The KnightWatcher's Film Reviews 2013 by Bob Brown - HTML preview

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1996  19thC war drama. I can see it is a good film and Sean Bean is excellent but a lot of the acting is woody and the script awkward.  I just could not care enough about the characters so did not really get into it and enjoy it.  The angle with Sharpe's wife does not really happen or get going so although this ingredient is promised in the description it is grossly exaggerated so there is no real love interest.

5

Sheltering Sky (The)

1990 Debra Winger, John Malkovich.  Two American young men and one of their wives go travelling in north Africa.  They go deeper and deeper into the unfamiliar.  The husband gets sick and dies.  The wife goes native and goes off on safari in the desert with a tribe and spends a period as a willing captive locked up satisfying the local Arabs! Weird and bizarre.

5

Shine

1996 . Based on true life moving story of pianist genius dominated by authoritarian father.  Boring.  adequate at best.  A bit pretentious and lacklustre.

4

Shutter Island

2010.  I thought this film is overrated.  It starts well and promises a lot and for a while you think you might be watching something  very good but the plot and ultimate twist is just far too contrived .  It uses more and more gory flash backs and predictable horror film ploys to try to make is scary.  In the end disappointing especially after the buildup. 

5

Side Effects

2013 Thriller.  Drama about a young New Yorker wife who suffers from depression and out of desperation trials a new experimental drug.  A complicated plot unfolds,  of deception,  and subterfuge,  and all is far from what it seems.  A plot with many twists ,  that keeps you guessing but in the end is so elaborate that it lacks credibility.  It is a scam / big con story that has gone overboard in trying to be clever.  Has a great cast and in particular Jude Law is excellent,  but overall the plot is just too complicated and farfetched.

6

Siege (The)

1998.  Bruce Willis,  Anette Bening-somewhat visionary plot about Muslim terrorism in New York but improbable all the same.  Made pre twin towers 9-11.  Good in parts,  bit confusing and not credible.

5

Silent Light

2007 Another arty farty French film made for the Cannes film festival shot in Mexico.  Sub titles but I never worked out what the spoken language was! Father with 6 children is having affair with local woman.  The slowest pointlessly long (over 2 hours) film I have ever had the misfortune to watch.  There are numerous very long scenes in which there is no activity whatsoever.  Film start with   20 minute slow motion sun rise! Actually more boring than watching paint dry.  Lots of people on the internet love it! Rubbish!

1

Silkwood

1983.  Great film about leaks at nuclear facility,  Meryl Streep,  excellent cast,  script,  acting.  Bit like Erin Brokovitch.  One not to miss.

8

Silver Linings Playbook

2012 Romcom with some depth which deals with a relationship between two people (played by Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Tucker) struggling to recover from mental illness.  The story is based on the couple building an unlikely  relationship through working together to enter a dance competition.  An unusual film which is hard to get into,  but grows on you,  and gets better as it progresses.  In the end it is well acted,  and a very good moving film with depth. 

7

Singer (The)

2006.  French pretentious romance with sub-titles .  Ageing love story crooner falls for young beautiful single mother.  Slowly explores their relationship and what they share and give to  each other.  Typical slow moving French film that could be half the length. 

4

Single White Female

1992.  The ultimate thriller about deranged psychotic.  Sets the gold standard for the genre.  Stunning.  One not to miss.  Thrillers do not get any better than this.

9

Six Days,  7 Nights

1998.  Light entertaining very good Rom Com with Harrison Ford on desert island as a result of a plane crash.  Easy watch

7

Sixty Six

2006 film Based around a Jewish family and younger son plans his bar mitza on the same date as the world Cup Final .  England get through to the final and no one wants to come to his party,  Much footage from the tournament. Utterly ridiculous finale.  A poor man’s Fever Pitch.  Disappointing.  The 1966 world cup offers such great potential but this was a wasted opportunity

5

Skyfall

 

2012 James Bond Drama.  The 23rd Bond film and the third of the Daniel Craig era. Skyfall is nearly as good as Casino Royale but not quite.  Casino just set the bar so high.  Daniel Craig is outstanding as Bond and is without  question the best casting in this role.  The Adele theme tune is stunning and arguably the best ever for a Bond film in a hotly contested category.  In fact the Skyfall theme is actually better than the movie it promotes! So how good is Skyfall- it is still a great film with some amazing action scenes.  My problem with it is that the plot and the film generally goes downhill and loses its way.  It is clearly a classic moment when Bond gets the old Aston out of his lock up but after that the rest of the film gets a bit silly with Bond taking refuge against an army of villains in his remote Scottish  home.  Why did he not call in the SAS-that would have been so much more realistic.  But the main characters are much more real in these latest Bonds and Skyfall is still a great film and a must see for all Bond fans.

8

Sleeping Beauty

2011 Drama. A strange and bizarre mildly erotic story about a young impoverished student (Emily Browning) who makes an income from sleeping with sad old men.  However it is different from the run of the mill soft porn in that she is always drugged and comatosed at the time and no actual sex is permitted or desired by the clients! Most watchers do not like this film as you can see from the other reviews but I actually liked it more than most.  It is a bit different from the usual soft porn predictable fare and Emily Browning is excellent and makes the film.  Also for you buffs it is much better than the similarly themed Japanese film-The Bedroom.  The ending though is weak and disappointing.

6

Sleeping Dictionary (The)

2003.  Love story about English Colonial governor who falls in love with Malayan girl who was teaching him the language.  I really enjoyed it.  Nice pace to it with some twists and turns.   Very Good.

7

Sliver

1993 Erotic thriller ,  Typical Sharon Stone fare.   Pervy voyeur in block of flats murdering the owners! Great soundtrack.  Plenty of nudity and sex as you would expect.

5

Slumdog Millionaire

2009.  Simply a great film.  A lot of originality,  great yarn,  captures India mayhem,  something for everybody and a lot of fun with a hard edge.

8

Social Network (The)

2010.  Overrated.  Could have been better.  Good story theme about the invention of Facebook social networking ,  and the geek / nerd inventor is convincing but generally the film does not really develop characters and is boring in parts.  It is a good film but does not achieve its potential from the fascinating theme.

6

Solas

1999.  Spanish film with sub titles.  Poignant and sad story about an abusive father ,  and the lives of a mother and her alcoholic daughter who both lead down trodden hard lives in poverty.  A study of how in the suffering there can be optimism and how modest aspiration can give disproportionate pleasure.

7

Somethings Gotta Give

2003. Superb cast,  excellent script,  very enjoyable,  and amusing,  and pleasant love story.  Jack Nicholson as loveable womanizer.  Simply a great RomCom film.

8

Sons & Lovers

2003 period drama.  DH Lawrence. Have finally finished the whole loooong 191 minutes.  I would have preferred it if it had been half the length.  The sets,  costumes,  scenery and photography are a good representation of the period but the story is dour and grim and just not enjoyable to watch.  I found the acting stilted and wooden and find it hard to believe that any man could be quite as unfeeling, hard and insensitive with his women.  Hard going and tragic throughout and I deserve congratulations for actually getting through it.

5

Sophie Scholl-The Final Days

2005 WWII war drama. A very good film that is shocking,  haunting and unsettling as well as extremely moving and sad.  Has there ever been a film that so effectively brought home the message of the importance of freedom and free speech? And this film portrays how in a totalitarian regime like Nazi Germany most ordinary people understandably conform,  comply,  and keep their heads down while doing the dirty work of the regime.  This is a heavy film with a profound message well acted and produced.  It's never going to suit for a fun night in with your partner-best watched on your own I think

8

Sophie’s Choice

1982 WWII drama.  Unforgettable haunting classic,  in one film embodies the blind hope and optimism of youth with the total insanity ,  and evil of the Nazis.  I first watched this film over 25 years ago and it is one that never leaves you.  An absolutely stunning performance by Meryl Streep.  If you have never seen this film then you must but make sure you are in the mood for something very heavy,  upsetting and shocking.

10

Spread

2009 Romantic drama.  This film is better than many of the reviews suggest.  It is unusual in that it actually gets better as it progresses.  A vacuous womanising waster whose only merit is his cute looks but that is enough to enable him to drift from one wealthy woman to another as a gigolo. A depressing portrayal of a LA society that is totally decadent and hedonistic without any love or morality.  Ashton Kutcher is totally credible but I never knew whether he was just playing himself.  The ending is a surprise but ironically on reflection also probably the most credible ending.  This film has more depth and the acting is better than many in this genre and is watchable

6

Spy Who Loved Me (The)

1977 James Bond drama.  The 10th Bond film and the third of the Roger Moore series.  I have never been a fan of the Bond films where Bond is played by Roger Moore.  I could never take him seriously as a hard ,  cruel and dangerous agent.  This is however the best of the Roger Moore bunch .  In fact some say this is the best Bond film of all but I do not agree with that at all.   This story is mainly a thriller but all the action is highly sanitized and suitable for a young child.  This Bond film  has the Jaws character over and over again and this character rather than being funny has always made me cringe.  During this period they could not decide if they were making a thriller or a comedy.

This film does however have two big sets; the megalomaniac’s floating / under water home and the oil tanker that eats nuclear submarines.  In fact the plot of this one is very strong and could have delivered a much stronger movie.

This film is memorable for its stunning beginning with Bond skiing off a mountain edge and into free fall and then his parachute opens up with a union jack on it.  It is also memorable for the Lotus car that goes under water. Bond falls in love with another agent called XXX but unfortunately she is not credible and looks more like a primary school teacher. 

6

Stand By Me

1986  Drama.  A coming of age film.   Four twelve year old boys go on a long hiking journey together in the 1950s and grow up through their experiences and discover themselves as well as laying down lifelong bonds.  It is a good film but not a great film.  It seems quite tedious at first but does improve but takes a lot of getting into.  The film is spiced up by a continual stream of 50s hits.

6

Starsky & Hutch

2004 Action comedy spoof based on the original series.  Great cast with Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller who are both superb.  Very funny.  A great satire on the 1970s.  The Gran Turismo is awesome.

8

State Of Play

2009.  A very good political thriller about senator who’s mistress is murdered.  Keeps you guessing.  Plot is credible and relevant  to modern age.

7

Stealing Beauty

1995 mildly erotic romantic drama.   Based around an open house in Tuscany where a huge extended family seem to hang around doing very little for an entire summer.  Ponderous,  arty farty,  pretentious and slow.  The film seems to go on forever.  Only redeeming features are the beautiful Tuscany scenery and excellent photography and a stunning early performance by Liv Tyler.  I wouldn't bother with this unless you are an avid Rachel Weisz or Liv Tyler fan.  It is just toooooooo slow

5

Step Brothers

2008 Comedy.  Typical Will Ferrell but an original plot with two waster near 40 year old step bothers dueling with each other and eventually forming an alliance.  I found it very funny for most of the film.  Towards the end it lost its way a little and they did not seem to know how to end it but do not let that put you off.  It is not supposed to be deep-just  light hearted silly fun and it does achieve that.  It is absolutely a very good watchable comedy.

7

Stepford Wives (The) 1975

1975. Still a classic thriller ,  well cast,  and hugely superior to the remake.  Still very watchable and not dated.  I so remember the first time I saw this back in the 1970s and what a shock it was when the plot was revealed.  Better than the remake.  A serious thriller rather than a comedy

7

Stepford Wives (The) 2004

2004 Comedy.  A remake of the 1974 original based on the same book.  This version attempts to turn the original suspense thriller into a comedy.  The classic plot is dumbed down and jazzed up,  and uses slapstick humour to try to make the film popular and light hearted for a modern audience.  There are some amusing moments,  but the major plot change from the book is hard to tolerate.  This being that instead of the wives actually being eliminated and replaced by robots,  they are merely adapted and controlled; a process that is apparently reversible at the flick of a switch.  Much inferior to the unforgettable original.

5

Story Of Us (The)

1999 Michelle Pfeiffer,  Bruce Willis,  Excellent romantic drama about the stresses of a mature marriage,  in difficulties,  a trial separation,  and the dialogue of husband and wife who want to make it work but fear that cannot and that it is over.  This is a highly underrated film.

8

Stranger Than Fiction

(2006)

2006 Fantastic cast (Thomson,  Hoffman) but ridiculous plot of person who’s life is being controlled by author writing a novel.  He realizes he is the hero of the novel and there is no escape from a tragic ending.   Tries to be deep and meaningful at the end.

3

Straw Dogs

 1971 Dustin Hoffman . Saw this at the time and thought it was an amazing film that broke new ground.  I think I was probably dazzled by a young sexy Susan George as we are the same age.  So I was disappointed when I watched it today 41 years later to find it has not stood the test of time.  It is very slow but I can forgive that because it was attempting to build tension towards the violent climax.  However the acting seemed poor and the plot lacks credibility.  The village idiot is a parody and all the workmen are playing country yokel stereotypes.   Even the infamous rape scene now looks poorly acted and unbelievably she appears towards the end to be enjoying it.  How did they get that past the censor? Dustin Hoffman is still playing Ben from The Graduate.  Sadly now very dated.

5

Strayed

 

 

 

 

2003 French film with sub-titles.  France 1940.  Following the German assault on Paris a beautiful widow and her 2 children try to escape in a convoy of refugees which is later attacked by a German plane.  They survive but many in the convoy do not and their car is destroyed and they flee to take shelter in a remote country house having been joined by a mysterious resourceful 17 year old boy.  The three of them all form different relationships with the 17 year old culminating in  some desperate physical comfort between the widow and the boy against the backdrop of the unfolding horror.  Sad and poignant.

7

Stuck

2009 Low budget Canadian gruesome thriller.  Quite shocking and actually quite good-if you can get through it without hiding behind the sofa.

7

Super 8

2011 Disaster action drama.  Sorry to all you Spielberg fans but this is a formulaic Spielberg fare.  It is Alien meets Close Encounters but it has all been done before.  The usual excellent special effects involving lots of light but underneath it's a family / kids disaster movie with alien monsters.  I found it boring and predictable.  Where was the family puppy? It starts well and you think it is going to be good but it degenerates.

5

Suspect

1987 Political thriller starring a competent Cher as a defence lawyer.  Also features  a very young Liam Neeson as the suspect murderer.  The film improves as it progresses,  and packs a few surprises and ends with an unexpected twist.  Credibility is stretched but the end result is a reasonably good watchable thriller typical of the 1980s.

6

Swimming Pool

2003 Drama about a single mature female author who goes to stay in a remote house in France in order to find a favorable environment to write her next novel.  Things take an unpredictable turn when the owner's free spirited and promiscuous daughter suddenly arrives to also share the house.  An underrated  film that is well acted and quite good.  French with sub titles in parts.  Charlotte Rampling stars.

6

Taken

2008 A great fast moving action thriller.  Typical Liam Neeson. He rescues his kidnapped estranged daughter from the sex trade. A must see movie

8

Taking Lives

2004 Drama,  thriller.  Angelina Jolie is an FBI special agent investigating a serial killer.  Film drifts in and out of attempting to be a psychological thriller.  The plot has the Jolie character forming a romantic attachment with a witness of one of the murders.  The film contains a number of twists,  most of which are predictable,  and is fairly gory.  I am never going to be a great Jolie fan as I do not believe that she can act but in this one she is tolerable.  As usual she does more pouting than anything else.  The film is watchable,  and quite good,  but the plot is fairly implausible so do not expect a great movie. 

6

 Taking Of Pelham 123 (The)

2009 Remake of the 1974 classic ,  with lots of internet technology.  John Travolta playing John Travolta.  Watchable but not as good as the original.

4

Tall Guy (The)

1988 RomCom . Reading the other reviews tells me just how different we are when it comes to taste in films.  I absolutely hated this film and could only get half way through it.  I cannot believe that Richard Curtis wrote it,  or that Emma Thomson got involved.  Jeff Goldblum was as useless as ever; cannot think of anything he has been in that I have liked.  It is inane mind numbing slapstick rubbish.  OTT farce.  Not subtle in the slightest and NOT funny.

2

Tamara Drewe

2010.  Seductress returns to a small village dominated by a famous womanising author.  She creates mayhem with three  suitors.  Author’s wife (Tamsin Greig) is excellent.  A good yarn and a bit of a comedy.

7

Tell No One

2007 French film with English sub titles.  Takes a lot of following .  A complicated plot which thankfully is mostly explained by  one of the characters in the final scenes.  Some baddies pop up from time to time who you never really know what their part in the plot is.  Potentially a very good plot with some big twists.  Highly acclaimed film but I did not like it that much.

5

Terms Of Endearment

1983 Romantic drama classic. This film is a timeless classic.  One to watch every few years or so.  Personally I do not think movies come any better than this.  Real credible characters,  a great script,  and breath taking performances from Debra Winger and Shirley Maclaine. 

The exploration of the mother - daughter relationship is just perfect. It nails so many family and  people behaviours so wonderfully,  the shallow womanising hubby,  the superficial New York friends, resentful children the lothario playboy neighbour; the list goes on.  A masterpiece that makes you laugh and makes you cry.  Easy to see why it won 5 Oscars.  If you've never seen it,  have a hanky ready and get watching.

10

They Shoot Horses Don’t They ?

1969.  Not the great 60s Classic that I remember but memorable nevertheless.  The main film is fairly uneventful,  but memorable for its portrayal of the hopelessness and harshness of the Depression.  The film is a classic and a cult film because of the way it delivers it’s shocking deeply disturbing finish. 

6

Thirteen

2002. Shocking teen movie about extreme teenage rebellion.  To be accepted and shock these skinny rich Californian  girls launch into sex,  drugs and thieving.  They gather more and more outrageous piercings and tattoos.  Be glad they are not your daughters.  The dialogue is often hard to decipher . Ends on a high with the unconditional love and unending support of a Mum when her daughter's life implodes.

6

Thirteen Days

2000 Drama. Captures the terror of the Cuban crisis ,  and puts the spin on it that Kennedy resisted the hawks in his team and resisted the temptation to leap to war.  Kevin Costner is excellent in this ,  but Bruce Greenwood as Kennedy whilst he looks the part ,  comes across as a bit quiet and lacking in presence.  He is portrayed as a very thoughtful cerebral man rather than a strong leader.  His script was a bit lacking too.  The overall film though is still very good,  and very watchable although a little long.  Recommended.

7

Thousand Acres (A)

1997 drama.  Great cast (Pfeifer,  Jessica Lange, Colin Firth).  Set in USA mid west,  a father passes his farm on to his daughters whilst he is still alive but problems emerge and cause the breakup of the family.  A good bread and butter watchable film but that is all.

6

Thunderball

1965 James Bond Drama.  The fourth in the series.  Villain steals two atomic bombs.  Great villain .  Only criticism is that the underwater fight scenes are too long and boring.  Otherwise another gem in the series at a time when Sean Connery was still playing Bond and the film was a thriller rather than a comedy.

7

Time Travelers Wife (The)

2009 Sci fi romantic drama fantasy.  Cannot believe all the rave reviews on Lovefilm.  Obviously I am missing something.  I have not read the book so maybe that helps.  I found it unwatchable and hated it.  What on earth is it about? I just could not get into it.  Not for me!

3

Tin Men

1987 Comedy.  Comedy based on early 1960s high pressure salesman and a yarn about a war between two of them that breaks out following a car accident.  Has some similarities with Glen Carry Glen Ross.  My favourite aspect is the fantastic collection of early 1960s American cars with enormous fins that feature in the film.  But somehow the story as a comedy starts well enough but runs out of steam especially as the latter events which beset one of the duelling duo are more tragic than funny.  5 is the most I would give it although I gave up on it 3/4 the way through as I found it got boring.

5

Toast

2010. Helena Bonham Carter.  Story of young Nigel Slater and how he came to being a chef.  His mother dies and is replaced by newly divorced cleaner who is herself a prolific cook who inspires Nigel.  But Nigel never likes or accepts her.

7

Tomorrow Never Dies

1997 James Bond drama.  The 18th Bond film and the second of the Pierce Brosnam  series.  News mogul megalomaniac starts to manufacture the news by trying to start a war between Britain and China.  Features the remote control BMW.  A more cohesive plot than most Bond films.  Easy to follow.  The usual predictable action stuff.  Opening scene-the Arms sale scene is the best bit of the film. The story is mainly a thriller rather than the embarrassing mix of thriller and comedy favoured during the Roger Moore era.

6

Topsy Turvy

1999 Unknown genre.  Unwatchable twaddle about Gilbert and Sullivan.  Self indulgent and boring.  I cannot believe that Mike Leigh was the director.  I hated it with a passion .  Torture.

1

Tough Guys Don’t Dance

1987.  Good erotic thriller.  I liked the characters and plot.  A lesser known and underrated film.

6

Tourist (The)

2010 romantic drama. if you ever want proof that Angelina Jolie cannot act to save her life watch this.  Just walks around pouting with an enigmatic smile.  This film is boring and appallingly acted.  It is totally not credible and the only redeeming feature is the photography of Venice.  Awful.

4

Town (The)

2010 Ben Affleck thriller.  Ruthless bank robbers gang based in Charlestown,  Boston.  Ben Affleck forms a relationship with bank manager/ hostage (Rebecca hall).  Intense fighting with machine guns resisting arrest by the FBI.  Watchable.

6

Trade

(2006)

2006 Spanish (Mexican) with sub titles.  Hard hitting violent dramatization of the trafficking of very young girls from Mexico who are then sold into the USA often through internet auctions.  Very brutal,  gritty and harrowing tale .

6

Trance (2013)

2013 Overrated and pretentious psychological thriller drama.  The hype has been deafening mainly as the result of Danny Boyle being the director.  Yes there are some innovative use of hard rock and heavy beat to build suspense rather like being back in the Olympics opening ceremony.  But beyond that the film contains a lot of gratuitous violence and nudity much of which is just to shock . And the plot gets increasingly surreal and confusing and jumbled such that for much of the time you are deliberately prevented from knowing whether what you are watching is actually happening or is imagined through being in a trance under hypnosis.  Confusing the viewer does not make a mediocre film more sophisticated.  I agree with the comment that film is not as good as it thinks it is!

4

Trauma

2004 Psychological thriller. Colin Firth.  Might be brilliant,  but lost on me.  I did not understand it,  or enjoy it.  Firth’s character’s wife is killed in a car accident at the same time as a famous pop star is murdered .  Surreal , and confused,  incomprehensible plot.  Lots of spiders-not sure what they were doing in the plot!

3

Trespass

 

2011 thriller.  Thought the other reviews are a bit harsh.  It is a reasonable home invasion thriller with a good cast.  Yes it has all been done before and Panic Room for example was much better.  But this film just does what it says on the tin.  It is not deep and the characters are not developed but is an easy watch routine thriller with Nicholas Cage playing Nicholas Cage.  It is watchable but not a memorable film.

6

Trip (The)

2012. Two comedians,  Steve Coogan,  Ron Brydon,  playing themselves make a tour together of the North of England.  Comes across as a clever unscripted romp ad libbing throughout.  Witty and drole,  dry humour throughout and lots of impressions.  Entertaining

7

Tropic Thunder

2008 Comedy. Spoof  copy based on Apocalypse Now.  With the all star cast that this film has including Ben stiller,  Jack Black,  Steve Coogan ,  Robert Downey,  to name but a few , this film should be fantastic,  but it does not reach its potential and is just a good bread and butter watchable film.  It is definitely funny in parts but not as funny as e.g. Stiller’s Starsky and Hutch spoof.  It starts well enough but the plot ties itself in a knot as it is about shooting the comedy rather than being the comedy itself,  but then supposedly the war action becomes real while on set.  Confused? So was I!

6

True Grit

(2010)

2010 Modern Western remake.  Jeff Bridges.  I don’t do Westerns.  Boring and predictable.  Yawn Yawn.  But this is a Cohen Brothers film with Matt Damon so some will like it.  Not for me.

2

Tutti Fruiti

1987 Drama.  Robbie Coltrane,  Emma Thompson. Coltrane is an aged rocker in a Scottish rock band who replaces his brother after his sudden death.  Similar to but not of the same quality as Still Crazy (Strange Fruit) as the characters do not make you care enough and in the end the film is irritating ,  the dialogue unintelligible and goes on too long.  The relationship with Emma Thompson is not credible.

4

Twenty Eight (28) Days Later (2002)

2002 Horror rubbish about apocalyptic viral infection released from animal research laboratory.  Gratuitous violence and cheap predictable disgusting horror and death.  No redeeming features or merit except the soundtrack.

1

Twenty Eight Weeks Later

2007 Horror monster zombie  rubbish.  I hated 28 Days later and this sequel was more of the same.  Mindless gratuitous violence and gore.  I only rented it because the musical score is brilliant and I listen to it frequently on ITunes.  The score seduces you to expect an epic movie but it isn’t-it’s rubbish.  Waving the camera around is an overworked  gimmick that does not impress me that the film has any merit whatsoever. 

1

Twighlight Saga (The) -New Moon

Sequel to Moon.  Teen movie,  vampire rubbish.  Mostly American hulks with bare torsos.  Some smouldering sexual tension. Boring and appalling acting.

3

Twilight

(2008)

2008 Modern style vampire yarn with young love thrown in.  If you’ve seen one vampire film you’ve seen them all.  What is all the fuss about? Good if you’re a teen maybe. 

4

Twisted

2004 Erotic thriller.  Not a bad thriller although a well worn plot line.  I liked it more than most reviewers because the sexy lead character female man eating police inspector (Ashley Judd) gave it a new angle.  The plot keeps you guessing and the photography of San Francisco is stunning.  If you like this genre do not ignore this one. 

7

Two Thousand And Twelve 2012 (2009)

2009 Difficult to express how bad this film is.  It is just an excuse for special effects and disaster pornography.  It’s a rehash of The Day after Tomorrow,  Armageddon,  and highly formulaic (separated couple get back together,  the family dog, etc) with a James Bond style set of super ‘Arks’ to finish what is an impossibly bad film with weak script,  ridiculous plot and special effects bonanza.  

2

Ugly Truth (The)

2009 Ridiculous and Over The Top American RomCom.  Some reviews say it gets better. maybe I’ll give it another go one day.  Anybody else like this?

1

Under Suspicion (2000)

 

 

 

2000,  superb cast, Morgan Freeman as captain in police calls in Gene Hackman,  a rich political big shot, who he suspects of 2 rapes and murders of young girls. The two leads are superb but the plot is routine,  and the film does not realize its potential.  It is actually significantly spoiled by a bizarre and unnecessary twist in the last 5 minutes which lacks credibility.

5

Under The  Sand

2000 Dull and boring.  Typical slow and ponderous French fare with sub titles.  Charlotte Rampling is good though.  But the film is uneventful with a disappointing ending.

