Reviews & Rants, Films for You?
- The Way Back
[30/december/2010] Score: 6/10
If you want to go for a walk but can’t be bothered getting up from your comfy chair, then this partly tedious journey from Siberia to India, supposedly based on a true story, will give you all the exercise you need. Following the journey of seven prisoners from a Russian Gulag Prison Camp just north of Lake Biakal in Siberia, down through Mongolia, over the Great Wall of China into Tibet and across over the Himalayan mountains into India, it seems to take the long way round to freedom through every wilderness you can think of. Anyone thinking of making such a journey for real should take a Hollywood film crew with them to ensure you have enough water to cross all the deserts, because I don’t think you can do it on one bottle.
As an inspiration for anyone else wanting to escape to freedom, wherever that can be found on this planet, then it certainly encourages you to walk away from tyranny, if your bold and strong enough, otherwise, just enjoy the dream of freedom.
Verdict: Take a trip to see it, and don’t forget plenty of supplies.
- Tron Legacy 3D
[21/december/2010] Score: 5/10
A flat semi-animated 3D return to the Tron cyberworld in which a normal (also known as typical American) smug, pampered, rich, teenager gets to visit the cyber world of automotons and discover the fate of his father before growing up and learn about the real world, after the usual American teenage stupidity, angst and screaming a lot because he can’t get his own way.
Verdict: Reboot again.
[21/december/2010] Score: 7/10
A surprise, a standard typical American fairy tale of the little innocent girl from the country entering the big wide nasty world of LaLa Land and whose sweet innnocence and bright-eyed fluffy eagerness effects everyone around her to transform their lives.
Apart from this it holds a good few surprises in song and dance performances for anyone who enjoys an enthusiasm for life and hasn’t suffered the plague of cynicism choking the rest of us nowadays.
Verdict: Take a walk on this wild side.
- The Tourist
[12/december/2010] Score: 5/10
A slow, gentle tour of Venice, with a few crooks and spies, or whatever, thrown in before a nearly-predictable ending for this detective caper movie that’s reminiscent of the good old days of Carry Grant wandering around Europe with Audrey Hepburn.
Verdict: Take a trip before it disappears.
- Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader
[9/december/2010] Score: 7/10
A little heavy on the religion and a little too wet on the storyline as the heroic children are flung into a new venture journeying across the mysterious Eastern Ocean, to fight a mysterious green smog, for mysterious reasons.
And that’s what lets the story down – a quest without knowing why or knowing who the enemy is. Here there is no distinct villian, only a thick green fog hanging around without a word of why it’s there or who, if anyone, called it forth. For all this it will make a good, not great seasonal trip for your own little heroes.
Verdict: Take a quick trip to see it.
[4/december/2010] Score: 6/10
Although the production team of only 5 (or 6, or 7, depending on how you look at it) have won priase for making the remarkable story on the thinest budget with tiny cast of two, everyone else being someone the crew met on locations around Mexico, this remains a story of two gap-year student-lookalikes who wander off the beaten track to cross the alien infected zone to reach home.
Obviously their parents hadn’t told them about using aeroplanes to fly home, so they decide to take the train, boat, bus, car and walk the hundreds of miles to get there.
Verdict: Walk on the weird side.
[28/november/2010] Score: 8/10
Leave the children at home and enjoy this slightly more grown up adventure that pokes fun at the typical superhero story, certainly a few of the lines and gags will go over their heads, as seems typical with these kinds of films nowadays.
[27/november/2010] Score: 7/10
Switch your mind off before enjoying this thrill-ride on the locos of America with a runaway train that could be stopped by a five year old in ten minutes but takes Hollywood two whole hours to bring to a grinding, screeching halt.
Alternatively why not play the “Stopping Game” – guess how many ways there are to stop the runaway train without the heroic idiocy of the lead characters… I spotted two clear ways, how many can you see?
Verdict: A runaway rollercoaster thrill of nonsense.
- The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest
[27/november/2010] Score: 10/10
The climax of the Millennium Trilogy and a perfect, cool, cold disection of the conspiracy behind The Girl’s tragic life.
Only problem I ever have with these translations is – why do they use white subtitles on a white background? (Is it a conspiracy? Who do we turn to now The Girl has moved on to a better life?).
Verdict: Girl done good.
- London Boulevard
[24/november/2010] Score: 4/10
What can I say about a film with so many great British actors mugging it high and wide? How about a waste of great talent?
All the boys have a chance to mug it up and play their favourite typecast gangsters, and all the girls get to play the molls. It’s more like a playground game for children than any attempt at a good drama as none of the leading characters except the impossibly pretty and posh Miss KK (effectively playing herself?) appear to have a redeeming feature in this “I’m harder than you” game.
Obviously on a low budget for a British production this follows the story of a man out of prison trying, feebly, to “go straight” while surrounded at every turn by people wanting him to “do a bad ‘un”. Obviously he’s never seen “Get Carter” or he’d be running as hard as possible for the hills before attempting one last act of revenge before he retires (heralding the inevitable doom common to all such stories).
Verdict: Acting kills.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
[19/november/2010] Score: 8/10
One last step before the conclusion of the Harry Potter saga. A race to learn all about Voldamort’s weakness and avoid his clutches as Harry and friends take flight from their school lives to prepare for the final battle, while Voldemort’s forces grow and seize power across the world of wizardry.
You’ll need to have seen most or all of the previous Potter films before watching this, it’s not for the newcomers, as it continues on from the previous story and is here just to lay the foundations for the climax to come.
For all that it’s still a fast-paced chase story following the three plucky young heroes, Harry, Ron and Hermoine and they mature and master their own power.
Verdict: Not the end, but the beginning of the end…
[13/november/2010] Score: 0/10
Yes, the very first total turkey, and just in time for Christmas!
On Independence Day, a War Of The Worlds erupts in the little Californian suburb near Cloverfield, where an Invasion Of The Body Snatchers sends everyone into a Matrix of frenzied hysteria at this unexpected Event.
Or to put it another way, if you’re stuck for a good idea, and you have enough reputation to trick Hollywood into putting money behind anything, then just watch a load of old movies, take all their plotlines, stir in a liquidiser and pour this stinking goop down on paper.
With unsympathetic characters running around like headless chickens, before they all (except the pregnant girl) get their heads snapped off by the aliens, leading to the exciting ending (the excitement is that you did survive to the end), with the clear suggestion they hope to write a whole series of this nonsense, you’ll find plenty to laugh at, if you can be bothered wasting your life on this.
Avoid like the plague and hope no one makes the sequel that’s hinted at the end (“hero” gets turned into alien monster to protect his girlie).
Verdict: Idiot turkeys eaten by aliens at Christmas.
- Let Me In
[5/november/2010] Score: 5/10
Sticking to the tried and true method of copying a very good foreign film (the excellence Swedish film “Let The Right One In”) and making it just that little bit worse, this is another in a long line of Hollywood films for middle Americans who don’t go out to read subtitles.
For that it’s a good reproduction, but missing on some of the “alienness” of its home location.
Apart from that there are a few changes from the original. Where’d did the cat scene go? And a switch around in the sequencing to highlight the tension by beginning the film with the hospital scene. And so on.
Verdict: Let the original film in, to your home.
- Despicable Me
[3/november/2010] Score: 6/10
There’s always a good moral in the story of the genius who finds his true calling from evil baddie to brilliant hero through true love and family, and this is as good as any in the genre for the children.
Verdict: Wickedly good.
- Burke And Hare
[30/october/2010] Score: 8/10
Historical truth mixes with hysterically funny black-comedy in this tale of two entrepreneurs who hit on a dead cert. for business success – stealing the dead. Sounds just like the modern government’s enthusiasm for business at any cost and no regard to dignity, as Masters Burke and Hare rakishly rake in the cash from their new venture. But all things must come to an end as the militia race to bring justice to all, well kind of…
A perfect story for the age we live in.
Verdict: Hare off to see this and learn how to shovel in the cash.
[23/october/2010] Score: 7/10
Yet another story of retired veteran spies, mercenaries, killers (this must be the “Year of the Grizzled Gunman” – see “The Expendables”, “The A-Team”, “The Losers”, “Knight And Day”) and innocent girlfriend caught up in vile conspiracy involving the CIA (again, won’t the Agency ever get a break from all this torment?), and a nice way to pass the time in comic comicbook style, with no one taking it too seriously.
Verdict: Better to be RED than dead?
- The Social Network
[16/october/2010] Score: 10/10
From the very first scene this is high-speed networked drama, with a pace that barely slows throughout the full two hours as you learn the supposed, rumoured but never-to-be-verified history of the birth of the Facebook web site. If you believe this then the world of cyber geeks it intense, fast, and dangerous to your friendships as they rip each other off in the race to the next million or thousand million dollars.
Verdict: Beware of geeks bearing gifts of talent for treachery.
- Made In Dagenham
[2/october/2010] Score: 10/10
Forget the misery of the recession and learn from a bunch of hard-working women how to set about changing your life and the world in this heart-lifting true story of 187 workers at the Ford Dagenham factory challenging the male-dominated status quo and bringing the entire factory to a halt in their campaign for respect and a better life.
As inspiration and hope for the future this is one of the best stories around, mixing, in its fictionalised form, the struggle of working women, the challenges of the world and how they fought to overcome it and still deal with their families.
Verdict: Made to be watched and to inspire.
- The Other Guys
[29/september/2010] Score: 7/10
What I thought might be a loud, offensive, pile of nonsense, turns into an entertaining and more subtle parody of all the mismatched buddy-buddy cop movies you’ve seen over the years and the “guys” in the background, those plodding detectives who never shine in the limelight, suddenly finding themselves the centre of far too much attention.
It’s got all the elements you’d enjoy, with twists that highlight how really daft most of those other movies are, from the shouting Captain, the total mismatch in the partners, one staid in the extreme, one wild in the extreme, the extremely-over-zealous supercops on a permanent ego trip and The Girl.
Verdict: This, over the edge, not the others.
- The Town
[25/september/2010] Score: 7/10
If you ever enjoyed Michael Mann’s “Heat” then here is a return to that intense style, and very familiar scenes as one gang of armed robbers find their lives turning on one moment of decision to take a girl hostage from one bank robbery.
Gritty crime-and-redemption (in a way) drama the follows the well-trodden path of facing a man on the point of turning his life around with “one final act”, that goes wrong. What girl-romance there is here is brought out of the situation and not added on as decoration, and resolves itself in keeping with the characters’ lives and circumstances.
Verdict: More Heat.
- Tamara Drewe
[18/september/2010] Score: 2/10
I can’t say how much I enjoyed this drippy twee middle class nonsense, because I was so unengaged I walked out after thirty minutes. Yes, I gave it time to engage me, but there was nothing there but the twittering of “literary” folk in the mythical sunny English countryside.
While it would suit those of a certain age and nature I found it empty, except for the two teen terrors, but they appeared so infrequently as to be ineffective in holding me to my seat.
- Winter’s Bone
[18/september/2010] Score: 9/10
Slow, engrossing, tense thriller. It takes you nowhere fast in a nowhere community forgotten by the rest of the world, as a young teenage girl struggles to keep here family, mother and two younger siblings, together after the disappearance of their father and sets out to discover the truth of what happened to him.
For dramatic action look elsewhere, but for solid, slow drama this held me mesmerised.
Verdict: Cold, with a heart of fire.
- Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D
[11/september/2010] Score: 6/10
After the previous film, Resident Evil: Evolution, I wondered how the producers would deal with the dilemma of so many Alices. It’s typical of Hollywood they can’t handle that kind of complexity, so a quick nuke of the Alice bunker, or a sudden attack by a ravaging plague of super-zombies through a forgotten tunnel? Certainly something had to be done, and the first few minutes here see the idiot solution, and then resetting the storyline, with Alice loosing her super-powers to begin a 3D adventure in zombieland in search of survivors.
Verdict: Predictable fun with friends and fiends.
- The Girl Who Played With Fire
[28/august/2010] Score: 8/10
After watching this I caught an American movie at home and was suddenly struck by the major difference between the subtle, quiet playing of The Girl and the loud, brash, strutting American movie.
For subtle, quiet unfolding of a story The Girl beats the brash nonsense of Hollywood every time as The Girl returns home to confront dark ghosts from her past, is framed for murder and takes on any misogynistic piece of male scum who gets in her way.
Verdict: Fiery, ferocious and fabulous.
- Scott Pilgrim V. The World
[27/august/2010] Score: 8/10
Surreal, quirky, comicbook recreation of the amazing world of Scott Pilgrim, part-time rock guitar player, and full-time young human superhero trying to make sense of the world in which he and his assortment of assorted friends and fellow-travellers find themselves.
If you’ve read and enjoyed the graphic art (comic) books you know what to expect and here the producers have kept faith to the stylistic imagery of the graphic art genre with live-action flare (but don’t wear flares, they’re sooooo 70s) as Scott has to face-off the seven evil exes of his new girlfriend, in seven heroic battles to the death!
Verdict: Scott 1, World 0
- Piranha 3D
[24/august/2010] Score: 6/10
At last! A film in which the jocks, jerks and jackasses get their comeuppances – with a real bite!
Here it is, the answer to every jerkin’ off film of grinning idiots and nearly-bare bikini babes get what they deserve – dinner, and they’re it!
Ignore the police at your peril when they say “get out of the water!!” – the Piranhas have arrived.
As usual the script walks that careful line of keeping up a swift pace while leaving you little time to wonder how they could all act so stupidly (like: “why didn’t the little boat go around the back of the big boat to save them?”).
Verdict: Jerk off to this bitey bit of bikini-beauty babe feast – yummy!
[21/august/2010] Score: 8/10
If you’ve missed Bourne (until the next in a long line of sequels??) then let this fill your time with a complicated plot involving action-girlie Angie Jolie as a CIA super-duper spy (where do they get their fitness training!?) on the hunt for a former communist Russian super-hit squad intent on blowing the world to hell and gone. So, not unlike Bond, only he’s on holiday at the moment.
Fast as only American spy movies (chasing after Bond) can be but with some semblance of a “proper” spy plotline involving double-agents, betrayal at the highest level and sudden twists, it leaps, bounds, shoots and chases around to the conclusion, and a future of sequels.
Verdict: Take a good pinch of this salt for a fun day out.
- Expendables, The
[18/august/2010] Score: 7/10
In complete contrast to the other two action team films released so far this year (The A-Team and The Losers), this takes a far more sympathetic and realistic view of private mercenary teams – an aged crew of soldiers of fortune fighting a dirty little battle against a small-town dictatorship in some sweaty part of the world.
Don’t expect any high-tech nonsense or too fantastical stunts, but do enjoy the liberal dose of testosterone, guns, girls, big bikes, guns, shoot-outs, truck chases, guns, mixed with a few in-jokes and some wiser moments as these men look back on their lives.
Verdict: Spend time on it.
- Sorcerer’s Apprentice, The
[15/august/2010] Score: 6/10
For entertainment value, take one teenage boy (tick), embark him on quest of adulthood (tick), provide aged, wise mentor and guide (tick), add flavouring with beautiful princess DJ (tick), mix liberally with evil baddie (tick) and associates or minions of varying levels of incompetence (tick), spice with magical jewel/sword/other device (tick), threaten end of the world as we know it (tick) and enjoin in battle that clashes with the heavens (tick).
So, that’s all the boxes ticked, just switch off your cynicism for an hour or two and enjoy the thrill ride, geekiness and Grande Spectacle!
Oh, and don’t forget to mx and match assorted inaccurate historical or mythic references to add a small semblance of authenticity to the mixture.
Verdict: Ticked off.
- Knight And Day
[7/august/2010] Score: 8/10
I don’t know where the “Day” comes into this, which is a bit off, but for a fun romantic, comedy, spy adventure ride this has all the ingredients needed to fill your time. With the typical Hitchcock Mcguffin to mystify and motivate the pace never slackens and the mysteries pile in so fast you’re swept past before you can pause and think – “How did He/She DO that?” It might lack some of the classic comedy spy-thrillers of the past, “Charade” comes to mind, but keeps the genre ticking over nicely, more so if you’re an enthusiast for hot girls, cars, chases and guns.
Verdict: Fun in a daze.
- The A-Team
[31/july/2010] Score: 5/10
For noisy, loud silly nonsense welcome to the A-Team’s antics. The only problem with something like this nowadays is it misses on the whole tabloid-generation culture. Four Army special forces geniuses are convicted of a crime they didn’t commit and break out to expose the truth, but how could anyone miss out on the publicity potential for an “A-Team Campaign For Justice” of the media and internet?
Now that would make a great story.
Verdict: Not even B-list potential.
- The Karate Kid
[30/july/2010] Sore: 6/10
A karate kiddie-winkie for the next generation mixing coming-of-age with childish fight scenes that will delight any seven-year old boy in your family, following a petulant brat’s experience as he learns about the big wide world, and if this was supposed to be Karate, how come the emphasis is on Kung-fu?
Verdict: Good for little Grasshoppers.
[17/july/2010] Score: 7/10
This is what happens if Neo takes the red pill, forever trapped in an ever-descending cycle of dreamscapes of the surreal kind; but if you enjoy the sheer power of special effects and a fast-paced story then this will fill your two and a half hours with plenty to keep you going.
In the style of many previous “gamezone” stories, Matrix Trilogy, eXistenZ, et al, this takes you on a trip through the twisted, warped imaginations of its crew on a mission for a corporation to achieve an objective against the odds (fill in the blanks as required).
Verdict: Impossible to imagine any other ending for this.
[8/july/2010] Score: 7/10
Ignore the entire PvA sequence of silliness and get back to basics with this entirely fulfilling sequel to the original Predator movie.
Again following a seemingly randomly-assembled team of “the world’s greatest fighters” who find themselves dropped in an unknown jungle and gradually discover that they have become the prey. You already know and enjoyed the rest.
Verdict: Stalk this one before it vanishes from the screens.
- Twilight Saga: Eclipse
[3/july/2010] Score: 7/10
And what a saga, on and on as as little Bella Has To Make A Decision. and what a lot of slushy time she takes doing it, will it be yes, maybe, no? Go on, guess…
Meanwhile an army, more like an overgrown street gang, of vampires are growing in the big bad city to threaten the tranquil beauty of the mountain retreat of the vampire clan and their neighbours.
Trouble brews, and Bella sulks over her Big Decision while twisting a couple of yo-yos, Vampire Boy and Wolf Boy, around her fingers.
If you want a boy movie, try another, but a generally good drama with a little bit of a bite.
Verdict: Warfare eclipsed by worrying over yo-yos.
- Shrek Forever After
[2/july/2010] Score: 7/10
Fourth and “final” (oh, really?) Tale of Shrek, the Jolly Green, erm, thing. And in 3D, so you can enjoy all the grunge you love, little children.
Another twisted fairy tale as Shrek finds himself in a world where he never met Princess Fiona and has to quest to win her all over again. That might confuse the littlest in the audience, but they’ll enjoy all the fun along the way.
Verdict: And they all lived happily…
- Get Him To The Greek
[29/june/2010] Score: 8/10
If you want a straight Hollywood slant on pop-star adventures then this isn’t it. With a more adult and less romantic, but still wild rock and roll mythic quality the story takes you deep into the depth of despair, depravity and drugs with an attempt to get a famous British rock star to Los Angeles in time for a come-back show.
Some great in-jokes (the Miley Cirus one stands out) should be appreciated by any fan of the whole rock and roll culture.
[21/june/2010] Score: 5/10
A poor suburban spy genre film about nice girl marrying retired spy only to find themselves being hunted by a seemingly endless army or assassins.
Tends to get as tiring and boring as any suburban party after the first five minutes, and the poor chemistry between the lead characters is like acid corroding your hope in a better ending.
Verdict: Shoot ’em up, please?
- Wild Target
[21/june/2010] Score: 8/10
Aged assassin in London finds himself captivated by the outrageously liberated attitude of his next target and finds himself drawn into saving her while recruiting a new apprentice with a natural flair for the job.
Playful black-comedy version of the old-young assassins theme.
Verdict: Take a shot at this.
- Brooklyn’s Finest
[19/june/2010] Score: 8/10
Whatever you do don’t take this as a recruitment advert for the New York police. If anything this should serve as a deterrent to any recruitment in any police force under perpetual pressure from politicians for success at the lowest price, as police are placed under the intense pressure to succeed in meeting Town Hall targets, with little budget, low pay and the endless temptation to take all the money they need from the streets.
that fact that so many still uphold the law and resist the temptation should be applauded by everyone.
Verdict: Take a walk on their wild side.
- Losers, The
[2/june/2010] Score: 5/10
If you want an A-Team movie before the A-Team arrive then this is likely to whet your appetite, even though comparisons may show this to be the better, more relaxed and fun film of the two.
If you want anything more then you’ll have to wait for something far meatier.
Verdict: That’s Ace.
- Prince Of Persia
Video game meets computer generated effects on the big screen in a mythic, heroic rampant romp around the nicer parts of the middle east of myth and magic.
- Robin Hood
[15/may/2010] Score: 7/10
This should really be titled: “Robin Hood: The Beginning”, because it sets itself up as a retelling of the very start of Robin of the Hood’s adventures in his ongoing battle against the evil King John and his merry Sheriffs, foreign Frogs and so many more.
With the traditional Hollywood rewriting of any olde history you can find on the back of a cornflake box it excels at the dramatic historic battles.
Verdict: Rob your time and give it to this.
- Hot Tub Time Machines
[11/may/2010] Score: 6/10
What might sound like a total jerk-off, idiot script, turns into a wonderful fun journey of adventure and discovery, plus lots of the kind of wild partying we’re not allowed to enjoy in the modern politically correct world.
Verdict: Bubble bath of fun.
- Four Lions
[11/may/2010] Score: 6/10
A candidate for “Bad Taste Of The Year Award”, this black comedy follows the hiccups and mishaps of a typical gangs of militant terrorists trying their hardest to blow themselves to pieces, and you’ll laugh out loud despite the serious nature of that theme; but then this is the role of good satire, to highlight the futile stupidity of the “American Global War On Terror”.
Verdict: Roaring fun.
- The Joneses
[5/may/2010] Score: 6/10
The term “keeping up with the Joneses” is taken to its commercial and logical extreme in this cynical comedy-drama about American consumerism pushed beyond its boundaries into the world of self-destructive consumption for no purpose.
Verdict: Watch, learn and don’t join this rat race.
- It’s A Wonderful Afterlife
[5/may/2010] Score: 6/10
Cute ghost story of a serial killer mum who only wants the best husband for her daughter, which leads to all kinds of domestic killing and self-discovery, even if some of those making the discovery have already passed beyond.
Verdict: Life is wonderful, can’t say much about afterwards.
- Iron Man 2
[29/april/2010] Score: 8/10
The second rock and roll adventure of the pimped-up tin man in search of his heart, as power begins to take its toll on the man inside the suit.
Although it appears to lack the depth of the first film in developing the character there is enough substance here if you look for it to add another layer of meat to the bones of the previous adventure.
Verdict: Who’s the hero, man or iron?
- Date Night
[22/april/2010] Score: 6/10
Average night-on-the-town adventure comedy for a couple of “innocent” middle American suburbanites looking for a break from the children and finding they have to make a break for their lives when chased by a gang in a case of mistake-identity. Of course, it happens to everyone, and if you do go into the city don’t forget to take the name of a good master spy to help you out of trouble because your husband is a jerk.
Verdict: Don’t go into the city.
- The Ghost
[22/april/2010] Score: 7/10
I haven’t seen a good political paranoia conspiracy thriller for so long you have to wonder what happened to the film industry, or are we all no so well aware of real political conspiracies that the novelty has been lost?
Or maybe we just like exploding things nowadays to something more cerebral.
Verdict: Thinking man’s tale.
[2/april/2010] Score 9/10
Painfully funny parody of all your favourite superhero, or superzero, movies. Why should super-rich Batman have all the fun when even a downtrodden geek can get his own action, even if it’s only in the hospital bed, to fight the good fight against local bad life, especially when he discovers there are others, even more awesome heroes in town in the stunning and devastating forms of Hit Girl and Big Daddy.
If there isn’t a sequel or High School TV series spin-off then someone should have their asses kicked.
Verdict: Kick yourself if you miss it.
- Clash Of The Titans
Borrowing much from ancient Greek Hollywood movie mythology this action-race through mythological times throws up one battle after another in the moody pursuit of victory for Man over Gods.
Whereas in ancient times of the 1980s version of the Perseus myth man would strive to be like gods in power and heroism, now men shirk the power, and duty, of the gods to be as mundane and dull as they can, and this sets a new standard in the dullness of a democratic world versus the glittering golden age of gods.
As for the idea of following the original ancient mythology of Perseus – who cares?
Verdict: Circus spectacle for the mobs.
- The Blind Side
[29/march/2010] Score: 8/10
Slushy, funny, sentimental, heroic, uplifting life story based on a true story of one very unusual set of circumstances that bring two very different people together to change their worlds.
- The Bounty Hunter
[19/march/2010] Score: 5/10
If you want a fluffy little piece of candyfloss, forgettable nonsense to fill a dull afternoon or give you a little cheer in a dull week, then this fills the role perfectly. Predictably silly, if you’ve seen enough rom-coms, it spins along nicely for the story it is with nicely colourfully pretty characters and just enough substance to keep you amused.
Verdict: A modest bounty.
- Green Zone
[13/march/2010] Score: 6/10
Matt Damon, joins Team American, to search for WMDs, with the help of “Intelligence”; but the terrible truth is exposed via a fire fight in Olde Baghdad – it’s all a conspiracy by the “Axis of We’re-Not-Really-Evil Bush’n’Blair”. And Good triumphs as the “truth” is revealed to the world.
Verdict: The Hollywood Nonsense Zone.
- The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
[ 12/march/2010] Score: 9/10
If you want your dark thrillers covered with a veneer of gloss then wait for the Hollywood version of this dark, sadistic, gritty Swedish thriller; but if you want the edge of that Scandinavian blade to rip through you, then this is the perfect antidote to Toxic Hollywood Syndrome.
Although in one sense this is a standard detective thriller, as a worn-out journalist and a young computer hacker come to team up on a 40-year old mystery, leading them to a more monstrous discovery, and you can see some of the clues gradually peeping out at you, with the occasional red herring swimming by, this has a broader scope of character than most other such thrillers, and that will deserve all your attention.
Verdict: Leaves its tattoo on you.
- Alice In Wonderland
[6/march/2010] Score: 7/10
This is not Alice in Wonderland. This is not Alice Through The Looking Glass. This is the Hollywood interpretation of a possible sequel to the aforementioned classic stories.
Alice is a rather excessively self-confident young woman who is about to be married off to the local Lord of the manor, when what does she spy, with a wondering and a wandering eye, but a white rabbit, and quicker than you can say Drink Me she’s chasing the rabbit down the hole into a world she seems to half-remember from her childhood, meeting characters who all insist that she’s not really THE Alice. Which I guess is what everyone else who loved the original stories is nodding in agreement with.
However, fictional dislocation notwithstanding, this is an entertaining little romp through the Wonderland of Alice. Except, perhaps to say one final point of warning. This is a confused Alice, one with both the childhood wonder of all the beauty and magic in the world, and the distinctly, resolutely grown-up view on “reality”, and all its nastiness. So whether watched by adults, or children, this may leave you feeling a little odd afterwards, which is, in one way, perfectly suited for the Adventures of Alice, In Wonderland.
Verdict: Watch Me
- The Crazies
[28/february/2010] Score 5/10
When you’ve seen enough of these end-of-the-world zombie-like films you know the formulae. There is always the good guy, often the local cop, or other good man, who wants a quiet life. The idiot Mayor/priest/community leader who refuses to listen to warnings and prefers to ignore the zombies banging on the door, the Good Wife/Girlfriend, the assorted friends and recent acquaintances, who are all doomed to die horribly, and so on.
What’s so educational about these films is How Not To Do It. Don’t walk alone in the dark alley without carrying a reliable torch, if someone tells you the local water supply is poisoned then switch immediately to bottled water and tell everyone you can find, always carry a gun with lots of ammunition, shoot carefully to spare your ammo, not like an American with an endless supply of gun shops on every corner, NEVER trust the Man From The Government, especially when he smiles and tells you everything is going to go well, and no, that isn’t a nuclear bomb they just brought into the town high school to sanitize everything.
And where do the government get all the high technology to track every single movement of everyone by satellite, but can’t find their own aircraft after a week of searching?
Verdict: A recommended learning experience.
- Solomon Kane
[20/february/2010] Score: 7/10
Compared to last week’s dire and doom-laden Wolfman, Solomon Kane is a breath of fresh, albeit damp, air. And by damp I mean the endless drizzle of a typical English summer, mixed with light flurries of snow, as we are pursued by the demons of hell in pursuit of Solomon’s soul in his battle to save the young innocents from dark doom in the superstitious 16th Century.
This story at least has a sense of direction and pace that last week’s venture lacked, and deserves the rewards of an extra point.
Verdict: Pursue it.
- The Wolfman
[13/february/2010] Score: 3/10
The moment I saw the local village priest standing at the church pulpit warning the terrified villagers about dark forces in the mist, I thought I heard Wallace & Gromit bursting through the door in search of the Were-Rabbit, and laughed.
Which isn’t quite how this dark, gloomy, mist-shrouded tale of terror is supposed to be seen.
With everyone striding around dark street and the dark, misty, corridors of the run-down old mansion, surrounded in a dark gloom of ill-fate, I knew we were in for mysterious time.
The story was just as mist-shrouded and befuddled, hence the continuous expectation of a were-rabbit popping out of nowhere to announce that this was all a Carry On comedy.
It wasn’t, and disappeared up its own dark, misty backside.
- Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief
[12/february/2010] Score: 4/10
Nice special effects and a story lost in the myths of ancient times as everyone pretended they’re Greek demigods in some New York State holiday camp.
With all the appearances of a straight “Harry Potter & The…” rip-off this attempt to create a viable successor to Mr Potter lacks the kind of depth of story and character the audience is expecting nowadays.
Take one example, in Potter’s world they study hard, learn much, and apply their learning to great effect. In Percyworld they grin and get by on innocence. For instance, a girl who is supposed to have been a lifelong member of the camp and therefore fully-steeped in all ancient myth, history and education and is supposed to possess the greatest talent for strategy and battle skill, turns into a useless sidekick girlie the moment the action begins with no knowledge of anything useful.
Verdict: Worth a lightning look at most.
- Youth In Revolt
[11/february/2010] Score: 5/10
Teen angst goes overboard into youth rebellion and chaotic crisis as love-struck puppy has eyes for sweet girl and sets out to wreck havoc to get the girl.
Show you want can happen when they get their hooks into you.
[6/february/2010] Score: 6/10
Here’s a strange tale, a sports film from America not about some daft American sport, but about Rugby!?
Fortunately Rugby is just the focus for larger theme about racism, reconciliation, forgiveness and hope for a better world as the story tells of Nelson Mandela’s attempt to unify a terrified and divided South Africa.
Only issue I have about it, is the repeated use of “Invictus” without really exploring what is is and why it’s so important.
Verdict: Good game.
- The Book Of Eli
[16/january/2010] Score: 5/10
The world has come to an end in some unknown apocalypse (note the huge craters in the background) and one wandering loner carries a vital book of enormous power that could destroy or revive the world, causing others to hunt him down and steal it from him.
Reminded me a little of the novel “The Postman” (NOT the atrocious movie), which would be a far better read. But if you want simple Mad Max-style action then this will pass muster for a couple of hours.
- Up In The Air
[16/january/2010] Score: 10/10
A grown up comedy-drama about another form of apocalypse (see above and below) the deep recession in America and its effects on everyone involved in the job-loss industry. It’s beautifully written and performed and makes a relief from a lot of the nonsense around and doesn’t shy away from the reality of these dreadful situations. At heart it’s a love story for the middle American recession.
[9/january/2010] Score: 5/10
A moody gloomy, vampire film in the same theme as “I Am Legend” (the novel and the string of films that followed: Last Man On Earth, Omega Man, I Am Legend), with an ample supply of blood splattering everywhere, but a hopeless predictability towards the end.
Verdict: I am fed-up.
- Sherlock Holmes
[27/december/2009] Score: 7/10
Boisterous, comic-book style Sherlock Holmes locks horns with evil masterminds in the heart of Victorian London and wicked plots ensure to overthrow The Empire, eh-gad!
Might not quite appeal to traditionalist, but for fun-filled adventure in grimy streets through to the glittering heights of Society you can’t go wrong.
Verdict: Catch this while the game’s afoot.