Sunday, 29 July 2012

Film Review: THE HELP (2011)

The Help - poster Director: Tate Taylor
Writers: Tate Taylor (screenplay), Kathryn Stockett (novel)
Running Time: 142 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12

Genre: Drama
UK Release Date: 26th October 2011

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 29th July 2012.


This is one of those films that I wanted to see when it came out but somehow managed to miss. Fortunately it came up on TV this week and I had the opportunity to give it a viewing this morning. It had quite a lot of critical acclaim on release so I knew it would be good; the question was, how good? Well I’ll tell you about that after this very brief summary.

The Help - 2 When Skeeter Phelan returns home to Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960’s she gets herself a job at the local paper. She is employed to write a weekly column on housekeeping although she has higher ambitions. She wants to write a book about life as a maid, but from the maid’s point of view, something that was highly illegal in Mississippi at the time. Of course she can’t let the maids employers, many of them her friends, know about the book so she does it in secret. Initially, her main source of material is Aibileen Clark who works for Elizabeth Leefolt bringing up her children, cooking and cleaning. As time passes, Minny Jackson also relates some of her stories after a major falling out with her employer, Hilly Holbrook. She finds another position with the young Celia Foote who is a bit of a social outcast. More and more people come to Skeeter with their stories as events unfold and eventually it is finished… Apart from one story; Skeeter’s own… But what repercussions will there be for those involved? I’ll leave it there or the Spoiler Police will not like what I gotta say.

The Help - 4 Very well made with a nicely paced plot that always keeps the audience interested. Some great performances also add to the enjoyment; Emma Stone played the inquisitive graduate, Skeeter Phelan with great assurance. Viola Davis as the central character Aibileen Clark was really excellent, as was Octavia Spencer as Minny Jackson. Bryce Dallas Howard was also first-rate as the main villain of the piece, Hilly Holbrook. I also thought that Jessica Chastain as Celia Foote did an excellent job. Also worthy of note were; Ahna O'Reilly as Elizabeth Leefolt, Allison Janney as Skeeter’s mother, Charlotte, Sissy Spacek as Missus Walters and Chris Lowell as the obligatory love-interest, Stuart Whitworth.

The Help - 3 A film that has a real feel-good factor, it very much concentrates its focus on things from the perspective of the women, on both sides of the story, but in particular the maids. I found there were some very touching moments along with quite a lot of humour. It’s set at a time and place where a lot of things were changing very rapidly, particularly in the aspect of race relations and you can see a lot of ignorance and bigotry. I should point out that not all the employers are bad; there are one or two stories that relate how the maids were cared for very well. Over all, I found this film quite uplifting; one I’d happily watch again at some point.

SteelMonster’s verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

My Score 8.7/10

IMDb Score: 8.1/10 (based on 98,862 votes at the time of going to press).

MetaScore: 62/100: (Based on 41 critic reviews provided by at the time of going to press).

THE HELP Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 76/100 (based on 197 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 90/100 ‘Liked It’ (based on 67,805 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).

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[first lines]
Aibileen Clark: I was born 1911, Chicksaw County, Piedmont Plantation.
Woman: And did you know as a girl growing up that one day you'd be a maid?
Aibileen Clark: Yes ma'am, I did.
Woman: And you knew that because...
Aibileen Clark: My mama was a maid. My grandmama was a house slave.
Woman: [whispering as she writes down] "house slave..." Did you ever dream of being something else?
Aibileen Clark: [nods yes]
Woman: What does it feel like to raise a white child when your own child's at home being looked after by somebody else?

Aibileen Clark: You is kind. You is smart. You is important.

Stuart Whitworth: I've never met a woman that says exactly what she's thinking.
Eugenia 'Skeeter' Phelan: Well, I got plenty to say.

