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John von K
A confused muddle.
I really want to enjoy this but by gosh it's hard work!
The brief "Previously on..." montage was not enough to remind me of all the disparate plotlines on MIHK series 2 a year ago.. The asumption that I can recall why and how John Smith's son died...nope.
What is right and wrong with it so far? Rufus Sewell, of course, is riveting and Jason O'Mara for once is allowed to use his own Irish accent..but even that sounds fake!...what is going on?
Well, it's summed up by one of the characters in a "pop" band in episode 1 saying to the audience " It's the first time we've played this one before." Eh? Just think about that. 2 drafts of the script just glued together?
On the plus side money has been well spent on effects and the brief action scenes, shame more wasn't spent on a script editor 6/10 so far.
Oh dear...Rather disappointed.. it's a bit of a mess.
This could have been a Disney live action film of the 60's it's that inoffensive. No blood or maiming, no cigarettes and no moustaches!! Narrative and editing a right old mess and to be quite honest I didn't give a damn about any of the characters really. Even the much touted air combat sequences are not too gripping. Deflection shooting is skated over to avoid silly us getting confused. Elgar's Nimrod is slower than Bernsteins version...so slow that is simply turgid and almost unrecognisable. 5/10
Strangers Within (2017)
Nice suspense ...but
Well I did enjoy this despite one or two shortcomings. Knows how to create suspense but he is not an "Actors director" for example Dad comes across as a cartoon version of a cockney Geezer out of an episode of Minder. But in spite of some really rather dodgy performances the tale unfolds with mystery and tension. so 6 or 7/10
Such a brave actor
Just watched "ZIPPER" 9/10 - a very dark and gripping film about destruction by obsession.
The central character is portrayed by Patrick Wilson and this is another very brave choice of role after "Hard Candy" where he played a man internet grooming an underage female.
How many leading actors would dare to play these roles?
He's not just an amazing actor he's obviously fearless with his career and image.
The rest of the cast are superb too. Ray Winstone in a new kind of role for him..he's such a good actor and thank goodness he was allowed to keep his London accent after falling flat on his face in "The Departed" trying to be a Boston accented tough guy.
Oh dear...it's becoming Dr Who!
Series 2 opens with the camp Ant and Dec lookalike Cheeky Chappy Jim Moriarty..."The greatest criminal mind in Europe" What? He couldn't run a gang of glue sniffers on a housing estate!
Mark Gattis should have played Moriarty...When he first appeared in episode one of the first series I thought "Wow...he's Moriarty, wonderful" and then how my heart sank when Ant and Dec appeared.
The first episode of series 2 was like a Tom Baker Dr Who episode crossed with "Carry on Baker St."
It looks like they are throwing the baby out with the bathwater as they desperately try to update Sherlock Holmes. The 2 leads are now wasted in this comedy fantasy...shame. As episode 3 is based on "The Final Problem" I assume that Jim (Ant and Dec) will be back.
Daylight Robbery (2008)
A tight "Old School" Caper
The joys of this caper/heist film are good pacing and top order performances from the ever reliable Geoff Bell and the under used Johnny Harris 2 wonderful solid gold British character actors, Bell exudes a crumpled John Wayne aura and Johnny Harris provides another solid, totally naturalistic performance amid all sorts of dramatic scenery chewing (See him in "London To Brighton" for a completely different and funny but scary role.)I thoroughly enjoyed it apart from the rather tacked-on postscript..............and what is really refreshing is that there is no clichéd Hero or Anti Hero...so no stars and no tacked-on romance...just a tight caper/crime thriller! 8/10
Yesterday's Enemy (1959)
Towering performance by Stanley Baker.
Well, I was astonished by how good this film is. Made by Hammer Films in 1959 and despite being shot entirely on set in England it has a deep sense of the grime, heat and fear of the Borneo jungle during WWII.
What really holds it together and creates the powerful generator for this film is a gritty, un-theatrical,un-sentimental performance by Sir Stanley Baker. He creates a 3 dimensional character and (Amazingly for a top ranked star) never tries to get the audience to "like him".
Other fine performances from Guy Rolfe and Leo McKern make this absorbing film seem way too short. The director Val Guest struggled to have the film released without any soundtrack music and this really helps the atmosphere and leaves it up the the actors to create tension without music bailing them out. There are quite a few unexpected twists and surprises too.
