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Robin Hood (2006)
I love the legends, and have enjoyed every version from Douglas Fairbanks to Patrick Bergin, so I was looking forward to this new series with excitement.
Before the first episode, I had read that people who'd seen previews were not impressed, so my expectations took a knock. However, I really enjoyed it! I'll agree that the first 10 minutes were a bit ropey, and I was worried. But I stuck with it, and it definitely improved. All these comments about make up? I guess that stuff just doesn't register with me. The acting was just fine, the locations looked good, I wasn't overkeen on some of the camera tricks, jump edits & stuff, but that didn't detract.
Overall it was good, rollicking fun! Which is all I want from Robin Hood! For goodness sake, it ain't some sacred text!!
oh, and referring to Robin of Sherwood as the benchmark? hee hee!! I grew up with that series, and adored it. but have you tried to sit through an episode more recently? Just too painful.
nice little movie
I had read so much and was really looking forward to this film, as something out of the ordinary, not your run-of-the-mill Hollywood fodder.
Maybe I was expecting too much, given all the excited reviews, but I was mildly disappointed. It was good, I enjoyed it, and I laughed out loud a couple of times, but it wasn't outstanding, unfortunately.
Giamatti was, of course, perfect, as he has been every time I've seen him, and all the performances were excellent. I was totally absorbed, and even shed a tear or two.
Maybe it was because I took such a dislike to Jack! (I take the point from another reviewer that we don't have to like the characters to enjoy the film, but I really disliked him! Its a credit to Church's performance, obviously, to inspire such a strong reaction, but I simply didn't like spending time with that character)
So yes, it was miles better than most films out there, but far from my favourite in the last 12 months.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
I could have sworn I wrote a comment here when the film was out in the cinema, but I can't find it, so I guess I didn't.
I'm a massive fan of Spaced, so when I first heard about this film, I was spectacularly excited, and literally bounced in my seat every time I saw a trailer!
So with such high expectations, it was quite a feat for the film not to let me down in the slightest - quite the opposite, it was instantly one of my favourite ever films!
I've never seen a zombie film, so you don't necessarily need to get the references to enjoy it. Its just brilliantly funny.
Simon Pegg and Dylan Moran are 2 of my absolute favourite actors, so obviously I loved their performances, and Lucy Davis was fab as ever. But basically everyone is right on top of their form - not a single false note.
Then of course there was the long wait for the DVD to come out. Once I had it in my hands, I was a little nervous that it wouldn't live up to my memory of just a few months earlier. But I needn't have worried - I watched it twice in a row! And then all the extras.
I simply can't recommend it highly enough, and I'm so excited that so many Americans here are enjoying it too - I so hope it is as big a hit as it deserves to be over there, and shows that some British films are this good!
And I recommend Spaced just as highly!
Stage Beauty (2004)
I f**kin love this film
Sorry for the language, but that's all I could say for a while after it finished - I LOVED it!
I'm not sure I can write a coherent review right now, as its only a couple of hours since I got home from the flicks, but I enjoyed every single moment of the film.
Honestly, I can't remember the last time I felt like this after a trip to the cinema. I'm not going to say its the greatest thing ever, its too soon to judge a film's classic status.
But it involved me so fully, I was breathless. During the final playing of the death scene, my heart was pounding. Whether with apprehension of whether they would pull it off, or from the tragedy of the scene itself, I don't know, but I can't name another film that made me feel that way. Certainly nothing Hollywood has made in the last 10 or 15 years, anyway.
The cast of British stalwarts were as good as you'd expect them to be, and more - I particularly loved Bonneville's Pepys
Crudup and Danes shone, (with accents that were so spot-on it didn't even occur to me to analyse them during the film) and damn! but Crudup is sexy (though that may say more about me than him!)
Favourite line could well be "give me back my merkin!" Come on - its not something you hear every day!!
So along with Shaun of the Dead, that makes 2 good British films in a year - is this a record?!
Atomic Twister (2002)
Lighten up everyone - its a comedy!
I knew when I saw the description in the TV guide that this was a winner, then I forgot it was on. Luckily my friend sent me a text to say "This is SO 'so bad its good', I may pee"
What higher praise can there be!
This movie was nearly as funny as Speed 2 (we were nearly thrown out of the cinema for that one - did no-one else know it was a comedy?)
