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The Martian (2015)
Some reviewer on this site said don't trust any reviews that give this film more than 2 stars because they aren't genuine. Well let me say having just watched it that I wouldn't trust any review that give it less than 7 stars. If this was La La Land I would have agreed as that was overrated rubbish but this was superbly crafted wonderfully acted and a joy to behold. Not at any time during its 141 mins was I not totally engrossed and exhilarated by this total cinematic experience. I'll even go as far as to say this maybe the best film that Ridley Scott has directed.
What A Shocker!
Reading all these shameful one star reviews I was expecting a truly terrible film with bad acting and dialogue and a confusing ridiculous story line. Well I was shocked at how it wasn't bad in any area. This was a very enjoyable lighthearted film trying to catpture a little of the style and spirit of the original 60's series. Maybe people were expecting a Christopher Nolan type film that takes itself overly serious but I'm very glad that wasn't this film. This film was fun and entertaining and the IMDb rating is a disgrace. Watch some other films with that kind of low rating and you'll soon see the difference between a bad film and this. 8/10
The Happening (2008)
Another Great M. Night Out
Wow is M. Night Shyamalan the most misunderstood director in history. His critics seem to want him to make a certain kind of film and are really not happy when he doesn't. This is the seventh film I've seen of his and although I'll admit it's probably not up there with his best ones I still found it very enjoyable. All his films have a different quality that make them stand out and are not as predictable as most of the films that get made in that genre. I'm pretty sure this was meant as a black comedy but it was also quite disturbing and creepy. I liked Wahlberg's wide eyed performance and the way he played it for laughs a lot of the time. I hope Shyamalan is strong enough to ignore the haters and continues to make interesting and entertaining films.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009)
I'll take one with cheese please.
All these people giving the film 1 or 2 stars should be ignored (and sent to bed without any supper) as it's quite obviously not anywhere near that bad a film. I enjoyed the first film much more than I expected to possibly because of the stupidly low rating and I enjoyed this one almost as much. The dialogue that everyone says is cheesy is no more cheesy than most of the films in this genre. The performances were all fine believe me I've seen some truly bad films with terrible acting and dialogue and this is a masterpiece compared to them. I'm starting to really mistrust the ratings as I'm just a likely to enjoy a film rated really low as not enjoy one that's rated high.
The Stinkiest Piece Of Cheese
If this was a childhood favourite then so be it you can't be helped. But coming to this as an adult with a fondness for Disney I have to say the usual Disney magic is completely missing here. I knew we were in trouble straight away when Michael Crawford's Hello Dolly American accent reared it's ugly head again. The first mission was quite amusing and cleverly choreographed and instantly falling in love was ridiculous but forgivable and there's one or two other passable mildly funny bits but it was very hard going sloppily written and directed. I admit I did drop off at one point. Maybe with a better actor it might have worked. It's a shame as it looked like they spent a lot of money on the special effects and locations. A low point for Disney (3/10)
Heading for Glory (1974)
Watch it in deep freeze!
The BBC are currently showing all of these official FIFA documentaries of the World Cup from the 60's onwards. I missed the first one they showed of the 1962 World Cup but I've watched the 1966 and 1970 ones. They were both quite good with lots of football action. Unfortunately I'm not sure what happened with this one but it's pretty terrible. To start with it opens with a spoiler immediately telling you who won and the result of the final which makes you think why should I bother watching anymore then. After that there's a dreary depressing inquest of the losing team and then some filler of fans drinking and dancing before we finally get to some footie action of the early stages but then that's over before you know it and we're almost at the final and there's still over an hour to go! So then we get too much of the final lots of bits where the referee has a go at the players. The music chosen is also very odd especially during the final and on top of all that the narration is laughably bad and at times so pretentious that I don't know what they were thinking. It's a shame that this 'official' documented film of a great World cup is so poorly done. (3/10)
An Intriguing Story.
After reading the one poor review and seeing the very low score this had I nearly didn't bother watching it but I decided to give it a go anyway. I really wish I hadn't checked up on it beforehand though as it did prejudice my feelings about it certainly to begin with. The story was an intriguing one and was told in a low key but atmospheric way which kept you interested to it's conclusion. I agree Andrew Scott and his strangulated accent wasn't quite as good as you would expect him to be but I thought Simon Russell Beale was particularly good playing a more forceful and less charming Smiley like character. After recently seeing the two excellent home grown TV movie's of The Great Train Robbery and Lucan this falls short of their quality but I would still say it was worth watching.
Bonnie Prince Charlie (1948)
Not That Bonnie But Not That Bad
When I saw this had a rating of 4.9 and a running time of 130 mins I was expecting a disappointing long slog of a movie and I admit it's no great film by any means but it's also no way as bad as the 4.9 rating suggests. The DVD that I watched which was from The David Niven Screen Icons collection was only 112 minutes and had a good for its age unremastered colour picture that made the most of the rich colours of the costumes and landscape. Expecting it to be a longer film I saw it in two sittings and it was hard to get into at first but by about halfway I was quite engrossed by the story and thought it was well told. No doubt its failure at the box office along with its high cost has dented its reputation but that doesn't mean it's a terrible film. I would give it a 6/10.
The Wednesday Play: In Two Minds (1967)
One of his best
I'm currently working my way through the 'Ken Loach At The BBC' box set and have been fairly impressed so far though 'Up The Junction' I found almost unwatchable the others have all been very interesting and in the case of 'Cathy Come Home' very powerful and moving but none of them are as devastating and spot on as 'In Two Minds' the story of a woman with possible mental problems and how she and her family deals with it. Shot like a fly on the wall documentary which makes it seem more contemporary the acting from everybody in the cast is so natural and believable and the editing and direction are far better executed than any of his previous films I was surprised and blown away with how good this was.(9/10)
Ice Cream Girls (2013)
Cold To Touch
I thought I would give an alternative review as the only other one seems very harsh indeed. Maybe if I read the book I would have been just as disappointed with it but as I haven't I cannot comment about comparisons with the book. But what I can say is that I found the story absorbing and compelling, well acted by all the cast and never less than interesting right up to its unpredictable conclusion. If you like a good mystery thriller then I would recommend seeing this and if you enjoy it enough maybe then read the book afterwards. That's all I really wanted to say but I don't seem to have reached the required ten line rule that is currently being enforced!
Doctor Who: Cold War (2013)
After last weeks appalling episode we have another very dull and insipid story that goes nowhere very fast. Great actors like David Warner are completely wasted. Like last week the story is very weak. I'm not in the least bit surprised that Matt Smith has decided to call it a day and leave this sinking ship. I really don't see much of a future if they can't improve things greatly. We just want a bit more thought to be put into it with a decent (or even half-decent) story like there has been in previous series. I've only seen the first three maybe it improves but I'm starting to think I'm never going to see a good episode again.
Doctor Who: The Rings of Akhaten (2013)
A Complete Waste of Space
As somebody else has already stated this is a horrible horrible episode where as usual your expected to feel unearned connections and emotions. Last week's episode had a great build up but a too quick unsatisfying ending this week there was no great build up just a long drawn out ending filled with terrible po faced blustering dialogue.
If you can't give us a satisfying adventure over 45 minutes which is what seems to be happening recently then please go back to well thought out original stories that last at least two episodes so that the story and the emotional depth can be built more organically and honestly. If that can't be done then I really don't see the point of doing them anymore,not if we get episodes as empty as this one.
Curiouser and Curiouser...
Sometime you sit down and watch something and the whole time your watching it your mouth's open in constant bewilderment and bemusement. This is one of those programmes. I suspect it could only have been made when it was made in the free thinking psychedelic let's try anything mid sixties. It starts as a seemingly fairly ordinary kitchen sink drama and then suddenly there's singing in the background oh it's a musical how quaint! Then there's other voices real people's voices describing an old gas works oh it's a documentary how interesting! and that's basically how it continues mixing the three. The songs are sometimes of a Broadway musical type describing the characters and what they're doing and sometimes they're straight pop songs as you would hear at that time. Most of them aren't bad and some are quite catchy. It is strange and bizarre it is funny it is political it is very watchable and there is an elephant.
The Pajama Game (1957)
This one's not for me.
I'm currently working my way through a Doris Day box set and having now watched 10 of them this is by far the least entertaining one I've seen.
I agree with those that think there are too many songs for the amount of time the films lasts but that wouldn't really matter if the songs were more memorable than they are.
The biggest problem though for me is the lack of a decent story and the very unappealing leading man. It also manages to be bland and at the same time rather sinister which makes you feel a bit unsettled. The whole knife throwing at the picnic scene being the main example of that. It's possible that the songs might grow on me if I heard them a few times but I don't think I would want to watch the film again. 3/10
Enough with the showboating.
I so hoped after Steven Moffat took over we would return to clever well thought out scary stories of the like that he had written in previous series and come away from the overblown bombastic and relentless showboating that the series had become. His first series in charge was mostly a success with some fairly good episodes, but the first half of this season has been a huge disappointment with the quality deteriorating dramatically from the first fairly good episodes to the disastrous mess of this one. It was just like one long trailer for the first 30 minutes and then it just got plain daft. It was more bombastic and overblown than it's ever been and that's unforgivable. I really hope the socks are pulled up in the next half and we get some decent (or even half-decent) stories to help us through the cold winter nights because I really miss those.
The Saint: The Pearls of Peace (1962)
I thought I'd write a review of this episode as there is only one and I totally disagree with it. I thought this was one of the best episodes so far though I also disagree with saying that the early episodes are patchy. There are one or two that were not as good as the others but I've found most of them to be much better than I ever thought they would be especially the very first episode which I thought was genius and really well executed. This episode was quite different to all the others being more thoughtful and grown up which was a pleasant surprise. It was written by Richard Harris who went on to write the successful comedy 'Outside Edge' and episodes of 'A Touch Of Frost'. I just hope future episodes are as good as this one.
King Kong (1976)
Not a min-ging kong !
This is not nearly as bad as you expect from it's reputation. I kept waiting for it to turn bad and it does slightly in the last 15 minutes but up to then it had been a highly entertaining engrossing action movie. Jessica Lange in her debut performance was pretty good only faltering a little at the end. I thought the monkey effects were a lot more impressive (and expressive) than I was expecting and totally acceptable for a 1976 made film. Maybe we've been a little spoilt seeing so many computer generated effects films in the last 20 years. Having John Barry compose the score is always a good way to make a film seem special and here he delivers another memorable score that certainly adds to the pleasure of watching the film. (7/10)
I thought I'd give this series a go and the first few episodes did enough to keep me interested so I kept watching but having reached episode 6 I have now given up, even though the story is a good one and I really want to know what happens, the acting and dialogue has got worse and worse and it's now so bad it's become completely unwatchable. It's made me realise just how good 'Lost' really is. Getting it right is obviously not easy and we've been so spoilt in recent years with such wonderfully made innovative shows that when a stinker comes along it's a bit of a shock. I am very surprised that a lot of reviews for this have been so positive. (4/10).
Around the Bend (2004)
I'll never get those 83 minutes back!!
I found this to be one of the most tedious and pointless films I've ever seen. According to the DVD cover it was suppose to be funny and a masterpiece. It was neither what it was was slow and depressing. It tried to be profound, nearly every line spoken was spoken like it was the most profound thing ever said. None of the characters were either likable or even that believable. At the start gathering from the music it was trying to be whimsical but it was as flat as a pancake. Despite having two great actors in Michael Caine and Christopher Walken not even they could save this from being a stone cold turkey. The only good thing about this film was the soundtrack and the cinematography (New Mexico always looks amazing). 2/10
Fanny and Elvis (1999)
This is a feel good movie or at least that's what I think it's trying to be, unfortunately it has a few things that keeps getting in the way. Firstly Kerry Fox gives one of the most uneven performances I've seen in a long time and the script also plays it's part in not always finding the right tone. I hate to say it being a huge fan of Kay Mellor's previous work but maybe another director with more experience in making films would have known how to pull it altogether to make it a smoother ride. There is still many things to enjoy not least the always reliable Ray Winstone and Ben Daniels is also more good than bad. At least it does look great especially in those country scenes and the soundtrack with Catatonia's Cerys Matthews contributing some songs is pretty good. It's just a shame that there were very few genuine laughs and the characters weren't believable enough to ever move you. (5/10)
10 YEARS ON.... and actually it's quite good!
First time I saw this when it originally came out I along with most people it seems didn't think it was very good and found it hard to understand what was going on. I assumed the fault was with the film now I'm not so sure the fault wasn't with me. I was never the biggest Star Wars fan anyway, I'd seen the original two or three times over the years and never been that impressed but since acquiring all six films on DVD I thought I'd give it a real go again and for the the first time I really enjoyed the original film and started to see what all the fuss was about. So in a short space of time I've watched all three of the original films and then I saw this and it did make a huge difference I could follow the story much better and know who the characters were and more importantly who they would become. Now I think 'The Phantom Menace is a much better film then I had thought, maybe not comparable with the first Star Wars but I found it was much much better than 'Return Of The Jedi' which I thought quite poor in many areas. There is perhaps a little too much emphasis on humour which I agree doesn't always work but on the whole the balance between action, talking and humour is pretty balanced. I think when it first came out the expectation was so high that there was no way it could live up to it, in fact I think the film is very comparable and consistent to the others in the series and in my opinion a big improvement on the last film. (7/10)
Starter for 10 (2006)
I had high hopes for this but although it started promisingly enough it just got more and more predictable and bland until I couldn't wait for it to end. The acting wasn't the problem James Mcavoy was excellent as he usually is but some of the other talented actors James Corden, John Henshaw and Charles Dance in particular were given almost nothing to do. I had thought that being on University Challenge was the main point of the story but that seemed to get lost until near the end. I kept thinking if Richard Curtis had written this at least it would have been funny. I think in trying to appeal to the widest possible audience they compromised far too much and took out all the rough edges which spoilt any chances of this being a good or even half good film. I'll try and not be completely negative and say the first hour was fairly watchable. (5/10)
I know this ship like the back of my hand
Having bought the box set of all the star trek movies I am working my way through all the films in order. I've just seen 'The Final Frontier' for the first time not realizing it has such a bad reputation and was quite surprised reading it now having thoroughly enjoyed the film and thinking it was at least as good as all the previous ones if not slightly better than some. I also didn't realise William Shatner directed it until after I saw it so that was another surprise as I thought it was directed very well. The main problem seems to be the humour in this film. The first few films were quite serious and I don't think they could have continued in the same way so with The Voyage Home they lightened up a bit and added more humour, with this film they wanted to balance it a bit more making it a bit more serious but still having moments of humour. I think it worked pretty well, also I found the sense of comradeship between Kirk, Spock and Bones genuinely moving. I wouldn't say I was ever a huge Star Trek fan but now having watched half the films so far I think I may be becoming one. (8/10)
Raise the Titanic (1980)
Reappraise The Titanic!
I saw this again after 28 years and, not really remembering much about it only that it was a commercial disaster and torn apart by the critics was expecting something rotten, but I was very pleasantly surprised. The story though obviously far fetched was very intriguing, the acting was OK, the script seemed fine for its age, the effects were pretty impressive given when it was made so I really don't know what's supposed to be so bad about it. Maybe at the time of it's release people had too high expectations knowing the budget and I agree it's certainly no classic but there's no way on earth you can say it's a bad film. Indeed some aspects of it are actually very good. The scenes involving the raising of the ship and it's journey into New York are very moving, Alec Guiness is excellent, and of course John Barry's sublime score makes watching this film more than worthwhile. 7/10
The Prestige (2006)
Far from prestigious
I'm afraid this film is by someone who made one great film and now everything he does is regarded as a masterpiece. At some point people are going to realize that everything he touches is not gold and I'm surprised it didn't start with this film, as it's really quite bad. The story just does not flow well, it is told in a very serious dark tone which just makes it seem too ridiculous and not at all believable. A lot of the dialogue is quite bad and clichéd especially involving Chistian Bale who just isn't up to the part. The story is an interesting one but the way it's told is not. Only in the last half an hour does it really get going but in the end it leaves you unsatisfied and irritated at the liberties it's taken with you. It says something when the best thing about the film is David Bowie's performance, yes he's actually very good. (4/10)