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Final Girl (2015)
Under developed characters - leads to no buy in
Strange start to the film - intriguing. But no substance, no reason why you train a girl to be an assasin. Also lack of development of most of the main characters meant I did not care what happened to any of them. Also how did the Gang of Four get away with murdering 20plus girls without being caught in such a small town. Shame because the acting was decent and the storyline could have been expanded.
Programmer about The Knights Templar but is anything but.
A great premise let's do a show on the final years of the Knights Templar. Not been done in mainstream tv yet. Good true story with plenty intrigue, plotting and murders.
But wait why research an interesting historical story., when we can do drama by numbers. Let's even make it politically relevant for today, and forget the characters live with very different morals than today. Grand Master sworn to chastiy does not work as we need a love interest. French married Queen would be great. Also let's do a murder mystery in medieval times.
Why, why , why? Go with the original idea and take a risk. Do not bother with this rubbish and read a book about it.
In fondo al bosco (2015)
This thriller may not be completely original, long lost and thought dead young son returns is he the same child, but kept me guessing. The added back stories of the other characters is a good secondary storyline which helps build the suspense. Add in the thoughts of local mythology and a small part of the supernatural and it is hard to predict how the film was going to play out.
Perhaps in the world of US dominated films where everything is accompanied with over the top explosions, plots and unrealistic endings this film is like a breath of fresh air. Do not be put off by he subtitles and the unknown cast are excellent.
The Right Person (1955)
Suspenseful Short Drama
This short drama by the Hammer Studios was very entertaining and well made. Mainly filmed around two of the three actors the story is well constructed and a slow burner.
It revolves around a chance encounter of two former resistance fighters in Denmark. The wife of one encounters the other in her hotel room. The story is very well acted and the fact it centres around the fifties is easily forgotten. As is the fact that it is filmed in the confines of one hotel room. This is low budget however the actors deliver the lines well and the uncomplicated plot requires no elaborate settings.
it is a pity there are no longer studios taking short stories and turning into films like this. This will make me look out more titles like this one. Please check out The Four Sided Triangle for an equally well produced drama.
Four Sided Triangle (1953)
Great Premise and Well Acted
I viewed this as I was looking at titles with James Payton in them.
This is a little gem that has a good story-line which leaves you wanting more. The basic premise is good and not too complicated. The main actors are strong and likable. You feel for the scientist as he tries to replicate the woman of his dreams.
Do not expect scares more a complex situation. There are no great special effects it is more the dialogue than the actions which make this a great film.
This is one of Hammer's better films.
Barbara Payton is great in one of her final roles. There does seem to be chemistry between the actors and they grab your sympathy.
Bit contrived with nothing really happening
I like Leah however this show is totally contrived. Situations are created for the camera and blown out if all portion.
I watch as characters act up to the camera and try to be unique if not eccentric. However a lot of it falls flat as they have nothing to add to the subject. For example the step father is a conspiracy theorist however he makes one comment on the golf course about an overhead commercial liner and it is left at that. No explanation of why he said it and if he did believe himself he would not just continue playing golf but do something like run to a bunker.
The breast surgery for Leah sister's thirtieth was also a story that went nowhere - she never got the surgery and it looked as though it was never a serious gift in the first place.
As for the mother -again all contrived for the camera. Pretty poor.
Remember Me (2014)
Slow and not that scary
Feeling disappointed with this British horror. It started slow and I was hopeful that the second part may pick up. However this was not the case and if anything it got slower with more questions than answers.
It did build up the atmosphere but did little or nothing with it. I felt the characters were not developed enough for me to care about them. The 'victims' were minor players in the first two episodes. Michael Palin is a good actor but he has little to work with. The other actors have even less to work with. The detective does not really do much until the final episode and by then I was past caring. He seemed incompetent and disinterested.
The ending was very poor and did not justify three hours of slow drama to get there.
Loyal Opposition (1998)
I thought it would get better
I started to watch this when getting in late from work. I thought the story had merit and hoped it would develop better, however the alarm bells started ringing immediately. The Vice President who talked to herself whilst writing an important speech for the president. The rogue solders who could not shoot the unarmed Vice President at near point blank range. The lead lady showed no emotion even though her son's, who is bonding on a plane with her estranged husband, life is in danger. Then everything she picked up was analysed for some sort of use against the enemy soldiers, she stopped for a few seconds so you, the viewer, could see her thought process as though we were watching Playschool. How could she climb down an elevator shaft with her dress shoes, but wait these shoes are actually very sensible brogues. Also she stormed the most secure bunker in the White House with only a smoke grenade. Really?
Great little story
This was a little gem which I found late at night. The story centres around a middle age wife and mother of two having an affair with a young college man. The acting was high class apart from the spurned husband, who I thought did not really get decent time to develop his back story. I thought there was a missed opportunity to go deeper into why the marriage was failing. The time was spent on the relationship between the woman and young man. His parents had issues which were not fully developed and would have made a good secondary story. So it could have been better but the main actors were first class and portrayed their roles very well. It moved quite quickly after the initial affair has started, it did start slow.
The 100 (2014)
NO common Sense
I thought this had promise but half an hour in I started to realise my error.
Without listing all that is wrong with this here are a few of my gripes re common sense that none of the characters seem to have and 'strong' characters that would never exist:
1) Lets send 100 youngsters on a risky mission without any adult/mature guidance - have the adults in this advanced world not read Lord of the Flies etc, 2) Both of the leaders on the Ark allow their only children to go on this suicide mission - really, 3) The Dr, whose daughter has gone, also lost her engineer husband through internal politics yet still works with the people who executed him and imprisoned her daughter, 4) The Dr is in the leadership committee but can drop everything to perform surgery on the main man at the drop of a hat, 5) Dr is then about to by executed herself but has the forethought to issue orders seconds before she is about to die, 6) Dr is rescued by leader, walking into room to save her, who she operated on - even though he would be incapacitated, then she does not thank him tells him off for getting out of bed and then goes back to work - What??????- is she a robot?, 7) 'Children' on earth have no experienced engineers (tend to get executed for the least thing, etc to help them), 8) They make as much noise as a bus load of children even though they are in an unknown, to them at least, world, 9) The world is radioactive so if we believe they survive as there is no gamma and beta radiation then there must be some residual alpha which will be on the ground and in the water - so why when they see a river do they take off the clothes and go for a swim - digesting radiation through water is a risk worth taking for a swim? 10) No common sense to check there is anything nasty I the water (they have just seem a two headed deer on a planet they thought was absent of all wildlife), surprise there is something in the water and it is not the shark they have jumped several plot lines ago , 11) The snake/worm like thing in the water grabs a main character and I thought maybe this how will break the mould and kill off the 'pretty'/'strong' characters as well as the peripheral ones (see above re Dr) - but not the snake lets her go inflicting such a small graze that a garden worm would be embarrassed about, so all the main characters are guaranteed to live -what a surprise, 12) Why is every strong character related to members of the leadership team - who were only too happy to let them go on this suicide mission? 13) Then to cap it all we are expected to believe they have no weapons, water, food, backpacks and only one map and no compass (my scout pack had more than they did and we only went two mile down the road),
This show has not only jumped the shark it drowned it, stuffed it and hung it in the space ship's control room and each etched facial expression is an attempt by all the actors trying to gloss over what they have done. This show could have been be different but is not.
Little gem of a find
I picked this up for a fiver in HMV after browsing the DVD section. I was drawn by the box and thought it was a horror. I did not read all about its's awards etc and thought it was an out and out horror.
It is not - it is a slow burning thriller.
As the film went on I started to emphasise with the main character. What would I do in his shoes - was it right to keep your head down and say and do nothing.
I thought all the characters were played well although I thought the captain played by Peter Millen, from my neighbouring town Peterhead, could have been a little more menacing and not so much brooding - it looked though he was in physical pain rather than emotional. Special mention to Gary Lewis and Samuli Edelmann. Good character actors with something simmering below the surface.
Well worth a look.
8 Minutes Idle (2012)
No surprises run of mill romance
I had high expectations of this film with a off the wall storyline. However thought the characters did not endear themselves to the viewer. So I did not really care what was happening to them.
The comedy was there somewhere but undemanding - typical British awkward silences work for older protagonists but for the younger in-crowd it felt forced and artificial. As they are call centre workers it is hard to expect these characters would have such a hard time communicating with each other.
Disappointed that it was not better especially with some of the more experienced actors involved.
Sunshine on Leith (2013)
Great Film - Great Songs
I was hoping to watch this at the cinema as I am a big Proclaimers fan but had to opt for the DVD instead. On a big screen you would benefit greatly from the set pieces and panoramic views of Scotland's capital.
The storyline is engaging if not complex, and actors are all very competent. I especially liked Jane Horrlocks as one of the main female leads. The snap shots of Edinburgh were great - however being a Hearts fan I don't venture into to Leith much.
I recognised most of the songs and was kept amused trying to guess which ones would come up next. I thought the Proclaimers' cameo at the start and the main characters doing a double take this was a nice touch.
My only gripe was that the songs were a little watered down - suppose it is difficult to compare because Craig and Charlie sing with such raw and rousing passion and the characters here have to do duets with male and female leads. Unfortunately some of the songs then sound a little like what you would hear in a supermarket.
Overall great film did not stretch the mind however the actors and songs kept my interest.
I Spit on Your Grave 2 (2013)
Strong Cast but Ultra Violent
The story was pretty unbelievable, however I did not watch to be mentally challenged. I did watch this expecting some violence and the rote revenge part- but was surprised at the amount. The screaming scenes never seemed to stop and the weak storyline could have been developed slightly to make a passable revenge thriller. But the director chose to concentrate on the torture scenes. What if at the end the heroine connected to the mother - some sort of sympathy/horror relationship.
I was really impressed by the strong acting of the main protagonists and you did root for the heroine. However there were a lot of plot holes. For example how did a slim female manage to drag pretty heavy men to an underground torture chamber? Did we need as much graphic violence and did we really need so much screaming? Expect a headache by the end of the movie.
The Conjuring (2013)
Good But Again Final Act Over The Top
This was a good very suspenseful final which built up the scares by not showing the demon/ghosts upfront. A lot was left to the imagination - the best type of horror in my eyes.
However this was undone by the final act - it was way over the top and turned into another, indistinct, American horror movie. If you go down one route and type of horror why then change it at the end to an unbelievable stand off and fight between the protagonists.
America would be best to look East especially at the Tartan Film collections that have many Asian horrors- which have since been remade in the USA. In these films - sometimes frustrating, there are lose ends or where there is no final solution some lingering doubts as to the final act.
We're the Millers (2013)
Good Fun - First Laugh Out Loud Movie For a Long Long Time
I watched this film with little expectations - based on Jennifer's poor track record after Friends. However although she was one of the main characters she was ably supported by an excellent cast.
It was not pretentious - this was not a comedy with a hidden moral message - they were first time drug smugglers- whose only redeeming qualities were they were hopeless cases in their normal lives. You knew that they were good inside and that they would bond.
However the comedy - some adult- was laugh out loud - with the normal misunderstandings that create a comic situation - but unlike other movies the situations were not overly extended beyond the initial surprise factor - i.e. the tent scheme - this was funny but was kept short. Other films would try and make more out of this type of situation joke and in doing so ruin it and make it totally unbelievable. Yes the premise for the film was unlikely but once you get over that everything else was not such a big jump.
I would recommend highly - but I suppose I approached this film without hearing the hype so had low expectations - which I have now ruined for you as you will now - if you listen to me - have high expectations. Oh dear is this what they call a paradox? Have a beer, cuddle on the couch and enjoy without the kids.
The Last Days on Mars (2013)
Hard to Hear the Actors
it started well - although a bit slow - but the characters were strong. However none of them, in my mind, were particularly likable - which is a problem when you are supposed to root for them to survive. I lost interest when the first and only likable character was wounded and 'killed'. From that point of the first attack I found it very, very frustrating to hear the dialogue above the background noise and music. I can live with dim lighting - cheap way to store up the threats and make us vulnerable to surprises we and the crew would see coming miles away if we had better lights, back up lights, torches or even a single lit match. However even in several decades we have the technology to put people, equipment on Mars we have not found out how to equipment all the suits with decent lights/night vision and more advance survival properties from the time of the moon landings.
The Purge (2013)
Good Premise bu Execution Frustrating
I marked this at 7 before reading other reviews but feel that it does have it's positives.
I do agree that the execution was frustrating and there were many plot holes. In addition most of the characters are quite shallow and do stupid things.
However the actual idea is original and does allow the viewer time, as some of the action is signposted miles ahead, to think about the social implications of a twelve hour period where you can do anything without reproach. Would it cut crime and lets face it the film looks at the violent side of the purge idea. But imagine if you had a window to sort out differences - hopefully in a no-violent way. It may lead to revenge attacks and two wrongs never make a right but think of the flip side. Traffic wardens/car salesmen and the tax officials would have a very uncomfortable night once a year.
Where the film falls down in my mind is not the stupid actions of the children and parents, as there would be a substantial amount of panic in the house which may lead to the group breaking away from each other and/or doing irrational things, is that it had the opportunity to explore the premise more but copped out of it. On hindsight I think my rating of 7 is too high so will reduce to 5.
The Colony (2013)
Paint by Numbers Sci-fi Thriller
This movie did have potential but did not get seem to realise any of it. The characters were very shallow and I did not really care about them. The baddies were just cardboard cut outs so much so they did not have a line between the hordes of them - which is probably just as well as the lines the goodies were stuck with were as stilted and rigid as the ice they were running on. It was clear from the start who was going to live and die. Also very clear that the main baddie - and the only baddie with a line (like Darth Maul)all make up and no action - although only to growl - was only going to be killed by the main good guy.
I wasted time watching this - no originality or character development - very lazy film making and forgettable as soon as you saw it.
I have seen most of the episodes now and must admit I have found them pretty funny. The approach to treat the viewer as an adult and use language to suit, but not over the top, was refreshing. Some of the story lines were predictable I still enjoyed them.
The actors and actresses were all top notch and are well known. I especially liked the one with Greg McHugh - I never really got into Gary Tank Commander- but his alpha male portrayal was brill. Gemma Chan was the perfect foil. The ending was a bit weak but you still rooted for Greg even though he was way out his league and obnoxious.
Great series with great actors.
A Field in England (2013)
Late Night Film
I watched this after seeing a partial review of it on the BBC news channel.
I thought it was hard to comprehend the exact meaning of the film.
For what it is worth I thought the field represents some sort of parallel universe between the carnage of the battlefield and death. A transitional area where things are not what they seem. Men looking for treasure in the field but it did not mention what sort of treasure - gold or perhaps something more.
The acting was brilliant and you will be engrossed if you don't try to make too much sense of it. Good for late night but pretentious? Not sure I felt more frustrated with the Kill List than this one.
I started watching this with high expectations. However it became very clear that the lead character (Detective Hatcher)was pretty arrogant, unlikeable and was a law unto himself. I actually wanted to like the film as I had a cold and wanted to watch something good.
The premise was good - judges wife shooting an intruder - was it a simple burglary or something more sinister. But too much time was given to the lead characters, particularly Hatcher, and the judge's wife. Little time was used to develop the other characters especially the villains. So much so that I started to route for the bad guys.
When Hatcher started acting like the normal run of the mill rouge cop that always knows better, especially irritating because he was decorated which would suggest that he played by the rules. It then got pretty ridiculous with a phantom death and a sting that, you may not have seen coming, but knew it was heading in that direction. I especially thought the climax where Hatcher slept with the victim and then how he extracted confessions - by shooting at the ground around the villain and then holding a gun to his head saying he was going to kill him, was completely unbelievable and way over the top. Such confessions would be completely thrown out by any decent judge and sleeping with a victim/witness and conspiring with the victim to 'entrap' the villains would not be allowed. What I can't understand is that while Hatcher kept everything from his partner all the way through the movie, his partner followed his instructions without question at the end to entrap the villains.
I thought the two leads were miscast and Hatcher acted like an arrogant top dog rather than a detective sergeant whereas the lead lady was very wooden The judge and the main baddie were actually better actors. The judge actually showed come passion and I could believe a little more in that character. 3 out of 10 although I think that is high.
Smoke n Lightnin (1995)
Not challenging but fun
This was quite fun but not really that well thought out. There were some scenes that seemed to jump about with no explanation why a character would act that way. Leads were fun but not the greatest actors - however the roles were not that demanding and a lot of the action was behind the wheel. This lead to the characters not really filling out and the viewer finding them interesting or buying into the central concept. Worth watching if bored and it was funny at bits. However the story-line was not strong enough and quiet weak. The ending felt rushed and it did seem to leave things hanging as to who was really chasing them.
Wee Cracker - Don't take it too seriously
I watched this late as I could not sleep. Yes it did have a little Chuckle Brother humour - but it did lighten it up. I knew it was not going to be too serious the way Sean Pertwee was knocking the crap out of the kidnapped man and the man was able to respond in a tone which you would use to order a pizza - although he did get better. The premise was a good one but the film could have been different and a lot darker, but for light entertainment it was good.
Sean is always a pleasure to watch and the Welsh lead was a bit wishy washy however the female character was brilliant. She certainly took control of the situation - which the viewer could see from a distance.
Worth a watch but don't expect social or ethical undertones.
Take Shelter (2011)
A slow burner that doesn't deliver fully
I watched this last week and can't criticise the acting or premise. However it was a very slow build up and at times and I found I had to bear with the film.
The subject was delicately handled and you did sympathise with the protagonists. However I felt not enough time was invested in the peripheral characters which could have added much more. However I suppose the subject matter would not allow this as we see the action from the main characters point of view as he becomes more and more detached from those around him. Quiet desperation and a feeling of dread countered by economic realities of trying to hold it together and provide for his family at the same time.
You do leave thinking about the film over the next few days as it is quite open ended leaving you to make your own conclusions. Not one to watch if you don't want to be challenged and just want a fun movie.