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Wimbledon (2004)
Really bad but painless film
13 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Wimbledon seems to have almost every romantic comedy cliché thrown in and is as predictable as it raining at wimbledon (and at one point in the film it did rain at a convenient moment). The only laughs that can be had here are at the films expense. The characters are badly written, Kirsten Dunst's character is much too childlike for the relationship to seem at all convincing.

The only good things to say about Wimbledon is that I enjoyed recognising some of the locations (the betting shop in this film is where I get my hair cut) and the whole film is painless to watch and easy to forget afterwards Overall, not a complete waste of time but certainly something that I'm not planning on watching again 3/10
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Snatch (2000)
Very entertaining gangster film
12 February 2005
The best thing about Snatch is that it can be enjoyed on so many different levels. The characters are all dirty and mean, as gangsters should be, but you also cant help sympathising with them. Without this, Snatch probably wouldn't have worked as well as it did. Also all the characters have very different personalities which makes it even more fun to watch them interact. The dialogue is fast and often hilarious with memorable lines such as "I'm driving down the road with your head stuck in my window. What does it look like I'm doing'?" and "This is Tommy. He tells people he's named after a gun, but I know he's named after a famous 19th century ballet dancer." The music in Snatch has a strange Russian style and on its own it doesn't seem like it would work well in a London gangster film but somehow it works very effectively.

The best part of Snatch would have to be the directing, Guy Ritchie manages to switch perspective and time to create a very fast pace which makes Snatch even more fun to watch. He also makes great use of some imaginative camera angles.

Overall, Snatch is a fast paced, extremely entertaining gangster film which is only slightly let down by the plot which takes a while to understand.

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Let down by the script
10 February 2005
In the words of Charlie Kaufman in Adaptation, "I don't want to cram in characters learning profound life lessons or growing or coming to like each other or overcome obstacles to succeed in the end". This quote seem very appropriate for this film seeing as all three main characters went through the cliché that is overcoming obstacles to succeed in the end.

It is the script the lets down Million Dollar Baby, a film that would have been very good otherwise. Some of the dialogue is painfully unfunny when it tries to be. The voice-over is overused and tells the viewer what to think. The story of overcoming personal difficulties to become a boxing champ is almost identical to that of the Rocky films, there's even a Rocky style montage sequence. Worst of all was the ending, which was completely unnecessary and badly done.

The rest of Million Dollar Baby was pretty good however. Clint Eastwood does a brilliant job in acting, directing and scoring this movie and all the actors do a good job in portraying characters that were badly written.

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Resident Evil (2002)
Conventional zombie film
19 January 2005
There isn't much to distinguish Resident Evil from any other zombie films; the same concept of how to kill the zombies or how the people became zombies. The concept of a group of survivors being killed off is also very conventional. The only fairly original part was the mutating hunter that at the start looked like a giant vicious rabbit (I'm not sure if that was a deliberate reference to Monty Python and the Holy Grail). The only good thing that can be said about this film was that Milla Jovovich was quite convincing as an amnesiac.

Overall it is just like almost every other zombie film ever made although it is watchable at times.

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Unclear messages spoil an film that looks brilliant
10 January 2005
When watching this, I found that the messages and subtexts contradicted themselves. For example, when Colonel Nicholson (Alec Guinness) refuses to lose his dignity because of his pride of the British army, he inadvertently helped the Japanese, so his patriotism got in the way of his patriotic duty. So is it wrong for a soldier to be patriotic? But right for them to do their patriotic duty? Another problem with this film the portrayal of the Japanese prisoner of war camp. At times it portrays the Japanese officers as brutal but at other times they are kind and fair to the prisoners. From the way it was portrayed in the film, the British soldiers probably had a better time working on the bridge than fighting in the war and risking their lives. Therefore I see no problem with them helping the Japanese even thought they are supposed to be the enemy.

Despite all the contradictions, "Bridge on the River Kwai" looks stunning especially considering when it was made and is easy to watch and enjoy.

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Lost Highway (1997)
Possibly the strangest film ever made.
23 July 2004
The thing that's great about Lost Highway is there is no absolute solution to the events in the film, everything about the film is open to interpretation and after you watch it you either need to thing and talk about it for a couple of hours or watch it again. In Mulholland Drive, people say that it needs to be watched twice to be fully understood. Lost highway needs to be watched about 3 or 4 time to be slightly understood and will probably never be fully understood. All the clues are there in the film but to include all of them to make sense is very difficult. However it is very rewarding to try and find out the meaning of Lost Highway.

Although it is described as a modern film-noir, it's more inspired by Alfred Hitchcock. The use of music to increase the suspense of the film is used a lot here and in many Hitchcock films such as Psycho. Even if you cant work out what it is about, it is still a very tense thriller.

Final Score – 10/10
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Beautifully shot and philosophical account of WW2
17 July 2004
The Thin Red Line was unfairly overshadowed by the IMO poor and cliché ridden Saving Private Ryan (both made in 1998). It is beautifully shot and well-acted account of the conflict in the pacific island of Guadalcanal.

The film starts with Private Witt (Caviezel) living with the natives of the island. We appreciate the simple and peaceful life that they lead. Caviezel is brilliant as the moral and peaceful private. He is constantly questioning why these people's lives should be disturbed.

Also excellent is Penn as the cynical Sergeant who was only there because he was asked to be. Although I won't delve into each of the characters, all are three-dimensional and none fall into the war movie cliché of fighting because they believe it is their patriotic duty.

The film is deeply philosophical and while it never contradicts itself, it seems as if the same few points are only made but just by a different character and in a slightly different context.

Although the film wasn't made just to contain battle scenes, the battle scenes in TRL manage not to convey the most of the soldiers as gung-ho killing machines. Instead the audience can see the fear conveyed by soldiers and how they don't want to kill the enemy. This is very realistic as according to a program recently, only 2% of the soldiers in WW2 actually shot to kill the enemy. Most of the soldiers just shot anywhere with no intention of killing anyone or even purposely forget to put ammo in their guns so they wouldn't be able to shoot anyone.

One of the amazing things about TRL was that the audience felt sympathy for when the Japanese died. Even though the film didn't follow the Japanese, the scenes of aftermath with the injured Japanese, we understand that they are going through the same as the American soldiers and that they don't want to fight the war.

The only problem with this film is that it is too much too long. It could have been cut to about 2 hours with no loss of coherence or plot.

Final score – 8/10
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