All that was missing here was George Kennedy. Although it did have Carl Lewis!!
and did anyone else pick up on the irony/symbolism of the kids playing 'Twister'? Fantastic.
Get in some pizza and plenty of alcohol, you won't have a better evening's entertainment!!
King Arthur (2004)
Far better than you may have heard!
I had low expectations going to see this, but my friend got free tickets, so why not?! Especially with the prospect of the gorgeous Clive Owen, if nothing else!
But I loved it!
I've read some of the comments here, and will resist the temptation to respond to some of the individual comments. Suffice to say that a lot of people need to understand that 'Legend' does not equal 'Fact'! All these complaints about it not being the true story, or historically accurate! Who knows?! From what I've read, as written by those who might be expected to know, this is based on the latest historical evidence.
I found it very clever, and pretty convincing, the way elements of the myth were portrayed as believable events, which could have been built upon by centuries of balladeers and storytellers (a good example being Arthur extracting his father's sword from the earth).
I also did not find it at all insulting to Britain, as one person here said - quite the opposite! Guinevere's petitions to Arthur to lead his people, and the observation that Excalibur was forged in the fires of Britain, were very stirring! I wanted those Romans and those Saxons OUT OF MY COUNTRY!! OK, so a lot of modern Brits are descended from those invaders, but hey - British can be defined a million ways, there's no pure blood in these islands. And frankly those knights are more than welcome here, because everyone knows that whinging about the weather is THE defining feature of Britishness!
Anyway, I digress! I loved the relationship between the band of knights; yes, there was a touch of Henry V, or the Magnificent Seven, but that's hard to avoid in such a situation. I found the 'romance' between Arthur and Guinevere convincing - she's a kick-ass warrior, who made him see things differently than he had always believed; he's a legend in his own lifetime, but also a good man, with ideals. (and he's Clive Owen - who'd say no?)
I was a bit annoyed that Lancelot came to her rescue in the big battle, but its a minor quibble. And I was slightly distracted by the variety of accents, but I got over it, because who knows what is accurate anyway? Although I was stunned for a moment when I thought the bad guy might actually be played by an American (is that allowed?) but then realised it was a (great) European actor who has picked up the accent while learning English. Ah well, maybe one day.
The battle on the ice has been mentioned as a stand-out scene, which it most certainly is, but I can't really pick out a lot of others, because I just enjoyed the film as a whole.
And, the unexpected death (not gonna spoil it!) was a welcome twist, because if there's one thing you think you know, it's who will survive. And it's great to have that confidence knocked occasionally in a movie.
All in all, a really enjoyable film, that will stir your British blood!
Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)
of course its biased - what did you expect!
Before I start, I will candidly admit that I am a fan of Michael Moore. I am strongly left-leaning, passionate about environmental issues and increasingly anti-capitalist. Not a huge fan of GW Bush's, then! So this movie/documentary was preaching to the utterly converted in my case.
However, I left the cinema feeling stupid. My main emotional reaction, other than tears at Lila Lipscomb's grief, was that I have not been nearly angry enough over the last few years.
I agree with many of the comments made here, both for and against Moore. The movie is extremely manipulative and one-sided. But then I can't think of much in the media - any medium - that isn't. All news has a point of view, an editorial slant. Every TV report has been cut in some way. Every TV show and movie is, however subtly or unconsciously, promoting a lifestyle, or set of values. However this 'documentary' is a drop in the ocean, just trying to redress the balance a little.
You have minds of your own - if you don't believe what Moore tells you, look into it, investigate, research, question. That's the freedom we have - use it or lose it!!
I agree that the pictures of happy children playing in Iraq were largely irrelevant, and the question of the persecution of the Kurds was not addressed. I can only guess that this was omitted as the issue was also pretty much absent from all the spin and justification for the war. That was all about the WMD, Saddam's alleged contravention of UN directives. Regime change due to internal issues was not legally admissible as grounds for war, however morally desirable it may have been.
The sequence showing Bush and his associates shaking hands with a succession of Arab men was pointless - I had no idea who any of them were. Maybe they were members of the bin Ladin family, maybe they were representatives of international humanitarian organisations! Presumably they weren't the latter, but captions would have been helpful!
The stereotyped images illustrating the members of the coalition made me uncomfortable, and the omission of larger countries such as the UK and Spain was significant.
