Sunday, 28 October 2012

Film Review: SKYFALL (2012)

Skyfall - poster Director: Sam Mendes
Writers: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, John Logan & Ian Fleming (Characters - Uncredited)
Running time: 143 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12A

Genre: Action/Adventure/Thriller
UK Release date: 26th October 2012

Watched at the Picture House (K-town) Saturday 28th October 2012.

-o0o-

When Bond came back with ‘Casino Royalle’ (2006) he came back with a bang; he then stumbled a bit in ‘Quantum of Solace’ (2008) but I’m very pleased to report he’s bang on form again with ‘Skyfall’. Putting Sam Mendes in charge has really worked and we have a coherent character led story that really delivers. I could see parts where some younger members of the audience were beginning to lose interest, but these were few and far between. Plenty of action to keep the explosion junkies happy as well as a nicely put together plot. Here’s a very brief (& spoiler-free) summary.

Skyfall - 3 A hard drive is stolen containing the identities of many deep-cover agents around the world. Bond is immediately on the case; chasing down the thief in one of the best opening sequences I’ve seen to a Bond film (or any other film for that matter). Needless to say the bad guy gets away and Bond is missing (presumed dead). But when the MI6 building in London is attacked he decides to come out of retirement and help M track down whoever is behind it. What follows is an exciting and enthralling journey that strikes at the very core of Bond and in particular his relationship with M. It seems M has had a much larger bearing on Bond’s life than was ever revealed before. I will leave it there before I say too much… Wouldn’t want to be run over by a run-away train now would I.

Skyfall - 5 Beautifully shot with much less reliance in gadgetry than has been customary in the past. It’s almost like they were keeping truer to the Bond that Ian Fleming wrote about; a man that relies more on his wits than on technology. All the performances were excellent (as ever) with Daniel Craig taking on the mantle of James Bond for a third time and gaining great plaudits on the way. Judi Dench does a great job as M; a role that this time requires great depth and she provides in spades! For the evil mastermind we have Javier Bardem who does such a great job as the Bond villain Silva; perfect for the role. Also worthy of note were Ralph Fiennes as Gareth Mallory; Naomie Harris as Eve; Bérénice Marlohe as Sévérine; Albert Finney as Kincade and not forgetting Ben Whishaw who did a great job as Q.

Skyfall - 4 A film that brings Bond back to its roots with many old characters re-stated by the end; I’m certain it will please many long-standing fans like myself. The story does have quite a lot of emotional depth both for Bond and for M as they are forced to face their past. A highly enjoyable film that stretches all the emotions; everything from laughter to despair; I loved it! Well worth a look – It has my seal of approval, which, coming from a man who, if he used his middle name and mother’s maiden name would be called James Bond… Think on.

SteelMonster’s verdict: VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

My score: 9.4/10

IMDb Score: 8.5/10 (based on 14,362 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1074638/

MetaScore: 83/100: (Based on 10 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Skyfall - 6 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 94/100 (based on 63 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 91/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 41,688 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/skyfall/

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
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Skyfall - 1 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Psychologist: I'm going to say a word, and I want you to say the first word that comes into your head. Country?
James Bond: England.
Psychologist: Gun?
James Bond: Shot.
Psychologist: Agent?
James Bond: Provocateur.
Psychologist: Murder?
James Bond: Employment.
Psychologist: Skyfall?
[pause when there is no answer]
Psychologist: Skyfall?
James Bond: Done.
[Walks out]

Q: I'm your new quartermaster.
James Bond: You must be joking.

James Bond: Everyone needs a hobby...
Raoul Silva: So what's yours?
James Bond: Resurrection.

Sévérine: What do you know?
James Bond: Well, it takes a certain type of women to wear a backless dress with a Beretta 70 strapped to her thigh.

Raoul Silva: England... Mi6... so old-fashioned!

