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Batman is great but this is over hyped
24 July 2012
Batman has always been my favourite superhero and I thought that the first two movies in this franchise were very good. It was almost a shock to me then that when I finished watching 'The Dark Knight Rises' I felt a sense of disappointment. All of the reviews I had read or heard rated this as a brilliant movie but unfortunately for me, it didn't impress me anywhere near as much as I thought it would and obviously I need to explain why;

THE BAD; Despite a pretty good opening section, the movie took too long to get going and I actually felt bored at some points. The movie is too long, definitely. At least twenty minutes could be trimmed from this. Catwoman. I love her character but I couldn't even see why she had to be in this movie and a couple of her scenes with Batman were cringe worthy. She should have had a Batman movie where she was the main villain and this felt like padding to me. I wasn't 100% convinced that Anne Hathaway was right for the part, she was OK but that's about all. I see that plenty of reviewer's here have singled her for praise but she isn't at the top of my Catwoman list, that's for sure. I also didn't think that the relationship between Batman and Catwoman worked particularly well, indeed it's the least convincing I have seen and I include the Adam West version in that statement! A couple of scenes featuring Alfred and Batman were cheesy to say the least and not that brilliantly acted.

THE GOOD; The closing forty minutes or so were very well done and quite gripping. The twist towards the end was good and I didn't see it coming. The acting is generally good especially from Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy and Christian Bale. Some of the settings look fabulous and the music fits the mood perfectly.

'The Dark Knight Rises' isn't a bad movie but it isn't a great one either. I fully expect to get ripped to pieces for this review but it is honest and I still think that 'Batman Begins' is the best of the three.
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Braveheart (1995)
"They fought like warrior poets".
4 November 2008
As a piece of film making,'Braveheart' is a fabulous piece of work.Mel Gibson deserves high praise for his performance as William Wallace,his direction, and his determination to get this film made.He should be proud of his efforts as this is an epic,sweeping tale that is gripping,emotional and involving from the very start.

This is the story of Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace.I am ashamed to admit that I had never heard of him until this movie but I can safely say that he is now world famous because of this film.Of course,many people have admired the man for many years,but 'Braveheart' has spread the word in a way that will ensure he will never be forgotten.There are several moments of historical inaccuracy on show here but it doesn't really matter as we are given an insight to the history of this character and we do learn quite a lot about him and the very harsh times he lived in.It is after all a movie and not a history lesson.

There is an excellent cast on show here.Brendan Gleeson(Hamish) and David O' Hara(Stephen)give solid support with a few comic moments thrown in.Sophie Marceau(Princess Isabelle)and Catherine McCormack(Murron)look fabulous and handle their roles perfectly.James Cosmo(Campbell) and Brian Cox(Argyle)are impressive and Ian Bannen(Robert the Bruce Sr)holds the attention brilliantly as a corrupt man that wants the best for his son no matter what the cost.As his son,Angus Macfadyen does a great job as a man torn between what is best for his family and his country.His obvious torment is well told and well handled.I do feel though that the standout performance comes from Patrick McGoohan as King Edward 1st.He is the personification of evil and spits out his lines with relish.He really should have received an Oscar nomination for this.

The cinematography is fantastic and the musical score by James Horner is worthy of the highest praise.The one thing about this movie that I was never too sure about is the romance between William Wallace and Princess Isabelle.It has always seemed a little contrived to me but it does ultimately lead to a great scene towards the end of the film concerning the dying King so in that sense it is perhaps justified.

This is a fine film and Mel Gibson truly deserved the praise that was lavished upon him.I very rarely mark anything as a ten as perfection is virtually impossible in film making.But this does score 9+ and is among my top 10 movies of all time.
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Too long and way too slow
23 October 2008
This is one of those movies that so many people on this web site absolutely love.I have read many of the reviews posted about this movie and find myself in disagreement with most of them.It isn't all bad but I will try and explain just why I can only give this film a five out of ten score.

Firstly,I will admit that the cinematography here is fabulous.A really great job was done on the look of this movie.Also,the acting is pretty good throughout although I think that the praise that Casey Affleck(Robert Ford) has garnered has been overplayed.He is good but not brilliant.In his early appearances in the movie he tries too hard to be the naive and slightly odd youngster and his voice is grating.You can just tell he is acting.He is much better later on as he becomes a more cynical character.But it must be said that there are other actors here that are just as impressive especially Garret Dillahunt(Ed Miller) and Sam Rockwell(Charley Ford).Also impressive is Sam Shephard(Frank James),who is very much underused.Brad Pitt is fine as Jesse James.Not an award winning performance but he is OK.

