Saturday, 26 November 2011

Film Review: BARNEY’S VERSION (2010)

Barney's Version - poster Director: Richard J. Lewis
Running time: 129 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Drama
UK Release date: 28th January 2011

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 26th November 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

This film came out to a lot of critical acclaim. It was obviously positioned for the Oscars, for which it only received a nomination for ‘Best Achievement in Make-up’. Still, I thought I’d give it a look when it landed on my TV screen a few days ago. Well, it’s a pretty good film with a great rambling love story central to the plot, but no, it’s not a great film. It tries very hard to be, with some great performances, but fails to hit the mark (for me anyway). I will give you more of my thoughts after this brief summary.

Barney's Version - 2 The story of Barney is mostly told in flashback, as he looks back over his life. The story starts in the mid 1970’s in Rome where Barney and a rather Bohemian group of friends hang out, write, paint and drink themselves insensible. Having made one of his friends pregnant, Barney decides to do the right thing and marry her. This does not end well and Barney is left without a wife or a child (can’t say why; spoilers). Moving back home, his father, retired cop Izzy, introduces him to the daughter of a rich couple. She eventually becomes the second Mrs. P and it is at their wedding that Barney meets the woman of his dreams, Miriam Grant. Despite being married, Barney pursues her although she insists she will have nothing to do with a married man. A weekend at their home by the lake with Barney’s old friend Boogie brings about an opportunity to end the marriage and free him to capture the woman he loves. The film goes on to show the trials and tribulations of what occurs next to Barney. I will leave it there or the Spoiler Police will be taking me for a swim in the lake.

Barney's Version - 4 It’s all beautifully shot with some great tunes thrown in, but the thing central to this film is the performance of Paul Giamatti as Barney Panofsky, he is really great in the role! Also worthy of note is Rosamund Pike; she holds things together beautifully as Miriam. I must also give honourable mentions to; Dustin Hoffman as Izzy Panofsky, Scott Speedman as Boogie, Minnie Driver as The 2nd Mrs. P and Mark Addy as Detective O'Hearne.

Barney's Version Although there are some great performances here, I felt the film didn’t quite hit the mark. There were a couple of reasons for this; one was that Barney, for all his charm, I didn’t find a particularly likable character. He’s far too selfish and doesn’t seem to understand the consequences of his actions sometimes. The second reason is that the film is just too long, it really starts to drag towards the end and, if, as me, you’re finding it hard to sympathise with the main character, it really doesn’t help. Having said that though, it’s still worth a look, if only for Giamatti’s performance, I thought he was quite excellent in this. And so, if only for Giamatti (and Hoffman’s one-liners)… Recommended.

My score: 7.3/10.

IMDb Score: 7.3/10 (based on 7,799 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1423894/

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80/100 (based on 129 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/barneys-version/

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
http://facebook.com/andy.steel3

Barney's Version - 5 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Clara 'Chambers' Charnofsky: Oh Barney, you really do wear your heart on your sleeve. Now put it away, it's disgusting to look at.

2nd Mrs. P's Father: Are you saying you were gratuitously violent with suspected felons?
Izzy: Gratuitously? I always got paid, I ain't gonna work for free.

Barney Panofsky: ...and I'm just gonna keep talking here, 'cause I'm afraid that if I stop there's gonna be a pause or a break and you're gonna say 'It's getting late' or 'I should get going', and I'm not ready for that to happen. I don't want that to happen. Ever.
[they pause]
Miriam: There it was. The pause.
Barney Panofsky: Yeah.
Miriam: I'm still here.

Barney's Version - 3 LINKS:
Official Site: http://www.sonyclassics.com/barneysversion/
Trailer:

Film Review: DISNEY’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL (2009)

Disney's A Christmas Carol - poster Writer (Screenplay)/Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writer (Novel): Charles Dickens
Running time: 96 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): PG

Genre: Animation/Drama/Family
UK Release date: 4th November 2009

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 26th November 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I remember this coming out in theatres and deciding I’d wait for it to come on TV. It didn’t really appeal to me and anyway it was another vehicle for the 3D ‘phenomenon’ that I want no part of. So, time passed and it finally arrived on my TV screen and I must say I’m glad I waited. It’s very well made and beautiful to look at, but for me, sadly, that’s where it ends. A very well known story and so I’ll make my summary very brief and to the point before I give you more of my thoughts.

Disney's A Christmas Carol - 5 Ebenezer Scrooge is a miser, he keeps his money very close to his chest and really doesn’t like spending any of it. He treats his only living relative, his nephew Fred, as badly as he treats his clerk, Bob Cratchit. His business partner, Marley, had been dead seven years when he is visited by Marley’s ghost. The ghost warns him that if he does not change his ways he will be doomed, like him, to wander eternity in chains. Scrooge is to be visited by three ghosts who will each show him the error of his ways in an effort to make him mend them. Will the miserly Scrooge be swayed by what they show him? Well, the Spoiler Police (Classics Division) have deterred me from revealing the answer here, so I’ll end my summary on that cliff-hanger.

Disney's A Christmas Carol - 2 As I’ve already said, it’s a beautiful film to look at, with some excellent animation, although I did find the picture a tad dark at times (& I wasn’t even watching in 3D!). The music was every bit as expected the traditional Carols and classical tunes of the day, fitted the visuals perfectly. Many of the voices of the main characters, and the ghosts (except Marley) were performed by Jim Carrey, who I must say, did an excellent job. Other voices were supplied by; Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Cary Elwes, Robin Wright and Bob Hoskins, amongst others. All did an excellent job also.

Disney's A Christmas Carol - 3 I guess the clue is in the title… DISNEY’S A Christmas Carol… and it is very much a Disney film, although I did find the story a lot darker than I expected. My favourite adaptations of this story have always been comedies; films like ‘Scrooged’ and ‘A Muppet Christmas Carol’, both of which I have reviewed previously, are far superior (IMO). I guess this adaptation didn’t work so well for me because it did stick quite closely to the original novel (with a few twists), and as such it doesn’t quite work for a modern audience. It plays very much on Scrooge being in fear of his mortal soul and, for many, I think that is of very little, or no, consequence in modern society. It’s still very well made, but I definitely wouldn’t recommend it for the very young… some of the ghosts are pretty scary. Over all, sadly, not recommended.

My score: 5.8/10

IMDb Score: 6.9/10 (based on 22,962 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1067106/

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 53/100 (based on 183 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/10008502-christmas_carol/

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
http://facebook.com/andy.steel3

Disney's A Christmas Carol - 4 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Ebenezer Scrooge: What do you want with me?
Jacob Marley: You will be haunted by three spirits.
Ebenezer Scrooge: I'd rather not.

Fred: A Merry Christmas to you, uncle!
Ebenezer Scrooge: Bah! Humbug... What reason have you to be merry? You're poor enough.
Fred: What reason have you to be so dismal? You're rich enough.
Ebenezer Scrooge: BAH! Humbug!

[last lines]
Tiny Tim: God bless us. Every one.

Disney's A Christmas Carol - 1 LINKS:
Official Site: http://disney.go.com/disneypictures/achristmascarol/?cmp=dcom_VAN_WDSHE_ACC_van_dcomcc__Extl
Trailer:

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Film Review: A BOY AND HIS DOG (1975)

A Boy and His Dog - poster Director: L.Q. Jones
Running time: 87 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Sci-Fi/Drama/Comedy
USA Release date: November 1975

Watched on DVD Sunday 20th November 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

Based on a novella by Harlan Ellison, I first saw this film many years ago late at night when they used to show more obscure films on BBC2, here in the UK. I was just getting into sci-fi at the time and found it quite interesting whilst being quite bizarre at the same time. Many years later I found the DVD in a bargain bucket and decided to give it another look sometime. Well, that time came today and I must admit I liked it better second time around (although there may have been more than 20 years between viewings). I will give you my thoughts after this brief summary.

A Boy and His Dog - 2 After a brief nuclear war that only lasted five days, what was left of the human race either cowered underground (‘Down Under’) in bunkers or scratched out an existence on the surface. One of these was a loner called Vic, a young man whose main preoccupation seemed to be with getting laid. He had an advantage in this respect, his dog, Blood. Now Blood was very special, Vic could communicate with him by some strange form of telepathy. With Blood being much older, and wiser, he tended to treat the boy like an idiot much of the time. When they come across a female, Quilla, who was actually willing to sleep with Vic, Blood begins to smell a rat. Especially when she reveals that she’s from ‘Down Under’ (not Australia you understand) and she wants Vic to go and live with her… But all is not exactly as it seems. I’ll leave it there or the Spoiler Police (committee division) will be sending me to ‘The Farm’ again.

A Boy and His Dog - 4 A very low budget picture and it shows; the quality of the whole thing leaves quite a lot to be desired. Having said that, it’s quite an intriguing story and it is well acted by those in front of the camera. So, honourable mentions go to; Don Johnson as Vic, Susanne Benton as Quilla June Holmes, Jason Robards as Lou Craddock and Tim McIntire as the voice of Blood.

A Boy and His Dog - 1 I can see why this film is played as a comedy, the whole situation in the scenes ‘Down Under’ are particularly ludicrous. However, I would have liked to see a more dramatic take in the story, one in which there is real threat from the committee that rules ‘Down Under’. Yes, there were some quite comic situations and some of the dialogue between Vic and Blood is really funny, but I felt it didn’t give the source material much respect. Having said all that, it’s still quite an interesting film that, despite its faults is still worth a look… Recommended (just).

I have just read that an animated version of this story is in pre-production and is due fro release in 2012… Watch this space.

My Score: 7.4/10

IMDb Score: 6.6/10 (based on 6,459 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0072730/

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 77/100 (based on 30 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/boy_and_his_dog/

A Boy and His Dog - 3 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Blood: You know, Albert, sometimes you can be such a putz...
Vic: A putz? What's a putz? It's somethin' bad, isn't it? You better take that back or I'm gonna kick your fuzzy butt!
Blood: [sighs] Yep, definitely a putz.

Vic: [to sentry] If my gun picks up one rust spot you're gonna wake up with a crowd around 'ya.

Lou: Lack of respect, wrong attitude, failure to obey authority.

A Boy and His Dog - 5 LINKS:
Trailer:

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Film Review: THE GOONIES (1985)

The Goonies - poster Director: Richard Donner
Writers: Steven Spielberg (Story), Chris Columbus (Screenplay)
Running time: 110 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12

Genre: Adventure/Comedy/Family
UK Release date: 29th November 1985

Watched on DVD Saturday 19th November 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

Ok, so this is a bit of a cult film for people of a certain age. I am (maybe) a little old to have been captured by it (I was in my 20’s when it was released), but having seen it a couple of times I can see why it got the following it did. The first time was on TV and it was a version that had been cut back quite a bit to allow a daytime showing. This didn’t really work (for me) and so I got the DVD which has a much better, uncut, version of the film. I will give you my thoughts after this brief summary.

The Goonies - 1 The Goonies are a bunch of kids who live in Astoria. They are; Mikey, Mouth, Chunk and Data, joined on this particular adventure by Mikey’s brother, Brand, and two girls, Andy and Stef. All of their houses are under threat of foreclosure as the local country club looks to expand. None of the families can afford to stay and it looks like they are all going to have to move away. On their last day the boys are messing about in Mikey’s dad’s attic when they find an old pirate treasure map. Mikey is a bit of a dreamer and persuades the others to go looking for the treasure. Throw in a criminal family, the Fratelli’s, and you got yourself an adventure you just won’t believe! I’ll leave it there or the Spoiler Police (pirate division) will have me walking the plank again.

The Goonies - 5 Beautifully made with some excellent special effects (remember, no CGI back then) and a great score, it’s great to look at. All the kids did an excellent job; Sean Astin as Mikey, Josh Brolin as Brand, Jeff Cohen as Chunk, Corey Feldman as Mouth, Kerri Green as Andy, Martha Plimpton as Stef and Jonathan Ke Quan as Data. The Fratelli's were also pretty good, so honourable mentions go to; John Matuszak as Sloth, Robert Davi as Jake, Joe Pantoliano as Francis and Anne Ramsey as Mama.

The Goonies - 2 With a story by Steven Spielberg and having been made very much in his style, I can definitely see the appeal. The dialogue and the style put me very much in mind of the old 1930’s black and white comedies that featured kids as the main characters. Don’t ask me to name any of them, I lost those brain cells many years ago. If anything, I did find it a little too long and some of the jokes did tend to get a bit tired towards the end. Having said that though, it’s still a fine film and well worth a look if you happen to come across it… Recommended.

My Score: 8.1/10

IMDb Score: 7.5/10 (based on 74,589 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0089218/

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 63/100 (based on 41 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/goonies/

The Goonies - 6 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Mikey: It was a retropactum!
Brandon Walsh: Retrospective!
Mikey: See! That's what I said! You always contradict me... I know what I was saying. It was on the history of Astoria and these are the rejects!
Chunk: Kinda like us... Mikey. The Goonies.
Mouth: I'm not a reject!
Mikey: Take that stuff off, you'll get me in trouble

[Mikey calls for a bathroom break]
Mikey: Okay, this is the little boys' room, and that cave over there is the little girls' room.
[Brandon heads to a different cave]
Mikey: Brand, where're you going?
Brandon Walsh: This is the *men's* room.

Harriet Walsh: [Sirens wailing] Where are my boys?
Harriet Walsh, Irving Walsh: Mikey? Brand?
Mikey: Hi mom. Hi dad. I guess we're in big shit now right?

The Goonies - 3 LINKS:
Trailer:

Friday, 18 November 2011

Film Review: EVENT HORIZON (1997)

Event Horizon - poster Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Running time: 93 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Sci-Fi/Horror/Mystery
UK Release date: 22nd August 1997

Watched on DVD Friday 18th November 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I remember being impressed with this film when I first saw it way back in the late 1990’s. It’s one of those that, once you’ve seen it, it keeps coming back to you. I have been meaning to watch it again for some time now and so I though now being as good time as any I popped it in the DVD player, turned the sound up and let her rip! I wasn’t disappointed; it’s every bit as good as I remember, right down to the pumping ‘Prodigy’ track that runs over the closing credits. I will give you my take on it after this very brief summary.

Event Horizon - 2 The experimental spaceship, The Event Horizon, has been missing for seven years after it left the solar system bound for Proxima Centuri. After its beacon is detected in the vicinity of Neptune, a rescue mission is launched. A specialist crew is sent out along with Dr. William Weir, the man who designed the ship. The crew consists of; Captain Miller, Peters, the Med Tech, Lt. Starck, Cooper, Justin, D.J. and Smith. Dr. Weir is haunted with memories of his dead wife, who had recently committed suicide. None of them are prepared for what they find when they reach the, now deserted, Event Horizon. The experimental drive had taken it to places beyond understanding… and it hadn’t come back alone. I will leave it there or the Spoiler Police will be signing me up for another trip.

Event Horizon - 4 A very well made film with some really excellent effects. Great performances all round; everyone did a very professional job and made the story believable. So, special praise goes to; Laurence Fishburne as Captain Miller, Sam Neill as Dr. William Weir, Kathleen Quinlan as Peters and Joely Richardson as Lt. Starck. Honourable mentions go to; Richard T. Jones as Cooper, Jack Noseworthy as Justin, Jason Isaacs (hello to him) as D.J. and Sean Pertwee as Smith.

Event Horizon - 3 I must admit I really like this film, how it’s got such a low rating on Rotten Tomatoes I will never know! Yes, the plot is a little complicated but I did find it truly scary and there a very few films I can say that about these days. To me I think it’s probably the best space horror since the Alien films… and it’s certainly better than Alien 4! I haven’t read what the professional critics have to say on it, but I will stick to my guns and say it’s a very underrated Sci-Fi Horror that deserves better recognition… Recommended.

My Score: 7.7/10

IMDb Score: 6.4/10 (based on 54,832 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0083658/

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 23/100 (based on 35 reviews [No Consensus] counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/event_horizon/

Event Horizon - 5 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Miller: Mr. Cooper!
Cooper: Skipper!
Miller: Ion Drive in 10 minutes.
Cooper: Ooh! It's time to play Spam in a Can!

Dr. Weir: What was made public about the Event Horizon - that she was a deep space research vessel, that her reactor went critical, and that the ship blew up - none of that is true. The Event Horizon is the culmination of a secret government project to create a spacecraft capable of faster-than-light flight.
Smith: Uhm, excuse me. See, you can't actually do that.

Miller: Vacate! I want off this ship!
Dr. Weir: You can't leave. She won't let you.
Miller: You just get your gear and get back on the Lewis and Clark, Doctor, or you'll find yourself walkin' home.
Dr. Weir: I am home.

Event Horizon - 6 LINKS:
Official Site (German): http://movies.uip.de/event_horizon/
Trailer:

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Film Review: BLADE RUNNER [Director’s Cut] (1982)

Blade Runner - poster Director: Ridley Scott
Running time: 117 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Sci-Fi/Drama/Thriller
UK Release date: 9th September 1982
NOTE: This DVD version hails from 1991

Watched on DVD Thursday 17th November 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I have spoken to many fans of Science Fiction over the years and the vast majority of them always have something good to say about this film. Now I know there are those among you, mostly deranged people, who might hold a different view, but I am on the side of those who rate this film. I’ll even go so far as to say its right up there with the very best sci-fi films (if you ignore the original theatrical cut, which was truly awful). More of my praise after this brief summary.

Blade Runner - 2 There is an opening scrolling text on this version of the film that explains the set-up better than I ever could, here it is:

“Early in the 21st Century, THE TYRELL
CORPORATION advanced Robot evolution
into the NEXUS phase - a being virtually
identical to a human - known as a Replicant.

The NEXUS 6 Replicants were superior
in strength and agility, and at least equal
in intelligence, to the genetic engineers
who created them.

Replicants were used Off-World as
slave labour, in the hazardous exploration and
colonization of other planets.

After a bloody mutiny by a NEXUS 6
combat team in an Off-World colony,
Replicants were declared illegal
on earth - under penalty of death.

Special police squads - BLADE RUNNER
UNITS - had orders to shoot to kill, upon
detection, any trespassing Replicant.

This was not called execution.

It was called retirement.”

Blade Runner - 7 Now you’ve read that I shall continue… Four Replicants have jumped ship, killed the crew and the passengers and made it to Earth. They are; Roy Batty, Pris, Leon Kowalski and Zhora. A retired Blade Runner, Rick Deckard, is brought in to hunt down and ‘retire’ these Replicants. He is first sent to the Tyrell Corporation where he meets Rachael, a Nexus 6 Replicant. At the time she is unaware of the fact, but Dr. Eldon Tyrell assures Deckard that she’s ‘special’. Leon had murdered another Blade Runner, Holden, and Deckard goes to Leon’s apartment where he finds a clue. Little does he know, the Replicants are also trying to find someone… Someone high up. I’ll leave it there or the Spoiler Police will be calling me in for a Voight-Kampff test (again).

Blade Runner - 6 Visually stunning with a beautiful and atmospheric score by Vangelis, this film has a lot going for it (IMO). Great performances all round; Harrison Ford plays the world-weary Deckard to a tee, Rutger Hauer is excellent as the brutal but fragile Roy Batty and Sean Young plays Rachael with just the right amount of fear. Also worthy of note are; Edward James Olmos as Gaff, M. Emmet Walsh as Bryant, Daryl Hannah as Pris, William Sanderson as J.F. Sebastian, Brion James as Leon, Joe Turkel as Dr. Eldon Tyrell and Joanna Cassidy as Zhora.

Blade Runner - 4 I have seen this film many times before but this is the first time I realised just how introspective it is. All the action is focused on Deckard and the Replicants without the audience really seeing much outside this group. Yes there are hints; the advertising for the off-world colonies, but apart from that it’s very insular. Moving on, I thought the effects were truly stunning, given that there was no CGI back then and the design, the look and the feel of the whole thing is superb. A world is created that the audience could easily imagine Los Angeles 2019 to be like… Ok, maybe not the flying cop cars, but you know what I mean. Yes, it does tend to drag on a bit towards the end, but I can forgive that for a truly excellent film that, for its day, has never been equalled… VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

My Score: 9.5/10

IMDb Score: 8.3/10 (based on 223,454 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0083658/

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92/100 (based on 101 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/blade_runner/

Blade Runner - 5 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Bryant: I need ya, Decks. This is a bad one, the worst yet. I need the old blade runner, I need your magic.

Rachael: May I ask you a personal question?
Deckard: Sure.
Rachael: Have you ever retired a human by mistake?
Deckard: No.

Deckard: She's a replicant, isn't she?
Tyrell: I'm impressed. How many questions does it usually take to spot them?
Deckard: I don't get it, Tyrell.
Tyrell: How many questions?
Deckard: Twenty, thirty, cross-referenced.
Tyrell: It took more than a hundred for Rachael, didn't it?
Deckard: [realizing Rachael believes she's human] She doesn't know.
Tyrell: She's beginning to suspect, I think.
Deckard: Suspect? How can it not know what it is?

…and my personal favourite:

Roy: I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I've watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.

Blade Runner - 1 LINKS:
Official Site: http://bladerunnerthemovie.warnerbros.com/
Trailer:

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Film Review: THIRST [Bakjwi] (2009)

Thirst - poster Co-Writer/Director: Chan-wook Park
Running time: 133 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Fantasy/Horror/Drama
UK Release date: 16th October 2009 (Limited)

Watched on DVD Wednesday 16th November 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I must admit I hadn’t heard much about this film before seeing it. I had seen Chan-wook Park’s film Oldboy [2003] beforehand so I had some ideas about style and knew there was a fair chance of subtitles (yes, there are subtitles). I must admit I’m fast becoming a fan of Park’s work, this was every bit as good, if not better, than many vampire movies I’ve seen before (the one exception being the excellent Tomas Alfredson film, Let the Right One In [2008]). It’s funny how non-English speaking filmmakers are so much better at this genre… But more of my nonsense later, here is a very brief summary first.

Thirst - 1 When a priest, Sang-hyeon, selflessly volunteers for a vaccine development project he could not have predicted the outcome. He gets infected and is transfused with the blood of a vampire. Of course this results in him becoming one himself. Trying to remain true to his faith is hard enough, but it gets more difficult when he finds himself attracted to the wife of one of his parishioners, Kang-woo. The woman in question, Tae-ju, is an orphan who was brought up by Kang-woo’s mother, Lady Ra. It turns out Tae-ju has similar feelings to the priest and he is finding it harder each day to resist both his feelings for Tae-ju and the thirst he has for human blood. I will leave it there or the Spoiler Police will be withholding my blood-ration again.

Thirst - 5 Beautifully made with some great effects, both physical and CGI. I also loved the dialogue; the language is very direct and to the point and I like that. Great performances all round, particularly from; Kang-ho Song as Priest Sang-hyeon, Ok-bin Kim as Tae-ju, Hae-sook Kim as Lady Ra, Ha-kyun Shin as Kang-woo and In-hwan Park as Priest Noh.

Thirst - 2 There was quite a bit more humour in this one than I was expecting, mostly provided by Ha-kyun Shin as Kang-woo. This didn’t detract too much from the more serious love story that evolves on the screen though. I found it interesting in that you never quite know which way the plot is going to turn, and there are quite a few surprises on the way. I must admit I loved the ending, I found it quite touching whilst at the same time a very neat way to tie it up (sorry, no clues). Over all a very entertaining and quite a thought-provoking film with some unexpected turns along the way… Highly recommended for any fan of the genre.

My Score: 8.4/10

IMDb Score: 7.2/10 (based on 12,388 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0762073/

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 82/100 (based on 105 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/10011304-thirst/

Thirst - 4 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
None available…

LINKS:
Official Site: http://focusfeatures.com/film/thirst/
Trailer:

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Film Review: RABBIT HOLE (2010)

Rabbit Hole - poster Director: John Cameron Mitchell
Running time: 88 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12

Genre: Drama
UK Release date: 4th February 2011

Watched on Sky+ Tuesday 15th November 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

This film is based on a play by David Lindsay-Abaire who also wrote the screenplay. I must admit I’m usually quite wary of films based on plays; they usually turn out to have far too much dialogue and very little cinematic quality. This is an exception, the story moves along quite nicely from location to location and it doesn’t get bogged down too much with the dialogue. Given the subject matter there are some quite wordy and dramatic scenes though. I will give you my thoughts after this very brief summary.

Rabbit Hole - 1 Several months ago Howie and Becca lost their four year old son in an road accident. The film deals with the different ways the couple deal with their grief and how this affects their relationships, not just with each other, but with everyone around them. Becca’s mother, Nat, and her sister, Izzy, are always there for her but she finds a kind of solace in the friendship she strikes up with the boy who was driving the car that day, Jason. Howie goes to group therapy and seems unwilling to move on, always clinging to the past. A woman at group, who’s husband has recently left her, Gaby, may be able to give him what Becca can’t, but is he willing to take that leap? I’ll leave it there or the Spoiler Police (Emotional Drama’s Division) will be stealing all the tissues.

Rabbit Hole - 6 Really well made with a beautiful musical score by Anton Sanko which accompanies the visuals perfectly. One of the things this film is noted for is the Oscar-nominated performance by Nicole Kidman as Becca, and she was really great. Almost as good, IMO, was Aaron Eckhart as Howie. Also worthy of note were; Dianne Wiest as Nat, Miles Teller as Jason, Tammy Blanchard as Izzy and Sandra Oh as Gaby.

Rabbit Hole - 5 I found this film quite hard to watch at first, I think if you have suffered a loss in your life then it will be quite a hard one to view. Fortunately I stuck with it and I’m very glad I did. As the story unfolded I began to maybe recognise things in my own behaviour, not necessarily bad things, but things that I could relate to. This allowed me to better understand the characters Becca and Howie and have some sympathy for their plight. At the end of the day I found it a very powerful, sometimes harrowing but at the same time quite a beautiful film, one that I would highly recommend.

My score: 8.5/10

IMDb Score: 7.2/10 (based on 16,419 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0935075/

Rabbit Hole - 2 If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
http://facebook.com/andy.steel3

FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Becca: Somewhere out there I'm having a good time.

Becca: Does it ever go away?
Nat: No, I don't think it does. Not for me, it hasn't - has gone on for eleven years. But it changes though.
Becca: How?
Nat: I don't know... the weight of it, I guess. At some point, it becomes bearable. It turns into something that you can crawl out from under and... carry around like a brick in your pocket. And you... you even forget it, for a while. But then you reach in for whatever reason and - there it is. Oh right, that. Which could be awful - not all the time. It's kinda...
[deep breath]
Nat: not that you'd like it exactly, but it's what you've got instead of your son. So, you carry it around. And uh... it doesn't go away. Which is...
Becca: Which is what?
Nat: Fine, actually

[last lines]
Becca: [voice-over] And then what?
Howie: [voice-over] I don't know... Something though.

Rabbit Hole - 3 LINKS:
Official Site: http://www.rabbitholefilm.com/
Trailer:

Film Review: MADE IN DAGENHAM (2010)

Made in Dagenham - poster Director: Nigel Cole
Running time: 109 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Biography/Drama
UK Release date: 1st October 2010

Watched on Sky+ Tuesday 15th November 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I remember when this came out the director came on the radio and complained bitterly that it had been given a 15 certificate. The main reason for this was the amount of swearing used, particularly in the first half of the film. Well, I’m sorry to say Mr Cole, but the BBFC were right, I’m pretty sure 12 year olds swear enough without seeing adults doing it to that extent on the big screen. But enough of my ramblings… more after this very brief summary.

Made in Dagenham - 1 It is 1968 and the Ford motor company have several large manufacturing plants here in the UK. One of the largest is at Dagenham in the South East of England and part of their operation is the women who sew together the seat covers etc. Their job has been downgraded as unskilled and they are paid the minimum Ford can get away with. With the help of their union representative, Albert Passingham, they take a vote and decide to stand up for their rights. A meeting is convened with the management and Rita O’Grady is one of those picked to represent the workers. At the meeting, Rita is unhappy with the way they are treated and tells them that they are going out on strike. It turns out there are bigger issues at stake and this little dispute is soon making national news as the people come to the realisation it’s more about equal pay for women than anything else. I won’t say any more or the Spoiler Police will be checking my union card.

Made in Dagenham - 3 Well made with some nice comic moments, but it’s FAR from the comedy much of the publicity may tell you it is. Decent performances all round, particularly from; Sally Hawkins as Rita O’Grady, Geraldine James as Connie, Bob Hoskins as Albert Passingham, Jaime Winstone as Sandra, Daniel Mays as Eddie O’Grady, Rosamund Pike as Lisa Hopkins and Miranda Richardson as Barbara Castle.

Made in Dagenham - 2 One of the things that put me off seeing this at the cinema was the fact that it was being touted as a comedy. Imagine my surprise when I found it was actually a semi-biographical drama about the struggle for equal pay for women with some comic moments thrown in. A much better proposition in my book and one I pretty much enjoyed. Throw in a few tunes of the day and you’ve got something certainly worth a look. I may be slightly biased because these events occurred during my lifetime, although I was pretty young at the time, but still, it’s a pretty good film and worth a viewing if you get the chance.

My score: 7.1/10

IMDb Score: 7.1/10 (based on 3,829 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1371155/

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
http://facebook.com/andy.steel3

Made in Dagenham - 6 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Rita O'Grady: All right, um, everybody out!

Rita O'Grady: Look I know you're not mentioning it because you're being polite and everything, but that day when we met in the corridor, well I was really upset, and I never really use that type of language.
Lisa Hopkins: Don't you?
Rita O'Grady: No.
Lisa Hopkins: Well I called Mr Clark a complete cock.

News Reporter 1: What if Mrs. Castle says "no deal"?
News Reporter 2: How will you cope then?
Rita O'Grady: Cope? How will we cope? We're women. Now, don't ask such stupid questions.

Made in Dagenham - 4 LINKS:
Official Site: http://www.sonyclassics.com/madeindagenham/#/home/
Trailer: