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

Effective Aussie croc movie. Recommended

Posted : 10 years, 3 months ago on 21 April 2008 08:46 (A review of Black Water (2007))

"Three Cheeky monkeys, sitting in a tree,. Teasing Mr Crocodile. "You can't catch me". Along comes Mr Crocodile, quiet as can be and SNAP..."

Before starting this review I will be completely honest; the standard for crocodile movies keeps lowering with each passing year.

Black Water was a film I'd heard a few things about; mainly concerning the fact of using real crocodiles as opposed to taking the usual CGI route. From the sounds of things, I thought that it would take years for the eventual release and the product wouldn't be too great.

2007 was the year for crocodile movies. The year first welcomed Primeval; a Hollywood crocodile movie that was terrible in every way.

But the director of Wolf Creek, Greg McLean, had been given the green light to make a crocodile movie with a number of big name producers behind him. Rogue became the only decent crocodile movie that had ever been released. And for the creators of Black Water the odds must have looked hideous when they heard what they were up against.

But truth be told, Black Water is an effective, terrifying horror film that can easily add itself to the list of decent crocodile movies. This film is the crocodile version of Open Water; playing on our fears and emotions while in a perilous situation.

As the film opens we are introduced to three characters; Grace (Glenn), Lee (Dermody) and Adam (Rodoreda). They are taking a vacation together in Northern Australia. But when they head out for a fishing trip their lives are changed forever. The film is then a tale of survival while the characters find themselves stranded in the isolated mangroves and swamps while a hungry crocodile lurks beneath the gloomy waters.

Black Water is more of a psychological thriller that takes the route of "less is more". This isn't some sleazy horror fest where the crocodile is visible whenever there's a suspense scene. Instead the filmmakers chose to utilise shots of the croc scarcely; instead showing us ripples in the water that might suggest the croc is about to strike.

The film is filled with tension and some pretty suspenseful horror scenes. It's not bucket loads of blood and all out action - the filmmakers instead rely on the fear of not knowing where the crocodile is. There's still strong violence during the attacks; but the focus wasn't primarily on the gore.

I will admit that the acting was sometimes below average. The actors were not big names, but small time folks who haven't had much experience. Some of the scenes of drama had some terrible acting for sure. But into the second half I could definitely feel some talent shining through; the characters genuinely seem petrified of the situation. And the use of real crocodiles is a fantastic move. The croc never looks fake, and hence we can never laugh at one of the attacks.

The camera work was beautiful. There are many stylish cinematical techniques during the horror scenes. However some obscure shots of the water make it obvious that the croc is about to strike. In some circumstances it comes as no shock when the hungry reptile reveals himself from the depths.

The script was mediocre. Because of the genre we're going to get some stupidity; it's to be expected. The dialogue is sometimes laughably cheesy as well. The character development is kept to a minimum; instead developing the protagonists as a whole so it's even more devastating when someone is attacked or killed.

For a small time low-budget Aussie crocodile feature, Black Water completes its objective. The film is intense and skillfully crafted; and ended up being a lot better than I thought it would be. It's interesting that the Americans have forever tried to make an effective croc film but kept failing terribly. The Aussies try twice in the one year and strike gold. Worth seeing for aficionados of the genre.


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Will Ferrell...is hilarious!

Posted : 10 years, 3 months ago on 21 April 2008 08:40 (A review of Semi-Pro (2008))

"It's like the Titanic but with bears!"

Of course, whenever Will Ferrell is thrown into a comedy there's always a guarantee that there'll be at least a few decent laughs. I guess I was hoping for another Anchorman or Talladega Nights when I walked into this one...and ended up walking out of the cinema feeling quite dissatisfied.

First of all, the film is only mildly funny. I was hoping for a bunch of great laughs but there are very few to be experienced here. There was a lot more foul language and profanity than Ferrell's usual movies, but it's a shame they only focused on using language rather than making the dialogue at all witty.

Second of all, the film is highly predictable. Despite the ending being unconventional the rest of the film was filled with gags that could be predicted before they happen.

Will Ferrell is hit singer Jackie Moon who owns a basketball team that he is also coach of, not to mention he's also a player. A group of basketball teams are given the chance to qualify for the NBA depending on their performance during the season. Subsequently, Jackie rounds up his team-mates (prominently made up of black people) who aim to make their NBA dreams come true.

Despite the laughs being a rarity, the funny gags were rather worth it. Ferrell wasn't doing his usual overacting for the most part, which was an interesting change of scenery. He relied more on dialogue rather than being overzealous. He had a few good lines...but nothing major that was too redeeming in this somewhat mediocre comedy.

Face it, Semi-Pro is a film that you begin watching with the mild expectation of just being entertained. It's a Will Ferrell comedy, not The Godfather. I guess it's only for die-hard fans of these types of disappointing, albeit entertaining comedy features. Watch it with your mates, and you'll probably find yourselves quoting the film for the next few weeks. Like I said, there are a limited number of laughs...but the laughs we do have are somewhat satisfying.


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Not brilliant, but just plain funny!

Posted : 10 years, 3 months ago on 21 April 2008 08:37 (A review of Superhero Movie)

In recent years, Hollywood have spent so much time producing spoof comedies that have been utter piles of rubbish that are almost painful to watch. Date Movie and Epic Movie destroyed all hope of a future in spoof films (it wasn't even solid to begin with) due to the woeful writing of two blokes who single-handedly made two of the worst movies in the history of cinema.

At first I was reluctant about Superhero Movie but I must say that I was relieved when I realised some of the talent involved. At first glance one would dismiss Superhero Movie as its title lumped together with the dreadful filmmaking of those who made Date Movie and Epic Movie. This film could have been a whole lot worse, but on the other hand it could have been a whole lot better.

In a spoof predominantly of Spider-Man, Batman, and Fantastic 4 among many others we follow our hero named Rick Riker (Bell) who is a geeky science nerd with limited friends at school. He takes a massive fancy towards a girl from his school named Jill (Paxton) who is interested in other more sophisticated guys. But Rick's life changes when he is bitten by a dragonfly during a science excursion and eventually transforms into a superhero.

And hence the stage is set for Rick, who now calls himself Dragonfly, to begin cleaning up the city of all crime.

Superhero Movie is not nearly as bad as many were anticipating. Sure, the plot is as thin as a piece of paper and the gags are cheap...but at least the gags were actually funny. While watching this in the cinema I was in stitches for a lot of the film's duration. Unlike the other cheap spoof films, this one actually delivers a number of genuinely hilarious laughs. In the cinema I was almost in tears with laughter. A quality foreign to those who have been exposed to the aforementioned spoof films that I unquestionably detest.

The send ups of many films I found to be quite creative. Of course the elaborate sets are very clever and mirror those used in the films that are spoofed. On top of this, there are some very creative ideas that are incorporated into the film.

The cast was decent. The performances were never worthy of an Oscar but they certainly did what they set out to do. Leslie Nielson was a stand out amongst the cast. He's about 80 years old but he still hasn't lost his touch with such comedies.

Honestly, Superhero Movie is a film that has been created merely for a few laughs. The movie is a myriad of hilarious scenes stitched together with little evidence of a plot. There was a little evidence of establishing a plot, but it wasn't strong enough to make the film as good as it had the potential to be. It has been a long time since Hollywood saw comedy gold found in such movies as Airplane! and it has been my hope that another film like it would come along.

Superhero Movie may be from the same creators as the abovementioned comedy, but it's not near the same quality. I loved some of the hilarious gags that had me in tears with laughter, and I liked the creative ideas. Unfortunately the film's plot is appalling and it seems the gags won't be very funny the second time around.

This brisk 80-minute spoof is good for a laugh and nothing else. I enjoyed it.


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The worst of 2008 so far!

Posted : 10 years, 3 months ago on 21 April 2008 08:30 (A review of Prom Night (2008))

"I've missed you!"

All my worst fears were confirmed when I took my seat in the cinema to watch this ineffective, appalling horror film. Prom Night firmly takes the title of the worst film of 2008 so far; this remake of the classic slasher film is every bit as horrible as anticipated.

The name-only remake is just about some teenager who is being stalked by some insane psycho who's obsessed with her. On her prom night this psycho turns up and starts killing her friends.

So what makes this one so horrible? Gee, where should I start...

First of all, the film was toned down to a PG-13 in America so it will be a hit at the box office (Sadly, it currently is). But PG-13 means no gore, no sex, no profanity and tame horror scenes. Instead of gore, we're shown tiny amount of blood spatter that doesn't even look realistic (The blood all over the knife didn't look natural at all). This is a slasher movie. How can a slasher film be considered good when the violence is toned down?!

The original also contains drug use and sex. None of that here. The word 'sex' isn't even said. Instead they just hint at it. Top points for realism here! I am a teenager and I know it as a fact that teens use explicit sexual dialogue in everyday life.

And no profanity? There's mild use of the word 'shit' but nothing else. Another perfect way to portray teenagers; exactly what they aren't.

Secondly, the script was woeful. Dialogue was laughable and cheesy even for the genre. It was all so by-the-book. When there are mysterious noises the characters just venture over and ask "Hello?" or "Is anybody there?" into the darkness. On top of this the characters were stupid, illogically developed and could be out-witted by a stuffed animal. An example of this? They hear the killer in on the loose. Do the police remove the teenage girl in trouble? Nope. Instead they let her continue her prom night in fear of messing it up. Well isn't that intelligent. A prom night would mean nothing if the girl in question winds up dead. And of course when the hunt is on they just have to bring in the S.W.A.T. unit. I mean one man with a knife...now there's a massive threat. Let's pull every available officer into this situation to hunt the guy. And of course S.W.A.T. team turn up armed with massive machine guns.

The scares occur exactly when we expect them to. There were no surprise scares at all. At least the scares were hilarious.

Thirdly, the acting was terrible. The so-called teenagers look like they're in their mid-to-late twenties! The dialogue was already bad enough, but the actors made it sound even worse. There was no intensity while delivering dialogue, and there was no evidence of people actually acting. No more needs to be said on this issue.

Finally, I couldn't believe how badly the film was made. The editing was horrible and the directing was terrible. In the cinema where I was, there were sheer roars of laughter when it was meant to be scary. The editing was slow and ineffective. The music makes the film even more predictable.

Prom Night is a terrible movie. I never thought I'd ever say this...but I wish Michael Bay's company commissioned this remake because then it would have at least contained some actual gore as opposed to this teen-friendly flick that was more of a comedy than a horror.


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Classic comedy at its best!

Posted : 10 years, 3 months ago on 21 April 2008 08:20 (A review of Office Space)

"Peter, what's happening?"

Office Space is a film I had no interest in seeing at all. The front cover of the DVD was something that never sparked my interest; the cover was not enticing and it made the film look like some silly child comedy. But I am very glad that I finally took the time to sit down and watch this gem.

The first shot was enough to have me allured. And after the opening scene I was already laughing and clapping due to the comedic genius of the whole thing. And yet the whole film maintains this high level of comedy genius.

No matter how many times I watch it I have a tremendously good time. I had no idea the film was going to be this enjoyable. Office Space is bright and funny; it contains a sleuth of fantastic, quirky characters and amusing one-liners that will have the audience laughing the whole way through.

Peter Gibbons (Livingston) lives a mundane life. He despises his miserable dead-end job, finds out his girlfriend is cheating on him and has an irritating neighbour. For Peter, everyday is the worst day of his life. At his job he's forced to spend the whole day in a cubicle in front of a computer screen and has a sleazy boss named Bill Lumbergh (Cole). At the request of his girlfriend Peter sees a hypnotherapist who dies before releasing Peter from a state of complete and total bliss. He is then free of worrying about making a living; instead just not caring anymore about the company he works for. Instead he decides that he just won't go to work anymore. Ironically the more Peter malingers, the more he's seen as management material by the idiotic consultants. To add further insult to the situation, two of his hard-working co-workers are set to be dismissed from the company. To get revenge the three men team up and hatch a cunning plan that will rip off the company.

Office Space is excellently played out like a simple comic strip, and it works. The film is based on comic strips conceived by director Mike Judge. He skilfully retains this charm. But I think many audiences like this film so much because of its accuracy in displaying the dull life of sitting in an office cubicle all day long. The surrounding characters are all 100% accurate! I loved the way that the actors executed their roles.

Ron Livingston was very good as Peter Gibbons. He was accurate and wasn't too over-the-top. Stephen Root was the stand out here for me. He nailed his character. Every time he says a line it was enough to make me chuckle. Gary Cole was also a stand out as the sleazy boss. His droning voice is an aspect of a boss that we can all relate to. Cole delivers his lines in a memorable fashion. Heck, I could go on about every cast member present here but this review would go on for ages. I loved each and every person present in the cast. They all had their moments of genuine hilarity.

Office Space is hands down one of my favourite films of all time. The whole film is surprisingly unpredictable with an ending that is highly unconventional and unexpected. I cannot express how much I love this movie. Needless to say, you must see it without hesitation.


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Deservedly a classic. Unmissable!

Posted : 10 years, 3 months ago on 21 April 2008 08:18 (A review of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939))

"You see, boys forget what their country means by just reading The Land of the Free in history books. Then they get to be men they forget even more. Liberty's too precious a thing to be buried in books, Miss Saunders. Men should hold it up in front of them every single day of their lives and say: I'm free to think and to speak. My ancestors couldn't, I can, and my children will. Boys ought to grow up remembering that."

Frank Capra is a man with an impressive résumé; he directed some true classics during his career, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is certainly one of his best. The film is deservedly a classic; an uplifting experience that boasts some truly groundbreaking perspectives.

As the film opens we are informed that a senator has died and a replacement is necessary. While searching for a candidate they come across an honourable, modest man named Jefferson Smith (Stewart). Smith is a man who has nothing but the upmost respect for politics and politicians. Smith also runs the Boy Rangers, is respected by the boys around him, and has just heroically put out a forest fire. And so he is chosen as a senator in Washington. At first awe-struck by the historic merits of his surroundings; but as he begins getting settled in, Smith finds nothing but corruption and crime in the highest levels of government. Smith is highly inexperienced but finds himself single-handedly battling ruthless politicians who are out to destroy him and expel him of his powerful position.

The plot is simple but brilliant. The concept of portraying political corruption was unheard of at the time. The film especially emphasizes the cynicism present in some politicians who will go to great lengths to cover something up. It will probably never be proved if such corruption exists, but the perspectives are made believable.

But one aspect that is most admirably highlighted is what politics can do to a man. Claude Rains delivers a poignant speech that points out what happens to a man when they enter politics; ideals are changed and their sense of individuality diminishes. And he admires Mr. Smith because he does his best to defend his ideals that still firmly exist.

The expansive production design looks outstanding. Most of the film's budget must have gone into the realistic Senate set where most of the action takes place. The set looks fantastic, real and believable. There appears to be no difference between the set and the real thing.

One thing that I discovered while watching the movie was a number of minor technical faults. There are several jarring edits that are sometimes obvious; despite this the material is always so strong and highlighted by a dynamic performance from James Stewart that is bursting with energy. Stewart's performance can't be faulted and he was nominated for an Oscar. He is supported by a host of outstanding co-stars. Jean Arthur was particularly memorable as someone who shows firm support in Mr. Smith. And of course Claude Rains was another unforgettable actor who helps carry the film. Stewart was already enough to keep me engaged; thankfully the rest of the cast maintain this high level of talent.

Because the film turns into a Senatorial debate for about the final 30 minutes there always had to be something that keeps the audience interested. The whole thing is staged very well and moves at a brisk pace; carried by the magnificent actors and the passionate directing from Frank Capra. The film builds up to an exhilarating climax.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is a timeless classic and a cinematic triumph; it's unforgettable, powerful and moving. Not to be missed.


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It truly is awesome!!

Posted : 10 years, 3 months ago on 21 April 2008 08:17 (A review of Some Like It Hot)

"Nobody's perfect."

Billy Wilder became forever famous for his classics; Some Like It Hot is one of those memorable, timeless, unforgettable films that has lost very little of its original appeal. Wilder has crafted a risqué, gender-binding comedy rich in sexual innuendo, steamy seductions, and spoofs of gender stereotypes.

The very straightforward plot follows two men; Joe (Curtis) and Jerry (Lemmon) who are simple jazz musicians seeking decent work in Chicago at the peak of prohibition. Soon the two become unfortunate witnesses to a gangland crime and hence are on the gang's hit list. In a hurry to get out of town to avoid being whacked by the mob, they rename themselves Josephine and Daphne, pose as girls and get themselves into an all-woman jazz band as they head on an all expenses paid trip to Florida.

Then a highly hilarious love triangle emerges; the lead singer of the band (Monroe) falls for Josephine (who has posed as a young British millionaire), and an old millionaire (Brown) falls for a very bewildered Daphne. On top of this a bellhop also takes a fancy to Josephine (a very good recurring joke). Sure this sounds like an episode of a daytime soapie, but the story is handled well and the script is superb.

At first I was quite reluctant to watch a movie rich in themes about transvestites; however the first scene when we look at the two men now dressed in drag...had me in stitches and sold the idea. On top of this the laughs emerged fairly quickly.

The two central male (/female) characters were given an array of fantastic lines to deliver. Then when Marilyn Monroe appeared...I was sold. She is certainly in her prime and at her best. She's young, angelic and stunning. It's no wonder she became one of the sex icons of the 20th Century. Tony Curtis displays a vast array of different characters here. In addition to being his actual character, he's also a woman and a young British gentleman. His voices were all done to perfection. I especially liked his British accent. Jack Lemmon is one really fantastic actor. He can be very funny when he wants to. Kudos to the screenwriter for conceiving a perfect character for Jack to work with.

The major stand out here, though, was Joe E. Brown as a perverted old millionaire who wants to marry Jack's character. This sets the stage for the very famous final line that had me laughing for several minutes after the film concluded. With these classic films, it was pivotal to have memorable lines of dialogue such as that.

Some Like It Hot remains an extremely enjoyable romp after almost 40 years. The laughs never get old. Some of the sight gags even had me laughing. I never would have thought that an old film could supply golden laughs.

Some Like It Hot is classic stuff in every sense of the word. It's highly memorable and everlasting; in short, a film you cannot afford to miss. Don't hesitate to pick this one off the shelf.


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Incredible in every sense of the word.

Posted : 10 years, 3 months ago on 21 April 2008 08:15 (A review of All About Eve)

"If nothing else, there's applause... like waves of love pouring over the footlights."

The quality of All About Eve has been much discussed and widely acclaimed in the decades following its release. All About Eve is a truly incredible movie that is hard to describe accurately in words.

The film still holds the record for the most amount of Academy Award nominations - as this screen gem received an unfathomable amount of 14. Just this merit in mind should be enough to warrant a screening. The themes of jealousy, manipulation, and betrayal richly unfold on screen with this exceptional film noir loosely adapted from a story by Mary Orr.

The story of this film is really quite simple; Margo Channing (Davis) is a star of the theatre who features in plays written by Lloyd Richards (Marlowe), and under the direction of her boyfriend and director Bill Sampson (Merrill). Margo has everything; fame, fortune and adoring fans. But one evening after Margo completes another performance her career is altered when one of her friends brings Eve Harrington (Baxter) into her life. Eve is one of Margo's fans who is obsessed; she watches every play that Margo features in and on every night it is being performed. Eve quickly wins the heart of Margo and her friends when she tells them the story of how she became a dedicated fan.

Soon Margo incorporates Eve into her daily life. Eve loyally assists in any way she can. But a theatre critic (Sanders) begins seeing through Eve's elaborate performance and scheme. It would be unthinkable to reveal more about the film's plot.

As the film opens we are introduced to all the characters via fascinating narration as an award ceremony unfolds. Then the film uses heavy flashbacks as we look at the aforementioned plot. Needless to say, the film is all about Eve.

One of the first things that struck me was the very intricately written screenplay by director Mankiewicz. The lines of dialogue are highly intriguing and are transformed to the screen skilfully using a fantastic cast. Bette Davis has never been better. She feels plausible and real as a famous star who is now struggling to hold onto her career. She was nominated for an Oscar with good reasoning. Anne Baxter was also nominated for an Oscar. Her portrayal is simply stunning to watch. The script was already good enough, but these two title actresses do wonders to that screenplay and nail their characters.

The supporting cast is full of big names. George Sanders was very articulate and skilled in bringing his character to life. Also as the narrator he needed a voice that was easy to listen to. The opening few moments of narration already had me engaged.

All About Eve is a true classic that suffers from few flaws. The film has always been widely acclaimed by critics and audiences alike. I can't blame them. You can only see it to believe how incredible the film really is.


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An important film; and a masterpiece

Posted : 10 years, 3 months ago on 21 April 2008 06:36 (A review of Munich)

"We have 11 Palestinian names, each one of them had a hand in planning Munich. We want them all dead."

Steven Spielberg has always been capable of achieving excellent results when behind the camera. I have been a massive fan of his work for years now and I always anticipate the release of his latest movies.

Munich was a film that I had wanted to see ever since I learned he was at the helm. The film met with major criticism preceding its release because of the short time in which the film was made. Filming began in June 2005 with a December 2005 release date in mind. Spielberg has always been good at making films in a very tight shooting schedule.

While watching the movie I couldn't believe the focus and concentration that is obvious while watching each frame of film that has been produced.

Munich is a riveting, powerful, involving and confronting human drama that is one of the most important films of this century. It was a daring move to produce such a confronting piece of cinema due to how incomplete the facts are; make no mistake, the film is no history lesson. But then again it was never meant to be a documentary. The facts presented may be seen as agonizingly erroneous, but what actually happened will always remain a mystery.

Munich is also a milestone in Steven Spielberg's career. He has been well known for making family-friendly blockbusters that sometimes mirror his childhood. The film represents a step up for maturity in Spielberg's filmmaking.

Based on true events; Munich chronicles the fate of 11 Israeli Olympic athletes who were brutally murdered during the Olympics of 1972 in Munich. In response to the savage massacre the government commissions a group of agents to track down and eliminate those responsible for the tragedy that occurred in the Olympic village that fateful day. The five-man team carry out their mission with the knowledge in mind that they officially have had no contact with those who hired them. The mission is confidential and officially does not exist. As the team eliminate men in the most callous of ways and the body count rises - so do questions, uncertainties and sleepless nights. They begin questioning the justification of the counter-violence and loyalties begin to blur.

Munich is a film that asks a lot of its audience as Spielberg presents questions without answers; offering no easy answers and keeping firm focus on the human response and the conflict between the motivations behind their actions and the consequences.

The tension built up between the characters is insurmountable. Some of the pivotal roles are executed in outstanding style; the accents seem genuine and each line appears to be said with meaning. The film wastes no time getting into the nitty gritty suspense sequences.

Spielberg has also integrated archive footage that gives the film a high level of chilling realism. The beginning events are essentially told through the archive footage presented. And throughout the movie we are shown clips that look in detail at the tragic massacre during which 11 athletes lost their lives. Some of these clips are shown in harrowing realism; startlingly showing brutal violence and heart-wrenching sequences that will have your mouth gaping open.

Cinematographer Janusz Kaminski achieved fantastic results with this film. The action and suspense scenes were filmed extremely well. From the opening sequence I was already engaged in the film; although production was rushed it never feels this way.

John Williams' score creates a brooding, maligned atmosphere that is intense and malevolent. The key suspense scene had me sitting in awe at what was going on.

Munich was a daring film but was executed spectacularly. The film is challenging, pulse-pounding, captivating and involving. The whole film is an extraordinary experience marred only marginally by its over-length. Highly recommended.


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