Skyfall - 7 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.007.com/skyfall/
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Skyfall/459060174146573
Trailer:

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Film Review: YOU’VE BEEN TRUMPED (2011)

You've Been Trumped - poster Writer/Director: Anthony Baxter
Running time: 95 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): PG

Genre: Documentary
UK Release date: 6th July 2012

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 27th October 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

Donald Trump is an internationally famed entrepreneur who is also a very successful businessman. His vast business empire has made him a billionaire in his native United States and he wants to build a golf resort. He wants to build it on a site of special scientific interest on the Aberdeenshire coast (Scotland). This documentary plots his total disregard for the environment and the local residents in his efforts to achieve his goal. He is not alone in this; despite the local council turning down planning permission on environmental grounds the Scottish Parliament overturned the decision. Trumps claims that what he’s doing will preserve this fragile environment appear (at best) misled as we see the systematic destruction of the dunes and the harassment of local residents.

You've Been Trumped - 1 All this is seen primarily through the eyes of the few local residents that border the resort. He even uses the police to harass the team making this documentary. There is also testimony from environmental groups and even an economist; all indicating that this is a bad thing. It all seems very unbalanced until the end where we learn that neither Trump nor his representatives, the Grampian Police or the Scottish Government wanted to contribute to this film.

You've Been Trumped - 2 I love the way its shot with hand-held cameras and even amateur footage from one of the residents slipped in. There is also some vintage film showing how life was on the coast in days gone by and quite a lot of news footage. The biggest triumph for me though was the use of footage from Bill Forsythe’s film ‘Local Hero’ (my review here). Anthony Baxter cleverly draws parallels between the (fictitious) situation in the film and the situation facing the residents around the site. A real eye-opener into how big business is conducted these days and it’s not pretty. Mr Trump does not come out of this well and, on the evidence shown, deservedly so.

SteelMonster’s verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

My score: 8.4/10

IMDb Score: 7.7/10 (based on 528 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1943873/

MetaScore: 57/100: (Based on 12 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

You've Been Trumped - 4 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 82/100 (based on 28 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 74/100 ‘Want to See’ (based on 1,274 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/youve_been_trumped_2011/

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FAVOURITE QUOTES:
None available (sadly)…

You've Been Trumped - 5 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.youvebeentrumped.com/youvebeentrumped.com/THE_MOVIE.html
Trailer:

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Film Review: THE GREEN MILE (1999)

The Green Mile - poster Director: Frank Darabont
Writers: Stephen King (novel), Frank Darabont (screenplay)
Running time: 181 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Crime/Drama/Fantasy
UK Release date: 3rd March 2000

Watched on DVD Sunday 21st October 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

Partly because I love this film and partly as a bit of a tribute to the actor Michael Clarke Duncan who sadly passed away last month, I opted for ‘The Green Mile’ for my Sunday viewing this week. I did have another film in mind but couldn’t find the disc, which was a tad frustrating, but it led me to this film instead and I must say I’m really glad it did! As a fan of the novels of Stephen King I do try to see any movie adaptations of his work; usually with varying results. Fortunately this one was directed by Frank Darabont so I knew we were in safe hands. I have to say, for the record, I have seen it before but that was some years ago now. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

The Green Mile - 8 We begin in a retirement home where an old man, Paul Edgecomb, begins to relate a story about the year 1935 when he was prison guard at the Cold Mountain Correctional Facility. They call Death Row “The Green Mile” because of the dark green linoleum that tiles the floor, and that’s where Edgecomb had charge. His fellow guards included; Brutus ‘Brutal’ Howell, Dean Stanton, Harry Terwilliger and Percy Wetmore who used his family connections to keep the job despite his total lack of compassion for it. This was the year that one John Coffey was to come to the Mile and he was going to affect everyone’s life there. There was something very special about John, something that would be hard to explain and so I won’t try; I’ll leave you to watch the film and make up your own mind about it.

The Green Mile - 1 Very well made with a beautifully understated musical score by Thomas Newman, it underpins the action perfectly and works very well. All the performances were great; particularly Michael Clarke Duncan who fully deserved his 2000 Oscar nomination for his portrayal of John Coffey. As usual, Tom Hanks puts in a flawless performance as Paul Edgecomb (the younger version of course). Also worthy of note were; David Morse as Brutus ‘Brutal’ Howell, Bonnie Hunt as Edgecomb’s wife, Jan, James Cromwell as Warden Hal Moores, Michael Jeter as Eduard Delacroix, Graham Greene as Arlen Bitterbuck, Doug Hutchison as Percey Wetmore, Sam Rockwell as ‘Wild Bill’ Wharton, Barry Pepper as Dean Stanton and Jeffrey DeMunn as Harry Terwilliger. Oh and not forgetting the mouse (or mice) who appeared as ‘Mr Jingles’.

The Green Mile - 5 The film has quite a slow pace that allows the audience to become familiar with the characters and the comings and goings on ‘The Mile’. With most of the action taking place in the one location I thought the director did a good job of using different angles and even the odd special effect to keep it visually interesting. Because you become so invested in the characters, it is three hours long after all, it does tend to get a bit emotional towards the end. This is probably one of the reasons I love this film so much. Stephen King does write such well rounded and interesting characters and Frank Darabont has the knack of being able to translate them to the screen. In my book this is one of the very best adaptations of King’s work and one that will stay with me for a very long time.

SteelMonster’s verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

My score: 9.1/10

IMDb Score: 8.5/10 (based on 349,346 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0120689/

MetaScore: 61/100: (Based on 36 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 80/100 (based on 132 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 93/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 719,255 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/green_mile/

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

The Green Mile - 6 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Old Paul Edgecomb: They usually call death row the Last Mile, but we called ours the Green Mile, because the floor was the colour of faded limes. We had the electric chair then. Old Sparky, we called it. I've lived a lot of years, Ellie, but 1935 takes the prize. That was the year I had the worst urinary infection of my life. That was also the year of John Coffey and the two dead girls.

Paul Edgecomb: Your name is John Coffey?
John Coffey: Yes sir boss. Like the drink, only not spelled the same.

Paul Edgecomb: What did you just do to me?
John Coffey: I helped it. Didn't I help it? I just took it back, is all. Awful tired now, boss. Dog tired.

John Coffey: I'm smellin' me some cornbread.
Paul Edgecomb: It's from my mises. She wanted to thank you.
John Coffey: Thank me for what?
Paul Edgecomb: Well, you know...
[whispering]
Paul Edgecomb: For a helping me.
John Coffey: Helping you with what?
Paul Edgecomb: You know.
[Paul points to his groin]
John Coffey: [John smiles] Ohh. Was your misses pleased?
Paul Edgecomb: [Paul nods] Several times.

The Green Mile - 4 Bill Dodge: I think this boy's cheese has done slid off his cracker.

Paul Edgecomb: John, do you know where we're taking you?
John Coffey: Help a lady?
Brutus "Brutal" Howell: That's right. But how do you know?
John Coffey: Don't know. To tell the truth, Boss, I don't know much'o anything.

Paul Edgecomb: On the day of my judgment, when I stand before God, and He asks me why did I kill one of his true miracles, what am I gonna say? That it was my job? My job?
John Coffey: You tell God the Father it was a kindness you done. I know you hurtin' and worryin', I can feel it on you, but you oughta quit on it now. Because I want it over and done. I do. I'm tired, boss. Tired of bein' on the road, lonely as a sparrow in the rain. Tired of not ever having me a buddy to be with, or tell me where we's coming from or going to, or why. Mostly I'm tired of people being ugly to each other. I'm tired of all the pain I feel and hear in the world everyday. There's too much of it. It's like pieces of glass in my head all the time. Can you understand?
Paul Edgecomb: Yes, John. I think I can.

The Green Mile - 2 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Trailer:

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Film Review: THE KING OF COMEDY (1983)

The King of Comedy - poster Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer: Paul D. Zimmerman
Running time: 109 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): PG

Genre: Drama/Comedy
USA Release date: 18th February 1983 (Limited)

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 20th October 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

This is a film I have wanted to see for a long time and it finally aired on TV this week. I am very happy to say that may anticipation wasn’t misplaced, it’s an excellent film! Great direction, writing and performances; all round it hits all the high notes for me and you’re even left with a small mystery at the end. But more of that after this very brief summary.

