Sunday, 27 May 2012

Film Review: THE EXORCIST (1973)

The Exorcist - poster Director: William Friedkin
Writer: William Peter Blatty (written for the screen by/novel)
Running time: 122 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Horror/Thriller
UK Release date: 16th March 1974

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 27th May 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I remember seeing this film many many years ago on VHS. At the time I liked it but didn’t think it was as good as everyone made out. Well much time has passed since then and I thought it was about time to give it another look. I must say I enjoyed it much more as a piece of filmmaking this time and I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know I can now see just what everyone was raving about. I will give you more of my thoughts after this very brief summary.

The Exorcist - 2 When Regan MacNeil, daughter of the well known actress Chris McNeil, becomes possessed by a demon, her mother looks for a rational explanation. Medical science does not seem to have an answer and so they suggest an Exorcism may help. As Regan was taken over by the demon she had performed some horrific acts, including a murder which was investigated by Lt. William Kinderman. She had declined so far that she had to be tied to her bed in order to stop her harming herself or others. Father Damian Karras has contacted Mrs McNeil but he is not experienced enough to perform the rite. For this they need the much older Father Merrin, one of the few that have done it before. And I will have to leave my little summary here or the Spoiler Police (scary movies division) will have me floating a spinning my head (again).

The Exorcist - 5 A very slow deliberate pace may not be to everyone’s taste, but it gradually picks up and this gives more impact to the actual exorcism scene. Great performances all round, particularly from the young Linda Blair as Regan, Ellen Burstyn as Chris and Jason Miller as Father Damian Karras. I must also give a mention to Max von Sydow as Father Merrin and Lee J. Cobb as Lt. William Kinderman.

The Exorcist - 8 Although I did find there were scenes in the movie that didn’t make an awful lot of sense, I still found it quite a compelling watch. I’m not a religious man but I can understand how certain scenes may not be welcomed by some of those that are. I really liked the pacing of the film and the way several threads were woven together at the end. The only thing that was missing (for me) was a little more background on Father Merrin. Over all though, an excellent piece of work and one I have no problem in deeming HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

My score: 8.9/10

IMDb Score: 8.1/10 (based on 156,543 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0070047/

MetaScore: 82/100: (Based on 24 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 85/100 (based on 47 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 83/100 ‘Liked It’ (based on 308,690 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/exorcist/

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

The Exorcist - 7 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Regan MacNeil: Mother? What's wrong with me?
Chris MacNeil: It's just like the doctor said. It's nerves, and that's all. You just take your pills and you'll be fine, really. Okay?

Chris MacNeil: What are you doing here?
Regan MacNeil: My bed was shaking. I can't get to sleep.

Dr. Barringer, Clinic Director: There is one outside chance for a cure. I think of it as shock treatment - as I said, it's a very outside chance... Have you ever heard of exorcism? Well, it's a stylized ritual in which the rabbi or the priest try to drive out the so-called invading spirit. It's been pretty much discarded these days except by the Catholics who keep it in the closet as a sort of an embarrassment, but uh, it has worked. In fact, although not for the reasons they think, of course. It's purely a force of suggestion. The victim's belief in possession is what helped cause it, so in that same way, a belief in the power of exorcism can make it disappear.
Chris MacNeil: You're telling me that I should take my daughter to a witch doctor? Is that it?

The Exorcist - 3 Chris MacNeil: How do you go about getting an exorcism?
Father Damien Karras: I beg your pardon?

Demon: What an excellent day for an exorcism.
Father Damien Karras: You would like that?
Demon: Intensely.
Father Damien Karras: But wouldn't that drive you out of Regan?
Demon: It would bring us together.
Father Damien Karras: You and Regan?
Demon: You and us.

The Exorcist - 6 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://theexorcist.warnerbros.com/
Trailer:

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Film Review: MAN ON WIRE (2008)

Man on Wire - poster Director: James Marsh
Writer: Philippe Petit (book)
Running time: 94 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12

Genre: Documentary/Biography
UK Release date: 1st August 2009

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 26th May 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

This film was on TV a couple of years ago at Christmas but I sadly missed it then and ever since I’ve been scanning the TV listings for a repeat. Well it finally came and I got a chance to see this fascinating documentary. It tells the story behind Philippe Petit’s death defying high-wire walk between the twin towers of the World Trade Center (I’ll use the American spelling just this once) back in 1974.

