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Disco Pigs

Thumbs down, I'm afraid.
Disco Pigs has a wonderful beginning. Our heroine narrates as she escapes from her mother's womb. Her narration is wonderfully bitter about coming into the dreaded world. The images are startlingly original; the babies large eyes comparable with the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey. We meet the baby's mother and father who, we're told, will never be as happy as they are at that moment. Then the baby is laid to rest. It starts to cry but stops when it sees a crying baby next to it. The neighbouring baby stops crying. The infants stare at each other, put their hands out and hold hands. I don't know how this scene was achieved. I can imagine recently born babies aren't easy to direct. What I do know is that this is a remarkably effective opening. One of the best and most original I've seen.

Unfortunately, the remainder of the film is not so great. It tries hard and its young director clearly adores the source material but it is this material that's the problem. There's very little new here. And the characters often let themselves down with strange shifts in their traits. For example, the bitter narration I've just spoken about is conducted by Sinead (Runt), the female lead. She's never as bitter again as she is at the beginning. It's a shame the movie focuses on her character at the start. It should have concentrated its efforts on Pig (played by the remarkable Cillian Murphy). His motivations are far more realised. Runt is a much shadier character and the audience never really understands her. Why does she not take to Pig? Why does she take to the bartender, is it his almost illiteracy or his red jumper? Is she gay? Does she fall in love with her roommate?

Comparisons to A Clockwork Orange or The Butcher Boy are unfair. It doesn't possess the soul of either of these. In fact, the violence here is far more sickening because its so gratuitous. Comparisons to Heavenly Creatures are more apt, but that movie was based on a true story, a trait this movie seems to think it has.

The acting from the leads especially Murphy is very solid, though he has a tendency to mumble. They both have a strong screen presence. The direction from Kirsten Sheridan is inconsistent. The beginning is fantastic and flashback scenes seeing the pair as children are equally remarkable but she chooses cliched editing for the disco scenes and leaves in a soliloquoy which betrays the films stage origins and leaves the audience desperately uncomfortable. Otherwise, she has plenty of potential.

Lastly, Disco Pigs was the first film I've seen that focuses for a large part on my native city. It was wonderful to see and I hope to see more. Sheridan though seems to have missed a few geography lessons. When Pig takes the bus from Cork, the film cuts to him on the bus and back to an establishing shot of a restaurant that's in Cork, he then hitchhikes to Donegal, which is about a five hour drive, then miraculously arrives back in Cork, all in the space of a day. Goofs aplenty.

Happy Days

Where would the world be without Fonzie? Pretty much the same place, I suppose, but the character remains special all the same. He was a superhero in a leather jacket. When Ralph, Potsie or Richie were in trouble 'The Fonz' would come to the rescue. Henry Winkler was cool, Henry Winkler was slick, Henry Winkler was the Fonz.

Winkler never did outgrow this role. In fact, he stayed in it far too long. The later episodes of Happy Days retain some of the magic of the earlier episodes but the Fonz is a caricature of his former self. His gut sticks out through his shirt; the guys look up to him because he's a teacher, not because he's cool; he still has the catchphrases but not a lot of the charm.

This is the only fault of Happy Days which was a remarkably innocent memory of the 1950's. I somehow doubt the 50's were this wholesome but the show was entertaining. The jokes rarely fell flat and the acting was strong, especially Tom Bosley, Winkler and Ron Howard. However, the show outstayed its welcome. When Fonz became the star, the show deteriorated. Sure, Chachi was appealing but Fonz should never be a lead. He was the supporting character. He was the guy who saved the day; not the guy who needed to be saved.


I'll have a B please Bob!
In the UK, everybody knows the quiz show Blockbusters. All you have to say to remind them of the show is: "I'll have a P please Bob". The Bob referred to the host Bob Holness who gained quite a large following, during the running of this quality quiz show. Watching the new Blockbusters hosted now by the lively Lisa Tarbuck, it seems that Bob wasn't the only reason behind Blockbuster's success.

The format is wacky. Two players play against one play in a strange game of hexagonal tic-tac-toe. The game board has been cleverly designed so that every game has a winner. The winners then try to win the Gold Run for a pretty generous prize.

