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Wild Target (2010)
An understated British comedy
29 June 2010
I thoroughly enjoyed this film and thought it was very entertaining. True, there were only a few laugh-out-loud moments, but it kept me chuckling away for most of the 90-odd minutes. I thought Bill Nighy's performance was spot-on and Eileen Atkins' role gave her plenty of scope for comedy moments. Rupert Everett and Gregor Fisher worked well together, and Martin Freeman was very good as Dixon. Although the plot was simple, the film was reminiscent of a lot of British comedies from the Sixties and Seventies, which was probably why I enjoyed it so much. It was also good to see something that wasn't shot in America and didn't follow the stereotypical plot lines that most American films seem to have as a matter of course.
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Avatar (2009)
Technically brilliant
22 February 2010
I've waited a long time for an opportunity to see "Avatar" and I've been eagerly anticipating it. Technically, in terms of the absolutely amazing visual effects and the use of 3D, it was fantastic, I've never seen anything like it. I was mesmerised by the illuminated vegetation and of course the amazing animals. The 3D was superb and really enhanced the film, instead of just being a gimmick. From the point of view of the story, as a science fiction fan of some 50 years, I have to say it didn't strike me as terribly original, in fact parts of it were a pastiche of concepts distilled from decades of SF novels. Some little touches like the six-legged horses came straight from Robert Heinlein's "Glory Road", for example, and I could name a couple of dozen dragon-riding tales. That apart, it was still a thought-provoking film and overall I found it a most enjoyable experience. I wasn't disappointed.
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A superb and very moving film
21 February 2010
My wife and I have just returned from seeing "My Name is Khan" and we were both very impressed. Shah Rukh Khan's performance was wonderful and the depth of emotion evoked by the leading characters had us both in tears at several points during the film. We knew before we went that this would not be a typical Bollywood movie, but we were unprepared for the giant step this took away from the stereotypical all-singing, all-dancing musical. The subjects dealt with were tackled very intelligently and the acting was first-class. I cannot recommend it too highly - this is the first time that I have rated a film on here with a "10".
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Superb and very moving
22 October 2008
I thought this was a very moving and thought-provoking film. I was relieved that the actors all spoke in "normal" English accents, no silly attempts to do the usual "We haff vays of making you talk..." normally attributed to the character of SS officers. This actually made the actions of the principal characters more alarming, in that the air of normalcy and acceptance of bigotry and intolerance was so matter-of-fact and every-day, whereas what was actually happening was monstrous and almost unthinkable.

I didn't expect the ending, I have to say, and found it powerful and extremely moving. Like another commentator, I was surprised that no-one in the audience left straight away at the end - like my wife and me, they may well have been composing themselves and drying their tears before going back out into the real world.

I was especially impressed by the two young actors, Asa Butterfield and Jack Scanlon, who I thought were superb. All credit too, to the director for getting those performances out of them.

If I had the power, I would make everybody see this film.
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300 (2006)
Historical inaccuracies overshadowed by special effects
24 January 2008
I've just seen this film on DVD, having missed it when it came to the cinema. I was impressed with the special effects and I was very moved by the final scenes. On the negative side there really wasn't much of a plot - this could be forgiven if the story line had followed the historical facts, but it didn't. The characterisations were a bit thin and I didn't feel that any attempt was made to get under the skin of Leonidas and explain what made him tick. Having said all that, the action sequences more than made up for all the other shortcomings and almost despite myself I was gripped and enthralled by it. Overall I found it very entertaining and well worth spending two hours!
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A surprisingly entertaining and amusing film
24 January 2008
My wife and I "accidentally" saw this film - we arrived at the cinema too late to see our first choice and decided we would rather not go home again; we elected to see whichever film was about to start. I didn't expect much of the film, having read a synopsis on the Cineworld website, but we were very pleasantly surprised. I thought the casting was great, especially with John Mahoney as the patriarch of the family. The plot wasn't terribly sophisticated or complex, but it was all the better for being uncomplicated. The whole film was full of feel-good factors, the principal one I suppose being the whole idea of the great big family get-together with all the kids playing happily and learning new things from each other and the adults - it was charming and made me wish I'd been able to enjoy such gatherings when I was a child. Despite its simplicity and the fact that we could guess the end from about 20 minutes in, we thoroughly enjoyed it and left feeling that we'd been "entertained".
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Fairly dire, hardly what I'd call a "thriller"
9 September 2006
The film was supposed to have been based on "true events". Yes, I'm sure it was - very, very, very loosely based. Some of the acting was nearly good enough to cover the gaping holes in the plot, but never enough to conceal the basic absurdity of it all. To the UK newspaper reviewer who allegedly said "You'll be on the edge of your seat!" I can only concede that I was - this was only because my wife had hold of the waistband of my trousers to prevent me leaving the cinema. The ending was extremely unsatisfactory and I was left feeling very sorry for the actors, whose performances are the only reason I've rated it as highly as a 5.
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