The subject matter in 1959 was rather brave and controversial so well done Hammer! It doesn't seem to be available on DVD or Blu-Ray so that goodness for Stagevu otherwise I might never have seen this little gem.
Quantum of Solace (2008)
On arrival at my local multiplex I asked for 2 tickets for "Bourne 4" and and the ticket seller knew exactly what I wanted - he didn't bat an eye! It's not a Bond film, it's a bland B movie with expensive action sequences that are neither exciting or fresh and the editing is of the "Let's agitate the viewer's eye and they'll think that they are excited rather that simply irritated" - the editing is so frenetic that you I really found myself drifting off - at one point I went "Oh Bond is hanging upside down - how did that happen?" Henchmen who couldn't hit a barn door and a lead villain who is bland. But then so is Bond/Bourne played by a tired looking, short, fair haired, middle-aged character actor with narrow shoulders. On radio Mr Craig would be a perfect Bond but visually it should be James Purefoy, Gerard Butler etc; Nice theme tune though and soundtrack music.
To End All Wars (2001)
Sentimental, unrealistic rubbish
All through this film you are aware of the writer sitting at his Keyboard trying to be profound and deep.
The result is a self important wafer of a film.
There is no sense of the real suffering these men went through all the actors have healthy white teeth and apart from a few token skinny actors they all look well fed and cared for.
The hell of the camp and building the railroad is simply a background for pretentious waffle.
There is absolutely no cinematic flair. The narration is cringe-worthy and naive.
Try Byan Forbes' harrowing and realistic "King Rat" instead.
King Rat (1965)
Great example of 60's British film
My wife - who wasn't even born when King Rat was released - fell in love with George Segal as we watched this film last night. This film really does stand the test of time. Apart from Mr Segal there is wonderful naturalistic work from James Fox and Tom Courtney, fully rounded cameos from Denham Elliot, James Donald and John Mills but for me the treat was the performance of Patrick O'Neal as Max. This American actor was never again put to such use on screen. John Barry's music is spare and works to. It's moving, frightening and dryly amusing. Fans of the novel will not be disappointed in Bryan Forbes adaptation or his sharp, unfussy and unsentimental direction.
The Shoes of the Fisherman (1968)
Quinn is a revelation
They really could not make a film in this way today. It takes it's time but gives us lots to see and listen too.
On DVD it looks like the big epic drama it intends to be. The film is let down by Olivier's sleepwalking performance and a dreadful Russian accent.
Oskar Werner is moving as the dying priest and Leo McKern does a lot less mugging than usual. Even the usually bland David Janssen convinces during the Pope's death commentary.
However, the film's heart and soul is Quinn's sincere, underplayed performance, filled with tiny touching moments of subtext.
Imperium: Augustus (2003)
On the shoulders of Peter O'Toole
Well I have not the faintest idea how accurate this mini-series is historically but it's not as bad as previous IMDb reviewers have suggested.
It is a talk-athon and some of the dubbed actors are really out of their depth. The young Augustus is played well, multi-layered and rather complex and unpredictable. Mark Anthony and Cleopatra are an aside, and performed in a bland obvious manner. Charlotte Rampling is frighteningly real.
But it is O'Toole's show all the way as the older Augustus.
After 30 years of "wafer thin ham" acting this and his performance in "Troy" show what an experienced actor can do with a good part. It is a grand part for an actor and makes the 3 hour journey quite moving at times. So the grand total as an entertainment experience is....6/10
The Alamo (2004)
All on the weight of one man's shoulders.
This is a flat, confusing mess.
Dennis Quaid has a large cameo, Jason Patrick is asleep or seems to be most of the time and the itself film dozes off when Billy Bob Thornton is off-screen.
It never really stirs the blood, the battle scenes are tame and flat.
It's like an edited down TV miniseries. But when Thornton is on screen the film takes off. It is a rare example of a good actor carrying a movie.
The John Wayne version was very long but Wayne and co. bailed it out with charisma and it was the "Epic" that the subject deserved.
This version is astonishingly flat considering the commitment expressed by everyone in the DVD featurettes.
Towering Costner performance in a small film.
I thought Sixth Sense was a predictable TV movie with a boring hero out of his depth but Dragonfly was a more enjoyable entertainment . The film is directed rather blandly and yes, there are some eggy moments from the usually fail safe Joe Morton and Kathy Bates but Costner is believable and painfully moving throughout and the ending was a complete surprise. And my partner leapt up in the air screaming 3 times.... Wow! 7 out of 10.