The quiz is quick and entertaining even when the guests are not. The host keeps things moving. Both Holness and Tarbuck are blessed with sure-fire wits that keep the game interesting. The questions are often difficult. Each answer beginning of course with a different letter. I don't know if it ever made it to the shores of the USA but it stamped itself on the culture of Britain for sure.

The Simpsons

The Simpsons began as an animated version of the stereotypical dysfunctional American family. Lazy father, weary mother, troublesome son, prodigal daughter and of course, the baby. Fortunately it has been allowed to develop into something more. The show has expanded to include a whole community of characters. No other show can claim to have as many characters developed than the Simpsons. It is this that makes the show special. That, and Homer.

Homer is the star. It's hard to argue this point. Though the show originally had Bart at its centre, the writers found that they could only milk so much comedy from an 8 year old boy. Homer was a much bigger cow to milk and so they grabbed his udder. 11 years later, it has yet to run dry.

Homer started as the archetypical angry family man. It is difficult to watch an early episode where Homer tries desperately to improve the family - this is more Marge's business. Homer grew into the lovable goof that he is today. He loves his family sure but he's not afraid to choke the boy if the does something wrong. It is from Homer that the rest of the community has been developed. Apu, whose role increases every season, has been allowed numerous conversations with Homer. Mr Burns and Smithers, Lenny, Carl all work with Homer. And Moe and Barney provide comic relief at Moe's Tavern, Homer's second home.

The Simpsons is classic comedy. Homer is the classic leading man. He doesn't know that he's funny. He doesn't want to be funny. But he is; and so is the Simpsons.

The Royle Family

True Lives
The Royle Family is successful because it's true. Political-correctness is non-existent in this household as it is in most. The dwelling is a mess. Who's house isn't? And the dialogue is never intelligent. It's silly, it's crude, but because it touches so close to reality, it's very, very funny.

Performances are perfect. The script is dead-on. The direction is perfect in that it is unobtrusive.

It is a strange ride watching the Royles. Most episodes are set entirely in front of the TV screen. So it often becomes a "Truman Show" experience as the Camera seems to be placed in the TV. Their lives are so real. And it is filmed in documentary style. It is the ultimate voyeuristic experience.

Royle Family is a remarkable TV show. There is none like it. The fact that only six episodes are created a year helps to keep the show fresh. We will never become bored of these characters. Far from it. We would love to see more of this household.

I urge you to watch an episode. From start to finish. There won't be any big scene to catch your attention but the entire episode will keep you entertained. And when the credits roll I guarantee you'll miss them when they're gone.

The Perfect Storm

A true story? Yeah right.

Okay there was a storm; a pretty major storm in 1991 and 6 fishermen died out there. That part of the movie was true but the most intense and best parts of the movie are complete fiction. What happened to the fishermen? Nobody knows this.

Petersen and his writer come up with an action adventure flick that works. The action is exciting. We care enough about the characters to make it interesting. The special effects are amazing. Wow! Can you imagine being out at sea in a storm like that? I wouldn't need to drown, I would have a heart attack.

However there are problems. The dialogue is rubbish and the director fails to make any of the relationship's any bit touching. Mark Wahlberg (impressive) and Diane Lane's (not so impressive) relationship gets the most screen time but she is a thinly drawn character that we don't care for. George Clooney gives a fine performance as he underplays the role of the Skipper beautifully but his so-called relationship with Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is much like their sea adventure; a disaster. Were they lovers? Were they friends? Her tears at the end suggests the former. Also Bugsy's relationship is laughable. He meets a woman the night before he leaves and we are expected to believe that because they barely spoke one night that she is in love with him and she is going to miss him for eternity. PLEASE!

This film is based on a true story. We are told this at the beginning and though the word "based" must be taken into consideration, I was disappointed that nobody survived because 75% of the movie takes place out on that boat and there is no chance in hell that we know what honestly happened out there.

** (out of four)


An unstereotypical view of a very misunderstood culture.
The Omish are a strange culture who have been tormented for having such a backward way of living. The movies are as much to blame for this torment as anyone. Kingpin anyone? I'm not complaining about the Farrelly Brother's farce, it was undoubtedly funny but I needed a less stereotypical view to better understand this misunderstood culture.

Peter Weir's "Witness" is such a movie. He accomplishes a lot in this picture. He has a fine romance, some accomplished action and expert acting. However, the movie succeeds most in its depiction of the Omish people. Their very religious ways were greatly contrasted with the ordinary way of living. Weir doesn't preach however that their way is better, he gives an objective view. Weir highlights their sensitive culture but his praise of it in the beautiful barnraising sequence is contrasted by the obvious taunts of their unbelievable stubborness to enter the twentieth century.

I admire Weir's unpredictability as a filmmaker. It seemed obvious to me that one of the Omish would become jealous of Harrison Ford's character but it never happened. I was surprised that the bad guy didn't struggle more at the end. I was surprised throughout.

The movie was in no way conventional but in some ways this let it down. It has dramatic elements but as a whole not a lot happens. The characters are strong and the acting is great but the plot itself is shallow. Sure the police corruption is a nice touch, but perhaps more of the movie could have been used to highlight the obvious culture clash.

Mission: Impossible II

A Patience Tester!
Mission: Impossible 2 fails in almost every aspect. It is a run of the mill action flick not a Mission Impossible movie. A Mission Impossible film has to have twists galore; surprises that don't make sense; a plot that nobody understands. Kudos to Brian De Palma. He got the genre spot on with Mission: Impossible and he was then able to flex his action biceps with the terrific train sequence and the awe-inspiring entry into the security vault. There was a romantic element to his movie also but it was always a supporting character. It aided but did not interfere with the spy movie.

M:I2 wasn't even a spy movie. It was a romance first and an action movie second. The romance was destroyed by the weak nature of Thandie Newton's character. Though she began the movie as a superior thief, she quickly was reduced to no more than a damsel for Tom Cruise to heroically save.

The action was also inferior to De Palma's version. Frankly, John Woo bores me. His incessant slow-motion shots were tiresome and what is his obsession with pigeons? The teaser before the credits was well done as was the rock-climbing sequence but the car chase and the overlong motor-race cum fight was to put it bluntly boring.

Who cares if Cruise did all his own stunts? There weren't that many to do in the first place. I'm not bitter towards Cruise, in fact he is possibly my favourite actor when he is in a worthy movie (EYES WIDE SHUT), however this movie reaks of his interference as producer and if he did greatly interfere then his own vanity may have destroyed what could have been a successful franchise.

The Sixth Sense

Not a horror, it's a scary drama!!
Sixth Sense is not a horror film. It's about ghosts and possesses a number of shocks that will levitate you from your seat but it's not a horror movie. This is a drama about a kid who can see the dead and the psychologist that tries to help him.

The film opens with Bruce Willis and his wife (Olivia Williams) celebrating his achievement of winning an award for outstanding work as a child psychologist. The night is interrupted by a former patient who Willis failed to help. He attacks Willis before killing himself.

A year on and Willis has a new patient named Cole played by the outstanding Haley Joel Osment. Willis sees in Osment a chance to make amends for the patient who he let down a number of years ago. From here on there are two plots both revolving about a family. The most interesting of which is that of Osment's. He keeps many secrets and refuses to tell his mother. He confides in Willis; he has got an ability to see the living dead. This ability has to be the most frightening that a child would ever have to face. The other less interesting plot concerns Willis and his wife who seem to be be growing apart.

M. Night Shyamalan proves himself capable as both writer and director. He uses strange camera angles to suggest the eerie nature of Osment's dilemma. His writing is also adept; it is surely Oscar-nominated material. The opening 45 minutes are quitely effective before the film really grips you. The finale is successful in what it does. It was purely designed to promote the film's chances at the box office, and it seems to have worked.

Analyze This

Analyzing the movie...
The preview for Analyze This was misleading. I expected a laugh a second riot, what I got was a more thoughtful, serious movie but not a more successful one.

Analyze this possesses more dramatic than comedic scenes. It was advertised as a comedy but is more than that. However, myself and the other people at the cinema were unsure whether to laugh or not at some situations - especially when Robert De Niro's character starts to cry. Here is a fully grown man that has a reputation for being vicious and he is shedding tears like a baby - surely we must laugh. But we recognise this guy has serious psychological problems and we find it hard to. Not too long ago I saw Raging Bull. De Niro's crying in this movie is similar. It seems rather comic the way he blubbers but it's realistic.

De Niro is the star of this movie. His acting is spot on. He is adept at both comedy and drama. We feel for him. He is in an awful tough situation. He is expected to be strong but he can't. De Niro never parodies the situation. His action and especially his language are as violent as most of his other gangster movies.