But these faults don't outweigh the majority of the film, which appeared to me to be largely based on documented fact. I take the point raised here that much of what is 'revealed' is common knowledge, or common sense. But was it really? While mindful of potential anti-US bias in some parts of the UK press, I have read about the impact in mainstream US media of Bush's declaration 'if you're not with us, you're against us'. Supposedly, this has been widely interpreted as meaning that any criticism of the Bush administration will be perceived as anti-American. This seems crazy to me, as surely freedom of speech is absolutely central to the values cherished in America. I once heard patriotism described as similar to the love one has for one's own family - even though you love them totally and instinctively, you still recognise their faults, and even try to help them overcome them. My hope and belief is that the simple fact of this film is ensuring that many issues are debated far more widely than before.
Ultimately, however, though feeling compelled to action, I am left with a deep feeling of pessimism. Over the last year or so, I have been thinking 'surely no-one is so money-motivated that they would utterly fabricate a war'. Surely there was some higher moral motivation? After watching this movie, I feel so naïve. Yup - apparently money really does mean that much to some people.
what the.. is this?
OK, I must admit, I have not seen the movie. I just saw the trailer. And after seeing the trailer, I will not, unless my life takes a very unexpected turn, be seeing the movie! But I had to comment on the quality of the artwork. I don't understand how they can look at a cartoon, attempt to re-create part of it in a movie and fail so completely. What I'm trying to say is that Garfield doesn't look like Garfield!
I could understand if they'd tried to find a live cat that was identical to the cartoon. But how difficult is it for a professional artist to copy a drawing?!
Wow! That's all I can be bothered to say! If your kids drag you to see it, you have my deepest sympathy. Anyone else - you just have yourself to blame!
Garth Marenghi's Darkplace (2004)
what they said
glad to see here that I'm not the only one already hooked after just 3 episodes.
I've tried to explain to people why they must watch it, but the only way they will understand is to watch it!
Its hilarious: terrible acting, atrocious script, wobbly sets, appalling dubbing, and some very alarming wigs.
And lots of slow motion (well, its hard to fill a half hour slot with story all the time)
I'm looking forward to saying 'I told you so' to lots of people when they 'discover' this show in 6 months!
yeah, some talented actors, but only one really good performance (Paul Giamatti).
The trailers looked good, though reports from friends who had seen it were universally... "weeell - its not *bad* exactly. But its not good."
So my expectations were significantly lowered..
Yet I was still disappointed.
Nothing original, nothing to grab me.
Ed Burns looks kinda nice, but I've never seen him in a film that didn't leave me flat! (guess you have to admire the consistency) Hmm, "Ryan' was OK, but I don't remember him in it.
So you know what? See it, don't see it. I really can't work up any emotion whatsoever.
OK, so its 4 or 5 years since I saw this, and I've avoided watching it again ever, so my memory isn't very fresh.
All I remember is that this is the film where I started off annoyed at the people chatting near me; but less than an hour later, I joined in their conversation, and the whole audience was just entertaining itself any way it could.
We did laugh when the skater got shot, but otherwise.....blaaahhh
Whale Rider (2002)
Beautiful. Haunting. Moving. Inspiring.
I used to go to the cinema at least once a week. This summer I've been maybe 5 or 10 times, and have only enjoyed a couple of Hollywood's offerings. All I knew of this was the TV trailer, which looked interesting. So I looked up where it was showing, and made the hour long train and tube journey across London, battling faulty ticket machines, and crowds to finally dodge across a busy street 10 minutes late, bursting into the cinema during the opening credits (quietly, I assure you!) Something must have been pulling me, and thank god it was.
This was truly the most wonderful film I have seen in years.
I can barely add to the praise heaped on Keisha Castle-Hughes (Pai). She is mesmerising, spectacular, entrancing. Her speech at the school concert would melt the hardest heart.
But every performance is spot on; not one moment rings false. Every emotion - sorrow, disappointment, pride - is utterly real and piercing.
And even though I was in tears for most of the last section of the film (I've no idea how long, time seemed to stand still while I was in the cinema) I would like to add there is also a healthy dose of Antipodean humour chucked in at appropriate moments.
Of course it looks sumptuous, and the whole thing was just magical.
The author of a previous comment mentioned there were just 9 people in the screening; there were maybe 20-25 at mine, and similarly we all sat motionless through the closing titles, prolonging the moment (until half of us headed to the ladies room to wash our faces, and discuss this wonderful thing we'd just seen).
