Tag: Movie review

Fan Film Review: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, 2001-2003

The Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring movie posterBefore I start, I want to clarify that this is a review of the films only. I have read the books between 13-20 times (I lost count at 13) and seen the whole trilogy of films more than 20 times. I have also read The Hobbit 3 or 4 times, read the Silmarillion twice, The Book of Lost Tales, Unfinished Tales and The Children of Hurin, so I would say I am pretty familiar with Tolkien’s work. The films are a pretty good reflection of the books, but they are not an accurate rendering on screen, so if you really want to know and understand Tolkien, read the books; the man was a genius, so I can’t even attempt to do him justice in a review of his work. We are simply talking about Peter Jackson’s excellent movies here. I will attempt to outline what is good and bad about the movies and compare them with the books, as well as Harry Potter and Game of Thrones, both of which it’s frequently compared to. This whole review is a spoiler, so if you don’t want to know what happens to the characters, don’t read this.

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Movie Review: La Vérité (The Truth), 1960 – Brigitte Bardot

Poster for La Verite starring Bridgitte Bardot
Poster for La Verite starring Bridgitte Bardot

Directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot, this movie follows a courtroom search for truth in a world of dark passions, art and death. Beautifully shot, it reveals Bardot’s enormous talent for portraying tortured beauties, yet her beauty quickly fades from prominence as the depths of her character’s deepest motivations lead us to question whether we can ever find the truth in examining one life, or one relationship.

Apart from brief shots of Bardot’s cute derrière, there is no nudity in this film, which is refreshing, and in her role as Dominique, she turns in an Oscar-worthy performance.

Dominique, an intelligent girl, yet driven by the need for love more than ambition, is spurned by her father in favour of the ambition of her sister, Annie, a gifted violinist. Only after a failed suicide by Dominique is she is allowed to accompany her sister to Paris to study.

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Movie Review: Oblivion, 2013

Oblivion movie still of the Sky Tower
Oblivion movie still of the Sky Tower

What more can be said of Tom Cruise in sci-fi roles? He always seems to deliver, so I was expecting something a bit special when I sat down to watch Oblivion last week.

Things were looking good after half an hour; great sets, great scenery and great special effects. Cruise was, as usual, dry in his delivery of Jack’s lines and held my attention.

But then I noticed something odd; Andrea Risborough, as Jack’s girlfriend and teammate Victoria, was acting badly. I thought, ‘Oh yeah, she must be an android and this will all be explained properly later,’ but no, the further into the movie I got, the more it became apparent that Victoria was human, and therefore badly portrayed. I am not saying Risborough can’t act, but she must have been at least badly cast here. It makes all the scenes with Cruise wooden and the love-making scene was just embarrassing. Continue reading “Movie Review: Oblivion, 2013”

Film Reviews

Film Reviews for: Shame, Soldier of God, Anna Karenina and First Men in the Moon

Shame

I am a big Michael Fassbender fan. His performance in Inglorious Basterds was up there with the Brandos and Pacino’s of this world. He holds this movie together with a taught, up-tight performance but the movie doesn’t quite deliver. It stops one base short of a home run. Which is a shame because it’s beautifully filmed, paced and has all the ingredients for a good movie. The locations are very evocative of emotional breakdown which is what you basically see happening. An emotionally repressed young exec – Fassbender is seeking release through sexual-obsession. He is willing to try anything with anyone and has retreated into this world. His workplace provides a sort of second family for him and is the only place he actually connects with people. Into his life, against his will, comes his emotionally fraught little sister – sissy, played by Carey Mulligan. Their parents are no longer around and she seems on the edge of a breakdown. He resents bitterly her pull on his emotions and the clash pushes her even closer to the edge. She is a semi-professional singer and the scene of her performance in a club made my teeth grind. Carey Mulligan has a good, but untrained voice and the over-egged delivery of New York, New York – in New York, acapella, was a little painful. If Fassbender’s character hadn’t stayed silent, when asked if he though it was good, I would have really disliked this film. The main protagonist’s essential taste is one of things that holds this together. This movie had the potential to be a 4/5 or 5/5 but it doesn’t quite get there. I think the writer just didn’t want to take the risk that would have been necessary to actually say something of value. I am all for movies that start from nowhere and end nowhere – existential movies in the 60s and early 70s excelled at this – even in Hollywood (I am thinking of a James Caan film where he is a hitman wanting to retire). Those movies start with an unusual premise but this movie just builds around a disfunctional family – nothing unusual these days – 3/5. Continue reading “Film Reviews”

Film Reviews: The Bridges at Toko-Ri, Enter the Void and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

I have been busy over the last few weeks. Have finished Chapter 1 of Iron II and also Chapter 1 of the follow up to Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate. It’s all top secret though so I can’t say anything. Instead here are some reviews of films I have seen lately:

The Bridges of Toko-Ri.
On the face of it just standard 50s Korean War drama starring William Holden and Grace Kelly. But look again. Apparently Holden only took the part on the understanding that the books sad ending would not be changed by the Director. And it pays off. I haven’t read the book but it must be very thoughtful. Holden’t character, Harry Brubaker was a hero pilot in WWII and then became a lawyer. However he is called up to fly jets in Korea and gets involved in the mission to bomb a set of bridges which are a key supply route from China and consequently very heavily defended. You might think Aha! 633 Squadron all over again but no – the film veers away from that kind of feat of daring-do. Instead we find out that Holden’s character is afraid of fighting. He has a wife, Nancy – ably played in one of her last films by Grace kelly, and two children and he just has too much to lose. Also he can’t understand why he has been called up when his status was completely inactive when reservists are still at home. Is it something to do with his ace-status?

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Two Film Reviews: D.O.A. (1950) and Helen of Troy (1956)

As many of you know I am a big movie buff. After a solid afternoon’s writing on Sunday I settled down to watch two movies in the evening. D.O.A. (1950) and Helen of Troy (1956)

D.O.A. (Dead on Arrival) is a noirish movie about a guy with a shady business who goes on an unexplained break to a city in US and gets poisoned. Thinking it’s just a bad hangover he goes to the doctor who tells him it’s fatal and he has days to live. He then goes on a desperate hunt for his own killer before finally reporting a homicide at the Police Station. The officer asks him who was murdered and he says “Me.” This is actually the film’s opening scene and surprisingly the officer, far from being incredulous, actually hunts for the report of the guy’s murder which he already has. Continue reading “Two Film Reviews: D.O.A. (1950) and Helen of Troy (1956)”

Film Reviews – Anonyma – The Downfall of Berlin and Road of No Return

Well I had a week of work last week and I watched lots of films. Some were so-so like ‘Anonyma – The Downfall of Berlin’ and others I didn’t like ‘Road of No Return’

Anonyma tells the story of a German journalist who goes back to Berlin in the last day of April, 1945 to witness the end of Nazism and gets caught up in the Russian takeover. They could have made a lot more of the fact that she was a journalist – in fact the only observation that really resonated was when she mentioned that they could feel Berlin becoming ‘Russian’ by the hour. Apparently a true story written anonymously in the 40s or 50s and the author herself was so castigated that she withdrew all further editions of the book after the first. Continue reading “Film Reviews – Anonyma – The Downfall of Berlin and Road of No Return”

Good going: Movie Review of Inglorious Basterds

The going is good at the moment.
A draft of ‘Some kind of Insanity’ has gone out to my group of readers and at least two have fed back that they are enjoying so far.

In the mean time I am painstakingly working through the logic of the plot of the (potentially) sci-fi story and I am slowly getting there. I really want to take my time getting this one right as it is quite a complex one – or rather subtle and could be too complex if I don’t get it right. So simplification is really what I am up to. Continue reading “Good going: Movie Review of Inglorious Basterds”