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Atomic Blonde (2017)
Are you kidding?
2 December 2017
Yet another example of a stellar cast being wasted on a nonsense movie. It reminded me of Unlocked. Both 'spy' movies. Both highly unsatisfactory. What upset me about this movie was the lack of tension. It seemed that the movie was made to fit a soundtrack on the director's iPhone. Insanely unrealistic fight scenes. A few lesbian sex scenes to keep the lads happy and that was it. A total vacuum. Don't even bother to rent it.
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Little Men (2016)
Near perfect portrayal of adolescent friendship
10 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This film is a joy. I'm a long way from age 13, but this film reminded me of the ups and downs of teenage relationships. Two boys, one shy, one feisty thrown together by circumstance. They form a strong bond just as their respective parents grow apart. The boys don't have the emotional experience to understand the reasons why there is a rift between their respective parents. They resort to childish ploys to restore the status quo. Clearly this doesn't work. I won't give away the ending. But please go and see this film for the two outstanding performances from the two boys. Just breathtaking. And familiar. And a brilliant light touch from the director. I just want to see it again.
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Even the actors looked bored
18 May 2016
If you like to mindlessly waste an hour or two of your precious existence, then possibly this cinematic garbage might be for you. However, if you want your cinema to be entertaining, then stay well away. This movie could (and should) have had at least 30 minutes cut from the running time. The pacing is so slow and not helped by the overuse of set CGI pieces that somehow were not thrilling at all. There was better stuff in The Mummy.

This is lazy film making. And the response from the audience I was part of? A considerable amount of audible yawning.

One of the worst films I've seen this year. Let's hope the plug is pulled on this franchise. It's overstayed its welcome.
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Stupid Title. Brilliant film
12 February 2012
If you liked '4 Weddings and a Funeral' (and who didn't) then you will love this film. The premise is simple: a collection of Brits of a certain age decide to spend their early retirement at a dubious, run- down hotel in Jaipur, India. This decision obviously involves a physical journey but more importantly, an emotion journey too. Gradually we learn the back story of these characters, and these stories are very fascinating indeed.

An absolutely stellar cast are well served by an intelligent witty script with some killer one-liners which are guaranteed laugh out loud. Only occasionally does it get sentimental, but somehow this doesn't matter, because the seductive nature of India weaves its spell not just on the characters but also on us.

It's good to see a film that doesn't treat retirement aged people as idiots. These people are intelligent, funny, curious and I would willingly share a g&t with them. An absolute gem of a film.
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Kill List (2011)
Why do British films have to be this bad?
29 January 2012
It must be that logo for the National Lottery that rings the death knell for certain movies. Remember the so-called comedy 'Sex Lives of the Potato Men'? Well this is the so-called horror equivalent.

The films lasts around 94 minutes. It feels like days. There is no need for the first 30 minutes. No character development, no sharp dialogue, no style, no decent acting, no tension, no plot.

It makes me ashamed of the British film industry. If this is the best you can do, then clear off. Saying f*ck a lot and hitting someone with a hammer does not make a good film.

If you want to see 'violence' with style, you need to look to the Far East. 'I see the Devil' released last year was inventive, stylish and highly watchable. 'Revenge - A Love Story' from Hong Kong also pushed boundaries.

