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An absolute must-watch for fans of The Room
20 November 2017
So yeah, The Room is pretty well-known by now, becoming just about the most popular 'so bad it's good' film of all time over the last six or seven years, as has the story behind it- as detailed in Greg Sestero's book, The Disaster Artist.

So being a fan of both, I had a good idea of what I was in for, approaching the James Franco directed The Disaster Artist, but I'm pleased to say the film ended up meeting my expectations and then some.

First things first: James Franco's performance in this is incredible. His accent and mannerisms are a spot-on imitation of Wiseau's, and he manages to make you feel sympathy towards the character too. It's one thing to so directly portray such a unique individual and make doing so incredibly funny, but it's another thing entirely to make him feel (almost) like a real person, and to make you genuinely care for him. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I truly think this performance is worth an Academy Award nomination (fingers crossed).

Everyone else was good too. Dave Franco had a less flashy role than his brother's, sure, playing Greg Sestero, but he did a good job as the more grounded, 'straight man' type character. And some of the casting was genius too- I could list almost everybody, but special mention should go to Josh Hutcherson, Zac Efron, and Jacki Weaver.

Also worth mentioning is how well the cast and crew recreated the look of the original The Room- the mannerisms of the actors, the set design, the lighting, the camera-work- it's all perfect. It makes the film an impressive technical achievement in many regards; not simply a funny film with inspired casting and good performances.

As for downsides? There aren't a whole bunch. Perhaps the most significant is that this may not have a great deal of appeal beyond those who've watched and loved The Room already. I'm sure it would still function as a good film, but it might lack something for those who aren't already indoctrinated into the cult of The Room. Other nitpicks I could think of may be that the film is fairly conventional in terms of plot- not a ton of surprises here (other than maybe a few cameos throughout). And it feels a tiny bit longer than just over 100 minutes- but again, that's a nitpick. I am more or less struggling to think of too much that I personally didn't like with this film.

So as a long time fan of The Room, this is about as good as I hoped it could be. I hope I'm wrong in my views that the audience for this will be limited, and that it does have appeal beyond hardcore fans of The Room. And hey, if there's enough buzz behind it to allow for James Franco to earn an Oscar nomination, then that would be fantastic.

And deserved (in my opinion).

This is one of the most pleasant surprises of the film year so far, and second only to Tim Burton's Ed Wood in the (admittedly probably non-existent) sub-genre of films about making terrible movies.

If you've ever watched The Room, or even just watched some of its scenes on Youtube, make sure you don't miss this one.
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A very unconventional yet effective horror film; can easily recommend to fans of Jodorowsky and/or Lynch.
17 October 2017
This thing's a trip, in more ways than one. And yeah, when you see the warning at the start about fast-moving images and flashing lights, they're not kidding around.

The plot is simple, or at least I thought it was. I might be missing something. It was the kind of movie where I thought there was a decent amount under the surface, in terms of things like symbolism and themes hidden in subtext, but not being British, knowledgeable about the English Civil War, or maybe just being a little bit stupid in general meant that I'm pretty certain a good part of the film went over my head.

Thankfully, it had a ton of atmosphere, a good deal of suitably creepy moments, and some really impressive shots and sequences that I can see sticking with me. If I didn't know exactly what was going on, I didn't see it as a huge problem, as that might have been the director's intent. There's a whole lot of surreal imagery and strange, unexplained moments, so I believe it to be one of those movies that intentionally doesn't let you in on everything, because that adds to the mystery and general creepiness, in a way.

Even if I didn't completely 'get' the movie, I still don't regret watching it. There was enough here to satisfy me on a purely visual and emotional level, and the short running time certainly helped too. If it had been much longer, it may have run the risk of becoming too repetitive or drawn out for me.

It's not for everyone, and for segments of the film I even thought it might not be for me, but I think I liked this in the end. And of course, it's always nice to watch something different and unexpected every now and then.
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Chappie (2015)
Not bad, but...
7 October 2017
... also not fantastic.

I absolutely loved Neil Blomkamp's first film, District 9, enough to have at least some interest in whatever he ended up making next. Elysium I thought was good but also a step down from District 9 in terms of quality, and now Chappie, in my opinion, is probably another slight step down from that.

In fact, it was this movie's fairly poor critical response that put me off seeing it until now. Never caught it at the cinema, fearing it'd be a waste of time and an expensive movie ticket. However, I do feel somewhat stupid about this now that I've actually watched the movie, and found it largely enjoyable. Not a great film, mind you, as there are a few too many flaws here for it to reach the standards of a genuine sci-fi classic like District 9.

The writing was a little clunky at times, there were some strange plot conveniences here and there, the dialogue was a little hit and miss, and I wasn't really sure that the members of the rap group Die Antwoord were well suited to acting (never listened to their music, but I don't think acting's their strong suite). On the topic of acting, most of the rest of the cast were pretty decent. Hugh Jackman's definitely been better, but he did an okay job considering he was playing a relatively straightforward villainous role. Sigourney Weaver was kinda underused, but generally fine, while Dev Patel did a good job at playing the lead 'human' character. And Sharlto Copley was really good as the voice of Chappie- his delivery was all around pretty great, and really helped make the title character sympathetic, charismatic, and likable.

There's a few decent action scenes, some funny moments and lines here and there, and overall, the film moves at a good pace throughout, never feeling boring. But there's certainly less substance and food for thought here than I'm used to seeing in a Neil Blomkamp film, even if there's a good deal of style, with the film being generally well-shot and nice to look at. It's pretty good entertainment, and a nice way to kill a couple of hours, but there's a few too many problems scattered throughout to make it a great film, as well as being a little shallower than I was expecting. I doubt it'll stick with me, but I certainly don't regret watching it.
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Methodically paced and beautifully shot; will probably get even better with repeat viewings
6 October 2017
First off, the less said about the plot the better. I feel like I can say as much as I can about this movie without mentioning any plot details. And maybe that has something to do with the fact that I really can't say a whole lot about the movie just yet, not after a single viewing, at least.

Blade Runner 2049 was overwhelming, but in a good way. It's long, dense, and even close to exhausting. I was in a bit of a daze walking out, and it took me a few minutes to collect my thoughts and try to figure out how much I'd enjoyed the past (almost) three hours of movie. What I did know for sure though was that I liked it. It's hard not to get swept away by how gorgeous this movie looks, how interesting the score sounds, the strong performances all around, and all the really cool sci-fi stuff the film throws at you (which I also wouldn't dare to spoil).

