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The Call Up (2016)
8/10
Who paid for the low (4.9) IMDb score?
14 June 2019
Who paid for the low (4.9) IMDb score?

There's something like 6000+ votes for what is a rather obscure movie.

It's certainly not a D-grade thing that belongs below a score of 5. I personally score it at about an 8, but a 7 would also be fair.

So. Somebody really hated the people who made it? Somebody didn't get paid? Somebody made a slur against somebody else? If I could be bothered I'd go hunt it up.

But that negative score is most definitely artificial.

Anyway.

This film is like an extended Black Mirror episode, and I don't just mean by that "It's SF and modern! Like that, um, .... mirror thingy!' No it IS actually like a Black Mirror episode, in content and atmosphere. Very much so.

It's not the most wonderful film ever made.

But let's say - It's better than M Night's 'Glass'. I know that's a low, low bar but I was surprised by how much I ended up enjoying that piece of silliness after hating everything that came before it. It's not as good as 'Arrival'. It's a country mile better than that load of excrement 'I Am Mother' that recently smeared-up our screens.

'The Call Up' has reasonable acting. A good concept - done before like everything in current SF but not done exactly this way before. Props and scenery are good enough. Denouement is a good one and the script earns it. And it's not boring, it keeps you watching.

It's actually a pretty good film, I have to say.

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Cam (2018)
6/10
JUST falls short! Worth watching but could have been a MASTERPIECE
31 December 2018
If they had just spent one more week writing, this could have been one of the most well executed pieces of modern Science Fiction so far. Certainly of the last year just gone, at least.

The build-up is wonderful, but it never stops. You get to way, way too close to the end of the film and it's STILL building up. Then they crush the resolution in.

I'll say this, at least the ambiguities are OK for once! it doesn't just lazily end with nothing resolved, thankfully.
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You (2018– )
8/10
Go Sera!
31 December 2018
Sera Gamble really is one to watch. Whatever she gets behind or gets involved is almost guaranteed to be worth checking out.

YOU is going to offend a LOT of people. That's frigging GREAT ... :)
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Bird Box (2018)
1/10
Mistakes were made ...
31 December 2018
Stop putting 'A Netflix Original' on the start of things as though it were some badge of pride. You've made a couple of good things. You've made many dreadful ones and this pile of garbage is one of them.
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Astral (III) (2018)
1/10
Who the hell is rating this higher than 1?
26 November 2018
What kills this is the script and the dialogue. And gee, take those away and you have .... nothing, really.

It looks nice, the actors do the best they can, the music is competent, the special effects are competent.

But with the dialogue and script gone:

The cinematography makes no sense at all.

The actors just embarass themselves, and the speeches are absurd and boring.

The music keeps just surging at completely random intervals.

The special effects convey a story that keeps changing direction as the drunken author wakes up and scribbles another paragraph.

If I were a producer and this landed on my desk as a DEMO? I'd have a good laugh, then possibly call the creators in for a chat:

"You folks really have potential. We're going to give you a REAL script to work with and see what you do, but this demo? It must NEVER reach the public or you will never have any credibility associated with your names? Understand me?"
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1/10
Astoundingly, worse even than the 2nd AvP film
21 November 2018
I don't understand something. He made the Martian, and it was a great film based on a great book. Then he did this, and everyone involved should really go to gaol. How? How did this happen?
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Black (2017)
1/10
Definitely unwatchable!
11 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Got 10 minutes in and just couldn't stomach the appalling lack of skill or craft or anything worthy.

I felt rather like the character in the absurd opening minutes (not a spoiler, it happens straight away, though you'll wish they hadn't bothered) who voids his stomach, endlessly, in an endlessly unfunny attempted-comedy scene.

This is not up to South Korea's modern cinematic standard, and is a bitter disappointment. I was shown the way to 'Black' after becoming disillusioned with mystery television in general - there isn't much of it that's good, full stop, so I/we cling to the high moments.

But this was Ed Wood bad and Marx Bros slapstick without actually being entertaining or even amusing.

The opening credits look like they were done by a high school dope-head kid. That put me off right away.

The opening scene was written by a 14 year old girl, and is just a waste of digital compositing and prosthetics.

Then the main character opener was written by a drunk, who stayed around to direct.

No, no, running away, not staying to cringe through the rest of this.