1

Undercover

1994 Erotic thriller.  It is just another poor quality soft porn erotic thriller with appalling acting and script,  and it is neither thrilling or erotic.  The continuity is very dodgy as the victim is said to have been shot half the time,  and strangled half the time by the police! The continuous wooden sex simulations scenes are just boring and you will F/f through them.  Do not waste your time on this rubbish. 

3

Unknown (2006)

2006 Thriller.  I'd agree with the average score of 3 out of 5 on Lovefilm.  It is not a bad film and perfectly watchable.  But it is not a great movie.  It starts a bit like Saw but then takes a different direction.  It certainly is hard to know who is who and who is a goodie and who is a baddie.  Actually the film gets better as it progresses and does have a good twist at the end.  The hoodlums are very convincing .  Take care that this is the 2006 Unknown- not the more recent Liam Neeson film with the same name but a different story.

6

Unknown (2011)

2011 Liam Neeson.  Action thriller. A new angle on an old plot of someone awakening from a coma following a car accident to find that his identity and wife and entire life has been taken over by someone else.  He has to rediscover who he really is,  but does he have time  before he is eliminated by gangsters who want him dead but why? A fast moving thriller set in Berlin that is well worth watching but has a lot of flaws and loose ends that stretch credibility.

6

Unlawful Entry

1992 Low budget erotic thriller about bent obsessed US police officer.  Adequate  watchable film.  Done in the classic early 90s style.

4

Unpublished Story

1942 WWII drama.  Wartime thriller shot in B/W.  Wooden acting as is typical of this era.  Appallingly amateurish scenery and a script that smacks of blatant government propaganda.  This film is only of interest as a period piece from wartime as a museum exhibit of movie making style and the use of films to promote government propaganda and rallying messages to the public.  Definitely only for the enthusiast.  Not sure how I came to receive this one!

4

Up

2009 Cartoon animation about old couple,  and eventually widower who floats away in his house by attaching it to balloons.  Includes big bird and dog.  Contains,  morals,  messages and is surprisingly deep and emotional. Very good.

7

Up At The Villa

2000 A period thriller / romantic drama set in the period just preceding the outbreak of war in Europe in 1939 Florence.  It is an elegantly  presented tangled love story and thriller that takes place over only 2 or 3 days but a lot happens (contrary to some of the other reviews). Kristin Scott Thomas is excellent as usual and lifts the rating of the film.  Her character is impoverished but hankers after retaining the high life but at the same time looking for love.  I felt this story was credibly done and the characters were developed and I enjoyed it.  Nothing to do with Aston Villa!

7

Up In The Air

2009 RomCom.  George Clooney RomCom.  Entertaining but script weak in parts and  a predictable twist at the end.  A film needs more than just George Clooney.  Average.

5

Uptown Girls

2003 Comedy.  Oh dear! This film disappoints in so many ways.  It  seems to have so much potential-the plot is not that bad,  and the actress playing the young girl is excellent and poor Brittany Murphy was brilliant.  But somehow the film seems to be a collection of disconnected scenes ,  with a lot of embarrassing attempts to make it a weepie.  It does not succeed as anything actually-not as a RomCom,  not as a weepie and certainly not as a comedy.  There is a vain attempt to make it funny buy inserting a pet pig in almost every scene.  There is a vain attempt to make it a romance by inserting an appalling British young male actor as the love interest pop star but he has no credibility whatsoever.  There is a lot of ballet but unfortunately the young girl lead cannot dance.  The film just runs out of steam and fizzles out really badly.  In the end its mediocre.

4

Vacancy

2007.  Low budget horror about couple in motel who discover owner is making snuff movies.  Boring and pretty trashy,  but vaguely watchable in the background if you are playing with your smart phone

2

Valentine’s Day

2010 Rom Com. Oh Dear!-what a disappointment.  Fantastic cast so wasted.  Too many characters,  and too many parallel story lines.  It worked in Love Actually but it did not work in this US attempt.  And where was the humour? I did not laugh once.  You do not care about the characters and it all seems so familiar and predictable.  It  is boring and I fell asleep in the end and did not make it to the end.

4

Valkyrie

2009.  Story of last failed attempt to assassinate Hitler.  Depicts the Nazis pretty convincingly.  There are not many great WWII films where the acting is good and the characters are developed and this one is about as good as they get.  I do not usually like Tom Cruise but he is good in this ,  as is Bill Nighy.  Thoroughly recommended. 

8

Veronica Guerin

2003,  Cate Blanchett.  Wow! This is surely a hugely under rated film.  A shocking ,  haunting account of the exceedingly brave woman journalist who fearlessly investigated the Irish drug barons in the 1990s.  Yes she behaves increasingly recklessly and taking ever greater risks with her life-but what an inspiration and example of bravery she was.  And Cate Blanchett is as superb as ever in the role.  Don't miss this film,  it is truly excellent

9

View To A Kill (A)

1985 James Bond Drama.  The 14th Bond film and the last  of the Roger Moore series.  I have never been a fan of the Bond films where Bond is played by Roger Moore.  I could never take him seriously as a hard ,  cruel and dangerous agent.  This one is at least better than the preceding Octupussy which was the low point of Bond films but is too long,  a bit boring,  and although mainly a thriller does still contain sprinkling of naff slapstick humour.  The main villain is good but his female side kick (May Day)  an embarrassment and very annoying.

5

Virgin Suicides (The)

1999.  Drama. Good watchable drama.  Characters are developed well and it captures the pain of adolescence.  The plot of this film concerns 5 daughters who are repressed and isolated by their puritanical parents ,  and the family becomes the Titanic quietly sailing towards inevitable impending disaster.  Uncomfortable to watch in parts and ultimately a sad tragedy.

6

 Vow (The)

2012.  Romantic drama . Based on a true story wife has an accident,  loses memory,  and cannot remember her husband.  A good watchable bread and butter film but not a great film and many of the gushing reviews on Lovefilm are over the top.  .

6

Voyeur (The)

1993.  Supposedly erotic film but it is laughable in its snail like pace and pretentiousness.  Plenty of nudity but completely uninteresting.  Beyond words really.  Awful acting.  Painful.

1

Wake Wood

2011 A good supernatural thriller set in Ireland.  Very gory.  A couple join a pagan group to get their deceased daughter back  for 3 days but it’s not that simple!

6

Walk The Line

2005. Excellent story of Johnny Cash.  Reese Witherspoon is superb is this.  A great film thoroughly recommended.  Great character development and a touching love story.

8

Wall- E

2008.  Clever Pixar robot in love Good animated cartoon story with depth and messages.  A film of several layers and something for all ages,  Sweet and pleasantly enjoyable.

6

Wall Street Money Never Sleeps

2010. Sequel with a few new angles but not many. 133 mins too long but long enough for Gordon gecko to make his money again .  Set against the backdrop of the 2008 global collapse.  Gecko eventually gets revenge against the person who took him down and got him sent to jail for 8 years.  Sub plot of Gekko’s estranged daughter and her relationship with her also big shot financial wheeler dealer  .  Formulaic and predictable.

5

Wanted (2007)

2007 Action.  Unwatchable.  Only lasted 5 minutes.  Something about a  young man who finds out his father was an assassin.  Brainless mindless violence.

1

We Are What We Are

2010.  Mexican horror film about a very poor family in Latin American urban jungle who exist through cannibalism after father dies.  Macabre,  bloody and violent.

4

 Wedding Planner (The)

2001.  Watchable,  fun,  typical light average RomCom.  Good plot with a twist. Mushy and predictable but passes a pleasant enough evening.

5

Westworld

1973 sci fi classic about millionaires theme park where guests can taste real wild west experience.  Highly visionary and imaginative in its day although dated now.  The computers go wrong and the robots go rogue and all hell breaks loose.  A sort of original Stepford Wives meets Jurassic park

7

When Did You Last See Your Father ? (And)

2007 Drama.  Great cast-Jim Broadbent,  Colin Firth.  Poignant ,  and sad story about the relationship between son and his domineering father but where they never really talk to each other.  Touching and unsettling.

7

Where The Truth Lies

2005 Colin Firth.  A thriller with a mix of explicit sex,  drugs,  intrigues,  murder,  extortion, and betrayal but is somewhat stilted,  and laboured,  and fails to satisfy.  An awkward pout pori omelette with the central theme of an attractive journalist investigating the fate of a young girl found dead in the hotel room of a once famous comedy duo.  She becomes involved with both of them and plays them off against each other before discovering the truth. It is not as bad some of the reviews suggest. ,  It is just an average watchable film.

5

White House Down

2013 Thriller drama.  Another film about an attack on the White House and a plot to take the president hostage.  It has all been done before lately but this new attempt is very entertaining although so over the top that it verges on comedy.  But I think they made it tongue in cheek and somehow it works.  It combines Olympus Has Fallen ,  Air Force One,  and Homeland into one! It is well done actually with nonstop action and special effects.  It includes the obligatory helicoptor crashes.  As the hero seeks to rescue his daughter from the remains of the White House and the terrorists ,  it becomes a cheesy tear jerker to rival Armageddon .  But as a feel good all American hero action movie it succeeds and I liked it. 

8

White Palace

1990 drama / love story.  Susan Sarandon very convincing performance.  Young executive widower falls in love with a working class burger sales woman 15 years his senior.  Sensitive examination of the class divide and the pain of choosing between her and his friends and family.  Can he ever not find her an embarrassment in his social circle?  Uncomfortable to watch but worth it.

7

Wild Orchid

1990. Disappointing erotic drama fantasy.  This is no nine and a half weeks.  Mickey Rourke spends the entire film as the usual enigmatic character with the permanent stupid self satisfied smirk which is supposed to be sexy.  Was considered soft porn once but nothing too racy now.  A newly qualified lawyer goes on a business trip in Rio which turns out to be her sexual awakening.  Meanwhile there is a loud carnival going on throughout the entire film! It is watchable but only just

5

Wild Things

(1998)

1998.  Style similar to The OC and Cruel Intentions although of course this film pre dates those. Absurd plot.  Absolutely awful Teenage sex thriller.  Rubbish

3

Winter Guest (The)

1997.  Emma Thompson is wasted in this.   Story of mother / daughter relationship etc,  in deeply frozen seaside town in Scotland.  Promises much but in the end is dull,  laborious,  and uneventful.  Great scenery but that is all

3

Winters Bone

2010.  Dour bleak menacing drama about a 17 year old girl raising her younger brother and sister with a very sick mother and an absent violent criminal father.  Her house is being repossessed as it was put up for a bond against her father who has absconded  and thus she needs to find him or his body.

4

Wolf Creek

2005.  Australian horror based on a true story of a sadist who tortures and murders 3 young travelers (2G and 1B).  Very graphic and gory.  Watchable adequate  horror film.  Bet you can’t watch it all!