Dog Soldiers (2002)
Even bad acting can't sink it.
Apart from 'Cooper' the actors seem incapable of letting the dialogue speak for itself and appear to be reading from an autocue, you know the sort of thing- "Look behind YOU" "They WILL not get here IN time" Not a great actors director then and visually grainy and no cinematic flair at all. There are no surprises in the film but a few shocks. An enjoyable dumb adventure. And isn't Sean Pertwee camp in the first half hour? 7/10
Le pacte des loups (2001)
Bruce Willis goes kung fu on the werewolve's trail.
First half hour is a visual treat, the last half hour is boringly redundant. Padded with two cliched uninteresting romantic distractions. It's shame really because it has a lot going for it but the director and writer seem to have no sense of narrative drive and the only really sympathetic character is the monster. Truly though this is a film best described as being 'daft as a brush.' 6/10.
Die Another Day (2002)
Dire Another Day
Toby Stephens the best villain since Goldfinger and Sanchez. Halle Berry sneers and smirks. It has more Naughty lines than a Carry On film only not so amusing. Fencing sequence the only tense scene. Every other action sequence has two invulnerable agents fighting it out with villains and villainess...we know who will win but why staged in such a bland, predicable way. The film is like an episode of Thunderbirds or Star Trek summed up by 2 Virtual Reality sequences (both a plot fake/cheat) and an INVISIBLE car for God's sake. Basically an ad for Aston Martin, Omega, Jaguar, Ford etc: Oh, and Peirce Brosnan is in it now and then. This is the most dumbed down Bond film ever aimed at 12 year olds. Roll on Bond 21 with James Purefoy or Gerard Butler
Licence to Kill (1989)
Almost as gritty as the books, tears, fear and blood from Bond.d
Dalton IS the Bond of the books, as opposed to male model Brosnan in Goldeye (although he has filled out and is weathering nicely) The last Bond film not to refer to itself as part of the BOND FRANCHISE...it used to be a 'series of films', the Brosnan Bonds are now tie-ins with the product placement items~ cars, albums, DVD's, scratchcards, razors, posters etc: Licence to Kill has the best villain since Goldfinger, Sanchez has some wonderful lines, and the two Bond women are contrasting and a relief from the self-concious smirking of Halle Berry in Dire Another Day. In the film, as in the 1960's films, Bond is just believable not just a fashion plate close up for stuntmen.
The Sum of All Fears (2002)
Sum of all fearful tedium
Relax my friend, here are 2 hours in your life where nothing unexpected will happen, your breathing throughout will be shallow and even. Cliched romance, bland noble hero and all the big action sequences are fudged or happen off camera. No directorial flair. But, smashing music and a three dimensional performance from C. Hindes as the Russian premiere. Be kind to yourself and rent 'Clear and Present Danger' or 'Airforce One' instead...
Loving You (1957)
Don't miss the last 5 minutes!
Yes it's a middle of the road "Let's love Elvis" homage, but with good good sprinkling of songs. Basically a sentimental semi biog. with a nice performance from Wendell Corey (The man with Steve McQueen's eyes) If your abiding image of Elvis is Overweight Jumpsuit don't miss the last five minutes, the young King's rendition of 'Lot of Livin' to do'with make you sweat-energy, youth and joy. It is one the sexiest two minutes of 1950's hollywood celluloid. WOW!
The darkest historical epic. No dancing girls, no chariot races, filmed in sombre browns and reds. Nominally directed by Kubrick but Douglas, as a very 'hands on' producer was responsable for the operatic sweep of the film. I was astonished when revisiting the film in 1991 at the cinema at the bravery of the project-to have the hero cry several times, once even out of self pity and with a heart rending ending! The film has depth and weight, the characters are well drawn. The performances are almost flawless, Douglas managing as actor to create tension in each scene-Olivier, not withstanding his eyerolling mannerisms is perfectly cast. The minor parts are richly drawn-gravel voiced Charles McGraw, Herbert Lom and Woody Strode. The cinematography and music are flawless. Only John Dall as a very modern Glaberus and John Ireland as Crixus seem out of place. Ironically, despite the downbeat tone of the film it is impossible to watch it without being uplifted through your tears of compassion. Unofficialy remade as Braveheart...watch one after the other and you'll see the similarities in mood, theme and even the battle choreography. Spartacus would be my 'desert island' movie.