The King of Comedy - 1 Rupert Pupkin is obsessed with celebrity comic and TV host, Jerry Langford. He inhabits a fantasy world where he and Langford are close friends; as well as being extremely rich and famous (of course). Having conned his way into Langford’s car one evening after a show, with the help of another fan, Masha. Pupkin starts pestering Langford to give him a spot on his chat show. Not wishing to appear rude, Langford tells him to ring the office and they’ll arrage to look at his work. Of course Pupkin takes this much further than intended and eventually ends up in trouble with the building’s security guards. But how much further will Pupkin take his obsession? I think I’ll leave it there or the Spoiler Police (Comedy Division) will be measuring me up for clown shoes (again).

The King of Comedy - 4 With Scorsese in charge you know the film is going to be well made; and he doesn’t let us down here. It’s an excellent production with some trule excellent performances. Talking of which; I have heard from several sources that this is considered the best; or certainly one of the best; performances from Robert De Niro. I must say his portrayal of Rupert Pupkin is quite stunning and I’m struggling to disagree with that assesment. I also thought Jerry Lewis did and excellent job as Jerry Langford; a more serious role for him and I thought he played it very well. Also worthy of note were; Diahnne Abbott as Rita Keane and Sandra Bernhard as Masha.

The King of Comedy - 7 I love the way Scorsese switches the action between reality and Pupkin’s fantasies and back again. It really keeps the audience guessing just what is real and what is coming from inside Pupkin’s head. This is where De Niro really shines; it’s his perfromance that gives it creedance; Pupkin’s dilusions become real because Ne Niro makes them appear so. It’s a masterful performance I must admit. As to the mystery; well, is the ending real or is it another of Pupkin’s fantasies? Scorsese leaves us no clues which I think is pretty cool.

SteelMonster’s verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

My score: 9.2/10

IMDb Score: 7.7/10 (based on 50,502 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0085794/

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

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 93/100 (based on 40 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 71/100 ‘Want to See’ (based on 23,886 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1011623-king_of_comedy/

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
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The King of Comedy - 6 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
[first lines]
Ed Herlihy: And now, from New York, The Jerry Langford Show! With Jerry's guests Tony Randall, Richard Dreyfuss, Rodney Dangerfield, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Lou Brown and the orchestra, and little old me Ed Herlihy. And now say hello to Jerry!

Rupert Pupkin: [arguing with Masha] What about things that I did for you that no money can buy, no money can buy? What about the time I gave you my spot! You came over there, I gave you my spot! You stood there and I let you get right next to Jerry. I waited for 8 hours for him and you went right next to him cause you were crying to me cause you wanted to get next to Jerry and you got next to him. And what about the time I gave you my last album of the Best of Jerry, what about that? It wasn't anybody else it was me and I didn't even ask you for money and I can't even pay my rent! What are talking about? I live in a hovel! And you live in a townhouse! I can't believe this girl!

Jerry Langford: Alright, look pal, I gotta tell you... this is a crazy business, but it's not unlike any other business. There are ground rules, and you don't just walk on to a network show without experience. Now I know it's an old, hackneyed expression, but it happens to be the truth. You've got to start at the bottom.
Rupert Pupkin: I know. That's where I am, at the bottom.
Jerry Langford: Well, that's the perfect place to start.
Rupert Pupkin: I know that, but I'm not say... there's gotta be...
Jerry Langford: It looks so simple to the viewer at home, those things that come so easily, that are so relaxed, and looks like it's a matter of just taking another breath. It takes years and years and years of honing that.

Rupert's Mom: Rupert? What are you doing down there?
Rupert Pupkin: MOM!

Rupert Pupkin: Well I'm sorry. I made a mistake.
Jerry Langford: So did Hitler.

Rupert Pupkin: I'm gonna work 50 times harder, and I'm gonna be 50 times more famous than you.
Jerry Langford: Then you're gonna have idiots like you plaguing your life!

The King of Comedy - 5 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Trailer:

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Film Review: THE THING (2011)

The Thing - poster Director: Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.
Writers: Eric Heisserer, John W. Campbell Jr. (short story "Who Goes There?")
Running time: 99 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Horror/Mystery/Sci-Fi
UK Release date: 2nd December 2011

Watched on Sky+ Monday 15th October 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I remember with great affection John Carpenter’s 1982 classic, The Thing. For me, it’s one of the very best Sci-Fi/Horror films and when I heard they were making a prequel I was excited. It got released and was less than warmly received and so I decided to give it a miss until it turned up on TV. Since I'm writing this you can probably guess it turned up on TV. I’ll save my comments for the end; here’s a very brief summary first.

The Thing - 1 A group of Norwegian scientists discover an alien spacecraft buried under the Antarctic ice. They also discover the remains of a survivor. They bring in American scientist Kate Lloyd to aid with the investigation. The alien is dug up in a solid block of ice and taken back to their base and before long it has broken free of the ice surrounding it and has begun to wreak havoc around the base. This creature is special; it can mimic any organic being and so the crew don’t know who, or even what, they can trust. I’ll leave it there or the Spoiler Police (Antarctic Division) will be sending me to tidy up the base (again).

The Thing - 6 Pretty well made with some nice CGI taking the place of the physical effects used in the Carpenter film. The performances were all ok with nobody particularly standing out. So honourable mentions go to; Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Kate Lloyd, Joel Edgerton as Sam Carter, Ulrich Thomsen as Dr. Sander Halvorson, Eric Christian Olsen as Adam Finch, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Derek Jameson, Paul Braunstein as Griggs, Trond Espen Seim as Edvard Wolner, Kim Bubbs as Juliette and Jørgen Langhelle as Lars.

The Thing - 3 The main problem with this film is that it does nothing John Carpenter’s film didn’t do. Aside from some quite graphic CGI and a pretty good sequence inside the alien spacecraft, it had very little else to offer. It’s a shame really because I was expecting more. There is very little character development so you don’t really care who might not be human at any moment. There’s lots of action with little substance I’m afraid and so it doesn’t get my seal of approval I’m afraid. So why 5.5? Well I did like the sequence inside the spacecraft, the CGI was pretty good and I did like the way the ending tied in with the beginning of John Carpenter’s film.

SteelMonster’s verdict: NOT RECOMMENDED (Particularly if you’ve seen John Carpenter’s film ‘The Thing’ (1982))

My score: 5.5/10

IMDb Score: 6.3/10 (based on 50,502 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0905372/

MetaScore: 49/100: (Based on 31 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

The Thing - 10 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 36/100 (based on 158 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 43/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 35,586 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_thing_2011/

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

FAVOURITE QUOTES:
[first lines]
Peder: [In Norwegian] Okay, I've got another one. A good one. A man and woman are making love one night when their young boy walks in.

Adam Finch: In the three years that I have known him, this is the most excited I have ever seen him.

The Thing - 5 Sam Carter: And the last place you want to be is cooped up with a dozen of Norwegian guys.

Adam Finch: You know, I never believed in this shit.
Jonas: I always did.

Colin: You think they're gonna pay a bonus for bringing home an alien instead of core samples?

Lars: [to Matias] That's not a dog! Start the helicopter now!
[both get into helicopter]
Lars: Get it up now! Come on!

The Thing - 9 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.universalstudiosentertainment.com/thing-the-2011/
Trailer:

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Film Review: QUANTUM OF SOLACE (2008) – Revisited

Quantum of Solace - poster Director: Marc Forster
Writers: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade & Paul Haggis (screenplay): Ian Fleming (novel)
Running time: 106 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12

Genre: Action/Adventure/Thriller
UK Release date: 31st October 2008

Watched on DVD Sunday 14th October 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I watched ‘Casino Royale’ just recently and found it a really great way to reboot the Bond franchise. This is the second time I’ve seen ‘Quantum of Solace’ and I have to say I didn’t enjoy it quite as much this time around. That’s not to say that it’s bad, far from it, I still think it’s a pretty good film; maybe not as good as I did on first viewing is all. It helps if you have seen ‘Casino Royale’ to understand why Bond is behaving the way he is, but I don’t think it’s essential, there are enough references for you to figure it out. Here’s a brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

Quantum of Solace - 6 We begin with a car chase, a great way to start many an action thriller. Guns blazing, the bad guys eventually get their comeuppance; I don’t think I’m giving anything away there! Bond drives to Siena where M is waiting to question the prisoner he has in his boot (trunk if you’re in the US). There’s a double cross and this is where the action starts… I won’t go into too much detail about the plot, partly because it’s quite complicated and partly because I don’t want to give away any spoilers. But very briefly, good guys, Bond, M…etc. against mysterious bad guys who we don’t even find out the name of until almost the end. Don’t worry, I won’t say it… Oh, and there’s a girl with revenge on her mind involved, and I reckon that’s about all I can tell you.

Quantum of Solace - 2 Great performance from Daniel Craig (as ever) as Bond and Olga Kurylenko as Camille. Judi Dench was brilliant, isn’t she always, as M and I thought Mathieu Amalric was adequate as Dominic Greene, the chief bad guy. Honourable mentions to Gemma Arterton as Strawberry Fields, Giancarlo Giannini as Rene Mathis and Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter.

Quantum of Solace - 9 Production wise, I couldn’t fault it, shot very well both on location and at Pinewood with, as usual, an excellent soundtrack. On the down side, the fight sequences did remind me of the ‘Jason Bourne’ films a little bit too much, I expected something a little more original. Over all, just what we’ve come to expect from a modern Bond movie, it just lacked a little humour to lighten it up a bit, apart from that, pretty enjoyable… if a little over complicated.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.4/10

IMDb Score: 6.8/10 (based on 165,595 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0830515/

MetaScore: 58/100: (Based on 38 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Quantum of Solace - 7 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 65/100 (based on 246 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 62/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 385,925 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/quantum_of_solace/

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

FAVOURITE QUOTES:
M: It'd be a pretty cold bastard who didn't want revenge for the death of someone he loved.

Mr. White: The first thing you should know about us is... we have people everywhere.

James Bond: How long have I got?
Felix Leiter: Thirty seconds.
James Bond: That doesn't give us a lot of time...

Quantum of Solace - 3 M: Who the hell is this organisation Bond? How can they be everywhere and we know nothing about them!

Camille: You lost somebody?
James Bond: I did.
Camille: You catch who ever did it?
James Bond: No, not yet.
Camille: Tell me when you do, I'd like to know how it feels...

James Bond: [Interrupting the opera house conversation] Can I offer an opinion? I really think you people should find a better place to meet.

Camille: So, what's your interest in Greene?
James Bond: Among other things, he tried to kill a friend of mine.
Camille: A woman?
James Bond: Yes. But it's not what you think.
Camille: Your mother?
James Bond: She likes to think so.

Camille: How much did he want?
James Bond: He wanted you but I left the car as collateral. He'll get much more when he sells us out.

Quantum of Solace - 1 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.007.com/
Trailer:

Film Review: SLIDING DOORS (1998)

Sliding Doors - poster Writer/Director: Peter Howitt
Running time: 94 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Romance/Comedy/Drama/Fantasy
UK Release date: 1st May 1998

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 14th October 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I know this is not the type of film I’d usually watch but I do like to mix things up once in a while and have a look at something different. I’m told this is one of the better examples of the genre and so it was duly added to ‘The List’. An interesting film with a nice take on the ‘What If’ storyline used so eloquently in Frank Capra's ‘It's a Wonderful Life’ (1946) and several other films over the years. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

Sliding Doors - 4 Having just lost her job in PR, Helen heads home early. She’s in London and so takes the tube; and this is where things begin to change. One moment she makes it on time to catch the train and her life takes one path… The next moment she misses the train and her life takes a totally different path... I won’t go into specifics here, not wishing to give too much away to those that haven’t seen it, but we now switch between these two very different lives. Admittedly it is helped by her changing her hairstyle in one of them so it’s quite easy to tell just which life we’re looking at.

Sliding Doors - 5 Very well made with a nice witty script and a decent pace so it doesn’t get bogged down too much. It does look slightly dated though, but that’s mostly to do with things like fashion and technology. Decent performances all round; particularly from Gwyneth Paltrow as Helen, John Hannah as James, John Lynch as Jerry, Jeanne Tripplehorn as Lydia and Zara Turner as Anna. Finally, an honourable mention for Douglas McFerran as Russell.

Sliding Doors - 6 I must admit I did find the premise of this film quite interesting; how just a couple of seconds at a crucial moment can make drastic changes to a life did intrigue me. I did enjoy the way it was done but ultimately it is about feelings and relationships which is fine as far as it goes. It did leave me with a few questions by the end and I see that as a good thing; there were certain things open to interpretation and any film that does that is always going to be worth a look, in my view. I will admit I did enjoy it up to a point; I found the characters quite engaging, there is some great dialogue and I even recognised one or two of the tunes! Over all, worth a look but I feel its one of those I’ll only watch once (although I’ve been wrong about that before).

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.2/10

IMDb Score: 6.7/10 (based on 34,471 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0120148/

MetaScore: 59/100: (Based on 23 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Sliding Doors - 2 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 63/100 (based on 49 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 73/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 61,018 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/sliding_doors/

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

FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Anna: Are you okay?
Helen: Yes, just going quietly mad.
Anna: Thank goodness for that. I was worried.

Helen: For God's sake, Gerry. I asked you a simple question; there is no need for you to become Woody Allen.

Russell: You want my opinion?
Gerry: Will I like it?
Russell: Well, of course not! It'll be based in reality.

Sliding Doors - 9 Lydia: Gerry, I'm a woman! We don't say what we WANT! But we reserve the right to get pissed off if we don't get it. That's what makes us so fascinating! And not a little bit scary.

Patron in Restaurant where Helen is a waitress: Hey, gorgeous. What do you do when you're not serving up mad cow burgers in here, eh?
Helen: Well, now, then, let me see. I get up at about 7:30AM making and delivering sandwiches in the West End during the day before I come here about 6 o'clock and finish at midnight. After that, if I've got any energy left, I give my boyfriend a blow job.
[pause]
Helen: Would you like some mayonnaise with that?

James: Hands up if you drank too much, eh?
Helen: Hey, I'm not as drunk as thinkle peep I am.
Anna: Put a wick in her mouth and she'd burn for a fortnight.

James: Everything happens for the best. You'll never know if you don't try.

Sliding Doors - 8 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Trailer (with apologies for the cheese… It’s much better than they make out here – honestly):

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Film Review: THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING (2003)

LOTR - Return of the King - poster Director: Peter Jackson
Writers: J.R.R. Tolkien (novel), Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, & Peter Jackson (screenplay)
Running time: 241 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12A

Genre: Action/Adventure/Fantasy
UK Release date: 17th December 2003

Watched on DVD Saturday 13th October 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

Although I have seen all of the Lord of the Rings films before, I had never read the books, and so recently I decided to read them. I then thought it might be fun to watch each film as I complete each part of the story. And so, having finished ‘The Return of the King’ we come to the third and last of Peter Jackson’s films. For the record I have to say that I watched the extended version, available on DVD and Blu Ray.

LOTR - Return of the King - 7 NOTE: There may be spoilers in here; if you haven’t seen the ‘Fellowship of the Ring’ and ‘The Two Towers’ please skip this paragraph.

We begin with some back-story on how Sméagol came across the ring; how it corrupted him and turned him into Gollum. Sam and Frodo are still on their way to destroy the ring and Gollum is still steering them along his chosen route into Mordor. A route that may work to his advantage. Meanwhile the rest of the fellowship is reunited briefly at Isengard before being split again when they ride to Rohan. They hear that Sauron’s forces are on the march and they intend to attack Minas Tirith, a city of Gondor. Gandalf takes Pippin directly there after he steals a look at Saruman’s ‘seeing stone’ which is linked directly to Sauron. Gathering their forces, King Theodin and Aragorn set off towards Minas Tirith, only for Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli to leave them and take another path there. Aragorn has had word that he must fulfil a pact made by his ancestor if they are to succeed at Minas Tirith. With the city under siege, all seems lost as Sam and Frodo are split asunder by the cunning wiles of Gollum. I think that’s enough to whet the appetite… for now.

LOTR - Return of the King - 2 Yet another epic film with tremendous scope; Peter Jackson and the many others that worked on this really did an excellent job! Yet again, the original music by Howard Shore is tremendous another great score with some really great themes, following on from the previous two films with great aplomb. As far as performances go, well everybody did a great job but those that stood out (for me) were; Elijah Wood as Frodo, Ian McKellen as Gandalf, Sean Astin as Samwise ‘Sam’ Gamgee, Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn and Bernard Hill as Theodin (King of Rohan). Also worthy of note were; John Noble as Denethor, Billy Boyd as Pippin, Dominic Monaghan as Merry, Orlando Bloom as Legolas, John Rhys-Davies as Gimli/Voice of Treebeard (briefly), Liv Tyler as Arwen, Miranda Otto as Eowyn, David Wenham as Faramir, Christopher Lee as Saruman, Karl Urban as Eomer and not forgetting Andy Serkis as Gollum/Sméagol.

LOTR - Return of the King - 6 The book could very easily have been made into two films; there is such a lot that happens and so many twists in the plot that it might have benefitted if that were the case. But we’re not here to speculate I guess; although it does depart from the book in many respects, I did find that most of the important bases were covered. A film which has some tremendous scenes of epic battles but also some very tender and thought-provoking moments as well. For me the most powerful scene was where Denethor has sent his son, Faramir, to his doom and is eating a meal while Pippin sings a haunting ballad. The intercutting of the images of battle with Denethor and Pippin safe in Minas Tirith and the haunting melody over the top makes for a scene that has stayed with me since I first saw it back in 2003. I did find it did tend to drag a bit towards the end, but other than that a very fine film that is a fitting end to a great trilogy.

SteelMonster’s verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

My score: 9.4/10

IMDb Score: 8.9/10 (based on 595,849 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0167260/

MetaScore: 94/100: (Based on 41 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

MCDLOOF EC166 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 94/100 (based on 244 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 83/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 33,010,271 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_lord_of_the_rings_the_return_of_the_king/

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

FAVOURITE QUOTES:
[in a drinking game]
Gimli: It's the Dwarves that go swimming with little, hairy woman.
[he burps]
Legolas: I feel something. A slight tingle in my fingers. I think it's affecting me.
Gimli: What did I say? He can't hold his liquor.
[Gimli passes out]
Legolas: [to Eomer who is watching] Game over.

Aragorn: We have time. Every day Frodo moves closer to Mordor.
Gandalf: Do we know that?
Aragorn: What does your heart tell you?
Gandalf: That Frodo is alive. Yes. Yes, he's alive.

LOTR - Return of the King - 9 Aragorn: I summon you to fulfil your oath.
King of the Dead: None but the king of Gondor may command me.
[Swings sword; Aragorn blocks him with the sword Anduril]
King of the Dead: That blade was broken!
[Aragorn takes him by the throat]
Aragorn: It has been remade.
[Aragorn releases the King of the Dead; pause]
Aragorn: Fight for us... and regain your honour.

Sam: [Both are overcome by exhaustion] Do you remember the Shire, Mr. Frodo? It'll be spring soon. And the orchards will be in blossom. And the birds will be nesting in the hazel thicket. And they'll be sowing the summer barley in the lower fields... and eating the first of the strawberries with cream. Do you remember the taste of strawberries?
Frodo: No, Sam. I can't recall the taste of food... nor the sound of water... nor the touch of grass. I'm... naked in the dark, with nothing, no veil... between me... and the wheel of fire! I can see him... with my waking eyes!
Sam: Then let us be rid of it... once and for all! Come on, Mr. Frodo. I can't carry it for you... but I can carry you!

Sam: [reading the book's title] There and Back Again: A Hobbit's Tale by Bilbo Baggins, and The Lord of the Rings by Frodo Baggins. You finished it.
Frodo: Not quite. There's room for a little more.

…and there are so many more!

LOTR - Return of the King - 8 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.lordoftherings.net/
Trailer: