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5/10
Trying to be Full Monty, sinks like a stone
5 January 2019
I watched a lot of this through my fingers - a real cringe-fest of every cliche of that horrific phenomena: the "British Light Comedy". The Full Monty and Brassed Off were backed by some genuinely touching moments and insight into social issues. Swimming with Men tries to copy the same tired formula (group of blokes, try and do something together, obligatory ONE "strong" woman, montage to push the plot along) but just keeping the cheesy humour and dropping any real attempt at believable characterisation. What a waste of some very good actors.
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Your Move (2017)
1/10
A cringe-inducing turkey (as bad as you would expect)
30 December 2018
Obviously when you have someone who combines a cringe-inducing lack of self-awareness with a gaping void where creative talent should lie (as in the case of Luke Goss) then you're not going to expect much from a vanity project such as this. But, in fact, this movie is surprising. It's even worse than you would naturally have expected. The only thing of any interest (to anyone but Luke Goss himself) is how this movie was funded? Hopefully he funded it himself - presumably the few radio plays that "When Will I Be Famous" still gets globally must bring in some royalties, because it would be a tragedy if anybody else had been so gullible as to have invested in this hilariously poor home movie.
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The Martian (2015)
6/10
Good for the first 90 minutes but tediously overlong
9 April 2018
The first hour is interesting and engaging but the plot starts to tail off after 90 minutes and the final hour is dull and irritating. The attempts at humourous scenes fall flat and detract from the tension which has been building. Ditto the choice of music - as if 2001 A Space Odyssey had used Priscilla Queen of the Desert for its soundtrack. Ultimately, this film seems to be confused about what it wants to be. It starts out as a gripping thriller but then turns into something weirdly light-hearted. A pity, it showed promise but didn't deliver.
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5/10
Sentimental direction spoils Ballard's surreal masterpiece
1 March 2018
I watched this film when it came out as a child and enjoyed it. However, it doesn't stand up to rewatching in the 21st century due to the level of mawkish sentimentality - just how many times can Spielberg fall back on that cringe-inducing "character-slowly-salutes-another-character" device in one film? I think it happens FIVE times in this movie. It is perhaps the laziest and most nauseating device (at least to non-American audiences), and to use it so repeatedly in one film is unbelievable. Bale was undoubtedly a precocious talent but you can almost see the direction here, as if you can hear in EVERY scene Spielberg's voice "Ok, now look around the room in wonder, now take a step forward, now put out your arms, now turn around". It all seems so hilariously wooden, at one point I thought a chair and table were doing the best acting in the room. The character of Jim, watched as an adult, is also so unbelievably irritating that in moments when we are supposed to be feeling tension and hoping he doesn't get caught, I was actually hoping that he get swiftly bayoneted so hat the whole tedious film could be over.
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6/10
A slick thriller but not enough of a story to support a plot.
8 January 2018
Warning: Spoilers
The problem with basing a film on a true story is that the true story needs to be of sufficient interest. Any story that can be adequately summarised in one sentence - "A ship is hijacked and the Captain taken prisoner but is then rescued by the US Navy" is not going to be a great film. That said, Hanks is excellent as always and the actors playing the Somalian hijackers are also very good. The film is well=paced and there is sufficient level of tension to keep the viewer's interest. B

Ultimately, however, the film leaves a feeling of "Is that it?" The final scene in which a shaken Hanks receives a medical is bizarre - and seems like a jarringly self-indulgent last plea for an Oscar! "Hey Academy! Look at my great acting!"
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The Climb (I) (2017)
7/10
A charming, sweet film without a nasty bone in its body.
6 January 2018
This is a lovely simple film full of heart-warming moments and warmth. It isn't groundbreaking or particularly profound, but the protagonist give an excellent and very endearing performance and the film is well-paced and neatly put together.
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Trespass Against Us (I) (2016)
1/10
Horribly stupid film about horrible stupid people
6 January 2018
Baffling. Baffling how this film got made, baffling what the director thought he was trying to say, baffling how this script was ever considered adequate and baffling that Fassbender and Gleeson saw fit to have anything to do with this utter turkey.

