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All reviews - Movies (1481) - TV Shows (36) - DVDs (2)

A masterpiece...

Posted : 10 years, 3 months ago on 22 April 2008 03:11 (A review of Stranger Than Fiction (2006))

"This is the story of Harold Crick..."

Stranger Than Fiction is a film that completely blew me away. Still minutes after concluding my screening I have tears wetting my eyes, goose-bumps covering my body and I am still trying to figure out what I have just experienced.

Before watching this movie I had only glanced at the film's theatrical poster and thus I had no clue as to the plot of the movie. I had no expectations at all and began watching the movie with absolutely no ideas what to expect. In all honesty I couldn't shake off the feeling that it was going to be another dumb Will Ferrell comedy during which he overacts to get some laughs.

But Stranger Than Fiction is none of that. Instead of a no-brainer comedy we are presented with a masterpiece; a heart-warming, touching comedy/drama that is pretty much unbeatable. If you're expecting another Anchorman or Talladega Nights then I suggest you go rent something else. But if you can look past Ferrell's type-cast performance and instead clear your head of all expectations then you will see what a genuinely outstanding film this truly is.

Stranger Than Fiction is filled with originality, fascinating characters and unpredictable twists. Not to mention the film is groundbreaking, innovative, thought-provoking and captivating. I doubt we will see any films of this stature for a very long time to come.

While watching the movie I enjoyed it a whole lot more without any conception of the plot of the movie. And because of this, I must recommend experiencing the movie without any pre-gained knowledge of the plot. I will just tell you that the film is the story of an IRS agent named Harold Crick (Ferrell) whose organised lifestyle is suddenly interrupted.

Stranger Than Fiction is an extraordinary tale that is engaging and enthralling from start to finish.

The first thing that I noticed was the way in which it was created; there's bright scenery, appealing actors, realistic setting and some catchy music to accompany this. The establishing few shots were enough to keep my attention throughout the whole movie.

Will Ferrell is a man I respect because of his overzealous comedy roles. Ferrell is outstanding in a drama such as this. The man is focused 100% and never breaks his concentration. He's deadpan, dedicated, and charming. Ferrell also had me in tears towards the end because of the poignancy of his performance and the way we could actually sympathise with him. Dustin Hoffman is another person one would hardly expect to find in a film such as this. But he is absolutely superb and lets his character live. Emma Thompson has never been like this before, and she will probably never be this good ever again. She seems concentrated on getting her character perfected. The supporting players are a very weird bunch of big names including Maggie Gyllenhaal and Queen Latifah.

Marc Foster was successfully able to set the atmosphere of this movie within the first five seconds. From that point on I couldn't take my eyes away from the screen. And of course Foster's direction was supported by the great music. I loved the music used in this film as it is catchy and it triggers your imagination.

Stranger Than Fiction is a lot better than I originally thought it would end up to be. The film is a masterpiece - pure and simple. I loved it and found it to be one of my favourite movies of 2006. Not to be missed.

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Oliver Stone's masterpiece...

Posted : 10 years, 3 months ago on 22 April 2008 03:08 (A review of JFK (1991))

""Treason doth never prosper," wrote an English poet, "What's the reason? For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."

JFK is an astonishing, riveting achievement in filmmaking and marks Oliver Stone's best movie to date. Stone has crafted a masterpiece, and although the film is controversial and always will be due to the subject matter (not to mention those who believe something different will hate the film in favour of their beliefs) the film has been approached exceptionally!

There have been many conspiracy theories in relation to the John F. Kennedy assassination, and all aspects and theories are approached by Oliver Stone in great detail and using all available evidence at his disposal.

The film is the story of New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison (Costner) who is the only man to date to take someone to court in relation to the JFK assassination. He takes it upon himself to open up a detailed investigation and finally crack open the conspiracy in relation to one of the worst tragedies during the 20th Century.

In creating such a masterpiece, Stone has also put together an unbeatable cast lead by Kevin Costner who delivers a flawless performance.