4

 Women (The)

2008 Comedy.  Such a great  cast but unwatchable,  boring rubbish, .  American humour,  fell asleep.  This film has absolutely nothing to recommend it and you should not be tempted.  Awful.

1

Working Girl

1988 Classic 80s Rom Com.  Worth seeing just for the trip down memory lane with the unbelievable hair and suits.  Has an awesome cast and all are brilliant except I did not really go for the Melanie Griffiths character which was not convincing.  Harrison Ford looks so young as does Alec Baldwin.  Funny in parts and definitely worth seeing but 6  would be as high as I would rate it.  Some dodgy continuity between scenes especially the endless wardrobe changes for Melanie Griffiths which seem to occur between buildings!

6

World Is Not Enough (The)

1999 James Bond drama.  The 19th Bond film and the third of the Pierce Brosnam  series. Plot to blow up Istanbul with a stolen nuclear bomb in order to control the oil supply to the West.  Electra king is the female villain.  The story is mainly a thriller rather than the embarrassing mix of thriller and comedy favoured during the Roger Moore era except that  John Cleese takes over as Q and that was a piece of appalling casting.  The plot is very tenuous  and relies on  nonstop explosions .  Brosnam is good and makes the best of it but the end result is too long and familiar.

6

World Trade Centre

2006 Drama. This is a poor film rushed out to capitalise on the interest in the disaster but you will not learn anything about what really happened inside the towers.  Nicholas Cage as a police officer trapped under WTC on 9-11.  Cage is playing himself as usual but does not even manage that very well.  Awful cringe making .  Only redeeming feature is the musical score  / soundtrack.

3

Wrestler (The)

2008.  Drama.  Mickey Rourke stars in this very good film as a semi retired ageing professional wrestler.  The film is made by Rourke who appears in every scene like a one man show.  it is a sad and poignant story with the Rourke character as a bit of a pathetic loner has been who knows no other life.  He struggles to  build a modest relationship with a lap dancer and repair his nonexistent relationship with his estranged daughter.  Very credible and  dark and moving.

7

Yes Man (The)

2008 RomCom.  Pleasant and very funny in parts RomCom.  It is typical Jim Carrey fare .  It is a good comedy film and a tongue in cheek look at self help gurus.

6

You Again

2010 Rom Com All star cast.  A sort of Ugly Betty meets Meet The Fockers and My Best Friend's Wedding.  If you liked any of those you will like this.  This is a highly entertaining comedy that did not do well when released.  I think it is under rated and if you come across it and get the chance you should try it.  .

6

You Don’t Know Jack

2010 Drama.  Based on true story of a Michigan Doctor in 1990s who defied state law and assisted suicides of over 100 terminally ill patients.  The theme is dark and non joyous and the film reflects that.  Al Pacino is as excellent as ever in the role.  It is a good watchable bread and butter film but it is no more than that.  I did not particularly enjoy it-it has a sort of TV dramatization documentary feel to it.  It is a long film and by the end becomes repetitive and tedious.

6

You Only Live Twice

1967 James Bond Drama –the fifth in the series.  One of the very best Bonds.  Great score,  and one of the best big sets ever with the volcano from which the villain could launch rockets after sliding the roof (which looked like water)  over.  I remember so well the excitement when this one came out as this was the golden age of Bond films –until Casino Royale brought them up to the modern age.  You Only Live Twice is also remembered for the pricelessl scene at the beginning when Bond has a meeting with M in the submarine.  Classic Bond with Connery at his best in the role and a real thriller rather than the comedies that followed in the Moore era.   I could never tire of watching this one.

8

Young Adam

2002 Romantic drama.  Ewen McGregor,  Tilda Swinton, This is a dark,  depressing , bleak story about people who scratch out a living working a barge in Scotland.  They escape their dreary lives through frequent loveless sex.  McGregor plays a commitment phobe character devoid of any morals who manages to wreck the lives of not one woman but two.  Have I put you off? I hope not because it is a gritty haunting film that draws you in and does grow on you.  I watched it twice! But be warned this film contains a lot of sex and nudity although it is not gratuitous.  Definitely worth a watch.

7

Zabriski Point

1970 Looked back with rose tinted spectacles on this one.  When I watched it again recently I found it  now to be  a low budget museum of the 60s culture.  Depicts disillusion with oppression by police authorities,  and disillusion with capitalism in general.  Starts with campus protest and ends in famous scene of property development explosion in the desert.  Only redeemed by the Pink Floyd soundtrack.  Extremely dated. 

5

Zandalee

1991 Nicolas Cage as a lothario rake who seduces his best friend wife.  Best friend eventually commits suicide,  and affair ends in tears.  Cage (in his character) is bad news.  Ridiculous script,  rubbish score,  and implausible plot.

3

Zebra Lounge

2001 Low budget straight to DVD type erotic thriller.  Couple tries swinging with another couple who become a nightmare in their lives with disastrous consequences.  Touch of Fatal Attraction but not in the same class and not credible.

4

Zero Dark Thirty

2012 Afghanistan war.  Dramatisation of the build up to the finding of Osama Bin Laden in 2011.  A very good competent,  long,  but very watchable film about intelligence gathering  against the backdrop of Iraq and Afghanistan.  However somehow it does not quite achieve the impact and intensity of other recent military action movies also based on real events e.g. Black Hawk Down,  and Behind Enemy Lines.  It could have been a great film but in the end a bit low key and under stated.  Not as exciting as the title suggests.

7