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Meet Joe Black (1998)
Great performance from Anthony Hopkins
Anthony Hopkins excels in the role of a wealthy businessman, both in his scenes of business dealings and his relationship with family and his guest
I also enjoyed the performances of Forlani, Harden and Tambor, I was not 100% keen on Brad Pitt's performance but I think this was writing and direction rather than the actor. For example, I found some of the hospital scenes somewhat nails on chalkboard.
There is good writing elsewhere however. There is an engaging plot - although you are left filling in blanks with regard to why characters do not act differently and also you are thinking at the end - so.....this is going to be tricky, what happens next?
There is a good tale of romance.
I liked the indoor swimming pool which I read was made especially for the film.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993)
Great series and more than a hint of Nostradamus
At the time of writing I am in deep series 4. I anticipate completing the whole caboodle in the not too distant future.
I very much like the character Quark, whose name is, amusingly, pronounced differently by various characters in the show. He reminds me very much of Boyd Crowder from Justified, but it must be said that Quark has more lobes. Quark has some really funny one-liners that have made me laugh heartily.
There is excellent interaction between the characters in Deep Space 9. I really like the enthusiasm and innocence of Jake and Nog. Odo and Quark spar well as do Bashir and O'Brien. There's an interesting relationship developing between Dukat and Nerys just now. Character development is very well done too. Odo's relationship with humanoids is engaging. The pull for Nerys between her former life as a resistance fighter and subsequent civilian life is depicted well.
But it's the apparent ability to see into the future that really intrigues me. Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised, it is Star Trek set in the future but;
They had Cardassians before we were keeping up with the Kardashians They had Cardassian Prime before we had Amazon Prime They had ipad minis in the 1990's They frequently discuss an alien force called the Dominion. At the moment there is tremendous amount of discussion about Dominion voting machines.
It's uncanny and I'm sure there's more to come.
Just Like Heaven (2005)
Very good romantic comedy
Great performances by Ruffalo and Witherspoon, good chemistry and a nicely written and witty script combine to make a very good movie.
The Proposal (2009)
Didn't do it for me or fellow viewer
I managed to watch the whole movie although my partner in film bailed about half way through saying "i don't like this film, it's a bad film".
She was wiser than I was. The Proposal lacks chemistry and cohesion. There are a few nice moments, but it's a poor, stuttering effort given the array of acting talent on show, who deserved a much better script.
There is some nice scenery - a pretty seaside town with a mountainous backdrop.
It Could Happen to You (1994)
Eminently likeable romantic comedy
Whilst Nicholas Cage does not go full on Nicholas Cage in this film, Rosie Perez does go full on Rosie Perez and is a hold the front page hilarious "baddie" also producing some of the best and funniest screaming ever in a movie.
There is a very believable romance with Fonda and Cage who have good chemistry and there are good supporting performances from other members of the cast.
I really like the music, it's bright, airy and uplifting from the get go.
It is a lovely feel good movie.
21 Bridges (2019)
Decent action film
A watchable action film with good acting from Boseman and Miller. A lot of gunfighting and a couple of chases. Some nice shots of Grand Central Station near the end which I enjoyed. I would mark it at 6.5 if I could and have rounded down rather than up as the IMDB average is at 6.6 right now.
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
A well acted movie with some great humour
I enjoyed the performances of Lawrence, Cooper, De Niro and Weaver. The interplay between them was excellent. It was my favourite performance by De Niro of films I have recently seen him in.
Overall it had a feel of "Strictly Punch Drunk Dancing" about it without the full measure of the highs and lows of those films, but with a lot of heart, good humour and entertainment.
My Cousin Vinny (1992)
Top notch comedy with a good tale
One of my favourite films that makes me smile any time I think about it.
Tomei, Pesci and Gwynne are terrific and do justice to the splendid script.
There is reference in the movie to a local staple food, "gritts" if I remember correctly. Years on from when I first saw this film, I still haven't got round to trying this, but I really want to someday - it looks kind of like fried porridge, but I'm really not sure exactly what it is.
The Judge (2014)
A good performance by Duvall, but whilst Downey Jr was good in the various relationship roles he did not convince as an attorney and for me this undermined the film.
The scenes with the weak and and inexperienced lawyer did not sit well in this film. This was no fault of the actor it was just silly plot. It worked in the excellent "My Cousin Vinnie" but was all wrong here.
Overall there are too many story lines going on, many of them sketchy and bitty so not adding anything substantive to the film.
Être et avoir (2002)
I found this rather troubling
It was interesting seeing the children undertaking their classroom tasks but I am not certain how effective the teaching was - it is not my field so I do not know, but there seemed to be a lot of rote learning without much understanding.
It also appeared to me at times that the teacher was being unkind to the children. However, I have since read in newspaper articles that the teacher and some of the parents of the children have sued the filmmakers and one of the allegations was that a number of scenes were staged. So possibly the scenes that I found troubling (in which, for example, the teacher appeared to be psychoanalysing the children and upsetting them in the process) were staged.
Staged or not it did appear to me that there was unkindness to the children as they seemed to be genuinely distressed.
A Religiosa Portuguesa (2009)
Attractive but not entertaining.
I liked the stillness of the cinematography and the vistas of Lisbon. I also liked the way that some beautiful live music was worked into the plot. However, I did not find the storylines engaging. They were ponderous and implausible. It also seemed to me that at least one of the actors found the awkward acting style altogether too awkward and so it became clumsy rather than stylised.
Sarah Cooper on Twitter = side-splitting
Sarah Cooper on Netflix = toe-curling
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2020)
Some funny gags but overall rather lame and witless and insulting to Kazakhstan
I'm from the U.K. I'd like to see a film-maker from Kazakhstan lampooning us. They would do it very well and with more wit. But evidently they have too much class.
There were some funny moments in this film, but it was mostly lame and boringly lewd at times.
It also copied Sarah Cooper (who is infinitely more entertaining) with the Usual Suspects bit.
Vesnicko má stredisková (1985)
A quirky and gentle comedy - high marks for making me laugh a lot
At the beginning I thought this might be rather arty and hard to follow, but it develops into a pleasing story of relationships in village and working life that at times is hilarious. It came out two years after Local Hero to which there appear to me to be quite a few nods.
There are good characters across the generations. The humour is witty, with some darkness and good quality slapstick. Some of the comedy was crafted in a very unexpected way that really made me chuckle and admire the writing and execution.
I felt for the pigeons.
The Handmaid's Tale (2017)
I lost engagement with this series early on. The pace was rather too slow and the demeanour of a supposedly evil character reminded me of the head teacher in Matilda and so I could not take it seriously. I will mark this review as having spoilers as the Matilda association may mar viewing for others.
The Gentlemen (2019)
Not engaging and the opposite of a class act
This was literally a switch off for me. Twisty turny gangster geysers by numbers with Hugh Grant playing a potty mouthed Griff Rees Jones.
I liked some of the lighting.
The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020)
Rather lame but not completely terrible
I've got as far as episode 3 and may take my leave there. This is just about watchable but the script is rather lame and the acting is similar to that of a corny Dr Who episode.
A fake and excruciatingly poor Scots accent has appeared in this episode. (I think it's meant to be Scots). That may be the nail in the coffin for me as it is so grating on the ear.
Film makers please use Scottish people when you want a Scots accent. Cheers!
The Wire (2002)
Some great characters, gritty story lines and occasional superb gags, but overlong and repetitive in parts
There's a helluva lot of kids called Shorty in Baltimore. Also there are a lot of police officers with a poor grasp of grammar. "I am a police". Do Fire-fighters in Baltimore say "I am a fire" ?
My favourite character was Bubs and he was certainly worthy of a newspaper piece, written in the final series. Fabulous acting by Andre Royo depicting an addict seeking to survive on the streets.
There are some really excellent gags now and then. I loved the line about not being able to wait to go to jail which was set up and delivered superbly and made me fall off the sofa laughing and the "Baltimore traditional" quote, also set up very neatly.
There are good story lines in all the different institutions and concerns the show covers. But I found the newspaper story in series 5 unconvincing. It was more Drop the Dead Donkey than All the President's Men and was implausible.
I enjoyed series 5 though as it was the series in which I most understood who everyone was. There are so many actors on show it's hard to keep up with who is who. The show gives you help and reminders with that from time to time but I was often thinking - who's that?
In the first series I got really weary of seeing the same housing estate grounds. It felt very repetitive. There was more variety of locations in later series.
I also got bored of Bunk and McNulty's rail-track meetings, which seemed superfluous and put me in mind of the "best friend with beer" meetings in Truman.
The dialogue is not always clear and so subtitles help. Sadly the service I use has famously poor subtitling just now.
I watched the Wire for the first time in 2020 and for me it is not up there with Breaking Bad and the Sopranos. Though that's rather unfair as certainly Breaking Bad has plenty of Wire echoes in it including similar dialogue, characters and at least one of the actors.
Ford v Ferrari (2019)
Very entertaining character driven movie
I enjoyed the racing scenes but it was the strong characterisation that was at the heart of this film. I think the husband and wife and father and son and mother and son scenes were all very good indeed - really natural (apart from Bale's walkabout accent) and the Damon and Bale scenes were a lot of fun.
Toivon tuolla puolen (2017)
Engaging dry humour - cool music- sweet cinematographic stillness
I enjoyed the dry humour and I really appreciated the minimalist cinematography. The camera does not pan a great deal - we see a series of "stages" both exterior and interior and within each scene objects are pared down to the minimum and we focus on the actors. I find this very soothing and pleasing to watch. A lot of modern films are rather frantic.
A central theme is asylum seeking. But there is much dry humour despite the gravity of this subject matter. Humour can be very subjective. I found it very funny indeed but I daresay many may not.
It could be spoiler to say I'm not sure how it ends. Perhaps I have missed something or perhaps we are meant to be left uncertain?
Ascenseur pour l'échafaud (1958)
A cool film with some great twists and turns but lifeless characters
This is a very cool and stylish film with a great score and I enjoyed the plot twists. But I found the characters were too aloof to care about and so there was no emotional investment in this movie on my part.
Scent of a Woman (1992)
The two leads are fabulous, it's a great plot and there are some really wonderful and unforgettable scenes.
Lovecraft Country (2020)
Not unenjoyable, but rather hammy, :especially the baddies and the plot seemed to jump forward sometimes without filling in the gaps, I kept rewinding as I thought I had inadvertently fast-forwarded.
Patrick Melrose (2018)
Some great performances
There were some strong performances - Patrick, his parents and his father's cohort were all played well. It is also a stylish series with good cinematography.
It was sometimes hard to grasp the time-line, especially in the later episodes - even though a date was put up now and then.
it kept me interested throughout, although I enjoyed the New York scenes the most.
Ki Hwanghoo (2013)
Watch out for Dennis Wise and Bryan Cranston
I'm pretty sure that with just a few letters discreetly changed in his name, the former Chelsea midfielder Dennis Wise is playing Dang Gise, one of the wicked sons of the Grand Councillor. He puts in an excellent performance.
I am seven episodes into this tale of good & evil. It is amusing and unchallenging fare. It's often the case that various characters offer up their lives for sacrifice when they have failed their betters in some way. You don't see much of that kind of thing in the U.K.
Quite a few more episodes in now and I believe that Heuk Soo, the wicked slave dealer, is being played by Bryan Cranston in a very bad wig.
Listen out too for the range of uber-dastardly smirking laughs of the Grand Chancellor - great stuff!