Stone's films are always going to be controversial, and many people believe that he tried to shove a viewpoint down out throats and make us believe what he wants us to. But this is only narrow-minded people, as Stone was only outlining the inconsistencies that question the official line of Lee Harvey Oswald being the lone gunman. Until the government finally release the truth, we will never know how accurate the theories outlined here actually are.

Yes, the film is three hours long and many people lose interest, but the film is so well told and above all engaging that I was never bored. When the drama makes it to the courtroom for the final 40 minutes, I had my eyes glued to the screen as we are presented the facts in ways that we cannot dispute, and Costner's final monologue was Oscar-worthy.

On top of this, there are so many other qualities, like providing us with archive footage integrated into the dramatisations that are occurring. That Oscar for film editing was much deserved.

Love it or hate it, I leave it up to you. But if you dislike the movie due to its viewpoints that may question your beliefs; your narrow-mindedness shames our race. It's that simple. And if you don't wish to watch the film due to its three hour running time (God knows I didn't), I suggest that you cut out your stupidity and spend a few hours acquainting yourself with one of the most riveting, astonishing films ever made.

I never had much of an interest in investigating the truth behind the assassination of such a fine man that was JFK, but when I viewed this movie I now feel advantaged to have been presented with such facts, but infuriated that the government have never issued the truth that they so obviously hold. It also reminded me that the democracy we live in disadvantages us in terms of not being presented with vital information that we deserve to be given. And if Oliver Stone was able to trigger such thoughts in my mind, he has done his job correctly.

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Shyamalan's brilliant debut thriller!

Posted : 10 years, 3 months ago on 22 April 2008 03:00 (A review of The Sixth Sense)

M. Night Shyamalan both wrote and directed this phenomenal thriller, marking his first work outside of family/comedy movies.

In this chilling psychological thriller, Bruce Willis is disheartened child psychologist Malcolm Crowe. After making a mistake with a patient, Crowe later discovers that he failed to help him. Several months later, Crowe learns of a young boy whose circumstances are similar to those of the ex-patient he failed to help. Hoping for redemption, Crowe visits eight-year-old Cole Sear (Osment) who claims he is visited by ghosts, and can "see dead people".

The Sixth Sense received acclaim from critics and audiences alike, and rightfully so. Not since Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho have audiences refused to give away the ending of a movie. The twist...is absolutely mind-blowing.

Shyamalan crafted the movie amazingly, and as a result upon our second viewing we can pick up clues that we missed the first time around. Aside from that, the film is incredibly intelligent and absolutely terrifying at times.

Unlike most thrillers, Shyamalan relies on psychology and our own imagination to scare us rather than using extensive gore. There are plenty of disturbing images throughout the movie as well.

Bruce Willis was absolutely exceptional in the lead role! Haley Joel Osment was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of the troubled young boy. He is extremely chilling at times, and some of his lines send chills down your spine. Toni Collette was also nominated for an Oscar, and rightfully so.

The Sixth Sense could be the best thriller film ever made. The film is brilliant. Pure and simple. Shyamalan's exceptional filmmaking techniques create some haunting moments and memorable creepy images that will still leave you terrified after the credits commence rolling. If you have not seen this movie then you have no idea what you're missing out on. It will blow you away. Watch out for a cameo appearance by director Shyamalan.

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Coen Brothers pull off another winner!

Posted : 10 years, 3 months ago on 22 April 2008 01:52 (A review of O Brother, Where Art Thou?)

If there was a word to describe the theatre of the absurd as a film genre, then O Brother, Where Art Thou? is a film that wears that genre with confidence. The film is peculiar and unique; but at the same time a film that I enjoyed to a great degree.

O Brother, Where Art Thou? is basically a successful attempt by the Coen Brothers to resettle the story of Homer's epic poem 'The Odyssey' into 1930s American society. The film begins with Ulysses Everett McGill (Clooney), Pete Hogwallop (Turturro), and Delmar O'Donnel (Nelson) escaping from a chain gang that is situated out in the middle of nowhere. McGill told his fellow escapees that he has hidden a large stash of money from one of his previous criminal exploits. But they have limited time to get to it because its resting place is in a valley which will be flooded fairly soon to make a new dam.

Many things happen over the course of the movie; the three making daring escapes, meeting interesting people and even striking fame as a highly popular band under the name of The Soggy Bottom Boys. What makes O Brother, Where Art Thou? so enjoyable is that it's never boring in amongst the significant events that keep occurring. On top of this the laughs are top notch. The dialogue is very funny at times and made better with the dynamic cast.

George Clooney was a delight as always. He's not charming or sophisticated like he usually is, but instead a man with a Southern accent who is dirty and on the run. Clooney pulls this off very well. Within the first 5 minutes I had already forgotten it was Clooney in the role. If an actor can trigger this feeling then you know that they did their job correctly. Jon Turtorro and Tim Blake Nelson are clumsy and amusing companions for Clooney throughout the course of the unusual adventure that presents itself during the film.

The supporting cast all establish their accents distinctively and give it everything they have. The Coen Brothers are always very skilled in establishing a very unique atmosphere. In this case the classy visuals mixed with a wonderful screenplay are what create such a great atmosphere. The locations and sets in particular felt very authentic.

On top of this the film is extremely weird at times; boasting such extraordinary things like singing female water nymphs, as well as a singing choir of Klu Klux Klan members. All this out-of-the-ordinary material is only something you'll find in a film by Joel and Ethan Coen. On top of this you have a score that is hard to beat. It's full of energy and is very catchy at times.

My attention was never thrown in amidst the witty dialogue, great visuals and groovy soundtrack. O Brother, Where Art Thou? is a prize-winning mix of comedy, musical, drama and adventure that you won't want to miss. I can't stress this enough; I enjoyed this film a lot more than I thought I would. This is proof that with the right story and the right script, a film can be brilliant and funny without being the next The Godfather. Underneath the surface the film is absurd, weird, moody and atmospheric but distinctive, one-of-a-kind and intrinsically great entertainment!

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One of the best 1980s teen flicks!

Posted : 10 years, 3 months ago on 22 April 2008 01:25 (A review of The Breakfast Club (1985))

"Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?"

During the decade of the 80s John Hughes certainly had his share of classic teen flicks. Among some of his classic was Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Sixteen Candles and of course The Breakfast Club. With The Breakfast Club, writer/director Hughes created an essential 1980s teen film.

And what is so great about this teen film? First of all, the characters are some that we can easily relate to. The film is over 20 years old but the teenage stereotypes haven't changed. Hughes captures the complex lives of teenagers in a realistic way. Also evident is the fact that almost everybody in high school carries a label. There's the geek, the jock, the princess, etc. Another aspect that any 80s movie requires is the fantastic soundtrack. The Breakfast Club features some essentially 80's music; including the very famous title song by Simple Minds.

For various misdemeanours, five high school students with absolutely nothing in common are forced to endure a full day of detention on a Saturday (a ghastly thought) under the watchful eye of the school's Principal Mr. Vernon (Gleason). When the day starts at 7am everyone around the room don't know each other and have nothing to say to each other. But by 4pm the five troublemakers strike up a close bond. As the five begin talking they realise that they have more in common that originally thought. After the heavy insults flying around the room and the feel of mutual hatred, they slowly open up to each other and it's revealed that they are all much deeper and more complex than their initial label might suggest.

The Breakfast Club is a character study that begins as nothing more than a hilarious riot. But more into the second half the style shifts to more of a meaningful, deep drama filled with moments of truth and deception.

The cast is full of wonderful talent. Judd Nelson was my favourite character here as the criminal and deadbeat who doesn't care if he scores himself extra detention. And of course Paul Gleason displays a great array of talent as the stressed principal.

On the surface many would dismiss The Breakfast Club as just a simple comedy. On that note the film is recurrently hilarious. The witty dialogue was especially great at times (despite loads of profanity). But the film is something a lot more than a comedy. It's one of the greatest teen films to be released during the 1980s; offering an incisive plot and a thoughtful set of characters. In its 90-minute running time the film embodies the very essence of the lives of teenagers that is realistic and poignant at times. This is definitely one of John Hughes best efforts.

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Posted : 10 years, 3 months ago on 21 April 2008 11:48 (A review of Miami Vice (2006))

I had been eagerly anticipating the release of this film ever since I discovered that it was another action/thriller from director Michael Mann. Some of Mann's previous films, like Collateral and Heat, are in my opinion arguably among the best films ever made. But when I finally saw Miami Vice I was drastically disappointed. It is a long, drawn out and an incredibly boring film that I wish had never come to fruition.

Miami Vice is an update of the old TV show of the same name; this hard to understand film is basically about two cops whose professional and personal lives become dangerously intertwined. Then there's some convoluted mumbo jumbo about drug dealing with a bunch of unnecessary red herrings in addition to a bunch of horrible sub-plots just to stretch out the running time. That's pretty much all I got of it because not much other exposition is revealed.

The plot is about as weak and non-existent as my enjoyment of this film. The film is structured very unevenly, performances are mediocre, and the action was not at all exciting. I mean, I expected the action to be good (this is the director of Heat we're talking about here) but it's bleak, uninspired and just plain monotonous.

Miami Vice is also a crime film, and hence it is also very hard to follow. The poorly written screenplay included dialogue that is hard to understand and impossible to listen to. It seems that the dialogue is played so softly compared to everything else, so a scene heavy in dialogue did nothing for the film. It didn't make a lick of sense, and I couldn't figure out what the hell was going on.

Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx both deliver very poor performance here, which is a real shame because they've both been in some fantastic movies (Foxx was in Collateral, the film Mann directed prior to this mess). The film is also far too long, with my interest disappearing after the first few minutes!

Miami Vice is pointless, worthless and boring. It contains bad casting, bad editing, bad filming, bad sound, bland cinematography and bad directing. Heck, even the sex scenes were boring! It took me countless sittings to sit through this boring film. On incalculable occasions I started watching the film but had to turn it off only to begin watching it again another day. If only this torturous pile of rubbish remained on paper. One of the worst films of '06. Avoid.

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A lot better than expected.

Posted : 10 years, 3 months ago on 21 April 2008 11:47 (A review of Get Carter (2000))

"My name is Jack Carter, and you don't want to know me."

Get Carter is a stylish update of the classic 1971 Michael Caine British gangster thriller, and is a lot better than some people have given it credit to be. The film met with a lukewarm reception from critics and audiences; including many reviews that simply shot flaming arrows at it. I strongly disagree with the hate, but even after saying that the film isn't particularly good either.

Jack Carter (Stallone) is a loan shark in Las Vegas who has spent many years dedicated to a job away from his family. While a job is going down, Jack is informed that his brother Ritchie - someone he hasn't spoken to in years - was killed in a car accident due to driving under the influence. Jack returns to his home town where he finds a family that he has neglected for so many years. While he has his stab at redemption, Jack also begins his own investigation into the killing of his brother.

As he begins interviewing friends and acquaintances, Jack's shot at redemption soon transforms into a shot at revenge when he realises that the death of his brother was no accident.

The film follows an identical plot to that of the 1971 film while updating the time period and setting to suit the typical contemporary American audience. I found it a positive when I realised that the filmmakers never tried to duplicate the original; instead only loosely based on the plot of the original movie.

There were a few scenes that were obviously inspired by the original, but in a completely different setting.

Sylvester Stallone plays a very different Jack Carter to the portrayal the world saw from Michael Caine in the 70s. Instead of charismatic and hard-hitting Stallone is brutal, relentless and quite intimidating at times. To respect the original many will say that they preferred Michael Caine's performance. In all honesty I find them to be almost even. Both Caine and Stallone are so different, but I liked both interpretations.

Many would dismiss this film as just another vehicle for a Stallone action movie. This is incorrect as Stallone's performance was his best in years. He appears to speak clearly and he's in great shape. Above all it was also a heart-felt performance. Something I've never seen from Van Damme or Steven Seagal in recent years.

Along with Stallone there are a lot of highly memorable performances from many members of the cast. Mickey Rourke in particular was very menacing. Rachael Leigh Cook was also extremely good as Jack's niece who gives him a cold reception upon arrival.

Get Carter is a film told with great style. There's some fantastic cinematography that showcase some very atmospheric locations that give the sense of dismay. And the picture looks great; using a very dark colour scheme that makes it seem overcast and hence quite depressing.

Some of the cinematography got very irritating towards the end as the editor decided to use some very flashy, show offy visual gimmicks that get very monotonous. One thing I found interesting was that both the original and this remake still can't get a good screenplay together. The conversations are cryptic and make the film hard to follow. Very little was conclusively revealed by the end.

Get Carter is a good remake that is almost up to the standard of the original. The film was widely hated but I found it good entertainment. If you like your action movies with some intelligence (dare I say it?) then there will be little to complain about.

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Overrated, but brutal and hard-hitting

Posted : 10 years, 3 months ago on 21 April 2008 11:47 (A review of Get Carter (1971))

"You know, I'd almost forgotten what your eyes looked like. Still the same. Pissholes in the snow."

Get Carter is a classic 1970s British crime film that is good, but far from great.

Having seen the remake of the film first I had high expectations for this one. Unfortunately my expectations weren't entirely met, and I was mildly disappointed.

Michael Caine plays the principal role of Jack Carter; a malicious London gangster. Carter travels to Newcastle for the funeral of his recently deceased brother. Upon arrival in Newcastle he begins asking questions about the death of his brother and suspects that it was no accident, but foul play was involved. Carter begins interviewing people who were associated with his brother and starts putting together the pieces of the puzzle to solve the crime.

As Carter is slowly getting somewhere with his personal investigation, the underworld crime bosses wish to get him out of the picture to avoid the truth being uncovered.

Regrettably, you will have to be a mind reader to understand the inscrutable conversations between the central characters. Even though watching the movie closely, I was none the wiser until the characters finally spelt it all out in the concluding 15 minutes.

Unfortunately the film's slow pacing dramatically affects its overall value. And the final showdown was quite unsatisfying. It was unexpected, sure, but the ending is one of the many factors that affect the quality of the experience.

Michael Caine was cool and charismatic in the title role. He is quite the ladies man, and displays this with the endless amount of women he ends up sleeping with throughout the movie.

Which brings me onto my next point - the film contains too much sexual content for my taste. Not that it was overly distasteful, but every time Carter sleeps with another girl the audience gets the sense of "here we go again". It got highly tedious towards the end as well as getting quite discomforting.

For a 1970s production there was a shocking amount of nudity. It's not overly graphic but it has its fair share of bare breasts, bottoms and bed scenes. For its time I'm sure it would have raised a few eyebrows because said scenes certainly raised mine. And the violence undoubtedly packs one heck of a wallop.

The atmosphere of the movie was quite superb for a British film. The authentic locations give the audience a sense of dread and decay. Especially with scenes set during overcast or rainy weather. The film has been made quite well, with effective cinematography and a valuable score that solidifies its solid atmosphere.

Kudos to the director as well, who added to this atmosphere of such despair. On top of this the film has more to offer: brutal, hard-hitting action as well as a high level of violence.

Get Carter is far from being a masterpiece due to its flaws, but sits amongst some of the finest films to be imported from Britain.

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Michael Mann's finest hour

Posted : 10 years, 3 months ago on 21 April 2008 11:45 (A review of Heat)

"He knew the risks, he didn't have to be there. It rains... you get wet."

Heat is an absolutely stunning film; this epic, brilliant crime drama is unmissable and unforgettable.

Many will lose interest due to the film's length, but I found the film essentially perfect despite the running time.

First of all, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in the same movie. These are two of the best actors on the planet, and both are in top form. The script (written by director Mann) is nothing short of remarkable. The dialogue is always witty, realistic, and is never contrived. The actors further cement this realism in an amazing way.

Mann's direction for every second of the movie was stunning. The way Mann approached this movie was destined to equal excellence. First of all, he penned the damn fine screenplay himself and thus knew what he wanted on screen. Second, he employed incredible cinematographic techniques to achieve his vision. And finally, he knew what actors he wanted and was not going to stop until the result is exactly the way he wants it. Even a dialogue scene between De Niro and Pacino can sustain interest in the viewer without showing any action.

Neil McCauley (De Niro) is a thief who indulges in precision jobs along with his team of professionals. After the robbery of an armoured car, the police are now investigating. Vincent Hanna (Pacino) leads the investigation. Hanna is a master at his profession, and McCauley is at the peak of his.

This epic crime film then becomes a game of cat-and-mouse as Hanna works to bring McCauley to justice. In amidst this, we have plenty of time for a character study as Mann digs in-depth into the private lives of the protagonists.

And of course, the occasional action scene is both spectacular and incredibly violent at times. The action scenes are crafted to perfection, with cinematography that blew me away.

De Niro and Pacino share very little screen time together, but when those two are in a scene together the results are unbeatable. The memorable scene at the diner between De Niro and Pacino is something we rarely ever see in a movie - great script, great direction, great performances. And the final showdown isn't your usual "good guy/bad guy" showdown but something a lot deeper.

The highlights of the movie include magnificent cinematic techniques during the few action scenes, and the wonderful performances from everyone in the cast.

Michael Mann's Heat is absolutely unmissable. This epic crime story is most definitely one of the best movies ever made. If you have not yet seen it, I urge you to get a copy of this film in your hands immediately.

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One of 2007's best films!

Posted : 10 years, 3 months ago on 21 April 2008 11:43 (A review of There Will Be Blood (2007))

"Drainage! Drainage, Eli, you boy. Drained dry. I'm so sorry. Here, if you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and I have a straw. There it is, that's a straw, you see? You watching? And my straw reaches acroooooooss the room, and starts to drink your milkshake... I... drink... your... milkshake!"

Words cannot do justice to accurately describe this movie; Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood is an unmissable event and without doubt one of the best movies to hit cinemas during 2007.

This is another of those masterpieces that separates those who love the blockbusters and those who love good filmmaking. In order to appreciate the movie, you must be in the latter category.

Daniel Day-Lewis completely stole the show here; his portrayal is unlike anything I have seen in such a movie. Set in the oil fields at the turn of the 20th Century, the film chronicles the rise of prospector Daniel Plainview (Day-Lewis) who becomes an independent oil man. He becomes a very wealthy man as his oil wells begin to take in lots of money.

This sprawling epic is a tale about greed, corruption and the pursuit of the American dream. Focusing heavily on the troubles and dangers of working at an oil well; some of the scenes of brilliant, compelling drama are never likely to be seen again. This powerful drama is reliant on performances by the actors; without Day-Lewis or the members of the supporting cast the film would not have succeeded. There are many other memorable characters who are developed perfectly over the running time, but it would take too long to talk about each individual, brilliant performance.

The film is a prime example of a modern masterpiece with improper marketing. The marketing campaign for the movie didn't do much for me, and it was only after the reviews I read that sparked an interest in seeing it.

The script is exceptionally well written. There Will Be Blood is a character study that shows us many scenes of drama and development of characters. Because of the strong script (based on Upton Sinclair's novel "Oil!") and remarkable direction, the film works. We can feel the tension between the characters due to such accomplished performances.

Overall, There Will Be Blood is among the finest films to hit cinemas during 2007. In a year filled with disappointing sequels and remakes, it's great that masterpieces like these get made. Highly recommended if you can spare 150 minutes of your time.

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