Sunday, 26 February 2012

Film Review: HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE (2004)

Howl's Moving Castle - poster Writer (Screenplay)/Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Writer (Novel): Diana Wynne Jones
Running time: 119 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): U

Genre: Animation/Action/Adventure
UK Release date: 23rd September 2005

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 26th February 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I have made a point of watching all of the Studio Ghibli films I’ve seen up to now in the native Japanese. With this one though I’ve had to make an exception as the TV company showing it supplied the English language dubbed version. Not that it’s a particularly bad thing; it just means I’ll have to re-watch it at some point in Japanese with subtitles. So what did I think? Well I’ll tell you after this brief summary.

Howl's Moving Castle - 3 When eighteen year old Sophie is cursed by The Witch of the Waste she finds herself grown very old. Unable to stay with her family, she sets off to find her fortune. She befriends a scarecrow who takes her to the Wizard Howl’s moving castle. Here she meets a fire demon, Calcifer, who agrees to lift her curse if she can release him from the control of Howl. Also in the castle is Markl, a young boy who is kind of an apprentice to the wizard. On his return Howl accepts Old Sophie as a cleaning woman, but it appears he knows more than he’s letting on. We follow these characters through a series of adventures that eventually lead to the truth about Howl, and not to forget Calcifer. I will not say any more or the Spoiler Police (Ghibli Division) will be subtitling me (again).

Howl's Moving Castle - 5 Beautifully animated with a great score by Joe Hisaishi made for an epic feel to this picture. Likable characters also added to the enjoyment factor. Performance-wise, I thought everyone did a great job, and so honourable mentions must go to; Jean Simmons as Grandma (or Old) Sophie, Christian Bale as Howl, Lauren Bacall as Witch of the Waste, Blythe Danner as Madame Suliman, Emily Mortimer as Young Sophie, Josh Hutcherson as Markl and Billy Crystal as Calcifer.

Howl's Moving Castle - 6 One thing I cannot get over is the beautiful clarity of the animation. Studio Ghibli has a very particular style and I must admit to being a great fan of the way their films look; at times they can be quite breathtaking. I also love the imagination of the people that designed things like the Castle, it’s quite fantastic. Putting aside the visuals for a moment, I have to say that, sadly, I did find this one a little too long at nearly two hours. Although I did find the story quite enthralling at times, there wasn’t quite enough (for me) to enthral me for quite that long. Having said that it’s still an excellent piece of work and one I have no problem in deeming… Recommended.

My score: 7.1/10.

IMDb Score: 8.1/10 (based on 73,040 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0347149/

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 86/100 (based on 147 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 93/100 (based on 220,543 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/howls_moving_castle/

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Howl's Moving Castle - 2 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
[Two soldiers are bothering Sophie]
Howl: There you are sweetheart, sorry I'm late. I was looking everywhere for you.
Soldier: Hey, hey! We're busy here!
Howl: Are you really? To me, it looked like the two of you were just leaving.
[gestures with his hand, the soldiers are forced to march away]

Howl's Moving Castle - 7 Old Sophie: Why do you get so cold when you're old? I'm fatter than ever and yet the wind blows right through me!

Old Sophie: What a dump. When I think of castles, it's not what I picture.

Old Sophie: All right Calcifer, lets get cooking.
Calcifer: I don't cook! I'm a scary and powerful fire demon!

Howl's Moving Castle - 8 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://disney.go.com/disneypictures/castle/
Trailer:

Film Review: THE COMPANY MEN (2010)

The Company Men - poster Writer/Director: John Wells
Running time: 114 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Drama
UK Release date: 11th March 2011

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 26th February 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I remember when this film came out it caused a few ripples in the pool of critical acclaim. Not enough for it to be a massive hit, but enough for me to take notice. Of course it got added to ‘The List’ and the long wait for a TV airing began. It finally landed on my TV screen this week and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. It turned out far better than I was expecting; quite a convoluted plot with several threads that have to be followed. I must say I did find it quite an enjoyable watch after a while. I will tell you more after this brief summary.

