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Gran Hotel (2011)
Downton Abbey on Steroids!
Take Downton Abbey, mix in a little Poirot, some Midsomer Murders and maybe a little Agatha Christie and then add some impossibly handsome and beautiful cast members. Finish with a plot that cracks along and you have Gran Hotel! My wife and I are totally hooked and watching the box sets furiously. The chemistry between the leads is fabulous and there is a sense of humour working in the background. Yes you know what is going to happen but it is all part of the fun. Quote simply one of the best period dramas ever! We are soon starting on season 3. Huge congratulations to the wonderful cast and production crew. The evil doings of the Alarcon family will take your breath away. Agent Ayala and his hapless assistant Hernando are great fun and provide comic relief. Unmissable!
The Lone Ranger (2013)
Quirky but Affectionate Homage to the Lone Ranger
I used to watch the Lone Ranger and Tonto as a kid, so I was looking forward to this. Amazingly well filmed with stunning action sequences but also a great back story to keep you interested. Johnny Depp was excellent, bringing his trademark droll humour to the part of Tonto. Not quite as sure about Arnie Hammer, who was a bit wimpy, but I warmed to him by the end.
Ruth Wilson was winsome as the love interest (and she's a Kentish gal:)while Helena Bonham Carter played the Madam for fun.
The only surprise I found was the level of violence, which I wasn't expecting in a Disney film. I certainly wouldn't recommend it for young children and think a 15 rating more suitable than the 12 it was given. I don't think the violence added to it and given that the Lone Ranger was originally very much for children something of a pity.
That aside it was very well done and the plot and story improved as the film went on. Overall fun and worth a watch!
Wait for the second half!
Watched this last night on DVD. Ted is hilarious, a pot smoking, beer swilling, foul mouthed, Teddybear! However,the joke starts to wear thin during the first half of the movie, which is essentially a series of set pieces for Ted to show off his rudeness. It was tempting to switch off in the first half, but we stuck with it and it was worth it - in the second half, the story kicks off and the laughs really begin, with some wonderful cameos by Norah Jones (especially) Ryan Reynolds and others.
There are some big laughs in the movie and excellent acting by Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis, whose love story is very well played as a backdrop to Ted's gross-out humour. We finished the film with a smile on our face, and would rate it as worth a watch. It isn't great but is good fun. I too would caution parents that this is NOT for youngsters, with pot smoking, cocaine use, a humping bear(!) and some pretty bad language. but it certainly has some laughs and if you're broad-minded you will enjoy it.
The Karate Kid (2010)
Excellent Atmospheric Remake - Jackie Chan Wonderful!
I have seen both the original film and this version (twice now) and just had to review it this time. The film has all the plot and story of the original and Jackie Chan makes a wonderful replacement for Pat Morita, who played Mr Miyagi in the original. There is some excellent filming in China, which really adds atmosphere. Most of all though, I agree with some of the other reviewers that Jackie Chan was at last allowed to show that he can act and not just clown it up (although he's very good at that too!). His performance in this was quite touching and that really made the movie for me.
Jaden Smith did a credible job as his young protégé and I found his acting quite believable and not nearly as one-dimensional as some reviewers have commented.
Very much a feel-good movie, It rated highly with me. A film for all the family to enjoy.
Little Dorrit (2008)
Wonderful Series- Spot on Characters - A Joy to Watch!
I bought the DVD of this series a while ago and for some reason we never got around to watching it till recently. What an omission! The series is quite simply a joy to watch, with fabulous interpretations of the characters by all. Alun Armstrong was wonderfully over the top as Flintwinch, Tom Courtenay excellent as the vain Mr Dorritt, Claire Foy quite simply perfect as Little Dorrit, and Russell Tovey giving a beautifully sensitive performance as the besotted John Chivery.You cannot leave out Eddie Marsan's Mr Pancks or Mathew McFadyen's perfect Mr Clennam. I frequently found myself laughing out loud at Flintwinch or Pancks and was very moved by Russell Tovey's unrequited love. There wasn't a single poor performance in the whole cast.
