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best one of the series
29 June 2003
I'm not normally a fan of big Hollywood blockbusters, not least the high-grossing trilogies of recent years (Harry Potter, Matrix, Lord of the Rings), but there's something about the first two Terminator films I've always liked. Maybe because it's set in the real world, I don't know. When I had the opportunity to see a preview of Terminator 3, I thought I was bound to be disappointed, not least because the director Jonathan Mostow made the appalling U571. But I was enthralled. From start to finish, I couldn't tear my eyes from the screen for one moment. Much of the film is similar to the first two, in that there's an evil Terminator after the good guy with someone from the future to protect them. Cue high adrenalin car chases, stunts, explosions, etc., all done with panache and good humour. But there's more to this movie than its predecessors, more than just simple chasing. There's a bigger picture, about fate, about the

relentless march of technology and the naivety of the American military.

Quite simply, it's an interesting film. Nick Stahl and Claire Danes are believable and have good chemistry, Arnie is entertaining, with some great one-liners and the female Terminatrix blends in without any problem. Perhaps this is the best of the trilogy. Let's hope there's not another decade before the fourth
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Billy Elliot (2000)
a pleasure from start to finish
21 August 2000
With a seemingly run-of-the-mill storyline - that of an 11-year-old schoolboy wanting to be a ballet dancer - it is quite a feat to have made a movie as warm and entertaining as this.

Quite simply, this is the best British movie in years. All the characters are intriguing, and the acting is flawless, most notably from 14-year-old Jamie Bell whose acting is utterly convincing, filled with humour and insight beyond his years. He is also a fantastic dancer, and some of the dance sequences are reminiscent of the dance-filled musicals of the old black and white movies.

The backdrop of the historic miners' strike of the mid-1980s, it brings the story down to the earth and adds the necessary tension to make this film truly believable and a worthy story to tell.

I find it hard to see how anyone would not like this film. 9 and a half out of 10.
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Entertaining enough but looks awful
21 August 2000
The storyline of a flash couple moving next to the neighbourhood busybody is hardly original or worthy of making it to the big screen.

While Ricky Tomlinson, Phil Daniels and co. do play their parts well, and there are several laughs to be had, the story doesn't go anywhere, is largely predictable and just seems like an average play re-staged on a miniscule budget for the big screen.

Set on the drab streets of England's Midlands, and almost entirely in a cul-de-sac and two suburban houses, it looks cheap and miserable, like it has been made with a home video camera.

Would have been better suited as a TV drama. 6 out of 10.
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Gladiator (2000)
An epic tale with great acting, a good script, and superb direction
27 April 2000
From the opening battle scenes you get a feeling that this is not your average Hollywood blockbuster. This looks and feels like an epic in the true tradition of classics like Spartacus or Ben Hur.

This is the story of Maximus (Russell Crowe) a well-respected Roman general who leads from the front, and has a wicked way with a sword.

Emperor Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris) wants Maximus to look after Rome instead of his power-hungry young son Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) after his death.

But Commodus has other ideas....

This film may have cost around $100 million to make but it will undoubtedly double that at the box office.

The cast ooze charisma and ability, the sets will take your breath away, and the quick, and often chaotic, direction rarely lets up long enough for you to lose concentration for a second.

Perhaps the plot is a little on the unbelievable side, but this is Ancient Rome, a time of legends and heroes, it really does not detract from the film's enjoyment, especially as the script is not at all cliched.

The gladiator scenes are spectacular, and Russell Crowe's performance is incredible. He has so much presence that you can almost feel his energy emanating from the screen. This will surely rank him up there with the best actors in Hollywood.
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what an implausible plot twist
1 November 1999
I was entranced all the way through this film, and when the plot twist came I was in awe. Then I stopped to think about it, and it was completely implausible. I mean, he must have noticed something wasn't right - he'd hadn't had a conversation with his wife or anyone else for months!

This totally ruined an otherwise great film. And the kid deserves an oscar for his performance, I had to fight back the tears at times.
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