The Company Men - 4 When three men get made redundant due to companies down-sizing after the financial crash they each deal with the fallout in different ways. We first follow sales executive Bobby Walker, in his mid-thirties with a young family. He seems to spend a long time in denial; convinced he will find another job in a few weeks. When, eventually the hard truth hits him, he finds it hard to adjust. His brother-in-law, Jack Dolan has to help him out by offering him a job and teaching him a few life-lessons on the side. We next follow Phil Woodward, a senior executive who is older and finds it even harder to adjust. Finally there’s Gene McClary, a CEO who tries his best to save jobs when all around him are acting ruthlessly. Of course, eventually he becomes a victim of it himself, but is he made of sterner stuff? I will leave it there or the Spoiler Police will be writing up my redundancy notice (again).

The Company Men - 1 Very well made with some really good, if understated, performances; not least was Ben Affleck, whose portrayal of Bobby Walker hit the mark, but I didn’t feel he really shone. Tommy Lee Jones was great, as ever, as Gene McClary, as was Chris Cooper as Phil Woodward. I must also give honourable mentions to; Maria Bello as Sally Wilcox and Kevin Costner, who I felt was a bit underused, as Jack Dolan.

The Company Men - 2 Having been made redundant twice in my lifetime I know just what these characters were going through. Although I did find it a little hard, at first, to empathise with a Porsche driving, golf playing executive; I work in a lab calibrating moisture measuring equipment when I’m not reviewing movies. However, when I saw the impact his predicament had on his family life I began to understand. It is a film of two halves, I found. The first dealing with the initial shock of events and the second dealing with how they’re going to cope with it and the impact it has on their lives. It’s not a particularly easy watch with quite a complicated plot and several threads to follow, but well worth a look if you stick it out to the end… Recommended.

My score: 6.7/10.

IMDb Score: 6.8/10 (based on 15,101 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1172991/

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 67/100 (based on 156 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 55/100 (based on 30,577 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the-company-men/

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
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The Company Men - 8 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Phil Woodward: You know the worst part?
[a beat]
Phil Woodward: The world didn't stop. The newspaper still came every morning; the automatic sprinklers went off at six. Jerry next door still washed his car every Sunday.
[then]
Phil Woodward: My life ended and nobody noticed.

HR Director: I'm confident all these dismissals will stand up under legal scrutiny.
Gene McClary: What about ethical scrutiny.
HR Director: We're not breaking any laws, Gene.
Gene McClary: I guess I always assumed were trying for a higher standard than that, Paul.

The Company Men - 5 Phil Woodward: Dress code pretty lax around here?
Bobby Walker: You should see casual-Friday...

[last lines]
Bobby Walker: We work as hard in here every day as we did when we were trying to get a job, we'll be alright. What's the worst thing they can do, fire us?

The Company Men - 6 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.companymenmovie.com/
Trailer:

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Film Review: THE EAGLE (2011)

The Eagle - poster Director: Kevin Macdonald
Writers: Jeremy Brock (Screenplay), Rosemary Sutcliff (Novel)
Running time: 110 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12

Genre: Adventure/Drama
UK Release date: 25th March 2011

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 25th February 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I remember the book on which this film is based from Junior School. It is called ‘The Eagle of the Ninth’ by Rosemary Sutcliff; I mention this because I never actually read it. I remember seeing it on the school library shelf but never seemed to have the time to sit down with it. Well, as time passes (and if you wait long enough), I knew that eventually somebody would make a film of it. Well, enough time passed and that somebody, Kevin Macdonald, finally did! I will tell you what I thought about it after this very brief summary.