The Help - 7 Hilly Holbrook: They carry different diseases than we do. That's why I've drafted the Home Health Sanitation Initiative.
Eugenia 'Skeeter' Phelan: The what?
Hilly Holbrook: A disease-preventative bill that requires every white home to have a separate bathroom for the coloured help. It's been endorsed by the White Citizen's Council.
Eugenia 'Skeeter' Phelan: Maybe we should just build you a bathroom outside, Hilly.

Charlotte Phelan: Love and hate are two horns on the same goat, Eugenia. And you need a goat.

[last lines]
Aibileen Clark: In just ten minutes, the only life I knew was done.
Mae Mobley: [calling after her through the window] A-a-a-aibee!
Aibileen Clark: God says we need to love our enemies. It hard to do. But it can start by telling the truth. No one had ever asked me what it feel like to be me. Once I told the truth about that, I felt free. And I got to thinking about all the people I know. And the things I seen and done. My boy Trelaw always said we gonna have a writer in the family one day. I guess it's gonna be me.

The Help - 1 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site:

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Film Review: REAL STEEL (2011)

Real Steel - poster Director: Shawn Levy
Writers: John Gatins (screenplay), Dan Gilroy (story), Jeremy Leven (story) & Richard Matheson (short story “Steel”)
Running Time: 122 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12

Genre: Action/Drama/Sci-Fi
UK Release Date: 14th October 2011

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 28th July 2012.


After this film came out I listened to a short review that didn’t condemn it, but didn’t exactly praise it either. I decided to add it to ‘The List’ in the hope that the reviewer was having a bad day… they do that occasionally. It seems I was at least partially right; whilst not being the best film ever made, it is certainly one of the most entertaining I’ve seen so far this year. I will tell you more after this very brief summary.

Real Steel - 4 Charlie Kenton is an ex-boxer who now makes a living travelling around with a fighting robot. I should say that the film is set in a not too distant future where robot fighting has replaced the human version of the sport. All ‘bots are humanoid in shape and the fighting is loosely based on the rules of boxing where the last one standing wins. Charlie is a bit of a chancer but always seems to make the wrong decisions; this causes him to be in a lot of debt (constantly). Even Bailey Tallet, who runs a gym where he bases himself is losing patience with him. Then his ex-girlfriend dies and, via a bit of a complicated route, he ends up with the custody of his eleven-year-old son, Max. Now Max is a big fan of robot fighting and wants to pitch in to help his dad. He reluctantly agrees and while they are looking for parts one day, Max finds an old sparring ‘bot called Atom. He brings him back, cleans him up and decides he wants to fight him. Eventually Charlie agrees, but will it be the right decision (for once)… Should he listen to his son or carry on thinking he knows best? Well, you guessed it, I’m not going to tell you here… Needless to say, it sets them off on a journey that could lead to a greater understanding.

Real Steel - 8 Very well made with some excellent effects; the robot fight scenes are quite amazing! Some well chosen tunes intersperse the action, which works well, although some of the music wasn’t to my taste. The performances were all very good, particularly Hugh Jackman as Charlie Kenton, he really had me believing Charlie was a complete idiot at the beginning of the film (always a good sign). Dakota Goyo also did a decent job as Max, a little annoying at times, but eleven-year-old boys are like that in real life, but still a decent performance nonetheless. Finally there’s Evangeline Lilly as Charlie’s former trainer’s daughter, Bailey Tallet. Quite a straightforward role that she played very well.

REAL STEEL A film with very much a feel-good factor, but not one that makes me want to jump in the shower to wash the saccharine off. I’ve heard it described as ‘Rocky with robots’ and I can see how that comparison could be made. There’s plenty of action and in between, more than a little drama as Charlie and Max try to figure out their relationship. For me, it didn’t let me down on the entertainment front despite its shortcomings (little character depth and a slightly predictable plot) but it still gets the SteelMonster Seal of Approval!... RECOMMENDED.

My Score 8.3/10

IMDb Score: 7.2/10 (based on 108,873 votes at the time of going to press).

MetaScore: 56/100: (Based on 34 critic reviews provided by at the time of going to press).

Real Steel - 1 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 60/100 (based on 204 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 74/100 ‘Liked It’ (based on 60,598 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).

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Max Kenton: You screwed me!
Charlie Kenton: Nice mouth.
Max Kenton: You know where they're going right now?

Max Kenton: So what do we do?
Charlie Kenton: We fight smart, be patient and pray. Seriously, pray!

Charlie Kenton: I don't want your money, Marvin.

Bailey Tallet: 1200 miles for a kiss.
Charlie Kenton: Worth it. So worth it.

Charlie Kenton: What do you want from me?
Max Kenton: I want you to fight for me! That's all I ever wanted!

(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site:

Film Review: WELCOME TO THE RILEYS (2010)

Welcome to the Rileys - poster Director: Jake Scott
Writer: Ken Hixon
Running Time: 107 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Drama
UK Release Date: 18th November 2011

Watched on Sky+ Friday 27th July 2012.


Another film recommended to me but I’m not quite sure from whom, where or when. If I was a gambling man I’d bet the person who recommended it was a fan of the ‘Twilight’ movies because Kristen Stewart is in this one. Another possible reason could be that it was directed by Ridley Scott’s son, which in my book makes it worth a look. No matter the reason, it was an interesting film with both good and bad points, but more of that after this very brief summary.

Welcome to the Rileys - 6 Doug and Lois Riley have grown apart since their teenage daughter died in a car accident eight years ago. Lois has become a recluse, refusing to leave the house and Doug has been having an affair with a waitress, but now that is over. He goes on a business to New Orleans where he meets a young stripper, Mallory. The pair begins an uneasy, but platonic relationship; he even moves in with her. He tells Lois over the phone that he will be staying in New Orleans for a while. She doesn’t want to throw away thirty years of marriage and plucks up the courage to drive there. What will she find and how will she react to Mallory (and vice versa)? Well, you probably guess I’m not going to tell you here.

Welcome to the Rileys - 5 A well made film with some interesting performances, chiefly coming from James Gandolfini as Douglas Lloyd ‘Doug’ Riley, Kristen Stewart as Allison alias Mallory and Melissa Leo as Lois Riley. All three did a really good job with a script that I did find a little predictable. Kristen Stewart, probably wanting to do something very different to that other part she’s famous for, did a decent job, although some of it did look a little forced. I have always rated her as an actress but with this I felt she didn’t make me believe in the character. I thought Melissa Leo did a great job as Lois, I really felt for her when relating the story of how her daughter died. James Gandolfini was excellent as Doug; he was plays this kind of part really well.

Welcome to the Rileys - 7 A quite slow paced film which may put some people off, I did find the opening third quite hard to get through. After that it did pick up and I could see some nice ‘Scott family touches’ beginning to appear. With a better script I could see this becoming a bit of a hit, however, it did fail to hit the mark (for me), despite the best efforts of cast and crew. A touching drama with some good performances and some nice touches here and there. Not quite enough to earn my recommendation but still maybe worth a look.

My Score 6.4/10

IMDb Score: 7.0/10 (based on 10,400 votes at the time of going to press).

MetaScore: 50/100: (Based on 29 critic reviews provided by at the time of going to press).

Welcome to the Rileys - 2 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 54/100 (based on 76 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 59/100 ‘Liked It’ (based on 16,270 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:

Welcome to the Rileys - 8 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Douglas Lloyd 'Doug' Riley: [approaches Mallory] Excuse me. I'm not a cop. I'm from Indianapolis, Indiana and I run a wholesale plumbing supply business. I'm here for a convention.
[hands her a business card]
Mallory: Okay, I'm sorry about that. I just got cops on the brain, you know? I can't help it. They've been snooping around the club and they towed my car for unpaid parking tickets.

Douglas Lloyd 'Doug' Riley: [to Lois] Come on inside.
Lois Riley: The person you want me to meet lives in here?
Douglas Lloyd 'Doug' Riley: Her name is Mallory. Now, her real name is Allison. She's got a lot of names because she works in a strip club.
Lois Riley: She's a stripper?
Douglas Lloyd 'Doug' Riley: You'll understand once you meet her.
Lois Riley: Understand what? That you've lost your mind? Jesus, Doug.

Lois Riley: She's not Emily.
Douglas Lloyd 'Doug' Riley: I know that.

Welcome to the Rileys - 4 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)

Monday, 23 July 2012

Film Review: RADIO ON (1979)

Radio On - poster Director: Christopher Petit
Writers: Christopher Petit, Heidi Adolph
Running Time: 104 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Drama/Music/Mystery
UK Release Date: 1979

Watched on Sky+ Monday 23rd July 2012.


I heard about this film when it came out and it’s always been at the back on my mind ever since. I guess because it features a journey to my home town of Bristol it probably made me feel nostalgic for the place I left at the age of twelve. Well time passes and I still haven’t returned there to live (yet) but at least I’ve had an opportunity to see this film. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

Radio On - 3 When DJ Robert hears that his brother has died in circumstances that are not exactly clear, he decides to travel to Bristol to investigate. At best he appears to be apathetic about life and this task seems to be no exception. We follow his journey and the people he meets on the way. These include a deserter from the army who does not want to return for another tour of duty in Northern Ireland. There’s also a guy at a petrol station who’s a fan of Eddie Cochran who died in a car crash not far from the garage. When he finally arrives he discovers that his brother had been living with a woman, Kathy, and despite some blatant clues he finds it hard to investigate his death any further. He meets a German woman, Ingrid, who wants custody of her daughter and he takes her to meet the father’s aunt. Will he rediscover his drive and find out what happened to his brother or will this sense of apathy take him in a different direction? Well I’m feeling a little apathetic now so I’ll leave it there.

Radio On - 1 Filmed in black and white with some great imagery; I love how this film looks with its art-house styling. There is a pretty good soundtrack with songs from the likes of David Bowie, Ian Dury, Kraftwerk and Devo… amongst others. All the performances were good but all delivered in a very ‘matter of fact’ manner. David Beames took centre stage as Robert with Lisa Kreuzer playing Ingrid. Sandy Ratcliff was Kathy and Andrew Byatt the Deserter but (for me) the star turn was a brief cameo from Sting as the Eddie Cochrane loving petrol pump attendant.

Radio On - 8 I must admit I was somewhat disappointed by this film. I expected a little more focus on the music for one thing and the fact that everyone in Bristol seemed to speak with a London accent didn’t help! It has a very slow pace which I was prepared to accept as long as something happened. Sadly, apart from one bright sequence featuring Sting, not a lot seemed to. There are also sequences where the majority of the dialogue is in German, with no subtitles; very odd! I will give the filmmakers credit for some excellent imagery showing just how bleak an English winter can be (even in the South). Over all I’d say one for lovers of art-house films… for them, Recommended… for the general cinebuff… maybe not.

My Score 6.4/10

IMDb Score: 6.3/10 (based on 296 votes at the time of going to press).

MetaScore: NO DATA: (Based on 0 critic reviews provided by at the time of going to press).

Radio On - 5 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: NO DATA (based on 0 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 12/100 ‘Want to See’ (based on 625 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).

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None (sorry)…

Radio On - 2 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Film Review: A SEPARATION (2011)

A Separation - poster Writer/Director: Asghar Farhadi
Running Time: 119 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): PG

Genre: Drama
UK Release Date: 1st July 2011 (limited)

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 22nd July 2012.


This Iranian film plots the destruction of a family after the mother decides she wants to leave the country. For me, it gave a fascinating insight into the operation of the Iranian legal system as well as everyday family life there. I had better warn those that fear the subtitle that they are very much in evidence here. Critically acclaimed, it won the 2012 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

A Separation - 1 When Simin wants to leave the country she gets all the paperwork, visa’s etc sorted out but there’s one stumbling block. Her husband, Nader, doesn’t want to leave; his father has Alzheimer’s and he doesn’t want to leave him. There’s also their eleven year old daughter, Termeh, to consider. Of course this causes much friction between the couple and Simin eventually leaves to stay with her parents, leaving her daughter with Nader. Since he has to work, he hires a woman, Razieh, to look after his father while he is out at work. She seems a little unsure; it’s a long commute and she doesn’t feel he is paying her enough, but she stays on. When something happens to Razieh (I can’t say just what – spoilers), this throws everything into turmoil. Her husband, Hojjat, wasn’t even aware she was working and it all ends up in court, bringing Simin back on the scene, concerned about her daughter. But how will it resolve itself?... I will leave it there or the Spoiler Police (Iranian Secret Division) will be forcing me to live by the teachings of the Quran (again).

A Separation - 2 Very well made with the look and feel of, what we Brits call, a ‘Kitchen Sink Drama’. Lots of very naturalistic dialogue showing people how they actually are. Great performances all round, particularly from Peyman Moadi as Nader, Leila Hatami as Simin, Sareh Bayat as Razieh and Shahab Hosseini as Hojjat. I should also give a special mention for the young Sarina Farhadi, who played the daughter Termeh with great feeling.

A Separation - 4 Although it was very good I did have a couple of problems with it. First of all it was very heavy on dialogue which made keeping up with the subtitles a little tricky. More than once I had to go back so I could properly understand a passage. Secondly, I did find it a little too long, it has quite a slow pace but I felt certain things could have been moved along slightly quicker. By the end I was looking at my watch… never a good sign. Having said that I did find it quite compelling with an interesting insight into the legal system of a country we know little about here in the West. Over all, despite these few shortcomings, still a worthy watch with some excellent performances… RECOMMENDED.

My Score 8.3/10

IMDb Score: 8.6/10 (based on 56,371 votes at the time of going to press).

MetaScore: 95/100: (Based on 41 critic reviews provided by at the time of going to press).

A Separation - 5 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 99/100 (based on 141 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 93/100 ‘Liked It’ (based on 14,327 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).

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A Separation - 7 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Simin: Does he even realize you are his son?
Nader: I know he is my father!

Nader: Don't you ever think why you wanna leave this country? 'Cause every time you face a trouble, you give in. Rather than confront it.
Simin: Sorry, it hasn't been a week since I left, and look what happened!

Termeh: Didn't you say it's not serious?
Nader: It got serious.

A Separation - 6 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site:
Official Facebook:

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Film Review: THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (2012)

The Dark Knight Rises - poster. Director: Christopher Nolan
Writers: Bob Kane (characters), David S. Goyer (story), Christopher Nolan (story/screenplay), Jonathan Nolan (screenplay)
Running time: 164 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12A

Genre: Action/Adventure/Crime
UK Release date: 20th July 2012

Watched at the Picture House (K-town) Saturday 21st July 2012.



And so we come to the final chapter in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy and I must say it was well worth the wait. Everything from the opening sequence to the credits at the end had me gripped (even two boys arguing in the next row half way through didn’t spoil my enjoyment – I may have spoiled theirs though!). For a change I won’t do a summary as I know there are many out there not wanting to know any of the plot and so I’ll respect that and keep my comments as spoiler-free as I can. I’ll save it for when I review the DVD at a later date.

The Dark Knight Rises - 1 Many new characters are introduced in this instalment, the most important of which is Bane, The Dark Knight’s new nemesis. We are introduced to him in an action sequence that could have come straight from my favourite Nolan film, Inception. He is an echo from Bruce Wayne’s past; one that will resonate deeply for him. The renowned thief Catwoman (a.k.a. Selina Kyle) also makes an appearance; she can either help or hinder the Batman; I won’t tell you which. A young police officer, Blake, will also have a part to play; like Bruce Wayne, he’s also an orphan and this could shape his future. Miranda Tate is an investor who wants Bruce Wayne to help her with her charity work; she could be the key to saving Wayne Enterprises. Of course, returning characters, Commissioner Gordon, Alfred and Lucius Fox all have their parts to play in this quite extraordinary tale. The more I think about it the more I want to see it again! Yes, it’s THAT good.

The Dark Knight Rises - 4 The cinematography by Director of Photography, Wally Pfister, was once again truly epic! How he got some of those shots, I will never know, it’s a great piece of work for which he should be congratulated. The musical score by Hans Zimmer, again a great piece of work with themes that fit the visuals perfectly. And so we come to the performances; for an actor playing the same role for the third time, I thought Christian Bale gave his best performance as Bruce Wayne/Batman here. You really felt his pain and conflict and when we get to the end… well, I guess I’d better not tell you that bit. Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon was excellent as usual; given more to do in a slightly more demanding role this time, I thought he did a great job. Now to Bane, played with great aplomb by Tom Hardy, a tough part to play due to the restrictions of his costume; I thought he did it really well and I couldn’t imagine anyone else for the part. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was a good choice for the part of Blake; still young enough to play a role that could evolve if the franchise is continued (I can’t say any more). Anne Hathaway played Catwoman/Selina Kyle and I thought did a pretty excellent job (even without a skin-tight costume). Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate; her role really surprised me and she played it with great composure (no more clues). Finally I must say that both Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox and Michael Caine as Alfred were both as excellent as ever.

The Dark Knight Rises - 6 With set-piece action sequences that are truly epic and an intelligent plot that has many a twist to keep the audience interested; for me it was one of the best films I’ll see this year! I listened to Christopher Nolan in an interview before I saw the film and he was saying that although CGI is used in places, there’s always a physical effect at the heart of it, and it shows. All the effects are expertly done with some great stunt-work behind many of them (hats off to those guys). Some may find the slow build-up to the ultimate conclusion a little tedious but, for me, it made the ending all the more poignant and all the more effective!... VERY VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

My score: 9.8/10

IMDb Score: [Awaiting 5 Votes (surprisingly)] (based on <5 votes at the time of going to press).

MetaScore: 78/100: (Based on 43 critic reviews provided by at the time of going to press).

The Dark Knight Rises - 7 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 87/100 (based on 228 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 94/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 372,822 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).

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Jim Gordon: [lying in a hospital bed] We were in this together, and then you were gone. Now this evil... rises. The Batman has to come back.
Bruce Wayne: What if he doesn't exist any more?
Jim Gordon: He must... he must...

Bruce Wayne: That's a brazen costume for a cat burglar.
Catwoman: Yeah? Who are you pretending to be?

Alfred: You are as precious to me as you were to your own mother and father. I swore to them that I would protect you, and I haven't.

The Dark Knight Rises - 3 Lucius Fox: This conversation used to end with an unusual request.
Bruce Wayne: I'm retired.
Lucius Fox: Well let me show you some stuff anyway. Just for old time's sake.

Selina Kyle: [to Bruce Wayne] You think this can last? There's a storm coming, Mr. Wayne. You and your friends better batten down the hatches, because when it hits, you're all gonna wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us.

Bane: Gotham, take control... take control of your city. Behold, the instrument of your liberation! Identify yourself to the world!

Crowd: [chanting] Deh-Shay, Deh-Shay, Bah Sah Rah. Bah Sah Rah.
Bruce Wayne: What does that mean?
Prisoner: "Rise."

The Dark Knight Rises - 5 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site:
Official Facebook:

Friday, 20 July 2012

Film Review: E.T.: THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (1982)

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial - poster Director: Steven Spielberg
Writers: Melissa Mathison
Running Time: 115 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): U

Genre: Adventure/Drama/Family
UK Release Date: 9th December 1982

Watched on Sky+ Friday 20th July 2012.


A film I have seen many times before, I decided to give it another viewing for old time’s sake. I had forgotten just how compelling a storyteller Spielberg can be; by the time you get to the final third you’re totally engaged with the characters and find yourself completely enthralled! That’s not to say there aren’t a few flaws here and there, but still a very worthy watch. Here’s a brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial - 6 When an extra-terrestrial (E.T.) becomes stranded on Earth, he befriends a young boy, Elliott. At first he can’t communicate but Elliott takes him into his home and looks after him. He has to tell his older brother, Michael, and his younger sister, Gertie also finds out about him. Elliott and E.T. develop a kind of symbiotic relationship where Elliott can feel what E.T. feels (particularly funny when E.T. finds some beer). This cannot last because E.T. knows he can’t survive for long on Earth for too long, he has to go home. To this end he constructs a kind of radio… but is it too late? The authorities are closing in and E.T.’s health is beginning to fail! I guess I’d better leave it there of the Spoiler police will have me scanning the airways for signs of intelligent alien life (again).

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial - 5 The thing that struck me as I sat down to watch this film was, although I’ve seen it several times before, I never realised just how good the musical score, by John Williams, was. I’m not just talking about the well known themes, it goes without saying that these are epic, I’m on about the much quieter themes, particularly at the beginning of the film, they are very subtle, but fit the on-screen action perfectly.

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial - 2 It’s not a film with any great performances, although everyone did a pretty good job; Henry Thomas as Elliott was pretty annoying at times, but it has to be said, he was also pretty good at the emotional stuff. Dee Wallace as Mary, the mother, did a pretty good job, as did Robert MacNaughton as Michael. Also worthy of note was Peter Coyote as the government agent, Keys; although he didn’t have an awful lot to do he did it pretty well. For me, the star of the show was a very young Drew Barrymore, who was quite adorable as Gertie.

ÒE.T. The Extra-TerrestrialÓ is phoning home again, 25 years later.  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will screen Steven SpielbergÕs depiction of the heartbreaking, hopeful encounter between a diminutive alien visitor and two distinct groups of human beings, adults and children, on Thursday, November 29, at 7:30 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.  Several members of the filmÕs cast and crew will participate in a panel discussion after the anniversary screening. Pictured here is Henry Thomas with E.T. in a scene from the film.

Photo courtesy of the Margaret Herrick Library I said earlier there were a few flaws which, for me anyway, prevented this film getting a higher score. One of these was the design of E.T.; yes I know he’s quite iconic now but I always felt it looked like a small man in a plastic suit. He’s also far too cute. The other thing that lets it down a bit is the CGI, I know it’s only really used in a couple of scenes and the technology was in its infancy back then, but I’m afraid modern equipment does show it’s limitations. As far as the story, the production and the direction of the film goes, all top notch and well worthy of all the praise it’s got over the years. And even with these ‘flaws’, as I’ve called them it’s still well worth the couple of hours it takes to watch!... RECOMMENDED.

My Score 8.4/10

IMDb Score: 7.9/10 (based on 155,657 votes at the time of going to press).

MetaScore: 94/100: (Based on 26 critic reviews provided by at the time of going to press).

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial - 1 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 98/100 (based on 92 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 65/100 ‘Liked It’ (based on 30,829,669 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).

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E.T. The Extra Terrestrial - 8 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Michael: Maybe it was an iguana.
Elliot: It was *no* iguana.
Michael: Maybe, um - You know how they say there are alligators in the sewers?
Gertie: Alligators in the sewers.
Mary: All we're trying to say is, maybe you just probably imagined it. It happened...
Elliot: I couldn't have imagined it!
Michael: Maybe it was a pervert or a deformed kid or something.
Gertie: A deformed kid.
Michael: [mockingly] Maybe an elf or a leprechaun.
Elliot: It was nothing like that, penis-breath!
Mary: [laughs in shock] *Elliot!* Sit down.

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial - 7 Michael: [as Yoda] You have absolute power! Yes!

Elliott: I'm keeping him.

E.T.: E.T. phone home.

Michael: We're all going to die and they're never going to give me my license!

Elliot: He's a man from outer space and we're taking him to his spaceship.
Greg: Well, can't he just beam up?
Elliot: This is *reality*, Greg.

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial - 4 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: