This manifests itself sometimes as excess schmaltz (especially present toward the end of the movie) and sometimes as inappropriate humour (see Gimli) and sometimes in his over-enjoyment of gross-out gore (less of an issue but a few scenes are a bit more ridiculous than they should be).

Major props to Bernard Hill who impressed me hugely in this and Two Towers, I never failed to be amazed by how well he hit his character. I loved every second of Pippin and Merry and crave more of them, one of my favourite scenes was their first one at Isengard. And yes, Shelob was very cool and I did unexpectedly rather enjoy Legolas downing the Oliphaunt.

I can't quite get the hang of Hugo Weaving, he always seems to be slightly on the outside of a movie looking in. At least he was in the Matrix, especially the last one, but I felt it in this too. Eg.

Scene - Rohirrim Camp - a tent Elrond: I can't believe how much better than the Matrix this movie is! And check out this rad costume! Aragorn: Huh? Elrond: Oh right, sword, plot, thingy... Aragorn: *brandishes sword in manly fashion*

The focus remains solidly on Sam and Frodo, but their story was actually the least interesting, it felt a bit like the same thing over and over again. A little bit of plot and then a break to see Sam and Frodo trudge some more and Gollum talk to himself.

The editing was choppy especially towards the end, I suspect the extended version will flow better as no matter what they say about the film version being the real version in this case I really don't think it is.
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The War Zone (1999)
Pointless Trauma
2 September 2004
The thing about a real war zone is that not only do you not want to be there you don't even want to see what is there. There are things I don't need to see, I am quite capable of despising their existence without being shown them in technicolor surround sound.

This is the most fucked up film I've seen in a long while and Colin Farrell's exceedingly brief appearance is nowhere near enough to make watching it worth my time.

It is also really very hard to focus on writing a 1000 word essay on the science provision of a school when someone is being anally raped by their father on the television. It's one of those things I just don't get - the point of making these no-holds barred, hard-hitting, gritty, so-called realistic dramas. I can understand wanting to discuss the issues around it, but does that really justify including the actual scenes of rape or whatever? Or maybe it's watching them I don't get. I need a reason for watching something. Because it's fun, because it's beautiful, because it's exciting. Am I supposed to be learning a valuable lesson? Am I supposed to enjoy it? This film is without a doubt ugly and depressing and horrible and I just don't see the point of it.
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Fight Club (1999)
The Freedom of Fight Club
2 September 2004
Words cannot describe how much I love this movie. We will glance briefly over the fact that Brad Pitt has probably never been sexier and spends a good deal of time partially nude. Actually lets just contemplate that for a moment before moving on.


Anyway. I find the movie as a whole intensely sexy. A perfect dark mixture of surrealism, freedom, violence and sex. I too have never been in a fight. The very concept terrifies and arouses me. I think to actually just go the f**k for it and not only take the pain but take it in an uncontrolled way and return it might do a lot of us a power of good. Grab life by the balls and kick it in the teeth. But it's so far from anything most of us are likely to do (especially women, of which I am one) that it probably would take an episode of real mental breakdown to be able to do it. Fight Club is a lot like bdsm, well really only sm. It's (the actual fight club part not the whole movie) about the emotional and social freedom inherent in inflicting and receiving pain. If you're hurt you can cry or scream, if you're angry or frustrated you can lash out. The ultimate stress release. The way pain strips you of all complexity until there is nothing else that exists but excruciating sensation.

To cry not because you're depressed and life sucks or something bad has happened, assuming you even cry then, but because it hurts. It hurts it hurts it hurts it hurts it hurts. There's something very pure about that.

The difference between bdsm and fight club is that, in general, bdsm is controlled and will not leave permanent marks or anything requiring hospital treatment. This is a positive and a negative. It lacks some of the freefalling savagery of fight club but in return it gains practicality. We cannot all walk around with our faces bashed in and in the end you will get seriously hurt. There are only so many times you can have your head bashed against the floor before you don't wake up. I don't particularly want my head bashed against the floor at all. I suspect I like the concept a lot more than the actuality of fight club. I am a big coward.

The movie as a whole is a trip in every way. It has things to say, it's beautiful and painful to look at, the characters are interesting, the end is fitting. One of the best movies I've seen.
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Not-quite-Julia-Roberts Meets One Big Girls Blouse and a Couple of Comedy Sidekicks
2 September 2004
Sometimes I'm a sucker for a romantic movie, more rarely, when the black mood takes me, I want to rip out the protagonists innards and dance on them. Yesterday was such a day. I finished watching this movie which I'd started watching a few days ago, back when I was of the opinion that romantic movies were just lovely. I have two major bones to pick with the entire oevre and they both relate to the same basic concept, the indoctrination of helpless saps like me with bullshit romantic shite like this.