However, I can't say I absolutely loved this movie, not yet anyway. Even if there's not really anything in particular that I find easy to criticize. I feel roughly the same way about the original, which I also might have to watch a couple more times to fully get my head around and process. I think ultimately that's a good thing. There's not many movies this long that I feel a desire to revisit almost immediately, and I could easily myself taking a second trip to the cinema to see it again (insane movie ticket prices be damned).

With Arrival and now this, Denis Villeneuve might well be the best sci-fi director we have at the moment. This is a seriously impressive film he's crafted, and far from the cheap cash-grab/ reboot I initially had some fears a sequel to the 35-year-old Blade Runner could be. There's not too many big budget American films that are paced this way, or so long or dense with ideas and things to look at and think about. Absolutely worth a watch, and don't be surprised if you end up feeling like going back. I know I almost certainly will, and won't be at all surprised if I come out of a second viewing even more enthusiastic about it.
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Inland Empire (2006)
2 October 2017
So Inland Empire was a movie.

If David Lynch's film career was a video game, then Inland Empire would be both the really difficult final level that goes on for much longer than most of the other levels, and the final, nearly impossible to beat boss battle.

It's his trickiest film. I don't even know how to begin to wrap my head around it.

Maybe I could watch it a dozen times and begin to understand it, but with each day that goes by, my life gets shorter, and time gets more precious, and I just don't know if future me will ever feel like devoting three hours to this again.

Still, as pointless as a numerical rating kind of is to a film like this, I guess I could almost settle on a 6? Maybe? There was more here that I liked or didn't dislike than stuff here that I didn't like, so... It still deserves a better than average score? I think?

It lacks the prettiness and visually appealing cinematography of many of Lynch's other films, thanks to it being shot on some really ugly digital format, but I guess that's the style it was going for. Intentional. Or something. Don't even know if I should complain about it.

Performances were good. I think. Sometimes I didn't know what the actors were trying to do or emote, so I can't always say for sure.

Freaked me out quite a bit. If you're often affected by surreal horror, then you'll probably find something within this film's three hour running time to give you nightmares.

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Without a doubt, one of the best Westerns of all time
30 September 2017
I won't claim to have the ability to say anything new about this movie. It's been around for nearly fifty years, and is widely regarded as not just one the best Spaghetti Westerns of all time, but one of the best Westerns full stop. And it's not hard to see why: an incredible soundtrack, strong performances from the entire main cast, some surprisingly good humour and funny one-liners, a few tense sequences, a well-told story that doesn't rely on excessive dialogue or exposition, and consistently amazing cinematography and direction throughout. At least half the frames in this movie would probably make good paintings- no exaggeration.

It's probably the marriage of the great visuals and soundtrack that make Once Upon a Time in the West work as well as it does. There's a good number of dramatic camera movements and interesting reveals that are tied up perfectly with the music- almost like some kind of singing-free musical at some points.

Sergio Leone was one of the greatest directors of all time. It's a real shame that he apparently never got the kind of recognition he gets nowadays while he was still alive. Out of all his films, there's a strong argument to be made for this one being the closest to perfect. Honestly, there's not a lot that could be changed to make it better. My biggest direct gripe is the way the title pops up at the very end of the film, and rotates in a full circle before it disappears. It looks really cheesy, and comes close to killing the mood the otherwise extremely strong ending creates. While we're on complaints, another minor one would be that I want to say the film feels a little too long- maybe about 10 to 15 minutes. But at the same time, I wouldn't really know what to cut. Every scene is so well-constructed and orchestrated, and there's always something interesting to look at or listen to or think about, so I'm not really sure what should be cut. It's a pretty weak complaint, I know. Like I said, this thing's close to perfect.

The Good The Bad and The Ugly might be a tiny bit more entertaining, and Once Upon a Time in America might have a slightly better soundtrack and stronger emotional moments (for me, personally), but it's still really hard to find much to complain about here. Absolutely recommended to any Western fan, and it gets a little better every time I watch it (four for me now, and counting).
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Jerry Before Seinfeld (2017 TV Special)
Nothing amazing, but still a nice and amusing way to spend an hour
26 September 2017
Jerry Seinfeld's clearly a pro comes when it comes to comedy, and even if he's telling jokes that aren't among his strongest or best, I still find them entertaining (as is the case here). Most of Jerry Before Seinfeld shows Jerry telling jokes from throughout his career, while small sections where he reflects on his past and his beginnings in comedy are interspersed throughout his routine.

This special is a little on the short side, and likely won't blow anyone's expectations, but fans of Jerry Seinfeld will likely get something out of it. Most jokes worked for me personally, even if nothing really proved to be 'laugh out loud' funny.

There were only a couple of parts that I thought misfired. There's a short section where two of Jerry's friends reminisce with him about doing comedy in the 1970s, which felt a little awkward and forced, and then another part shortly after, where somebody in the audience calls out something related to baseball, which Jerry then springboards off and begins a lengthy joke about sports teams. If this was intended to feel spontaneous or unscripted, it didn't really.

Still, I can't be too negative about watching this, because it was enjoyable enough and, like I said, most of it worked fairly well. Also, I've always admired Jerry Seinfeld's ability to be funny without being raunchy or swearing a whole lot, even though I personally don't really have a problem with bad language in comedy (if I did, there wouldn't be too many comedians I could listen to!) I guess his relatively clean comedy serves as a nice change of pace, and maybe even adds to the casual, relaxed feeling of a comedy special such as this one.
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The Dead Zone (1983)
Three clunky short films in one
24 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This movie had potential, and on paper, sounded like it would be a lot more fun to watch than it ended up being. Good cast, a neat premise, an accomplished author providing the source material, and a director capable of greatness should have added up to more than what I got.

The story concerns a man gaining psychic powers after coming out of a coma, but truth be told this is more the premise than the plot. That's because this film doesn't really have a plot- it has three, and as such feels awkwardly episodic and much longer than its running time because of the lack of momentum and satisfying pace. The first third deals with the main character learning to live with his injuries and newfound powers, the second has him helping a sheriff with a murder investigation, and the third has him trying to take down a terrible presidential candidate before he can get into office and do any lasting damage. The last of these two stories are wrapped up insanely quickly and anticlimactically. I feel like if the film focused on one or the other, it could have been more fleshed out, satisfying, and less awkward.

The cast all do a decent job with the occasionally awkward dialogue that one has to expect from most Stephen King adaptations- the guy's got a great imagination and knack for interesting story ideas, for sure, but the way his characters talk does sometimes border on ridiculous. All notable actors within the film have been better elsewhere, however. Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of this movie is Cronenberg's direction, not because it's bad (it's perfectly serviceable), but because the film overall doesn't feel like a Cronenberg movie. It has little of the style, tension, sense of dread, or boldness that makes films like The Fly, Dead Ringers, and Eastern Promises so memorable.

The Dead Zone dips its toes into a number of genres- drama, horror, sci-fi, thriller, romance- but doesn't go far enough in any way to stand out within any of said genres. This coupled with the film's weirdly episodic, poorly paced nature means that it fails to stand out or make much of an impact. Very little is terrible, but at the same time, nothing's really better than average, and so I feel like a 5/10 rating makes sense, and reflects how I felt watching this. I feel like I'll forget most of what I just watched within a couple of days.

Oh, except for the scene near the end where Martin Sheen's character literally grabs a baby to use as a shield after Christopher Walken's character tries to shoot him. You don't even have to pretend it's a deleted scene from The West Wing for that to be hilarious, mainly because of how absurd and over-the-top it is. Maybe the rest of the movie could have tried to be a little more out there; at least that would have made it a decent amount more fun.
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Almost excessively long, but worth a watch
24 September 2017
So yeah, this thing's really, really long. Definitely longer than it needs to be, but at the same time, it makes the film stand out, at least. Differentiates itself from the pack for me, I guess, given I've never personally watched a music documentary this long.

George Harrison was always the most mysterious, spiritual of all The Beatles, so if a nearly 3 and a half hour documentary had to be made about one of them, that's a fairly good reason to, I suppose. About half of the film here will be very familiar to most Beatles fans, as the first half largely focuses on one of the biggest music phenomenons of all time. Thankfully, the extra focus on George Harrison during the film's first half means this familiar story does not feel entirely stale or redundant.

The second half is less straight forward and more interesting too, I think, focusing on George Harrison's solo career and post-Beatles endeavors. However, it's also somewhat inconsistent. I found certain sections moving and engrossing, whilst feeling that some other sections dragged on longer than needed.

One final minor complaint would be what I thought was some dodgy editing in parts. Often when they played a Beatles or George Harrison song, the music would cut off abruptly when it transitioned to an interview or someone talking about said song. I found it jarring every time this happened, and kept wondering whether it was some strange stylistic choice that I just wasn't getting.

Anyway, if I'm sounding overly negative, I'm sorry. I shouldn't be, because this was still pretty good, and I've certainly experienced many other movies of a similar length that did feel longer than this. I guess it might be a little disappointing, considering this is one of the best directors of all time (Scorsese) making a documentary on a member of one of the greatest bands of all time. Still, it's good, all things considered. Certainly recommended, just maybe lower your expectations a tad, and definitely don't feel like you have to watch the whole thing in one go either.
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A smashing sci-fi/action/comedy film
18 August 2013
I was a huge fan of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, as I'm sure most people are. They're both really good movies that do such a fantastic job of spoofing a genre (zombie movies in Shaun of the Dead and cop movies for Hot Fuzz) while being legitimately good films in those genres (Shaun of the Dead becomes a legitimately intense zombie film in its final act, while Hot Fuzz has a good number of great action sequences and some genuinely surprising plot twists towards its climax). So, I was really looking forward to The World's End. My expectations were high enough for the film to probably be one of my most anticipated of the year. And, thankfully, my expectations were met. This is another really good film by the team behind the two previously mentioned films (Wright/ Pegg/ Frost) that might just be almost as good as the team's previous two efforts.

So, the plot? Well, it's there, but it's not really too important or complex. Pegg plays Gary King, a rebellious teenager who never really grew up. After a prologue showing his teenage years, we see a forty year old Gary disillusioned with life, and longing for his glory days. In an attempt to recapture his youth, he gets together four of his closest school friends (who have all successfully moved on in life) together for a 12-stage pub crawl that they attempted but never finished on the night of their final day of high-school. The others are reluctant, but Pegg's character gets them all into it, and then we have our movie.

I'd hate to give away any more of the plot than that, other than I will say that there is a strong science-fiction element that comes into the film during the pub-crawl (this information was in the trailers, and is probably in every plot synopsis of the film). And, like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, The World's End successfully manages to parody and make homages to the science fiction genre while itself being a solid science fiction film. There are also some really well-done action scenes that reminded me a lot of the ones from Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World, another Edgar Wright directed film (albeit one without Pegg or Frost, who I think were off doing Paul without Wright). The special effects won't blow your mind, but they do their job just fine for the most part.

The humour's just as sharp here as it was in the other Wright/ Pegg/ Frost films, and I can almost guarantee that if you found those two previous films very funny then you'll get quite a few laughs out of this one too. It's all very British humour- lots of quick exchanges of witty, often sarcastic banter, some very well-executed scenes of slap-stick comedy, a little bit of absurd humour, and some sharp parody. And yes, we do get a jumping-the-fence gag, as well as a Cornetto cameo, as is to be expected from the films in this sort of "Blood and Cornetto Trilogy," which The World's End officially ends.

Simon Pegg is great in this. His comedy is perfect, but he actually gives a genuinely good performance throughout the film, even in (maybe especially in) a few of the film's more serious scenes. His character turns out to have a fairly dark past which he tries to hide under his cheery, rebellious attitude he projects, and the scenes where his flaws are looked at are actually fairly emotional. But, as mentioned before, when he has to say or do something funny, he completely and utterly delivers. Nick Frost plays a character who's not nearly as goofy as either of his "Simon Pegg side-kick" characters from the previous films, and this concerned me at first, because I found his performances in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz hysterical. Thankfully, when he starts to have a few drinks (it takes him a while) he is hilarious. And he too, like Pegg, really sells a few of the more serious/ emotional scenes towards the film's end. Supporting cast are all good too- no real stand-outs, but definitely no let-downs either.

My one real problem with the film? Kind of the last ten to fifteen minutes. There's some weird stuff introduced in one of the film's final scenes that I was kind of okay with to a point, but the weirdness was oddly dragged out for a very long time, leaving me a little confused and restless. Then we get a sort of epilogue that I didn't really feel gelled with the bulk of what came before. Some people may enjoy it, but it wasn't really as satisfying as I hoped. Maybe I was expecting a great ending, seeing that this is kind of the final film in a fairly loose trilogy, but unfortunately the final scenes left me a little disappointed.