The Eagle - 5 The Ninth Legion, lead by the father of Marcus Aquila, had disappeared somewhere north of where Hadrian’s Wall was subsequently built about ten years before the events in this film took place. Hadrian’s Wall marked the northern edge of the Roman Empire in Britain. Marcus Aquila followed his fathers’ footsteps into the Roman army and, having been injured in action was relieved of his post. His uncle took him in while he recovered from his injuries and it is here that he forms the idea of recovering the Eagle of the Ninth Legion and restoring his family honour. A slave, Esca, a Briton, is to accompany him and it is Esca who will teach Marcus Aquila what honour means on this long and dangerous journey. I will not say and more or the Spoiler Police (Roman Division) will be selling me off to a Lanista (again)… A Lanista (hope I spelled that right!) is a manager of gladiators by the way.

The Eagle - 8 Although it is well shot I did find the landscape and most of the settings did look quite depressing. Maybe that’s deliberate to make it more menacing, but if that was the case it didn’t really work (for me). There were some nicely choreographed fights scenes though. All the performances were pretty good although nobody really shone; so honourable mentions go to: Channing Tatum as Marcus Aquila, Jamie Bell as Esca, Donald Sutherland as Uncle Aquila, Mark Strong as Guern and Tahar Rahim as Seal Prince.

The Eagle - 7 I saw a version of this that was cut for TV, giving it a 12, rather than a 12A (as the theatrical release) certificate. Four minutes were cut and, I’m guessing, these were the more gruesome scenes. The trouble is this made the film so tame that, quite frankly, I got bored while watching it. Maybe I’ve become hardened to it over the years, but I found this was toned down a little too far for my liking. Don’t get me wrong, I would have no complaint if the narrative kept my interest, but even that kind of lost the plot (excuse the pun) in a few places. I guess the bond between Marcus and Esca was never sealed to any degree and so I found it all a little unconvincing in the end. It’s a shame because I really wanted to like this film, but I felt sadly let down by it… NOT recommended.

My score: 5.4/10.

IMDb Score: 6.2/10 (based on 23,201 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1034389/

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 38/100 (based on 143 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 43/100 (based on 37,533 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the-eagle-of-the-ninth/

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The Eagle - 3 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
[first lines]
Marcus Aquila: Marcus Flavius Aquila, Fourth Cohort of Gaul, Second Legion, come to relieve the command.
Lutorius: Lutorius Drusillus Salinator, acting senior officer.
Marcus Aquila: Where's the garrison commander?
Lutorius: He left this morning, sir. Couldn't wait to get away.

[about Esca]
Marcus Aquila: He's not a slave. And he knows more about honour and freedom than you'll ever know.

[last lines]
Esca: So what now?
Marcus Aquila: You decide.

The Eagle - 1 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://focusfeatures.com/the_eagle
Trailer:

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Film Review: BLACK DEATH (2010)

Black Death - poster Director: Christopher Smith
Writer (Screenplay): Dario Poloni
Running time: 97 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Drama/Mystery/Horror
UK Release date: 11th June 2010

Watched on DVD Sunday 19th February 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

This film has been lurking in my DVD collection for some time now and when it came up in conversation the other week I decided to give it a look. I dug it out and placed it on top of the ‘to watch next’ pile. A suitable time slot came around and here we are; film watched and review on the way… I’ll give you a brief summary first and then I’ll tell you what I thought of it.

Black Death - 2 It is the fourteenth century and England is being ravaged by the bubonic plague (a.k.a. the Black Death). Superstition and fear of holy retribution have combined to make the world a very dangerous place. A monk, Osmund, who is in love with a girl, Averill, decides to leave the confines of the monastery and go on a quest with a knight, Ulrich, and his band of mercenaries. The bishop has tasked with finding a village that has not been touched by the plague. There are rumours of necromancy and, of course, the church cannot stand for that! On the way they are set upon by bandits and this is where Osmund discovers that Averill may be dead. When they make it to the village they are met cordially enough but suspicion falls on the head man, Hob, and a healer, Langiva. When she hints to Osmund that Averill may not be dead after all things start to get interesting… I will leave it there or the Spoiler Police (Necromancy Division) will be casting spells on me (again).

Black Death - 1 Quite a well made film shot in a, kind of, washed out palate that gave it quite a stark look. Some great stunts, including one rather excellent fight scene with the bandits in the forest. The performances were all very good, especially Sean Bean as Ulrich, Eddie Redmayne as Osmund and Carice van Houten as Langiva. Honourable mentions must also go to; David Warner as the Abbott, Kimberley Nixon as Averill, Tim McInnerny as Hob, Emun Elliott as Swire, Johnny Harris as Mold, Andy Nyman as Dalywag, Tygo Gernandt as Ivo, John Lynch as Wolfstan, Jamie Ballard as Griff and Tobias Kasimirowicz as Grimbold.

Black Death - 4 Although it’s never going to win any prizes as a great piece of filmmaking, I still found this an interesting film that asks some intriguing questions about religion and human nature. I could go off on a long diatribe about how organised religions cause more harm than good in the world but I will resist; this is not the place for that. Needless to say I enjoyed aspects of this film, if not the thing was a whole. There is a section at the end that I don’t believe is needed; it paints Osmund in a very bad light and I found it superfluous. Over all I guess it’s worth a look for the questions it raises, but it does get a little bogged down in places and can seem a little slow. Even so… Recommended (just).

My score: 6.4/10.

IMDb Score: 6.5/10 (based on 16,166 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1181791/

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 68/100 (based on 56 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 50/100 (based on 15,726 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/black_death-2010/

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Black Death - 3 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
[first lines]
Wolfstan: The fumes of the dead are in the air like poison. The plague, more cruel and more pitiless than war, descended upon us. A pestilence, that would leave half of our kingdom dead. Where did it come from? What carried its germ? The priests told us it was God's punishment. For what sin? What commandment must we break that could earn this? No, we knew the truth. This was not God's work, but devilry. Or witchcraft. But our task, to hunt down a demon, was God's cure.

Osmund: May I ask, how did your husband die?
Langiva: Men like you killed him.
Osmund: Men like me?
Langiva: Men of God.

Griff: Where does the Church believe this pestilence has come from?
Osmund: I don't believe God is punishing us, like many do.
Swire: I say from France, where all foul things emerge.

Hob: [Ulrich and his men realize they've been drugged, and attempt to draw their weapons. Hob relieves Wolfstan of his dagger and holds it to Ulrich's throat] As a Christian, you'll appreciate the concept of betrayal.

Black Death - 6 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.blackdeathmovie.com/
Official Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/blackdeathfilm
Trailer:

Film Review: THE ARTIST (2011)

The Artist - poster Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Writer: Michel Hazanavicius (Scenario and dialogue)
Running time: 100 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): PG

Genre: Romance/Comedy/Drama
UK Release date: 30th December 2011

Watched at the cinema Saturday 18th February 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

Having gained some notoriety, and seven BAFTA’s including Best Director and Best Film, my local cinema decided to finally show ‘The Artist’. I had resigned myself to a DVD (or TV) viewing at some point in the future, but those nice people at ‘The Picture House’ came through for me. I must say I was impressed with the film, despite being silent, in black and white and in a 4:3 aspect ratio it still had some great performances and a great story (& that’s the important bit Hollywood!). I will give you my thoughts after this brief summary.

The Artist - 1 George Valentin is a very successful silent film star; adored by his fans, he makes epic adventures with his ever-faithful dog by his side. After the premiere of his latest film in 1927 he literally bumps into a young actress called Peppy Miller. George’s boss, Al Zimmer, is less than pleased when it is her picture on the front of all the papers the following day. Peppy gets a job as an extra at George’s studio and he ends up giving her her first big break. They go their separate ways and she goes from strength to strength. Meanwhile, Al Zimmer wants to embrace the new technology; talking pictures. George does not think it will catch on and is against it. But eventually the studio puts all its efforts into the ‘talkies’ and George is left out in the cold. What follows is his sad decline, but more than one person is looking out for him. I will leave it there or the Spoiler Police (Silent Division) will sneak up and arrest me without making a sound.

The Artist - 2 Very well made with a beautiful musical score by Ludovic Bource, it really set the tone and held the film together brilliantly. The performances were all excellent, I guess acting in silent films is not an art that’s practiced a lot these days, but everyone did a great job! In particular the leading characters; Jean Dujardin as George Valentin and Bérénice Bejo as Peppy Miller. Also worthy of note were; John Goodman as Al Zimmer, James Cromwell as Clifton, Penelope Ann Miller as Doris and there’s a brief appearance from Malcolm McDowell as The Butler. Oh, and I mustn’t forget Georges faithful canine Uggie as The Dog.

The Artist - 5 I found this film a breath of fresh air; it took me back to Saturday morning TV when they used to show the odd silent movie. A simple love story with some great acting and a brilliant musical score really hit the mark (for me). I did find, though, that George’s decline went on a little too long, just when you thought he’d hit bottom there was a little further to go. But that’s the only criticism I have, it’s beautifully made in the style of the time and, although it may not be for everyone, it’s still one I have no problem in deeming… Recommended.

My score: 8.6/10.

IMDb Score: 8.4/10 (based on 28,029 votes when this review was written).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1655442/

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 97/100 (based on 191 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 91/100 (based on 24,406 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_artist/

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
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The Artist - 6 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Al Zimmer: Perfect!

George Valentin: With pleasure.

Doris: I'm unhappy.
George Valentin: So are millions of us.

George Valentin: Look at what you've become. You've become proud! You've become stupid!

The Artist - 4 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://weinsteinco.com/sites/the-artist/static.html
Trailer:

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Film Review: TOMORROW, WHEN THE WAR BEGAN (2010)

Tomorrow, When the War Began - poster Director: Stuart Beattie
Writers: John Marsden (Novel), Stuart Beattie
Running time: 100 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12

Genre: Action/Adventure/Drama
UK Release date: 8th April 2011

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 18th February 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

Some Australian friends of mine recommended this one and I said I’d give it a look if it ever made an appearance over here in the UK. Well, it aired on TV this week and so, as a man of my word, I gave it a look. While I may not be the target audience for this one, being on the wrong side of seventeen, I still quite enjoyed this drama about teenage Australians who find themselves in more than a spot of bother. I will tell you more after this brief summary.

Tomorrow, When the War Began - 3 A group of teenagers decide to go on a camping trip for a couple of days before the end of the school holidays. They are; Ellie Linton, who narrates the whole thing; Corrie Mackenzie, Ellie’s best friend; Kevin Holmes, Corrie’s boyfriend; Homer Yannos, local tearaway; Fiona Maxwell, the posh one; Lee Takkam, who works in a restaurant and hates it and finally, Robyn Mathers, who is quite religious. They set off to a remote part of the outback called ‘Hell’ where they spend a couple of nights camping out and generally having a good time, as teenagers do. They come back to find their houses deserted, the power cut and the phones out. Cautiously, they sneak into town to find all the townsfolk being held prisoner by an invading army. They must decide what to do; do they fight, or do they give themselves up? Well, I won’t spoil it by telling you now or the Spoiler Police (Aussie Division) will be stuffing me into a Billy-can and boiling me up for stew.

Tomorrow, When the War Began - 5 Well made with some great tunes, particularly at the beginning, but the music is pretty good throughout. There is some CGI used in places and this was all very well done also. Having been brought up on a diet of Aussie soaps I know there is some great acting talent out there and I thought all the kids put in excellent performances in this. So I’ll give honourable mentions to; Caitlin Stasey as Ellie Linton, Rachel Hurd-Wood as Corrie Mackenzie, Lincoln Lewis as Kevin Holmes, Deniz Akdeniz as Homer Yannos, Phoebe Tonkin as Fiona Maxwell, Chris Pang as Lee Takkam and Ashleigh Cummings as Robyn Mathers. I’d also like to mention; Andrew Ryan as Chris Lang and Colin Friels as Dr. Clements.

Tomorrow, When the War Began - 1 Although I enjoyed this film I was kind of left a little deflated. It felt like I was watching a pilot for a TV series aimed at teenagers. I have since found out that a sequel is in the pipeline and due for release in 2012, so that will please fans of this one. There are many good things I take away from it though, the quality of the acting and the music were two things that immediately struck me. The action sequences and the effects were also pretty well done and so there was enough to keep me entertained. I really got into the drama as well and even found myself shouting at the screen at one point! But as I say, at the end of the day it didn’t quite hit the mark I was expecting. I guess, in summary, I could say it’s good without being great but even so it’s worth a look… Recommended (just).

My score: 6.4/10.

IMDb Score: 6.2/10 (based on 9,667 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1456941/

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 64/100 (based on 45 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 63/100 (based on 7,378 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/tomorrow_when_the_war_began/

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
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Tomorrow, When the War Began - 2 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Ellie Linton: Good book?
Corrie Mackenzie: Better than the movie.
Ellie Linton: Yeah, books usually are.

Homer Yannos: What does your instincts tell you?
Ellie Linton: That it's time to go to war.

Ellie Linton: We've all had to rewrite the scripts of our lives the last few weeks, we've learnt a lot and we've had to figure out what’s important, what matters - what really matters. It’s been quite a time.

Ellie Linton: What's the worst that could happen?

Tomorrow, When the War Began - 6 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.twtwb.com/
Official Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TWTWBMovie
Trailer:

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Film Review: THE LINCOLN LAWYER (2011)

The Lincoln Lawyer - poster Director: Brad Furman
Writers: John Romano (Screenplay), Michael Connelly (Novel)
Running time: 112 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Crime/Drama/Thriller
UK Release date: 18th March 2011

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 12th February 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I remember when this film came out I was intrigued by it. I have always liked a decent courtroom drama and so this one had an extra appeal for me. Of course it was bypassed by my local cinema and so I waited patiently for a TV airing. Well my patience paid off and I was pleasantly surprised with this one; there were more elements to it than I first thought. I will tell you more after this brief summary.

The Lincoln Lawyer - 6 When slick, street-wise defence attorney, Mick Haller picks up the case of rich-kid, Louis Roulet, he doesn’t quite know just what he’s getting into. Roulet is accused of attacking a prostitute, Reggie Campo, an accusation he vehemently denies. Haller’s ex-wife, Maggie McPherson, was initially to prosecute the case, but she gives it to her colleague, Ted Minton when she realises it’s Haller defending. As Haller and his investigator, Frank Levin, dig deeper into the case they find evidence that may change their estimation of Roulet. This evidence links to an old case of Haller’s, one he didn’t win. It’s also evidence that puts Haller and his family and friends in danger. I won’t say any more or the Spoiler Police (Crime Dramas Division) will have me banged up on trumped-up charges (again).

The Lincoln Lawyer - 5 A well made crime drama is something I always enjoy, and that is what we have here. It may well only be up to ‘B’ movie standard in some people’s eyes but they can’t deny it’s very a well scripted and a well made ‘B’ movie. I thought all the performances were very good, particularly Matthew McConaughey as Mick Haller, he coped with the leading role very well (IMO). Marisa Tomei was also very good as Maggie McPherson, as were, Ryan Phillippe as Louis Roulet and William H. Macy as Frank Levin. Honourable mentions also go to; Josh Lucas as Ted Minton, John Leguizamo as Val Valenzuela, Michael Peña as Jesus Martinez, Bob Gunton as Cecil Dobbs, Frances Fisher as Mary Windsor and Bryan Cranston as Detective Lankford.

