Sunday, 27 January 2013

Film Review: WILD BILL (2012)

WildBill_online_onesheet_50%.indd Director: Dexter Fletcher
Writers: Danny King, Dexter Fletcher
Running time: 98 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Drama
UK Release date: 23rd March 2012

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 27th January 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

The critics really liked this film and so, as I’m prepared to believe them sometimes, I immediately added it to ‘The List’. Sadly it only had a limited release and so didn’t make it to my local cinema. So I was very happy to see it appear in the TV listings this week and duly hit the ‘Record’ button at the appropriate point. The critics were right; it’s an excellent film with lots of emotional depth and some truly excellent performances. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

Wild Bill - 4 Wild Bill (Charlie Creed-Miles) has just been released from prison after serving an eight year stretch. He returns home to find his wife has abandoned his two sons; fifteen year old Dean (Will Poulter) and eleven year old Jimmy (Sammy Williams). Dean has been looking after his little brother and has even found a job working on the construction of the buildings for the London Olympics. He wants Bill to leave but Social Services insist that he prove he’s looking after the boys. An old acquaintance of Bills, Terry (Leo Gregory), a drug dealer, wants him to come and work for him but the conditions of his bail mean he can’t associate with known criminals. Anyway, Bill is trying to do the right thing. It’s his younger boy who becomes embroiled in Terry’s seedy world and it’s up to Bill to sort it out.

Dean and Jimmy at Door Really well made with the first-time director making full use of his actors and their surroundings to make a film that is great to look at as well as being a well put together drama. All the main characters were excellently played by Charlie Creed-Miles, Will Poulter (who I last saw in the (also excellent) ‘Son of Rambow’), the young Sammy Williams and Leo Gregory. I should also mention Liz White as Roxy and Charlotte Spencer as Steph; both did a great job also. A film with great emotional depth that doesn’t over-play the drama too much and I have to admit I really enjoyed it!

SteelMonster’s verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

My score: 9.0/10.

IMDb Score: 7.1/10 (based on 4,788 votes when this review was written).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1795702/?ref_=sr_1

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

Wild Bill - 6 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 100/100 (based on 21 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 84/100 (based on 1,425 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/wild_bill_2011/

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FAVOURITE QUOTES:
None Available.

Wild Bill - 1 LINKS:
(NOTE: All links were working at the time of going to press)
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WildBillFilm
Trailer:

Film Review: THE KEEP (1983)

The Keep - poster Director: Michael Mann
Writers: F. Paul Wilson (novel), Michael Mann (screenplay)
Running time: 97 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Action/Drama/Horror
USA Release date: 16th December 1983

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 27th January 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

This is a film I first saw many many years ago. I remember quite enjoying it back then; but I have seen many more films since then and so decided it was time to give it a second look. In the cold light of day, and without the distraction of a night out beforehand, it took on a whole different look. I can’t say I’ve entirely changed my view, but I can say that I can now see many more of its flaws. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

The Keep - 2 It is World War II and a troop of German soldiers are sent to hold a pass in the Romanian Alps. The small village they are sent to has an ancient Keep built into the side of the mountain and it is here they set up their headquarters. The leader, Captain Klaus Woermann (Jürgen Prochnow) is a decent man and he leaves the locals to their business. Some of his troops decide that the crosses built into the walls of the Keep might be made of silver and try to dig them out. In doing this they release a supernatural entity that begins to kill them off one by one. Enter the SS led by the ruthless Major Kaempffer (Gabriel Byrne). He is not so tolerant of the locals and begins killing them in retribution for the soldiers’ deaths. Of course this has no effect and the local priest, Father Mihail Fonescu (Robert Prosky) persuades the Major to being in an expert on the Keep. He is a Jew, Dr. Theodore Cuza (Ian McKellen), who arrives with his daughter, Eva (Alberta Watson). Meanwhile a mysterious man, Glaeken Trismegestus (Scott Glenn), is making his way to the Keep; he knows much more about the evil that has been unleashed there and is probably the only person who can stop it… But is he too late? I think that’s enough for now.

The Keep - 1 Pretty well made for its day although the effects to look quite dated by today’s standards. I can’t say I was entirely enamoured with Tangerine Dream’s musical score either; it just didn’t seem to fit. As for the performances, well I thought both Jürgen Prochnow and Gabriel Byrne were excellent; Prochnow again proving just what a fine actor he is and Byrne playing a very believable and loathsome character very well. What lets it down is the fact that the audience are allowed to actually see the entity that is causing all the deaths. If you know anything about what scares people, it’s the things you don’t see that scare you; the things your imagination can run wild with. Once the monster, Molasar, is seen all that mystery is lost and it can never have as much impact. Michael Mann did a fair enough job but I felt there were a few too many lingering shots and a little too much exposition in places. Even so, I still quite enjoyed it, although the book is much better.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED (Just)

My score: 6.2/10.

IMDb Score: 5.7/10 (based on 5,072 votes when this review was written).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0085780/?ref_=sr_1

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

The Keep - 5 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 20/100 (based on 10 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 55/100 (based on 3,226 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/keep/

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The Keep - 7 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Alexandru: No-one's ever died here.
Captain Klaus Woermann: Then what drives people out, in the middle of a rainy night?
Alexandru: Dreams?
Captain Klaus Woermann: Nightmares? Look, man, the real nightmares man has made upon other men in this war. The bad dreams of your Keep are nursery rhymes by comparison.

Captain Klaus Woermann: Why are the small stones on the outside and the large stones here on the interior? It's constructed... backwards. This place was not constructed to keep something... out.

The Keep - 6 Captain Klaus Woermann: [catching Lutz attempting to chisel out a cross] Soldier, what's your assignment?
Lutz: To string lights, sir.
Captain Klaus Woermann: Then what the hell are you doing? Answer!
Lutz: The silver crosses, sir. There's talk among the men. They hide silver here. Treasure, sir.
Captain Klaus Woermann: Private Lutz, it's been a profitable day for you! Not only have you learned the crosses are made of nickel, not silver, but you have earned yourself a place on first watch all week!

Molasar: You have... death around you.

Captain Klaus Woermann: And what truth do you see? What are you discovering about yourself Kaempffer, uuh? "I murder all these people. Therefore, I must be powerful." And you smash them down only because that raises you up. It's a psychotic fantasy to escape the weakness and disease you sense in the core of your souls! You have scooped the most diseased psyches out of the German gutter! You have released the foulness that dwells in all men's minds! You have infected millions with your twisted fantasies! And from the millions of diseased mentalities that worship your twisted cross... what monstrosity has been released in this keep? Who are you meeting, Kaempffer, in the granite corridors of this keep?...
[pokes Kaempffer with his finger, whispers]
Captain Klaus Woermann: ... Yourself.

The Keep - 3 LINKS:
(NOTE: All links were working at the time of going to press)
Trailer: (Sorry about the picture quality)

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Film Review: THE PIRATES! IN AN ADVENTURE WITH SCIENTISTS (2012)

The Pirates - In an Adventure with Scientists - poster [A.K.A. THE PIRATES! BAND OF MISFITS]

Directors: Peter Lord, Jeff Newitt
Writer: Gideon Defoe
Running time: 85 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): PG

Genre: Animation/Adventure/Comedy
UK Release date: 28th March 2012

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 26th January 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I admit to being a fan of stop-motion animation and in particular the Aardman films; over the years I reckon I’ve seen just about all of their output. And so we come to ‘The Pirates!’; it did play at my local cinema but only for a very brief time and work commitments kept me from seeing it. So I was very pleased when it appeared in the TV listings this week. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

The Pirates - In an Adventure with Scientists - 2 The Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) has always wanted to win the ‘Pirate of the Year’ award. He’s entered for the last twenty years and always lost. This year though, he feels he’s in with a chance! His crew fully back him, in particular his number two, The Pirate with a Scarf (Martin Freeman). There is some pretty stiff competition; Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven), Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayek) and Peg Leg Hastings (Lenny Henry) are all in with a good shout and consider The Pirate Captain as a bit of a joke. They set off to make their mark but are soon disheartened when all they can find are Plague Ships, Ghost Ships and School outings. He’s about to give up when they come across a ship carrying Charles Darwin (David Tennant), who is more than interested in the ship’s parrot, Polly. It turns out that Polly is in fact a Dodo; a species thought to be extinct. Darwin persuades the captain that a great prize might be had by the man that brings this rarity to the Royal Society in London. The trouble is, Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton) is there and she really hates Pirates.

The Pirates - In an Adventure with Scientists - 8 Exceptionally well animated, as ever, with some really great sight-gags all over the place. I think I’ll have to see it a few times to catch them all! As to the plot, well maybe a little over-complicated for its target audience, but there’s enough excitement on screen to keep the little ones occupied. For me, the only downside was portraying Queen Victoria as the main baddy; I can’t recall her ever being played in this way before, but I’m sure I’ll be corrected on that. This aside, I found it quite charming with many comic moments that even made me laugh out loud! (This is rare). All the voice artists were excellent, I particularly liked Hugh Grant; I think he got it just right. Over all, an entertaining film with plenty of laughs and there’s even a great soundtrack!

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.8/10.

IMDb Score: 6.7/10 (based on 18,582 votes when this review was written).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1430626/?ref_=sr_1

MetaScore: 73/100: (Based on 31 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

The Pirates - In an Adventure with Scientists - 7 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 87/100 (based on 142 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 60/100 (based on 81,582 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_pirates_band_of_misfits/

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FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Pirate Captain: Behind every captain, there's a crew. Sure, some of you are as ugly as a sea cucumber, some of you are closer to being a chair or coat rack than a pirate, and some of you are fish I've just dressed up in a hat...

Pirate Captain: What pirates? Nobody here but us girl scouts!
[the crew is disguised in scout uniforms]
Bobo: Yeah. Right.

The Pirates - In an Adventure with Scientists - 6 Pirate Captain: And that's why, in a straight fight, a shark would probably beat a Dracula.

Pirate Captain: Now listen Charles, we've all done something unforgivable. I've betrayed my pirate honour, you've betrayed science, and Mr. Bobo's betrayed the animal kingdom.

The Pirates - In an Adventure with Scientists - 5 LINKS:
(NOTE: All links were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site (UK): http://thepirates-movie.co.uk/
Official Site (US): http://sonywonder.com/thepirates/
Trailer:

Film Review: LEBANON (2009)

Lebanon - poster Writer/Director: Samuel Maoz
Running time: 93 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Drama/War
UK Release date: 9th April 2010

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 26th January 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I remember this film coming out to much acclaim amongst the critics. On the strength of this it was duly added to ‘The List’. It took a few years, but it finally aired on TV recently and so I thought I’d have a look at what all the fuss was about. I have to admit I was quite impressed. A very claustrophobic feel makes the drama more intense in this tale of an Israeli tank in 1982. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

Lebanon - 1 It is 1982 and Israel has sent troops into Lebanon. A tank, crewed by Shmulik (Yoav Donat), Assi (Itay Tiran), Hertzel (Oshri Cohen) and Yigal (Michael Moshonov), is supporting an infantry troop led by Gamil - or Jamil as it says on the subtitles (Zohar Shtrauss). We follow their progress through the war-torn country as they encounter both innocent civilians and hostile forces. Their mission seems straightforward enough at first, but proves more taxing the longer it goes on. As the pressure mounts we discover just who in the crew has the right stuff. I will leave it there; don’t want to give too much away.

Lebanon - 9 A very claustrophobic feel is created by centring all of the action inside the tank. The only glimpses we have of the outside world is through the viewfinder on the tank’s guns. It’s all very dramatic with bickering amongst the crew as they all try to have their say as events unfold. All the performances were excellent and it seems unfair to give plaudits to any particular performer. I must also thank the people responsible for putting the subtitles on the screen; nice large print that’s easy to read; please do more like this! Over all, a very well made film with some nice ideas and well worth a look.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.9/10.

IMDb Score: 6.9/10 (based on 6,218 votes when this review was written).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1483831/?ref_=sr_1

MetaScore: 85/100: (Based on 28 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Lebanon - 5 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 90/100 (based on 98 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 71/100 (based on 5,183 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/lebanon-2010/

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Lebanon - 3 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
None available.

Lebanon - 7 LINKS:
(NOTE: All links were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.sonyclassics.com/lebanon/
Trailer:

Friday, 25 January 2013

Film Review: CLEANSKIN (2012)

Cleanskin - poster Writer/Director: Hadi Hajaig
Running time: 108 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Crime/Drama/Thriller
UK Release date: 9th March 2012

Watched on Sky+ Friday 25th January 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I knew nothing about this film prior to viewing, aside from the couple of line written in the TV guide that is. I guess it must have been enough to intrigue me into giving it a look. I found it quite a tough watch but worthwhile in the end, although not entirely satisfying. It has its flaws which I’ll tell you about after this very brief summary.

Cleanskin - 7 Britain is under attack from a group of home-grown terrorists. These are people who are not under suspicion by the secret service and as such are deemed to have a ‘cleanskin’. When ex-operative Ewan (Sean Bean) is involved in an attack, his former handler, Charlotte (Charlotte Rampling) calls him in and gives him the green light to investigate. It is to be under the radar, using old-school tactics. He has another agent, Mark (Tom Burke) to help him. We are also introduced to Ash (Abhin Galeya) who is a British Muslim who is radicalised by the manipulative Nabil (Peter Polycarpou). This puts him at odds with his girlfriend Kate (Tuppence Middleton). The story of his relationship with her and how Nabil influences him is told in flashback. As Ewan and Mark close in there is many a twist in this tail, but to say any more would be to say too much.

Cleanskin - 4 All the performances are very good with Sean Bean standing out, but I have to give credit to both Abhin Galeya and Tuppence Middleton for some excellent work. It’s well shot, if not as slick as some movies made in the capital in recent years; I guess there was a limited budget. The plot was quite well thought out but I felt far too much time was spent in flashback. Much of what was established there could have been done in a much shorter timeframe. What I wanted more of was Sean Bean’s character; he had a great presence and left me wanting a sequel. Over all it’s a nice thriller that tries a little too hard with some aspects of the plot, but still worth a watch. I did find it quite hard going at times but a final twist made it all worth while… that and Sean Bean’s character, Ewan.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED (Just)

My score: 6.4/10.

IMDb Score: 6.2/10 (based on 9,965 votes when this review was written).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1598873/?ref_=sr_1

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

Cleanskin - 9 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 53/100 (based on 17 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 71/100 (based on 1,359 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/cleanskin/

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FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Ewan: I fought over there, to stop this from happening here
[pause]
Ewan: again. Didn't stop, they're not going to stop, neither will I. I'm going to find everyone of them, and send them to the death they pray for.

Cleanskin - 3 Charlotte: We're bound by procedure. In this situation, we cannot afford those constraints.

Nabil: In Afghanistan, we had to fight to earn respect and freedom from the Russians.
Ash: You were there? What was it like?
Nabil: What happens on the battlefield is between you and God.

Charlotte: You're out of your mind.
Ewan: It's in my nature.

Cleanskin - 6 LINKS:
(NOTE: All links were working at the time of going to press)
Trailer:

Film Review: 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU (1999)

10 Things I Hate About You - poster Director: Gil Junger
Writers: Karen McCullah Lutz (written by), Kirsten Smith (written by), William Shakespeare (play "The Taming of the Shrew") uncredited
Running time: 97 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12

Genre: Comedy/Drama/Romance
UK Release date: 9th July 1999

Watched on Sky+ Friday 25th January 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

Those of you that read my reviews (I know there are a few of you still out there); know that I don’t generally get on well with film comedies. Well there’s an exception to every rule and, for me, this is the one… or one of them at least. Why do I like it so much? Well for one thing it doesn’t try too hard to make you laugh; there are no “gross out” moments that make me feel like I’m being spoon-fed a load of crap because that’s the only way to get it down. No, it’s more intelligent than that. I think Shakespeare knew what he was doing and there’s no need to mess with it too much. I won’t do a summary this time, but if you want to know what it’s about I can recommend reading William Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew”, on which it’s based.

10 Things I Hate About You - 2 This film works because the audience are given a group of well rounded characters; many of which are quite likable, which helps. These are then put into a sequence of situations that resolve themselves into a satisfactory conclusion. Of course we are taken on quite a journey before this conclusion and I can see how some may find the plot a little hard to follow. Fortunately I have read the Shakespeare play and even seen it performed and so am familiar with all its twists and turns. I love the way it’s written with allusions to the original text, for instance calling the school ‘Padua’ was a very nice touch. All the performances were excellent with both Heath Ledger as Patrick Verona and Julia Stiles as Kat Stratford taking the plaudits. I must also give a nod to; Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Cameron James, Larisa Oleynik as Bianca Stratford, David Krumholtz as Michael and Andrew Keegan as Joey Donner. Oh, and look out for a nice comic turn from Allison Janney as Ms. Perky; very funny.

10 Things I Hate About You - 1 It may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I really enjoyed this film and have every time I’ve seen it! I know it got few plaudits from the critics when it came out, but it certainly speaks to me. It’s surprising just how many people ‘love that movie’ when I bring it up; but so few can tell me what it’s about. Definitely worth a watch if you’ve never seen it and if you have, give it another look sometime; it’s well worthy of a second look. Watch right to the end of the credits as well for some amusing outtakes.

SteelMonster’s verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

My score: 8.5/10.

IMDb Score: 7.0/10 (based on 122,645 votes when this review was written).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0147800/?ref_=sr_1

MetaScore: 70/100: (Based on 26 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

10 Things I Hate About You - 9 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 61/100 (based on 61 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 69/100 (based on 30,627,092 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/10_things_i_hate_about_you/

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
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FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Walter Stratford: Hello, Katarina. Make anyone cry today?
Kat Stratford: Sadly, no. But it's only 4:30.

Cameron: I burn, I pine, I perish.
[Lucentio's line from The Taming of the Shrew Act I Scene 1]
Michael: Of course you do. You know, she's beautiful and deep, I'm sure.

Michael: Sweet love, renew thy force.
[Start of Shakespeare's Sonnet LVI]
Patrick: Hey! Don't say shit like that to me. People can hear you.

10 Things I Hate About You - 3 Walter Stratford: Do you know what happens at proms?
Bianca: Yes. We'll dance, we'll kiss, we'll come home. It's not quite the crisis situation you imagine.
Walter Stratford: Kissing? That's what you think happens? I've got news for you. Kissing isn't what keeps me up to my elbows in placenta all day long.
Bianca: Can we, for two seconds, ignore the fact that you're severely unhinged and discuss my need for a night of teenage normalcy?
Walter Stratford: What's normal? Those damn... Dawson's river kids sleeping in each other's beds and what not?
Bianca: Daddy that is so not...
Walter Stratford: I've got news for you. I'm down, I've got the 411, and you are not going out and getting jiggy with some boy, I don't care how dope his ride is. Mamma didn't raise no fool.

Ms. Perky: People perceive you as somewhat...
Kat Stratford: Tempestuous?
Ms. Perky: "Heinous bitch" is the term used most often.

10 Things I Hate About You - 6 LINKS:
(NOTE: All links were working at the time of going to press)
Trailer:

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Film Review: ROAD TO PERDITION (2002)

Road to Perdition - poster Director: Sam Mendes
Writers: Max Allan Collins (graphic novel), Richard Piers Rayner (graphic novel), David Self (screenplay)
Running time: 117 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Crime/Drama/Thriller
UK Release date: 27th September 2002

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 20th January 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

This is a film I have only seen once before (surprisingly); it was quite a few years ago but I do remember I was impressed with it. As it aired on TV this week, I decided to take the opportunity to re-acquaint myself with it. I wasn’t disappointed; it’s every bit as good as I remembered; if not better! Here’s a very brief outline before I give you my thoughts.

Road to Perdition - 4 Mike Sullivan (Tom Hanks) works for gangland boss John Rooney (Paul Newman) in a town not far from Chicago in the 1930’s. Mike is sent out to talk to someone who spoke out of line. He goes with with Rooney’s son, Connor (Daniel Craig). Now Connor has been spending a bit too much time in Chicago and he gets a little trigger-happy and kills the man. They soon discover the shooting had been witnessed by Sullivan’s son, Michael (Tyler Hoechlin); who had stowed away in the car. He promises to say nothing but that’s not good enough for Connor, who not only goes out and kills Sullivan’s wife, Annie (Jennifer Jason Leigh), and younger son, Peter (Liam Aiken); but also tries to have Sullivan himself killed. This enrages Sullivan and he takes Michael on a road trip; a road trip of revenge. But can he prevent his son from following his own path?

Road to Perdition - 8 Beautifully shot; I love the way the images almost match the cells in the graphic novel on which it’s based. This is without the use of any false colouring or camera trickery; it’s all done in the framing, I love the look of it. Also the use of sound was very refreshing; somehow gunshots have more impact when you don’t hear them. All the performances were excellent; particularly Tom Hanks, who is so skilled in this type of role. I also thought the young Tyler Hoechlin did a good job and Paul Newman and Daniel Craig were also excellent. I also enjoyed seeing Jude Law as a hit man, Harlen Maguire, sent out after the pair. It has quite a slow pace, but I didn’t mind that; it’s always absorbing and interesting and I rate it very highly.

SteelMonster’s verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

My score: 9.1/10.

IMDb Score: 7.7/10 (based on 135,321 votes when this review was written).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0257044/

MetaScore: 72/100: (Based on 36 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Road to Perdition - 2 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 82/100 (based on 207 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 81/100 (based on 159,825 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/road_to_perdition/

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
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FAVOURITE QUOTES:
[first lines]
Michael Sullivan, Jr.: There are many stories about Michael Sullivan. Some say he was a decent man. Some say there was no good in him at all. But I once spent 6 weeks on the road with him, in the winter of 1931. This is our story.

Peter Sullivan: Why are you always smiling?
Connor Rooney: 'Cause it's all so fuckin' hysterical.

John Rooney: Natural law. Sons are put on this earth to trouble their fathers.

Road to Perdition - 3 [after seeing his father kill someone]
Michael Sullivan, Jr.: Does Mama know?
Michael Sullivan: Your mother knows I love Mr. Rooney. When we had nothing, he gave us a home... a life... and we owe him.

[Sullivan has a gun to Kelly's head]
Jack Kelly: Think, Mike. Don't be stupid. I'm just the messenger.
Michael Sullivan: [lowers his gun] Then give Mr. Rooney a message for me.
Jack Kelly: What is it?

[Maguire has pulled out a camera]
Michael Sullivan: Is that, uh... your profession or... your pleasure?
Maguire: Both, I guess. To be paid to do what you love... ain't that the dream?

Road to Perdition - 1 LINKS:
(NOTE: All links were working at the time of going to press)
Trailer:

Film Review: UNKNOWN (2011)

Unknown - poster Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Writers: Oliver Butcher (screenplay), Stephen Cornwell (screenplay), Didier Van Cauwelaert (novel “Out of My Head”)
Running time: 113 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12

Genre: Action/Mystery/Thriller
UK Release date: 4th March 2011

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 20th January 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I’ll admit I am partial to the odd mystery thriller and this one seemed to fit the bill. From what I recall, it came out to a bit of a luke-warm reception from the critics and so I wasn’t expecting a great deal. I was pleasantly surprised; a nice slick thriller which, although it didn’t break any new ground, was entertaining enough. Here’s a very brief outline before I give you my thoughts.

UNKNOWN When scientist Dr. Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) arrives in Berlin with his wife, Elizabeth (January Jones), he is involved in a traffic accident. This leaves him in a coma for four days and when he wakes he can only remember fragments of his life. He checks out of the hospital and returns to their hotel where Elizabeth denies knowing him, and what’s worse, there’s another man (Aidan Quinn), pretending to be him! Now desperate, he tracks down the driver of the taxi that was involved in the accident; Gina (Diane Kruger). She is reluctant to help him because she is an illegal immigrant but finally agrees. A former Stazi agent, Ernst Jürgen (Bruno Ganz) also agrees to help him and from here the pieces finally begin to come together. I will say no more or you will know too much.

Unknown - 4 Very well made with some very slick editing keeping the pace pretty high all the way through. It did feel a little like a travelogue in parts, giving us all the iconic views of Berlin whenever the plot brings the action outside. To be fair though, there are a few seedier parts of the city shown as well. All the main cast played their parts well with Liam Neeson and Diane Kruger standing out. I also enjoyed the performance of Bruno Ganz as the ageing former Stazi agent and it was nice to see Frank Langella as Martin’s old colleague, Rodney Cole. Over all, a decent watch that doesn’t really break any new ground but does what it says on the tin (and I can’t knock it for that).

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.0/10.

IMDb Score: 6.9/10 (based on 122,682 votes when this review was written).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1401152/

MetaScore: 56/100: (Based on 38 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Unknown - 6 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 65/100 (based on 189 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 56/100 (based on 70,656 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/unknown_white_male/

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

FAVOURITE QUOTES:
[first lines]
Pilot's Voice: Ladies and gentlemen, we're beginning our descent into Berlin Tegel, where local time is 8:30 AM, and the temperature is a cool minus four degrees.
Dr. Martin Harris: Morning.
Elizabeth Harris: Did you sleep?
Dr. Martin Harris: No. I'll sleep at the hotel.

Dr. Martin Harris: I don't know who this man is but you have to arrest him or many people will die!

UNKNOWN Ernst Jürgen: We Germans are experts at forgetting. We forgot we were Nazis. Now we have forgotten 40 years of Communism - all gone.

Gina: [accepting his special watch in payment] Sentiment, it's always the first thing to go.

Dr. Martin Harris: You should have let me drown.
Gina: What matters is what you do now, Martin.

Unknown - 1 LINKS:
(NOTE: All links were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://unknownmovie.warnerbros.com/dvd/
Trailer:

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Film Review: ANOTHER EARTH (2011)

Another Earth - poster Director: Mike Cahill
Writers: Mike Cahill, Brit Marling
Running time: 89 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12

Genre: Drama/Sci-Fi
UK Release date: 9th December 2011

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 19th January 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

This is another of those critically acclaimed independent movies I’m rather fond of; but this time I knew very little about it before viewing. Possibly because of this, I found it a tad more enjoyable than I was expecting. What little I did know only served to set my expectations at a level slightly lower than they might have been. And so, by way of a summary; I’ll tell you the little I knew before viewing so as not to raise expectations too high.

Another Earth - 5 In some not too distant future another earth is seen approaching our own. At this point an incident binds the lives of two people together. They are Rhoda Williams (Brit Marling), a student, and John Burroughs (William Mapother) a professor (different college). Their lives are drawn together, not only by the fall out from the incident, but also by the possibilities the other earth (or Earth 2 as it’s described) offers. And that’s about all I can tell you.

Another Earth - 9 I thought the performances from both Brit Marling and William Mapother were truly excellent. The story is quite heart rending at times and they prove very capable of taking the audience through the whole gamut of emotions. On the technical side; it was well made; but obviously on a budget. I did like the way the other earth was always visible from America though; looming larger as time passed. More of a drama that uses science fiction as a device, it’s certainly not one for hardcore Sci-Fi fans, but I must admit I did enjoy it. There were a couple of things in the relationship I wasn’t entirely convinced by, but nonetheless a worthy watch.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.9/10.

IMDb Score: 7.0/10 (based on 33,167 votes when this review was written).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1549572/

MetaScore: 66/100: (Based on 33 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Another Earth - 1 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 64/100 (based on 121 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 67/100 (based on 15,479 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/another_earth/

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

FAVOURITE QUOTES:
[first lines]
Rhoda Williams: I saw this image when I was a kid. The photograph of Jupiter taken by NASA's Voyager. Beautiful. But nothing special until shown in rapid succession. Suddenly Jupiter was alive. Breathing. I was hypnotized.

John's Son: What rhymes with "light"?
John Burroughs: "Light"?
Maya Burroughs: Oh, that's a good one.
[Loud crash]

Rhoda Williams: When early explorers first set out West across the Atlantic, most people thought the world was flat. Most people thought if you sailed far enough West, you would drop off a plane into nothing. Those vessels sailing out into the unknown, they weren't carrying noblemen or aristocrats, artists or merchants. They were crewed by people living on the edge of life: the madmen, orphans, ex-convicts, outcasts like myself. As a felon, I'm an unlikely candidate for most things. But perhaps not for this. Perhaps I am the most likely.

Another Earth - 6 Rhoda Williams: If you met yourself, what would you say?
John Burroughs: Hey, you up for a video game? Probably beat me. What would you say?
Rhoda Williams: Better luck next time.

Purdeep: Listen to me. Keep your mind clear. And that's it. You will have peace of mind. My dear, don't worry. Learn to adjust yourself.

Rhoda Williams: You know that story of the Russian cosmonaut? So, the cosmonaut, He's the first man ever to go into space. Right? The Russians beat the Americans. So he goes up in this big spaceship, but the only habitable part of it's very small. So the cosmonaut's in there, and he's got this portal window, and he's looking out of it, and he sees the curvature of the Earth for the first time. I mean, the first man to ever look at the planet he's from. And he's lost in that moment. And all of a sudden this strange ticking... Begins coming out of the dashboard. Rips out the control panel, right? Takes out his tools. Trying to find the sound, trying to stop the sound. But he can't find it. He can't stop it. It keeps going. Few hours into this, begins to feel like torture. A few days go by with this sound, and he knows that this small sound... will break him. He'll lose his mind. What's he gonna do? He's up in space, alone, in a space closet. He's got 25 days left to go... with this sound. So the cosmonaut decides... the only way to save his sanity... is to fall in love with this sound. So he closes his eyes... and he goes into his imagination, and then he opens them. He doesn't hear ticking anymore. He hears music. And he spends the sailing through space in total bliss... and peace.

Another Earth - 2 LINKS:
(NOTE: All links were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.foxsearchlight.com/anotherearth/
Trailer: (NOTE: Gives away more that I do above)