Come on, there has to be somebody on South Korea who can make the most frightening, nail-biting, gripping mystery/supernatural series imaginable. Get on the case!
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The Atoning (2017)
7/10
Negative reviews by dribbling, driveling morons, as usual
9 September 2017
This film is very low budget, and slightly stilted in a couple of places.

It still works, and works quite well.

It has a similar plot line to a major Hollywood release starring a terrible actress. I can't give its name without revealing plot details.

But that piece of crap is a multi-million dollar budget toss-fest, and 'The Atoning' is better than it.

Story builds.

Nice foreshadowing.

Spookiness.

A couple of tasteful jump-scares.

Special FX effort and money spent where it matters, not scattered willy nilly to try and polish a Spielberg or Whacko-Cows-on-Skis turd.

Soundtrack carefully subdued and only 'kicks' where it's needed.

ACTUAL PLOT! (They hired a writer.)

Extra twist, a good one, at no extra cost!

But now, we come to the problem with tiny budget films, especially intelligent ones that go over dribbling, driveling morons' heads as 'The Atoning' did.

It is this -

They have no promotional clout whatsoever.

The other day I went searching, and found what I was looking for. Sites, services and individuals that offer to give lots of positive reviews, on IMDb and other review sites, for money. I knew they existed but I had to convince myself. They do. They're real. And I don't doubt for a moment they can deliver what they offer.

Thus it is possible for Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Meth, or Dreamcatcher, or anything starring Meryl Streep or Nicole Kidman, to have an IMDb score higher than 1.

I think if the world of reviews was an honest world, few films would get above 5.

'The Atoning' deserves the 7 I'm giving it.

Eat me.

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The Circle (I) (2017)
6/10
A dark and timely warning, if poorly executed.
22 July 2017
I'd still say The Circle is worth watching, and I admire Tom Hanks and Emma Watson for doing it.

I just wish they'd hired a good editor or better writer to fix up the book's shortcomings. Actually, I haven't read the book, but whether the film follows it closely or not there's still things missing.

Watson does a great job of portraying the poor sap getting overwhelmed by the storm of BS and brainwashing gobbledygook she finds herself immersed in.

Hanks does a great job of portraying the megalomaniacal hypocrite employing every propaganda technique and piece of modern 'toy-tech' at his disposal to enlarge his empire.

The supporting cast do their best as well - especially the 'staffers' who give the most convincing, chilling, stomach-churning depictions of creeping, nasty 'modern' business practices. Those infected with the insidious disease, spreading it like religious slaves to the new recruits. Brrr.

Yes, that's all good ... but the script isn't:

It starts off well, gets heavier, gets you on side ...

Then ends. It just ... ends. Half-way through telling the story.

The point it is trying to get across with Emma Watson's character is a good one, and very dark indeed.

It covers badly needed ground such as YES, privacy IS critically important to a society, and NO, just because somebody is rich does NOT mean their ramblings and projects carry any weight whatsoever! It does careful, side-long bombing runs of the Church Of Jobs and the Church of Zuckerberg and several other deserving, soft targets.

But the story execution is so poor it just kind of plops out of nowhere, drops onto the road, then flops around dying. There is no impact.

And it misses some very important points such as hype=unsecure: the more more hyped-up something is, the more likely it is to be hackable, just due to the ridiculous pressures placed upon its development and deployment. Or the more everyone 'knows' (THINKS they know) about each other ... the more of a FANTASY the world becomes, it doesn't become more REALISTIC. All missed, along with many other points.

The Circle IMHO is worth watching, but it's just nowhere near as good as it could have been.

Shoulda hired a writer, folks.

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Colossal (2016)
8/10
Ah, morons and their negative reviews. NOT a colossal waste of time, in fact quite the opposite.
22 July 2017
I mean, being realistic, they can't help being stupid. They were born that way. It's when you read negative review after negative review for a film like this that you remember, painfully, that many people actively voted for Donald Trump and Tony Abbott.

It's sad, but it's just an evolutionary fact. Lots of the populace are very, very stupid.

For the lucky rest of us, with brains bigger than a gnat's, we get to enjoy movies like this. Clever little genre-bending, daydream, thought experiments.

I DID enjoy 'Colossal', and in fact I can only really level one criticism at it: Just after the start, during the setup, it becomes a little slow and it did bore me for a few minutes.

I decided to give it more of a chance (it really gets rolling after that point, oh boy does it), but I can see why morons would have turned off. Heck, I can see why INTELLIGENT people might have turned off, since we have been bombarded with slow pseudo-art garbage pretending to be clever.

That could explain a little more of the negativity; those who couldn't face another "Mr. Nobody" or "Melancholia" or "El Incidente" just walked away, saying "no more, no more..." And I can understand, fully. (The problem being, it left the morons who will watch anything to watch it through, and only THEN realise they didn't understand it.)

But Colossal isn't one of those self-indulgence fests.

It's tight, it resolves it's arc, and it PULLS IT OFF!

It DELIVERS.

The ridiculous premise sets it up as a fantasy, or what is sometimes called 'Slipstream' these days (stuff that bends reality weirdly, regardless of the story basis). That's a given. Then it proceeds to tell a gripping, dark, tense little tale around it (with an astounding ending).

Anne Hathaway's physical beauty is wonderfully under-stated in this piece. Her hair is a fantastic cascade of sheer, wavy messiness and her clothes are random. She gets across a "good time girl surviving issues". Similarly all her acting colleagues' characters are represented as real-world, believable types; with BAGGAGE. Then they are forced to interact, and there come the surprises.

Dark, nasty surprises.

These producers bothered to actually hire a writer, folks.

COLOSSAL is well worth your time.

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The Incident (2014)
1/10
Yes paid reviews. Yes pretentious and terrible.
16 February 2017
I am a better author than the people who wrote El Incidente.

And I say that not with arrogance, but with 100% confidence.

They made a fundamental mistake, or attempted a fundamental and cruel piece of con-artistry:

They did not start writing the script until they had begun filming.

There is no story. It turns into such a pile of waffle and gets so bogged down that we have to endure nearly ten minutes - Ten. Minutes. - of some idiot whining on and cut-flashes to try and 'explain' what is going on.

And at that point the film still has half an hour to go! Now that's hell, a hell all too similar to the two infinite-loop hells portrayed in here.

I wouldn't have bothered logging in and blasting this vile piece of rubbish, except it committed the one, UNFORGIVABLE sin:

It led me on.

At one point I was actually fascinated, watching how the two sets of victims managed their lives stuck in their own hamster-wheels ... with rules that made no sense and kept changing as the script-writers felt like changing them ... and then El Splat happened.

I missed an hour of sleep because I sat up to watch this piece of dross. It's not getting away with that.

All the positive reviews here are hired ones, the film is terrible. It is not only bad - badly acted, semi-OK cinematography, jarring cuts and annoying music - it is unoriginal and thinks it's clever. It isn't, at all.

Hoping and wishing it was a painful financial and credibility loss for all involved.

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Preacher (2016– )
8/10
Nothing to do with the excellent comic, but still excellent in its own right.
1 February 2017
I've seen people criticise this TV series *purely* on the basis that it departed completely from the comic. That's such a weak argument, and the reason it's so weak is it requires you to have no artistic appreciation of the series at all.

The series is wonderful. It has the moment-by-moment tension, and humour, of 'Breaking Bad'. But it's a wildly supernatural story evocative of 'Constantine'/'Hellblazer' (now that's another whole comic hoo-ha discussion), somewhat of the series 'Supernatural', and at the same time it's completely its own thing.

And the characters are just wonderful!

I loved the comic. This series has almost nothing to do with it. And I love this series!

Cannot wait for a firm date for Season 2!

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5/10
The highs of 'Asylum' and 'Hotel' are brought down by the lows of 'Coven' and 'Roanoke'
30 November 2016
Season 6, 'My Roanoake Nightmare', was marginally better than Season 3, 'Coven' (a very, very low bar), but still managed to be more tedious than Season 4, 'Freakshow'.

We are all waiting now for something the equal of the superb Season 5, 'Hotel' - we may possibly wait in vain, as they may never get it that together again.

So the score is taken as an average across the following components.

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Season 1 (retrospectively named 'Murder House')

7 / 10

It was a bit of an incoherent mess but it was new and exciting, and engrossing enough to be enjoyable.

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Season 2 'Asylum'

8 / 10

A TOTAL mess! But the performances and atmosphere were so awesome it was impossible not be be absorbed!

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Season 3 'Coven'

0 / 10

An absolute, abject write-off. Just embarrassing, and not even the great Ms Lange or amazing Ms Bates could save it. After 'Asylum' it was just a bitter, stinging disappointment and a slap in the face to the fans. This season should never have made it to transmission.

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Season 4 'Freakshow'

4 / 10

Had all the ingredients and a universe of potential, as well as probably the best opening titles sequence AHS has ever had. It squandered pretty much all of it and just managed to bore the viewer into seeking their thrills elsewhere. It should have had a complete re-write before filming began, as it could have been a masterpiece.

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Season 5 'Hotel'

10 / 10

The masterpiece we were all waiting for. Easily the best season of AHS ever and the one that has truly, finally, put it on the map. 'Hotel' is now the new bar, the one they have to aspire to in all future efforts -

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Season 6 'My Roanoake Nightmare'

1 / 10

  • which makes it such a shame that this is all they managed to come up with. Boring, utterly un-engaging, and overly complicated but without being particularly clever. It wanted to make you *think* it was clever, but didn't actually include the necessary smarts. Even the implied fourth-wall-breaking was done clumsily and without much evident planning.


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And so we reach an average of:

5 / 10

AHS is overall not that great, but its few great moments *are* enough to keep an audience, including this reviewer, coming back to check it out.

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Aftermath (2016)
3/10
Lot of very silly low reviews on here by very silly people
17 November 2016
Update: no, they were right, it's garbage.

I don't have high hopes for where this series goes. I resume it will just end in a pile of loose-ends boost-the-next-season mush like Lost or a dozen other series that nobody bothered to write before filming.

But this one has a big difference. It's fun.

The characters have depth and are engaging. When they hit something that could be boring, the writers move on quickly. Lots of stuff keeps happening and happening.

The best thing is that - most of the time - when the characters turn to each other to discuss something ... it's over and done quickly. We don't get The Walking Dead's miles and miles of tedious silence and meaningless back and forth'isms. It's just quick, to the point, they say their piece, and move on. Hallelujah.

I'm waiting to see how it ends. There have been a couple of bum episodes but most of them I've found rather gripping. I would have waited all the way to the end to comment but too many idiots jumped in and just started bucketing it - some after only watching the pilot.

Moro... I mean silly people.

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1/10
Starts off brilliantly! Ends up as ABJECT, DIRE CRAP!
29 August 2016
Have to bucket this piece of try-hard garbage. Have to. Because it wasted an hour and 40 minutes of my time, and left me and my S.O. basically bored and depressed that we could have done something more fun with the evening.

AFTER THE FILM STARTED OFF SO WELL!

At around the half-hour mark, whoever the good writer was just departed, and left a bunch of fumbling, drug-soaked idiots to finish off. Except they never finish, this thing drags itself along like an animated severed limb for the remaining hour.

It's so bad. It's so, so bad. And it's just amazingly so, because IT STARTED OFF SO WELL!

No direction. No purpose.

SHOCKING script errors where important elements get forgotten 2 seconds later.

Attempts to imitate great stories like The Thing ('Who Goes There' by JW Campbell) - except it can't even do a decent homage because it's such a confused, slow moving, boring MESS!

Worst kind of film. The kind that deserves punishment. Somebody should be made to pay for this. Because it STARTED OFF SO WELL, sucked us in, then turned on us. It soaked us in bile. It vomited over us. It urinated in our faces.

Do not, EVER, watch this film. You will kick your TV screen in.

YES, it REALLY IS that bad.

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Outcast (2016– )
3/10
Kirkman = STRONG OPENING; NOTHING HAPPENS for the rest of the season; CLIFFHANGER. Then rinse-repeat next Season.
22 August 2016
I gotta stop writing negative reviews. For some reason it's easier to bucket something unworthy than to praise up something good. I guess good things don't irritate you.

Kirkman has managed to irritate me. One too many times.

In fact ... that's it. I've had it with him. He's a talent-less charlatan. I won't even be bothering with Walking Dead when it returns - I read ahead on TWD and found out what happens I got so bored with waiting.

Outcast has done the same thing he always does.

First episode is really gripping. You want to know what happens.

Then:

Talk. Let's talk. Have we talked about this? You only ever want to talk, you never talk about the real issues! You're just saying that, I wanna talk about this! Have they talked about this? I dunno, we'd better talk about it. Have we talked enough? We don't talk enough anymore. I think you should talk to him. Have you talked to her? She talked to me. We talked. But I don't think we did enough talking for the group. We'd better have a group talk. We all need to talk more. We definitely haven't talked enough. You talk, you're better at talking. Hand on, I'll talk, you talk later. We all talk now or we talk later. You gotta talk to him. I have talked to him, he hasn't talked to you. I talked to him, what are you talking about? We'd better talk about that. Talk more. Come on, talk. Just talk. Talk.

Oh oh I don't know how to write a story, so I'd better create a cliffhanger ending so people think I have some suspense ability. I'm Robert Kirkman, and basically I'm a liar and a fake.

The only good points:

* Great first episode, which turned out to be the only good episode.

* Fantastic opening track by Atticus Rose et al, with excellent visuals.

* Philip Glenister (his accent was amazing too, he only let slip one English syllable that I noticed in the whole season).

* Reg E. Cathey.

* Brent Spiner.

* Wrenn Schmidt in a wet and soapy nude scene.

None of which are enough to entice me back for Season 2.

Mr. Kirkman, you are a fraud and we are done here.

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Hangar 10 (2014)
7/10
Ignore the hate. People are idiots.
13 August 2016
Ignore the hate. People are just idiots and expect the wrong things.

The low scores must have come from low brows all wanting massive FX budgets and big casts and big sets. This is a low budget story.

HANGAR 10 is a 'found footage' movie, yet another one. But it doesn't suck for several reasons:

The cast are good.

The tension builds and builds.

There are some jump scares and genuinely unsettling moments.

The camera footage isn't just random "OOh! Something is happening so we must point out the ground!" rubbish. It actually manages to stay on-point.

The later scenes get weirder and weirder.

The ending is just explosive.

Criticisms?

* Some of the CG is a bit weak in the body of the film, but it gets better as the film goes, and the stuff at the climax is astounding.

* The film goes a bit slow towards the end, and they start repeating themselves a bit, but it doesn't last long and suddenly the end-game story is upon you. It's not a boring film. Unless you are a moron with the attention span of a sparrow.

Normally I'm not a huge fan of these films, but they've been creeping up and up on me as I find better and better ones. This is a good one.

Haters gonna be morons, y'know?

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1/10
Unwatchable, pretentious, time-wasting crap. Don't bother.
26 July 2016
Couldn't get through a whole episode.

It's not often that the opening credits really, really signal what an awful programme you've stumbled upon, but 'The Honourable Woman's really, really signal it.

They look, and sound, like they were cobbled together by a drunk arts-student and never actually finished.

Over the years I've got pretty good at instantly recognising the class of B-grade horror I'm about to be subjected to, and I got this one's number right there in those very credits.

I suspended disbelief, decided to give it a try, dove in ...

... and yep, yep, regretted it.

The point where I gave up was Stephen Rea making some kind of 'be ba boo!' baby-talk speech to Lindsay Duncan on the doorstep, with her responding in kind and massive amounts of silence and sideways-looks.

I didn't realise the UK was still making this type/kind/species of crap, but it appears somebody in there has the ear of the producers.

Maggie Gyllenhaal(sister of the much more talented Jake)'s English accent is to be complemented, but her wooden, starry-eyed, condescending (to the audience, not as in in-character as a member of the privileged upper-crusters) performance just had me wanting to punch her in the face in the first few minutes.

Throw in some extreme violence every now and again to indicate this is 'International!' 'Spies!' 'Ingrigue!' 'Edgy!', 'Thats what this show is all about! Shock! Yeah!' and what 'Innovative!' 'Daring!' 'Avante Garde!' film-makers we are and ...

Yeah it's a pile of crap.

Watch something else, don't subject yourself to the beating that seeing this all the way through would be.

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Sense8 (2015–2018)
3/10
Bang your genitalia on somebody else's table, please
7 May 2016
The main word that gets used to describe this shallow piece of tedium is 'Agenda', and it's an accurate term.

There is almost no science-fiction here, save for an old concept.

If you want to see a good treatment of the same material, go and watch Shane Carruth's "UPSTREAM COLOR". Do your brain a favour and massage it with that little masterpiece. It will, at least, wash the flavour of this trash out of your mind.

Basically SENSE8 is a tedious soap-opera covering the plight of a disjoint bunch of people - most of whom are incredibly uninteresting - across the world.

With thrown in:

A ton of everybody-is-really-gay-underneath. Because, you know, according to the Whacko-Cow-Company it's really a CHOICE, not a genetic predisposition, right?

Soap. Soap. More soap. A container ship of soap. Cos, you know, characters you've just met have feelings too, right? They've only just come up off the page and you know nothing about them, but that's OK because we'll get them to TELL you all about themselves for a few hours? Rather than demonstrate their reactions? That's OK, right?

Some gay/bi pornography that is purely there for shock value. But it's OK, cos, you know, they're making a statement (of some kind), right?

A transsexual character who is there purely as a proxy for the Wachowski sisters and serves no other plot purpose or character background purpose.

A heap of cinematography that is quite pretty. But, this isn't Baraka. It's supposed to be an SF series. Can we have some story please?

Some SF, sprinkled in there - ah, THERE's the story, it was hiding underneath.

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This entire story arc could be told in about six, maybe 8 episodes, and it could have been told a lot better.

Apparently we are supposed to excuse the Wachowski sisters many things, due to the turmoil in their lives in transitioning M-to-F, and god forbid we should call them crazy!

Because, you know, the second Matrix film was definitely the product of sane minds. And great imaginations.

Because, you know, Jupiter Ascending was definitely the product of sane minds. And great imaginations.

Because, you know, the drivel-fest that was Sense8 was definitely the product of sane minds. And great imaginations.

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Leave your agenda on somebody else's bus.

Wendy Carlos transitioned finally DURING the production of 'A Clockwork Orange', and at the start of the 70s when it was deep taboo. She still produced one of the most memorable electronic soundtracks ever.

Billie Z Bright transitioned from Poppy behind the scenes, until (s)he got 'outed'. He has never stopped writing Gothic horror/romance that leaves Anne Rice in the dust.

And Chelsea Manning still writes coherent, tightly relevant and pithy articles FROM PRISON, having been finally pushed into deciding to leave her Bradley persona behind by the trauma of the Snowden affair.

To the Whacko-Cows. I strongly suggest stick to production and hire writers to do your writing. (Vince Gilligan would be my first recommendation.)

Your transexuality is not an excuse for your lack of talent!

And we're SICK of your garbage.

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Jessica Jones (2015–2019)
4/10
Yeah well, that's what happens when you let DUMB PEOPLE write a story that needed SMART AUTHORS
7 May 2016
I've almost given up on Marvel, I just think they're a bunch of silly nerds.

They really, really bit off more than they could chew with this one. This needed a smart set of writers and an acceptance that the usual lowbrow audience wasn't the target audience.

Marvel've had a couple of moments.

Deadpool is great, but it's pure slapstick and works because of everyone who contributed to the MOVIE, that's the MOVIE.

The first season of Daredevil rocked, but as everyone has already stated the second season is a disaster.

Agents of SHIELD was OK till it became obvious it was just the same plot with different toys over and over again.

I couldn't get through one episode of Agent Carter and just want Haley Atwell to die die die.

And the Thor, etc, movies - WHO CARES. It's just different clowns in different costumes and things blowing up WHO. THE ****. CARES.

Personally, I think DC are kicking their asses - certainly Gotham is. Can't believe how much I get sucked in by each episode.

So, we get to Jessica Jones ...

I think the theme music sums it up brilliantly. It starts off with this beautifully dark, jazzy theme that gives you a nice little shiver. Ooh, you think! Pensive. This has the potential to be weird and intriguing.

But then the Artist Formerly Known As The Annoying Guitarist screeches in, and with one good key-change in a wall of over-baked nonsense, pretty much any originality goes out the window. Attempt to save with one little arpeggio at the end. Enter episode...

And yeah. That's kinda how the series goes, too.

Oh one thing. If you are about to say "Yeah but the COMICS/GRAPHIC NOVELS that this was DERIVED from ...". I need you do do something for me -

Take your original comic book series for this story. In their original plastic covers. Roll them into a tight cylinder.

Now, bend over.

Drop your trousers.

And insert them violently into your anus. Get it up there. Got it up there? Oh yeahhhhhh. It's up there. It's up there gooooood.

Now, we continue.

A heroine who is utterly unlikeable. Somebody (with super powers) needs to smack her.

Her self-obsessed friend. Somebody needs to smack her.

Her annoying boyfriend. Somebody needs to smack him.

And so on and so forth.

Nobody, not one character in this entire play is likable. You don't care when or if any of them die. They are all utterly expendable.

Not even David "The Mumbling Scots Git" Tennant's acting chops could save this. He's a good villain, but this role isn't a 'likeable villain', so we get no sympathy hit there either. (Btw, he still mumbles several important lines, just like he did in Doctor Who. I don't understand why no director makes him re-take. Is it a 'best take out of 5' type situation with him??)

The concept, like all concepts, is an old one. But the setup for this usage of it really, really had the potential to be brilliant.

A gritty PI story.

Reconstructing what happens in flashback.

Shocks aplenty - who is to be trusted? Anyone?

And what of the villain's own background? What there? What can Jessica find about about h...

Oops sorry, I nearly started caring.

And that's the problem. It just fumbles on and on, with characters making stupid decision after stupid decision, and tells a story that would have fitted neatly into six episodes but they had to drag it out and out.

And as usual, they started 'talking about their feelings' (yeah, apparently Marvel's 2d-cutout characters have 'feelings', and apparently we are supposed to care about them too) towards the end, and out came the fast-forward button.

Oh and my god - the STUNT acting was ATROCIOUS! What was the story?? Every time Jessica picked something up and threw it I was reminded of the awful plays Joey got stuck in in Friends. Or the set-destruction that the boys used to do in 'The Goodies', where in it was DELIBERATE for COMIC EFFECT.

So bad.

And just for extra icing -

Extras who do everything short of breaking the fourth wall to indicate they are not real people in the street.

Nossir.

Nossir I didn't like it... by which I mean I was deeply, deeply underwhelmed.

By something that could have been REALLY GOOD.

If it hadn't been written by DUMB PEOPLE.

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The Witch (2015)
1/10
Try again
7 May 2016
I'm not sure you can get away with this kind of trash these days? I mean, back in the 80s or 90s, maybe a film where nothing happened for an hour and 32 minutes with good actors and dark cinematography and nudity and a completely over-baked soundtrack ... might have got up and bamboozled a few people.

But now? We've seen it all. These films are a dime a dozen. Style over substance, atmosphere over content, and let's do anything except write a story. Anything.

Waste of some very good actors, some great photographic direction and locations.

A depressing dark tale of ... mainly mud, farmyard animals, and the deeply religious stupidities of ... I can't even be bothered looking up which branch of christians they were. I used to know heaps about this bunch of self-flagellators but it's all gone.

Don't watch. It will depress, bore, and annoy you.

This isn't the 80s or 90s anymore.

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After.Life (2009)
1/10
Waffling.Disaster
24 March 2016
Wanted to just write 'Abject piece of crap' as a title, but figured that wouldn't actually provide much information to those wanting to know if they should watch this or not.

Don't watch After.Life - you will be bored and then very annoyed. The wankoid title IS the warning sign you thought it was.

The enjoyable parts of it are:

* Christina Ricci in the nude for most of the film - this may or may not excite you.

* Liam Neeson being Mr Blank and doing it quite menacingly - ditto.

The problem with this film is that it shoots its main device in the head.

If you have a mystery where there are two possible explanations, and you are guessing all the way along which one it is, then you only have three options:

Door 1: RESOLVE it - show which one of the explanations applied.

Wankoid.Fest is very afraid of this door.

Door 2: DON'T RESOLVE it - leave it ambiguous, but leave both explanations possible. To do this you have to have a very good script and a very watchable moment-by-moment screenplay.

Drivel.Tournament does not have either of these, and crashes into the wall as it gets REALLY confused and toys with choosing some random combination of Door 2 and Door 3 -

Door 3: Make it IMPOSSIBLE for either explanation to be correct, instead we now have an UNRELIABLE NARRATOR, and the audience has to dig out what is happening for themselves. Again, this has the requirements that Door 2 does, as well as needing said narrator.

Masturbatory.Indulgence does not have a narrator at all, instead it just has a 'bunch of people doing stuff', and thus in any brush with Door 3 it has no choice but to crash and burn. This is where the audience grabs its head and goes 'Oh no! NO! They screwwwwed it upppppp!!!!'.

Yes. They screwed it up. Right.up

Don't.Watch

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Legend (I) (2015)
6/10
A good film, but not a great film
4 March 2016
'Legend' is easily better than the 1990 piece of crap, 'The Krays'. But unfortunately that's a very low bar.

Whilst this movie sticks to the facts rather than 'the legend', it just tells the wrong story.

It tells the story of the Kray brothers, in their mid-career period in the 60s, from the point of view of Reggie Kray's girlfriend (then later wife) Frances Shea.

And, well ... there's no nice way to put this:

She's a very boring, uninteresting person.

I don't know if its Sophie Ellis-Bextor ... sorry Emily Browning's performance, or the script she was given, or if Frances was pretty much just so ordinary that there was no reason for the story to dwell on her at all. Because there's no reason for the story to dwell on her at all.

Consequently the entire film feels like it's blundering around with this giant millstone around its neck. That's for starters: it then proceeds to tell pretty much the least interesting anecdotes of the Kray brothers' part in London history.

And this gets especially frustrating when you start to realise the sheer quantity of genius-level acting ability available here, including Tom Hardy, David Thewlis, Christopher Eccleston and a huge, talented supporting cast of names and faces.

Pretty much, all of it goes to waste ...

... but not quite.

The things that keep it floating along are Tom Hardy's Ronnie and Reggie, the side performances (doing the best they can with, frankly, not the greatest material), and the way 60s London is presented: everything is fresh, everything is new, the wallpaper, the cars, the skirts, it's all state-of-the-art rather than nostalgia.

All of that is enough to make the film watchable, but not enough to propel it into fascination. Missed scenes due to checking messages and fetching snacks generally aren't worth the effort to go back and retrieve.

If you're looking for machine-guns and broken kneecaps, sorry it's not here - what's here is, instead, almost a soap-opera.

Furthermore, the twins effects don't always work. There are times it really does not feel like the two Tom Hardy's are in the same room, and with cheap efforts like 'Orphan Black' pulling it off perfectly there isn't much excuse for a 2015 high-production film.

Tom Hardy, as far as I'm concerned, is a new superman of acting. He's not a Robert DeNiro, he actually has a range. He's not a Johnny Depp, he doesn't have a glass ceiling. He's not a Gary Oldman, he hasn't started imitating himself yet.

I think I want to see some genius write a clever, clever SF film - or just a really *strange* and interesting film - and then a good director cast Tom Hardy and Jake Gyllenhaal as leads.

In the meantime, we take what we can. Like 'Legend'.

Oh - if you DO want to see a slow, thoughtful film (which you probably DIDN'T when you sat down to watch 'Legend') with Tom Hardy, that really showcases his brilliance: 'Locke' (2013).

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The Visit (I) (2015)
6/10
The impossible has happened... it's an M. Night Scamilan film and it didn't completely suck
2 March 2016
Well, OK, it had some sucky components.

As usual -

* Overblown characters with excessive dwelling on them doing cartoony, cute, 'stuff', as a substitute for actual development. And them doing ridiculous things that nobody would actually do.

* Speechy-preachy dialogue.

* Long, drawn-out scenes, over and over - except that this time most of them - MOST of them - actually *contribute* to the overall effect rather than just boring the viewer.

* Focus on the completely wrong targets: the guy always makes the film he thinks he's making, rather than the one the viewers actually end up seeing, so you end up with these completely non-sequitur, irrelevant 'development' scenes. In this case there is a completely tacked-on pre-ending that leaves the viewer going 'Why is this here? Why are we supposed to care?'

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Amazingly, NONE of which destroys it:

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The intro is attention-grabbing.

The build-up is stately and involving.

The Weird piles-on quite disturbingly.

And the twist is a GOOD one instead of something DUMB!

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This is the first thing I've seen since The 6th Sense that wasn't write-off rubbish.

Maybe he's got on, or off, the right medication??

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Para Elisa (2012)
1/10
Total Film-School Fail
25 February 2016
Director's first effort, I presume? There was a lot of competency shown here. But basically this should never have left the confines of the university it was obviously made in.

Some of the performances are quite good, especially near the start. But then they get let down time and time again by poor dialogue and inconsistent and absurd character construction.

Then, when the action starts, major tactical moments are under-scrutinised, like "that doesn't matter so we're not going to bother showing or indicating what happened". As a result, the audience is left very confused about what exactly is going on.

Then a couple of side-lines are started, then immediately dropped.

Then, finally, the ending is very, very stupid.

I hope the director meets an actual writer and tries again.

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