This was a low budget disgrace.
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Dull and tired
26 April 2011
So what was in the director's mind when he started this movie? Forget Guy Richie ...let's make yet another London gangster flick .... so lots of swearing c*nt and f*ck but that's alright because they're said by some good looking actors. Not much of a plot ... but a great soundtrack from the 60's that has nothing to do with the time line of the movie. So who could think of such a thing? Only the screenwriter from the wildly over-rated film The Departed. - Hollywood's shallow remake of Hong Kong's brilliant Infernal Affairs. Colin Farrell deserves better material than this. The charismatic and engaging gangster from In Bruges is here hijacked by a senseless and shallow screenplay. A waste of the actors' time ... and a waste of ours too.
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Just amazing
15 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I doubt very much whether this film will be released in the UK in the near future as we sadly have a very high profile child abduction case in the news at the moment. However, this film is extraordinary. Based on a true-life (unsolved)case from 1991, Han Kyung Bae (Sol Kyung Gu) plays a successful, yet ruthless news anchor with a beautiful wife (Kim Nam Joo) and a nine-year-old son. But suddenly his successful life comes crashing down when his son gets kidnapped. In the next 44 days, the parents continuously receive calls from the kidnapper with instructions and requests for ransom. The police are determined to find the kidnapper, but he effortlessly eludes capture; not only is he a step ahead at every turn, he seems to enjoy toying with the police in this cat-and-mouse chase. As the kidnapper keeps walking free, Kyung Bae becomes increasingly desperate and frustrated with the police, as he knows time is running out for his child. This is an uncomfortable subject but the acting from the two leads is quite astonishing. And given the title of the movie, we know the outcome of the case from the start. But that doesn't detract from the grip the film has on the viewer. Not surprisingly, this film has been the highest grossing Korean film of 2007 to date. And wait for the end credits to hear the actual voice of the murderer. That's really chilling.
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Without merit
4 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This was akin to looking at a very poor student film. A vacuous plot, terrible acting - no sorry - TERRIBLE acting and direction so loose and indulgent that you wonder why this director ever got funding in the first place.

How do British films like this ever get the big screen? There was nothing of merit here. Our director was just trying a cheap trick with a movie building to a supposedly 'shocking' extended final rape scene. But even this was badly done.

What was the point of this film? There was no character development; it had nothing profound to say about British youth. It was just a bad exploitative film where the excessive use of four letter words were used in place of well written dialogue.

Let's hope this is the last we hear of director Thomas Clay.
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Fu zi (2006)
A Huge Disappointment
3 June 2007
First things first. This is not so much a dramatic heart-wrenching film, more a self-indulgent melodrama. I have just had the misfortune to sit through the director's DVD cut of this movie. 159 minutes of self indulgent twaddle. One thing's for sure - the distributors sure got it right when they axed nearly 30 minutes from the running time for the cinema release.

Why is this so bad? 2 major factors - the writing and directing. Please put your hand up Patrick Tam. If you're going to make a film that centers on a father/son relationship, please make the father 3-dimentional and believable. Here we had a total loser from the first minute; one who railed at his own (self-inflicted) misfortune and had an on/off loving relationship with his 8 year old son.

Can I quickly say that this little boy was by far the best thing in the film and acted everyone else off the screen and is the ONLY reason to watch this film.

The great mystery is why this nonsense garnered so many awards? Somebody called Roger Garcia is quoted on the back of my DVD copy as saying that "After This Our Exile is the first masterpiece of Hong Kong cinema of the 21st century ..." I think he's wrong. And if he's right - then God help HK cinema.
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Ghosts (2006)
A worthy but ultimately tedious exercise
9 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This is not so much a film more a docudrama. Nick Broomfield chooses to tell the story through the experience of one girl. Whilst it is certainly shocking to see innocent people manipulated by heartless people-traffickers and exploited (in this case by British Chinese as well as British Caucasians), I couldn't help but feel that I was being 'hectored' by the director.

Strangely, in spite of the awful outcome of this sorry episode, I felt little compassion for the central character. This was in part due to the lack-lustre acting by the ensemble cast. Much of the film had the feel of improvisation about it. And there was so much repetition - endless shots of our illegals being driven in a mini van to yet another low-pay employment opportunity. The pace of this piece is funereal.

What really irked me though were the end captions. Nick Broomfield informs us that most illegal Chinese immigrants never make it back to their homeland. Fair comment. But then he declares that the British government have refused to pay off the debts of the Chinese cockle-pickers that survived this tragedy. Does he really expect the government (of whatever colour) to pick up the tab for debts incurred in other countries by people who are working here in the black economy? I think the story of the Chinese cockle-pickers is a story worth telling. It's a pity this film didn't do a better job of it.
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Hot Fuzz (2007)
Don't believe the hype
15 February 2007
To judge from the plethora of glowing reviews on this site, you might be lured into the idea that 'Hot Fuzz' is quite the funniest film made this decade.

It's not. It's quite appalling. And very very dull and predictable. I can only surmise that all those 5 star reviews were written by friends of the production. I have just come from my local cinema where the substantial audience grew more and more restless as this tedious film wore on.

The cast reads like a who's who of British acting talent. Sadly you see very little of most of them. Bill Nighy must have had no more than 6 lines to say and Martin Freeman and Steve Coogan even less.

A truly bad cinematic experience.
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5 September 2006
The English title of this movie is lament and I suspect that's what most of the cast do when this movie is brought up in conversation. The problem lies with the story. Kwang Su (Shin Hyun Jun) has struggled his whole life to shake off the stigma of a shameful family history. He lives in a state of perpetual despair. By contrast, Jong Man (Lee Byung Hun) works as a bartender and spends his days dreaming of becoming an international movie star and his nights filming himself and contacting top Hollywood production companies in the hope that one day he will get his lucky break. Then there is the shy girl Se Hee who works in a music store. When Kwang Su stumbles into the music store, blind drunk, but still able to bash out a tune on a piano, Se Hee falls instantly in love. When Kwang Su stumbles into the bar where Jong Man works, he finds himself arrested for his brother's murder. But fortunately he manages to escape from the police, bumps into Jong Man who instantly lets him stay in his apartment. Shall I go on? The director Kim Hee-Cheol allows the cast to overact to their hearts content and the result is an utter mess. Fans of Lee Byung Hun however will be pleased to learn that there are a couple of steamy love scenes and a moment when he flashes a very smooth bottom.
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Ya-soo (2006)
Disappointing Korean cop drama
6 May 2006
'Running Wild' stars Kwon Sang Woo (Love So Divine) as chain-smoking jaded homicide detective Jang, who has lost faith in the judicial system and now pursues a maverick line of police inquiry. He's after a cruel crime lord called Yu, but thus far he's been unable to pin the guy down. Also after Yu is an elite prosecutor, Oh, played by Yoo Ji Tae (Old Boy). In contrast to Jang, this character is obsessive that rules and procedures must be obeyed. I think you can guess the next bit! Jang and Oh's paths cross and this mismatched pair form an uneasy alliance to bring the bad guy down. But to do this, they have to fight fire with fire and break the rules.

This sounds quite good on paper but sadly it doesn't work on screen. Maybe it was too ambitious as a directorial debut from Kim Sung Soo and most certainly it was miscast. Kwon Sang Woo is best known for light romantic comedies and a host of tear-jerking TV dramas in which he excels. I can't blame the actor if he wants to break away from that mould, but somehow he's just too handsome. So having unkempt hair, sporting an incongruous moustache and shouting a lot doesn't convince me that he's been through hell and high water in a police department.

There are a lot of action scenes, most of which sadly fail to impress. Apparently, director Kim Sung Soo is a protégé of Park Chan Wook. He still has a lot to learn. If you want to see a great Korean film about a maverick cop, then check out 'Public Enemy'.
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Complete urdure (and that means sh*te)
6 January 2006
It's really sad that the gay community comes to the defense of such an appalling bad movie as Raspberry Reich. This film has no redeeming features. It does have non-event actors; a rubbish script and a truly irritating habit of superimposing quotes from George W and Blair over scenes of graphic intercourse. That doesn't make it a cutting-edge alternative movie. It's just facile and boring. It is quite the worst movie you will see this (and any ) year. Life is just too short and precious to give time to this unmitigated rubbish. And now IMDb want me to write 10 lines minimum about a film which deserves a two word summary. Hey ho.
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Massive disappointment
2 January 2006
If you're reading this, then you're probably a fan of Park's previous films and like me have seen the first two films in his revenge trilogy (Sympathy for Mr Vengeance & Old Boy). Mr Vengeance was good; Old Boy was just brilliant and so expectations for this final episode were sky high. Sadly this film misses the mark big time. The plot is confusing and lacklustre; the flashbacks are badly handled and when you get to the end of the movie you feel like saying 'so what?' It lacks any tension whatsoever. Maybe I was expecting too much. If you want to see a really stylish Korean film from 2005, check out 'A Bittersweet Life' instead.
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Tokyo Psycho (2004)
7 October 2005
I've just watched the DVD of this film. It ranks as one of the most awful films I've seen over recent years. The look of the film is dreadful - if you gave someone a cheap video camera and told them to film in a high-rise block of flats with a bunch of amateur actors, then you get some idea of what this film delivers. I don't think there was a sound man either - in an early office scene they were clearly using the mike on the camera - horrible echoes. But it's the pace of the film that really gets to you. It's so slow. No it's very slow. It's like a sloth on Valium. If you play the DVD at 16x then it becomes watchable. It's a remarkable thing that this film feels like its been going on for hours, when in fact the credits roll after only 75 minutes. Avoid at all costs. This film is complete pants.
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A complete mess
20 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
First of all, let's get one thing straight. This film is in no way a follow-up to the excellent 'Public Enemy' film of a few years back. This mess of a film has a couple of good (but not great) action scenes and a whole warehouse of padding in-between. This movie lasts an incredible 148 minutes. The story could have been told in half the time. Kyung-gu Sol plays a public prosecutor with such lack of expression, it was hard to believe that he was the riveting star of the original film. His adversary is an old school pal called Han, played by Jun-ho Jeong who obviously learned his craft at some Victorian school of melodrama; such was the the sneering and lip curling that made up the core of his performance. It was as if he had 'Baddy' etched into his forehead. I was only sorry that he didn't sport a large curly moustache because he could have twirled that between his fingers magnificently. As the minutes limped by, I waited for the big finale. And waited. And waited. When it eventually came, it was the 2 lead blokes having a fist fight in a garden water feature. Good guy wins, bad guy goes to prison. Good guy says to bad guy as he steps on the prison bus: 'I'll see you in 20 years'. Roll credits. Not one of Korea's finest movie moments!
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17 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I hate to be the dissenting voice amongst this sea of adulation, but I cannot understand what the other contributors see in this film. For the first 36 minutes in this wordless drama, we see mother and father collect water from the mainland and then row back to their island and totter up steep steps with the precious cargo in order to irrigate their crops. I know art films are often slow, but come on! 36 minutes of seeing the same thing? What else happens? Not a lot. We see the family eat, take a bath, catch a fish. Riveting stuff, eh? This is one film that I feel has not stood the test of time. On one aspect however I do concur with the other reviewers: the music is wonderful.
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4 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
The English title of this film is "Never Give Up". I very nearly did. A dull, plodding film starring the usually fabulous Ken Takakura, this woeful piece of film-making will stretch your willpower to the limit - the urge to reach for the stop button on your video player during its 148 minutes duration is almost irresistible. There were parts of this film that reminded me of Rambo - an ex super commando up against the rest of the world. But there's no heart to it. The characters are cold and so I didn't really care what happened to them. And the special effects are rubbish: for example, when the daughter gets shot near the end of the film, it looked like someone had fired a paint ball at her. Complete hogwash. Avoid.
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A complex and superbly funny film
8 June 2005
Cinema doesn't get much better than this. Adapted from the successful 1996 play by Koki Mitani, Warai no Daigaku (University of Laughs) directed by Mamoru Hoshi was an audience hit at its premiere at the Tokyo International Film Festival. It's not hard to see why.

Set in pre-WW2 Japan, the story focuses on a young playwright's attempt to get his comedy script approved by a deeply humourless government censor. As the two men work with and against each other, the script changes and evolves - with unexpected results.

The film is essentially a two-hander (the director has done little to disguise that this was initially a stage play) and the two leads are brilliantly played by Koji Yakusho (Shall We Dansu?) as the censor and Goro Inagaki as the jittery writer.

It is said that there is a fine line between comedy and tragedy. This film treads that line with a light step. The result is a near perfect film that is funny yet also poignant, touching and genuinely moving. Let's hope Hollywood doesn't decide to remake it.
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Cold Fish (2001)
A truly embarrassingly bad movie
21 May 2005
There are bad movies, then there are truly bad movies. Then there is a lower level of cinematic excrement to which Cold Fish belongs. This pitiful excuse of a film is primarily let down by the actors. The lead played by Jon-Paul Gates (no - I have never heard of him either!) has the charisma and screen presence of a house brick. His dismal wooden acting is not the only thing to make you squirm in this film - wait till you have to endure the 'baddies'! Two more names we've never heard of (I can't imagine why) Conrad Asquith and Nadia Straham play a couple of performance artists who like to shock their audience by showing footage of executions. This in turn gave the director of Cold Fish the excuse to show us the self-same footage. This was cheap and exploitative. I don't think it's the place of popular cinema to use real newsreel footage of executions to titillate the audience. But back to Nadia Straham, who obviously based her performance on the "Rocky Horror Show" as she clearly was from Transylvania, if her accent was anything to go by. This is for British audiences only - but if I tell you that this film also stars Christopher Biggins - and he gives an almost academy award winning performance compared to the leads in this film - then I think you will start to comprehend that this is a complete waste of 91 minutes of your life. There is a reviewer on this page who has given 3 glowing reviews of this film. I can only imagine that he has invested in the film or is related to one of the actors. British cinema is capable of outstanding work - sadly this sorry fare makes the UK a laughing stock.
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Average HK thriller
30 March 2005
This is very average fare, although it starts well with a good set piece at an airport and a subsequent rooftop chase. After that the pace of the film slows considerably and limps along until the final reel. Sadly, the two main leads are pretty leaden. I have always found Alex Fong a rather lacklustre leading man so his performance didn't come as much of a surprise, but Simon Yam is an actor who can turn in a very creditable show of talent but here he seems pretty pedestrian and disinterested.

The cast are not helped by a plot that demands that the audience has their tongue planted firmly in their cheek and has some glaringly bad plot holes near the end of the film. But if you can put up with all of that, then maybe you can survive the 90 odd minutes duration. Not one of HK's finest, I'm sad to say.
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Feeding Boys, Ayaya (2003 Video)
An exercise in utter boredom
16 February 2005
The cover notes on the HK DVD release describe the writer and director of this film, Cui Zi En, as probably China's most independent and daring filmmaker. On the evidence of this work, I have to disagree. You will have to go a long way to find another film that offers so little. An amateur cast delivering stilted dialog and filmed by a hand-held camera, made almost unwatchable by the lack of anything but ambient lighting, plus long, long scenes where nothing happens. In particular, it is this last aspect that highlights the fact that this filmmaker has little to say; there is no justification for having scenes where characters just wonder round a park for 2 or more minutes for no particular reason. This film has a running time of 80 minutes. Watch this and you'll swear that time has stood still. Avoid like the plague.
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The Village (2004)
A complete time waster
1 February 2005
It is a mystery to me how some people manage to fund and direct movies. There is no denying that "The Sixth Sense" is an intelligent and ingenious film. But then came "Signs" - one of the most over-rated movies of 2002 and now our once promising writer/director has come up with "The Village". On paper, this must have looked like complete hogwash, but somehow the studio thought that it had wings and would transcend the vapid scribblings that called itself a movie script. Sadly they were horribly wrong. In spite of some seriously talented actors, the writer/director managed to produce a profoundly empty and immensely boring movie where almost nothing happens. A movie where you cared little about any of the characters; a movie with about as much tension as grandmas old discarded knickers. I won't try and bore you with an outline of the plot, because it barely exists. You will come to the end of this movie, turn to your friend/partner/lover and say,"What was that all about?". If you feel a primeval need to watch this drivel, then see it on DVD. That way, after 10 minutes, when the urge to gnaw off your own limbs sets in, you can fast forward the film and get the turgid thing back to Blockbuster before they close at 10p.m.
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Tube (2003)
Bad day for Korean cinema
22 November 2004
Korean cinema of late has produced some highly entertaining and diverting pieces of work. Sadly this film is not amongst them. From the opening scene when about 4 bad guys manage to gun down about half the Korean police force but don't sustain any injuries themselves, you know that you should have your tongue firmly planted in your cheek. The problem with this film is that there is no character development and it relies on action set-pieces to carry the film along. Some of these are OK, but many are just not believable. In the Making Of documentary on the DVD release, it says that the film was 5 years in the making. It's a pity that over that length of time, no one realized that the script needed a complete rewrite.
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