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All reviews - Movies (18) - TV Shows (3) - Books (7) - Music (1) - Games (1)

A Wreck

Posted : 10 years, 8 months ago on 15 May 2008 10:32 (A review of Crash (2005))

I've wanted to see this film for ages, I have to say I was bitterly disappointed.
I had heard it was powerful, thought provoking and moving. Unfortunately I was left feeling angry at the overstated racial conflicts which are thrown into your face. Almost as if it had to be reinforced enough for fear of the audience ‘not quite getting it’. The film characters are explored by showing interlinking clips of their lives. By which the director thought that by connecting all of these hate filled hypocrites together the viewer will be convinced that the message is deep and clever.

The tag lie far the film is 'You think you know who you are. You have no idea.' Which is basically the synopsis of the whole film.
It follows a bunch of L.A cops around looking at their daily encounters and the civilians and criminals they come across. Just when you think there is someone likeable in the film they too fall prey to acting on racial stereotypes and prejudices, and vice versa those who are outwardly racist redeem themselves with outstanding acts of valour

If this films message was toned down and if it felt like it was trying less it would have been great and I feel would have had a genuinely powerful message. As it was, it left nothing to the imagination and I felt unable to identify or empathise with a single character, thus I felt little more than let down.

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'For the bonds of love are ill to loose!

Posted : 10 years, 8 months ago on 11 May 2008 08:28 (A review of Lady Chatterley's Lover)

I think that taking into consideration the fact that D.H Lawrence wanted to call this book Tenderness bodes well for what sentiments he originally intended top portray with this novel.

The book focuses on a young, strong minded and educated woman named Constance who marries her intellectual companion just before the first world war. Unfortunately he returns to her a cripple and embarrassed by himself retires to a life spent a genius recluse. Bound by her sense of wifely duty and her intellectual connection to her husband Constance busies herself about the house relishing rare visits from guests, but ultimately becomes bored, trapped and isolated.

As her frustration builds with her situation in life and with her husband she realizes that no one can live solely by the mind, that to live you have to be physically alive.
In a desperate attempt to save herself she falls for the charms of a family friend who offers her what her husband has never been able to and an alternative source of mental. This relationship soon too turns out to be unreal and Constance’s only hope is to seek solace outside, in the nature and life around their grounds.
That is until she meets the cold and reproachful game keeper Mellors.

This book is filled with moral and social dilemmas and the problems of conscience and duty. Set against a time of massive social, technological and political upheaval.

The characters wrestle with fears of their country’s future as much as their own. The whole book is beautifully crafted and a pleasure to read as its poetry paints vivid pictures.
The quips are quick and quirky and never to be outdated.

‘"And I'm going to marry. Oh, yes, I must marry."

"It sounds like going to have your tonsils cut," laughed Connie. "Will it be an effort?"’

The feelings both for and of the characters are genuine and sensitive, a real achievement for a man of that period in time, who himself didn’t have the best luck with women.

If you’re going to read a classic, make it this one.

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Hair raising fun

Posted : 10 years, 8 months ago on 11 May 2008 01:28 (A review of Afro Samurai (2007-2007))

A good little animation bringing together Japanese animé and hip-hop music.

Fantastic stylised graphics and soundtrack by RZA accompany a bloodthirsty tale of revenge as a young boy is orphaned, vowing revenge for his assassinated father. He grows up nurturing an afro of immense proportions, wielding a samurai sword longer than you and a bad-ass attitude to match.
Driven by the single vision of becoming the number one samurai and literally cutting down all who stand in his way.
It was lots of fun with original death sequences stacking up along the way.

Unlike some of the other animé stories I have seen it managed to remain comprehensible throughout and followed a logical sequence of events.

The only let down for me was regrettably the character of Samuel L. J. as Afro samurai's companion, he tagged along in a manner very reminiscent of that of Donkey in Shrek, and became a slight annoyance with his repetitive nature of dialogue. 'Nah bro, you don't want to be doing that, you really don't to
want to be doing that. Watch it! He abouts to bust a two-sword move on you!'

All in all good bloody fun.

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Strange Days- Dystopian Heaven

Posted : 10 years, 8 months ago on 8 May 2008 10:01 (A review of Strange Days)

Corrupt cops and Government

Well this film has it all. It’s like it read the manual and threw all the elements together. The result therefore has to be enjoyable and intriguing. The plot is acceptable, the end twist is predictable but still fun to watch it play out, even the shoddy acting from Juliet Lewis can slide due to the OTT nature of the film. It’s the run up to the new years eve of the millennium when Lenny Nero (Ralph Fiennes), a heart-broken dealer of memories and real life experiences, comes into possession of a snuff clip which entangles him in the dark seedy world of murder and blackmail, which runs right up to the highest level. Will all be solved and saved before the bell tolls midnight?

I think the snag that I have with the film comes right at the end. Why do things always have to turn out ok, and why must the love interests always kiss and ruin the tension the whole film has built? I spent the film enjoying the love triangles only to have it ruined in one of the many closing scenes, which must rival ‘Lord of the Rings-Return of the King’ in longevity.

I think I feel so jaded by this because it did have great potential and held together a great many elements of the dystopian genre creating a formidable apocalyptic atmosphere which was just let down in places by a few bad acting sequences and directed moments.

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Hitler the Artist...?

Posted : 10 years, 8 months ago on 8 May 2008 06:40 (A review of Max (2002))

A concept that I’ve always amazed hasn’t been cashed in on more. This film tells the story of a 30 something Adolf Hitler struggling to find his calling in life after fighting at the front line in world war one.
Hitler (Noah Taylor) befriends a rich Jewish art dealer Max Rothman (John Cusack) who also served in the war and finds a common sympathy for Hitler’s sense of a lack of belonging and frustrations at the world around him in which he can’t quite find a place.
Rothman isn’t overly convinced with Hitler’s art but sees potential in his passion and vision, if only he can manage to harness it and project that onto the canvas.
Ever more frustrated at his inability to express himself visually, and at the Government for so submissively being beaten by the ‘Treaty of Versailles’ Hitler finds himself drawn towards the world of politics and takes instead to the stage to express himself. Of course the rest of the story is now History.

A film that gives a very different insight into the frantic mind of Hitler displaying his nervous frustrated and disjointed cognitive nature which is very different from the polished fervent image we are all familiar with, but its an aspect that Taylor incorporates and develops well as Hitler finds his footing in the arena of anti-Semitic public speaking.

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Posted : 10 years, 8 months ago on 30 April 2008 08:52 (A review of Disturbia (2007))

I didn’t expect too much from this film. Figuring it to be pretty much another teen thriller, but from the outset I was pretty impressed.
The dialogue for the first 1/3 of the film is simple allowing the audience to watch LaBeouf settle into his new found confinements. I enjoyed the simplicity of this. Watching LaBeouf explore his limits and settling into his voyeuristic routines. From then on the plot became more predictable but held my attention and kept me wondering ‘guilty or not?’
I think the film would have been stronger left unresolved but all in all an enjoyable contemporary twist on the old classic.

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More than magic

Posted : 10 years, 9 months ago on 19 April 2008 11:19 (A review of Peter Pan )

This is a book that most unfortunately I have only read in adulthood.
It is simply written with beautiful simplicity packed with original and creative characters and storylines which have affected every one of us. It speaks directly to children through the voice of magic and often addresses them directly as the reader actively drawing them into the book.

Like most children’s books that have stood the test of time it deals with issues of the adult world that children often find themselves in the midst of. I think that’s where this book holds its secret as it allow children to confront and deal with them in an abstract manner without the confrontation and failing input of the grown ups around them.
Everyone can remember that reluctance to grow up and the uncertainty of what might lie ahead and who you may become, but few are able to put it so eloquently, poetically but massively accessibly into words.

This material for this book was always rambling around in J. M. Barrie’s head. Based on the loss of his idolised brother as a child and the crushing effects it impressed on him and his family. Barrie was able to draw on real relationships with people he knew and his own and others experiences and weave them together seamlessly into a dense blanket of fantasy. Many have suggested this is where he really lived and how he saw the world.

As an adult reading you can feel his pain and concern for all children dealing with loss and faced with responsibilities they are not yet ready for.
Each character has their own battle to face in the book and trial to overcome. Yet the tone is never downbeat or hopeless and the magical element always offers a light, a way out guiding the cast through to maturity.

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A Story of Nuclear Fallout.

Posted : 10 years, 9 months ago on 19 April 2008 08:50 (A review of When the Wind Blows (1986))

The storyline goes that when given warning of air raid attacks from Soviet forces an elderly couple draw on their past experiences on the Second World War to build a bomb proof shelter and 'tough it out' instead of evacuating.
When the bomb which falls turns out to be an atomic one, their homemade shelter is obvious rendered obsolete. From here on the cartoon becomes rather harrowing. As you watch the sweet old couple (of whom any one can project their own grandparents onto) fall pray to the slow internal cirrhosis cause by radiation poisoning.

I watched this film at school in terror, knowing that if this was one day to happen during my life time that what I was watching unfold before my eyes would too be my fate.

The film was released in 1986, so at the time it had massive political relevance which is why I find the choice of animation so strange.
It is animated in the same soft cheery way as the 1991 ‘Father Christmas’.(Have a merry blooming merry Christmas) These soft and warm cartoons give a very sinister air.
It may have been chosen to take the edge off of a pressing fear, to render it less real by making it a cartoon. Or maybe the opposite, to highlight that if a war did break out then no matter how safe, cosy and familiar your life was it would effect normal everyday people.

All in all a successful, thought provoking and touching film that makes you cherish what you have and ultimately hope your killed instantly when the bomb first falls.

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Unintelligent facts

Posted : 10 years, 9 months ago on 17 April 2008 08:32 (A review of Ripley's Believe It or Not!)

I've never forgotten this show. It has dwelled within the recess of my childhood memories and been recalled in a warped nostalgic manner tinged with fear.
What I do recall is it had an awful format of a weird man in the middle of a hypnotic whirlpool asking ridiculous T and F questions. The only one of which I remember is this:

-True or False. A man once got a baked bean stuck behind his eye which couldn't be removed.

The very nature of such a thing filled me with terror but the question was obviously false any kid with a brain knows that!
But not so, not according to Ripley!
Standing corrected I excitedly retold this tale to my mum (a nurse) thinking I'd knock her socks off my intelligence. I went to bed that night humiliated, with her remark ringing in my ears 'Don't be so gullible child that's simply impossible.'

Maybe a slightly personal and biased review but a lame attempt at psychedelic education.
The version I watched as a child wasn't presented by superman though....

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Grease 2 (1982) review

Posted : 10 years, 9 months ago on 13 April 2008 08:44 (A review of Grease 2 (1982))

To be honest, I’m really not a fan of Grease, and was forced to watch this against my will by my female housemates.
20 mins in to Grease 2 and I was swooning over Michael Carrington (Maxwell Caulfield) Sandy’s English cousin, come to study at Rydell High.
The totally predictable and opposite storyline from Grease is played out amidst some rather raunchy sung innuendos in catchy sing along tunes. Bad girl Stephanie Zinone (Michelle Pfeiffer) soon catches the eye of poor puppy eyes Micheal and he sets about to become cool enough to be accepted by the T-birds and win Stephanie’s heart.

Cheese oozes from every scene, but the cast know that and that’s its charm.
I warmed to all of the characters massively more so than the first film with their cheeky fun loving gum chewing charm and tapped my feet smiling throughout.

It’s always going to be a marmite of a film. But if you’re looking for a girly bit of fun, this could be your perfect answer to a great karaoke night in.

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