1. Being a helpless girlie who's just a little bit crazy and whines about how hard her life is will not cause all men within a hundred foot radius to fall in love with you no matter how perky your nose/breasts are.

2. That thing! That thing with the meeting and the moon eyes and the first date sex and the brief comedy misunderstanding leading to the immediate reunion and forgiveness cause you're just both so much in tune. It doesn't happen! And if it does why does it never happen to me!? I hate to be a cynic but I am one of those people that thinks if Romeo and Juliet hadn't offed themselves they probably wouldn't have lasted a year.

It's not that I want to believe that. I wasn't born cynical, I was turned. I am a bitter romantic. I went out into the world all doe-eyed and hopeful and offered myself up on the bloody alter of love and rather unsurprisingly, I got butchered. I wasn't prepared. They should make you watch Witness and that Jennifer Connelly movie with the double ended dildo and The Ice Storm before you hit puberty instead of crap like this.
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Sixth Sense meets Trainspotting on ITV
2 September 2004
Billy Boyd is the sexiest Glaswegian thug ever, I want to have his little ned babies. He will beat me and I will drink all the time and the children will steal cars and start smoking when they are seven, we will be the perfect family. I will stick by him even through his years in prison and his numerous bits of stuff on the side. This is my dream.

Jason Connery is also not bad looking, even funny German scientist dude was kinda cute. The movie was also quite good, well worth the £4.99 I paid that's for damn sure. Take a couple of characters from Trainspotting and stick them into a mix of Sixth Sense and Poltergeist. Now ramp down your expectations to British ITV movie level and you're there. A lot better than I would have expected.
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G.I. Jane (1997)
Worth watching a bit more carefully
2 September 2004
It's amazing how much of a difference being familiar with an actor can make to their character in a movie. I've always quite liked GI Jane as a film, seen it a couple of times before but not in a while. I stayed up last night to watch it because I'd never paid that much attention to Viggo Mortensen's character that I could recall. Unsurprising, one look at that mustache is enough to put anyone off, and also explains why I didn't recognise him before. There are several things about his character I think I misinterpreted before simply due to not paying that much attention and all the poetry was great, I had completely forgotten all of that if I'd ever got it in the first place. GI Jane has always been the kind of film I watch for a bit of a laugh rather than pay attention to the fine nuances of. And if you don't pay attention you come away with the idea that Viggo's character is an asshole when actually he's not even vaguely.

Demi Moore has very large breasts for an athletic character but aside from that I think she's very good, even if she had watched Aliens 2 a little too much before playing the part.

In summary: Viggo very hot, his mustache is not so hot, his acting is great, and DH Lawrence rocks.
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Flipper (1996)
It's a lot like Casablanca really
2 September 2004
Dolphin - cute

Elijah Wood - very very cute, especially when wet and partially nekkid

Paul Hogan - strangely attractive, must have been the leather bondage cuff he wore through the whole movie

Plot - very silly

Cute blonde - romance sub-plot highly unconvincing, clearly no girl can come between a boy and his dolphin and Elijah doesn't even make a vague attempt at kissing her, instead choosing to spend all his time fondling Flipper

Ending - strangely similar to Casablanca, as Elijah says farewell to the finned love of his life...

Lij: Last night we said a great many things. You said I was to do the thinking for both of us. Well, I've done a lot of it since then, and it all adds up to one thing. You're going out into that sea with your family where you belong.

Flipper: eee eee eee

Lij: Now you've got to listen to me! Do you have any idea what you'd have to look forward to if you stayed here? Nine chances out of ten we'd both wind up in SeaWorld. Isn't that true, Paul Hogan?

Paul: I'm afraid the kid is right

Flipper: eee eee eee

Lij: I'm saying it because it's true. Inside of us, we both know you belong with your family. You're part of their life - the thing that keeps them going. If that pod leaves here and you're not with them, you'll regret it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon. And for the rest of your life.

Flipper: eee eee eee

Lij: We'll always have that time under the pier. We didn't have - we lost it until you found the poison barrels. We got it back last night.

Flipper: eee eee eee

Lij: And you never will. But I've got a job to do, too. And where I'm going you can't follow. What I've got to do, you can't be any part of. Flipper, I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of one little boy and his dolphin don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Some day you'll understand that. Here's looking at you, kid.

I'm so moved I may weep.

In summary, approximately 5000 times better than Queen of the Damned, not quite as good as Lord of the Rings.
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It should have happened like this
2 September 2004
This is possibly the best movie ever made ever.

I used to have a theory that all movies with God/Devil/angels/Jesus/etc were automatically good, but then I saw that abysmal one with the girl from Will & Grace as Mary Magdalene and had to re-evaluate my position. However I still feel it to be true that most movies that have deities/angels/messiahs in them are quite good.

I also think that musicals are a wonderful wonderful thing and that surrealism always has a place.

So as this movie is a surreal musical about the Messiah it's pretty much a safe bet I'm gonna love it.

This is Andrew Lloyd Webber's best work, he was put on ths planet to write this musical, it's just a shame he didn't quit while he was ahead. And this movie is how the musical was supposed to be, I've heard other cast recordings, I've seen it on stage once, but the movie is the purest form. The locations are perfect, the castings (even Jesus) are spot on, the singing is amazing, the surreal additions such as rifles and fighter planes give it a sense of almost a fever dream and how it must have been like that. A brief period of dizzy insanity culminating in destruction.

I first watched this film when I was very young and I think it probably had more of an effect on me than the Bible ever did. Stand out performances by Judas (notably the intro song on the cliffs and the moment when he leaves the garden of Gethsemane) and Pilate (two of the most beautiful songs are his dream and his discussion with Jesus).

"Why do you stay quiet when I hold your life in my hands? Why do you not answer, I don't believe you understand."

There's a grit to this movie, an undercurrent of seriousness despite the comedy moments which are never so ridiculous that they throw you out of the headspace. Don't let the fact that it's a musical or the 70's clothes put you off. This is an extremely powerful movie.
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Instant Credit (2004 TV Short)
Short but sweet
26 August 2004
Instant Credit is a half hour short featuring Billy Boyd as "Frankie", playing his girlfriend "Gail" is Billy's real life girlfriend Alison McKinnon.

It was nice to see familiar locations like the front of Glasgow Central Station and Prestwick airport. The film had some nice touches to it, but the real strength of it was the sweetness of the relationship which is really the story of the film rather than the "borrowed" credit card. The credit card is just the method used to reunite Frankie with his possibly imaginary girlfriend Gail who has moved down to London to pursue a career in modeling. Frankie is a nice enough guy who isn't exactly doing that well in life but makes the best of it despite the fact that none of his friends believe anything he tells him owing to his life being a little bit unusual. But his mother really is marrying a near eastern fisherman, his dog really did have fourteen puppies and he really is going out with the girl on the magazine cover in his locker. Or is he, things have got a bit strained since Gail left for London and the scene in which Frankie recalls her departure is, along with the scene where they reunite in her flat in London, one of the strongest scenes in the film. Allison McKinnon proves herself a more than adequate actress, really the only weak performance in the film is by the businessman who provides the credit card to fuel the story. Although he is clearly intended to come over as artificial, it feels stagey instead and doesn't quite work.

This is not a shiny high budget production but it settles into itself well after the first few minutes and the characters are appealing and entertaining. It could actually have lost five minutes quite easily and might have felt a little more slick if it had, the extended montage scene in Paris was unnecessary and I could have done with less of the first scene with the businessman. OTOH the girls in the chemist shop were hilarious. There were some other very nice touches; the scene at the ticket machine bemoaning the train price to Paisley, the scene with his mother's boyfriend, and the scene tags stating the locations stand out in particular.

Well worth seeing when it comes on TV, alas it will likely be shown to Scottish viewers only.
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The Purifiers (2004)
It is what it is and it does it well.
22 August 2004
I liked it. It starts right in with the "look at me I'm a martial arts movie" and just keeps on going. It stuck in just enough Bladerunner-esque stylings to establish itself as being futuristic without getting too caught up in making things different and technologically advanced. If you've visited Milton Keynes then you'll recognise much of the outdoor locations as clearly not Glasgow, it was the interiors where Glasgow popped it's head in more with a couple of scenes filmed in the Arches and in the underground system. The plot is simple and they keep it simple, the best plan in a pretty short action movie (85 mins). There are a couple of dubiously explained moments where someone is called upon to do something stupid like wander off on their own in order to better set up the next fight sequence but on the whole it's a simple 'these people want to beat up these people cause they won't play along'.

The Purifiers themselves are a straight split of three men and three women, we get a little background on one (Moz?) and subplot on Dom's character Sol and John's love-interest Frances. The hero and leader of the gang, John, is played fairly straight, his main plot point being his previous friendship with the now bad-guy who wants to take over the city, Moses (played by Trainspotting's Kevin McKidd) and the ubiquitous honor and refusal to compromise of most hero's.

