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American Pastoral (2016)
Full of angst
Full of angst, portent and gravitas.
Well, certainly full of angst.
The book was probably better but if it was, it didn't translate particularly well to the screen.
Lots of good story points and concise scenes in the beginning but it later started to drag and many things weren't explained, not that it particularly marred the movie - you're just glad it was over.
I haven't read the book so can't say if it was well adapted. Some books just don't translate well to the screen. This may have been one.
Yawn yawn yawn
This has Writer/Director written and directed all over it.
Cliched idea. Long, selfi-ndulgent exchanges, poor ttempts at pithy , meaningful and hard-hitting dialogue. Pitiful attempt at film noir voice over dialogue (which I really like when well written by the likes of Chanfler or Hammett for example. Poorly delivered but the actor must have been cringing as he was forced to read them.
7.6??? (Current rating)
The writer/director must have a helluva lot of friends voting for this.
I switched off after 30 minutes and went to watch something more interesting - paint drying.
Sneaky Pete: The Longest Day (2017)
Jesus - Cranston sure like the sound of his own voice!
Jesus - Cranston sure like the sound of his own voice!
Another godam monologue!
The only reason this is scoring so highly is because there are so many viewers who have little experience of good movie-making, drama and story-telling. It's what the TV channels churn out and they accept it because they don't know any better.
Sure, it's an interesting series with lots of good points but the writer get carried away and forget what story and plot is about. I don't care if some know-nothing exec thought it was the best thing since Citizen Kane, the writing is variable and someone somewhere should have spotted this rant and just cut it.
Boring, boring, boring.
Try watching it with some sort of critical eye, eh! And stop voting so-so series 10 all the time!
Goliath: Diablo Verde (2018)
Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler!
I loved series 1. This is the first time I've been prompted to comment on series 2 although it is unnecessarily dark. Ie. it adds NOTHING to the plot.
This episode, however is drivel.
Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler! Filler!
The directors/producers should be ashamed at having let this through. As for the writers - look at their credits and you might wonder why they';re not writing parking tickets.
Give this one a miss, move on to Episode 8
Avengers Grimm: Time Wars (2018)
I often seem to review movies lower than average but this time the reviewers are right!
What's left to say?
Bad script, bad directing, bad sets, bad actors, bad, er what's left? Catering? Who knows?
I've seen some bad movies but this is up - or down! - there with the worst of them.
Hey - IMDB ratings rarely get this low, they're always over-hyped so you know this a really bad movie, you don't have to take my word for it.
Go watch it. Then I can say "I told you so".
Time Changer (2002)
Dire! Dire! Dire! Dire! And that's being generous!
A movie by fundamentalists FOR fundamentalists!
Written AND directed - god save us from writer/directors! - by a born again C!. Help!!!
If you're not a god botherer, walk away now!
If you are, well, my sympathies and good luck to you!
How the hell(!) this ever got made never mind got released is beyond mortal comprehension - must be an act of god!
It involves time travel but that only scrapes it up from a 0!
Read the reviews - not the born again rave ratings by people who haven't even had the courtesy to write a review!
A poor movie in the Dr Who vein
This has had some rave reviews which just goes to prove that you can't please all of the people all of the time. No pun intended! Or may it was.
It's a small-time - ha! - British movie written by one person (who has written for Dr Who so perhaps that says it all). You can't help but wonder if a second pair of eyes would have helped - other than the director's.
It's ultimately about three 'blokes', two in particular who are not the brightest. Yes, cue hilarious comedy!
The plot is fairly straight forward although the journey is convoluted with multiple time trips causing chaos and confusion for the characters. The writer must have used a spreadsheet to keep track so clever and well done there. However, it all seems rather over-played.
So no, I didn't find it funny or original or particularly well done.
It scores because it's time travel and we do need more time travel movies - although preferably good ones - and, of course, it features Anna Faris although occasionally she does seem like a fish out of water.
Ah well. Perhaps next time...
Billionaire Boys Club (2018)
This rolls along quite well. It's nicely paced and there are some good performances.