The main problem is that there isn't anything even approaching a sympathetic character - they are all loathsome and thus it is impossible to enjoy a single moment of anything that occurs. A total waste of time and effort.
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3/10
Typically tedious and unfunny British "quirky" comedy
29 May 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Yet another of those British films desperate to repeat the "quirky comedy mixed with emotional scenes" formula of hits such as The Full Monty, Brassed Off, Notting Hill etc.

In these films people say things which people never say in real life, and do things which people never do in real life. These things, however, are never quite so preposterous as to be questioned by the ho-ho-ho middle-aged, middle-class Brits who a) write this drivel and b) these films are aimed at.

Will the father and son be reconciled in the end? OOOOH! What suspense!
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Gridiron Gang (2006)
3/10
Dismal collection of clichés and "uplifting" triumphs
7 July 2015
To be fair I would probably have loved this film when I was 6 or 7 years old. However, with the violence and profanity this clearly wasn't intended to be for children, which leads to the depressing conclusion that this pile of drivel was actually supposed to entertain adults. The entire plot is utterly shallow cheese but might have been at least bearable as mindless viewing were it not for the music. Was the composer trying to break the world record for number of "uplifting" crescendoes in a film? They are relentless - if someone makes a cup of tea, there's a massively overblown moving "Saving Private Ryan"-type epic musical motif to accompany it. The composer is either having fun at the plot-writer's expense, or is the worst composer ever to score a film.
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1/10
Not just bad but criminally inaccurate
5 November 2014
This is a terrible film for many reasons and I could go on at length about the over-simplified characterisation, the "tell-us-something-we-don't-know" of the story, and the dismal Terance Mallick-style "extremely lengthy lingering shots must equal something profound" but none of those things would really matter (it's only a film, right?) except that this nonsense will be viewed by some people as a true reflection of US society. For god'sake, this ridiculous depiction of how the northern states of the US was an idyllic utopia for black people (and only the nasty evil south was racist) is not even true NOW in 2014! Never mind how much this distorts the reality of the early 19th century. You can go to Phildelphia, get on a bus, see the black homeless lying in the street, see how STILL America has not made amends for the abomination that was slavery. Race riots and the fight for equality and end to racism were late 20th century events - and yet this disgraceful garbage sets out to rewrite history and paint the northen states of the USA in an absurdly egalitarian light.
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A Good Year (2006)
4/10
Hard to laugh at unsympathetic characters
23 January 2012
A brash, bullying investment banker played by Russell Crow? Not what I would choose as a central character for a "comedy". This dreadfully unwitty film seems a very odd choice for director Scott and falls as dreadfully flat on it's face as Crow in the film's numerous "hilarious" prat-falls. Is there still a place for slapstick in the 21st Century? Discuss - an interesting title for some dreadfully pointless Film Studies course but if you ARE going to try slapstick then it really doesn't work when your protagonist is a nauseating....(insert obscenity here). When Crow falls from a diving board to land face first in an empty swimming pool, you find yourself very far from laughter but rather hoping that that might be shock end to the film. Broken neck. The End.

But sadly it isn't and we must soldier on with one of the least entertaining/funny films I can recall.
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1/10
The Worst Waste of Talent Ever?
22 January 2012
One would have thought that it would be impossible to produce a poor film with such a star-studded cast, yet inexperienced Irish director Mary McGuckian manages to pull it off. And "poor" does not quite hit th mark, this film is almost criminal in the way these (brilliant) actors are squandered on a dull script with turgid pacing. I watched for the first half an hour trying to work out if it was a "Spinal Tap" type joke which I wasn't getting. There is beautiful scenery, there are beautiful costumes, there is some of the finest talent ever assembled on screen and yet...if you aren't weeping with boredom within twenty minutes you must have zen-like stamina. Avoid like a medieval plague.
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