The fighting is very nicely done, most of the cast are very experienced martial artists excepting Kevin McKidd (the only one who was occasionally body doubled iirc) and Dom (who gets his ass kicked mostly by women). It's not a very violent movie, there are only a couple of moments that might make you cringe a little. For the most part the fight sequences are stylish and very dance-like with lot's of back flips and interesting high kicks. All of which were performed as is, there was no wire work.

The acting was for the most part fine, a few shaky moments; the lead was strong, the bad guy was strong, Dom was Dom, some of the more minor players were a little awkward on occasion.

In summary. I scored it excellent on the little card they gave us, but that was influenced by Dom's presence. It's always easier to get into a movie in which you have an existing interest. Without Dom I still would have liked the movie but it would only have been good. It's an easy watch, attractively filmed, the score is good, the editing is just interesting enough without becoming gimmicky. Worth a cinema visit but not so big and flashy it won't work fine on video or DVD. Go and see it, lie back and enjoy it, don't ask too much of it. It is what it is and it does it well.

I won't give away any plot cause I do recommend you try to catch this yourself. They are hoping for a more general cinema release next year and there will be a DVD release.

And did I mention Dom wore a vest at the start? Cause he did.
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Sniper 470 (2002 TV Movie)
The personal side of impersonal wars
16 November 2003
Sniper 470 is a mood piece. Let me try and sum it up.

Imagine it's Sunday afternoon. You know, one of those Sunday afternoons when there's nothing on the telly and everyone else is off doing something else and it's grey outside and you just can't quite get settled and nothing feels right. Now imagine Sunday afternoon is five days long and on Monday morning you're probably going to die.

Sniper 470 has taken the current situation of impersonal computerised war that we saw in the first Gulf conflict to it's conclusion in a futuristic space war. It then refuses the impersonality and makes it intensely personal with many of the same sort of hardships faced by WWII soldiers (losing your friends, not knowing what's really going on) exacerbated by solitude such as they could never have imagined.

The frustration of sniper 470, the known unknown soldier, is illustrated to us by telling us nothing. Who is he at war with and why? This doesn't matter, we can only concern ourselves with this one man trying to fill the time before he dies. Seperated from family, love, even his orders are from a computerised voice. He can't see his friends die, can't offer them comfort, only watch their names scroll by on a computer screen.

The strength of Sniper 470 is in putting yourself inside it. The plot is incredibly basic, what it wants is for you to say, "My God, what must that feel like? How would I cope?"

So much of life is the waiting in between the moments of doing. Most films ignore that waiting, Sniper 470 is about the frustration and loneliness of that time and the strength and endurance needed to get through it and stay sane.

War is never impersonal as long as people are alone and in pain and dying. That's as personal as it gets.

On a more technical note, they've done a good job on the effects. The lighting was a little low for me but that's probably cause I was watching it at limited resolution on a computer screen. I'd love to see it on the big screen or at least a decent tv.

Billy Boyd was nicely understated. He played his character reserved, making us work to read his feelings. He got over the strength and patience that you would need to do what Sniper 470 does while at the same time portraying the frustration, the repressed fear and the moment when he knows, without a doubt, that it is all over.
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Pointless, tedious piece of crap
17 May 2003
This is a paint by numbers horror movie, they bought it in Walmart and just stuck in the names. If it had been 5 minutes long it would have been really quite good, if it had been half an hour long it would have been enjoyable, at an hour and a half it was just a waste of my time and money.
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The Rules of Pretension
7 April 2003
A little less American Beauty and a little more American Pie might have helped this movie. It was okay but it travelled bit too far up it's own arse by the end. Also, there are some things you just don't ever need to see James van der Beek doing. Not really all that different from Dawson's Creek, just a lot more nudity and some poncy art school direction, Dawson would have pretended to find it interesting but secretly hated it and it's cynical lessons.
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Sucked All 31 Flavours of Ass
4 June 2002
I'm sorry, someone told me this was based on HG Wells Time Machine but they must have been confused because this was a hokey, bland piece of crap. The only decent moments were Jeremy Irons and some of the stuff with the library computer. The unnecessary insertion of the dead girlfriend completely altered the main character and his motivation. The move from London to New York was also completely unnecessary especially since most of the actors weren't even American to start off with. The Eloi were basically normal human beings and those were some remarkably well preserved stone inscriptions, very lame way to explain why he could communicate with the Eloi. Boring, lame and pedestrian. Do not go and see this movie, read the book instead... and the sequel which is very good. Steven Spielberg must be stopped before he can do anymore harm, thank God he didn't get hold of Harry Potter! (not that CC did a particularly great job, but that's for another review)
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