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Quite simply absolutely fabulous!
1 July 2016
I'm from someone who is a massive fan of the TV series, the film didn't disappoint. No it's not particularly original, nor is it the best comedy Saunders herself has written, but this film is so feel good you can't help but grin, giggle and laugh-out-loud throughout.

The film is brisk and whips by very quickly. Though the story is often disjointed, it's not where the film goes it's what happens while you're there. Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders are just a joy to watch and there's a ton of fan service as practically everyone who has ever been in the show makes an appearance here.

I came out of the cinema grinning ear to ear, which oddly not all comedies manage to do. It was like going for meal with an old friend that always makes you laugh.

If you weren't a fan of the show steer well clear - this is not a film for you. To those that did enjoy the show it's a must see. No it's not going to win any awards (though Joanna Lumley is such a terrific comedy actress), nor is it going to challenge the convention of comedy, but it is going to make you happy. Isn't that comedy was created for?

Absolutely Fabulous Sweetie Darling!
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A perfect combination of action, drama and thrills
20 November 2013
Poor Katniss Everdeen she is just so unlucky, what with the two stunning young men following her around, some serious skills in archery and a supporting cast of acting excellence. But in all seriousness one of the things that makes Catching Fire so good is the emotional gravitas it has, despite being a sci-fi futuristic dystopia future with really bizarre senses of style, Hunger Games has emotional weight which is really good to see in a blockbuster such as this.

Jennifer Lawrence proves she deserves the Oscar she won, even when dealing with dialogue that isn't always up to scratch, she makes it work. Her supporting cast are equally good, Donald Sutherland in particular is just brilliant.

The only reasons I have marked the film down are simple; occasionally bad dialogue, a slightly sluggish middle section and the fact the direction feels a bit less interesting than the first film. But even with these small criticism's I'd still highly recommend it and it does marginally improve on it's predecessor.
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Half masterpiece, half mediocrity.
22 January 2013
I really wanted to love this film, some of the songs and characters are some of the best in any musical and the story is engrossing and very sad. I personally have not seen the stage show, so my comments are from reading the book (which was years ago and I can barely remember it) and on the films own merits.

Generally the film hits all the bases; the drama is spot on, he comedy is dabbed here and there and songs are in their truest form. Where the film really takes flight is on the lead performance by Hugh Jackman whom is both staggeringly honest and extremely well sung (even if his voice begins to grate towards the end). Anne Hathaway steals the entire show in the mere 10 minutes of screen time she has - and she owns it - in fact the film often loses its way without her. The young actress Samantha Barks is also very good and her version of the famous "on my own" is stunning.

But where there is good there is bad, Russel Crowe being the worst offender. He neither has the acting ability nor the vocal capacity to pull off the role he is given and his songs sound more strained than the other vocalists. Amanda Seyfried also seems miscast, she has no chemistry with her males leads and her vocals sound terrible by comparison of Hathaway's or Bark's.

In other areas the film generally works, the pitiful CGI at the start not withstanding the scenery is a sight to behold. Such a shame the director has no time to really have a look at it. The camera work is a little too erratic for my personal liking and barely gives the audience time to breathe between the mood changes.

This does sound more negative than positive, but the negatives luckily don't take too much away from the general enjoyment of the film. It will likely tug on many people's heart strings but for myself I think a better director could have made this so much more.
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Wow, just wow.
20 July 2012
For the Dark Knight Rises to meet my expectations was going to be unbelievably hard, near impossible even, but it succeeded. Its a beautifully shot, awe inspiring epic film making at its best. The new characters mix in brilliantly to the verse and Alfred gives The Dark Knight Rises the depth it so desperately needs.

Though the Joker is missed for his anarchy and sheer surprise, its something that just cannot be dwelled on, Heath Ledger died along with the Nolan Joker. Bane is a great and very different villain, he is a ferocious and brutal adversary, Tom Hardy fills his shoes very well and portrays a rather surprising amount of emotion just through his eyes. Anne Hathaway is a scene stealer with her cheeky Selina Kyle, a very different take on Catwoman from Michelle Pfeiffer's. She's playful, fun and above all sexy, something that Anne Hathaway hasn't really portrayed before. But kudos go to Christian Bale who gives it all he has as Batman/Bruce Wayne, he makes the character so fleshed out and above all human and his return to the action in the film is one of the highlights.

What Dark Knight Rises manages to do is keep its long running time light on its feet, with a plot that is both engaging and interesting. It all ties together and comes full circle which is exactly what you want from a third film.

The cinematography and set pieces are just unbelievable, the choice not to use 3D benefits this film, it can stand on its own without this irritating gimmick and hopefully Dark Knight Rises will signal the reemergence of non 3D films and films shot in IMAX instead.

All in all Dark Knight Rises is a must see for fans of the last two film and anyone that likes quality film making. It gave me goosebumps on around six separate occasions, you know it's a good thing when that happens. This trilogy has been nothing short of epic and will live on well past its run at the cinemas.
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Charlize Theron makes the film, Kristen Stewart almost breaks it.
4 June 2012
This film has style, it might lack in other areas but it definitely delivers in the visuals. The sets are grand and beautiful, the Queens palace is made up up sharp edges, dark corners, they look like the Grim Reaper would be right at home here. And the lush greenery of the fairy land is stunning also, and fantastic contrast to the darker areas.

The cinematography is also brilliant, every shot is framed for optimum beauty and the lighting in every scene looks great. The special effects aren't quite the realism of Prometheus, but are twisted and Gothic, Charlize Theron turning into a flock of ravens and monsters made up of shards of black glass, look particularly good.

But visuals cannot make the film alone, the story - despite being known by everyone - sags around the half way mark, even with action coming thick and fast. The reason why this part of the film drags is lack of character development and a very poor portrayal of Snow White by Kristen Stewart. The lack of character development of the "good guys" is fatal to the overall film, none of the leads seem to have any interest in one another and their interaction seems forced. Chris Hemsworth (despeite being named in the title of the film) is barely used and just goes through the motions with the film. But nothing is as bad as Miss Stewart, though a step up from the Twilight films, just doesn't convince and bores more than anything. Her expressions don't vary and her dialogue is just painful (especially her camaraderie speech), plus her accent is lost in the clouds, god knows where she was supposed to be from.

On this front its saving grace is the ever wonderful Charlize Theron, whose performance is a tour de force of evil. But she weights the character and makes her amiable as well as malevolent. Even her voice sends chills, with an ageing depth and tone, her stare shooting daggers at anyone who dare cross her. The middle section is lost with no input from Theron, which is why the film falls so many marks.

Had Snow White and the Huntsman had been more savvy in the casting of Snow White and given the film more excitement in the middle section, the film would have been brilliant. Though the film is no car wreck, it just feels like an overlong and but very pretty piece of popcorn fodder.
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Prometheus (I) (2012)
Not quite the prequel Alien deserved, but then its not really Alien
1 June 2012
Well when Prometheus was announced some time ago I was more than a little excited, one because Alien is one of my all time favourite movies, and two Ridley Scott was directing. All these added together was more than enough to send my anticipation into a frenzy, then the first trailer came out. Oh my lord, that was it, I had to see this film at all costs.

Then something happened, another trailer was released, then another, then another. Then viral videos, then behind the scenes stuff, then more trailers. Then I kinda guessed the storyline and the outcome of the film, and now I've seen it, I was by and large correct. The marketing over load on this film, may have been overkill. Such a shame because the teaser trailer was so promising, but I did still go and watch it and I did still enjoy the film despite guessing the storyline.

Without giving too much away the film is set a few years before the original Alien film and explores the origin of mankind to the far reaches of space, but what they found may not be what they were expecting. One thing that did baffle me slightly was the technology used in the film, it made the future technology seem redundant, as the past seems far better equipped than the future, odd. But then this is both a positive and a negative, the positive being the film looks absolutely stunning, the set pieces are beautiful and detailed, the CGI is fabulous and photo realistic and virtually everything - down to the nearest speck of dust - looks good.

The cast is a nice mix, but character development is missing on most of the crew. The vast majority of them are totally forgettable, so you feel very little for them, something that is usually fatal in a "horror" film. But the main guys are great in their roles; Noomi Repace is well cast, though not a scratch on the Ellen Ripley character. Charlize Theron is fine in her cold commanding officer role, but is totally under utilised. But Michael Fassbender is on terrific form and completely steals the show, as the synthetic David.

Where my main issue with Prometheus lies is in its similarity with Alien, its more of remake than a prequel in a way. Thats not to say its exactly the same as Alien, but it feels oddly familiar and strangely lacking in originality despite trying its best to be original. The idea of the crew of Prometheus searching for mankind is very interesting, but in the end comes off as redundant and kinda lame. It tries to steer the film down a certain path, but it comes off more as ridiculous than ingenious. In the end you know what's going to happen which is another problem, and there is no real payoff at the end of the film. Not only that the film seriously lacks scares, the music is too loud and in your face. There is no gentle creeping and no silence to keep you on edge. The film therefore comes across more as a bad action film, than a good horror.

The trouble is Prometheus tried to distance itself from Alien and in doing so made itself less believable and predictable. But in a weird way I did like how they did it, could it have been better, hell yes, but did I ultimately enjoy the film, hell yes.

Prometheus isn't the masterpiece it set out to be. Its not as creepy and horrific as Alien and not as thrilling as Aliens, though it does have its own merits away from the franchise. If a sequel is made I won't be queueing round the block to see it, but I do want to come back for more. So despite a bit of mixed bag, I would still highly recommend Prometheus.
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Dark Shadows (2012)
Anyone else bored of the Depp/Burton collaboration?
26 May 2012
When Burton and Depp get it right it's an Edward Scissorhands, when they get it wrong it's a Dark Shadows. Burtons films are never "bad", though Alice in Wonderland and Planet of the Apes weren't good, Dark Shadows just doesn't really deliver when it really could of.