Crystal fares well in his first good role in years. It is more than a supporting role but he is pushed back to that by the conviction of De Niro. He does have a number of laugh out loud moments especially when he is treating other patients or when he is parodying a gangster near the end.

The direction by Ramis is less than successful. There are a number of throwaway plots and Lisa Kudrow is used too sparingly. The opening scenes are ineffective - the movie takes an age to get into - but the acting saves it.

It's a good movie but unfortunately it's too easy to "forget about it".

The Blair Witch Project

A gem
The directors of the Blair Witch Project possess a directing tool that most horror directors (and most cinema patrons these days) lack: patience. Most horror movies have a scare at the beginning that unsettle the audience. We see a glimpse of the murderer; we get an unsurprising shock; some famous actor gets killed off. We are then forced to sit through a number of requisite shocks before the unoriginal conclusion.

The Blair Witch Project opens with a smiling cast and a happy village. It delays its scares; instead it builds up the tension. What the directors are aiming to do is build up the tension to an extreme and then scare the pants off the audience by the finale. It works miraculously.

The three actors are enormously effective. Heather Donahue possibly the standout. They are not only acting but they are filming the entire footage and though their camerawork is shaky, the same cannot be said for the actors. We're told that they ad-libbed every line, well if that's the case they are not only wonderful actors, they are quite competent in the writing department. Heather's confession; Josh guilt-tripping Heather and Michael's slow but affecting character build up is tremendously effective.

But this is the director's show. They have said publicly that they were the Blair Witch. Though they never touched the cameras, they focused the storyline onto its gripping end.

I was surprised by the reaction leaving the cinema. Most people didn't like it. If you're expecting a shock a minute you will be disappointed but this is a gem of a film. I loved every second especially the kiss-off. I'm writing this review 4 hours later and my heart is still pounding.

La vita è bella

La Vita e Bella is not a movie about the Holocaust. It is about a father and how far he goes to protect his son's innocence from the most horrible evil the world has ever seen. The movie can be split into two halves. The first showcases Benigni's extraordinary comic ability. Here we recognise that this man is a clown; a characteristic that is used to shield his son from the horrors of life in the concentration camp. His love of the human spirit enriches Brachi who falls for him. They have a son.

The second half of the movie is what seperates it from a fabulously entertaining film into a moving and life-affirming one. Benigni informs his son that he has brought him to the concentration camp so that he can win a tank; a real life tank. The boy is suitably impressed. The way that Benigni keeps the charade going is both sweet and funny. The child's collapsing innocence is kept alive by his father's ingenious tricks.

Roberto Benigni gives the most perfect performance ever in this film. As director he knows when to be funny and when to be serious. Though it is a recent performance I think that his performance will be hard to match. His little son is the most innocent looking child you will ever see and his happy face gives hope among all the tired and hungry in the camp. The music complements each scene perfectly. On listening to the soundtrack again, my mind conjures up images from the film. This shows the power of the score.

La Vita e Bella was the first foreign language film I saw. I don't think Hollywood could ever create such a masterpiece. No doubt a Hollywood version would allow sentimentality to creep in but Benigni doesn't. I have seen Il Postino since and Massimo Troisi's performance complemented another impressive film. That film was good but I don't think any film can match La Vita e Bella's majesty.

American Pie

Good, Family Fun! (sarcasm)
American Pie concerns itself with four likable virgin teenagers three weeks before their graduation. Each fears leaving high school a virgin and so they make a pact to help each other score before their graduation.

There are some scenes in this movie that out-gross There's Something About Mary and that's some feat but the overall tone is sweet. It's possibly the best-natured teenage movie for a while. The four leads are convincing. Jason Biggs as Jim gets possibly the most embarrasing role in recent years (he's the guy with the pie on the poster) but he gets most of the laughs. Kevin is the most experienced of the three. He has a full time girlfriend and their relationship becomes the cornerstone of the film's drama. Both are unsure of their relationship and how sex should fit in it. Finch is the shyest and strangest characters. He borders on a nerd but he formulates a plan to make him the most talked about boy in the girls locker room. The only unconvincing element of the four guy's adventures was with "Oz". His efforts border on sentimentality and his playing of a character who wants to find his sensitive side doesn't work.

