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All reviews - Movies (88) - TV Shows (1)

Enchanting tale

Posted : 11 years ago on 15 July 2007 10:59 (A review of Pan's Labyrinth)

A thought provoking and enchanting tale that is only slightly let down by stereo-typical characters. The Captain being the main culprit in question. Brought back memories of childhood reading I'd almost forgotten.

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Watch it for the two leads

Posted : 11 years ago on 9 July 2007 09:16 (A review of Harsh Times)

An unconvincing urban road movie that would have little to no lasting effect if it wasn't for the brilliant Christian Bale and Freddy Rodriguez. This script is nowhere near as good as it promised to be, in fact the dialogue feels grossly outdated and almost childlike.

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Get to the frickin point will you!

Posted : 11 years ago on 8 July 2007 09:09 (A review of The Good Shepherd)

If De Niro had concentrated half as much on continuity and the pacing of his film than he did bringing together this stellar cast, this film might have grabbed me a bit more.

It's an hour too long and for a film that spans decades the cast age remarkably well. The plot and subject matter did interest me, but by the time it got to the point I didn't care any longer.

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This Is English Film-making!

Posted : 11 years ago on 8 July 2007 08:32 (A review of This Is England (2006))

This Is England is director Shane Meadows semi- autobiographical exposé of skinhead culture and life growing up in Thatcher's council estate Britain.

My anticipation for this film was immeasurable, to the extent that I had to visit my local cinema and beg that they showed the film. My begging eventually paid off and I got exactly what I expected.

Like Meadows previous releases TIE is a perfect mix of social commentary and biting humour. He handles the difficult subject matter here with masterful skill, showing that the skinhead culture was not built on racial hatred but in fact the opposite. It was built on the back of the Jamaican ska movement. The original 60's skins shaving their heads to look more like their Jamaican co-workers, and inheriting their musical tastes.

But TIE is not all about being a skin, its about Sean's loss of innocence, his struggle to accept and understand the death of his father, and the cruel world surrounding him.

As far as I know Thomas Turgoose (Sean) had never acted before. And this for my money is quite possibly the best debut performance from a child actor I've ever seen. I was the same age as Sean in 198i and the experience I had viewing this film was like watching my life flash back in front of my eyes.

This Is England totally captivated me. This Is English film-making! The rest pales in comparison.

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Drab Bettie

Posted : 11 years, 1 month ago on 18 June 2007 06:38 (A review of The Notorious Bettie Page (2005))

Although Gretchen Mol puts in a pretty decent and believable performance in the title role, the film itself is a drab and unsatisfying portrait of a life that could definitely not be accused of being either.

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Posted : 11 years, 1 month ago on 12 June 2007 11:27 (A review of Notes on a Scandal)

The intensity that Dench and Blanchett give to their respective roles is exceptional, and their combined brilliance shines through in this movie. Notes is a provoking story of loneliness and how easy it would be for an intellectual mind to corner itself into a life of delusion and loneliness.

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Cinematic Poetry

Posted : 11 years, 1 month ago on 12 June 2007 11:03 (A review of The Fountain (2006))

On the surface 'The Fountain' is a confusing film, but underneath the convoluted plot and stunning visuals is a message that hits hard and keeps stirring the grey matter for days after the first watch. Ultimately it's about death as a form of creation, and how a person cannot truly begin to live until they have conquered their fear of death. This year I turned thirty-seven, the age my father was when I lost him to cancer. Death has been on my mind a lot lately and this film has hit me for six. Whether it has a positive effect or not, I don't know. I do know that Aranofsky has made a movie that will pay dividends on subsequent viewings, and I'm looking forward to buying the DVD. The fountain is cinematic poetry.

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Love thy Neighbour

Posted : 11 years, 1 month ago on 2 June 2007 08:14 (A review of Bobby (2006))

At 12.15am on 5 June 1968, as Robert F. Kennedy was making his way from the ballroom of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles to give a press conference after winning the California Primary, he was shot and fatally wounded.

With 'Bobby' actor/director Emilio Estevez chooses not to focus so much on the man himself, and instead points his camera on the people who unwittingly found themselves caught up in one of the most important and tragic events in modern American history.

Now, I'm a fan of biopics however they may be played. For the first act of Bobby I found myself wishing I had been watching a straight biopic of the man Bobby Kennedy. I was skeptical about how Estevez was going to tie the multitude of characters and their stories together. The turning point and integral message for me is the scene with Laurence Fishburne where he talks of King Arthur - a once and future king. If RFK was once that, then who is the modern day equivalent?

From here on the film finds its feet. Estevez weaves his stories together with intracate skill. I was quite simply blown away. He surpassed my expectations. The ensemble all gave inspired performances, most notably the female contingent. I didn't even recognise Sharon Stone until the credits rolled. Ironically the only storyline that felt out of place and surplus to the film was the story shared between Emilio himself and Demi Moore.

Bobby's had a lot of criticism from the film press, most of it undeserved in my opinion. I agree, it's not good to mess with history, and I usually do prefer it if a film remains historically correct. However, Estevez didn't set out to make an RFK biopic. Bobby is about universal love, respecting your neighbour. Issues that run much deeper than the words and actions of one man. And that is why the film works in my view.

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Ambitious but not without flaws

Posted : 11 years, 1 month ago on 25 May 2007 04:21 (A review of Babel)

Alejandro González Iñárritu never fails to impress me with his knack for weaving together disparate storylines. Amores Perros and 21 Grams have both taken pride of place on my DVD shelves for a while now, but Babel I would say is his most ambitious effort to date.

Is it his best? I'll need a second watch to fully decide. However, my main doubts after one viewing all lay within the Japanese section of the film. It felt like it was there to serve as filler, really wasn't all that essential to the plot. Japan, compared to the other two stories characters, depictions of the countries customs and cultural surroundings seemed a sight more stereotypical and cliched. Nevertheless all three stories did leave an impact. Hard hitting, well acted, socially conscious drama at its best. A good conclusion to the Iñárritu/Arriaga trilogy, now to watch them back to back.

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Spaghetti head trip

Posted : 11 years, 2 months ago on 22 May 2007 09:59 (A review of El Topo)

I left my sofa having experienced the most surreal filmic experience of my life. I thought 'Tommy' was strange until I saw El Topo.

El Topo can be best described as a psychedelic head trip western. It's modeled on the spaghetti westerns of the late sixties, but that does not mean you should expect a Leone clone.

Four thousand buckets of fake blood were used during this film, its imagery is steeped in the occult, sufism and the bible. Its director 'Alexandra Jodorowsky's' mind is not one I would even attempt to get inside, but I'll go as far to say that Jodorowsky (El Topo) is Christ on a blood bathed mission to resurrection and ultimately sainthood.

My brain hurts.

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