The Lincoln Lawyer - 3 I enjoyed this film very much, it’s not quite up there with the best crime dramas, but it’s not that far off. I know that the writer of the novel on which it is based, Michael Connelly, is very popular and so I’m not surprised to find a well thought out plot with many twists and turns in it. The problem with many films of this type is that you can only really watch (and enjoy) them once but I feel I could enjoy this one if I watched it again even with knowing the eventual outcome. That’s testament to the writing, the acting and the whole production of it. You’ll not be surprised that I therefore deem it… Recommended.

My score: 6.7/10.

IMDb Score: 7.4/10 (based on 52,496 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1189340/

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 84/100 (based on 159 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 82/100 (based on 56,525 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/lincoln_lawyer/

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

LL-2611_R FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Mick Haller: I checked the list of people I trust and your name ain't on it.

Earl: You know what? You would've done all right on the streets.
Mick Haller: Shit. Where do you think I am, Earl?

Mick Haller: Do you know the difference between a Maserati and a Range Rover?
Reggie Campo: One is small and one is big, I guess.

The Lincoln Lawyer - 4 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.thelincolnlawyermovie.com/
Trailer:

Film Review: IF…. (1968)

If.... - poster Director: Lindsay Anderson
Writer: David Sherwin (Screenplay & Original Script “Crusaders”) and John Howlett (Original Script “Crusaders”)
Running time: 111 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Drama
UK Release date: 19th December 1968 (Premiere, London)

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 11th February 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

This film came up in an online conversation about the Japanese film ‘Battle Royalle’ as an example of an earlier film featuring violent schoolchildren. I really didn’t know what to expect when I started to watch it and it kept me guessing all the way through I’m afraid. It’s one of those 1960’s films that seems to be trying to be a little too intellectual for its own good. I will tell you more after this brief summary.

If.... - 1 The plot surrounds the goings on at a boarding school in England, and in particular those goings on in College House. At the top of the tree are the faculty who rule the classrooms with and iron grip. Then there are the Whips, or as I prefer to see them, the Prefects; these guys rule the halls and the dormitories. Then there are the Senior Boys and finally the Juniors. Much of the film is taken up with the general life in the school, all the bickering, fights and general tension that goes on amongst a group of boys together. We then turn our attention to three seniors, Mick Travis, Johnny and Wallace. Travis is obsessed with war and this sparks the beginnings of a revolution at the school. I will stop there before I say too much, but I assure both you and the Spoiler Police that I have probably made it sound far more exciting than it is.

If.... - 6 This is quite an odd film to watch; there are scenes in colour and then there are scenes in black and white. I tried to figure out the logic behind it but couldn’t see any… maybe they just ran out of colour film? All the performances were pretty good, in particular the older boys. And so I’ll give honourable mentions to; a very young looking Malcolm McDowell as Mick Travis, David Wood as Johnny, Richard Warwick as Wallace and Christine Noonan as The Girl. Also; Rupert Webster as Bobby Phillips, Robert Swann as Rountree, Hugh Thomas as Denson and Michael Cadman as Fortinbras.

If.... - 2 Unfortunately, apart from a few scenes, including the crazy ending, I found this film quite dull. There seems to be no narrative that could be easily followed; you kind of pick up little pieces here and there. The cutting between colour and black and white also made no sense (to me). Over all, I found it quite disappointing but I feel it’s one of those you don’t ‘get’ until you’ve seen it a few times. Sadly I don’t feel inspired enough to give it another look right now. I guess it does have something to say, but I couldn’t see it… Not recommended.

My score: 5.6/10.

IMDb Score: 7.7/10 (based on 9,504 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0063850/

Rotten Tomatoes:
NO LISTING

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If.... - 3 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Mick Travis: One man can change the world with a bullet in the right place.

[after lights-out]
Mick Travis: [whispering] Stephans. Whatever you're doing now... don't.

Mick Travis: There's only one thing you can do with a girl like this. Walk naked into the sea together as the sun sets. Make love once... Then die.

If.... - 4 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Trailer (unofficial):