Now I come to the two biggest problems.The film is way too long and also way too slow.There are just too many times when the pace drags almost to a stop and there doesn't appear to be anything going on at all.I have no problem at all with films almost three hours in length if they hold the attention.'Godfather 1 & 2','The Good,The Bad & The Ugly' and 'Once Upon A Time In The West' are all wonderful movies simply because the stories are so compelling.They are involving and the pace moves towards a gripping conclusion.With 'The Assassination Of Jesse James' the pace flags too often and by half way I was losing patience and interest.

I have read reviews where people have compared this to the films of Sergio Leone.Don't make me laugh!It comes nowhere near to the tension,the sheer drama his westerns can muster.Many people will think my review is a load of rubbish but I stick by it as this is a ponderous movie.Great to look at maybe but a journey that will most definitely make you saddle sore.
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Brilliant film making
18 October 2008
Every time I watch this movie I appreciate it more and more.There are so many scenes of brilliance here,so many memorable moments.Then there is the cast which is fabulous.At first viewing,there may be a sense of disappointment that Clint Eastwood doesn't appear in the role of Harmonica.It must be said though that I don't think the role would have suited him as much as it suits Charles Bronson.He is perfect for this role as a man so obviously with a grudge against Frank whereas the role Eastwood played in the previous spaghetti westerns was of a man with no apparent grudges.I don't think the role of Harmonica would have sat comfortably with him,he was better being a man without any motives.Caludia Cardinale looks stunning as Jill McBain and shows she can act too.Jason Robards exudes charm as Cheyenne and fits the role like a glove.But the real triumph here is Henry Fonda as Frank.Playing completely against type,he gives a fabulous performance as the psychotic but intelligent villain of the piece.Yes,this is a tremendous cast.

As stated earlier,there are so many scenes of brilliance.The opening ten minutes or so,Cheyenne sliding the lamp towards Harmonica,the final shoot out.All brilliantly done and scenes that linger in the memory.I like the humour in the movie such as the Barman telling his story to Jill,stopping when Cheyenne and Harmonica have their face off and then carrying on as though nothing had happened.Also,when a gun shot is heard and the scene shifts to Cheyenne who has cut himself shaving,obviously jumping because of the noise.Very clever.

I can definitely understand why so many people call this the finest western ever but for me it is slightly behind the fantastic The Good,The Bad And The Ugly.Why?I think that the narrative in OUATITW does get a little confusing at times but I have to say that this movie is very close to being the best western ever.It is a great piece of work.

Last but not least I must pay tribute to two legends of the cinema and only need to add simply that Sergio Leone was a brilliant director and Ennio Morricone was one of the greatest film composers of all time.Geniuses the pair of them.
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Outpost (2008)
Did you hear the one about?
8 October 2008
Did you hear the one about the Englishman,the Irishman and the Scotsman?Or the Eastern European,the token black guy or the cocky American?No,it isn't a gag,just a way of explaining just how clichéd the mercenary soldiers are.This is an OK horror movie but no better than that.The acting is reasonable although there are a couple of dodgy accents.

So what is this film about.I'm still not too sure really but it does involve a machine based on some theory of Einstein's(yes really!).There are also several undead Nazi soldiers around.The problem was that I wasn't sure just why the undead soldiers were still hanging around after 60 years or so or why they were still hell bent on killing everyone in their path.OK,so it was the machine that had programmed them to act that way but it was never clearly explained or maybe I just wasn't concentrating enough.Or maybe I just didn't care.

There are some scenes that are quite atmospheric and the effects are pretty good.But this film didn't seem to explain itself very well and though it isn't terrible it certainly isn't a classic either.
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Tideland (2005)
Not for everyone
7 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
If ever there was a movie that divides opinion then it could well be this one.It isn't always easy to watch,there are moments of magic but ultimately it failed to hold my attention.I will try and explain why but it might not be that easy! The film starts off pretty uneasily with scenes of a young girl helping her Father to inject drugs.Then we meet the Mother(Queen Gunhilda) who is annoying and overacted to the hilt by Jennifer Tilly.Fortunately she doesn't last long but then again neither does Noah as played by Jeff Bridges.The film starts to go very odd indeed as we are introduced to a brother and sister,Dell and Dickens.They are played well by Janet McTeer and Brendan Fletcher but in the end they become irritating.As the young girl,Jodelle Ferland does a great job as Jeliza-Rose and pretty much holds the film together.It would take too long to go into the plot but the film is seen through the eyes of a child and when you take this into account it is a bit easier to follow the thread of the movie.

Terry Gilliam deserves credit for always attempting to make something different but his vivid imagination isn't always to my taste and there are scenes that made me cringe such as when Dickens straddles the young girl and they are almost touching tongues.OK,it is the way many children would act when they are fooling around but when one is much older than the other it bordered on cringe worthy awkwardness,at least to me.Or am I just a prude?Maybe I am as Dickens is a child also,at least mentally.I didn't like their kissing scenes though and that's a fact.The biggest problem I had really was I felt the film lost it's way after half way as the characters became a pain.Even Jeliza-Rose began to grate on the nerves a little with her doll voices.I didn't like the ending of the film either.It felt very contrived with Jeliza-Rose mistaking an injured passenger for Dickens and her finding another apparent lost soul.

I didn't hate the movie but I certainly didn't love it either.Terry Gilliam may just have too much imagination for my liking.The film has it's moments but loses itself in it's own very weird world.The director does try to make a different kind of movie but I did expect more.
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Oliver! (1968)
Has stood the test of time
4 October 2008
This is one of my favourite musicals and still feels as fresh today although it was released many years ago.It is a film I have seen a few times now but it is still a firm family favourite and it is easy to see why.

Firstly,the songs are terrific and many of them have become standards in their own right.'As Long As He Needs Me','Food Glorious Food','Pick A Pocket Or Two','I'd Do Anything',the list goes on and on.The dance numbers are equally impressive with the segments for 'Consider Yourself' and 'Who Will Buy?' a triumph in imagination and choreography.Then there is the cast which is excellent.Although Mark Lester can't really sing or dance he is a delight as Oliver.Jack Wild scores highly as Dodger,Shani Wallis is fine as Nancy and many of the supporting roles are very well played.I have always felt though that Ron Moody is the real standout here as Fagin.He is fabulous in the role.Charming,sly,corrupt and very entertaining.Special mention must also go to Oliver Reed as Bill Sikes.I do feel that his role sometimes gets overlooked but for me his is the best performance of the role I have seen.He exudes menace and most definitely looks like a man that would slit your throat in an instant.A very good and underrated performance.

This is a very entertaining movie and a real treat for the whole family.The settings are brilliantly mounted and give a real feel to the world of Dickens that truly transport you back to the grime and dirt of the period.Very well directed and well worth a look.
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God on Trial (2008 TV Movie)
Worthwhile but wordy
4 September 2008
I watched his TV drama with interest and felt as though I understood a little bit more about Jews and their beliefs.Based on a true story,it tells of imprisoned Jews in Auschwitz awaiting death and deciding to have a trial to decide if God is guilty for their living hell.It is pretty compelling and also a history lesson as various men argue their case for or against God.I did struggle at times to follow the stories the men told as they related moments from Jewish history but there can be no doubt that there was a lot of research done.

There is an impressive cast including Jack Shepherd,Stellan Skarsgard and Stephen Dillane.All of the cast act their roles very well and special mention must go to Eddie Marsen as Lieble who tells the heartbreaking story of his three boys being taken from him by Nazis and giving him the impossible choice of saving one of them.Very impressive also is Antony Sher as Akiba.He says nothing for well over an hour but it is well worth the wait when he decides to speak.What he has to say comes as a shock and pretty much decides the outcome of the trial.

This is a well made drama.Perhaps there is a too much to take in and it is a bit too long.But it does show the agonies of men nearing certain death,desperate to make some sense of the horror they have lived through.
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Pandora's Box (1929)
It's all about Louise
30 August 2008
I had tried twice before to watch this movie and frankly found it boring,so much so that I had never made it to the end.I had even bought it on DVD and sold it.Recently however,I decided to give it one more try and bought the new special edition DVD.I started to watch the film,found it to be dragging slightly but was determined to watch the film the whole way through.I made the right choice,this is a very good movie,not perfect but well worth viewing.

It is the story of Lulu,on the face of it a lady very easy to understand.She is a kept woman,a woman of low virtue...or so it seems.As we get to know the character of Lulu we learn that she is actually quite complex.She is a user,she is used,manipulative,teasing,spoilt,child like but paradoxically all woman.The story does drag a little at times but it also shows the life of a woman that you just have to know what her outcome will be.It is in general a fine film.

The cast is fine with Franz Kortner showing the intensity he needs to as Dr. Schon.The fact that in real life he couldn't stand his leading lady makes his performance more interesting.Franz Lederer deals with the character of Alwa in a competent way as he becomes obsessed with Lulu.Carl Goetz has a ball as Schigolch although we are never too sure just what part he has played in Lulu's life.She even describes him as her father at one point.Alice Roberts makes an impact in every scene she is in as the lesbian costume designer Countess Geschwitz.As Jack the Ripper Gustav Diesel shows a man struggling with his insane desires with eye popping conviction.

This film is considered to be director G W Pabst's most famous work and he does deserve enormous credit.But this is where we come to Louise Brooks who plays Lulu.She IS the movie and it would barely register without her presence.She is convincing in every scene and the very fact the Louise Brooks herself thought she couldn't act probably helped her here as she is just playing herself.She obviously does herself an injustice as she is fantastic in this role and deserves to be part of cinema legend.Undeniably beautiful,the camera adores her and she is simply wonderful.Pabst once told her that she would end up like Lulu and to a degree he was right as her career nosedived and she became a virtual recluse.Whether she hated Hollywood or Hollywood hated her is debatable.But she had the role of her life here and totally made the role her own.We can ask for no more than that.
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On reflection, this really isn't that bad
9 August 2008
I have always regarded 'Batman Forever' as the most underrated of the Batman films and gave it a score of 8. Recently I decided to watch the movie again and was surprised to find myself reasonably happy with what I saw. It is most probably down to the last two Batman movies 'Batman Begins' and 'The Dark Knight' that my opinion has changed a little because I

prefer the darker tones of those movies. So maybe it is my fault that this movie is now downgraded slightly as it was a movie of it's time and I genuinely did used to rate it highly. But where I once found the comic book look of the film to be very effective, perhaps it was overdone.

As Bruce Wayne/Batman, Val Kilmer is a bit dull in the role and doesn't seem to be particularly enjoying it. Jim Carrey is fine as The Riddler but he is a little bit too over the top at times. It is the most convincing portrayal in this movie though. Tommy Lee Jones looks uncomfortable as Two Face and he is played more like The Joker in retrospect. Nicole Kidman is wasted as Chase as she is supposed to be a tough psychologist but comes across as a lovestruck teenager. Chris O' Donnell is OK as Robin and I can understand why Robin was part of this story.

It is a reasonably entertaining film with some fabulous sets. I have always thought that the music for this film was very good and that hasn't changed. I now feel I have to drop it's overall score down to 7 and that is mainly because of the later movies. Maybe that isn't fair and I may be fickle but this is an honest reassessment of a film that has slipped, but only a little in my humble opinion.
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A good solid effort
4 August 2008
Walking into the cinema to watch 'The Dark Knight' I so wanted to award it a 10 when I walked out as so many people have done on IMDb.Batman has always been my favourite superhero by a mile and when I saw that it had soared to No.1 in the top 250 my hopes were raised considerably.I guess that the whole idea of writing reviews is to be totally honest and I can't give this fine film the maximum mark.I think it is about an 8.3.It is a good film,there is no doubt about that but it isn't the best film I have seen this year although it deserves a lot of praise.Why not a 10 or even a 9?I think it is a bit too long and it dragged ever so slightly at times.I must admit that I found the voice Batman used to be a little too gruff and he sounded like the guy who does the Carlsberg ads.The character of Two Face didn't have time to develop enough in order to show his switch from upstanding citizen to murderous psycho.These are pretty minor niggles compared to the movie as a whole though.

Christian Bale is fine as Batman(apart from the gruff voice!) and is pretty much making the part his own.Michael Caine is solid as Alfred and Morgan Freeman is his usual reliable self as Lucius.I thought that the most forgettable character was Rachel as played by Maggie Gyllenhaal.It isn't her fault as she is fine in the role but her character was easy to forget,at least for me.The most surprising performance came from Aaron Eckhart.He did very well as both Harvey Dent and Two Face and he was better than I expected.The honours for acting in this movie are tied between Heath Ledger as The Joker and Gary Oldman as Gordon.Ledger is very good although I still believe that the best performance I have seen this year is Daniel Day Lewis in TWBB.That is a hard act to follow and Heath Ledger's performance doesn't match that although to hear some people it is the best performance ever!This is where I must praise Gary Oldman who is excellent here.Never overshadowed by anyone he shares a scene with,he is the equal of Ledger and gives a performance of poise and class.

With many very good action scenes and some fine acting,there is a hell of a lot to enjoy here.On second viewing this movie may well creep up towards a 9 but for now it is a rock solid 8.
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Reasonable but overlong
27 July 2008
I found this to be a reasonable telling of a true story that gripped America in the thirties but it was definitely overlong.I do usually enjoy courtroom dramas but must admit that this isn't at the top of the tree for me.For some reason I found it to be less than gripping and I also found the editing at times to be abrupt and a bit confusing.

On the plus side,the acting is pretty good and Anthony Hopkins did well in a role that made it difficult for anyone to have any sympathy for his character.You did get the feeling that some things were never discovered such as was the child murdered by just one person and this gave the movie a flat almost empty ending.

Not too bad I suppose but at least thirty minutes too long.
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In retrospect,a disappointment
12 July 2008
It has been ages since I saw this film so I recently bought it on DVD.I have read several reviews of this by renowned critics and it is almost universally praised.I watched the movie very recently and felt a tinge of disappointment with what I saw.

The film is actually quite boring a lot of the time with lots of talking and very little action.It is the longest of the three Karloff Frankenstein movies and it definitely suffers because of this.The story is stretched out and it drags.The acting is generally OK.Basil Rathbone is not too bad as Baron Wolf though he doesn't convince as much when he approaches near mania towards the end of the movie.Lionel Atwill clearly has a ball as Krogh but the false arm story is overcooked a little.The best performance comes from Bela Lugosi as Ygor but he too seemed to be bordering on pantomime villain at times.One of the biggest weaknesses here though are any scenes where child actor Donnie Dunagan has any dialogue.He is awful and you can feel the unease of the actors every time he has something to say.I don't know what the makers were thinking giving him so much to say as he obviously struggled at times and it was a relief when he had actually got his lines out.

It isn't all bad.The sets are fantastic and it is great to see Boris Karloff again as the monster.It must be said though that in this film he really doesn't have too much to do except obey the orders of Ygor.In the first 'Frankenstein' the monster really did look like the walking dead.In 'Bride Of Frankenstein' the monster showed a more human side but here he is almost robot like and absolutely nothing is added to the character.There are a couple of good scenes with the monster.When he compares his face with Baron Wolfs and you can sense the anguish of the monster and the scenes where the Baron gives the monster a medical are interesting and well done.This isn't a terrible movie at all but it falls well short of the first two.Then again,they were a hell of a lot to live up to.
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Criminal Justice (2008–2009)
A good solid drama
5 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I have just watched this mini series and am pleased to say that it was pretty good overall with good performances in general.The plot was pacey and I liked the way that it showed prison life to be no bed of roses with a general feeling of fear as shown by new inmate Ben.The story is basically a murder mystery,did Ben do it or not?Obviously I won't disclose anything at all but the series did manage to keep me watching until the very end.

As mentioned earlier,the acting is generally impressive especially from Con O'Neil as Stone,Bill Paterson as world weary cop Harry Box and David Harewood as the intelligent but very dangerous prisoner Freddie Graham.One thing I didn't like was the near romance between Ben and his defence lawyer Frances.The lingering looks,the holding of hands,the hugs,the kisses.No,it just didn't work for me as I couldn't accept that a young lady with the chance to make a name for herself would show such weakness,especially as it was her first murder case.It may well happen in reality,maybe.But it seemed out of place and forced and at one time I felt it could have ruined this fine drama.Luckily,it didn't get out of hand but I did find myself losing a bit of interest whenever Ben and Frances were alone together.Another small gripe was that I felt that the ending was maybe a little rushed and I had a bit of difficulty accepting what Hooch did towards the end.I definitely won't give any hints here in case you haven't seen the last episode.These are relatively minor niggles in a consistently gripping and well made mini series.

You may have missed this five part series and I have no hesitation in recommending it when it is repeated which it undoubtedly will be.This is a decent drama that shows that British television can compete with more lavish crime series from America.Nice one.
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A fabulous central performance
28 June 2008
It is always a pleasure when a movie more than lives up to expectations and this one was definitely better than I expected it to be.I didn't know too much about Edith Piaf apart from the fact she was French and had the nickname 'the little sparrow'.I was shocked when I realised just what an eventful life she had and it is told in a very convincing way.

There is an excellent atmosphere throughout and it acted supremely well.Gerard Depardieu is impressive in a relatively small role and Emmanuelle Signor is very good as Titina,a prostitute that cares for a young Edith.I have been critical of her in the past but have to eat humble pie here as she proves what a fine actress she is.But the movie belongs to Marion Cotillard as Edith.She is quite simply brilliant,especially as Edith is hurtling towards the end of her life.Around the time of the Oscars I was spouting that Cate Blanchett should win best actress for her part as Elizabeth in 'the Golden Age'.As much as I think she was great in the movie,I now believe that the academy got it right in awarding the best actress gong to Marion Cotillard.It truly is a performance to remember.

This is a fine film.Moving,well directed and very well made.Don't let the fact that it is subtitled put you off in any way as dubbing would have probably ruined it.Nine out of ten and richly deserved.
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Cloverfield (2008)
Unoriginal and annoying as hell
17 June 2008
Rarely have I been so bemused by comments on IMDb about a film as I have with this one.'Jaw dropping','Awesome' are just a couple of the reviews that I read.I have just watched this film and feel compelled to give it the lowest mark I have ever given.Why?Because it is one of the most annoying movies I have ever seen and extremely unoriginal.Hand held camera?'Blair Witch'.Monster attacking New York?'King Kong','Godzilla'.Some of the scenes are even lifted straight from the 9/11 attacks.

I got the impression that a lot of the dialogue was off the cuff and unscripted.This really didn't work at all and became irritating and poorly acted.Yes,the effects are OK but if ever a film needed more that just nice effects it was this one.It lasts less than 90 minutes but still felt way too long.It really didn't work for me on any level and don't even get me started on the first 20 minutes!Boy,what a crowd.

My brother used to mess around with tapes when he was younger and try to tell spooky stories using incredibly basic sound effects.He was about thirteen at the time and this film constantly reminded me of those tapes.My brother's efforts were more original and had much better story lines.'Cloverfield' made pots of money but it is a very poor relation to many much better earth under attack movies of the past.It even rates a 7.5 on IMDbs overall score.Like I said earlier,I am completely bemused.
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Better than average chiller
10 May 2008
It must be 20 years or more since I last watched this movie and I was pleasantly surprised at how well it stands up today.It is basically a haunted house story and although that is a premise that has been done may times in the past,'The Changeling' is definitely one of the best of the genre.A good atmosphere is prominent throughout and it is nicely directed by Peter Medak.I found the séance scene to be very well done and pretty convincing,not over the top with just the right balance of realism and chills.This is a movie to be enjoyed and it should really have a higher mark than it does at present.

The acting is pretty solid by everyone with George C. Scott giving his usual excellent performance.Trish Van Devere and Melvyn Douglas offer solid support in a movie that isn't overlong and is very effective in it's own way.It also goes to show that you don't have to have blood and gore on show in order to shock.

This is well worth a viewing and while it may be a bit tame for some tastes,it is a worthwhile and stylish chiller.Recommended.
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Flaming good
19 April 2008
I watched this film for the first time in around 30 years last night and was amazed at how well it stands up today.It is gritty,funny and has a good storyline.The direction by Richard Loncraine is crisp and the acting is pretty good throughout.

As the band Flame,Noddy,Jimmy,Dave and Don do a fair job as actors.Not Oscar winners but not bad at all.Tom Conti does well in his first major role as the oily manager and Johnny Shannon is convincing as their gangster like first manager.The best performance comes from Alan Lake as Jack.He is very good in every scene he is in and should have received more recognition for this role.

The film moves along at a good pace,never drags and will surprise many people with it's edginess and at times grim reality.I have seen quite a few music based films and this is most definitely right up there with the very best.It is now quite respected and this is deserved.It really should reach a much wider audience as it is a very good attempt at showing that it is not all a bed of roses when you achieve success.The soundtrack is great and there are also a couple of scenes that without a doubt influenced the makers of 'Spinal Tap',see if you can spot them.Well done Slade.They took a big risk by making a movie like this and although their career went downhill afterwards,this is a film they can be very proud of.
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Atonement (2007)
Pretty good but not memorable
28 March 2008
Did this movie live up to the hype?No,not really.It is a watchable film to be sure but at the end of the day I felt it was OK and nothing better than that.

I won't go over the plot of the film as I am guessing that you have already watched it.It is a good story and very well filmed but I didn't feel a connection with any of the characters at all and felt no emotion throughout the film.It is nicely directed by Joe Wright although I did feel that the Dunkirk sequence was overdone and almost felt as though it was the directors way of showing how clever he was.He does do a good job overall though in fairness to him.Acting wise,James McAvoy was fine as Robbie but Keira Knightley was average at best and I am puzzled that a lot of people were pushing for her to be nominated for an Oscar.She struggled at times to show emotion and though her performance is reasonable,believe me we are NOT talking about award winning stuff here.The two best performances for me were from Saoirse Ronan as the young Briony and Vanessa Redgrave as the old.They are both excellent and the best things about the film.

So 'Atonement' is a pretty good watch but not for me a classic.It is one of those films that I was struggling to mark,maybe a 6 or a 7.I decided on a 6 finally because it isn't a film that I would watch again.
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An instant classic and a performance of extraordinary power
6 March 2008
I have read many reviews of 'There Will Be Blood'on the IMDb pages.Many have called the film one big bore while several have said that Daniel Day-Lewis overacts.I think that these people are wrong in a very big way as this is a film that will stand the test of time with a performance by Day-Lewis that will rank amongst the very best in years to come.

This is a long movie at around two and a half hours but it never seemed to drag at all.It can be argued that it is a story about greed versus the church,but I thought it was more of a character study of one man and his dreams,passion and drive.The direction by Paul Thomas Anderson is excellent throughout and he gets the best out of all of his actors.A special word must be said about the cinematography which is superb.As mentioned,the acting is pretty much first rate and Paul Dano does a fine job as Eli Sunday although at times he does seem a little young for the role.The story is very well paced and although not exactly action packed it is never boring despite what so many people say.I wasn't too sure about the soundtrack at times but gradually it did win me over and suited the mood of the movie.Now we come to the lead role and it may take me some time to write about this so please bear with me.I'll start a new paragraph as it is a performance that needs a section all of it's own.

Daniel Day-Lewis is nothing short of sensational here and it is the finest performance I have seen for years.He absolutely becomes Daniel Plainview to such an extent that you forget that your are watching an actor and feel that you are watching a real character.It truly is a fantastic performance and well worth the Oscar that he won.I know that a few reviewers have called his performance theatrical and over the top especially towards the end of the movie but believe me they are completely wrong.It is acting of the very highest order and Day-Lewis convinces in absolutely every scene that he is in.Towards the end of the movie we see a man who has aged and become very bitter with strong hints that he is verging on the brink of insanity.It is played beautifully.The character of Daniel Plainview is a complex one as at times he is tender,arrogant,frightening and desperate.Make no mistake here,Daniel Day-Lewis gives a performance of such raw power that this role will be talked about in years to come as one of the very best in cinema,it is that good.Just watch the scene where he kneels for forgiveness in church and see him wince due to the pain in his leg.It is simple but brilliant.

'There Will Be Blood' is a very good film and the only reason that I haven't given it a 10 is because I think a movie needs more than one viewing before you can give it a maximum mark.When I watch it again it may well hit that 10 mark.I have seen 'No Country For Old Men' and consider TWBB to be by far the better film.It deserves to be in the top 30 and in time may very well approach the top 10.Don't listen to the negativity and watch this film with admiration and for a performance that just may be one of the best ever.
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A good film but NOT a great one
4 March 2008
I expected a lot from this movie.Showered with awards,raved about by the critics and it looked excellent from the trailers I had seen.So what did I think?I thought it was a good movie but most definitely not a great one.I need to explain why.

The film started so promisingly and had me pretty much hooked.But at the end of the movie I felt distinctly underwhelmed and that is a shame.I just felt that the ending was too open ended given what had gone on before.The acting is very good and although Javier Bardem is the one that seems to have received the most glowing tributes,I felt that Josh Brolin,Kelly Macdonald and especially Tommy Lee Jones were equally as good.The cinematography and sound are excellent and the direction by the Cohen brothers is tight and crisp.But,and it's a big but,this film promised so much and ended up feeling almost unfinished.Yes,I know a lot of you out there who are reading this will think that I don't know what I am talking about,but this is my opinion and NCFOM just wasn't as good as I expected.

This isn't a terrible film by any means but the ending is pretty weak and I reckon that I'm not the only one that will think so.I won't give away any of the plot to those who haven't yet seen the movie,but there are just too many unanswered questions and more than one instance where you are left wondering just what happened.Did it deserve the best picture Oscar?I honestly can't say as I have yet to see the other contenders.I will be very surprised though if I will judge this as the best of the bunch.
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Poseidon (2006)
Just go along for the ride
2 March 2008
This isn't a masterpiece.It isn't even that great a movie.What it is though is a reasonably entertaining 90+ minutes that has good effects and very cheesy dialogue.

Sometimes it is too easy to try and analyze every movie that you see but in the case of films like this you just have to take them for what they are.It is entertaining,it is clichéd and yes,it is as corny as hell.But at the end of the day so what?It is most probably a movie that you would only watch once and it does show a lack of imagination by way of being a remake.Does it add anything to the original?Apart from the improved special effects no,not really.But I am not going to slate this movie simply because I happened to quite enjoy it.It most definitely won't make the IMDb 250 but it is better than some of the titles in there,at least in my opinion.

Watch it,rate it and forget about it.You may just think that it is a pile of tosh but at least it entertains for a while.
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Transformers (2007)
A total blast
29 February 2008
Every now and again there comes a movie that you don't expect to like at all and then it goes and surprises you.'Transformers' was a real shock to me as I have never been a follower of the cartoon series and the trailers I had seen didn't do much for me.The simple truth here is that I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to.

It is pretty much action all the way here and the movie very rarely let's up.It is perhaps a touch too long but it never really feels as though it drags at any time.The acting is pretty good and Shia LaBeouf does a good job in the lead role as he shows humour and a serious side when he has to.There were a couple of moments when I was worried that things were going to get too cheesy but luckily the action soon kicked in again.Also,there were genuinely funny moments and the film didn't seem to take itself too seriously,that would have been a BIG mistake.The direction is crisp and Michael Bay deserves credit for such an entertaining ride.

There will be many people that will turn their noses up at this movie as just a brainless action flick but that does the film an injustice when it is as well done as this.The effects are brilliantly done and I recommend this film to anyone with an open mind.My mind was already made up before I watched it and the film proved me wrong.
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Ratatouille (2007)
It's OK but not Pixar at it's very best best
28 February 2008
This movie is brilliantly made and the story is pretty good too.So why have I only given it a six out of ten?I just don't think it is Pixar at it's very best.I found the film to be a little bit too long and I even felt a bit bored after about an hour or so.There can be absolutely no doubt that there has been a hell of a lot of hard work gone on here and the makers can feel proud of their efforts.It's just that the movie didn't hold my attention too well though it did pick up towards the end.

It feels a little churlish to only give such a well made film an average mark but I have to be honest and say that I would rank it below other Pixar works such as A Bug's Life,Finding Nemo and well below the two Toy Story films.It is well voiced,it looks fabulous but at the end of the day it didn't float my boat.

I know there are loads of you out there that will disagree strongly with this review and I can understand that.But when you are up against the likes of Toy Story you really do have to produce something special and this wasn't it for me.
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This is a mess!!
27 February 2008
I enjoyed the first two pirates movies although I did think that the first one was a bit overrated and the second wasn't as bad as I'd feared.This one however is definitely one POTC too far.

One of the biggest problems is that they try to cram just to much into this movie.At times I didn't know what the hell was going on and I have to say that I didn't really care.There are too many scenes that just don't work including one that I will come to later which was so awful I watched through clenched fingers.The multitudes of Captain Jack Sparrows,the uninspired comedy moments,the over use of CGI,there are a lot of things wrong here.This film seems to have lost a lot of the charm that the first two had and relies far too much on gimmicks.It is also way too long by at least 30 minutes.

It isn't all doom and gloom.Johnny Depp is as reliable as ever and Geoffrey Rush clearly has a ball as Barbossa.Although there is too much of it,the CGI is very well done.Oh yes,I really liked the monkey as well!One big problem here though is that Keira Knightly is very badly miscast as the tough heroine Elizabeth.This is where we come to the scene that I mentioned earlier.Yes,that's right,it's when Elizabeth gives her William Wallace speech to the pirates.It is truly dreadful and she sounds like a schoolgirl shouting in a playground.I'm not saying that Keira can't act,she most probably can.It's just that she is woefully out of place in this role and many of her tough girl scenes are just laughable.Orlando Bloom?Well,he is certainly good to look at for the girlie's but isn't the worlds greatest actor to be fair.He does look the part though.

I was toying with either a 4 or 5 out of ten for this.I settled for a 5 because the monkey was so good!
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