Sunday, 24 February 2013

Film Review: CONTRABAND (2012)

Contraband - poster Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Writers: Aaron Guzikowski (screenplay), Arnaldur Indriðason (film “Reykjavik-Rotterdam”), Óskar Jónasson (film “Reykjavik-Rotterdam”)
Running time: 106 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Action/Crime/Drama
UK Release date: 16th March 2012

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 24th February 2013.

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

Based on the Icelandic film “Reykjavik-Rotterdam”; this version is set in New Orleans and Panama. I’m always a bit wary of American remakes of foreign films; for some reason they lose a lot of the original’s impact when they’re watered down and sanitised for an American audience. On this occasion I haven’t seen the original so I have nothing to compare it with; I guess when I do I may have to re-visit this version and re-score it accordingly. But I digress; here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

Contraband - 5 Chris Farraday (Mark Wahlberg) is a former smuggler who has managed to get out of the game and settled down with his wife, Kate (Kate Beckinsale), and their two boys. He has his own business and life seems to be going well until his young brother-in-law, Andy (Caleb Landry Jones), gets involved in the smuggling business himself. He finds he has to dump a shipment of drugs when the ship he is on is boarded by customs officials. This does not go down to well with the man he was doing the job for, Tim Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi) and Chris is forced out of retirement in order to help him out. He brings in his former partner, recovering alcoholic Sebastian Abney (Ben Foster) and they plan a run to Panama to collect some counterfeit money in order to pay off what’s owed. Of course things don’t quite go according to plan and you know this can only add to the excitement.

Mark-Wahlberg-Contraband I have to admit I quite enjoyed this trip into the shady world of smuggling. Most of the characters were quite believable and there weren’t too many plot holes that made the whole thing ridiculous. I also liked that the filmmakers kept the action sequences quite realistic (loved the shoot-out in Panama). As far as performances go, I thought it was pretty much run of the mill stuff for most of them. Kate Beckinsale was a bit underused and Giovanni Ribisi played the loathsome Briggs very well. I guess this ‘by the book’ thriller was never going to win any prizes, but I did find it entertaining and that’s all you can ask of a film of this ilk.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.4/10.

IMDb Score: 6.4/10 (based on 57,096 votes when this review was written).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1524137/

MetaScore: 51/100: (Based on 38 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Contraband - 8 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 51/100 (based on 77 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 58/100 (based on 63,035 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/contraband_2012/

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Contraband - 9 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Chris Farraday: I've got to try and fix this. Trust me, I know what I'm doing.

Chris Farraday: [to Tim] You think you're the only guy with a fucking gun?

Contraband - 3 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Contraband
Official Site: http://www.contrabandmovie.net/
Trailer:

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Film Review: ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA (1984)

Once Upon a Time in America - poster Director: Sergio Leone
Writers: Harry Grey (novel), Leonardo Benvenuti, Piero De Bernardi, Enrico Medioli, Franco Arcalli, Franco Ferrini & Sergio Leone
Running time: 229 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Crime/Drama
Italy Release date: 28th September 1984

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 23rd February 2013.

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

This was Sergio Leone’s last film; and boy what an epic piece of work it is! I guess I have to say, for the record, that I have seen it before but it’s one of those films that stays with you for a very long time afterwards. Even though it’s been many years since I last saw it, I could still remember much of the plot as I was re-watching it. It was like re-acquainting myself with an old friend. But I digress; here’s an extremely brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

Once Upon a Time in America - 1 We are told the story of four friends; David ‘Noodles’ Aaronson (Robert De Niro), Maximilian ‘Max’ Bercovicz (James Woods), Patrick ‘Patsy’ Goldberg (James Hayden) and Philip ‘Cockeye’ Stein (William Forsythe). We learn how, from an early age, they find themselves involved in illegal activities and how this shapes their lives. We learn about their loves; Deborah Gelly (Elizabeth McGovern) among them; and the many people they do business with, including Frankie Manoldi (Joe Pesci). Oh, and I mustn’t forget Deborah’s brother, ‘Fat’ Moe Gelly (Larry Rapp); he has a part to play in all this as well. It’s mostly told in flashback as ‘Noodles’ returns to his old neighbourhood after thirty years in exile. It’s an epic tale with many twists and turns along the way; but in the end it does all make sense. Oh and look out for a young Jennifer Connelly as the young Deborah.

Once Upon a Time in America - 5 I first have to say I loved the story; it’s epic and no mistaking; very long, but never boring. Leone manages to keep it interesting despite quite a slow pace to the proceedings and quite a complex plot. Although I usually like the film music of Ennio Morricone, on this rare occasion I found the music a little too sentimental; particularly the pan pipe refrain. I loved the visual style of the film; it is almost like one of those old Leone spaghetti westerns in places; unmistakably his work! Despite all its good points though I found I did have to mark it down slightly just because it is so very long! At over three and a half hours (nearly four), it really does test even the most ardent film fan. I read that it was released in three separate parts in Russia! Over all though, I did very much enjoy it despite the length and the somewhat overly-sentimental musical score. Definitely worth a look (if you can spare the four hours or so).

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 8.2/10.

IMDb Score: 8.4/10 (based on 126,937 votes when this review was written).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0087843/

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

Once Upon a Time in America - 2 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 87/100 (based on 38 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 71/100 (based on 70,432 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/once_upon_a_time_in_america/

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

Once Upon a Time in America - 9 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
[first lines]
[In 1933, two goons rudely question a young woman]
Beefy: Where is he? Where's he hiding?
Eve: I don't know... I've been looking for him since yesterday.
[second goon slaps her harshly; she falls onto the bed]
Beefy: I'm gonna ask you for the last time: Where is he?
Eve: I don't know... What are you gonna do to him?
[Two shots are heard]
Beefy: [to his partner] Stay here in case that rat shows up...

Fat Moe: When did you get back?
Noodles: Today.
Fat Moe: Why?
Noodles: They got in touch with me.
Fat Moe: Who?
Noodles: I thought you might know.
Fat Moe: Me? I don't know nothin' 'bout nobody no more.

Once Upon a Time in America - 7 [In 1968, Noodles meets a familiar figure in heavy make-up... ]
Noodles: Hello, Deborah.
[For a long time, Deborah is silent and still]
Noodles: Aren't you gonna say anything?
Deborah Gelly: What is someone supposed to say after... after more than thirty years?
Noodles: Well, how about "How're you doing? You look good." Or, "I was hoping I'd never see you again."
Deborah Gelly: I never thought I would. There's a difference.

[last lines]
Secretary Bailey: [checking his pocket watch] It's 10:25. And I've got nothing left to lose. When you've been betrayed by a friend, you hit back. Do it.
[Noodles is still and silent for a long time]
Noodles: You see, Mr Secretary... I have a story also, a little simpler than yours. Many years ago, I had a friend, a dear friend. I turned him in to save his life, but he was killed. But he wanted it that way. It was a great friendship. But it went bad for him, and it went bad for me too. Good night, Mr Bailey.
[He looks at the man in front of him for the last time]
Noodles: I hope the investigation turns out to be nothing. It'd be a shame to see a lifetime of work go to waste.

Once Upon a Time in America - 8 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.onceuponatimeinamerica.net/
Trailer:

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Film Review: TYRANNOSAUR (2011)

Tyrannosaur - poster Writer/Director: Paddy Considine
Running time: 92 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Drama
UK Release date: 7th October 2011 (limited)

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 17th February 2013.

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

You will usually find the scores I give to movies are pretty close to those shown on the various web sites I choose to frequent. This tells you that, in general, I’m pretty much in step with public opinion in many cases. However, you occasionally find a film where my opinion differs quite widely from the public; and this is one of those rare occasions. I will explain why after this very brief summary.

Tyrannosaur - 8 Joseph (Peter Mullan) is an older man who has some issues; mainly connected with anger. One day after a run-in with a group of youths in a bar, he seeks refuge in a charity shop run by Hannah (Olivia Colman). She is a Christian and takes pity on this troubled man. They go their separate ways but he comes back the next day after he has been beaten up by some youths (maybe the same lot from the bar). Eventually an unlikely friendship forms between them. Hannah is in a loveless marriage to James (Eddie Marsan); who is abusive to her in ways you cannot imagine. But she persists in keeping the marriage going. That is until one night he goes too far and she finds the only person she can turn to is Joseph… But can he help her?

Tyrannosaur - 5 I first have to say that the performances are all quite stunning; particularly Olivia Colman. She takes a very measured approach to the role and it comes off perfectly. Peter Mullan was also excellent as Joseph; a great piece of casting as I felt he was ideal for the role. Eddie Marsan plays the abusive and somewhat creepy husband just right and I have to also give a mention to the young actor Samuel Bottomley, who plays a local boy who Joseph looks out for. I’m sure this young man will have a great future. This is a film that is all about the performances; there are no special effects or fancy camera trickery; it lives or dies on the performances and I have to say (for me at least) it worked to a tee! One of the criteria I use when deciding whether I like a film or not, is the emotional response it generates. And I can honestly say with this one it was all positive. Don’t get me wrong, you are taken all around the houses on the way there, but to end it they way they did I though was just perfect!

SteelMonster’s verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

My score: 9.6/10.

IMDb Score: 7.5/10 (based on 14,170 votes when this review was written).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1204340/

MetaScore: 65/100: (Based on 18 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Tyrannosaur - 3 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 82/100 (based on 74 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 85/100 (based on 6,176 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/tyrannosaur/

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

Tyrannosaur - 1 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE
Hannah: God loves you. You're God's child.
Joseph: God ain't my fucking daddy, my daddy was a cunt. He knew he was a cunt. God still thinks he's God. No-one's told him otherwise.

Hannah: I feel safe with you.
Joseph: Nobody's safe with me.

Joseph: What happened to you?
Hannah: I fell over.

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

Film Review: THE ARTIST (2011) – Re-Visited

The Artist - poster Writer/Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Running time: 97 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): PG

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

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 17th February 2013.

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

A film that won 7 BAFTA’s and 5 Oscars (including best film in both); I thought it worthy of a second look when it premiered on TV this week. What follows is more or less the same review that I wrote when I saw the film in the Cinema (about a year ago), with a few tweaks here and there. The fact is, I still feel the same about it, which, I guess, is testament to the filmmakers. Hope you enjoy it!

The Artist - 1 I must say I was impressed with the film, despite being silent, in black and white and in a 4:3 aspect ratio it still had some great performances and a great story (& that’s the important bit Hollywood!). There is much to admire here and I hope those that have seen it will give me some feedback on their experience of the film. I will give you my thoughts after this brief summary.

The Artist - 2 George Valentin is a very successful silent film star; adored by his fans, he makes epic adventures with his ever-faithful dog by his side. After the premiere of his latest film in 1927 he literally bumps into a young actress called Peppy Miller. George’s boss, Al Zimmer, is less than pleased when it is her picture on the front of all the papers the following day. Peppy gets a job as an extra at George’s studio and he ends up giving her her first big break. They go their separate ways and she goes from strength to strength. Meanwhile, Al Zimmer wants to embrace the new technology; talking pictures. George does not think it will catch on and is against it. But eventually the studio puts all its efforts into the ‘talkies’ and George is left out in the cold. What follows is his sad decline, but more than one person is looking out for him. I will leave it there or the Spoiler Police (Silent Division) will sneak up and arrest me without making a sound.

The Artist - 5 Very well made with a beautiful musical score by Ludovic Bource, it really set the tone and held the film together brilliantly. The performances were all excellent, I guess acting in silent films is not an art that’s practiced a lot these days, but everyone did a great job! In particular the leading characters; Jean Dujardin as George Valentin and Bérénice Bejo as Peppy Miller. Also worthy of note were; John Goodman as Al Zimmer, James Cromwell as Clifton, Penelope Ann Miller as Doris and there’s a brief appearance from Malcolm McDowell as The Butler. Oh, and I mustn’t forget Georges faithful canine Uggie as The Dog.

The Artist - 4 I found this film a breath of fresh air; it took me back to Saturday morning TV when they used to show the odd silent movie. A simple love story with some great acting and a brilliant musical score really hit the mark. I did find, though, that George’s decline went on a little too long, just when you thought he’d hit bottom there was a little further to go. But that’s the only criticism I have, it’s beautifully made in the style of the time and, although it may not be for everyone. A marginally lower score this time around; I guess it didn’t quite have the same impact it did on the big screen… Still well worth a look though!

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 8.4/10.

IMDb Score: 8.1/10 (based on 108,152 votes when this review was written).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1655442/

MetaScore: 89/100: (Based on 41 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 98/100 (based on 218 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 88/100 (based on 48,167 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_artist/

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

The Artist - 6 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Al Zimmer: Perfect!

George Valentin: With pleasure.

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

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

The Artist - 3 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheArtist.TWC
Official Site: http://weinsteinco.com/sites/the-artist/
Trailer:

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Film Review: SOURCE CODE (2011) – Re-Visited

Source Code - poster Director: Duncan Jones
Writer: Ben Ripley
Running Time: 93 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12A

Genre: Sci-Fi/Thriller/Drama
UK Release Date: 1st April 2011

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 16th February 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

Having watched, and loved, the first film directed by Duncan Jones, Moon (2009) - twice, I was very interested to see this, his second feature (for the second time also). A TV showing the other week afforded me the opportunity to record it but other commitments have kept me from viewing it until now. I had almost forgotten just how good it is; maybe a little rushed here and there, but still a very good film. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

Source Code - 6 Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a helicopter pilot in Afghanistan who wakes up on a train sitting across from a beautiful woman, Christina Warren (Michelle Monaghan). He is confused and disorientated at first, but after a while he begins to calm down. Just as he thinks everything is going to be alright, BOOM… the train blows up and he finds himself back in some kind of capsule. The face of Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) appears on a monitor and asks him if he has found the bomber. Even more confusion sweeps over Stevens as he tries to figure out just what has happened to him. Goodwin calms him down and sends him back in, explaining that it is very important that he finds the bomb and the bomber. She also explains that he will only have eight minutes each time. Going back, he realises that the woman across from him is a friend of the person he is inhabiting. He goes back quite a few times, each time to the same point in time and each time he discovers more about Christina and each time he gets closer to finding the bomber although he is distracted by what he finds out about himself whilst there. He eventually becomes obsessed with saving Christina and the other passengers, and to this end he takes a massive risk. I’ll leave it there.

Source Code - 3 This is a very well made film with lots of attention to detail, everything fits and everything works pretty well. There are overtones of Groundhog Day (1993), in that a time period is repeated, but I found this one very different. Although not as good as ‘Moon’, IMO, I really liked this film and I’m glad I gave it a second look. It’s nicely paced, there’s a pretty good soundtrack, although it’s quite subdued and at ninety three minutes, it’s not too long. Over all, it’s a well written, nicely paced piece of science fiction with quite a nice twist at the end. Comparisons have been made with ‘Inception’ but I’m not even going to go there, they are totally different. I didn’t score it quite as highly as first time around because I felt it didn’t have quite the impact it did on the big screen. Still a very enjoyable watch though.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 8.2/10.

IMDb Score: 7.5/10 (based on 202,852 votes when this review was written).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0945513/

MetaScore: 74/100: (Based on 41 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Source Code - 8 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 91/100 (based on 234 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 81/100 (based on 97,010 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/source_code/

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

Source Code - 4 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
[first lines]
Christina Warren: I took your advice. It was good advice, thank you.

Colleen Goodwin: [about the Source Code program] The program wasn't designed to alter the past. It was designed to affect the future.

Dr. Rutledge: Source Code is not time travel. Rather, Source Code is time re-assignment. It gives us access to a parallel reality.

Source Code - 5 Colter Stevens: Tell me everything gonna be okay.
Christina Warren: Everything's gonna be okay.
[train explodes]

Colter Stevens: Christina, what would you do if you knew you had less than one minute to live?
Christina Warren: I'd make those seconds count.
Colter Stevens: I'd kiss you again.
Christina Warren: Again?
[he kisses her]

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

Film Review: ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA (2011)

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia - poster [Original Title: Bir zamanlar Anadolu’da]

Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Writers: Ebru Ceylan, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Ercan Kesal
Running time: 150 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Crime/Drama
USA Release date: 16th March 2012

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 16th February 2013.

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

A film much loved by the critics; picking up nominations and awards at film festivals all over the world; I thought it worthy of a look. Not least because one Mark Kermode, a critic whose opinion I respect and who listen to via podcast on a weekly basis, recommended it as his TV movie of the week. For those that fear the subtitle; I know there are still a few of you out there; I should warn you that the film is in Turkish and yes, there are subtitles. Also, it’s a very long film; at two and a half hours it’s quite a time commitment; but worth it IMO. So for those I haven’t put off by now, here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia - 1 The film plots the investigation of a murder and we follow a group of officials as they try to locate the body of the deceased. They have brought along two suspects; principal of which is Kenan (Firat Tanis); who is having trouble remembering exactly where the body was left, claiming he had been drinking at the time. The Police Commissar, Naci (Yilmaz Erdogan), gives him a hard time about this to the extent that Prosecutor Nusret (Taner Birsel) has to step in at one point to calm him down. Also along is the Doctor Cemal (Muhammet Uzuner); who is present to determine the cause of death; if possible. The search begins at night and after trying a few locations the party decides to take a rest at a local village. It’s a very bleak landscape and they find their task quite tiring and so a break is very welcome. The next day brings the final discovery of the body and whatever consequences that might carry.

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia - 5 I first have to say that the film is beautifully shot with some really great imagery showing the bleakness of the landscape and allusions to many of the characters. Even the scenes at night had such great atmosphere; something that doesn’t always come across in film. The only downside was that I had to keep switching to the bottom of the screen to read the subtitles! I found the plot quite unconventional; rather than featuring the procedural investigation; the focus is on the doctor and the prosecutor who stand aside and talk as the search proceeds. This ends up giving an unexpected insight into these two men (I don’t want to say any more – spoilers). Even though I found it very long, I also found it quite engrossing and I’m sure if I watched it again at some point I’d find even more to like about it. It does have an extremely slow pace about it, but that’s one of the things I liked; it gives the audience more time to absorb the story and decide for themselves just what it’s about. I enjoyed it very much.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 8.0/10.

IMDb Score: 7.7/10 (based on 14,460 votes when this review was written).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1827487/

MetaScore: 82/100: (Based on 21 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia - 7 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 94/100 (based on 68 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 73/100 (based on 4,702 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/once_upon_a_time_in_anatolia/

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

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia - 6 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
None available.

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia - 4 LINKS:
(NOTE: All links were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.nbcfilm.com/anatolia/anatolia.php?mid=1
Trailer:

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Film Review: PSYCHO (1960)

Psycho - poster Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Writers: Joseph Stefano (screenplay), Robert Bloch (novel)
Running time: 109 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): X

Genre: Horror/Mystery/Thriller
USA Release date: 8th September 1960

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 10th February 2013.

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

This is a film I’ve seen a few times before but this is the first time I’ve put down my thoughts on it. With the recent release ‘Hitchcock’ hitting the screens here in the UK I thought it a good time to take a look at the film that one uses as its backdrop. I must say it’s quite a masterful piece of filmmaking, quite daring for its day and widely imitated since. But I digress, here’s a very brief summary (there must be someone out there who hasn’t seen it yet) and then I’ll give you my thoughts.

Psycho - 4 Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) steals a large sum of money from her boss and heads off to be with her boyfriend, Sam Loomis (John Gavin), in a small town some way from Phoenix where she lives. Getting lost on the way she stops at a remote motel run by one Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins). At this point I’ll not describe the events at the Bates Motel (spoilers), but let’s just say Marion disappears. Worried for her sister, Lila Crane (Vera Miles) hires a private detective, Milton Arbogast (Martin Balsam) to try and find Marion and retrieve the missing money. The spotlight soon falls on the Bates Motel and Norman has much to hide.

Psycho - 3 A truly excellent piece of filmmaking; yes, it’s a bit ‘wordy’ in places, but that was the style back then. There are equally many scenes in which there is no dialogue at all and these are even better in my book. Hitchcock knew just how much to show the audience to intrigue them and I so wish there were more filmmakers around today who were as adept as he was. The performances were all excellent; particularly Janet Leigh as the conflicted felon and Anthony Perkins as the mentally tortured motel owner. The only thing I felt let it down was the very long explanation towards the end; where every nuance of the condition afflicting Bates is exposed. I didn’t feel that much detail was needed; but I could be nit-picking a bit here. It’s a great piece of filmmaking and one every fan of the movies should see at least once.

SteelMonster’s verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

My score: 9.4/10.

IMDb Score: 8.6/10 (based on 232,615 votes when this review was written).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0054215/?ref_=sr_3

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

Psycho - 6 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 97/100 (based on 78 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 90/100 (based on 200,428 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/psycho/

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

FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Marion Crane: Do you have any vacancies?
Norman Bates: Oh, we have 12 vacancies. 12 cabins, 12 vacancies.

Norma Bates: [voice-over] No! I tell you no! I won't have you bringing some young girl in for supper! By candlelight, I suppose, in the cheap, erotic fashion of young men with cheap, erotic minds!
Norman Bates: [voice-over] Mother, please...!
Norma Bates: [voice-over] And then what? After supper? Music? Whispers?
Norman Bates: [voice-over] Mother, she's just a stranger. She's hungry, and it's raining out!
Norma Bates: [voice-over] "Mother, she's just a stranger"! As if men don't desire strangers! As if... ohh, I refuse to speak of disgusting things, because they disgust me! You understand, boy? Go on; go tell her she'll not be appeasing her ugly appetite with MY food... or my son! Or do I have to tell her because you don't have the guts! Huh, boy? You have the guts, boy?
Norman Bates: [voice-over] Shut up! Shut up!

Psycho - 1 Lila Crane: Look, that old woman, whoever she is, she told Arbogast something. I want her to tell us the same thing.
Sam Loomis: Hold it, you can't go up there.
Lila Crane: Why not?
Sam Loomis: Bates.
Lila Crane: Then, let's find him. One of us can keep him occupied while the other gets to the old woman.
Sam Loomis: You'll never be able to hold him still even if he doesn't want to be held. And, I don't like you going into that house alone.
Lila Crane: I can handle a sick old woman!

Psycho - 2 LINKS:
(NOTE: All links were working at the time of going to press)
Trailer:

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Film Review: MR. NICE (2010)

Mr Nice - poster Director: Bernard Rose
Writers: Howard Marks (book), Bernard Rose (screenplay)
Running time: 121 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Biography/Comedy/Drama
UK Release date: 8th October 2010

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 9th February 2013.

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

I can’t claim to have known too much about this one before giving it a look; I have seen/heard Rhys Ifans interviewed quite a few times and this is one of his films that gets a lot of mentions. On the strength of this I decided to give it the once over. Not the best production ever, but quite a compelling (true) story nonetheless. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

Mr Nice - 2 Based on his book, we are told the story of Mr. Nice; a.k.a. Howard Marks (Rhys Ifans). From his humble beginnings in a small town in Wales, on to Oxford University and then into the world of international drug smuggling. On the way he meets his wife, Judy (Chloë Sevigny) and is involved with an IRA arms dealer, Jim McCann (David Thewlis). He is recruited by MI6, lies in court but is eventually brought to justice. It’s quite an enthralling tale but one I ultimately found was very unbalanced (more on that later).

Mr Nice - 3 I don’t know whether it was deliberate or not, but I found the picture quality very poor. It may have been to make it look more like a period piece, but more likely it was the best the budget would allow. I thought Rhys Ifans did an excellent job, although he never seems to age all through the film! I loved the small part David Thewlis played; the mad-cap Irishman was just brilliant. As to the plot; well I found it far too sympathetic to Marks; not surprising since it was based on his book I hear you say. But I would have thought the filmmakers would have put a little balance in there; what effect did all the drugs he sold all over the world have? How many innocent lives were affected? All this seemed inconsequential and probably explains why, despite some excellent performances, the film didn’t perform very well both at the box office and also critically. For me, whilst I enjoyed the performances, I found it a little too self-indulgent.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED (…Just)

My score: 5.8/10.

IMDb Score: 6.3/10 (based on 3,571 votes when this review was written).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1183911/?ref_=sr_1

MetaScore: 60/100: (Based on 14 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Mr Nice - 5 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 55/100 (based on 44 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 43/100 (based on 3,776 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/mr_nice/

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Mr Nice - 1 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Howard Marks: A dealer is really just someone who buys more dope than he can smoke. And I have to say, I'm ashamed, I tried to smoke it all. There was just too fuckin' much of it.

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