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Angel of Mine (2019)
The story exaggerates at every level yet the filmmakers expect viewers to find it believable.
Was dull from the start as the film develops the character of 'Liz' (the pathologically grieving mum). However, despite the trailer, pamphlets etc revealing why she is grieving (daughter died) this already known fact is not revealed until near the end of the movie. We are expected to accept that a truly loving family can readily allow strangers, such as the disturbed 'Liz', into their lives in the finale without a legal battle.
There are tense and thrilling moments but they tell the story of mental illness. Could have been so much better.
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Way way overated! Boring and ordinary. Its popularity is inexplicable
I read the user reviews before I saw this movie. I thought perhaps the negative reviews were a bit unfair. But no! The cinema was filled to the max- I have never seen this before! Today's paper reported it is the highest grossing movie in history! Why? The audience were enraptured, laughing at seemingly unfunny moments, and cheering when good guy characters emerged. I think everyone drank the kool aid!
Most of the movie is ordinary and just like other Avenger movies. Special effects were used to insert characters in cameo roles. Nothing new here folks!
I have tried to analyze its popularity and have concluded that it is really simple to please the masses. People dont want complex scifi, a simple good- bad guy formula with a touch of routine comedy, good looking actors made more attractive with special effects touch ups, and some character familiarity will do the trick. Throw in a lot of multicultural references and political correctness and voila! Big bucks.
Cold Pursuit (2019)
Thoroughly entertaining, plus send up of political correctness
Funny, satisfying and clever movie that sends up the trends of our time. This movie is much more than it seems. Our cinema audience laughed a lot- it is a black comedy. Parallels with Fargo are accurate, but Cool Pursuit has more heart, mainly from the fabulous acting of Liam Neeson. Highly recommended.
Holmes & Watson (2018)
Lighten up- movie is as funny as Monty Python
Just enjoy the craziness. We really liked it. Analysing funny stuff in the way some reviewers seem to be doing is so ridiculously clinical. Lighten up. Have fun.
Khozhdenie po mukam (2017)
Don't miss this series- absolutely strikingly beautiful and haunting
You will be transported to pre WW1 Russia in this extremely high quality TV series. If you know a little history, you will be on the edge of your seat knowing what horrors are about to unfold. The story focuses on two loving sisters, two women lucky enough to be aristocratic with kind hearts and highly educated. Their fate is closely connected with the men in their lives, and the opposing political forces unfolding. You will truly understand how the world evolved after this time, the idealism of the Bolshevics and how that went horribly wrong, and you will feel for the young sisters as horrible as their world becomes, it will only get worse. There are lessons here for current times. Watch out for the slow loss of liberties and push back. This series is astonishingly good. The russian languge is a pleasure to listen to and the subtitles are hardly noticeable. Dont miss it.
Cried, but hated it and loved it at the same time
I knew nothing of this movie. Nothing. As it unfolded i thought 'alpha' was referring to the young man. When it was clear it was about the
Darkest Hour (2017)
I couldn't stand the lies in this movie, the propoganda
Reviewers giving this movie a score of 1/10 have explained things well. I concur. Gave it a good go, but couldn't stand it. Stopped watching as it was clear it was a fantasy.
Absolutely boring and ridiculous premise
Some people think the male character in this film is admirable. He is an absolute moron. The whole film centres on his supposed virtue signalling about "being there" at the birth of his progeny from a one night stand. He sacrifices the social and emotional wellbeing of his existing family (including children) for a whiny, needy, woman whom he impregnated. He also let down his colleagues and workmates on a critical life changing job. Why did he do this? I honestly have no idea. It is so illogical. He did it because he thought it was morally right to be present at the birth of his new offspring. But there is another appropriate philosophical response- it is called consequentialism- attending to his family and colleagues is more important because of the harm caused to more people than this one woman. The pace and situation is so boring, but the acting was great.
The Handmaid's Tale (2017)
Under his eye, what a blessed story!