Its heartbreaking that this will almost certainly not get the attention it deserves, other than acclaim at Film Festivals.
Johnny English (2003)
I should probably start by saying that I really don't like Rowan Atkinson much except when he's Blackadder, or way back when he did stand up.
And I probably shouldn't have expected too much from a film based on a character created for a credit card commercial.
But the trailer looked quite funny, (I think I laughed at it once) and there was nothing else on....
Well, amazing to say but even my low expectations weren't met. It was awful, every 'gag' telegraphed a mile off, just...dire. I have nothing constructive to say, so I'll keep this short.
I would say the humour is aimed at maybe 8 - 12 year olds, except the rest of the cinema were in fits of laughter, and they were mostly adults, so what do I know?
Just be warned - if your first instinct is that it will be bad, go with that!
A Midsummer Night's Dream (1996)
I studied this play at school, saw several stage productions, and loved it, so I was looking forward to this RSC production.
So first of all - what's with the little boy? I found his presence annoying and distracting. Sadly, the opening scene was delivered with practically no life, and that's where I switched off, too bored to continue.
So obviously, you should take this review with a big pinch of salt, cos I only watched a few minutes.
But just a few weeks later, the Kevin Kline version was on TV, late one night. I was highly suspicious, but gave it a chance. I was hooked almost straight away, and all the way through.
So make of that what you will....
loads of fun
first, to comment on the other comment - I think Franchot Tone's Irish accent was entertainment enough, without Cary attempting a French one!
Anyway, I really enjoyed this film. There's no amazing, original plot and the acting is a little clunky in places, but its all done with such enthusiasm you can't help but love it!
It starts out quite formulaic - showgirl seeks rich husband, finds fake rich man etc - but the leads are so gorgeous you go with it, and then the plot takes a turn (not too subtle, but thats OK).
Once we follow our heroine to Paris, and meet Cary, it really picks up, and there's another clichéd whirlwind romance, followed by call up.
To say more would spoil the plot (though you'll spot every 'twist' a mile off anyway) but its just 'a rollicking good ride', with 3 excellent stars, and a fun script.
Just sit back and enjoy!
There simply aren't words...
Before I write anything, I should state that I'm not sure I've just seen the same film as the majority of people who've written comments here.
It was called Equilibrium, and it featured an excellent cast, including Christian Bale and Sean Bean.
But it was absolutely no good whatsoever. Honestly, I'm struggling to find the words.
We went to see the film because it looked a prime candidate to make us laugh. However, since my companion fell asleep within about 10 minutes, I had no-one to snigger with. Which didn't matter, because I was simply open-mouthed at the awfulness of it. It went beyond, oh so far beyond, the so bad its good' genre.
If you manage to stay awake (and believe me, I tried not to) there was an interesting moment about 90 minutes or so in, when there were some plot twists. But that soon flickered and died.
Things also started to look up when Bale began to beat up Brian it's a puppet' Conley, but that didn't last either.
I will admit the acting was excellent Bale somehow managed convincingly to portray a man without, or struggling to conceal, emotion. But his success meant that at no point did I care about his, or indeed any other character in the entire film.
But the plot? - you could drive a bus through the holes. The subtext'? - more overt than a wet kipper in the face. The script oh god, don't make me think about it. The fight scenes I'm no expert, but those which didn't strike me as unoriginal simply made me giggle.
So there were a few laughs to be had, but nothing compared to the hysteria which set in afterwards as the full horror of what we had just paid PAID!!! to see dawned on us!
Dirty Dancing (1987)
"Nobody puts Baby in a corner!"
I've enjoyed reading a lot of the comments on this film.
Yes its cheesy - but so what? I love it!!
My sister and I used to rent this every week and watch it over and over til it had to go back to the shop. Eventually we realised the economic folly of this, and we clubbed together to make it the first tape we ever bought.
Maybe when you watch it as an adult it doesn't have the same magic, but I love every second of it, every quotable line (I carried a watermelon?), every thrilling dance move, and the deliciously evil look on Johnny's face when he beckons Baby to come and dance with him! Actually, as an adult, I can recommend the rehearsal scene, just to see those muscles rippling in Swayze's back!
So my recommendation is to just let it wash over you, don't think about it too much and just enjoy it!
Great British Institution
I've dabbled in Corrie and Brookie, even Hollyoaks and Neighbours, but nothing beats the real thing!
A strong core of familiar characters, and a host of new or recurring faces mean you can go weeks without catching an episode, then pick up where you left off.
The acting is consistently of an astonishingly high standard, although obviously there is the odd false note. But often you can see young actors improve before your own eyes over the months. In particular, the occasional 'two-handers' are stunning.
And there are wonderful moments of humour, especially from the likes of dear old Dot (the ultra wonderful June Brown)
I just want to respond to a point raised by a Scottish writer on this board regarding portraying real life. IT'S A SOAP OPERA!!! Everything is condensed, heightened, exaggerated. But real issues are addressed.
And as for suggesting that the number of characters from ethnic minority groups is unrealistic (many would argue the opposite) particularly because of the presence of the BNP in the real East End - surely that is backwards logic?
But anyway - a great show, that I've grown up on, and life wouldn't be the same without it!
well it made me laugh...!
I only watched this cos I'm such a fan of Piven, and I had my doubts about it, but I really enjoyed it. Its no masterpiece, but there are some laugh-out-loud funny bits. JP is wonderful as ever, and all the caricature stereotypes are spot on. But geez - I did not recognise Favreau - I had to rewind to check it really was him! As my friend from Boston said, this may be dismissed as only appealing to frat-boys, but I'm a 30 year old, vegetarian, English woman - and it made me laugh (hey you know what - good for them chucking a load of meat out the window - now no-one can eat it!)
Oh, and please, who posted this comment "I'm afraid that only those of us who attended Wesleyan University at the very start of the 90's are going to get it" Get over yourselves. Any Red Dwarf fans out there better just stop laughing, cos unless you went to Liverpool Uni like the writers, and me & my friends, I bet you don't get every single joke, cos I've been to the Aigburth Arms, and I know first hand how funny the curtains there are. Alright?
Watch the movie, it will probably make you laugh. It might not. Regardless of where you went to school.
Soul Survivors (2001)
Easily the worst film I have ever seen...
and there's very little I wish to add.
Some good actors with a terrible script. Too dull to be suspenseful; too uninvolving. Frankly, I didn't care what was happening and who was dead and who wasn't. I mean in Vanilla Sky, I fell asleep, but when I woke up, I was still a little intrigued to know what was going on. This was only the 2nd film I've seen where the audience were chatting...to strangers! Making friends, hanging out. Anything but concentrate on the screen.
Oh, and Casey continues the family knack of picking quality projects!
And what is with the priest??
Oh I give up - watch it if you must!
I'm another UK fan who only just discovered the show, only to find it has already been cancelled in the US.
As a huge Jeremy Piven fan, I was excited when I saw the show listed in the TV guide a few weeks ago, and I was not disappointed by a single episode (which I had to tape each day as it was shown in the daytime). It was different - witty, touching but not saccharine, and with something to say. Piven was showcased to perfection. I can only echo everyone else's disappointment and mystification as to why such an intelligent and innovative show was cancelled - but maybe I just answered my own question.
Many Rivers to Cross (1955)
A great surprise
I wasn't expecting much from this film - just something to pass a rainy Sunday.
What a wonderful surprise to find myself watching a screwball comedy about as good as Cary Grant or Irene Dunne could have hoped to make in the 1930's.
Give it a chance - you might love it like I did.
A treat for film (and book) lovers.
Its a few months since I saw it, so I can't comment on details, but I loved this film. I caught it by chance on a French cable channel, one rainy night! What a happy discovery! It captured me straight off. Charming, stirring, strangely gripping, moving, passionate, surprising, just plain interesting - so many things that films should be, but rarely are.
I'm so glad it was too wet to go and see the floodlit castle!
I thoroughly recommend it.
Mission to Mars (2000)
Just like Indiana Jones and The Mummy, in space....
I'd read the reviews, I thought I knew what to expect, but nothing prepared me for how appalling this film was.
I went to see it in the same frame of mind as I went to see H2O, and Urban Legend. And they were awful too, but at least they were entertaining.
This wasn't even laughable. It was very bad, and very dull. Can I give less than 1 star?
Tim - what were you thinking?
Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)
Truly Great Comedy
People just don't seem to realise this was not meant to be taken seriously. I have rarely laughed so much at the cinema.
Some of the basic ingredients of any disaster movie are: water (and lots of it), people in evening dress, and a small dog - and this has them all!
Cannot be faulted.