Johnny Depp plays the character well, but I think an English actor would have been better cast, as his accent sounds forced a lot of the time. Michelle Pfeiffer is usually fabulous but is just reduced to nothing here, and her chemistry with Depp is far more enticing than Depp's actual love interest, but it isn't explored.

The pacing is all over the place, when the film is funny, it does it quite well. But the humour is so rare, it doesn't know how to balance the horror and the comedy, leaving it feeling like two films squished into one. Depps delivery is solid as always, but I just didn't feel this was the right film role for him. I felt this way in Sweeney Todd, although I thought the performance was good I felt Depp was miscast due to his lack of singing talent.

Dark Shadows is OK, it is entertaining and has genuinely great moments in it. But these moments are too few and far between.
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Not reinventing the comedy wheel, but still pretty darn funny.
11 May 2012
OK so when Jim had sex with a pie in the original American Pie, it was the most cringe worthy, most funny moment I'd had with a teen comedy up to that point. Up till this point though the only teen comedies around were Clueless, Ferris Bueller and a few unworthy imitations. Since American Pie dazzled with its gross out and sexually charged humour, other teen films have come in to take up the mantle. Napoleon Dynamite, Mean Girls and Easy A have stolen American Pie's thunder in teen comedy and Bridesmaids and The Hangover have stolen it in gross out. But can American Pie reclaim its prior glory.

Well firstly the leads are a little old to come under teen comedy, despite them harking back to the old days, the characters have moved on a bit. The moving on is superficial and to be honest only Jim and Stiflers story lines have any impact whatsoever, so no it won't be taking the crown back. The film was unbelievably predictable, you could see the ending right from the beginning, but the ride was still enjoyable. There were some very funny moments, the opening scenes have always been among the funniest in the series and this one really did make me giggle. Its all crude stuff and you know it's going to be, of course Stifler takes crude to a new level and always has, but that's what makes his character so lovable.

American Pie Reunion doesn't quite have the ingenuity that Horrible Bosses has, nor the surprise that The Hangover has, nor the wit of Easy A or even the believable friendships that Bridesmaids has. What it does have is nostalgia, and it works by reminding the audience of what has gone before it. Yes it is funny, but with the characters ageing ten years the style of comedy could have been a little more inventive. But then again is this what the audience wants or is that just me?

One thing that stood out to me as rather annoying, is making the gay people in the film the butt of the joke. In this day and age, with American's finally coming round to equality to homosexuality, it's so backwards to see gay people used in this way.

In the end it all works out though. I like the American Pie series and my expectations were low, but you know what it actually exceeded my expectations. Yes there's no real storyline, little character development and predictable jokes, but the film intention was to make me laugh and it did just that.
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The Avengers (2012)
A great summer film. Is it more than that, sorry Joss, no it's not.
4 May 2012
The Avengers is not as good as The Dark Knight, I'm just going to say that from the off, the storyline is escapism and it has some genuinely funny moments in it, but it doesn't have the deep characters or visual spectacle. Joss Whedon's script keeps the film going, and lets be honest, this film could have been a train wreck. What makes The Avengers tick is the relationships that each of the characters have with one another. This is where the film really takes flight, when all the characters are in a pressure cooker together, it gives the film weight and suspense especially with Mark Ruffalo's Hulk. Joss Whedon should be given a lot of credit for crafting such a cohesive and well thought out script.

The Dialogue is what keeps it above board, visuals have never been Joss Whedon's strong suit, but I did notice a wink to his first feature film Serenity in zoom shots in the action sequences (see Serenity's finale as the ship falls from the sky). The film doesn't look bad by any means it just has the same sheen that the other Marvel films seem to support, but it didn't really have a choice following suit from its predecessors. But lack of visual flair is sometimes what makes me dislike these movies, they look too clean and have a sheen that makes it look too much like a cartoon for my personal taste. Other Superhero film don't seem to have this "sheen", making them more visually pleasing to me - the Nolan and Burton Batman's spring to mind as well as the Marvel Xmen films.

The film works equally as well in 2D as it does in 3D, the "third" dimension is not needed here, the visual storytelling (though nothing groundbreaking) stands on its own two feet, making the 3D gimmick unnecessary.

Its very difficult to score this film as it is by and large a fantastic superhero film, thats enjoyable from beginning to end. But enjoyment isn't all I mark it on, was the story original, well no not at all, it was an accumulation of its heroes solo films. Were the visuals good, yes, but they weren't anything you haven't seen in other similar films. The Avengers is fun and Joss's ingenious and humorous dialogue will make you come back for another sitting, but by and large this isn't a anything more than a summer popcorn film, not that it tries to be more either. But what do I know I gave Salt a 9.
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Original, absurd, funny, jumpy, clever, preposterous, obvious, surprising
24 April 2012
So many emotions and feelings came when watching this film, the first was "what have I just witnessed", the second "that was f*ing brilliant", the third "that was kinda stupid", the fourth "that was very clever", the fifth "I've never seen anything like that before" and the sixth "I wanna see it again".

I don't really know what I was expecting here to be honest, I thought it might be a fairly generic horror film with Joss Whedon's fantastically witty dialogue. And in some ways I was right but mostly I was completely wrong. This is a very hard review to write without giving away any plot points, but you may see some of it coming, but you'll never see it being done in this way before.

To be honest the only thing I can say is just go and watch it and make of it what you will. I thought it was great, and came out of the cinema with a grin on my face. This is a hard film to gauge how different people will react, I expect most will find it enjoyable and funny, but others will loathe it, its definitely a "Marmite" film. To be honest this goes for a lot of Wheadon's writing and props go to Drew Goddard for an ace first time directing gig.

So despite this rather lame review where I have struggled to comprehensively give an opinion, I really loved the film a lot and would recommend giving it a watch. But this isn't for everyone.
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Mirror Mirror (I) (2012)
Entertaining, but so very shallow
5 April 2012
Mirror mirror on the wall what is the most mediocre film of the year? Well this is definitely a contender, the well known story of Snow White is "turned on its head" and given a modern twist. But this modern twist is neither particularly well established, nor well written. The best thing in Mirror Mirror is the set pieces and costume design, the film looks lush and colourful and very "fairytale". Where the film doesn't quite hold up is in its execution of the idea, yes they are putting modern characters in non-modern setting which is pleasant, but they really could have ran with this idea more. The romantic entanglements in the film are no different from all others that have been present in all other romantic comedies, this film could have been so different but it falls into predictable which is both wincing and cliché.

This aside the film is enjoyable, but would have benefited from having Julia Roberts Evil Queen being featured even more. As the Evil Queen often points out that Snow White is annoying, and she isn't wrong. Why put someone so annoying in the lead role when there's a far more likable character in Julia Roberts, this is bizarre.

This film isn't as good as TV's Once Upon a time, but whether its better than Snow White and the Huntsman remains to be seen, but at least it won't have to try that hard.
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Once Upon a Time (2011–2018)
I am almost annoyed
14 February 2012
I'm annoyed that the premise of show should mean its a load of tosh, but I was wrong to judge it so harshly on the out-there premise. In fact this has turned out to be one of the best new TV shows around. The Pilot is a bit messy and can leave you a bit overwhelmed, but once you're around three episodes in, its got you for good.

There are some "filler" episodes around the half way mark of the first season, but the show builds and builds and delivers a climax worthy of an epic fantasy.

The idea of having the fairytale characters all in this one place could have been messy, but it has managed to rise above that. Some characters work better than others, Snow White is pitch perfect as is Prince Charming, Emma makes for a good lead and Henry is great as her son. The Evil Queen Regina is played brilliantly, enough evil to make you hate her and enough humanity to make you still love her at the end of the day.

This series is obviously not for everyone, but if you like fantasy and are a fan of the Disney fairy tales I'd give it a go. It won't disappoint.
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The suspense was fantastic, literally on edge of seat behind hands.
13 February 2012
Horror is my favourite genre of film, but these days the horror films that are churned out lack the most important thing and thats scares. While Woman in Black won't leave much of a lasting impression on you beyond the end credits, it must be noted that the film does pack a punch to your nerves where other films may just try to gross-you-out.

Set in the late 1800's, the film looks stunning set in the dark north of England. The brick work and fog really set the mood, and the under-stated lighting allows the imagination to run wild. The film is directed with a certain flare, the camera is framed perfectly to fill with horrific images and the film is edited so very crisply. The music and sound is also a big plus here, atmospheric and above all creepy. The string orchestration sneaks into the back ground and at the times of pure silence and gentle thudding, it just makes it all the more effective.

Though generally good the film does lack a fair amount of story. The first half hour seems rather pointless, and neither builds character nor furthers the story. And the worst of all is the ending, which not giving anything away, was just a little too "neat" for my liking. The other problem I had is with lead actor Daniel (Harry Potter) Radcliffe, whom seems to only have two facial expressions. Though he played gormless fear rather well, his chemistry with other actors was non-existent. The worst sign of this is with his young son, there is a major unbelievability for his love for his son and this is fatal in the final moments of the film. Though by and large this is only a minor grievance, as supporting actors are great and the bulk of the films best bits are without dialogue.

All in all Woman in Black is a superb horror film, and well worth a watch. It's a nice break to have a horror film, whose interest isn't to splatter blood and guts everywhere. It's the perfect antidote to the Hostel's and Saw's out there.
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The Muppets (2011)
Fun. lighthearted and self aware. The Muppets are back!
10 February 2012
You either love or hate the Muppet's, I'm on the side of love. There self aware comedy is one that can entertain children and adults alike and it really is commendable.

Though I'd love to give this film a 10/10 for pure enjoyment and its uplifting spirit, it is by no means perfect. Some of the jokes are a little forced and the exclusion of Rizo the rat I thought was a little silly, as his and gonzo's relationships is what made previous instalments so fun.

But these are minor grievances with a film that will fill you with joy and is perfect to take kids too. The whole gang really haven't lost there sparkle, the film will not convert people who hate the Muppet's, but for those like myself who love them its a great addition to the series.

I feel there are some paths unexplored here and with the success of the film, I hope more will be made. I personally would like to see another Christmas carol or treasure island, but this is not necessary, because if the writing is as concise as this keep doing them this way.
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J. Edgar (2011)
1st hour poor, 2nd hour better, 3rd hour dull
28 January 2012
Firstly this film is too long and I can happily sit through long films as long as they hold my interest. At 2 and a half hours long, J. Edgar was pushing it, especially because it takes a long time to really get into the story. I'm a fan of Clint Eastwood's films, Million Dollar Baby is a personal favourite of mine, but J. Edgar suffers from serious pacing issues. The film has the same problem that The Iron Lady had, told from the point of view of the character in an elderly state and it slowed the film considerably. The other major issue with this is the two story lines going on at once, the "modern" story and the "old" stories don't match, they are so different that you lose track of where you were in each one. The other issue being the story of how Edgar rose to power in the FBI is far more interesting than his quick decent into death.

Music in the film is fine but by no means spectacular, just your average strings driven arrangement. The camera is handled as Clint Eastwood often does with simplicity, nothing worth noting. Nicely framed and good at capturing the actor nuances, exactly what you want from a film of this kind. The scripting on the other hand was often laughable, especially in more dramatic moments. The "coming out" scene of Clyde Tolson is particularly funny, whether this is to do with bad acting on Armie Hammer's front or just poor scripting would involve re-watching, something that I wouldn't put myself through.

Though acting here is mostly good, Leonardo Di Caprio is obviously fantastic in the title role. Supporting actors are fine but once again nothing that stands out, Di Caprio and Hammer have decent chemistry. Naomi Watts is OK at best and Judi Dench seems to put little to no effort in her role. I haven't yet seen Dench play any other character other than Judi Dench, I think more notice needs to be put on Imelda Staunton in my opinion.

Now this isn't the worst of the elements of the film I have saved that for last. That goes to costume and makeup, now the bits based in the 1930's I'm pretty sure the actors don't have to wear clothes that are quite literally 80 years old? They look scruffy, and out of place even the costuming on more modern time characters is uninspiring. This element wasn't helped by seeing W.E. just before it whose costumes were a highlight. And the "old" make up on the actors was rubber, and you could tell. More gentle lighting could have been more forgiving on this makeup, but unfortunately it was very flushed out and you could see it was fake which completely destroyed the illusion. Once again after seeing The Iron Lady I expected more from this film on this front.

J. Edgar was a very disappointing, overlong and joyless ride. There are some poignant moments here, but they are over shadowed by poor scripting, bad costumes and makeup and uneven amateurish lighting. I expected a lot more from a veteran like Eastwood, but for a convincing portrayal of this historic man Leonardo Di Caprio does deliver, even if the rest of the film doesn't.
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W.E. (2011)
Almost, yet not quite.
28 January 2012
W.E. is one of three biopics I have seen this year, after The Iron Lady and J Edgar. Of the three I think W.E. is probably the best, but all three tread the path of the mediocre. What W.E. gets right is Wallis Simpson, Riseborough is fantastic in the lead role and has great chemistry with James D'Arcy. The biggest problem with the film is the the second tier of the romance with Abbie Cornish's Wally Winthrop, though the romance picks up momentum around the one hour mark, it slows down the pace of the Wallis Simpson segments.

The script has high and low notes, the romance at times is reduced sappiness, but these are forgivable even when they are at there worst. What is probably the biggest weakness in W.E. is the often used close up hand held camera shots. The occasional one works nicely, but these shots are put in far too often and take you out of the story. In most cases the camera work could have been more simplistic, it too often feels erratic which isn't good in the more tender moments of the film.

The music in W.E. is beautiful and the addition of "Masterpiece" in the credits is a lovely song to go side by side with the film. However sometimes the music is a little over powering, once again just a case of less is more. The much discussed and derided scene with Wallis dancing the Charleston with a tribesman to The Sex Pistols "pretty Vacant", I really liked. I felt the scene was a fun and good way to show how frivolous the character could be, using the modern day Wally's imagination to keep the scene from feeling alien.

Undoubtedly the best part of W.E. is the costume and lighting. The attention to detail in this department is incredible. Every costume looks stunning and is meticulously put together down to the nearest diamond, and the lighting makes the landscapes almost feel like paintings it really is stunning.

All in all W.E. is a great attempt from Madonna to craft a stunning looking film, though the storytelling can be muddled and the film takes around 40 minutes to really get going, its once again forgivable. Historical inaccuracies put aside would have made this film a 7, but not exploring the Nazi element could have made this so much more interesting. The negative reviews of this film aren't looking at it from fair perspective and anyone with half a brain can see though not amazing, W.E. is at least half decent and for a directors second film pretty damn good.
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The Iron Lady (2011)
For a film called "The Iron Lady" there is very little iron lady in it.
13 January 2012
This film is purely a testament to how good an actress Meryl Streep is, the film pretty much flounders in every way except the acting. So let me start off by saying, I enjoyed The Iron Lady for better or for worse. Meryl Streep is quite literally incredible, the performance is uncanny and she really transforms and transports herself in this role, playing Maggie at all ages and doing it it with verve, style and above all class. But here is where my praise ends.

The Biggest problem in the Iron lady is hap-hazard, slapdash script. Written from the point-of-view of Maggie as a senile old woman seeing her dead husband, is a little cheeky considering the woman is still alive and furthermore it really slows the films pace. It presents us an "Iron Lady" who is no longer made of iron, whether this was to make the character more likable and human, I do not know but it didn't work for me. They took a controversial figure and made her not controversial, this I believe is fatal to the overall film. Also very very little of her actual political career is mentioned, another miss-handled aspect, she is the most famous woman in British politics and to not include much of her career is silly, she is famous for politics not for being senile. A straight forward biopic here would have been far more entertaining and informative.

Now the direction, well its nothing particularly spectacular, I don't believe Meryl Streep or Jim Broadbent would need much "direction" in there acting, so i'm looking at overall choices for the film, and its OK. The director chooses some impressive shots and moments; one of her walking through Parliament with her blue hat bobbing in crowd in a sea of black suits springs to mind, but others don't mesh quite as well. A tracking shot of the road leading up to Buckingham Palace is one nice shot, but utterly pointless it doesn't further the story or make any sense as to why its used, and to make it worse, it's used twice. The Cinematography is good, and manages to keep up with the pace. But thats the problem the pacing is inconsistent, her political career is breezed through (but is the most interesting aspect), and the moments of old lady Maggie are so cumbersome.

Its a real shame cause where there are moments of utter brilliance here, its the shame the writer and director couldn't live up to their lead performer. The film is worth seeing for a towering performance from Meryl Streep, but all in all it is still enjoyable. It sounds like I'm being far more negative than I intend to be, I'm just frustrated with how good this film could of been. Please watch and make up your own mind, because I would still recommend this film.
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A letter to Stephanie Meyer
18 November 2011
Dear Stephanie Meyer,

You Ripped off Buffy the vampire slayer and Southern Vampire Mysteries and have been far too successful with it.

This films pacing is off, acting is wooden and there is no humour except for the terribly written dialogue and ugly unconvincing CGI. Bella is barely a character and more of cardboard cut out, who really isn't a very good example to young women. This girl is badly harmed after having sex with her husband, but its OK cause he didn't mean to do it. That's very reminiscent of what a lot of women in physically abusive relationships say.

It may be fantasy, but teenagers and younger are heavily influenced by what they read and watch so I'm gonna ask Stephanie Meyer.... Can you either stop writing books OR have Buffy (you already stole the characters romance why not the whole character) and have an empowering woman that teens can look up to and not feel repressed by her male counter parts.

Thanks Jay Johnson
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Black Swan (2010)
A rare and precious gem of a film, Nalatlie Portman is a knock out.
26 July 2011
Natalie Portman is a knock out in this film. She embraces it with every single ounce of her being, its a subdued performance at times, but one where she manages to get every audience member to feel for her. Not an easy task, but she takes to it like a duck (or swan) to water. The direction here is truly beautiful, though in full colour it feels at time that it could be in monochrome, it truly gives a seediness to the world its presented here.

Despite being a film based upon ballet, it is more character driven that anything else, though the main premise of the film might be put off by Black Swan this would be truly stupid thing as it really is good enough to appeal to a broad range of people.

Though it is Natalie Portman that leads this film with guns a blazing, other significant women in this film stick out. Mila Kunis's bad girl plays off against Portman brilliantly and the two form an unexpected and mysterious friendship. Barbara Hershey works well as the mother, who plays every second of the film with malevolence with what seems to be delight.Winona Ryder takes what little she is given and turns it to gold.

Black Swan is a power house of stunning direction and an ensemble of great performances. A film I literally cannot recommend any higher.
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An often amusing and fun comedy, that with a bit more spark could have been hilarious
26 July 2011
We've all had them, haven't we that man or woman you despise in a position of power over you despite the fact they may not deserve that power. We all know or know of someone who abuses that little sprinkle of power that they have. I personally have worked in catering all my adult and half my teen-aged life, and that particular industry has those types of people in spades, even when you do everything in your power to please them, its still not enough! Ever fantasised about throwing said person out of a window, I know I have. I could just have a sick sense of humour that others may not share, but I generally have hated a lot of my bosses. So in comes Horrible Bosses, a film that promises to fore fill that immoral fantasy we cannot undertake.

The promise is made, but unsurprisingly not kept. The Villains of the piece include Kevin Spacey's CEO of a major company, that tortures his employee's like a playground bully. We also have Colin Farrells, coke snorting, spoilt brat wannabe playboy who inherits his fathers company with no intention of upholding it's values. And Finally Jennifer Anistons nymphomaniac dentist, with a rather ridiculous obsession with her dental assistant. The bosses are delightfully horrible, Jennifer Anistons in particularly nasty and you can easily see why the employee's would want to off these particular human beings.

Now the premise is here, it works for the most part and the bosses are in place. But now you need your employee's and I believe this is where the stumbling block may have been. They three male leads are funny and do have great moments , but there all one piece of the same puzzle. Variety is the spice of life so they say and more varied characters would have made this all the enjoyable. Having a female or a homosexual or an ethnic minority I believe would have been funnier. Jennifer Aniston coming on to her gay assistant as opposed to her straight one would have been far more entertaining and unexpected. Thats my own thought anyway, and many of the ethnic stereotypes in Horrible Bosses come across as a little crass.

There some rather brilliant bits, two of the employee's getting high off cocaine dust is brilliant and the bosses seem to have a lot of fun here. Of the R rated films I've seen this year Horrible Bosses manages to come off somewhere in the middle, better than The Hangover: Part 2, but not quite as good as Bridesmaids. Its most comparable film is probably Bad Teacher, in that both films took some jokes too far while others didn't go far enough. I think with a smarter plot the film could have been wittier and more exciting, it manages to stagger on the line of entertaining without really stretching the audience in any way.

Its a risk free comedy, that doesn't live up to the premise. There is much to enjoyed here, but generally this is a middle of the road comedy that had way more potential.
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Harry Potter concludes. It will take your breath away...
14 July 2011
The final instalment is epic, beautiful, heart wrenching, funny, jaw dropping and enthralling. Part 1 sets the scene perfectly for the final instalment and the action comes in thick and fast. The final hour is an adrenaline rush of another kind, similar to that of Lord Of the Rings or even Return Of The Jedi every heart pounding second is deliciously played out to optimum effect and the special effects are (to put it lightly) incredible.

The Harry Potter films in general are always a joy to watch, and this one is no different. Its soul purpose is to entertain its audience and boy does it work. Scenes featuring Britains finest actors are among the most enjoyable, Helena Bonham Carter is scrumptiously evil as Bellatrix Lestrange, and another side of her is shown to fantastic comedy value. Maggie Smith was always able to steal the show even when only in the film for mere seconds, here she demonstrates just how good she really is and her scenes are some of the most enjoyable in the entire film. And Ralph Fiennes' Lord Voldermort is a joy to watch, and gives the character an almost down-to-earth characteristic that makes him all the more threatening and to a lesser extent even sympathetic.

The core core three Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint are no longer playing around in this one. Radcliffe's progression as an actor has been slow, but ultimately very good. I was worried in the fourth film when I truly believed Radcliffe could ruin the rest of the series, but by film five he got back on track and managed to hold his own against Watson and Grint who certainly have a more natural knack for acting. His Harry Potter really is fantastic by this last instalment, he gives the character a warmth and humanity that he missed at times in previous films.

All the characters in the film cement there lasting relationships in this last film, and though some rather beneficial and important moments are only scanned over, this is minor grievance as virtually nothing of significant importance is left out of the film from the book.

Harry Potter has been with me since child hood all the way to adulthood and the films have continued the magic that JK Rowling first bought to my imagination with the Philosophers (Sorcerers) Stone. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows part 2 is a fitting ending and the best in the series. And though I was never a fan of the epilogue from the book, even I struggled to hold back the tears as I bid goodbye to my childhood and my favourite fantasy saga.
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Mother's Day (I) (2010)
Though entertaining, a nonsensical plot leaves you underwhelmed
3 July 2011
Rebecca De Mornay is always a great villain in every capacity and this is no different. Her performance is fantastic and generally keeps the film from falling. The rest of the cast do an adequate job, but it is De Mornay who keeps the tension high and makes sure the thrills come fast.

The film is shot nicely, just enough gore and violence to keep you wincing, but not too much that the film is driven by it. The script though nothing special gives the villains of the piece something to play with. The victims however seem to fall at this hurdle speaking the same lines you expect to hear from this type of film. Jaime King is the biggest disappointment, her performance is flat and her characters motives are idiotic.

The plot is the biggest problem here, the holes in the plot can be seen from space and characters just don't mesh into the story properly. Despite an intriguing premise and knock out lead antagonist, Mother's Day falls in with a lot of sub-standard mainstream horror/thriller's of the moment.

I enjoyed the film a lot, but the plot holes unfortunately left me feeling underwhelmed. I spent more of film tutting at it than sitting back and enjoying it. And I'm pretty sure the intention of the film wasn't for me to be rooting for the "bad" guys at the end.
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Green Lantern (2011)
The pacing is off, the humour is wrong and the effects are lacklustre.
29 June 2011
This film suffers from a bad case of pitching. The story didn't know how to pitch itself (didn't know whether to be funny or serious), The actors didn't know how to pitch themselves (didn't know whether to be funny or serious) and the director didn't know how to bring it all together to make it totally coherent. So as you've gathered I think they pitched it incorrectly and its a shame, because I see a lot of potential here.

The overarching storyline isn't too hard to get, despite its potential they opted to dumb down the storyline to something fairly straightforward and rather trivial and clichéd. Ryan Reynolds is actually a fairly strong lead, and manages to keep film from completely sinking into the abyss. Unfortunately other characters do not match the leading man, Blake Lively despite looking the part, has no chemistry with Reynolds and acts through her speech, but really doesn't embody the role like one would expect. Peter Saarsgard is a fairly solid villain, but totally under used and the other supporting characters barely get a look in.

The other big problem is the special effects, which aren't quite up there with the likes of Xmen or Dark Knight. The Computer generated creatures are so obviously computer effects they almost look fuzzy and Reynolds suit is supposed to just be like skin armour but you can see plainly that its a poorly constructed rubber suit.

Its fair to say that at times The Green Lantern is fun, but all to often is a victim, like so many other comic book heroes, of being too generic. Had this film been more like Thor and used humour to push the story along as opposed to a weak romance and generic story telling it may have faired better.

Though sometimes The Green Lantern on the whole is enjoyable it has a lot to detract from it. Thor is far more enjoyable and I would recommend it over this. Maybe if a sequel is made they can work out some of the kinks, but for me I'm just generally awaiting Dark Knight Rises to show them all how its done.
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Bridesmaids (I) (2011)
Great comedy for all to enjoy
29 June 2011
What I loved about this film mostly is these ladies don't mind not looking glamorous if it means they will get a laugh. This is a rare thing, Hollywood women rarely are seen in an uncompromising state. Taking a film like the hangover, the women are sensible and the men make complete fools of themselves. Heaven forbid the ladies look like they have fun, its a rather stifling look at women in comedy, especially when you look at romantic comedies where the female leads rarely make much of a lasting impression.

Enter Bridesmaids which is unashamedly funny, there are so many laugh out loud moments that some of the slower moments can be forgiven. The lead performance by Kristen Wigg is fantastic, as a neurotic down her luck girl, with a sharp tongue and a magnet for disaster. Bridesmaids works in the same way The hangover did, a great ensemble in that each bring something different to the table. Though at times I felt more could have been done with the supporting cast, Kristen Wiggs character is so much fun its only a minor grievance.

The film is a laugh riot that should appeal to everyone, despite it looking more like a girls film, it is genuinely universally amusing. In fact there is enough gross out humour to compete with likes of American Pie.

Bridesmaids is without a doubt the funniest film I've seen this year, though the ending I felt was a little bit too neat any negatives are fairly minor and are made up for by so many laugh out loud moments. I would rather watch this a thousand times than watch the hangover part 2 again.
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Not so funny the second time around
9 June 2011
I loved the Hangover. The first film made me literally cry with laughter, what made it so funny was the element of surprise. Around every turn something you wouldn't expect happened. Don't get me wrong I did enjoy part 2, but I the laughs were so blatantly obvious. Part 2 isn't so much second instalment so much as a remake of the first one. It is quite literally a carbon copy of the first one, The events that take in The hangover come in the exact same order. I am a firm believer in if it ain't broke don't fix it, but such similarity with the first one cannot be overlooked.

Even making the film based around a wedding I think was a mistake, they could have made they're literal hangovers from a night out anywhere for any reason. And the film didn't have to involve looking for a missing person again. This film suffers from sex and the city syndrome where the first one had way more laughs and felt more coherent, the second follows a similar format and falls flat. Though the negative reviews for the Hangover haven't put off potential cinema goers as Sex and the City 2's did.

The film doesn't entirely sink though. It maintains an energy through out and and still has some pretty funny gags. It's not a joyless ride by any stretch, just one that feels overly familiar. Hopefully the writers will get some spark for Part 3 and make a much funnier movie.
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