The supporting cast are used effectively. The girls are not just objects of affection. They are fully developed characters in their own right. Possibly the funniest lines come from Stifler. An experienced jock who enjoys teasing the four.

American Pie is hardly family fun. For me it's success shows that there are a lot of under-age teenagers sneaking into theatres. It may be a gross-out comedy but hey it's heart is in the right place.

Eyes Wide Shut

A masterpiece!!!
Eyes Wide Shut is Stanley Kubrick's most mainstream and easily accessible movie. The Shining contained cold acting and cold sets, 2001 the same. These were great movies apart from the acting. They were the director's movies. What Kubrick delivers with Eyes Wide Shut is fabulous performances to accompany his always interesting direction.

Cruise is a revalation as Dr. Bill. His happy and seemingly perfect life is damaged by Kidman's revalation that she has dreamt of having sex with a naval officer she only caught a glimpse of. He declares that he is not jealous but he spends the rest of the night roaming the streets for sex and delves deep into a scary part of New York's nightlife. Cruise excels as the professional who does not know what's going on. He doesn't understand his wife, his friend the piano player or even himself. He has to keep telling others that he is a doctor, he is really reassuring himself.

Kidman's part is smaller and less revolatory. She plays drunk, drugged and the happy mother's role. Her descriptions of her sexual fantasies are lengthy and required credible acting to remain of interest. She pulls it off. Pollack, in a smaller role is effective as a kind of "Deep Throat". He fills in holes that have left Cruise confused but can we trust him? Pollack's nice guy approach to his role which contrasts his actions leave the question unanswered.

Of course, this is Kubrick's film and it finishes off a remarkable batch of movies. For years Walt Disney has been issuing titles with the title "Walt Disney Classics". Perhaps its time for "Stanley Kubrick Classics" to be released. If so Eyes Wide Shut would be more than worthy of such a declaration.


So what???
The beginning of Life doesn't work. Forgive me for saying this but these two characters take far too long to get into jail. After they get into jail we quickly see about sixty years of their lives pass. Then the movie ends. So what?

Some parts of this movie were funny. Eddie Murphy reading a letter for an illiterate jailbird or the scene with the warden comparing his half-black son with all the prison members. These scenes are funny but you'd expect that from two gifted comedians like Murphy and Lawrence. The problem here is that these two great comedians aren't allowed to do drama. When they act in "Life" they act brilliantly. Both are not just comedians. Unfortunately the director has no faith in their acting ability.

The script as I said has some funny moments but I wondered at the end why we had to watch these two for their entire lives. Just because of a few funny moments!!!

"Life" has elements of comedy and drama but it hasn't got the confidence to be successful at either. " The Nutty Professor" was better in both departments.

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

2 hours of crowd pleasing entertainment
Costner and Slater's horrible attempts at an English accent, overly sentimental script and at times the action scenes are hard to see. Okay we got the bad stuff out of the way now on to the good.

Robin Hood is what all good Summer Blockbusters should have as its target. It doesn't take itself seriously, it has some great crowd pleasing moments and critics hated it. Critics hated Independence Day and Armageddon as well but they were both fantastic.

You don't go and see Robin Hood because you want a thoughful few hours. No, you want a lot of fun and you get it. Alan Rickman is the funniest bad guy you will ever see. He never takes his part seriously. Michael McShane as Friar Tuck provides a lot of laughs. Only Morgan Freeman can be said to have performed dramatically well but he always does.

This movie is a success. Okay sometimes its horribly predictable but everyone knows the Robin Hood story so we have to make some allowances. This is a success and deserved all the money it made.


Go see Go
Go uses the same structure as Pulp Fiction: Three stories loosely connected. Pulp Fiction had three great stories but failed to connect them as well as Go does.

Doug Liman is fast building a strong reputation as a good director. Both Swingers and now Go are little seen but much appreciated. The director is fantastic at creating likable characters. There wasn't that many characters in Swingers but you loved them all. Go has a large assortment of characters and each one is likable. Ronna. Simon, Claire, Adam and Zack are just a few of Go's loveable cast.

