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To the Wonder (2012)
Hard to like
20 May 2014
The style is something you either like or hate. I belong to the latter category.

The camera flits about, hand held for much of the film; scenes are short and sometimes mere single shots. Ben Afflect says little and what he does say is generally a mumble or something insignificant.

There is no narrative, as such. It is a jumble of images. Whoever thought the director is some master film-maker must have rocks in their head. It is a movie which I equate to incomprehensible rubbish, trying hard to be an art piece.

Most annoying are the French sub-titles, made by the female lead. Gibberish would be too kind to describe the outpourings.

I was attracted to the movie because of the actors but they are all disappointing. Film students would make a better film with amateur actors. I had to fast forward to avoid falling asleep.

I will no longer complain about mindless violence in blockbusters.
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Can it be any more boring?
12 August 2012
Unlike other reviewers who raved about the movie and the performances, I can't do the same.

Although the actors played their roles realistically, they were in a film which I found to be slow and utterly boring. I didn't think, after seeing Michelle Williams in "A Week with Marilyn" that she could appear so ordinary and unattractive, both physically and emotionally.

Did I want to see marriage the way it is for real? I could have stayed home for that. Nothing was new in this. Just do a reality spot on numerous marriages and you'd come away with the same depressing sentiment.

Flashing back and forth works at times but here it all blended in to produce a mish-mash of scenes, some of which were incomprehensible.

A very forgettable movie and certainly not one to be revisited.
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14 October 2011
This film is an insult to movie making. Reality TV no, pretend reality TV, it tries to be. Called a mockumentary, it is only a mocking travesty of a film.

Who wants to see a bunch of adolescents filming themselves clowning around? It's not funny, it's not dramatic, it's not horrific, it's not romantic, it's not informative. I've seen home movies of better quality.

Even the photography is poor.

It is totally pointless. See it if you don't care how you waste time or you're drunk, drugged on prescription or hard drugs or high from something.

The dialogue is appalling. If this is reality, let me out.
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Not even a black comedy.
1 October 2011
This film is one of the worst I've seen. The four female characters are hideous - spoiled, whining, loud mouthed, overbearing, jealous, precious. In real life I can't imagine people like these four being tolerated.

The plot is poor, the execution slow and tortured. It takes an age for the movie to gain any impetus. The point of the film, I imagine, is to examine the lives of couples who are married. It would certainly put off anybody contemplating union.

The male characters act like puppets, afraid to hurt the feelings of their counterparts. They appear to be unable to exert their own will.

Avoid the film if you come across it. A waste of nearly two hours with an ending which is totally incredible.
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Far fetched
26 March 2011
Billed as a science fiction movie, it steals from other recent sci-fi films but when analyzed, it turns out to be an old fashioned war movie with lots of smoke, haze and gunfire. As the Germans and Russians are no longer creditable enemies, aliens fill the void to enable the US Marines to step in and fight. Despite the fact that many cities throughout the globe have been destroyed, a unit of marines save the day. Children and women make up part of a group of civilians that require rescuing which takes the band of marines away from the main battle and this adds sentimentality to the story. Clichés abound. See also myblogmovies.blogspot for more.
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Unbelievable and trite
16 December 2010
The story idea of this movie wasn't bad but the execution was poor.

Renee Zellweger seemed stiff and her character was an irritation. She flounced around from scene to scene in a daze.

Kevin Bacon on the other hand turned in a reasonable performance but was in too few scenes.

Logan Lerman did a good job as one of the sons, however I doubt that the other son, in the 1950s, would actually have acted as he did in this film. The second son's character was over the top and ridiculous.

I didn't enjoy the movie because it seemed to have no point to it. The conflict appeared contrived.
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Flawed system revealed
13 February 2010
This movie was trying to make a point which it does quite well. At first it appears to be not so different from films which show why people are driven to seek revenge. But it's not so straight forward as one learns when nothing happens for a good period of time.

Democracies like the US, the UK and Australia lean too heavily on the side of the individual which then adversely affects the quality of life for the majority and community in general.This is aptly demonstrated in the movie.

However much one agrees with the actions of the main character, the fact remains that this is a work of fiction and, in life, people suffer the frustrations of a very flawed justice system. This movie is well constructed but the ending could have been more outrageous.

So enjoy the film because there is no real justice.
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Cloverfield (2008)
A real disaster
22 September 2008
This is a pointless film because there is no context for what occurs.

The camera-work is shoddy. It is meant to be like this but that is no excuse to serve up such an amateurish effort as entertainment.

The film is a series of jerky scenes. There is no intelligent conversation. There is no reason for the main characters to do what they do. Nothing is credible. It is more fantasy than science fiction, however fantasy is usually crisply presented with a decent story.

What surprises me is how a studio could have allowed this to be produced. There should have been a warning on the cover instead of the false advertising. I am disgusted with the system - is it the same one which allowed cowboys to trash the financial system?
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The Stand (1994)
Highly dubious.
6 August 2007
Unbelievable. Literally. This was a poor mini-series and I'm surprised Stephen King was associated with the project. I thought the idea might be of interest but found the execution hard to swallow. Nothing made sense. A film about good and evil but it was badly made and the characters were either one extreme or another - soppy or incredibly evil. It was also too long and slow and one had to suspend belief entirely to view it right through to the end.

The film started off in a fashion which could have had some promising plot lines but I found that as the plot progressed, it became increasingly ridiculous. And in the last section, the plot was simply stupid. I wondered whether this outing was catering for five year olds rather than for adults who might wish to enjoy an entertaining idea, intelligently crafted.
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15 July 2006
There was action aplenty. There were surprises and lots of stunts. There were some interesting and witty lines. There were masses of special effects.

The main character, Jack Sparrow, was superb in a funny, understated way. He was no super hero.

The movie was light hearted which, in my view, was its major strength.

However, the film was too long with too much repetition of certain water scenes. The ending was poor because it pointed to yet another sequel. Without the pre screening hype it may have passed for a good entertainment but the hype was over the top and the product failed to live up to it.
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Going bored
20 October 2005
This movie was so bad I couldn't sit through it without doing something else. There was no plot and no point. I was thoroughly bored and for a film about a stand up comedian, I couldn't recall one joke or funny line worthy of the description. Politicians with no charisma speaking technical jargon could not be less entertaining.

So how was this made? Is there no quality control in film? Watching the girls in bikinis was the only distraction during this horrible experience.

It's hard to imagine that Adam Sandler who has become popular and has appeared in fine comedies was able to survive after this kind of exposure. He was not funny in the least in this movie so it proves that the writing is so vital in effective comedy.
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Junk but fascinating.
14 May 2005
This movie is compelling to watch but at the end it's feels like you've eaten too much junk food - you have indigestion and feel like you've made a big mistake.

The music is good, the scenes look spectacular and the action is non-stop.

The problem is that the plot is simple and unbelievable. It makes no sense. It isn't meant to make sense - like junk food is not good for you. Both are served up to tempt and corrupt the body and soul.

One learns nothing from this movie. It's a comic book on film.

Tarantino has made a reputation for making bold and unusual films. Some have come off, this one hasn't. It's an excuse for self indulgence. I'm glad I didn't pay money to see it.
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Comedy gone wrong.
19 July 2004
The Nicole Kidman character made it a shame that she wasn't turned into a robot. It's this kind of female which men would dearly love to see humanised. Bette Midler was funny before and after becoming robotic and Glenn Close too was captivating. Unfortunately in attempting to be a comedy or light hearted nonsense, the film ended up a piece of fluff. It could have been so much more had the director been faithful to the original idea. The ending was too contrived for my taste but may satisfy those who love endings pleasing to the typical movie-goer - American women.
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Believable, well performed with great attention to period detail.
16 October 2002
This was a movie which was extremely well constructed and there were many fine performances, adding to the overall presentation. However, as a crime film it possessed one ingredient lacking in so many - credibility. This wasn't a slick action movie but rather a work of substance portraying how easy it is to commit one's loyalty to another for reasons of survival. Sooner or later corruption erodes, then destroys the soul.

The ending was masterful. It would have been easy to make it sentimental or the boy's character vengeful. A nomination for picture of the year would be a worthy tribute.
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Classic bubble gum.
21 April 2002
Maybe I wasn't in the right frame of mind, perhaps it struck me as too trite, I don't know but what I do know is I didn't enjoy this film. I couldn't even watch the entire was so awful. It relied on special effects, a lack of intelligence and hammy performances.

The photography of the female leads was the only part of the movie which kept me going for as long as I did. Classic bubble gum nonsense. Save your money and time for something a little more worthwhile.
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Hannibal (2001)
Contrived, forgettable.
4 August 2001
Like many sequels which rarely match the original, Hannibal is a pale follow up to Silence of the Lambs, an engrossing movie. Hannibal seems contrived and in true Hollywood fashion, the ending is farcical. Why would the sadistic Dr Hannibal Lecter allow somebody who has been chasing him so long off the hook, and in the most unconvincing fashion.

The movie was made to make bucks and is about nothing. Forget it.
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Timecode (2000)
A confidence trick.
21 April 2001
The cover of the video jacket said this film was innovative. I wonder whether this word was used to hide the fact that this was not a movie in the sense that we know what a movie is. This is a 'con'. A film showing a blank white screen with an occasional black frame with traffic noise would be just as innovative. But is this entertainment?

Then to read that critics at some film festival considered it had merit adds to the conspiracy of extracting money illegitimately. It is plotless, incoherent, jerky and unwatchable. After giving the 'film' a period of time I could only endure it by fast forwarding and checking that the technique, if that's the terminology, was consistent. It was and I returned the tape to the video store rather than stomping on it(because I'm not normally a violent person). I gave the poor desk person a piece of my mind advising them that usually I would sue under wrongful advertising but given I chose it free of charge on a special two for one deal I was not going to press the point.

To sum up I would advise anyone who is not a brain-dead critic enjoying split screen flashing as stimulation to avoid this excuse for film at all costs.
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Traffic (2000)
Slick, gritty and despairing.
12 April 2001
Traffic is an excellent movie with a great cast showing the drug scene realistically. People are depicted as they might react under various circumstances, vulnerabilities and complex emotions explored with insight.

The films looks at an odd assortment of characters who are involved somewhere along the drug chain. Although it is easy to be judgemental, the scenes reveal how untidy human life and ambition are.

This movie unfortunately leaves one with a sense of despair for mankind, with greed and personal gratification the dominant drivers - only too true of this and past civilizations. For this reason it is not great entertainment rather effective observations made into a slick story.
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28 Days (2000)
Ordinary and a non cinema event.
20 January 2001
This should qualify more as a telemovie than a full film production. It was extremely ordinary with little humour except some which one might come across in American sitcoms - fluffy and not very funny.

I sat through it as my wife had hired it and we were relaxing at the end of a hard week. In that context I found it of little entertainment value and I'm pleased I didn't pay cinema entrance fees.

If you haven't seen it, don't bother. It was about as inspiring as watching a tree grow.
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Entertaining, realistic and maybe a little more.
8 October 2000
For a subject which has been discussed and filmed many times, this movie is well constructed and kept interesting by the two lead players. The dialogue is realistic and the question of whether two people can survive living together is thoroughly explored.

The ending is pure Hollywood, at least three versions available I'm sure, and by opting for a happy ending it leaves the audience believing it's seen an entertainment, more palatable for those anxious to avoid confronting issues.
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Tired and overblown.
25 September 2000
Other than watching Nia Long who plays Sherry and is easy on the eyes there is little of interest in this movie. Mainly because it appears contrived with laughs reliant on disguises and mix ups, which has been done to death.

Also it intrigues me that it's not okay nowadays to make jokes about most types of people yet it's fine to paint fat people as laugh objects. If not done intelligently, the idea falls flat.

Don't pick on the fatties or leave everybody open to ridicule, if comedy's the aim.
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Realistic, surreal, superb.
22 August 2000
This film has a surreal quality as well as a down to earth feel. One can identify with many aspects of the movie - when one is young and misunderstood, when one is older and unappreciated and when one is fed up with life.

It unfolds at a leisurely pace and builds up to the climax which is never given away totally. A fabulous film which is entertaining throughout whilst also capturing a little of a good European film's atmosphere with the added bonus of making one think a bit. Annette Benning plays the bitch wife superbly but the standout performance is Kevin Spacey's.
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A funny and sad expose of the human condition.
6 August 2000
This is a movie which is both humourous and sad.

Four men decide to enjoy a weekend of eating, of appreciating the art of fine cuisine and the company of one special lady. They come from different backgrounds but have been close friends and each reveals more about himself as the movie progresses.

It could be said that some simple pleasures outweigh all the success one is ever likely to achieve.
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