rharley

IMDb member since June 2000
    Lifetime Total
    25+
    Lifetime Plot
    1+
    Lifetime Trivia
    5+
    IMDb Member
    20 years

Reviews

Godzilla vs. Kong
(2021)

Did someone just halve the special effects budget?
I was waiting for something different in another tired chapter in the Kong/Godzilla story but was left disappointed. This offered nothing new just mechanical and predictable attempts at acting in a theatre of surprisingly unconvincing CGI. The very first time we see Godzilla breaking through the water the sense is not of a titan emerging from the depths but more like something from the 60s puppet show Stingray. Not long after we're treated to the scene of a chained Kong 'communing' with a child in the pouring rain where the graphics of the rain-soaked giant were so amateurish as to be embarrassing! This really set the scene for this middle of the road filler of a movie which was ultimately disappointing and stale.

Goliath
(2016)

Potentially good show ruined by one dimensional script
What is it with these drama writers who think the only way to write a script is to make all the characters hostile and confrontational? Seems everyone except the main protagonist has to have a pissy attitude which gets tiresome after just one episode.

Episode One sees 'our hero' set up in an unlawful traffic stop and falsely imprisoned overnight. However, even his daughter who was there (and who was tazed and yet not arrested??!) seems to dismiss this event telling her dad to get his act together. WTF? Of course the traffic stop was designed to make him miss a court hearing, yet none of the other characters saw this piece of the script and just weigh in to him as being an unreliable bum.

Give us a break, people don't even act like this on stage. Just plain dire.

Prodigal Son
(2019)

Opportunity missed
Aside from the similarities to Silence of the Lambs (recruiting a criminal mind to solve crimes), Prodigal Son presented itself with potential for some interesting plots. Sadly it signalled pretty early on that this was going to be just another stereotypical TV cop show following the same old routines. Tom Payne portrays a less than convincing gifted but troubled (where have we seen that before?) expert enlisted to help a typically dysfunctional quartet of detectives. I mean how often do you have to repeat the lack of sleep, nightmares, bed handcuffs and uncontrollable tremors routine within a single episode before the audience shouts "We get it!". Michael Sheen is a talented actor but here he is reduced to a comical and somewhat ineffectual foil for Payne's leaps of logic whereas a much darker, more manipulative and esoteric character would have been so much more interesting. As for the 'chief', male & female sidekicks and doe-eyed medical examiner, they really do nothing more than act as filler enabling each episode to proceed. Add to it the usual 'just-in-time' heroics, cliches and ham-acting and you're left with just another generic law & order yawnfest.

Jason Bourne
(2016)

Fell into the I.T. cliche in the first few minutes!
I have to say that on the whole I have enjoyed the Jason Bourne series of films including this one. However, one has to despair at the scriptwriters falling headlong into a clichéd computer scenario right from the start.

Nicky Clark enters some computer facility having had to give a passphrase to the door guard and then...

1. While scanning the room one woman is heard to say "Use SQL to corrupt their database". Presumably the passphrase to get in and the room full of computer users was insufficient to alert the viewer that this is some clandestine facility and this throwaway comment was also needed. Could it be that the 'hacker' at the keyboard was so dumb that they needed to be told what language to use??

2. Having used a backdoor to access top secret files, Nicky finds that they are in a folder helpfully called 'Black Ops' with subfolders using the Operation names! Not attempt whatsoever at obfuscating this precious data.

3. For some strange reason Nicky doesn't use a VPN allowing the CIA to trace her exact whereabouts.

4. The CIA operative types the command 'run predictive algorithm' at a command prompt. I guess she's running a script called 'predictive' with a parameter of 'algorithm'. What nonsense!

5. Within seconds a message stating 'Malware uploaded' appears because that's exactly what happens when an intruder uses zero defences against malware.

The whole scene is utterly preposterous for anyone who knows anything about how computer systems work and is just lazy scriptwriting that perpetuates a movie cliché. 4 stars off for an otherwise entertaining film.

Raised by Wolves: The Beginning
(2020)
Episode 10, Season 1

Suspending disbelief
To start with the series was both entertaining and intriguing but then Marcus came along. The more he took a leading role, the worse it got, but the icing on the cake, or rather the floater in the swimming pool, was the season finale!

Ok I can imagine that in some distant future there are giant snakes with an overbite that can also fly and shuttle craft that can fly through the molten core of a planet but there was one utterly appalling scene. An atheist guard sits by a campfire, a man whom one presumes that by holding a weapon has at least been trained to use it. Marcus sneaks up on the guard and on being discovered three more (trained?) guards appear, surrounding him with weapons drawn. Marcus is now facing four foes and for any man who has gone days without food or water that would be it, but no... They expect us to believe that these guards are so dumb that Marcus can disarm the first guard, then shoot guard number #2 at which point guards #3 and #4 do nothing. Marcus then shoots guard number #3 at which point you're thinking guard #4 must be asleep because he also then gets shot! While Marcus is facing down the three guards, guard #1 just stands next to him watching without making a grab for the weapon.

Choreography this bad might appear in a 70s B movie but doing it in an expensive production these days is just an insult to the audience's intelligence. Based on this they should scrap season 2 and give the money to a good cause instead.

Dark Matter
(2015)

Predictably.... Lame
Episode one opens with a man recently revived from suspended animation stumbling his way to a Control Centre and despite having had his mind wiped, he knows that this particular location is where to fix the life support countdown issue. Ok we can forgive that minor convenience. Within seconds of his awakening a female awakes and makes her way to the same location whereupon she immediately attacks and bests the man. Errrr ok if this is what passes for how people behave then I can see where this series is going. Then to cap it all when he asks why she attacked him she states he was "in the way".

Whatever happened to "Hey, step away I can fix this, I know what I'm doing!". No that would have been far too logical or reasonable and unfortunately this opening 60 seconds marks the trend for the rest of the series. Gross overacting to the point where you don't just have to accept that these brain-wiped souls are floating in space but each and every one of them has an attitude problem to boot. Spare us the melodramatics please!

Spides
(2020)

The writers spared me the trouble...
So, after the not too original opening of people floating in tanks we're introduced to the lead character Nora awaking in hospital. Nora seems to be afflicted with the frowning and looking around suspiciously syndrome! There's a knock on the door and the doctor announces "You have visitors", not "Your parents are here to see you", there then follows one of the most wooden scenes I've ever been treated to in a TV series.

The so called parents, rather than rushing forward to hug their daughter, instead indulge in a little exposition "We were so worried sweetheart" to which Nora replies "Who are you?". Instead of saying something logical like "I'm your mum silly!" we get "You don't recognise us?" then there's a hesitant "It's me...mum" (more frowning and staring by Nora) followed by the man stepping forward and saying "Which would make me your...." at which point he pauses to let little Nora frown out the closing line "...my dad?".

Ugh who writes this stuff?! If that's the way parents greet a child they've been "so worried" about, then human interaction has taken a serious turn for the worse. Thankfully this exchange all takes place within the first five minutes, giving you a clear signal of what to expect in the ensuing 40 minutes and following episodes. Thank you to the writers for setting out your stall so early and sparing me the torture of watching until I fell asleep.

Abstruse
(2019)

Pitifully bad!
When I think of the money spent on creating this movie and the fact that it could have been far better used had it been given to charity or other good causes, it really makes you question what is going through some people's heads.

Quite early on in the film there are sections where the actors sound like they're just reading lines from the script with little depth or emotion. As for the way they behave at itimes, it's blind observance of a dire script. Your crazy friend has just suffocated a girl and you're arguing the toss and trying to reason with them rather than making your excuses and calling the cops? Who on earth would do that?

Sizemore is the one redeeming character is this wooden production, but sadly even he gets bogged down in the unconvincing delivery at times. Ultimately it's an unrewarding outing with an pedictable and unoriginal plot. Save yourself the time and watch some paint dry instead.

Devs
(2020)

Where have all the continuity people gone?
1. Super secret/secure Devs lab in the middle of a field with no clear path in/out and accessible only via a woodland trail, and yet presumably clearly visible from the air?

2. On his very first visit to the super secure/secret Devs lab, our would-be spy Serge decides to make a clandestine recording of some sort on his wrist watch, rather than to wait until after a few visits to perhaps gain their trust?

3. Stereotypical child prodigy computer nerd in the secret Devs lab.

4. Secret Devs lab is full of completely unergonomic workstations with keyboards and screens that can't be adjusted? Way to go for somewhere you expect employees to while away hours of coding.

5. A screenful of very ordinary code (some variable declarations and loops) surrounded by some mumbo-jumbo windows totally freaks out Serge as the key to life, the universe, etc...? Oh please.

6. Evil boss stops Serge as he's returning home through the woods for some stereotypical cryptic exposition.

7. Serge just happens to run straight into the arms of the one security guard that the evil boss brought with him?

8. The much older security guard overpowers Serge pinning him to the floor and puts a carrier bag over his head. Despite clearly having at least one hand free, Serger doesn't even attempt to tear the bag away from his face to avoid suffocation?

9. The girlfriend (who happens to know Serge's phone password) spots the Sodoku app within seconds of restoring his phone and immediately realises this is the key to the puzzle?

Quantum computing is a fascinating subject and makes an interesting candidate for a sci-fi thriller series, but... why encase a good story in this shoddy wrapper? Someone once said that you should only ask your audience to suspend disbelief once and some amazing discovery regarding quantum computing would have been just that. The rest of it is just annoying.

Emergence
(2019)

Rapidly went downhill
The first couple of episodes were passable, OK the plot of a 'special' child is not new but it seemed reasonably well strung together. Then we get to episode 4 and we're back in the world of actors acting out a script rather than trying to convey a real story. Our two main characters of the policewoman and the reporter approach one of the arch-criminal's sidekicks only to be told "They're watching". Then having broken into a facility and retrieved the cure, our super-worried policewoman would rather argue the toss with the scientist rather than rush in to the hospital and administer that cure to the near-death child. I guess the script at that point had 'act with disbelief' in the brackets.

On the episode lumbers with our duo now going to the scientists house in plain view despite knowing she's being watched and that it could be a fatal move. Then having stolen the scientists phone they decide not to take it somewhere safe to work on but to plug it into a laptop on the roof of a car while standing outside the scientists house (presumably being watched). And so it trudges on, and it's not the fact that the little child is supposed to be a robot that's unbelievable, it's the utterly wooden plot, mechanically followed by the actors that's unbelievable.

They say that with sci-fi films you can ask the audience to suspend disbelief once, e.g. that the main character has super powers or something like that, but to ask the audience to constantly suspend disbelief in how dumbly the actors act out a script full of "why on earth would he/she do/say that?!" is just one step too far.

As the season moves on you soon start to realize that there is one leading character that really brings the whole thing down. Jo Evans (the police chief) played by Allison Tolman is the real 'emergence' developing as an obsessive, arrogant, self-righteous, unreasonable, inconsistent and unrealistic character. Perhaps the script writers cast her in the most idiotic role but the result is the most intensley annoying character to appear in a TV series for a long time. I wonder how the series would have played out had a different actress been cast in this role?

Alien Domicile 2: Lot 24
(2018)

Predictably dismal or is that dismally predictable?
From the moment it starts to the final minute, this movie feels like it was written and directed by people with no idea how to create a story.

The scene opens with our five intrepid adventurers getting out of the car to all stand in silence looking around. Who does that?? Are you honestly telling me that's how five individuals would act after a long car journey? Then we get the completely unsubstantiated 'feed' lines the characters use to try and set the scene like "I've just never seen trees look like this" when looking at a perfectly normal woodland scene, and you soon start to realise that because the director and actors are unable to convey any sense of atmosphere whatsoever that they have to force it all with badly delivered dialogue.

The plot continues to lurch along with the acting being more wooden than the trees! Artificially creepy music and sound effects do nothing to bolster the atmosphere which is sadly lacking and you start wishing the actors would relax and get in to character rather than sounding like they're just reading the script... and so it goes on with our heroes simplistic plot being rammed down the audience's throat with every sentence. We're 12 minutes into the film and we get "Let me get this straight. You brought us out on a camping trip, to an RV site owned by your dead, oh I'm sorry, missing uncle who's some frikkin tree nut alien lover?". If that line isn't broadcasting at full volume exactly what's going to happen, well they may as well have had subtitles flash up on screen saying 'Spoiler Alert!' because the characters delivery is about as subtle as a kick in the groin with a diver's boot!

Cut to a woman grabbing a branch, followed immediately by a spinning green circle and then the sky is pink and she feels the need to say aloud "Where am I?". Oh please, you're in one of the lamest sci-fi flicks to ever stumble onto our screens!

Air Force One
(1997)

Might as well have had purple dragons flying around!
Some films have stood the test of time, but this one was bad even by late 90's standards. They always say that unless you're watching a super-hero movie the director can only ask you to suspend disbelief once. That moment occurred after the aborted landing sequence where a 747 that has slewed across grass at speed manages to then take off again narrowly missing a transport plane that, judging from the footage from the 747 cockpit, was approaching at about 30mph! Following that, well lat's say prepare yourself for an utter groan-fest!

Then we have the hu-rah section of the movie where the gun-toting Mr President manages to single-handedly foil the terrorists plans, while an inept Gary Oldman singularly manages to not take advantage of having the president's wife and daughter in his grasp.

As a final thought, just listen to the music throughout the film. Cheesey fanfares as Ford says to Goldman "Get off my plane!', or as he's whisked off the plane before the final (rubbish CGI) crash.

This film has so many feeble cliff hangers and head-in-your-hands moments that it should be consigned to 'How do I get those 2hrs of my life back?' archives. US chest beating at its worst.

Departure
(2019)

Truly painful to watch
I thought this was going to be an interesting and entertaining mini series but turns out it was nothing more than a string of cliches and stereotypes. All they have done is take every single character and every tired old plot device from any similar movie or TV series that has gone before and just reassembled them into an utterly predictable six episodes. Lead investigator with baggage. Storm hampers recovery efforts. Black box lands on edge of deepest part of the ocean a few meters past the submersible's depth threshold. Girl wakes up and immediately has a fit when questioned. Rebellious adolescent just happens to install trojan on mum's laptop. The list goes on, and on, and on.

Overall an egregious waste of money that could have been spent on far better causes.

Precious Cargo
(2016)

Lame coreography
Twenty minutes in there is the most lame boat chase I have ever seen. Why the directory included a five minute sequence of 'bad guys' unable to hit the side of a barn despite unleashing hundreds of rounds (without even reloading) is beyond me. Not a single bullet hole even appears on any of the boats! A crime caper needs to have some degree of realism and this just puts you off. Follow this up with some truly wooden stereotypical characters (this is not Willis at his finest, trust me) and you just have the movie equivalent of watching paint dry.

Pandora
(2019)

Downright embarrassing to watch
I really am curious who signs off huge amounts of time and money being spent on one of Sci-Fi's oldest (and over-worked) plot-lines being enacted by a group of youngsters with very limited talent. The opening of episode one was just ghastly, the acting was as shallow as a puddle on my patio and why oh why do producers think that having people wander around aimlessly in a large building with a tannoy announcing nonsense indicates the 'future'. Then of course it emerges that the lead character is yet another angry individual with supposed baggage and an abrasive attitude. The acting felt like a first reading of the script and nowhere could you feel any empathy with any of the players. And so it continued... boring, unimaginative and stereotypical.

Let's hope it's cancelled after Season One and that they spend the money on something useful to society.

Bumblebee
(2018)

An end to cliches please!
Ten minutes into what is essentially a baffling torrent of CGI we get to the so called 'rebellious teenager'. A self-entitled disrespectful ball of attitude, who thinks people over thirty aren't allowed any form of romance because it's "gross" and that the world owes her a living. What's this? Despite her parents feeding her, clothing her, giving her an education, putting a roof over her head and do everything parents do in sacrifice for heir children - no, she expects them to now give her a car.

Honestly, the sooner directors drop these cliched entitletards from their films the better!

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
(2018)

What just happened?
I approached this with some trepidation given I don't usually enjoy animations. This proved me wrong, best film I've seen in ages!!

Aquaman
(2018)

Yet another formulaic hero movie
The storyline has been done to death - outcast hero, heir to the throne or whatever, makes good in the end. Every single cliche that has gone before was dredged up for this movie and no amount of ripped actors or curvy actresses could redeem it. Sure the CGI is impressive but that's all this movie is - one long boring cliche-fest. At no point are you left wondering what will happen next because everything is so predictable. WHAT A SNOOZE!

Tidelands
(2018)

Storyline can't make up for wooden acting
On its own a series about 'half-sirens' could be interesting IF the acting wasn't so cliched and wooden. Opening with one trawler 'sneaking up' on another to observe some goings on - how exactly does that work? The captain standing agape rather than radioing his colleague to explain some perceived threat? A guy having his eyes gouged out while just kneeling there not making a sound? Not off to a very convincing start.

Then of course there's the fight-mistress main character who's oh so savvy with lightning reflexes and a gorgeous figure? Sorry but you need actors who convince the audience they're living the part rather than reciting lines from a script. What little emotion there was in the story was so faked it was cringeworthy. Episode 1 got me to the point of not caring what the plot had in store and Episode 2 didn't improve on it. In Episode 3 the mediocrity just kept coming. Enough!

Godsend
(2004)

Good acting, lousy plot
*** CONTAINS SPOILERS *** I rented this film being a big fan of Robert de Niro, but have to confess that this is one forgettable film. The big question then has to be, what were they trying to achieve with this film? If it was simply to be able to tick the box that says you've made a film about one of today's moral issues then fine - they can tick the box and go home. But that's about it, in what is otherwise a very disappointing hour and a half's distraction from reality TV!

So where did it go wrong? Well the acting was strong and competent with Kinnear carrying off the role of a troubled father, but then support from Romijn-Stamos was a little weak, and de Niro's role simply didn't let him out of the box! But what really got me was the story-line. Firstly, it barely skated across the moral issue's of human cloning with de Niro's brief chat in the cafe, so it wasn't about that. Then there weren't enough thrills to make it a thriller - just one or two suspenseful moments and that was it. Then came the continuity... what continuity? OK, after a heated exchange in a church, Kinnear is coshed by de Niro and left injured and bleeding on the floor, barely able to crawl. The next minute, he's saving his wife from his murderous possessed(?) son in some shack in the woods! How did he recover from his injuries? How did he get cleaned up? How did he know where to find his wife?

Finally we are offered a teaser in that de Niro lost his own son and this re-born clone is somehow connected to that loss. But how? What did de Niro do exactly? Use some of his dead son's genetic material in the cloning process? And where are they going with this possession thing? The story come to a head, then the parents re-locate, you see de Niro scanning the obituaries in a room somewhere, and the boy's parents end it all with some line about a change of scenery will work wonders. That's it - none of the issues are resolved, there's no closure and the ending has "Godsend II" written all over it. If that's the case then spare us please... don't make that sequel!! (4 out of 10)

Operation Delta Force 3: Clear Target
(1998)

If this film was a horse - they'd shoot it!
There simply isn't anything to redeem this (attempt at a) film. This has to be the weakest delivery of an unoriginal plot to ever hit the screen - it's not even good enough to be 'filler'.

The acting was wooden, the script predictable and unimaginative, the sets were totally unrealistic (crystal clear sea water though which to view the patently model sub?), and the continuity was dreadful! How about enemy soldiers who don't even know the basics of how to take cover? Or our band of heroes who dodge bullets while running along the top of a train in full view of machine-gun toting baddies? Maybe the plastic molded cave walls? And could we have guessed the count-down timer would have been stopped on anything other than 1 second?

Actually the only thing this film is good for is to educate other film crews and actors how NOT to do it!

Solo
(1996)

The only thing "robotic" is the acting!
To take a subject already covered by other films (e.g. Universal Soldier) you'd expect the director to give it a new twist, or in some way improve upon the story.

Sadly they failed to do either with this film. The story was all too predictable - ruthless robo-soldier gets a conscience, and protects villagers, Magnificent Seven style against the real baddies (the US military). So the lead character might have had a good physique, but was utterly unconvincing as either an army-bred automaton, or a caring nanny for some Mexican sounding peasants. As for the performances of the puffed-up general and the megalomaniac colonel, they were even more artificial than the so called cyborg they were trying to eliminate. I've seen better acting from a vending machine!

At so many points in the film, you stare in disbelief at why on earth the characters would behave or react the way they do if they were trying to portray even a semi-plausible story. The film concludes with the inevitable 'my gun is bigger than your gun' scene, and then thankfully the credits roll. Dismal is too good a description - avoid this one at all costs!

See all reviews

Recently Taken Polls

It's a Small World After All