And what a cast. A number of familiar faces make appearances such as Katie Holmes (Dawsons Creek), Scott Wolf (Party of Five), Jane Krakowski (Ally McBeal) and Jay Mohr (Jerry Maguire) and there are a number of newcomers. Each one gives their characters an air of charm but overall an air of reality. A fantastic job by a group still so young. In a few years this is the movie people will be renting to see where their favourite movie star started out.

The stories are full of surprises so I don't want to give too much away. There is a different twist every few minutes, but be prepared to laugh. I was surprised at how funny this was. You will be too, so go see Go.

Schindler's List

A serious, solemn success.
Some movies move you. They make you laugh, they make you cry and these are good movies. I don't know if tiredness is an emotion but by the end of this movie I was emotionally drained. I was exhausted.

There are more Jews that owe their lives to Oskar Schindler than Jews that live in Poland today, This is an extraordinary message we recieve at the end of this movie. Extraordinary because of it's honesty. This man saved more people than a country saved and this man was no angel, no prophet. He was an average run-of-the-mill German.

This story could have been one of immense sentimentality but it's not due to the performance of Liam Neeson and the direction of Spielberg. It is easy to tell while watching this that this is the movie Spielberg always wanted to make. His complete and most important work. Spielberg can never reach this standard again. Very few directors will ever reach this standard.

Everything about this movie is perfect. Neeson plays Schindler with just enough power. We know this man is special but Neeson doesn't play him like a legend. Fiennes is evil but humane. Kingsley gives a very touching performance as the only Jew Schindler actually gets to know.

But this is Spielberg's film. His heart is in every shot. He knows how important a film about the holocaust is to the Jewish people and he doesn't let them down. A Jew himself, he associates with them and delivers one of the greatest movies ever made.

The Godfather

A True Classic.
We won't know until about twenty years from now whether the films we watch in the nineties are classics. Personally I think only three can justify such a title so far - Schindler's List, Shawshank Redemption and La Vita e Bella. Three movies without anything missing. Of all the movies in the seventies only two can fill the classic criteria and they share similar titles. Godfather 1 and 2.

People can argue about Jaws and Star Wars but those movies scripts were rubbish. They were all about spectacle. No movie could compare to the quality of the Godfather. In fact the Godfather blows its closest rival out of the water: its closest rival being its sequel.

The Godfather is unlike any movie I ever saw. It begins with a great scene as a man comes to Don Corleone (Marlon Brando) to ask for his help in hurting a guy that has raped his daughter. It is Brando's daughters wedding day and the man who has come to the Godfather never gave Corleone any help before. Brando refuses. It is a brilliant scene introducing us to the world of the Corleone's. We see how ruthless the Godfather can be but we also see his loyalty to his family. It is a scene that will be hard to match in cinema history but Coppola goes on to deliver even more spellbinding scenes. This is the beauty of the Godfather - every single scene is fabulous. No other film can compare to its class.

Some people argue that the Godfather part 2 is better. Not a chance. It's good but it can't compare to this movie.

Beavis and Butt-Head Do America

For the fans
I never liked Beavis and Butt-head the TV series but I enjoyed this movie. It takes getting used to though. At times I felt like throwing the TV out if Butt-head laughed once more or said score. They can be so irritating but it's their stupidity that makes it funny.

The entire joke of the movie is that Beavis and Butt-head are travelling across America thinking they'll score with Demi Moore all while being tracked by the FBI because they're inadvertently carrying a secret weapon. Along the way Beavis and Butt-head make unscheduled and accidental stops which confuse the FBI leading them to believe the duo are geniuses. This is highly original stuff.

But it's not the storyline it's the characters that are funny. The old lady, the man who owns the camper (who looks remarkably like Hank Hill) and top performances to Robert Stack as the FBI agent. "Give them a cavity search" becomes his trademark line.

Beavis and Butt-head is for the fans but don't write it off if you're not one.

The Trigger Effect

Stop ruining good ideas!!
Our society is so dependent on electricity so that when there is a blackout we despair. We find it hard to understand how people survived without the light switch, the TV, the refrigerator. The Trigger Effect is about such an occurence, but whereas our electricity usually comes back in a matter of hours, this movie's characters have to survive in the black for days. It is an interesting premise but it's horribly handled.

The characters we are shown are boring and two dimensional. An uneventful love triangle begins between the three leads which leads to nowhere. There are some interesting parts to the movie but it's let down by it's small budget. This movie demanded some cutting edge movie making, it fails to deliver. This could and should have been a much more (dare I say) violent picture. It's theme was that of man's devolution back into nature after it loses its use of technology. So we expect some nasty events to occur. It never happens.

A movie like this should have left the moviegoer with questions. How would you react in such a situation? Instead it only leaves us with a gaping mouth and a statement to the filmmakers. Stop ruining good ideas!!

Roseanna's Grave

A wonderful movie!
Roseanna's Grave begins with a trapeze artist walking a tight-rope in the middle of an Italian city. The clown falls and dies. He takes his place in the overpopulated graveyard. Now there is only one grave left. Jean Reno's sick wife wants that grave. He can't let anyone die. This film is a comedy?

And what a comedy. Jean Reno gives a sweet performance as the loving husband attempting to keep everyone in the town from harm. The length that he goes to, to honour his wife's wishes is remarkable. He convinces the family of a man in a coma that he is still alive when the doctors tell them he has no chance, he even kills a man by accident but hides the body.

This is a love story and the chemistry between Ruehl and Reno is refreshing. Ruehl is remarkable as the dying spouse. She hopes for her sister and her husband to get together but they don't like each other at all. It all builds up to a tragic outcome but the ending is a surprise, a wonderful surprise to a wonderful movie!

The Lost World: Jurassic Park

Spielberg is lost!
A couple of years ago the words phenomenon, gifted, and the best in the world were used to describe Steven Spielberg. I agreed with all these. But now I'm beginning to lose faith.

Jurassic Park was brilliant entertainment, Schindler's List was one of the greatest movies of all time and Spielberg finally picked up an Oscar. Since then he has hit a slump. It started with the Lost World - the most unworthy box office hit ever, followed by Amistad - dullsville and then the most overrated film of last year Saving Private Ryan. I think Dreamworks is taking up too much of his time.

The Lost World is a shambles. If Jeff Goldblum wasn't so damn charming it would be unwatchable. The dinosaurs aren't very interesting, the plot is as basic as it comes and the acting bar Goldblum is barely passable. Spielberg uses every cliche he can think of. A truck hanging onto a cliff. A dinosaur attacking a city. This movie has none of the magic of Jurassic Park. When we first glimpsed the leg of the Brontosauras and Richard Attenborough said "Welcome to Jurassic Park" cinema history was made. Spielberg only created movie rubbish here. A big disappointment.


Swingers tells the story of Jon Favreau, a down on his luck comedian who has come to LA from New York to pursue a career but he can't get on with his life because of a girlfriend he left back at home. The film concentrates on his friends attempts to get him back into the swing of things.

Favreau who also wrote the script gives such a lovely performance that you can't help rooting for him even if he is a loser. His friend Trent (Vince Vaughan) is a much more confident guy and is one of the most likable guys you will ever see in the movie. Swingers made Favreau and Vaughan stars and it's not hard to see why.

The movie references are a plenty. Reservoir Dogs, Goodfellahs, Jaws. And all this adds to the LA feel. Not every actor has it easy but they can dream of starring in the best parts. One of the swingers gets to dress up as Goofy at Disneyland. It's not really an acting part but hey, it's Disney.

It's a guy's romantic comedy and I don't know would girls get it. But for guy's it's a must see. Rent it but I recommend buying it because once you watch these guys you're not going to want to stop.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

An acquired taste!
Monty Python's Flying Circus was a hit and miss comedy series consisting of a group of Englishmen performing some comedic sketch and then moving on to something completely different. The sketches were so different and so many that you were bound to find at least one sketch funny. A movie, it seemed wouldn't allow them to do silly sketches, it would have to form a much stricter pattern. Not for the Pythons, it doesn't.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail is still just a series of sketches with a Medieval theme. But unlike the TV series, here most of the sketches work. When you throw so many jokes at the audience you're guaranteed to have success.

John Cleese is marvellous particularly as Sir Lancelot but also as the Frenchman. Graham Chapman is as usual the straightman to the rest of the Python's fun but he is also good as Arthur, King of the Britons. The rest of the crew give some of their best work and the animation which was particularly annoying in the series is used sparingly here.

If you like Pythons you'll adore this. If you don't, don't give it a miss it might surprise you. It's certainly an acquired taste but for a fan it's one of the funniest films ever.

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