I do agree with the earlier reviewer about how Tattiecoram simply disappeared from the story, however and one or two other loose ends that were left. However, they just make me want to read the book which I will do soon. These DVD's will most certainly be kept! I do hope the cast get to read their reviews - well done to you all :o)
Country Strong (2010)
Great Film, Great Performances - Surprised at the low IMDb Rating?
Since I'm fond of good country music I thought I'd give this a try, despite not being very keen on Gwyneth Paltrow. However, in this movie she gives a storming performance as a famous country singer, gradually falling apart with depression and alcohol - and she has a great voice! Yes that really is Gwyneth singing in the film.
The good news doesn't end there because the supporting cast are just as good, Garret Hedlund and Leighton Meester were fantastic and so good as country singers that I immediately looked for their albums, but apart from the Country Strong Soundtrack, there aren't any! These are just great actors with great voices. Add in a strong performance from Tim McGraw (Oh why cant you just love your woman? - that's all she needs!!).
With fine, layered performances from all and a storming soundtrack, this is definitely unmissable for any country music lover. I'm still humming the tunes days later.
By the way, be careful if buying the soundtrack album. There are two! The first has other artists covering many of the film's songs and though it's a good album, isn't strictly from the soundtrack in every case. The second album, with the same name, seems to have original performances from the film, but was out of stock and I have it on back order. I think this is the more popular one.
Anyway, if, like me, you don't watch films that score less than about 6 on IMDb, make this one an exception. You wont regret it!
Wow! Stunning allegorical movie
Avatar is, as you will have seen from other reviews, probably the most visually stunning movie ever made. The scenes of the beauty of Pandora will knock you out! Watching the movie it was very easy to forget (and I did) that the characters were CGI creatures, so real were they implemented. The beauty of the film is contrasted with the gung ho American marines and the greed of the mining company trying to exploit the natural resources of Pandora, without in any way understanding its beauty or the close bond felt by the Pandorans to their environment and the other life on the planet.
The plot of the film is excellent and the soundtrack superb, frequently making you jump with unexpected highly realistic sounds.
The best film I have seen in a very long time, way up there with the Lord of the Rings, my previous favourite film (and story) of all time.
I felt that the Director was trying to say something about man in this film, on the one hand able to be noble and capable of creating stunning beauty (just see the visuals in this film) and the contrasting violence, greed and stupidity that we can show. God knows what will happen if and when we do meet aliens, they will probably be shot to pieces before we can ever learn anything about them! In summary, don't hesitate to see this film, I defy you not to be enthralled in the stunning beauty of Pandora and the superb story.
A load of Junk!
I never thought I'd give a film a 1 out of 10, especially one that scored 6.8 on IMDb. Whoever reviewed it to give it such high scores? Watching this with my son, we both figured that there wasn't going to be a plot to speak of within the first five minutes. What it does have is unbelievable special effects and a good measure of gore and ultraviolence that quickly becomes tiresome.
The A list cast must have been short of money! All have been much better in other movies. Had this film had a decent plot, you might have forgiven it, but it simply doesn't.
Possibly the worst film I have ever seen! (And I have seen some turkeys!).
Touching, well acted film, with great songs and performances
Set in Dublin, this film is about a street busker and a chance meeting with a young Czech girl who shares his passion for music. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irgolva as the two leads play their parts very well, despite, apparently, being musicians first and not actors in real life. Their love story plays out with the backdrop of Dublin and is almost documentary in its portrayal.
The songs are memorable, making me but the CD afterwards, for my son.
The will they/wont they plot plays out to the end with a touching finale and I wont spoil that ending for other readers.
Well worth an evenings viewing. Expect to come away humming the songs!
Come on IMDBer's this is worth more than a 6!!
Just watched this film on Christmas day evening. It was inventive, funny, great visuals, great cast and with some memorably funny throw away lines, "We're American's, we don't Plan, We DO!" Hank Azaria, as the lisping Kahmunrah was a hoot, deliberately hamming it up to great effect! I agree with another reviewer that Ben Stiller is more noted for funny situations than comedy acting but he was very good in this. Amy Adams was very sweet in the role of Amelia Earhart and made a good foil for Stiller. Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan were very funny in their respective roles.
The special effects were fabulous and the scene with Stiller and the Dinosaur as the museum comes to life was hilarious.
Definitely better than a 6! My ranking was an honest 8, or maybe even a little better. Great Fun!
The Notebook (2004)
Perfect Cast- Beautifully Played
This is a perfect love story beginning in an old folks home, where James Garner is reading a story from a notebook to a lady in the home. The story flashes back to a chance meeting at a carnival where Ryan Gosling meets Rachel McAdam and after a shaky start they fall in love. The acting from Gosling and McAdam is perfect, as is that of James Garner and Geena Davis. The film is totally engrossing and leaves the viewer guessing as to the outcome through the whole film. I wont spoil the ending as it is pivotal to the film. Suffice it to say that it had me moist eyed and not many films do that!
It is an absolute must-see if you are a lover of romantic films, for its excellent capture of the era and its faultless performances. This one rates my first 10/10 on IMDb!
The Dark Knight (2008)
Too Noisy, Too Dark, Too Violent, Too Long!
I shall probably get blown out of the water for this, but I hated the film. I absolutely loved Batman Begins, and thought it was the best of all the Batman films. But not this one.
Maybe it didn't help that our local cinema had the volume up very high, so the action scenes and gunfire became irritating; however, the whole thing grated on me. I really can't understand how it got a 12 rating, as the violence, while often implied rather than actually shown was far too much for a 12 yr old. At least a 15 rating was called for in my view.
I agree with with one of the other reviewers that there was no plot other than the constant battle between the Joker and Batman. Granted, Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker was superb, and by far the best part of the film. He made a truly scary psycho! But that couldn't make up for the rest of the film.
Maybe I need to watch it again on DVD (at a reasonable volume) but I was very disappointed as I had been looking forward to seeing it.
So there it is. I'm obviously out of step with most of the viewing public!
The Lake House (2006)
Great Film, Corny, but Great!
Just watched this and have to agree with most of the other comments. Good chemistry between Keanu and Sandra. I agree that both have had some dodgy performances in the past and some of the acting was still a bit clunky here (hence my score of only 8), but this one scores.
It makes a pleasant change for Keanu from his gung-ho roles. Sandra Bullock is very believable (and the better actor in this film)
I wont spoil the plot for those who haven't seen it, and it does have some interesting twists in the plot. perhaps you will see these coming - perhaps not!
Yes it is corny, but still brought a tear to my eye at the end. Enjoy.
Wonderful Show WHY did they axe it?!!
I am stunned that Fox chose to axe Wonderfalls after just one series. I read that they didn't give it a chance by continually changing it's scheduling and missing weeks etc. I picked up on the series on Sky one (who seemed to do the same thing - I could never figure out when it was next on) so finally bought the DVD from the States.
Wonderfalls is an excellent, gentle, quirky comedy, with a great performance from Caroline Dhavernas in the lead role as Jaye Tyler, a somewhat disaffected graduate, in a dysfunctional family, to whom inanimate objects start to speak and give her advice. This leads her into all kinds of comical situations.
From Caroline to the whole of the rest of the cast, faultless performances are given. It isn't laugh out loud mostly, but engaging and humorous. There are one or two really hilarious moments though.
Caroline, I hope you go on making shows and films as good as this one - you have a real talent for comedy.
Fox - you must be mad for killing such an excellent show. Think again!
What a Girl Wants (2003)
Excellent Feel-Good Movie
Thoroughly enjoyable romantic comedy! Amanda Bynes was excellent as the teen daughter, with a wonderful impish smile and a very mature performance for a youngster. Colin Firth was good in a "Hugh Grant" style part, but played very well and very believably as the father. There were some genuinely tender moments between him and Amanda Bynes, as his daughter, and also with Kelly Preston as his estranged "wife." The soundtrack was foot-tapping with excellent songs by Kelly Preston and especially by Oliver James as Amanda's boyfriend, Ian (singing his own compositions).
A very under-rated movie with some laugh-out-loud moments. I'm very surprised it didn't rate higher with IMDb voters!
Rio Bravo (1959)
Excellent, Character Led Western
I had to comment on this as the only other comment said it was too long and too dull. I recorded it for my father, who is a western fan, and watched it with him and my wife.
The movie has charismatic performances from Wayne and especially Walter Brennan as the old deputy. He made us laugh out loud several times. True it isn't all action, but more about characters. Ricky Nelson did okay, no Oscars here but a competent enough piece of acting as a young, brash cowboy.
Angie Dickinson plays the love interest and boy was she gorgeous in those days! OK so the Duke was cracking on a bit for the young and lovely Angie to fall in love with him, but there wasn't much else in the town to fancy and some women like older men!
Very enjoyable Western. I gave it 8/10.
The Good Girl (2002)
Excellent Acting - Totally Depressing Plot!
I watched this partly because it got a three star rating and partly to see how Jennifer Aniston fared in a non "Friends" type role. She had almost become typecast in the fluffy ditzy blonde mold. The surprise in this film is that she played totally against type and proved that she really can act. In fact the acting all round was pretty good.
The film itself, however, was depressing fare. The plot concerns a housewife in a dead-end job and a dead-end marriage. She meets a young man at her supermarket job, who is very introverted and deep, and unlike anyone she has met before. They begin an affair, but she quickly realises that her new lover is bordering on psychotic. Jake Gylenhall plays the part well, not least because he looks weird! (Heart throb? Come on Girls - you need to get out more!!).
Things go from bad to worse, as Aniston gets blackmailed, pregnant (with someone's baby - but we aren't sure who) and numerous people die. In fact, it becomes quite comically dark at times, but not enough to really laugh at and lift the depression!
The end is slightly more upbeat, but hardly a "happy ending." Avoid if you need cheering up!
I rated it 6/10
The Last Samurai (2003)
Brilliant, Powerful Epic
Having read the critic's reviews of this film, which panned it, as I recall, I found the DVD of this film at my brother-in-law's house while my wife and I were staying there. I watched it with my 23 year old son (I'm 53). What a film! What superb performances! Tom cruise was excellent as was Ken Watanabe.
The film tells the story of a US Cavalry officer haunted by the demons of the native Americans he killed while under orders from his superiors. He is descending into drink when he is recruited to advise the Japanese on how to defeat some renegade Samurai warriors who are rebelling against the emperor. He is captured by them and finds as he lives with them, that he begins to like and respect their code of morals and their way of life. He begins to find peace in their way of life.
In the end, he ends up fighting with them against his own people and the westernised Japanese army.
The only thing that spoiled the film very slightly for me was the final battle, where the Samurai place their lines apparently just out of reach of the American field guns, but, with a small change of elevation, the guns reach them easily. As an experienced cavalry officer, Cruise's character would have been well aware of the range of the guns and would have stayed back out of range.
The final battle, where the samurai ride directly into concentrated gatling gun fire was again nonsense, as, again, Cruise's character would have known better.
Those criticisms aside (which prevented me giving the film a 10) were still small. The film is a grand epic: Beautiful, involving, haunting and extremely well filmed and played. I would rate it as one of my all time great films.
9/10 from me!
Sorry, but I agree with the plodding and slow crowd
This movie received such mixed reviews on IMDB that I had to watch it for myself. Clearly you either loved it or hated it. I have to say that, while it had elements of 2001 about it and tried hard to be enigmatic, the film was so ponderously slow that you felt like reaching for the fast forward button.
George Clooney was good and Natasha McElhone as his wife also, but they could not overcome the dullness!
I'm a Sci-Fi lover and quite ready to watch something thought provoking. This one, however, borders on anaesthesia. Great for insomniacs mind!
Better watch a good comedy. This will leave you dazed and confused
Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
Quite watchable - not great
I'm an ardent trekkie and have been since the original series in the 60's when I was in my teens. I've watched (and collected) all the films and thoroughly enjoyed them for the most part.
In Nemesis, Patrick Stewart and Tom Hardy play excellent adversaries, but the rest of the crew take second place. They might as well not have included Beverly Crusher, or Geordie for that matter - they had little more than a walk on part.
Warning POSSIBLE SPOILER AHEAD
It did have plot holes, not least surviving the collision with the Romulan battle cruiser. However, we are not told entirely whether the Romulan's shields are good only against energy bolts and perhaps not against large metal objects, so maybe it was barely credible.
Overall I enjoyed it, but it wasnt the best in the series. I gave it 6/10. Well worth a watch, but not earth shatteringly great.
One Eight Seven (1997)
Fine Performances, Depressing Movie!
Samuel Jackson turns in his usual fine performnce. He is a multi-talented actor, as good at showing pathos as he is in action movies.
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD This movie relates the story of a good teacher from an American inner city school who gets stabbed by a pupil he fails. His life as a teacher is ruined and he finds himself doing supply teaching work.
He is allocated to another school with a similarly disruptive class and a gang element, who set out to make life hell for him. He fights back and gives them some of their own medicine.
The performances throughout are excellent, from Samuel Jackson as the teacher to Kelly Rowan as the young lady teacher, equally afraid of her class. The final scenes are quite dramatic and extremely well played with powerful acting by both Jackson and the gang members.
Ultimately, however, it is a depressing film (are American Schools really like that? It is claimed to have been written by a teacher!!!).
I give it 6/10.
40 Days and 40 Nights (2002)
Fine chemistry between the leads but only average film
WARNING POSSIBLE SPOILER AHEAD This was very nearly an excellent film, but somehow failed to make enough of the plotline. Excellent chemistry between Shannyn Sossamon and Josh Hartnett rescued the film. It has some very funny moments and with a little more effort could have been better. Shannyn Sossamon dissapears from the film in the middle, just as you were beginning to enjoy the interplay between her and Josh, but reappears at the end. I thought it a shame that she disappeared. Difficult to say what could have been changed, it just didnt quite hit the right notes?
Still worth seeing though. I'd give it 6/10
American Pie (1999)
Great Movie, very funny sex comedy
I first saw this film when I was away from home staying alone in a hotel and decided to go the cinema for something to do. It was a 3 screen cinema and when I got to the desk they asked me what I wanted to see and I had never heard of any of the films. I chose "American Pie" at random and sat down with no idea what to expect - comedy, drama?
Very quickly I was clutching my sides and laughing out loud. I may be an oldie (late 40's when I first saw it) and a number of other oldies clearly didn't like it and have labelled it a teen comedy. Well that is just what it is, but hilarious nonetheless. True it is a little crude in it's humour but if you are reasonably broadminded you will enjoy it. I just had to put something in to correct the views of the other oldie stick in the muds. Some of us have retained a sense of humour!
The now famous scene where Alyson Hannigan reprises her geek role from the early Buffy series, but with a surprising twist, was pure magic, as was the "warm apple pie" scene with Jason Biggs.
The Guru (2002)
Enjoyable fluff, great dance sequences
I had read a review of this that said the sex bit was quite low key and it was actually quite a good comedy. Indeed it was, not great, but quite watchable and good fun. Jimi Mistry was very good, and the female leads, Marisa Tomei and Heather Graham were funny and sexy.
The Bollywood dance sequences were well done, and Mistry proved he can move very nicely. There were several laugh out loud moments and overall it was a feelgood movie.
It wasnt the best sex comedy I have seen, and the laughs could have been more frequent, but that didnt spoil an otherwise light hearted and amusing film.
For an evening in with nothing else to do, worth watching!
Battlestar Galactica (2003)
Ghastly and over rated!
I was looking forward to this as it was hyped up for about two weeks on Sky TV before it appeared. I'm a die hard Sci-Fi fan and others would say that I'm quite easily pleased, but this?!
I have never seen so many bad performances or such a cheesy script. The special effects were so-so, but I actually found myself laughing at how BAD the performances were half way through the film.
OK, I'm not a kid and perhaps they love it, but if you are at all discerning about your Sci-Fi - AVOID!