Sunday, 28 July 2013

Film Review: DREDD (2012)

Dredd - poster Director: Pete Travis
Writers: John Wagner (characters), Carlos Ezquerra (characters), Alex Garland (screenplay)
Running time: 92 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Action/Sci-Fi
UK Release date: 7th September 2012

Watched on DVD Sunday 28th July 2013.

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

As a bit of a sci-fi fan I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting films that don’t fall into predictable Hollywood cliché. I remember this one coming out to a somewhat luke-warm reception from the critics; even so, I added it to ‘The List’. Having tracked down the DVD at a very reasonable price, it sat on the shelf for a while before I got around to giving it a look. It was worth the wait; it doesn’t fall into the trap of the 1995 Stallone effort and become a pale impression of the original comic books. This is much edgier and I have to say I enjoyed it. Here’s a very brief summary before I tell you why.

Dredd - 4 In a future where much of the world has bee destroyed in a nuclear war the majority of the population live in Megacities. It is in Megacity One, the former eastern states of America, where the action takes place. With the breakdown of society it has become necessary to give the police powers to arrest, sentence and if necessary execute wrong-doers on the spot. To this end they are now called Judges. When Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) is given a rookie, Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), to evaluate, he allows her to choose their assignment. She opts for a triple murder at an apartment block called Peach Trees. The murders are drug-related; the drug in question being a mind-altering substance called SLO-MO. They find the nearest distribution point and shut it down. Anderson suspects one of the dealers, Kay (Wood Harris) of being involved in the murders and so they decide to take him in for questioning. It seems he works for a nasty piece of work known as Ma-Ma (Lena Headey). Afraid Kay might give over too much information under questioning, she orders the building shut-down and her men to find and kill the judges. It’s now a game of cat and mouse, but who will come out on top?

DREDD (2012) Very well made with some excellent cinematography; particularly the depiction of the effects of the SLO-MO drug; I found this very effective (even in 2D). I liked that this film was much edgier with a much tougher, uncompromising Dredd. Great performances all round with Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby and Lena Headey standing out. Dredd never takes his helmet off and this is much truer to the original comic books, another thing I liked about this one. The music was good without being outstanding; it complemented the picture pretty well with some nice themes here and there. On the down side, I guess the script could have done with a little more work and they never get the Judges bikes right. They still look like a standard bike with a big faring tacked on; I maybe expected better this time. Loved all the various weapons and tech though! Over all, I enjoyed this one; it didn’t fall into cliché too much and had a nice gritty edge to it. I doubt they’ll make a sequel, but if they do, I will be in line for a ticket.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.9/10.

IMDb Score: 7.0/10 (based on 110,028 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1343727/

MetaScore: 59/100: (Based on 29 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

DREDD (2012) Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 78/100 (based on 147 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 73/100 (based on 141,152 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/dredd/

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Dredd - 6 LINKS:
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Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dreddthemovie
Official Site: http://www.dreddthemovie.com/index.html
Trailer:

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Film Review: THE RAID (2011)

The Raid - poster [A.K.A. THE RAID: REDEMPTION]
[Original Title: SERBUAN MAUT]

Writer/Director: Gareth Evans
Running time: 97 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Action/Crime/Thriller
UK Release date: 18th May 2012

Watched on DVD Saturday 27th July 2013.

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

Who would have though that an obscure Indonesian film with a Welsh director would cause such a stir? I remember when this came put it attracted lots of attention from the critics and I have to say that the vast majority of it was very positive. On the strength of this, plus being a bit of a martial arts movie fan on the quiet, this one was added to the list. Imagine my surprise when I found the DVD in a supermarket about 6 months after release for just £5! That’s cheaper than seeing it at the cinema! Not that my local has ever shown it. But I digress, here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

The Raid - 8 A squad of police are about to enter a tower block where a drug lord has his headquarters. One of the cops is a rookie, Rama (Iko Uwais) and he is about to embark on one of the most dangerous missions of his life. The plan is to go floor by floor; securing each one until they can locate the drug lord, Tama (Ray Sahetapy) and arrest him. The man behind the raid is Lieutenant Wahyu (Pierre Gruno), who has his own agenda. At first things go well and they are making easy progress; but then one of the lookouts sounds the alarm and everything changes. A huge gun battle eschews and many of the cops are killed or injured. Tama calls on the buildings’ residents to take care of them, promising those that helped free accommodation for life. This makes it even harder for the cops and Rama finds himself separated from his sergeant, Jaka (Joe Taslim), and trying to find a safe place to hide his injured colleague, Bowo (Tegar Satrya). Having safely hidden Bowo, it transpires that there are only three cops left in fighting order and they decide to take the offensive and finish the job they came there to do. But Tama has sent his two best fighters after them; Andi (Donny Alamsyah) and Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian).

The Raid - 4 Brilliantly choreographed with some truly stunning fight scenes, both hand to hand martial arts and with the use of weapons. It is very brutal and there is plenty of gore so it’s definitely not one for the squeamish. All the performances were excellent, I watched it in its native Indonesian with subtitles so I could better judge and I felt nobody missed a beat. I loved the music, it kept the pace of the film very well and added to the excitement of the fight scenes where needed. The time really flew (which is always a good sign) and, although there were a couple of quiet moments, it’s pretty much full on all the way! I did like the plot as well; there were references to police corruption and also a nice little twist with one of the drug lord’s men. Over all, it’s one of the best martial arts films I’ve seen for quite a while! A definite ‘must see’ for any fan of the genre.

SteelMonster’s verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

My score: 9.4/10.

IMDb Score: 7.6/10 (based on 72,581 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1899353/

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

The Raid - 6 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 84/100 (based on 141 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 86/100 (based on 44,515 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_raid_redemption/

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The Raid - 7 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Blog: http://theraid-movie.blogspot.co.uk/
Official Facebook (UK): https://www.facebook.com/TheRaidUK
Official Facebook (US): https://www.facebook.com/TheRaidUS
Official Site: http://merantaufilms.com/the-raid/
Official Site (US): http://www.sonyclassics.com/theraid/
Trailer:

Friday, 26 July 2013

Film Review: KISS KISS BANG BANG (2005)

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - poster Director: Shane Black
Writers: Brett Halliday (novel “Bodies Are Where You Find Them”) (in part), Shane Black (Screenplay/Screen Story)
Running time: 103 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Action/Comedy/Crime/Mystery
UK Release date: 11th November 2005

Watched on Terrestrial PVR Friday 26th July 2013.

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

This is one of those films that somehow slipped through the net; I have been meaning to see it for years, but it kept falling by the wayside. Fortunately one of the TV channels over here finally aired it and I was able to finally see it. I have to admit it wasn’t quite what I was expecting but it was still a good watch. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - 3 Small-time thief Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey Jr.) stumbles into an audition in New York whilst evading the cops. The next thing he knows, he’s at a party in LA mixing with the great and the good. Here he sees a girl he somehow recognises, Harmony Faith Lane (Michelle Monaghan), who turns out to be from his home town and a girl he was sweet on in school. He is to play a detective and so has to go training with a real Private Detective, Gay Perry (Val Kilmer). Whilst out on their first night they witness a murder that will take them on a wild ride. A case that involves Harmony, her sister and even the host of the party at the beginning, Harlan Dexter (Corbin Bernsen)!

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - 5 Lots of profanity, lots of deaths and some great comic one-liners; I have to admit I liked this one to a large extent. It’s well shot and very slick, keeping a decent pace although it does drop here and there. All the performances were very good; Downey Jr, Kilmer and Monaghan all did a great job. I did find, however, that Downey Jr’s character, Lockhart, did begin to get a tad annoying towards the end. Over all though a pretty enjoyable watch; quite original in its makeup and well worth a look.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.2/10.

IMDb Score: 7.7/10 (based on 126,456 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0373469/

MetaScore: 72/100: (Based on 37 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - 4 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 83/100 (based on 151 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 83/100 (based on 198,978 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/kiss_kiss_bang_bang/

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Official Site (UK): http://wwws.warnerbros.co.uk/kisskissbangbang/?frompromo=movies_maintouts_kisskiss_bangbang
Trailer:

Film Review: SHINJUKU INCIDENT (2009)

Shinjuku Incident - poster [Original Title: SAN SUK SI GIN]

Director: Tung-Shing Yee
Writers: Tung-Shing Yee, Tin Nam Chun
Running time: 119 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Crime/Drama/Thriller
Hong Kong Release date: 2nd April 2009

Watched on Terrestrial PVR Friday 26th July 2013.

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

I admit to being partial to the odd gangster movie here and there and I also like films from other parts of the world. So a film that combines the two was bound to attract my attention. Add to that the fact that Jackie Chan is in it and I’m hooked! I enjoyed this one with a few reservations, oh, and I should warn those that fear the subtitle that yes, they appear on this one too. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

Shinjuku Incident - 3 When Steelhand (Jackie Chan) leaves China to find his girlfriend in Japan, he enters the country illegally. He manages to evade the police and eventually meets up with some friends, other Chinese who were illegal’s. Having worked at several less than exotic locations around the place he decides there must be a better way of making money. The only way, it seems, for people in his position, is illegal. But before he can do this he saves the life of a cop, Inspector Kitano (Naoto Takenaka), who is indebted to him. And so he begins his criminal empire. This soon comes to the notice of the Yakuza and in particular, one of their leaders, Toshinari Eguchi (Masaya Katô), who just happens to be married to Steelhand’s girlfriend, Xiu Xiu, now Yuko Eguchi (Jinglei Xu). Having saved Eguchi’s life, Steelhand now has what he needs to get on the next rung of the ladder. He is employed to kill a couple of other Yakuza bosses and as a reward is given the Shinjuku district. But will it be as he planned or will there be a twist in the tale and will he have to call in his debt with Inspector Kitano?

Shinjuku Incident - 2 Very well made with the emphasis on the drama rather than the martial arts. Yes, there is some, but very little, I guess Jackie Chan is concentrating more on his acting these days. All the performances were very good with Jackie Chan, Naoto Takenaka and Daniel Wu (as Jie) standing out for me. It did put me in mind of films like ‘Goodfells’ and ‘Once Upon a Time in America’, maybe without the epic scope of those movies, but certainly the look and feel of them. I did find it was beginning to drag a little towards the end and I did find some of the plot lines a little predictable. Other than that, a decent watch.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.1/10.

IMDb Score: 7.0/10 (based on 6,676 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1075419/

MetaScore: 63/100: (Based on 4 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Shinjuku Incident - 5 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 60/100 (based on 5 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 27/100 ‘Want to See’ (based on 10,643 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/shinjuku_incident/

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Shinjuku Incident - 8 LINKS:
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Trailer:

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Film Review: MISSISSIPPI BURNING (1988)

Mississippi Burning - poster Director: Alan Parker
Writer: Chris Gerolmo
Running time: 120 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Drama/Mystery/Thriller
UK Release date: 5th May 1989

Watched on Terrestrial PVR Thursday 25th July 2013.

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

This is a film I have seen a couple of times before but this is the first time I’ve really sat down and watched it. I never realised before just how good it really is! I know it’s not a subject matter that some may feel is relevant today, but it’s still a very powerful piece of cinema and deserves recognition for that, if nothing else. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

MSDMIBU EC005 When three civil rights activists go missing in a small town in Mississippi in 1964, the FBI is called in to investigate. In charge is the younger Agent Alan Ward (Willem Dafoe) with the much older and wiser Agent Rupert Anderson (Gene Hackman) in tow. Having got short shrift from the local sheriff, Ray Stuckley (Gailard Sartain), Ward tries to speak to some of the black residents of the town, this does not go down well and results in those he had spoken to being beaten for their trouble. Eventually the car the missing men had been driving is found and Ward brings in more men, a lot of them. Suspicion falls on Deputy Clinton Pell (Brad Dourif), but he has the whole town covering for him, including his wife (Frances McDormand). Anderson befriends her but she will not budge on her story. It seems the whole town is scared of the KKK, but nobody wants to speak about it. Eventually though they get a break and Ward reluctantly agrees to use Anderson’s somewhat cavalier methods. Does it pay off? Well I guess that would be a spoiler now wouldn’t it.

Mississippi Burning - 4 Although based on real events, the filmmakers go to great lengths to make it clear that this is a work of fiction. As such it works very well; it is a very powerful drama that puts the fight for civil rights to the fore. I must say I found it quite thought provoking, very well made and really well shot. The performances were all excellent with (for me), Gene Hackman standing out; although I thought Willem Dafoe was very good and Brad Dourif was excellent as the loathsome Deputy Pell. I also have to mention a couple of small roles; it was nice to see both Stephen Tobolowsky as Clayton Townley and R. Lee Ermey as Mayor Tilman; I know they didn’t have an awful lot to do, but they were both quality. Over all, an interesting drama that kept me interested all the way through – a definite ‘must’ for any cinephile.

SteelMonster’s verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

My score: 8.7/10.

IMDb Score: 7.8/10 (based on 45,417 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095647/

MetaScore: 65/100: (Based on 11 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Mississippi Burning - 5 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 89/100 (based on 18 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 63/100 (based on 38,017 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/mississippi_burning/

Mississippi Burning - 3 If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
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Mississippi Burning - 7 LINKS:
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Trailer:

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Film Review: AS GOOD AS IT GETS (1997)

As Good as It Gets - poster Director: James L. Brooks
Writers: Mark Andrus (story/screenplay), James L. Brooks (screenplay)
Running time: 139 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Comedy/Drama/Romance
UK Release date: 13th March 1997

Watched on Terrestrial PVR Wednesday 24th July 2013.

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

Scooping Oscars for both leading roles, I guess this one was bound to end up on ‘The List’ despite being a Romantic Comedy; a genre not often visited by this amateur critic. I have to say though, I’m finding them not quite as bad as I had feared (there may be more in the future – be warned). I found this one witty, charming and over all a decent watch; although there was one minor niggles. More of that later, after this very brief summary.

As Good as It Gets - 4 Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson) is a writer of romantic fiction but knows very little about women. He’s very misanthropic, that is to say; antisocial, unfriendly, morose, surly (take your pick). On top of that he has OCD and finds it hard to function in the outside world; stepping on cracks in the pavement is a definite no-no. He likes routine and every day he goes to a certain diner where he likes to sit in a certain seat and have the same waitress, Carol Connelly (Helen Hunt), serve him. His world is turned upside down when his gay neighbour, Simon Bishop (Greg Kinnear) is beaten up and Melvin is forced to look after his dog by Simon’s friend, art dealer, Frank Sachs (Cuba Gooding Jr.). For some reason the dog brings out a softer side of Melvin and he begins doing things that are way out of character. He arranges a doctor for Carol’s sick son, Spencer (Jesse James) and even helps Simon out when he returns from hospital. But will a road trip with Carol and Simon bring Melvin and Carol closer together? Or will his straight-talking mess things up again?

As Good as It Gets - 2 Very well scripted with some really great one-liners; mostly delivered by Jack Nicholson; although there is one point where Greg Kinnear does a rather good impression. Both Jack and Helen Hunt put in great performances that were worthy of praise. My main niggle is that it is way too long; it could have easily been shortened by at least 20 minutes and that would have maybe given it a little more punch. Not that I was bored you understand, far from it, I just felt it would have benefited from being a little shorter. Enough of that; it’s a very well made film with some excellent performances and a touching, well written, script. Well worth a look.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.7/10.

IMDb Score: 7.7/10 (based on 165,708 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119822/

MetaScore: 67/100: (Based on 30 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

As Good as It Gets - 1 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 86/100 (based on 76 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 81/100 (based on 375,290 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/as_good_as_it_gets/

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MCDASGO EC005 LINKS:
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Trailer:

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Film Review: VINYAN (2008)

Vinyan - poster Director: Fabrice Du Welz
Writers: Fabrice Du Welz, David Greig (additional material), Oliver Blackburn (additional dialogue)
Running time: 96 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Drama/Horror/Thriller
UK Release date: 2nd October 2009

Watched on Terrestrial PVR Tuesday 23rd July 2013.

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

I have no idea how this one ended up on ‘The List’ but I have a vague recollection of an interview with Rufus Sewell where he waxed all lyrical about it. I guess that must be it – Note to self; don’t listen to actors talking about their films; they have been known to lie. It has gained the lowest score I’ve given in a long time and so I guess that tells you all you need to know about it. For those that are still with me, I will tell you just why I gave it such a low score after this extremely brief summary.

Director: Fabrice Du Welz 
Aid workers Jeanne (Emmanuelle Béart) and Paul Bellmer (Rufus Sewell) are working in Thailand having lost their son in a tsunami six months previously. By chance they see some footage of children in Burma (now called Myanmar), when Jeanne sees a boy who she thinks is their lost son, Joshua. Overcome with emotion she immediately sets off to find someone who will take her to Burma. Realising just how passionate she is, Paul eventually agrees to come along. The film plots their journey into the hostile jungles and what they find there.

Vinyan - 5 For this film to even have a chance of working, the audience has to have some kind of connection with our grieving couple. Unfortunately we are never allowed to really get to understand their plight as we are whisked off to the jungle very quickly. Yes, there is some flashback stuff, but by then I was just beyond caring. She was clearly nuts and he just wanted to go home. I can’t even say I liked the performances; I guess they were good, but because I really couldn’t engage with the characters, I found it all far too ‘arty’ for my taste. Definitely not one that will get any repeat viewings from me and sadly not one I can recommend.

SteelMonster’s verdict: NOT RECOMMENDED

My score: 3.2/10.

IMDb Score: 5.4/10 (based on 3,527 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1029241/

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

Vinyan - 6 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 56/100 (based on 18 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 31/100 (based on 1,724 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1208926-vinyan/

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Vinyan - 7 LINKS:
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Trailer:

Monday, 22 July 2013

Film Review: VOLVER (2006)

Volver - poster Writer/Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Running time: 121 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Comedy/Crime/Drama
UK Release date: 25th August 2006

Watched on Terrestrial PVR Monday 22nd July 2013.

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

I’m not quite sure just how this one ended up on ‘The List’, but on ‘The List’ it has been for some time now. Fortunately, one of our more enlightened film channels here in the UK does show a fair smattering of foreign films and this happened to be among a recent batch. So a word of warning for those that fear the subtitle; this one’s in Spanish with, yes, those troublesome words at the bottom of the screen. A film with hardly any male cast, it made for a very interesting watch. I’ll tell you more after this very brief summary.

Volver - 8 Raimunda (Penélope Cruz), and her sister, Sole (Lola Dueñas) are cleaning their parents’ grave in the village where they grew up. With them is Raimunda’s daughter, Paula (Yohana Cobo). Their parents had perished in a fire and Raimunda and Sole had been brought up by an aunt, also called Paula. One of the neighbours, Augustina (Blanca Portillo), looks out for the aunt, who is quite old and frail. Matters come to a head when the aunt dies and Raimunda has to deal with other problems as well; a body to move, etc. As is usual at this time, family skeletons are pushed out of the closet and much is revealed about the mother, Irene (Carmen Maura). All seems quite chaotic but you know it will work itself out in the end… Or will it?

Volver - 6 With a predominantly female cast, the story is unveiled in quite a refreshing and unusual way. I have to admit I did like the way everything was taken in a very practical way. No navel gazing going on here! All the performances were excellent with Penélope Cruz showing us just what a great actress she is, this time in her native tongue. Although I felt it was good, I didn’t feel it was great; maybe a second viewing at a later date might knock it over that level, but for now, it didn’t quite get over the line. Still, there is much to admire here and I’m glad I took the time to give it a look.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.4/10.

IMDb Score: 7.6/10 (based on 55,788 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0441909/

MetaScore: 84/100: (Based on 38 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Volver - 3 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 92/100 (based on 161 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 87/100 (based on 70,373 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/volver/

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Volver - 7 LINKS:
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Official Site: http://www.sonyclassics.com/volver/
Trailer:

Film Review: THE LIMEY (1999)

The Limey - poster Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writers: Lem Dobbs
Running time: 89 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Crime/Drama/Mystery
UK Release date: 10th December 1999

Watched on Terrestrial PVR Monday 22nd July 2013.

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

This is one of those films I’ve had in the back of my mind for a long time. I have a recollection that it caused a bit of a stir on release and so made a mental note to take a look sometime. A short fourteen years later and I finally got to see it after one of those nice film TV channels aired it. Worth the wait? Well, maybe not fourteen years, but still, a worthy watch. I’ll tell you more after this very brief summary.

The Limey - 2 Having recently been let out of prison, Wilson (Terence Stamp) is sent a newspaper clipping about the death of his daughter. He decides it merits further investigation and goes to LA. Here he meets the man who sent him the article, Eduardo Roel (Luis Guzmán). They soon link her death to the man she had been seeing, one Terry Valentine (Peter Fonda); a music producer. Wilson pays him a visit, having obtained his address from some of his associates. Valentine’s head of security, Jim Avery (Barry Newman), susses Wilson out and sends some hit men after him. Meanwhile, Valentine heads for his beach house up the coast. Wilson had befriended his daughters’ acting coach, Elaine (Lesley Ann Warren) and she also finds herself in danger. Can he neutralise the threat and find peace before it’s too late?

The Limey - 1 I wasn’t too sure about the way this one was cut together at first but the style soon began to settle down. It was almost like a scene was made up of several takes, all filmed on one camera and put together with nothing to break them up. In the end I came to quite like it; something different to the normal fayre. The performances were all excellent, particularly Terence Stamp; again a performance that grew on me. I also very much liked the performance of Luis Guzmán, I always feel I’m in safe hands when I see him in the cast. I guess this is one of those that grows on you the longer you watch; a revenge thriller with a bit of a difference, well worth a look.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.5/10.

IMDb Score: 7.0/10 (based on 19,457 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0165854/

MetaScore: 73/100: (Based on 32 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

The Limey - 5 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 93/100 (based on 80 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 75/100 (based on 10,755 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/limey/

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The Limey - 7 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Trailer:

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Film Review: UZAK [DISTANT] (2002)

Uzak - poster Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Writers: Nuri Bilge Ceylan (scenario), Cemil Kavukçu (additional writing)
Running time: 110 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Drama
UK Release date: 28th May 2004

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 21st July 2013.

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

A shorter review this time I’m afraid as time waits for no man (this one in particular it seems). An intriguing write-up led me to this one; I have found several gems this way, particularly foreign language films. For those that have fear of the subtitle, be warned, this one is in Turkish with those dreaded words at the bottom of the screen. Here’s one of the briefest summaries I’ve written, followed by my thoughts.

Uzak - 2 When Yusuf (Emin Toprak) goes to Istanbul, he visits with Mahmut (Muzaffer Özdemir) while he looks for work. The film follows both these men as they look for both meaning and direction in their lives.

I first have to say that it is beautifully shot with some truly excellent cinematography. The sound design is quite interesting too, with sounds that would normally be pushed right to the back taking centre stage as the visuals do their work. I thought the performances of the two main characters were excellent but I felt it lacked a bit of direction. The narrative tended to drift along without really finding anything of any substance to bring it to life. Still, I felt it was a worthy effort and worth a look.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 6.7/10.

IMDb Score: 7.4/10 (based on 8,462 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0346094/

MetaScore: 84/100: (Based on 18 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Uzak - 8 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 88/100 (based on 43 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 80/100 (based on 5,189 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/distant/

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http://facebook.com/andy.steel3

Uzak - 9 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.nbcfilm.com/uzak/news.php?mid=1
Trailer: