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Ben-Hur (2016)
And the Oscar for the greatest screw up in a motion picture
9 September 2016
What a dreadful effort, it took a lot of creativity for this film to be this bad. The frustrating thing they didn't even have to take a chance, the book is over a 150 years old, there was a blockbuster stage show and 2 blockbuster films, all they had to do was minorly tweak the original book, or use one of the smash-hit films as a guide. I venture to say Ben Hur is one of our great stories, it has everything, love, spectacle, honour, adventure, redemption, meaning, a moral, and even a miracle' where could you go wrong. But wrong they went and I was never so angry and disappointed at a film and it was all down to ineptitude and pure genius at incompetence I mean how could anyone spend 100 million on Ben Hur and get it so wrong, the mind boggles. I give it 4 stars as the 2 great iconic scenes of which we all know, the Naval battle and the Chariot race were quite good. But the story around those events, the iconic Ben Hur story was complete and utter motiveless drivel.
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Not Perfect But A Lot Better Than The IMDb Rating
1 April 2013
A simple story about a casual but loving relationship across time and 28 hotels rooms. It somehow projects 2 peoples souls in the universe of relationships. There is a beauty to it and the story lingers. It is not an action flick, but it is compelling and definitely more interesting then 5.3.

Its one of those stories that would be happy in a theatre and the performances from the the cast which consists of just 2 actors are wonderful and totally convincing.

It holds you and you are not sure how you would like the situation to end, without ruining the end I will just say it left me satisfied.

I recommend it was worth the rent.
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Queer as Folk (1999–2000)
It is still worth a watch.
14 March 2013
I am straight and I remember when this first "came out" and the debate and host of press articles it generated in mainly the lifestyle sections of our newspapers about the explicitness of the gay sex scenes. The debate was mostly positive but I remember thinking how brave C4 were to put this on, we had all seen explicit straight sex scenes on television series before which was nothing new' but never explicit gay sex scenes which at that time was new.

I watched the second ep and I was gripped from the start. To me it was about a sizeable minority out there whom us straights knew little about. The sex scenes were to me at that time shocking but sex scenes are just part of any adult drama so I was not disturbed as some where at that time. But the seminal and brilliant thing about this was the writing, Russel T Davies is a big name over here and always writes quality TV.

At that time I thought all gay people were just the Larry Grayson effeminate stereotypes, it never occurred to me that there are gay people who are as "queer as "Folk"", as in, just normal people with the same drives and ambitions who just want to live happy and hassle free lives. I also remember learning that Aiden Gillen (a fellow Dub) was not gay but straight and being minorly shocked by that.

I recently watch this again which prompted this review and I can say that this was one of the best and most educating TV shows I have ever seen. It got good ratings and I believe "added" to our more accepting attitudes to homosexuality. This is what TV dramas do at their best and this is one of the finest examples.

It is still worth a watch.
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Utopia (I) (2013–2014)
See it, but ask no-one about it, don't even read the reviews,
19 February 2013
Be surprised. This seem to sneak in, it was not heavily advertised and it was only by accident I flicked it on. It gripped me and had me counting the days for the next ep. There was surprise after surprise and at no time was I ever sure what was going to happen next and then the end twist within twists I was gobsmacked.

The series hits so many other buttons, the performances are great, the weird colour scheme, the sound track and the comic book styled characters which all add together into the most original piece of tele I have seen in years. Although I see that this is series 1 I would be satisfied if they left it stand alone. But with Black Mirror and this it is good to see C4 is back in the fringes.
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Utterly compelling.
13 February 2013
I really don't understand how this doco only scores a 7.3. It's the most compelling piece of film I have seen in years, I was gripped from the beginning to the end. It is basically about the early fight for treatment research and recognition that HIV sufferers have a disease and were entitled to respect and humanity from the wider community as it was not a punishment from God for a so called "lifestyle choice".

It is structured by piecing together a lot of archive film that is edited so brilliantly that it like watching a scripted film that tells a great story, a film with real stars and characters. The subject matter is based on HIV but what I took away from the film is how people with such a motivation did "act up" and used democracy to achieve an objective. It is compulsive viewing for any interested in any type of campaigning.

My only criticism of the film is it did not fully explore the reason for the early antagonism toward people with the virus and why the medical establishment and governments at that time were slow to act. But in the end I seen a film about a story I did not know about, a story about successful democratic campaign that has saved millions of lives. I now think these early campaigners should have got Nobel recognition. The film is that powerful.
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Pitch Perfect (2012)
A perfect bubblegum film.
20 December 2012
I was kind of forced to go to this, it would never have been a film I would have chose to see. When the movie opened I first thought it was an Australian film with that unique humour on the "strictly ballroom" vein, so things were looking up. When I start to recognize the mainly American cast I was already into the film.

Its one of those basic story lines where a group of no hopers overcome their little problems with the usual love interest as a side plot and then it all comes good in the end. It's perfect bubblegum, I smiled and laughed all the way through and the next day I found myself re-watching some of the songs on youtube.

The cast are great and IMO Rebel Wilson as Fatamy steals it. The music is great and its a perfect date movie and I thoroughly enjoyed this film. But LOL don't tell my mates.
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Elles (2011)
Intimate and close but superb.
22 November 2012
It's a film based around a journalist writing an article about student prostitution and her life as a housewife and it touches on the lives of two prostitutes. It's a strangely intimate story complemented by beautiful music and very erotic scenes. Miss Binoche is superb with all her usual beautiful nuances and command of the screen.

It's a film about the universe of a woman's soul and it's rather compelling. I thought it was great and it lingers with you, its inconclusive and that makes you draw your own conclusions, so the film will be different for everyone. I drew we are all alone and no-one really knows us.
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What a fascinating doco
13 October 2012
We are all aware of the greats of the Victorian and early Edwardian ages as the history of Britain are full of all their names. But we know little about the lives of their servants. We have no idea what their lives were like. This series fills that gap. It's fascinating a study of a life of drudgery and most times sheer purgatory of the duties and expectations of servants in a life of no rights and at a whim of a household. It was poorly paid slavery. Then it goes on to document how they gathered their rights. Dr Pamela Cox delivers the series with a passion and gives a very human side of the story. Her voice and smiling face always makes her watch-able. I somehow come away from this series a little bit more socially aware that in our modern times there are people in this age still working with no rights and suffering similar exploitation
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It lives up to its hype in spades'
21 July 2012
I think most of us going into a cinema anywhere in the world to see this film will think something about what happened in Colorado. I did, the cinema was packed with every seat taken with families, lovers, friends and excited children. We were all there to enjoy a great communal experience which the cinema can offer and this much anticipated film promised. My thoughts are with the victims and of course their families and loved ones.

The film is one of those rare anticipated films that lives up to its hype. It was stunning, a character driven plot with a modern retelling of the French revolution and it's "terror". A film about individualism with-in a community and all just wanting to do the right thing. The story packed tensions and kept you on edge with surprises. The cast was stela and all excellent, Tom Hardy as Bane was strangely memorable as a motivated psychopathic tyrant.

But I have to mention Joseph Gordon-Levitt, what a surprise, first I knew I seen him somewhere before and then it dawned on me, he was the kid in the "third rock from the sun", wow, he is all grown up now and I believe Hollywood's new kid on the block. But my favourite moments in this film was Anne Hathaway's take on the iconic cat women. Somehow she combined a sexiness and beauty but made me feel she was once the pretty girl next door. A cat woman who is human and accessible something surprisingly I never seen before.

I will bitch about the last 15 minutes of the franchise feeding ending which was very OTT. But I can't wait to see this film again on the DVD release.
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I liked it but I was disappointed
17 July 2012
I did enjoy this film, I at least thought it was better then the Raimi version. But it really could have been a lot better. There are certain films which you assume good CGI and the 3D will greatly enhance. Spiderman is one of them. I expected to see Spidey swing and scale the New York city scape, in glorious CGI and in 3D. I wanted to come out of the cinema with at least a fear of heights, but no, the CGI and the 3D effects are not great. The most amazing thing about "The Amazing Spiderman" is the question, what the hell did they spend 220 million on?. Perhaps they developed and used real Spider web instead of CGI, I don't know, does anyone else?

But I am being unfair, I did enjoy the film and my 2 nephews whom I brought along are still trying to run up the walls, they absolutely loved it. I recommend it but have low expectations, it is not The Avengers in effects or 3D but still a great film to take kids to.
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The Hollow Crown: Richard II (2012)
Season 1, Episode 1
I can see this Shakespeare chap going places
17 July 2012
I just finished watching this and I thought it was a fantastic production. There is so much to rave about from the cast, to the direction, the sets and even the score.

A particularly wonderful touch was the way Richard 2 was played like an unearthly Micheal Jackson character, he even had a monkey, a perfect nuance to the divine and lofty king Richard 2.

The cutting dialog was beautiful and wonderfully ambiguous, each line gives you a sense of wonder and sometimes a wow. I looked up the author and I can see this Shakespeare chap going places, he may even win a Bafta award someday.

Well-done the BeeB for commissioning this and I am now looking forward to the rest of the hollow crown series.
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