Man on Wire - 7 Even before the Twin Towers were built Philippe was fascinated by the idea that he might walk between them on a high wire. To this end he pulled off a couple of stunts in the years leading up to his attempt. First he and a group of friends strung a high wire between the towers of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris and he walked between then, performing stunts as he went. Of course he was arrested afterwards. Next he went to Sydney, Australia and pulled off a similar stunt between the towers at one end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge… Again he was arrested afterwards. All this was building up to his attempt to walk between the Twin Towers which would take several years to plan. Other people, Americans, were brought in, not all of whom were trusted by some of the French contingent of the team. It was planned like a meticulous heist and when the day finally came… Well, I guess I’ll leave you to find that bit out for yourselves.

Man on Wire - 5 A very well made documentary with certain scenes from the story being reconstructed using actors. These are inter-cut with interviews, archive footage and stills of the events being described. It’s all very well done although I did feel they went into a little too much depth in places. Over all though, a very enjoyable watch and a tremendous achievement by Philippe Petit and his team. I must say I was quite blown away by his daring and the, almost military precision required by the team to pull it off… Highly RECOMMENDED.

My score: 8.3/10

IMDb Score: 7.9/10 (based on 18,869 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1155592/

MetaScore: 89/100: (Based on 31 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 100/100 (based on 150 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 88/100 ‘Liked It’ (based on 21,218 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/man_on_wire/

Man on Wire - 6 If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
http://facebook.com/andy.steel3

FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Mark Lewis: I never doubted Philippe's talent, his prowess on the wire. It was the unforeseen things that really worried me. You know, America's a very litigious society... you know, involuntary manslaughter, assisted suicide... I didn't want to be liable for the death of a friend.

Philippe Petit: If I die, what a beautiful death!

Alan Welner: The fact that I could not speak French, and didn't know what the sound was or what had happened with the wire... was probably just as well.

Man on Wire - 8 Philippe Petit: Life should be lived on the edge of life. You have to exercise rebellion: to refuse to tape yourself to rules, to refuse your own success, to refuse to repeat yourself, to see every day, every year, every idea as a true challenge - and then you are going to live your life on a tightrope.

Sgt Charles Daniels: ...I observed the tight rope dancer... because you couldn't call him a walker... approximately half-way between the two towers. I personally figured I was watching something that somebody else would never see again in the world. Thought it was once in a lifetime.

Man on Wire - 3 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://manonwire.com/
Trailer:

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Film Review: CONFESSIONS (2010)

Confessions - poster [Original Title: KOKUHAKU]

Director: Tetsuya Nakashima
Writers: Kanae Minato (novel), Tetsuya Nakashima (screenplay)
Running time: 106 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Drama/Mystery/Thriller
UK Release date: 18th February 2011

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 20th May 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

This is a Japanese film that I knew virtually nothing about before I hit the play button on my Sky+ box. I knew it was a revenge thriller and it was set in a school. After the first fifteen minutes I was hooked and couldn’t wait to see how it all panned out. I will give it my seal of approval right now, but be warned those who fear the subtitle… there are many to be seen in this one! Here’s a brief summary before I expand on my thoughts.

Confessions - 3 Teacher Yuko Moriguchi is leaving her post, but she has one last thing to do before she goes. Her young daughter had died in what was called an accident, but she knew different. She knew exactly who was responsible and before she leaves, she’s going to take revenge. (Sorry if that’s a bit of a spoiler, but it is written on the poster). Her revenge is not bloody or violent; it’s much more subtle than that. The film then goes on to show us the effects this has on those involved and how the other children in the class react to it. In fact even after she has left she’s not quite finished yet… I’ll leave it there or the Spoiler Police will have me cleaning up around the pool area (again).

Confessions - 2 Very well made with some excellent cinematography; I particularly like the use of slow motion and close-ups. I thought all the performances were very good, in particular; Takako Matsu as Yuko Moriguchi, Yoshino Kimura as Yuko Shimomura (Naoki's mother), Masaki Okada as Yoshiteru Terada, Yukito Nishii as Shuya Watanabe, Kaoru Fujiwara as Naoki Shimomura and Ai Hashimoto as Mizuki Kitahara.

Confessions - 4 Much of the story is narrated by one or other of the children as if it were an entry in a diary. This works really well as a simple device to fill in the gaps between the dialogue. Unfortunately, I found it did fall a little flat in the middle third but picked up really well towards the end. Quite a slow, deliberate pace allows the audience to adsorb the events as they occur and I really liked the use of cut-away's to break up the various scenes. I must say I was pleasantly surprised by this one; it was fresh and so different to anything coming out of Hollywood these days… RECOMMENDED.

My score: 7.8/10

IMDb Score: 7.8/10 (based on 9,276 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1590089/

MetaScore: No Data: (Based on 0 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 80/100 (based on 15 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 89/100 (based on 2,211 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/confessions_2010/

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

Confessions - 5 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
[None Available]

Confessions - 1 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site (Japanese): http://kokuhaku-shimasu.jp/
Trailer:

Film Review: A TIME TO KILL (1996)

A Time to Kill - poster Director: Joel Schumacher
Writers: John Grisham (novel), Akiva Goldsman (screenplay)
Running time: 149 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Crime/Drama/Thriller
UK Release date: 13th September 1996

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 20th May 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I must admit to being partial to a decent courtroom drama and, having spotted this one in the listings, decided to give it a look. It looked a decent cast and with it being based on a John Grisham novel, I thought it couldn’t be all that bad. You’ll be pleased to know I wasn’t far off the mark; it is pretty good, without being great. I will explain more after this very brief summary.

A Time to Kill - 1 When Carl Lee Hailey is convicted of the murder of two white men who were on trial for the rape and attempted murder of his ten year old daughter, it falls upon young attorney, Jake Tyler Brigance to defend him. His opponent will be the more experienced and very confident D.A. Rufus Buckley. The events take place in a small town in Mississippi and, of course, with it being a race crime, there is a lot of opposition to the defence. Some of which comes in the form of one of the murdered men’s brother, Freddie Lee Cobb, who contacts the KKK for support. Brigance is aided by his friend, and fellow lawyer, Harry Rex Vonner, and law student, Ellen Roark. He also has the support of his disgraced mentor, Lucien Wilbanks. The defence enters a plea of temporary insanity, but can they make it stick? Well, you guessed it, I’m not going to tell you here or the Spoiler Police (Mississippi Division) will be making me eat grits (whatever that is)… (again).

A Time to Kill - 2 Although well made I did find this film suffered from getting a little too involved in the things surrounding the trial. For a courtroom drama, it seemed to take an awfully long time to get to the courtroom. The performances were all pretty good; Matthew McConaughey is getting pretty good at playing the Grisham lawyer and this is no exception, he plays Jake Tyler Brigance with great panache. Sandra Bullock reminded us again of what a good actress she can be as Ellen Roark and Samuel L. Jackson played Carl Lee Hailey with all the skill and passion you’d expect. Kevin Spacey did a decent job as D.A. Rufus Buckley, as did Oliver Platt as Harry Rex Vonner. Also worthy of note were; Charles S. Dutton as Sheriff Ozzie Walls, Brenda Fricker as Ethel Twitty, Donald Sutherland as Lucien Wilbanks, Kiefer Sutherland as Freddie Lee Cobb (nice to see him playing a bad guy for a change), Patrick McGoohan as Judge Omar Noose and Ashley Judd as Carla Brigance.

A Time to Kill - 3 Although I enjoyed it, I did find this film way too long. It gets lost in too much detail part way through and there is an awful lot of stuff in there that has very little baring on the case in hand. I did also find it a little predictable in places, but then I have seen a few Grisham adaptations and they do tend to follow a similar pattern. As a revenge thriller, it’s not all that good, but as a courtroom drama, I found it quite riveting. It’s still quite an enjoyable watch, films about justice generally are (I find) and so I can just about deem it RECOMMENDED (even if it’s a tad long).