Stunning series based on a stunning book by Margaret Attwood written in 1984. I wasnt going to watch this as the propoganda around it was very leftist. I couldnt stand to see some more virtue signalling rubbish from left wing socialist extremists. To my surprise this story doesnt do that. If anything, it portrays the socialists as terrifying. These are the architects of Gillead! (The dystopic, brutal, puritanical society based along religious principles- a distortion of Christianity for allegorical purposes). Witness the self-righteousness of the extreme environmentalists who would gladly destroy economies to generate a new world order if it would work to make people change their behavior. These are the leaders of Gillead, and they are with us right now. It is not Trump you should be worried about. It is the Democrats. The new puritanism we see today is not a product of liberal values but the product of socialist groupthink controlling our language and hence our thoughts. In Gilead, one can only use certain words and much is blasphemous. From there comes the policy creep of restricted dress options, color coding, strict behavior control for the greater good (and peace), and ultimately denial of womens freedom because their role is to bear children- the return of the natural order- the facsist mantra of communism. The Handmaids Tale is astonishingly good at making you feel the prisoner in this ghastly world. The horror of being without freedom is shown so well. The inability to escape is shown so convincingly. Peoples inhumanity to each other is just a superficial scratch away- it can appear overnight and we dont realise it. Bit by bit, take away peoples liberties and you will create a Gilead before anyone notices. Condone the puritanical suppression of women from religion (of any kind) and you will reap misery.
Worth watching - masterful, efficient and rich storyteling
'A gentle creature' defies categorisation, it is rich with both metaphor and realism. A Russian woman, depicted as 'gentle', searches for an explanation about the seeming disappearance of her husband who should still be in a Siberian prison. Her emotion during this journey is blunted and she gradually weakens further from lack of sleep and tiredness, until she is entirely and completely vulnerable. A courageous woman, she experiences the most extreme bureaucracy and corruption, the type that is the stuff of nightmares. This is masterfully depicted throughout, in scenes that no Hollywood movie is able to match. The viewer feels entrapped like the woman, and her emotional bluntness is understood completely.
Described by other reviewers as bleak, I found the dark mood of this story somewhat balanced by the humanity shown by others, strangers to the woman, who also suffer similar if not worse dilemmas than the woman. Her journey is her own, solitary and with great risk, but she is never invisible to others. Life in this Siberian town may be cold and harsh, but is life in any modern city any less warm?
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Fun trip, but why is the heroine 'alcohol' dependant?
Enjoyable and funny with Lord of the Rings thrilling overtones, but was this movie sponsored by the alcohol industry? It is unclear what the principal female protagonist is drinking as she fights alongside Thor, but she drinks...a lot. And when Thor suggests she give it up, she is adamant she will continue drinking. In the opening scene she is clearly inebriated. The writers may as well had her knitting, or smoking substances, sniffing, or even injecting- it wouldn't have made any difference to her actions, motivations, nor the plot. It was totally gratuitous. So why did the writers have her drinking to excess and render her character impervious to this? Was this to make her appear more powerful, or cool? With millions of viewers being young tweenies, and with her character seeming to personify female empowerment and independence, could she be inspirational or a role model? Does this movie undermine the millions (if not billions globally) of dollars spent on campaigns to encourage safe drinking? Key message from this movie: let's all drink flagons of wine/spirits in one hit just like she does! Beware this one significant flaw in an otherwise entertaining movie that renders women as either evil, or admirable, but drunk.
Child 44 (2015)
Chilling glimpse of life under socialism
Beautifully and efficiently told story of a couple living in post war socialist Ukraine, trying to live normal lives when all lives are controlled by 'the state'. Daily life constrained by fear, lies, and the absolute power of authorities at various levels of seniority. Mixed into this is a back story of a serial child killer. What hope for justice in this environment where justice is whatever 'the authorities' want it to be? The real monsters are everywhere, have free reign and are unpunished whilst the innocents suffer repression. This fine film might chill the heart of anyone purporting to romanticise life under socialism.
This tale is also a chilling glimpse of a dystopian future. Beautifully acted, this is not a slow plodding European arty movie. It is fast, efficiently told, and has avoided being sensationalist. The script is precise and the main character has the gravitas, integrity and virtue that a viewer can admire in a hero.
I thought this movie was a thousand times better than the ridiculous Dunkirk supposedly depicting war and madness. And what can I say about the much undeservedly feted movie 'Mother' that attempts to depict a similar theme as this film with nonsensical storyline and gratuitous violence? I don't know why Child 44 is not admired more. It is a very fine film, and deserves accolades.
Wind River (2017)
The best film of 2017. Extraordinary, spellbinding.
I was smitten from the first 5 mins. I didn't expect to be. All I knew of this film was that a man named Taylor Sheridan had written the screenplay, and he had done the same for Sicario. Sheridan also directed Wind River. Well, what a talent! Given that Sicario was foreboding, with a tension that didn't let up, and unforgettable, I thought Wind River might also satisfy. I was right. Wind River grips your heart from start to finish. The magnitude of the tension generated is bewildering it is so masterfully created that it emerges as if it is merely a by- product. The acting is astonishing, extremely well cast, with a script that is plain speaking, intensely intimate, efficient and integral - "you didn't see it, did you?". The snow and the cold is truly thrilling being set in the mountainous Wind River Native American settlement in Wyoming where the temperature can drop to -20 degrees C. This is a story about many things. Yes, it is a crime thriller and sensational for that reason alone. But this movie is much, much more than that. There is a great heart to this movie, a little reminiscent of Revenant, but Wind River is very contemporary, very real, very important.
This movie is not about Dunkirk
If you are interested in or have knowledge of World War II history, don't go to see this movie. If you have family in the armed forces, and/ or like 'saving private Ryan', similarly avoid this movie. It will annoy you, infuriate you, bore you. It does not inform or shape your understanding of what happened at Dunkirk. It is gratuitous labelling. The story is about something else, something I can't be bothered considering, something 'arty', something glorifying cowardice when there are soldiers of caliber all around. I went to see a movie about the astonishing evacuation at Dunkirk. I got something else that was cheap and nasty and insulting.
The Mummy (2017)
Read Eric Babayoko below- hilarious. I did have a bit of fun with this movie
I was going to give this movie a higher rating but I read a user review below and laughed and laughed. It says it all very accurately. However, I did enjoy this movie. Watching this reimagining of antiquity and ancient Egyptian artefacts over 5000 years old is absolutely thrilling. The effects were very well done, the undead mummy, zombies etc, made me jump several times. The script was clever, acting great- it's very watchable and fun, despite the substantial (very substantial) plot holes which, reassuringly, are as forgivable as the fun Indiana Jones movies.
The Martian (2015)
Golden Globe for comedy, comedians miscast in serious roles. ABBA soundtrack. Contrived to make money. Awful, awful.
This movie may have been initially popular, but it will fade away. To better imagine being on Mars I had to mute the sound to imagine Watney breathing in his space suit whilst he worked, You do get the impression of being on Mars but this is not sustained because of the comedic overtones and stupendous miscasting. I imagined another version being released in the future - a true space drama- deleting the wisecracks, replacing the soundtrack, and reinforcing the success factors such as the sense of isolation, the science, and the fear. But that's not going to happen. People forget this movie is a comedy, yet it is thoroughly unfunny, but it did win a Golden Globe for comedy. Touché from the accountants! Audiences do love an optimistic fantasy depicting triumph over adversity. And what fantasy! The sandstorm that stranded Watney would be no more fierce than being pelted by talcum powder given Mars thin atmosphere. The storm would barely raise a flag. And then there is Watney. Perpetual optimist, says he's a botanist, but botanists are not farmers nor gardeners. The garden he creates is ridiculous, too shallow with no drainage, and the crop yield fantastical (see one of the reviews below which explores this in detail). Watney doesn't suffer much. He is playful, always strong, optimistic, jovial, confident. I don't see him triumphing over adversity.
Alien: Covenant (2017)
The Alien franchise is now a caricature of its former self. Forumulaic and predictable, in the Alien: Covenant, the accountants have taken control of the story. So many scenes were unnecessary with a disconnected mixture of styles, it seems as if the story was pieced together by a committee with each member allocated their portion. Just like in the movie 'Life', expect the crew on spacecraft to be totally, unapologetically, inept in every sci -fi movie these days. I don't understand how this is meant to be entertaining. But more disappointing is the predictable ending, and the lame 'reveal'. Ripley's intuition was on the mark, but in a universe of possibilities, is this best that writers can imagine? There is a great deal of pretentiousness here, allusions to cultural supremacy, and we have seen this all before. This isn't sci-fi. This is a Marvel comic.
The Boss Baby (2017)
What the world needs now is love, sweet love...I did like Boss Baby
I saw this move with three children, 8, 7 and 3 years of age. They all wanted to see this movie rather than watch 'Beauty and the Beast'. When given the option, it was a uniform cry of "boss baby, boss baby". So off I went. I thought it would be awful. There were single male and female adults of all ages in the audience, as well as parents with children. My 3 year old laughed a lot in the beginning saying "boss baby is funny". After that, she got a bit lost and restless, but got settled again in the second half. The others were focused throughout and said they liked it more than than the 'trolls movie'.
I laughed a lot. The reference to other movies and adult themes was very clever and funny (ie Matrix, Elvis impersonators, etc). The Boss baby character is hilarious. I loved the reflections on parenthood, feeding the baby, dummy sucking, milk bottles, diapers (nappies), vomit, lack of sleep, etc. Sibling competition for parental attention is demonstrated well. The new baby is always the 'boss baby' in any family! The story made me wonder- was it all the child's imagination? The ending was heartwarming and overall, this movie was a nice surprise.
The English Patient (1996)
An Oscar aberration- rather laughable movie about a puerile extramarital affair
The extramarital affair of two rich pompous and pretentious people who indulge in their own delights whilst others fulfil their duty to the war on the frontline, is the centre to this story. They are an utterly boring pair, especially the English patient himself, who proudly proclaims "I do not bargain (with the local market merchants)" in a disdainful tone. They are a construct always speaking as if they are reciting pretentious poetry. The historical chronicles of Herodotus are referred to by the pair repeatedly as if to remind the viewer that these people are oh so learned. When playing spin the bottle with others singing funny songs and having fun around a campfire, the female protagonist (the only woman in the company of about 5 men) recites a boring story of Gyges lusting for Candaules and her nakedness. That's when we first glimpse her narcissism and flirtatious personality.
The most preposterous part is when our poetic lovers are stranded in the desert due to a plane crash involving the grieving husband. As she is injured, and her husband lies dead, her besotted lover leaves her alone with a flashlight and her precious Herodotus in a cave in the middle of the desert and walks to get help. Yes, that's right. With an ankle fracture her fate is sealed when he leaves her alone, whilst he embarks on a 3 day journey through the desert to return with a car. He is unsuccessful (there is a war after all). After a substantial period of time, he returns to the cave. Her body would be either desiccated or bloated, yet she is shown as fresh as the moment he left her when he lifts her in his arms and puts her in a plane again. Taking off, he crashes again in the desert and is burned to near death, but taken by passing Arabs to a hospital (through the desert again). A nurse, abandons her duties to wounded soldiers to feed and administer morphine repeatedly to this one selfish man for a substantial period of time, and she is portrayed as an angel.
This movie sentimentalises and romanticises war. The love story is puerile and gross. I think lovers of cinematography might like it.
The thrill is substantially outweighed by the cringe factor
The premise is fascinating- the first extraterrestrial carbon-based life-form is discovered and its analysis takes place on a space station orbiting earth. When this organism poses a catastrophic threat to the lives of others, the story becomes terrifying. However, unlike Alien (a comparator), the characters behaviour from the start is completely unrealistic. What they do, what they say, has been solely contrived to set-up the terror that follows. The stakes are so high, yet the characters always respond inappropriately to events, they never collaborate, they never review their protocols, they have no plan, their affect (emotional response) is often subdued, flat, and inappropriate. The viewer feels manipulated, and incredulous and any transference and credibility is lost. This contrasts starkly with the engaged, switched on, yet terrified characters in the movie Alien. This is why 'Life' fails. It is not the horror and gore that is unpleasant, it is the human and technical repeated mistakes (no Swiss cheese hypothesis here), abuse of physics, and human incompetence. This can only be attributed to poor script writing and/or commercial interests. However, Alien was a huge commercial success, proving to movie makers that the investment in script and storyline will ensure longevity, whereas 'Life' will be forgotten in a fraction of time. PS. The musical score at the end is sensational, Very similar to Sicario, and even more foreboding.
Kong: Skull Island (2017)
Appalling, offensive, American-centric trash
Just trash. Two words that describe this absolutely awful movie. I concur with all the other reviewers who gave this movie a score of 1. I didn't read the reviews before I went to see this movie (my mistake) and I endured it for the sake of the other people with me who also hated it, otherwise I would have left after 30 minutes. The scriptwriters racist and disrespectful portrayal of the tribespeople was just mind boggling. So much for Ms Larsons so-called 'activism'. All the actors appearing in this trash should apologise to the public.
South Solitary (2010)
This movie is stunningly beautiful- an underrated masterpiece
Thank you Shirley Barrett for writing and directing this movie because you have created a masterpiece. I begin to live in 1928 when I watch this movie. I feel I can step into the screen, help Meredith unpack her belongings and set-up my room in that lovely old house, put the kettle on, and walk outside in that bitterly cold air. I wear the scratchy woollen coat that Meredith wears, the hand knitted woollen vest, the skirt, and loose thick stockings bunching up at the ankles. I look at Mr Fleet (the exceptional Marton Csokas) and am drawn to his shy wounded persona, his awkwardness, and his pain. This movie is astonishing because It draws me into the time of these characters (like no other movie can). I have watched this movie about 8 times and I never tire of it. It was in this movie that I first saw Csokas. I couldn't believe how surpub his performance was. I asked, who is this incredible actor? I have since watched him in many movies and his capacity to express vastly different personalities in every role is just stunning. What an observer of human behaviour and non-verbal communicator! The isolation, the cold, the children, the lonely residents, and those who choose to be alone - the depiction is so real and so true, you feel like you are intruding in conversations. The pace is right, and the music so suited to the telling of the story, and so sublime, that I bought the soundtrack too. I wrote this review because there are so many award winning movies that are appalling, ('la la land' comes to mind), yet masterpieces like this one are overlooked. If you enjoy a love story with warm, gentle characters who are very real (imperfect), if you enjoy the thought of isolation and staring at the wind-swept seascape like in a Bronte novel, and if you like to gently explore the personality of someone you find increasingly fascinating - this movie is truly for you.
Atmospheric, immersive, memorable- watched this many times
This movie has a gentle, sensual pace, and creates a reality that is haunting yet alluring. The scenes - both in the woods, and in the sky houses have a peaceful qualify. The music is largely responsible for this and is thoroughly mood setting. Although the plot has many flaws, I didn't find this mattered at all. This is because the acting was flawless, and the special effects made the scenes so believable. The sound made by the drones is just perfect... "Jack Harper tech 49 ...hey!!!" There is action and there is violence.
This movie created many now famous quotes, the most obvious being "are you an effective team?". This viewer was left with a lingering flavour of a world with new potential and capacity to renew itself. I can watch this movie again and again.
Stirs the imagination- what would you do?
With a plausible set-up in a future that can hibernate humans for interstellar travel in a commercial vessel, this movie explores this world and more. It is highly original and funny, but also thrilling and controversial. I found myself imagining being on this spacecraft and the thrill it would be. Then I imagine myself in the situation of Chris Pratt after a time. It would be truly dreadful. It makes sense that "a drowning man will drag others down with them" - this key point seems to have been missed by some reviewers, and is fundamental to the plot. The relationship that forms between the two main characters is realistic and touching. The ending was perfect. Their situation made me question the choices that they made and the possible alternatives, and to discuss them with family, but all alternatives are inferior to the choices both of these two made. In the end, I too would make the same choice, and what a ride it would be! Just loved this movie!
Captain Fantastic (2016)
Fantasy indeed- pathology being exhibited here
What a disappointment. Depicts disturbed parenting and whilst the movie questions this about midway, it starts to believe it's own rhetoric at the end. Rather shocking portrayal of child abuse and damaged children. The depiction of joyful children and teenage siblings happy to live with each other in a remote location. with no contact with other children is a fantasy indeed, and if it were true, would represent pathological behaviour. This movie is a good candidate for those funny recut movies- you know, the recut that turned Mrs Doubtfire into a horror movie? I don't think it will take someone long to add a horror music score on top of the final "blissful family" scene at the end, to portray the truth. Hilarious! Would be good fun to analyse the adolescent psychopathology and the powerlessness of the children as depicted in this movie in lectures. Would also be good for sociologists to discuss how no human society or culture or animals have ever survived like this. Very silly movie.