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

I 'like' Huckabees

Posted : 10 years, 9 months ago on 13 April 2008 08:24 (A review of I Heart Huckabees (2004))

A film filled with annoying people that allows you hate them, contrasted nicely with some great performances and lovable characters in the form of Wahlberg and Hoffman.

The film verges on being hateable itself for its overtly alternative indie and off the wall style, but manages to stay within the lines and just about remain quirky and endearing.

For me it mirrored ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’. Focusing on a hopeless man (Schwartzman) who is looking for meaning in some ‘coincidences’ within his life. To try and solve these riddles he hires detectives who spy on every area of his life and with their theories on life and existence turn his turn his world upside down including everyone he knows.

A must see if you like these type of films, if not then its an enjoyable couple of hours anyway, but there are better examples out there.

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Drowning in dissapointment

Posted : 10 years, 10 months ago on 20 March 2008 04:43 (A review of Lady in the Water)

Being a big fan of fairy tales, especially their relevance to our modern lives, I thought that the perfect film for me had come into existence.

At a rundown apartment complex a mundane, bored with life handy man stumbles across a water nymph trying to save humanity from its own ignorance.
After convincing him she is more than just a nut job he attempts to get her back home, which simultaneously would also save our world.

During what turns out to be a mammoth struggle, the rest of the complex also becomes engaged in the fight. Each finding they have a specific talent and gift to offer up for the cause. The characters end up saving each others lives both literally and in terms of future purpose, thus becoming all the better for it...

Unfortunately I think M. Night Shyamalan just tried to combine too many elements into this film. The comedy falls short at every point, the magic just never comes alive and the characters, which are purposely subscribed to the traditional fairy tale roles fail to come into their own, leaving me uninspired and compassionless.
What really makes me feel sad, is that you get such a sense of Shyamalan's ego. Thinking he has done a wonderous and origional piece of cinema. I mean, who charades as the Jesus-esque saviour in their very own film!

By the end of the film I felt like it would have been better if the housing complex had of been killed off by the mythological, nymph eating ‘Snark’ taking humanity with it, thus ending my misery and bitter disappointment of having to sit through the rest of the film.

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A top drawer adaptation

Posted : 10 years, 10 months ago on 18 March 2008 06:33 (A review of Northanger Abbey (2007))

This film is one of the rare ones (which for me at least) that outdoes the book. Transforming the lead from a spoilt silly girl into a sultry alluring heroine.

Catherine Morland is so absorbed her world of fantasy that when introduced to Henry Tilney and his sister Eleanor she is unable to distinguish fact from the stories she has created within her head. This of course results in a mass of unintended misunderstandings and hurt feelings, but is the damage to great for reconciliation?

This is definitely one of the best adaptations of a period novel I've seen, with a stunning cast that I willed a happy ending for.
It's never that simple in an Austen creation though!

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Lolita- A lavishly witty dark comedy.

Posted : 10 years, 10 months ago on 17 March 2008 05:49 (A review of Lolita)

Lolita is a highly amusing tongue in cheek story of Humbert Humbert an English professor, who inconveniently still idolises his first childhood sweet heart, despite his pressing adult age.

It is surprisingly hard to dislike the hopeless villainous character of Humbert despite his twisted intentions to bring little Lolita into his clutches, as he becomes as much of a victim of his intellect and schemes as Lolita and her mother turn out to be.

The book beautifully captures the moods and tantrums of adolescence, whilst illustrating the extremes of human hopelessness when being at the mercy of our emotions and instinctive impulses.

The characters are so intricately crafted that it is possible to visualise Lolita’s every sullen expression and stomp of her heel, and to feel Humbert’s heart beat quicken at the height of his desperation.

The reader experiences in the torment of both Lolita and Humbert on this journey of self actualisation and possession as the story interchanges from comedy to romance to detective with such masterful descriptions and command of language that each page is a pleasure to read.

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Couldn't trap my imagination in its web

Posted : 10 years, 10 months ago on 16 March 2008 12:33 (A review of Anansi Boys)

A slightly disappointing and disjointed read.
I am a big fan of the mythical and surreal, especially I thought when combined within one book, but ‘Anansi Boys’ left me feeling like it’s magic and potential was never quite fulfilled.
This is the first adult novel of Gaiman’s that I have read, after very much enjoying his children’s books such as ‘The Wolves in the Walls’, and the beautiful film ‘Mirromask’.

To me it lacked the originality and collaboration between fantasy and the banal reality of life present in these previous titles. I enjoyed the depiction of the characters but the writing was bland and lacked tension and empathy.

I have ‘American Gods’ lined up next which I am looking to enjoy and connect with much more...

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The Widow Maker

Posted : 10 years, 10 months ago on 16 March 2008 01:51 (A review of Football Manager 2008)

Whilst running the risk of becoming wildly unpopular with most of my male counterparts, and more recently some female ones. I feel it necessary to state a warning about this game.

If you enjoy spending time in the sunshine, if there is anyone you hold dear to you in your life or relish seeing then don’t begin to play this.
To me it appears as a reel of unfathomable lists, of ever changing unknown players and statistics but there is clearly much more hidden within it.
The only part that I can claim to enjoy is the status remark based on how many hours played; with ironic lines like; ‘Football manager should be added to your C.V.’ and ‘Remember to call work for more sick leave.’

Sigh, where did all those hours go.

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Spirited Away review

Posted : 10 years, 10 months ago on 16 March 2008 01:35 (A review of Spirited Away)

An original and enchanting storyline and film.

En route to their new home a sulky 10 year old Chihiro and her family unwisely decide to take a short cut and duly arrive lost, at an abandoned theme park. All soon turns out not to be what it seems as Chihiro’s glutinous parents are transformed into pigs after eating the food of the spirits which reside in the park, which after sunset serves as a bath house for the spirits of their realm.
Chihiro is then faced with the dilemma of running free and escaping this unfamiliar and terrifying world which she has fallen into, or staying and finding a way to free her parents.

The characters are unique and refreshingly unobvious, stubborn, sulky and rude, bending away form the norm of other fairytales and animated films. The plot takes on very surreal twists but unlike others of Miyazaki’s films, remains easy to follow and comprehend.
The scenery and inter-character relations are beautiful and moving. The film is wrapped up very nicely with a great sense of the child Chihiro’s growth and maturity.

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Sketches for my Sweetheart the Drunk

Posted : 10 years, 10 months ago on 4 March 2008 06:21 (A review of Sketches (For My Sweetheart the Drunk))

The influences and styles of music on this album are so beautifully varied and put together in suck a way, that it makes me feel like I’ve been able to sneak into his head for a few moments and listen as he collects his thoughts.
You can hear his sense of joy as Buckley plays around with new styles and concepts and experiments with his musical range.
The album is filled with the recognisable heart wrenching soulful lyrics and melodies associated with Buckley, but there is a real sense of his playfulness, listening to Buckley push out into Jazz, Rock and other musical genres as well as developing the subject matter and lyrical content on which he works.

The songs are raw and in their unfinished state as he left them with his voice perfectly portraying the whole range of human emotion. This feeling the unfinished and ‘work in progress’ for me really adds to their emotion and potency. A great album to sit back and contemplate with.

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Stunning politcal film on a human level.

Posted : 11 years ago on 13 January 2008 09:00 (A review of The Constant Gardener (2005))

This film is beautifully slow paced and encapsulating. A startling film that deals with issues deeply embedded within all of our lives; love, trust, and the search for truth. Exploring the point to which we are prepared to stick to our integrity and follow our convictions, whilst also tackling enormous political and economical issues of illegal drug production and trials on the poor of Kenya.
A young politically charged student (Weisz) who marries her tutor and British Diplomat. (Fiennes) They migrate to Africa where his career diplomacy allow Weisz to channel her findings (despite obvious opposition and resistance) along political avenues, the results of which her husband must pick up and piece together, whilst battling through personal and political levels of deceit and betrayal.
Despite sounding like another political ‘anti west’ film, Fernando Meirelles’ deals mainly with the value and cost of human life and the dedication to humanities plight on a personal basis, which is what makes it so appealing and affective.
There aren’t many films within this genre that allow me to empathize with the character and genuinely believe and share in their zeal and willingness of self sacrifice for a greater good, and ultimately love, but this stunning film is most defiantly one, a modern masterpiece.

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Posted : 11 years ago on 13 January 2008 07:57 (A review of Cronos (1993))

Cronos is an enchanting and beautiful film to watch, but it left me constantly longing to be allowed to submerge myself deeper into the magical world that its characters stumbled into. As a result i was left never feeling quite satisfied.
I didn't receive a single fright, but that was ok, because its dark comedy and odd quirks took center stage instead.
A lovely storyline and beautiful brooding gothic imagery from the early work of Guillermo del Toro has left me eager to see the work he has produced as his career has progressed.

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