Still, slightly lackluster ending aside, this is still a really really good film. I may like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz a little more, but this one is an extremely close third. If you liked those two films, you'll almost certainly get something out of this one. Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz got even better for me on repeat viewings, so I'm sure I'll watch this one again when it comes out on DVD/ Blu-ray- speaking of watching this movie at home, if you can't get to the theatres to see this one, it's not the end of the world (haha, no pun intended- seriously, only realised I typed that as I was proof-reading my review)- you're not going to lose much if you don't see this on the big screen. Although, if you can somehow get to a popular screening, then I would recommend going to the movies to see it- it's a great movie to watch with a crowd that are really enjoying and laughing their way through the movie.
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A flawed, fascinating, neon-infused nightmare
27 July 2013
I've found the response to this movie fascinating. It literally may be the biggest and most obvious example of a "love it or hate it film" in recent years. And honestly, that's understandable. This is by no means a film for anyone. Even some who enjoyed Winding Refn's and Gosling's last collaboration (2011's Drive, a very good film that grew on me progressively more each time I watched it) will walk away from this one disappointed. It's artsy, very violent, metaphorical, and lacks a definite plot and characters. But it's still something very much worth watching, even only for the fact that you can then be prepared to discuss and debate the year's most divisive film.

There is a plot here, but it's pretty simple, and honestly not too important. Actually, it's probably not even worth explaining here in this review. All it really does is justify the film's symbolic images, scenes of gruesome violence, and trippy, disturbing imagery. And honestly, I thought that was okay. I knew going into this that the plot wasn't going to be hugely involving, and so there really didn't end up being any disappointment in that regard. This is not your conventional 3-act story or anything, so don't go in expecting a satisfying and easily noticeable beginning, middle, and end.

In a similar fashion, the characters here aren't too compelling in a typical manner. As far as the standard narrative is concerned, they're not particularly unique, or even likable. This is, on the surface level, a film about very evil people doing very evil things. It may be better to think of these characters as representing certain traits or ideas rather than looking at them as simply characters in a story. Winding Refn apparently spoke frequently about what each main character basically represented, and as someone who didn't really follow the interviews where he spoke about such things I really don't know if the film made it clear enough that the characters represented what they did. Maybe that's my problem for being stupid, but I'm not sure.

I must admit though, I was probably too pre-occupied with admiring how the film looked to think about the characters too hard. This movie is shot amazingly, and the amount of style in the film is hard to deny. I especially loved the use of colours throughout the film, with lots of dark reds and blues being used, which often looked striking when put against the darkness that was present throughout many of the film's scenes. The soundtrack's great too- perhaps not as good as the one from Drive, but the songs here work well for the scenes they accompany. It is a fantastic looking and sounding film, and I'd say it's worth checking the movie out at least once for these factors alone.

Acting's good too. Yeah, we've seen this sort of performance from Ryan Gosling before, but he does do it really well. Maybe he should mix it up a bit and do a few more roles where he's not quiet, brooding, and intense, but to be honest I didn't mind him kind of rehashing a few of his earlier performances here. Vithaya Pansringarm was very good too in a sort of, maybe villainous role (and I'd like to add that I'm thankful I'm typing this review and not speaking it, as there's no way I could begin to try and pronounce that guy's name).

So, the bottom line? This movie's strange. Really strange. I liked it, but I honestly don't know if I can recommend it to many people at all. Yes, I know it's probably worth watching for the cinematography and music, as well as the fact that it allows one to know what everyone else is talking about, but I can make no guarantees to anyone over whether or not they'd like it. You liked Drive? You might like this one. You hated Drive? You also might like this one. You can usually handle artsy, slow-paced movies? There's a possibility this one will be too slow for you. You like Ryan Gosling? No guarantees you'll like it just because he's in it. And I could go on...

So, what we have here is a unique film full of disturbing violence (seriously, this one's really brutal), surreal imagery, strange yet intoxicating music, a lack of a real plot, and some pretty crazy pacing. There were some parts of the movie where I was enthralled by what was happening on screen (especially at the beginning and towards the end), yet other points where I almost felt like nodding off. There's very little consistency in this movie, and with the pacing and the violence and the ambiguity, it's not exactly an easy one to watch. Maybe give it a try though. Inevitably though, I liked it. I think. I'll be revisiting it eventually in order to properly decipher exactly how I feel about this film. Upon a second viewing, will I love the film? Will I hate it? Will it make any more sense to me? I'm not sure.

Perhaps only God knows... and forgives. (Get it? Cos that's like the name of the movie? I should be a comedian).
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Pacific Rim (2013)
Good old-fashioned, explosive fun
18 July 2013
I was giving up on the idea of ever looking forward to another big Hollywood summer movie ever again, but then Pacific Rim comes along with its charmingly simple plot, incredible special effects, an almost perfect tone, 3D that didn't destroy my eyes or make everything look dark and blurry, and, most importantly of all, a sense of fun. I felt happy and alive coming out of the theatre, and for once I felt as though not a cent had been wasted on my ridiculously expensive movie ticket. This is one you should all go and check out. Need more reasons to do so? Okay, here we go...

  • Guillermo Del Toro. This guy knows how to make a movie. Pan's Labyrinth is an absolutely amazing film, and one of my all time favourites. Hellboy 1 was decent in my opinion, but the sequel I thought was really good. Pacific Rim I like a little more than the Hellboy films, but it's definitely not quite up there with Pan's Labyrinth. It lacks the emotion and the artistry of that film, but it's still a great movie, just in a different way. This movie is visually astonishing in almost every regard, and I think Del Toro himself can largely be thanked for that. The action scenes feature CGI so good you won't even feel like complaining about it, and are constructed in a coherent, satisfying manner. There's no irritating shaky-cam here, and thankfully the movie doesn't skimp on the violence either- no humans die graphic deaths of course, but a number of giant monsters get absolutely pummelled and ripped to shreds by the robots, and it's satisfying as hell to see this happen.

  • Keeps the plot simple. There's no overly convoluted villain motivations, no absurd and annoying twists in the story, and no characters that are too complicated for their own good. This movie features giant monsters that want to take over Earth, and this causes the humans to build giant, controllable robots to fight the monsters. That's your plot. There are characters, and while they're almost all archetypal, the movie's aware of this, and somehow this makes it okay. We get enough character development to at least care for these people. This movie uses very traditional, standard characters in a way that's somehow not bothersome. The actors are all serviceable too, with Idris Elba probably coming the closest to standing out. So the dialogue, characters, and acting are all, for the most part, merely serviceable, but they really don't need to be anything more in this movie. The characters remain consistent, and aren't irritating (not even the comic relief scientist characters), and for me that was all they needed to be in a film like this.

  • Crazy scale: The monsters and robots in this movie are absolutely gigantic, and this makes the fight scenes awe-inspiring. These are creatures that are literally the size of sky-scrapers, and there's something crazily entertaining about seeing such huge things do battle together. There's a real weight to the fight scenes as well- the booming sound and convincing CGI really makes you feel every single punch. It's all very forceful, intense, visceral, and convincing. And yeah, as mentioned before, the sheer scale of the movie never stops being impressive. You know these things are big when one robot wields a cargo ship and uses it as a melee weapon.

  • The movie is actually fun: Not all movies have to be fun and entertaining. Hell, a lot of my favourite movies aren't particularly fun to watch (Requiem for a Dream anyone?), yet they might be really engaging at both an emotional and intellectual level, or they may provoke strong physical reactions do to the way they're constructed.. Big Hollywood blockbusters, however, should be fun. They shouldn't all try to be so "deep" and "thought-provoking." Big action scenes and personal character drama just don't really mix too well- maybe Christopher Nolan can pull it off, but he's the exception in this case. Leave the deep stuff to the independent and foreign film-makers. Big movies like Pacific Rim should just be a blast to watch, and, thankfully, Pacific Rim is an absolute blast to watch. It never stops being entertaining- I was giggling in glee throughout almost the entire film, and I left the theatre feeling almost euphoric. Yeah, I had a great time. And even better, the movie feels like it was made by people who were having fun as well. It's nice to watch a movie and get the sense that the people who worked on it enjoyed doing so. Maybe in reality they didn't, but it certainly doesn't feel like that based solely on just watching the movie they ended up making.

So should you see this one? Yes. Definitely yes. Especially if you've come out of more than one big blockbuster film this year feeling like you haven't really enjoyed yourself. Pacific Rim is explosive, silly, and completely over-the-top, but the film-makers were aware of this, and as a result just had fun with the whole thing; you find yourself laughing with the film rather than at the film. It's a gleeful, somewhat tongue-in-cheek film that just wants to entertain its audience.

According to the ever reliable Wikipedia, Del Toro envisioned Pacific Rim as an earnest, colourful adventure story, with an "incredibly airy and light feel", in contrast to the "super-brooding, super-dark, cynical summer movie". If this was indeed the case, he couldn't have succeeded more.
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Man of Steel (2013)
A loud, deafening cacophony of "meh"
1 July 2013
And so the disappointing year in movies that has been 2013 so far continues with Man of Steel. This was one of the year's most anticipated movies, and with good reason. Movie-goers were bombarded by trailers that promised epic action right alongside an intimate and moving character study/ origin story. Zack Snyder had proved he was capable of making of making good superhero movies with 2009's Watchmen, and Christopher Nolan's involvement as producer/ co- writer was promising, seeing as he was behind three recent Batman films that were all of very high quality. Add to that the fact that the cast was full of well-known, talented actors, and it's no wonder excitement was so high for this movie.

I guess it all ended up sounding to good to be true. This film tries to be so many different things at once, and this leads to a number of problems that I personally found very hard to overlook. I think most people are going to find the jumps between scenes in this movie very jarring. We often go from overblown action scene to quiet, drawn out character moment without any warning whatsoever. Watching this movie sometimes feels like riding a malfunctioning roller- coaster- you might think it's fun, and you might even have a little bit of fun, but you'll be concerned the whole time because you never really know where the damn thing's going. I'm all for surprises and a lack of predictability in movies, but tonally it needs to be consistent, and changes between scenes have to feel smooth and comfortable. Otherwise the movie just ends up feeling vague, and this makes it hard to really get into the film's events.

When scenes aren't transitioning awkwardly into other scenes, they're usually dragged out for too long. This movie makes both the dialogue scenes and the action scenes fairly boring at times, which is kind of crazy when you think about it. The middle third of the movie is quite uninvolving, filled with flashbacks happening that come out of nowhere, and painfully drawn out and repetitive monologues about "destiny" and "what it means to be a hero" and so on. Then we get to the final act of the film, which involves so much senseless and repetitive fighting and destruction that what should be a grand and exciting finale becomes tedious and dull to watch. The special effects are quite amazing, but they do start to overstay their welcome after a while. There's only so many times we can see a building fall down, Superman punch someone, a vehicle explode, or a bad guy throw Superman through a building before it gets old.

The writing's pretty off too. As mentioned before, the story doesn't flow too well and the film as a whole never really finds its groove, awkwardly transitioning between a disaster movie, an origin story, an alien invasion movie, a superhero film, and even a coming of age movie (sort of). The dialogue leaves a lot to be desired as well, with a lot of unnatural sounding dialogue and quite a few attempts at humour that fall flat.

But it's not all terrible though. As mentioned before, the special effects are stunning, as are the action scenes before they become tiresome. Hans Zimmer delivers another effective score as well. Performances are decent too, particularly Crowe and Costner; in fact, I enjoyed the scenes with these actors in them the most. Russel Crowe's kind of the star of this movie for the first fifteen minutes in an opening sequence that depicts the destruction of Superman's home planet Krypton, and honestly, I would've much rather watched a movie exclusively about the fall and destruction of this planet than the muddled, occasionally very dull movie we actually got.

Also, sequels are set up, which could always be good if done right. I'm not holding my breath in excitement, but I will remain somewhat open to the idea that this (eventual) franchise can redeem itself. I didn't hate this movie, and there is stuff here that can be enjoyed, but I ultimately still left the theatre very disappointed, mainly because I felt that this film showed almost all the major problems of mediocre big budget Hollywood action blockbusters these days. - Predictable storyline that plays it safe, and contains very few legitimately unexpected moments? Check. - An emphasis on special effects and action instead of having exciting action scenarios containing likable, relatable, well-written characters? Check. - Loud noises and a ridiculous number of explosions? Check. - Very little emotional or intellectually stimulating material? Check. - Almost nothing to make the audience and/or future generations feel like actually remembering the film? Check.

These big budget Hollywood films need to evolve, primarily because they really are starting to become stale. I want to go to a movie and feel like I'm seeing something that was either unique, or made by people who were clearly passionate about what they were making. Or, ideally, both. I want to be moved by movies. I want to be surprised by movies. I want movies to imbed themselves in my mind and stay there for days to the point where I just can't stop thinking about them. I want movies to take risks. I want movies to be made in a way that they'll appeal to future generations.

I want huge summer movies like Man of Steel to actually be exciting again.

Don't you as well?
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World War Z (2013)
A very Mixed Bag
21 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers

  • Epic scope: This is without a doubt the biggest zombie movie ever made. The exact budget of the film is unknown, but due to its prolonged and troubled production some have estimated the movie cost as much as 250 million dollars to make. And the film-makers really make sure you're aware of how expensive the movie would've been to make, with a number of staggering shots featuring thousands and thousands of zombies swarming all over each other. The movie earns its title, given the fact that it is truly a zombie movie on a global scale.

  • Brad Pitt: He's very good in this movie, and is definitely one of the best things about the film. He makes for a compelling and likable hero who has to rely more on his intelligence than physical power. He's no superhero in this film, and his vulnerability and "everyday-man" nature keeps him relatable and likable.

  • Action scenes: As mentioned before, there's a ton of zombies in this movie. And yes, a lot of them are CGI, which I personally don't have a problem with because there were so many it's unlikely they could've done a lot of these scenes with actual extras portraying the zombies. The hordes of zombies allow for some truly spectacular action scenes on a large scale, all of which I'd rather not talk about in too much detail, because the zombie/action scenes are really the best part of the film, so it's definitely best not to ruin the scenes by giving you too much of an idea of what to expect

  • Use of the word "zombie": This didn't necessarily make the film better, but it was just interesting to see the word "zombie" used frequently by the film's characters. The word "zombie" has been treated for so long as a clichéd term in zombie films that it's now kind of refreshing to see it used so honestly and openly in a serious zombie film.


  • Lack of gore: Now don't get me wrong, I don't need blood and guts in every single movie I watch. But with zombie films, gory violence is a necessity. You need to see zombies getting ripped apart to emphasise how they are literally the "living dead," and you need to see humans die graphic deaths to reinforce how much of a threat the zombies can be. But this film wants to appeal to pretty much anyone aged 10 and up so Brad Pitt and friends can get more money, so of course we get very little blood, plus no on-screen guts, severed limbs, or exploding heads.

  • Shaky cam: This kind of ties in with the lack of gore; it's like the cameraman is shying away from the more graphic moments (it's The Hunger Games all over again). The shaky cam's only really noticeable in the film's first half hour though, while the zombie outbreak is just beginning, so it's not a huge problem. Still a little bothersome though.

  • Unfulfilling ending: This movie does end in an abrupt fashion, and kind of left me wanting more. It ends very suddenly, and I kind of thought to myself- "really? That's it?" The biggest action scene in the movie occurs about halfway through the film, and the final zombie confrontation was fairly quiet and low-key, which just felt a bit off to me. That being said, the jarringly sudden ending could be seen as a good thing, as it demonstrated that the movie went by fairly quickly. It's just under two hours long, but the final scene honestly felt as though the film was at about the 80-minute mark. But still, the ending was a little unsatisfying, so I ultimately see the ending as a con.

  • Unintentionally funny zombies: Zombies can be funny, and zombie movies can be part-comedy and still be great zombie movies. Shaun of the Dead and ZombieLand are both very funny movies that also manage to be pretty good legitimate zombie films (they don't exclusively poke fun at the zombie genre). George A. Romero worked some great satire into 1978′s Dawn of the Dead, by comparing the zombies in the film's mall to the mindless, braindead consumers who inhabited the mall pre-zombie apocalypse. World War Z didn't feel like it was meant to have much comedy in it with its serious tone and gritty aesthetic, yet at times I found myself laughing at the way the film's zombies expressed exaggerated twitchy movements, and the manner in which more than a few of them chattered their teeth repeatedly in a cartoonish manner.

  • Slight lack of tension: The movie lacks some much needed suspense because it's basically Brad Pitt saving the world himself. Maybe if Pitt's character had a few allies forming like a "rag-tag squad" or something, and they went around battling zombies as a group, it would've made things more intense and involving, as a few of them would inevitably die along the way. I don't know, a few more well-developed side characters would've gone quite a long way in making me more invested in the film's events.

So there's my thoughts on this film. It's a mixed bag, but ultimately I'd recommend it. It's worth seeing at the cinema just for those spectacular action scenes, and simply so you can see the sheer scale of the biggest budgeted zombie film of all time. It's flawed as hell though, so go in with moderate expectations. It could be a whole lot better, but ultimately the film's still pretty decent, and a good one to experience on the big screen. It's certainly a fine summer blockbuster, but it's unlikely that the film will ever achieve a "classic status."
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Don't waste your money
20 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This is the first Paranormal Activity film that I've seen, and if the others are of a similar quality to it, it'll probably be my last. The biggest problem I had with the film was that it just wasn't scary. My heart-rate stayed steady and consistent throughout the first 97% of the film- the last 1 to 2 minutes are legitimately frightening, so you can imagine my disappointment when the film ended as soon as it began to actually get scary.

Perhaps it was my fault for expecting a decent conclusion, because after all, this film does belong to a profitable franchise, and I doubt this one will be the last. And yes, I do feel bad for contributing money towards this film's inevitable box office success, so I feel it is my duty to encourage anyone who will listen to avoid this film- it just isn't that scary. Maybe if the film had anything else going for it the lack of scares would be less painful, but alas, this is a straight horror film. There's no comedy, engaging characters, or style- it's just dull, predictable jump scares, one after the other- things popping out of nowhere constantly and consistently like clockwork.

It's not unsettling. It's not frightening. It's honestly kind of dull.

If you're content with waiting through 80 minutes of very little happening in order to get to a legitimately scary final 2 minutes, then you'll enjoy this film. That said, while the ending is quite unnerving, it's also very abrupt and unsatisfying, so there's a large chance you'll leave the theater somewhat disappointed.

Stay home and watch The Exorcist, or The Shining, or The Omen, or The Thing, or Rosemary's Baby, or any other horror movie that's actually scary. Leave this one alone.
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Looper (2012)
Definitely Recommended
28 September 2012
I feel somewhat overwhelmed when thinking back on this movie in order to share my thoughts on it, given I only got done watching it a couple of hours ago, and it's one of those films that really sticks in your head after you've walked out of the theater.

What I can say for sure, however, is that you should definitely give this film a watch. Also, I recommend you go into the movie knowing as little as possible about the plot. There are a number of twists and turns throughout the film, some small, and some pretty huge, and I have seen reviews that have given away some of these twists without adequate spoiler warnings, so tread very carefully when seeking reviews for this film. In fact, maybe just don't look at any reviews at all; the less you know the more you'll enjoy the film, and the more you'll be engaged by it. All you need to know going into the film is that it's very good.

There's nary a dull moment in it's nearly two hour long running time- the pacing's perfect, and its fairly complex narrative is perfectly and naturally described through its use of voice-overs and exposition(that doesn't specifically feel like forced, direct exposition). It's definitely the boldest American film I've seen all year, as this year has been plagued with flashy, admittedly entertaining franchise films and over-produced block-busters that are fun to watch but not usually particularly memorable. Looper is not one such film.

It's original, engaging, and goes places the vast majority of American films almost never dare to go. Definitely go watch this.

I'd give it 8.5/10.
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Perhaps the Most Powerful Film I've Ever Seen
18 August 2012
This movie, to me, is incredible. It shook me so hard the first time I watched it that it took me days to actually properly process it all in my head. It overwhelmed me with unforgettable images, haunting music, and an intriguing plot that actually plays out somewhat like a mystery. I won't go into the plot itself, because all the other reviewers have already summarised it pretty well. Also, you should really go into this film knowing as little about it as possible- it's one of those kinds of movies. The film is remarkable for not taking a political side in the conflicts that it explores. Instead, it a deeply personal film where we travel into the dreams, flashbacks, and hallucinations of numerous ex-soldiers who are all trying to remember a war they fought in 20 odd years ago. Everything in Waltz With Bashir works perfectly, and it amazingly manages to be so many different things in just 90 minutes. It's a fascinating documentary. a powerful anti-war film, a riveting drama, a beautiful animation, a compelling mystery, and even somewhat of a chilling horror films of sorts- all at once. Hell, if that's not enough, it even throws in a few instances of surrealism and black comedy. And it balances all these elements perfectly. It's also extremely emotional. I can almost guarantee it'll have a profound impact on you. It's a remarkable film in every conceivable way, and I'd gladly place it in my top fifteen films of all time. A comfortable 10 out of ten from me.
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The Artist (I) (2011)
A little bit shallow and simplistic, but still a very enjoyable experience
7 February 2012
The Artist looks ready to sweep the Oscars this year, and in many ways it deserves to. It has a unique (some may say gimmicky) style, can easily make an audience laugh and cry almost simultaneously, and has a certain likability and charm that is nearly impossible to deny. Despite perhaps seeming initially off-putting to some casual cinema-goers, The Artist is actually deceptively simple; it is a film that can be enjoyed by almost any individual, despite being silent, French-made, and in black and white. That is most likely its greatest strength- appealing to a wide audience of people who may feel as though they have just greatly expanded their boundaries of cinematic appreciation, when as a matter of fact, they have watched a relatively simple romance/character study/brief history lesson on the transition from silent films to talkies.

However, the film's simplicity is not a huge negative. It allows the film to be both likable and crowd-pleasing, and appeal to essentially anyone. That being said, I personally would've liked a little more complexity to the film- perhaps it could have fleshed out the main character some more, or provided more insight into just how dramatic the change from silent films to talkies was. Still, I respect the fact that this film is indeed a homage to a simpler time in cinema, so therefore its simplicity can be fairly easily excused. I definitely recommend this film to anyone who wants to see something that is in many ways unique, yet in many ways familiar...

VERDICT= 8/10 (Great)
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The Room (2003)
Delightfully Abysmal
28 June 2011
Don't let the one star rating fool you; The Room is an absolute must watch for lovers of awful cinema. It is by far and large the most horrendously incompetent film I have ever had the ironic pleasure of viewing. Everything is just so wrong- the plot is something that would be unacceptable by soap opera standards, the script appears to have been written by a five year old, shots seem to go in and out of focus at an alarming frequency, stock footage is over-used, and the horrendously wooden acting must be seen to be believed.

There's so much else that's wrong with the film, but to go into further detail would ruin the amusement factor. Just know that if you choose to watch this unintentionally fantastic piece of entertainment that you're in for a treat. The best way to experience it is with a few friends at a cinema with a bunch of other rowdy, like-minded people, but if no cinema near to you shows it, then buy the DVD, invite some friends over, get really drunk, and then watch.

As a film, The Room is a undeniably a failure of unmatched proportions, but as piece of humorous entertainment, it's superb. It's awful but it's a must-watch.
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The First "Critically Acclaimed" Film I Didn't Like
25 June 2011
As a piece of art, 2001: A Space Odyssey could well be considered a masterpiece. The film was certainly ahead of its time in regards to special effects, and I must admit, I was initially impressed by the space sequences and the various other pre-CGI special effects. The main theme (Also Sprach Zarathustra) is amazing too.

But for me to truly enjoy a film, I need to feel connected to it somehow, whether it be intellectually or emotionally. 2001 almost lost me in the first 3 minutes. Literally. The film opens with 171 seconds of pure darkness, a blank screen, with a mere droning sound in the background. I thought my DVD player had broken. What a way to start a movie; panicking about the fact your DVD player may be broken.

Then the film starts, and the opening titles were great. Also Sprach Zarathustra sounded amazing, and I was excited. Cut to 5 minutes later, and I was watching monkeys yelling at each other. Coincidentally, I found myself yelling too. At my screen.

The pain doesn't stop there, as I was then treated to an additional 2 whole hours of repetitive, tedious outer-space docking sequences, bland dialogue, stiff acting, an almost complete lack of emotion, essentially no cohesive narrative, and a vague and ultimately unsatisfying conclusion.

Throughout the entire film, I was just waiting for a moment of engagement. I was waiting for that moment where I became engrossed in a rich, unique science fiction experience; the moment where my eyes opened and I realized the sheer genius of Kubrick's "master-piece."

That moment never came, and I was so over-whelmed in disappointment at the film's conclusion that I broke down in tears. I'm not even kidding.

I wept, sobbed, and cried. I'd wasted 130 minutes of my life watching a tedious, pretentious science fiction film. I'd gained nothing from the experience, yet I had tried so hard to get into it and enjoy it. Above all, I felt ashamed.

You know, maybe I don't "understand" 2001. Maybe those lovers of film who hold their noses up the highest will look down on me and sneer, and tell me that I'm shallow, that I'm not willing to watch something without gratuitous sex and violence. They'd tell me that I shouldn't go sticking my down-turned nose into such a "high-class" film like 2001, and that I should stick to the Transformers movies. To which I'd reply, "but Stanley Kubrick was my favorite director prior to watching this film."

Which is true, by the way. A Clockwork Orange may be one of my all time favorites. Both The Shining and Dr Strangelove are near masterpieces in my eyes, and I also thought Full Metal Jacket was great too.

But alas, 2001: A Space Odyssey just didn't do it for me. Perhaps it was the fact that I found it too slow, too abstract, or perhaps it wasn't quite what I was expecting. Still, the film is not entirely worthless in my eyes. It did contain a number of special effects that I found to look impressive even in this CGI-infested day and age, and the film does also feature some interesting music and imagery. Other than that, though, I couldn't find it in me to like any other aspect of this film.

It was the first film I've ever viewed that truly made me break down into tears, although not in the way that I perhaps had hoped.

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Messy, vile, depraved, yet unfortunately watchable
5 June 2011
I'm getting a headache just thinking about it. I had the ultimate misfortune of viewing this twisted piece of cinema a few nights ago, and it hurts to have to remember all those hypnotic film techniques and disturbing images. Natural Born Killers is a chaotic experience, to say the least. First off, I'll just say that I didn't hate this film. There are some solid performances, with Robert Downey Jr being the stand out in my opinion. The script is decent, as is the soundtrack, and when the movie isn't going over-the-top with the off-kilter camera angles, flashing lights, slow motion, subliminal images, and different colors, it can be interesting to watch.

However, there is just way too much of the above mentioned "effects," and they detract from what could be an incredible movie. I don't know what purpose they served, other than making the film have a "unique" (and headache-inducing) style. The film's style isn't the only thing that'll make your head hurt. Natural Born Killers was made to criticize and satire America's obsession for violence, and while at first a fascinating concept, its constantly shoved down your throat nearly every five minutes, so much so you'll get a headache from that too after about an hour.

And I hate to sound like an old fart, but the film did go overboard with the violence. It's not so much what is shown but rather the nature of it; I don't want to give anything away, but some of the things shown sickened me (most of all some subliminal flashes of what looked like graphic images from The Holocaust; completely unnecessary and offensive in a film like this).

The violence is gratuitous and forced, and while that is probably the point, that didn't stop it from making me feel nauseous and even a little angry. Still, check it out if you have a strong stomach and are willing to see something unique. It's not a bad film, but my God is it brutal and inhumane.
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Fight Club (1999)
You've never seen anything like this before...
21 May 2011
Fight Club is certainly a one of a kind movie. It received decent reviews when first released in 1999, but seems to have risen largely in popularity over the years, and now sits comfortably in the IMDb top 20. I felt obliged to give this movie a shot after hearing the massive amounts of praise given to it by internet users all over the place.

And I was pleased with what I saw.

Fight Club follows an insecure insomniac who is mysteriously known only as "the Narrator" (played very well by Edward Norton.) During the first ten minutes of the film, we find out that the Narrator lives an uninspiring and empty life, with other people's suffering being his joy. We get the impression that the Narrator's life has no purpose, that is until he meets Tyler Durton (played by Brad Pitt in an unforgettable performance), who is essentially the man the Narrator wants to be. Tyler is loud, violent, and while his methods for solving problems are questionable, they often seem to work. The way that the Narrator and Tyler are almost complete opposites makes the film very interesting to watch.

After the Narrator's apartment is mysteriously burnt down, he goes and stays with Tyler, who soon gets the idea to start illegal, underground "fight clubs," places men can go to literally beat out all their inner aggression and woe on other men who are feeling similar emotional pain. From that point on, things start to get a little crazy and out of control, but to go into too much more detail would spoil many of Fight Club's crazier and more unexpected moments.

Fight Club has some very good performances in it. Edward Norton and Brad Pitt, are great, and Helena Bonham Carter as the mysterious Marla Singer is also a lot of fun to watch. The soundtrack and writing are solid, and David Fincher does a great job directing this movie, injecting it with bundles of style thanks to some inventive camera angles and surreal imagery.

Fight Club is a movie that can be enjoyed as simply a piece of entertainment, yet there is also a lot of themes and messages that may not be completely obvious to some one who isn't deliberately looking out for them. This helps Fight Club to be a movie that you can certainly watch numerous times (and trust me, you will want to watch it more than once).

Despite my praise, I do have to say that Fight Club is not quite perfect. My one major complaint is that none of the characters are all that likable. Half seem to come across as whiny snobs, while the other half come across as extremely violent and brutal individuals. There are certainly no role models in Fight Club, and no clear cut black vs white either, just many, many shades of grey. The film feels very existentialist as well, as it left me with a slightly empty feeling upon finishing it. But then again, that may have been the film's intention...

So while I don't feel like Fight Club is exceptional, I'd still be fine with saying it's a damn great movie, and one that I'd definitely recommend to any fan of movies over the age of sixteen. I also suggest buying it as well, as it's one you'll want to watch multiple times.

One rule though: Don't talk about it.
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Decent, but nothing phenomenal
20 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
(NOTE: In the following review, I briefly discuss the film's ending. You may not want to read this review if you have not watched The King's Speech.)

The King's Speech was met with world wide critical acclaim and numerous Oscars, including best director, best actor (Colin Firth), and best picture. I didn't watch the movie at the cinema, but after hearing about its success at the Academy Awards, I decided it was worth checking out on DVD.

To be honest, I was a little disappointed.

I'll start off by saying that The King's Speech is in absolutely no way a bad movie. The writing is solid, the camera angles are simplistic yet unique, and both Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush give very good performances. What irritated me most about the movie though was how I felt it had been manufactured simply to win Oscars.

The movie was in many ways too generic.

It had everything that the Academy absolutely loves: a historical setting, a variety of unique costumes, a (mostly) happy ending, and a lead character with a disability (in this case, a speech impediment), who struggles to achieve his goals but succeeds by the end. I just felt like I had seen this kind of movie before, and while it was well written and well acted, it still felt generic, and perhaps even mediocre.

One other criticism it that the film is somewhat unaccessible to a younger audience, as many details about the pre-WW2 British monarchy are "assumed knowledge," as far as the film- makers are concerned, which was a little annoying to a sixteen year old Australian who thinks the concept of a monarchy is more than a little bit dated and pointless.

My last criticism is that while Colin Firth gives a very good performance, his character came across as a bit of a whiny little snobbish cry baby. Here's this king, a man born into England's wealthiest family, who has a great lifestyle and bundles of money, yet he cries like a little baby simply because he can't speak properly. I realize his speech impediment is vital to the core concept of the film, but Colin Firth's king ultimately felt very unlikable to me, as the character simply isn't charming, likable, funny, or (for most) relatable.

Still, The King's Speech is probably worth your time. It's well acted, the script is well written, and it will keep you entertained for most of its duration. Still, I just can't see myself loving this film, as I believe this movie was made to win Academy Awards. That might not matter for you, and if that's the case, chances are you'll love The King's Speech. Maybe it just wasn't the right movie for me.

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19 May 2011
Words cannot describe just how good Garth Marenghi's Darkplace is. But I'll give it a shot regardless. Darkplace is an intentionally poorly made surreal and nonsensical medical drama show within a show. It follows a group of doctors tackling supernatural oddities, with hilarious commentaries by the real life actors who play the actors in the show who play the doctors in the show within the show. I know that's a little confusing. What makes Darkplace so unbelievably brilliant is the continuity errors, bad acting, awful dialogue, gaping plot holes, and absurd story lines (all deliberately done, mind you). Highlights include a woman turning into broccoli, an awesome bike chase through a forest (with out of place motorbike sound effects), some incredibly offensive Scottish stereo- typing, and the unforgettable fake 80's song "One Track Lover," which must be heard to be believed. There's so many more hilarious moments, but most are so absurd that their really difficult to try and explain, so I'd just say watch the show for yourself. It's a pity this show was cancelled so soon, and unfortunately, there's only six episodes. Maybe that's to be expected when a show is as unique as this one. Still, those six episodes are filled with so much awesomeness that they must be seen.
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