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All reviews - Movies (29) - TV Shows (1) - Books (17) - Games (6)

A phone rings, do you answer it?

Posted : 9 years, 8 months ago on 1 April 2009 07:49 (A review of Phone Booth (2002))

Very few films focus and remain in just one location, but those that do have to grab your interest and keep you engrossed for over an hour, this demands a great script and lots of tension/drama. On paper Phone Booth isn’t going to succeed as one of those films, for a start it focuses on Stu Shepard (Colin Farrell), an arrogant and selfish publicist, who is contemplating cheating on his wife –not your typical lead character. Secondly it’s about a single sniper holding Stu captive in a phone booth, you only know this from the phone call Stu is having, and later when shots are fired! But despite and because of this the film actually works really well on a number of levels. You watch Stu being tormented by a hidden sniper and slowly you begin to sympathise for this heartless person and even put yourself in his shoes, whilst appreciating just how cleaver the hidden foe truly is. Imagine yourself in Stu’s predicament, how would you cope/escape? Just when you think the situation cannot get any worse, it does, again and again. When police arrive, instead of being rescued Stu now must face tens of pistols and rifles all pointing all at him. Stu is also faced with a moral question. I won’t ruin it for you by giving away any clues to what happens, who lives, who dies, what choices are made, but if you haven’t seen this movie yet give it a go. You may be pleasantly surprised.

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If you haven't seen it, I envy you!

Posted : 9 years, 8 months ago on 1 April 2009 07:36 (A review of Envy)

Tim (Ben Stiller) and Nick (Jack Black) are best friends, neighbours and co-workers. Tim is rising slowly through the ranks of middle-management and reaping the rewards of his efforts, such as a new Kidney shaped pool, whilst his best friend Nick has his head stuck firmly in dreamland. However after witnessing a dog owner cleaning up his dog’s mess, Nick has a get-rich-quick idea and offers Tim in on the deal. Sensible Tim declines the foolish concept, but unfortunately the new product actually works and almost limitless wealth falls into his Nicks hands. Tim must now watch with envious eyes as Nick enjoys the fruits of his new found wealth. Tim’s wife Debbie isn’t pleased because of their lost opportunity for wealth and as jealousy eats away at them both, Tim looses his family and his job. Enter the J-Man (Christopher Walken), as a guy-in-the-bar who encourages Tim to strike back at his nemesis. A drunken Tim takes him up on the offer and a series of consistently unfunny mishaps ensues. This is supposed to be a comedy with the potential for a moral tale, but it fails in both. Comedy moments are strained and it’s very hard to laugh at Ben Stiller, unless you are laughing at his acting of course, which in this film got him nominated for a Razzie (as worst actor). What could have been a modern day ‘It’s a wonderful life’ ends up just a silly tale of businessmen willing to pollute the world and sweep the evidence under the carpet in pursuit of wealth. As such it’s very hard to like either character and the movie ends with you wishing you hadn’t watched it at all. If you haven't seen this movie, I envy you!

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It's alright, but not for me!

Posted : 9 years, 10 months ago on 6 February 2009 09:41 (A review of A Scanner Darkly)

Finally got it off my ‘to watch’ list and I’m perplexed, was it the subject matter that didn’t appeal to me, or was it just the movie as a whole. Have to say 50/50 at this point. I’m glad I watched it for Rory Cochrane’s performance alone as Charles Freck, which was both wonderful and surprising.

I’m annoyed at the predictability of the movie as a whole - the set-up for the surprise discovery and conclusion were both right there at the start. The animation/rotoscope wasn’t bad when it was just posterised live footage, but when mixed media was used, perspectives went array and I began feeling nauseous.

I like to see humanity evolve or some personal development at least. In the movie Blade Runner we were left pondering the humanity of the replicants, and even questioning if Rick Deckard wasn’t one himself. This movie, which is based on another Philip K Dick story, just shows society declining into a surveillance heavy police state, whilst the populace declines into a drug-induced stupor.

Glad I now know what its about, but not a movie I would ever recommend or return to myself.

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Unlucky for some

Posted : 9 years, 10 months ago on 23 January 2009 09:48 (A review of Just My Luck)

When I saw the trailer for 'Just My Luck (2006)' I really wanted to see it, because it looked like quite a good humoured family comedy. But I missed my opportunity at the cinema - luckily, as it now turns out. Having just finished watching it on TV I felt compelled to write this review as a warning to others. To sum it up this whole movie is just a vehicle to promote the British band McFly to a wider audience! Yes, it is interspersed with some attempts at comedy and very badly done character building, but it isn't enough, probably because there just isn't time with so many McFly singles being played.

The plot without McFly certainly has the potential to make it a classic, but not in this incarnation. Timing is everything in comedy and its rare to see comedy done so badly. One scene which really bugged me is a 'too much washing powder in the washing machine' gag, which is rather trite in itself. But in this movie what makes it totally unbearable is that you first see the character actually noticing that there is too much powder and yet they do nothing about it and then turn the machine on, which oh surprise surprise, bubbles away!? I'm sorry that's not unlucky, it is just plain stupid! There are other examples of poorly done humour, but too few and too poor to bother mentioning.

Take my advise, if you really want to watch 'Just My Luck' make sure its the 1957 film of the same name, staring Norman Wisdom - its totally different, thankfully!

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Does exactly what it says on the tin

Posted : 9 years, 11 months ago on 18 January 2009 01:00 (A review of Snakes on a Plane)

Some films are so laughably bad, that they actually make for very good viewing. Sadly this film isn’t in that bad but entertaining category, although this film is on par with many of the straight to DVD action movies. It isn’t the problem with crazy ‘snakes on crack’, that are acting totally unnaturally, which are a decent mix of real, rubber and CGI but are never scary. The acting is poor, but that still doesn’t ruin this movie. What makes this the most annoying movie is the record-breaking number of serious plot holes. Nothing that occurs makes any sense at all – for example a co-pilot struggles with the controls (why?), when he needs to go get bitten, he just puts the plane on auto-pilot and leaves the controls (huh?). I could go on and on, but suffice to say this is a brain dead movie, only watch it very late at night when you are drunk!

Note: Should you find yourself on a plane with aggressive snakes biting everyone, do not recreate anything shown in that movie, all the first aid administered was incorrect. You shouldn’t cut open a bite zone and suck out the poison, even if you do rinse your mouth in oil, nor should you tie a tourniquet on or near any bitten area.

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The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947) review

Posted : 9 years, 11 months ago on 17 January 2009 07:13 (A review of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947))

Although an old movie, it’s just as witty as a modern classic. Focusing on Mrs Muir, a widow with a young daughter living in Victorian England. Starting a new life in a small English seaside town, both mother and daughter move into Gull Cottage. But an old sea dog named Captain Daniel Gregg who refuses to leave this mortal coil continues to haunt their new home and hopes to drive them out. After coming to an arrangement they learn to get along and when the widow’s finances become low the ghost offers to help in the only way he can. When a new love appears on the scene for Mrs Muir, her relationship with the Ghost ceases. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is a tender love story with some awesome lines, which you’ll be forgiven for thinking it was written yesterday. This movie is only let down by the last few minutes, which attempts to cover far too wide a span of time and feels rushed compared to the rest of the movie. But thankfully the ending doesn’t disappoint the romantics amongst us.

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Volver review

Posted : 9 years, 11 months ago on 17 January 2009 06:15 (A review of Volver)

Volver was nominated for over ninety awards, including an Oscar. It managed to take home forty-four prestigious awards internationally and it is easy to see why. The tale itself is a very simple one; a struggling family consisting mostly of women. The focus is on two sisters who lost their parents in a fire, one of which is married to a drunkard and has a daughter. On paper the tale makes for grim viewing and the suffering doesn’t stop, but it’s the resilience and fortitude of all the women in this film that keeps you gripped to the screen. This isn't a movie to share with a date, but it is certainly worth watching!

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Trust me I'm in public relations

Posted : 9 years, 11 months ago on 16 January 2009 05:41 (A review of Thank You for Smoking)

Some fathers are Firemen, some fathers are Policemen, a few fathers are Spin-Doctors. This movie is the tale of one spin-doctor, Nick Naylor, spokesperson for the Academy of Tobacco Studies. As many in the PR/advertising industry have found, the harder the challenge the move ingenious and talented the players become. Nick is at the top of his game, but has to tackle changing public opinion, cancer kid, dying smokers and members of the Senate. This movie isn’t just about smoking, it is about how marketing and advertising work. But don’t let the subject matter put you off watching this movie; it is well paced with enough character building to make you warm to all the various characters, there is a little humour and some excitement too. You may actually finish watching the movie really liking the lead character, because at the heart of this movie is the very true statement that you cannot trust what you are being told in the media; you need to check the facts, develop your own opinion. Sadly few have time or the inclination to do so, so you will have to trust me, it’s a good movie!

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I've voted for your list and wrote this for you!

Posted : 9 years, 11 months ago on 11 January 2009 01:45 (A review of Yes! 50 Secrets from the Science of Persuasion)

This is a wonderful book for anyone interested in selling something, be they a marketing executive wanting to make a killing nationally or a waiter wishing for bigger tips. For a ‘science’ book, there isn’t any jargon contained within its pages - its just plain old common sense being examined in a scientific way and put to the test. Many of the fifty ‘secrets’ are not great surprises, those who have had any experience in advertising will have already utilised most of them. However what is new and interesting is the factual results of tests on current marketing practices. Many cases are given where tweaks to message structure could double performance, in other cases tests prove that current marketing practices actually don’t have the impact advertising agencies believe. Sadly fifty secrets are very quickly read and this book isn’t worth packing for a holiday, you will easily read it before you even get through airport security! But for the time conscious, you’ll really enjoy this book, learning what makes humans tick and how to influence people, in a nice way of course.

N.B. I'll reset the vote counter daily as this review is proving quite popular!

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Posted : 10 years ago on 17 December 2008 11:42 (A review of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991))

For someone of my age, the undiscovered country will remain the best Star Trek Movie, as its tackles the changes that were occurring around us at that time - namely the end of the cold war. The title is a bit off, the undiscovered country normally means death, but in this movie it is meant to represent the future. The story is good, action and pace nicely timed, there is also the usual bit of humour, I love the Kirk Vs Kirk scene (he always wanted to kiss himself really). There are also stars a plenty and a few nice spaceship battles.

However this will always be a Trek movie, so it isn't everyone's cup of tea!

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