It's based on a true story but there the similarity ends because this story is told from the perspective of just one person (who, apparently, is not at all like the real-life character). Consequently the plot line is rather skewed, particularly at the end where it tries to tie everything together. But it doesn't do a very good job, probably because it's trying to tie an ending to a story which didn't happen!
The director had a hand in writing this. If you've read any of my other reviews you'll know what I think of writer/directors! - but, apart from the end, this ain't too bad. Apart from the plot flaws.
So, it's generally a good watch but ultimately disappointing.
7 Splinters in Time (2018)
PRODUCERS - WRITERS CANNOT DIRECT THEIR OWN MOVIES OR YOU END UP WITH GARBAGE LIKE THIS!
Writer/director! Writer/director! Writer/director! Writer/director!
PRODUCERS - WRITERS CANNOT DIRECT THEIR OWN MOVIES OR YOU END UP WITH GARBAGE LIKE THIS!
Not that shouting at them will do any good but - hey! - it's their money after all!
This was directed by someone who has watched far too many French art house movies, who STILL hasn't a clue what they're about but insists on inflicting his 'vision' on his poor audience.
The plot is non-existent. The movie is confusing and does not in any way lead you to want to know what's going on! Stick with it and it IS explained an hour in! You may have gathered as much if you haven't walked out or fallen asleep.
It's a one plot-point movie. Sheesh! Albeit with aspirations to be something else - god knows what! - but the aspiration has fooled some poor viewers into thinking it actually has some value. Well, if you're totally undemanding or only ever seen Mary Poppins, go for it. And Mary Poppins is far, far superior.
I couldn't quite bring myself to give this a 1 although that's what it probably deserves, because a) it's about time travel and b) some of the sets are wonderful.
But even avid time travel fans (of which I'm one) , do yourself a favour and give this a miss.
Isle of Dogs (2018)
A watchable mix of Japanese cartoon and doggy plot!
So... We Anderson. You may love or hate it because of him , but that's not the way to look at it. Is it a good movie? Yeah, it's ok, it's a 5. The higher scores tend to come from Anderson fan boys/girls but you make up your own mind.
It's a really odd mix of Japanese animation about dogs but it's not anime. The dogs are 'nice' but not cute. Mot of the dialogue is in English but there are moments of Japanese which are not translated. Slightly irritating but no big deal as you can still follow the plot.
Speaking of plot - it works fairly well, and is better for being in a cartoon. It probably wouldn't work as a live movie. It's engaging and there are a couple of characters you can empathise with.
And it has a host of stars doing the voices - I won't list them all, check the list.
It's rated a PG but I'd definitely not want younger children watching it so check it out before showing it to younger viewers.
A must for anyone who loves Westerns and John Wayne
It's really interesting to look at some of these old movies from the 40s and 50s. They had a directness and economy of style and language that is lacking in so many movies and TV series these days.
Modern screen writers could learn a lot from watching them. Note, if you will, that few have the same writer and director - a fact that makes them far, far better than the vast majority of writer/director movies these days, certainly at least as far as story goes.
Dakota is typical John Wayne fare. John Wayne plays John Wayne and we love him for it. We know who the good and bad guys are and the script is not without its subtleties. We know who's going to win but not always who the casualties may be.
A (relatively) young Walter Brennan plays, er, Walter Brennan - yes, and that's why we love him! - and the whole thing is packaged in an economy. bite-sized package, ideal Saturday morning fare and, of course, a must for anyone who loves Westerns and John Wayne.
Side note - the plot does, in part, include 'fields of wheat;, a phrase that will resonate (possibly in an ironic way) with viewers in the UK in 2018!
Yeah, give it a watch
This is a sort of feel-good movie with aspirations of profundity and moralising (that seems to be a def fato inclusion for the Americans) although the source seems to be French (but I've not confirmed that).
I'm being overly-picky (which comes of watching too many movies) but there's just a touch too many coincidences in it and although there are some 'light' moments, there are also some dark ones and I'm not sure that it truly qualifies as a 'comedy' unless they're also including 'odd moments of whimsy'.
That aside, it's weird to see Simon Pegg in this role. and although he performs admirably, I'm not sure he's 100% suited to it. Him and Rosamund Pike? Well, stranger things have happened.
But Pike is great and there's also Jean Reno - yay! - and Christopher Plummer in a cameo.
I'm mainly being picky about the script but most folks won't notice. Yeah, go watch it. It's a bit of light fluff and may inspire you to,well, something. Or not...
My first instincts were right...
Right! My thoughts after an hour...
Derivative, predictable drivel. Psycho gets control of a smart home, monitors family - gosh, that's original! - hacks into computer system, etc, etc, etc. The authorities don't believe it. Ring any bells? It should ring a whole campanile!
But if you can stick it out for an hour, it actually, amazingly starts to get more interesting. Although still largely predictable, with the obvious 'hero' stupid moves, and with more script Uh Ohs than you really want.
Any attempt at redemption after an hour eventually dissolves into a hackneyed, cliched story line. Poor writing.
Having said that, if you like this sort of movie, it's as good - or as bad as any! But do yourself a favour and watch a Pierce Brosnan James Bond rerun! And because or Pierce, I just can't bring myself to give it 1*!
But hey - I watch these things so you don't have to!
Funny as leprosy!
It's a stupid story about stupid, stupid people. It's not so much comedy as poor farce and slapstick and if you get one laugh out of the movie, good luck to you. Unless you're American as many reviewer seem to be, and apologies to any Americans who really do have a sense of humour. Yeah, I'm British!
The script is awful with coincidence building on coincidence. C'mon guys! No surprise it took 4 people to pull it together! What a Smörgåsbord! Based on a true story? Yeah, like, someone robs a bank!
Can not believe that Owen Wilson got involved in it. He's always good value and he's as good as he can be in this. Best of the bunch is Kristen Wiig but the acting is dire. There are a couple of ok cameos but most are too far OTT.
Mr. Church (2016)
A superb movie!
It's a little bit of a weepy mixed with a bit of a feel-good movie but the script by Susan McMartin is excellent and the whole thing is superbly directed and edited.
The storyline has a very few question marks in it (which comes of watching too many movies!) but just go with the flow and appreciate the whole.
Eddie Murphy plays heavily against type although he's not required to play a vast range. My biggest criticism - and you may see how niggly this may be - is when he says "my dear" which he uses a lot and which really doesn't fit him at all. It may suit the character but it's a phrase he just doesn't deliver well and it pulls me right out of the story.
Yeah, well, maybe that's just me.
See, niggle, niggle ,niggle.
But this is one of the more intelligent, emotional movies of recent years and well worth your time watching.
I Feel Pretty (2018)
Such a shame. We can only blame the writers/directors who totally spoiled - or failed to deliver on - what's a essentially a good idea.
Yes, it's incredibly derivative - Big (which it actually references), What Women Want, Shallow Hal, etc, etc... So the basic idea is not original. It also tries to play on and to the current movement that we should be happy with who and what we are, particularly women who seem to get the short end of the stick in this department.
That's a big ask and, for me, the movie doesn't really pull it off, mainly through the script. And at 1:50, it's 20 minutes too long. Writers/directors - god preserve us! Producers certainly don't!!
The large number of 1* votes would seem to agree although I don't think it's that bad. It's not well cast. Amy Schumer is sort of okay but not the first person you'd think of when you think of an ';average woman' although she is 'beautied down'. There's a few nice cameos but best player for me is Rory Scovel although he doesn't have to play a vast range.
As for comedy, it's nowhere near as funny as it thinks it is. Put that alongside not really pulling off the goal and it's ultimately disappointing.
Orange Sunshine (2016)
It's about state control, not freedom.
It is, of course, one person's look at the era and although it is a fascinating glimpse into history and the state of the USA (and some of the world) at the time, it's easy to see how it might polarise opinion, although not so much among enlightened and free-thinking viewers.
It's really interesting to see Nixon wage his 'war on drugs' as so many other 'leaders' of the US and other countries continue to do. A few enlightened administrations have realised their folly and relaxed their grip. The thing is - it's not about 'drugs' as such, it about what the state is unable to control And that, Dear Reader, is the crux of the matter and the crux of the movie.
One of the best lines in the movie is: "If laws are wrong we have to break them!". There are so many laws today which are wrong from so many viewpoints and on so many levels with so-called 'law-makers' justifying their decisions to restrict freedom and limit control in the name of whatever-they-deem-politically-suitable-at-the-time. Make no mistake - it's about controlling you, very little else.
Everyone needs to step up to the plate and not roll over when Big Brother makes a new decress.
Well, that was a rant, wasn't it...?
Westworld: Kiksuya (2018)
This series just gets worse. It's a case of the Emperor's New Clothes...
I love Sci Fi. I love the idea this is based on but, oh dear...
It's deja vu all over again. If we haven't seen a previous episode like this them I've been dreaming.
The series is getting increasingly worse. It has more plot holes, loop holes, gaps, inconsistencies, irrelevancies and simply confusing storylines that I doubt even the creator's know what's going on.
But, obviously, some reviewers think their lack of understanding means it must be 'very clever' - a case of the Emperor's New Clothes...
This episode does absolutely nothing to further the plot. It's one of those filler episodes the writers churn out when they want to pad out a series - and god knows, it's padded out enough.
Hopkins, on the rare occasions he appears, is brilliant, but the writers have definitely lost the plot!
More flaws than I can name but watch it anyway.
Easy to see how this garners high scores but difficult to understand why the scorers have such a limited movie history or any sense of 'story'. (Breaking Bad probably started it - yawn. You just need to watch the first and last 5 minutes to get the story.) In summary - aspire to be more than you are with confusing and confused plot elements and scenes to give the viewers a sense of complex ingenuity and there's a hit! (This doesn't apply to Breaking Bad which was just as slow a tortoise sh*it.)
Anyway, Westworld is a truly ambitious project, complex beyond even the writers' understanding - if anyone claims to be able to explain ALL the plot points, they're lying. Absolutely. I could list the holes and defy anyone to plug them all but that would be a spoiler and it seems those who think this is the movie equivalent god's second coming wouldn't care anyway. Such is the way it goes with movies and religion.
One laugh-out-loud and shaking-of-the-head moment in particular occurs in Season 2 (yeah, you'll have to watch it all now) where an avid fight scene is accompanied by an excerpt from Beethoven's Eroica symphony, contrasting vicious fighting with slow, classical music. The writer must have been dying to write a scene like that for years!! As it happens, it's the Funeral March from the symphony which is slightly ironic although that doesn't negate the overall effect. Ah well... Tropes R Us.
I loved robots and the overall theme but it's truly, truly got lost in the writing in an overly ambitious attempt to be 'clever'. It's not. But it certainly has fooled many reviewers. A bit like the Emperor's New Clothes...
Superb screenplay and very well directed. Watch it!
Tony Gilroy! Tony Gilroy! Tony Gilroy!
Never heard of him? He wrote this!
At last, a solid, intelligent screenplay, superbly plotted with great dialogue - and well directed, too. They are much rarer than you may think - unless you have low expectations which is often a necessary approach to most movie releases.
Excellent play by Jon Hamm and Rosamund Pike altho Pike doesn't have a massive part. And what's she doing? Two Middle East movies on the trot - 7 Days in Entebbe - altho playing very different characters on two different sides. Love her, tho!
There's a lot of politics here but not so much that you can't follow (don't snooze) but at heart it's a thriller and an excellent one at that.
After the recent crop of movies I've been watching, I can't believe this appeared virtually unannounced with no fanfare.
For Dwayne Johnson fans and lovers of mindless monster movies only
I love Dwayne Johnson and his action adventure movies.
This, however, is not one of his best. It's derivative (King Kong and any monster movie you've seen) and you wonder if this is the best of a bad bunch of scripts he's been given.
The screenplay is bitty, patchy and has more plot loopholes than a Swiss cheese. Not that there's much of a plot. No wonder they had so many writers working on it - a shame they couldn't pull it together, particularly to remove the drag from the mid section. There are some nice lines - and lots of poor ones - which make you wonder if all the writers saw all the screenplay at the same time or just worked on individual sections or characters.
Being a Johnson fan I sort of went along with 'his guys' but the baddies are cartoon characters and the 'monsters' are just your typical big monster destroying a city type of thing.
A real shame coz Johnson can do much better than this. Well, so could just about anyone.
The Bookshop (2017)
Ok but not the best it could have been
I love books and I love Bill Nighy and Emily Mortimer and they play to their strengths in this charming period piece about vindictive English small-mindedness.
However, I'm sure the book was far better than the movie - god save us, as ever, from writer/directors! - as the screenplay doesn't quite come off and some of the characters'' lines don't flow or hang together terribly well. The pace is slow but not painfully slow apart from those sections with songs which do absolutely nothing except make you wish they'd end!
The period setting is wonderful but not enough to carry the movie. The inevitable ending is heavily telegraphed in the first part of the movie - c'mon Coixet! But I did love the Ray Bradbury references.
I was charmed by the idea and setting but if you're not a book lover or a particular fan of the actors - really?? - you may not get much out of it.
An interesting enough movie but poorly executed
This is really tough to review because it's based on terrible true events so all sorts of things come into play such as accuracy and political bias. I've scored for 'entertainment' (not wishing to demean any of the movie's other aspects) as that, primarily, is what I watch a movie for. If I want facts I'll watch a documentary and I go elsewhere for political opinion.
So... As a movie it's quite watchable apart from the absolutely dire intercutting with contemporary dance scenes. Whoever the heck thought this was a good idea should hang their head in shame.
As at least one reviewer has mentioned, the script tries to humanise the terrorists rather than the hostages which gives a slightly skewed view. More hostage empathy and we'd be rooting for them all the more.
At the end, the movie pops up a few 'this is what happened afterwards' events but leaves out so much. However, there is a very interesting one which might partly explain Israel's current aggression (if anything can) - keep your eyes peeled for it!
Brilliant stars in Rosamund Pike, Daniel Bruhl, and Eddie Marsan, with a superb cameo from Nonso Anozie as the deranged Idi Amin.
It begs comparison with Raid On Entebbe (1976) with the wonderful Peter Finch and in such a comparison it comes a poor second although, as ever, it's interesting to look at a situation in different ways.
The Jurassic Games (2018)
Terribly derivative but still a bit of a romp
It's not a bad movie, it's just far and away not as good as it might have been. You've got to blame the (sigh) writer/director for that although he did have a hand with the writing which is possibly why it's not as bad as it might have been.
First of all it's so derivative - the Jurassic Park series, of course, Running Man, Ender's Game, the Death Race series, and all the YA movies like Maze Runner and the Hunger Games. And loads more.
And, yes, it was made on a budget, hence the complain about the poor SFX although for a B movie they're not too bad. I was thinking they must have got a job lot of dinosaur graphics.
Anyway, taking all that into account, the story line isn't too bad as far as these things go - I can't believe one reviewer actually said it was original!! - go figure - and it's generally pacy enough to keep you watching, at least with one eye, although you know how it's going to end.
Maybe you've got to be in the right mood to watch something like this but it you are, give it a whirl.
Escape Plan 2: Hades (2018)
If you're not a Sly fan, give it a miss
I'm gonna disagree with most of the reviews here.
Yes, it's a poor script and - well, read the reviews... - but I like Sly and the thing has a bit of a Sci Fi element (not the best, but reasonable. Ish) and it has a bit pace and a couple of little twists. Yeah, the fight scenes generally suck, tho.
I can see how it might seem poor in comparison to the first one and you can see how they're tried to step it up a notch but the script and direction definitely need some attention.
If you're a Sly fan (even tho, as some of the reviews point out, he's not the main character) suspend your disbelief and roll along with it. If you're not, ogive it a miss.