My score: 6.5/10

IMDb Score: 7.1/10 (based on 51,195 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0117913/

MetaScore: 54/100: (Based on 21 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 67/100 (based on 51 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 59/100 ‘Want to See’ (based on 88,981 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1072381-time_to_kill/

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

A Time to Kill - 5 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Sheriff: [to rapists] If I get any trouble outta you guys, I'm gonna integrate this jail.

Judge Omar Noose: Good afternoon, citizens. Be seated. Counsel. And you, sir, are you Carl Lee Hailey?
Carl Lee Hailey: Yes sir.
Judge Omar Noose: Mr. Hailey, I am holding a copy of an indictment returned by the grand jury of Mississippi presenting that "Carl Lee Hailey did murder Billy Ray Cobb, a human being, and James Willis Willard, a human being, and did attempt to kill Dwayne Looney, a peace officer, against the peace and dignity of the State of Mississippi. Do you understand the charges against you?
Carl Lee Hailey: Yes sir.
Judge Omar Noose: How do you wish to plead?
Carl Lee Hailey: [pause] Not guilty, Your Honor.
Jake Tyler Brigance: The defence enters a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, Your Honor.
Judge Omar Noose: Your trial is set for July 22. All pre-trial motions and matters are to be filed no later than July 8. Is there anything further?
D.A. Rufus Buckley: Yes, Your Honor. In the response to the insanity plea, the state requests the defendant be examined by its own doctors.
Judge Omar Noose: Granted
D.A. Rufus Buckley: Additionally, the state opposes any request for bail.
Jake Tyler Brigance: But Your Honor, we have not yet asked for bail. Now Governor Buckley cannot oppose a request until one is made. He should have learned that in law school.
D.A. Rufus Buckley: Your Honor, even Mr. Brigance's meagre legal experience should have taught him two things; number one, I have not been elected governor... yet. And number two, he is required to request bail; the state opposes any such request.
Judge Omar Noose: Well in the future why don't we just wait until he makes the request?
[DA Rufus Buckley nods lightly with a slight smile]
Jake Tyler Brigance: Thank you Your Honor. Your Honor we would like to request bail.
Judge Omar Noose: [Quickly] Denied. I have never allowed bail in a capital murder case and I don't feel that an exception is called for today.

A Time to Kill - 6 Harry Rex Vonner: Lucien, I thought you were dead.
Lucien Wilbanks: I'm trying.

Ellen Roark: I keep thinking, what would Jake do? What would my father do? What would Lucien do?
Harry Rex Vonner: Well see, there's your problem. What you should be thinking is, what would Harry Rex do?
Ellen Roark: What would Harry Rex do?
Harry Rex Vonner: Cheat. Cheat like crazy.

D.A. Rufus Buckley: Do you think men who kidnap a child should be free in 10 years?
Carl Lee Hailey: No sir.
D.A. Rufus Buckley: Do you think two men who rape a child should be free in 10 years?
Carl Lee Hailey: No, sir.
D.A. Rufus Buckley: Do you think two men who hang a child should be free in 10 years?
Carl Lee Hailey: No.
D.A. Rufus Buckley: Well what do you think should happen? What would be a fair sentence?
Jake Tyler Brigance: Objection!
D.A. Rufus Buckley: Do you think they should deserve to die?
Jake Tyler Brigance: Don't answer that Carl Lee!
D.A. Rufus Buckley: Do you think they should deserve to die?
Carl Lee Hailey: Yes, they deserved to die and I hope they burn in hell!

Carl Lee Hailey: You're white, and I'm black. See Jake, you think just like them. That's why I picked you. You're one of them, don't you see? Oh, you think you ain't 'cause you eat in Claude's and you out there trying to get me off on TV talking about black and white. But the fact is you're just like all the rest of them. When you look at me, you don't see a man, you see a black man.

A Time to Kill - 8 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Trailer:

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Film Review: THE TEMPEST (2010)

The Tempest - poster Director: Julie Taymor
Writers: Julie Taymor (screenplay), William Shakespeare (play)
Running time: 106 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): PG

Genre: Fantasy/Drama/Comedy
UK Release date: 13th February 2011 (Keswick Film Festival)

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 18th May 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

This is one of the Shakespeare plays I knew nothing about going into the viewing. It’s one I’ve always wanted to see because one of my all-time favourite Sci-Fi films, ‘Forbidden Planet’ is based on it (I’m told). I can see the parallels, but I must say it must be loosely based on it. Putting that aside, I found it quite an interesting adaptation that had aspects that worked and others that didn’t quite come off. I’ll tell you more after this brief summary.

The Tempest - 4 Prospera is a sorceress who has a captive sprite, Ariel, to do her bidding. She has been exiled to an island with her daughter, Miranda and wishes to return home. To this end she hatches a plan that brings others to the island in a storm of her making. Principle among them are King Alonso and his son Prince Ferdinand. The others are; Gonzalo, Sebastian, Antonio, Trinculo and Stephano. Oh, and there’s the original inhabitant of the island, the strange-looking Caliban. All are destined to meet eventually as Prospera’s plan comes to fruition… I will not say any more or the Spoiler Police (Shakespeare Division) will have me writing sonnets (again).

The Tempest - 1 Taking a play out of the theatre is always problematic, I find, because the filmmakers have to find ways to make the piece more cinematic. This was not a bad job really, but, as I said earlier, I’m not all that familiar with the source material. Decent performances all round, but those that stood out (for me) were; Helen Mirren as Prospera, Djimon Hounsou as Caliban, Alfred Molina as Stephano and Tom Conti as Gonzalo.

The Tempest - 7 I always find Shakespearean dialogue a little hard to follow, but I found this one was a bit of an exception. The storyline, although a little complex, was quite easy to follow and I quite enjoyed it. Very stylish costumes and an interesting soundtrack were elements that added to the piece pretty well. Over all though, despite being well shot, all on location, I guess I felt there was something lacking. I guess it’s worth a look if you’re a fan of the Bard, but otherwise, I may urge you to maybe give it a miss…

My score: 5.8/10

IMDb Score: 5.3/10 (based on 2,756 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1274300/

MetaScore: 43/100: (Based on 28 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 29/100 (based on 82 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 28/100 (based on 17,602 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/tempest/

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

The Tempest - 5 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Caliban: This island is mine!

Prospera: We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little lives are rounded with a sleep.

Trinculo: Misery acquaints a man with strange bed fellows.

Caliban: Hast thou not dropped from Heaven?
Stephano: Out of the moon, I do assure thee.

Prospera: Be cheerful sir, our revels now are ended.

THE TEMPEST LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.tempest-themovie.com/
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheTempestMovie
Trailer:

Film Review: TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON (2011)

Transformers - Dark of the Moon - poster Director: Michael Bay
Writer: Ehren Kruger
Running time: 148 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12

Genre: Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi
UK Release date: 29th June 2011

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 18th May 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

Every now and they you have to watch a bad film just to remind yourself just how good the good ones are. Well, as a fan of Sci-Fi I chose this one because it got a terrible response from the critics but the public (more fool them) didn’t seem to mind it that much. Well, there’s good and bad points but unfortunately for the public, I have to fall on the side of the critics this time I’m afraid. I’ll tell you why after this very brief summary.

Transformers - Dark of the Moon - 1 The transformers are back for their third outing and perennial teenager Sam Witwicky is also back to save the world, but with a new girlfriend, Carly. The wreckage of a Cybertronian spacecraft was discovered on the moon back in the 1960’s but this information was not passed on to the Autobots. Optimus Prime is not happy about this but they decide to go and find what they can. They discover Sentinel Prime, who was the leader of the Autobots before Optimus. He had invented a device, a portal, before the end of the war. They revive Sentinel and he joins the Autobots. Meanwhile, they are unaware that the Decepticons are watching their every move and are about to turn the whole thing around. Sentinel Prime is key to this but I won’t tell you how here… I’m sure there are still some out there who might want to see this one and anyway the Spoiler Police will be sending me to the moon (again) if I do.

Transformers - Dark of the Moon - 2 The opening sequence of the film is very well done (IMO); it sets up the story very well and leaves enough mystery to keep the audience guessing. Unfortunately the film cannot sustain this level for long and pretty soon we’re back to the usual ‘big robots hitting each other in the streets of America’ scenario that (personally) I’ve seen enough of. The performances were all very average (IMO), but I’ll give mentions to the voice talents of Peter Cullen as Optimus prime, Hugo Weaving as Megatron and Leonard Nimoy who I thought did a very decent job as Sentinel Prime. Of the human actors, well I guess I should mention Shia LaBeouf as Sam Witwicky, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as Carly, Josh Duhamel as Lennox, John Turturro as Simmons, Tyrese Gibson as Epps, Patrick Dempsey as Dylan, Frances McDormand as Mearing, Alan Tudyk as Dutch and John Malkovich as Bruce Brazos.

Transformers - Dark of the Moon - 3 On the plus side, there were some nice comic moments mainly provided by John Turturro and Alan Tudyk. I will also give a nod to the guys that did the CGI, it’s all top-notch stuff and some of it is quite spectacular. On the downside I found many of the human characters irritating, in particular Sam Witwicky. He comes over as a bit of a petulant kid when he doesn’t get the job he wants. Carly; well I guess she was just there to show off her curves, but as we all know, Michael Bay likes curves. I guess the whole franchise doesn’t quite work for me because the filmmakers are so insistent on putting human traits on alien beings. Every robot, whether it be Autobot or Decepticon has to have a character and most of the time and in a lot of cases, it just makes them look stupid. Over all, not one I’ll be watching again but I guess there will be a lot of fifteen year old boys out there that’ll love it!... NOT RECOMMENDED.

My score: 4.2/10

IMDb Score: 6.3/10 (based on 141,806 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1399103/

MetaScore: 42/100: (Based on 37 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 35/100 (based on 235 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 67/100 (based on 124,673 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/transformers_dark_of_the_moon/

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

Transformers - Dark of the Moon - 7 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
[first lines]
Optimus Prime: We were once a peaceful race of intelligent mechanical beings. But then came the war between the Autobots, who fought for freedom and the Decepticons, who dreamt of tyranny. Overmatched and outnumbered, our defeat was all but certain. But in the wars final days, one Autobot ship escaped the battle. It was carrying a secret cargo, which would have changed our planet's fate. A desperate mission, our final hope...
[the Ark flies from Cybertron into space... and is gunned down]
Optimus Prime: A hope that vanished.

Walter Cronkite: We now have had confirmation of loss of signal from the Apollo 11. The Apollo 11 is, at the moment, on the far side of the moon.
[at Mission Control, someone turns off a transmitter to the news station]
Director of NASA: Neil, you are dark on the rock. Mission is a go. We have 21 minutes.

Simmons: Don't worry, I speak their language.
[doorman opens sliding hatch]
Simmons: Do svidaniya.
Russian Bouncer: That means goodbye!
[closes hatch]

Transformers - Dark of the Moon - 5 Simmons: [Wants to impress the Russians with a Russian phrase] Dutch, give me something tough.
Dutch: Eh.
[browses dictionary in panic]
Dutch: Baryshnikov.
Cosmonaut Dimitri: We do speak English.
Simmons: Dutch, you suck.
Dutch: It's a Cyrillic alphabet. It's like all the buttons you never push on a calculator! I don't suck.

[last lines]
Optimus Prime: In any war, there are calms between the storms. There will be days when we lose faith, days when our allies turn against us. But the day will never come, that we forsake this planet and its people.

Transformers - Dark of the Moon - 6 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.transformersmovie.com/
Trailer:

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Film Review: MUNICH (2005)

Munich - poster Director: Steven Spielberg
Writers: Tony Kushner & Eric Roth (screenplay), George Jonas (book “Vengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorist Team”)
Running time: 164 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Drama/History/Thriller
UK Release date: 27th January 2006

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 13th May 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I am old enough to remember the events that took place at the Munich Olympics in 1972. I don’t remember much detail because I was quite young, but I do remember the news reports and the fact that everything got very serious from then on. This film deals with the aftermath of that attack and how the Israeli secret service (Mossad) wreaked its revenge on those they deemed responsible. Here’s a brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

Munich - 7 A terrorist attack by the Palestinian group known as Black September at the Munich Olympic Games in 1972 left eleven Israeli athletes dead. A secret plan is hatched and a team of five is assembled to hunt down those responsible for planning the attack. The team is led by Avner, a young agent who’s wife is about to give birth, even so, he agrees to go. The other members of the team are Steve, Carl, Robert and Hans. They each have their specialities and use them to great effect. The group is overseen by Ephraim, a high-up government agent. Their main problem if finding information on the whereabouts of their targets, but a mysterious French group who will supply the information for a price. The only thing they ask is that it is not divulged to governments, if so, they will refuse to work with the group. As time passes Avner becomes more and more disenchanted with the effectiveness of their scheme. More atrocities are carried out in the name of the Black September group and every time they dispose of someone, another is put in his place. Will he see it through to the end? Well, I guess I had better not tell you that or the Spoiler Police (Espionage Division) will be planting a bomb in by bed (again).

Munich - 1 Very well made with all the attention to detail you’d expect from a film made by Steven Spielberg. Original music by John Williams was excellent also. The performances were all very good with Eric Bana as Avner, Ciarán Hinds as Carl and Geoffrey Rush as Ephraim standing out for me. They were ably supported by Daniel Craig as Steve, Mathieu Kassovitz as Robert, Hanns Zischler as Hans, Michael Lonsdale as Papa and Mathieu Amalric as Louis.

Munich - 4 Although it’s very well made with some excellent performances, it has two things that I found were not in its favour. Firstly, it’s far too long and secondly, the pacing of it is very slow and this, combined with the length does not make for an overly enjoyable viewing experience. Don’t get me wrong, aspects of the film are quite compelling and the action sequences are as exciting as you’d find anywhere else, I just found it a little slow and far too long. Even so, I still think it’s worth a look.

My score: 7.1/10

IMDb Score: 7.7/10 (based on 110,104 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0408306/

MetaScore: 74/100: (Based on 39 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 78/100 (based on 198 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 78/100 (based on 304,565 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/munich/

Munich - 8 If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
http://facebook.com/andy.steel3

FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Ephraim: We deposit money from a fund that doesn't exist into a box we don't know about in a bank we've never set foot in. We can't help you because we never heard of you before.

Ephraim: We have 11 Palestinian names. Each had a hand in planning Munich. You're going to kill them, 11 men, one by one. They're all in Europe now. You'll stay there as long as it takes. Europe only, not the Arab countries. That's for us, not you. And not Eastern Bloc. Don't upset the Russians. Who needs it? You'll have no contact with us.
Avner: You're not going to give me any information?
Ephraim: We deposit money from a fund that doesn't exist into a box we don't know about, in a bank we never set foot in. We can't help you because we never heard of you before. You'll do what the terrorists do. You think they report back to home base? They don't. We want them dead.

Munich - 3 Steve: You know how to shoot, to assassinate people, right? I mean, you make dolls in a toyshop, and you... you shop for sofas? And you- I don't know what you do.
Carl: Me? I worry.
Steve: [to Avner] So why did they make you team leader?
Hans: Because he really knows how to cook a brisket.
Avner: [starts laughing]

[last lines]
Avner: Break bread with me. Come on, you're a Jew in a foreign land. It's written somewhere I should invite you to break bread with me. Break bread with me, Ephraim.
Ephraim: No.

Munich - 2 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.universalstudiosentertainment.com/munich/
Trailer:

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Film Review: SUPER 8 (2011) – RE-VISITED

Super8_poster Writer/Director: J.J. Abrams
Running time: 112 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12

Genre: Mystery/Sci-Fi/Thriller
UK Release date: 5th August 2011

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 12th May 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

This is the second time I’ve seen this movie and I have to say I enjoyed it more on the second viewing. I think I can better appreciate just what the director was doing when he allows the pace of events to drop through the middle third if the picture. I will explain all at the end; for now, what follows is more or less the text of my original review from August 2011 with a few tweaks here and there… Enjoy.

super 8 2011 A group of kids are making a film; it being the time before video tape, they have to film it on a Super 8 cine camera. The group’s leader, Charles, wants to make a zombie movie for an upcoming competition. He is helped by Joe Lamb, Cary, Martin, Preston, and latterly Alice Dainard. Joe has recently lost his mother in an accident and his dad, a deputy sheriff, is struggling to adapt. He has a thing for Alice, whose dad had worked with Joe’s mother and blames himself for the accident. But I digress… whilst filming one night by the railway tracks; they witness an accident that derails a military train. They capture on film something escaping from one of the carriages, but, of course, they don’t know about that until they can get the film developed (3 days later). By that time the town has gone crazy; disappearances of equipment and people… even all the dogs have left! The military come in to clear up the train wreck and end up evacuating the town. Can these young filmmakers get to the bottom of what’s going on? Well, just in case there is someone out there that hasn’t seen it, I’d better not say. Them spoiler police will be hanging me up to dry.

super-8-movie A very well made film with likable characters, some neat CGI and some very clever effects. I cannot fault the performances, the young cast all did a great job, in particular; Joel Courtney as Joe Lamb, Elle Fanning as Alice Dainard and Riley Griffiths as Charles. All three stood out (for me) and I’m sure they’ll all go far. Also worthy of a mention were; Kyle Chandler as Jackson Lamb (Joe’s dad), Ryan Lee as Cary, Gabriel Basso as Martin and Zach Mills as Preston.

super-8-2011-movie-22 As I’ve already said, I can see what J.J. Abrams was aiming at, and that is the Spielberg films of the late 70’s to the early 80’s. Films like Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and even the Spielberg-produced, The Goonies (1985). Unfortunately this doesn’t have the warmth or the magic of those films, but it is still a worthy effort. Going back to the middle third of the film, I referred to it at the beginning, J.J.Abrams uses this section to give the film a lot of emotional depth. This is something I hadn’t noticed on my initial viewing, but I can now see just what he was trying to do. Unfortunately it doesn’t quite come off here but even so, by the end I could see its place and it made for a really quite enjoyable film. Some great music, both the original soundtrack by Michael Giacchino and the songs of the period that were chosen. As far as the cinematography goes, I’ve read a lot of comment about “flaring”; this didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. I like that they show the film the kids were making while the end credits are rolling… It’s pretty neat. Recommended.

My score: 8.3/10 (Original Score: 7.5/10)

IMDb Score: 7.2/10 (based on 126,803 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1650062/

MetaScore: 72/100: (Based on 41 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 82/100 (based on 257 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 78/100 (based on 96,188 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/super_8/

super-8-movie-photo-24 If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
http://facebook.com/andy.steel3

FAVOURITE QUOTES:
[first lines]
Mrs. Kaznyk: I'm so worried for that boy.
Mr. Kaznyk: Joe's gonna be okay.
Mrs. Kaznyk: She was everything to him.
Mr. Kaznyk: Jack's gonna step up. He's a good man.
Mrs. Kaznyk: But he's never had to be a father before. I don't think he understands Joe.

Alice Dainard: So how am I supposed to be a zombie?
Joe Lamb: Oh, um... Pretty much be a lifeless ghoul, with no soul. Dead eyes. Scary. Did you ever have Mrs. Mullin?
Alice Dainard: For English? Yeah.
Joe Lamb: Yeah. Kind of like her, but hungry for human flesh. Like she wants to turn somebody into a zombie. 'Cause that's kind of what zombies do.
[Alice practices being a zombie. Soft music playing]
Joe Lamb: Oh, my God, yeah. That's really good.
[Alice slowly approaches Joe. She reaches out for him, clasps his neck and gives him a kiss on the neck and laughs]
Joe Lamb: Not bad.
Alice Dainard: Really?
Joe Lamb: Really.
[Joe's eyes widen unsure what to think of what just happened. Charles notices the kiss... ]

Cary: He's too stoned!
Martin: Oh, drugs are so bad!

Louis Dainard: Where're we going?
Jackson Lamb: We're going to find our kids.

super-8-movie34 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.super8-movie.com/
Trailer: