james-337

IMDb member since July 2000
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Reviews

The Dance of Shiva
(1998)

Incoherent and pointless
Incoherent, meaningless, historically inaccurate and ultimately completely pointless. What was it trying to say or achieve? What was it about? Why was such a stellar cast wasted on this? Personally, I have no idea.

And for the record: regiments were either British or Indian (with British officers), not mixed; Indian sergeants were known as havildars, never as sergeants; British soldiers do not and did not wear beards; and Indian regiments were officered by British officers of the Indian Army, not officers who didn't understand their men and regarded them as 'savages', assisted by Indian native officers, not one of whom was in sight. Much of this was a blatant politically correct attempt to show how appallingly treated the Indians were. Many Indians, incidentally, were decorated for bravery, including with the Victoria Cross, so the idea that an act of gallantry by Indian troops would be ignored is complete fabrication.

The Indian troops who fought in the Great War certainly deserve a film tribute, but they deserve better than this.

Straw Dogs
(1971)

Not deserving of its notoriety
The biggest question has to be why this film was banned for so long. Is the rape scene really that disturbing? Many worse scenes have been filmed since. Many have said that the most disturbing aspect is that Amy appears to enjoy the first rape. But is she actually raped by Charlie? He does not actually appear to force himself on her beyond tearing her clothes. It seems more like a willing moment of adultery than an actual rape, despite her half-hearted protestations. The second man does indeed rape her, but she is certainly not shown to enjoy that.

The biggest problem I found with this film was the unsympathetic nature of the two principle characters. Until his final act of protecting Henry, David is arrogant, self-centred and rude (do Americans never actually say 'please' and 'thank you', or is it just that movie Americans never do?), with that typical (movie) American way of treating anyone who earns less than he does as a servant (and they talk about the British class system!). Amy is portrayed as equally self-centred and arrogant. These are just not people we can easily feel sorry for.

The film is, quite frankly, extremely tedious until the final denouement. We see a group of stereotypical yokels (with appalling excuses for Cornish accents - didn't dialect coaches exist in 1971?) and an equally stereotypical arrogant middle-class 'outsider' couple not really doing very much. The violence at the end has been surpassed in many films since. Disturbing? Why is it so disturbing? This film certainly doesn't deserve its notoriety. It's not awful, but it's certainly not great either.

And one question. The tagline says that seven men died. I only counted five male deaths (the four local yobs and the major). Who were the other two?

Summer of Sam
(1999)

Utterly unoriginal and pointless
Macho Italians without a single brain cell to rub together between them swear at each other. Meanwhile, an infamous murder case happens very much in the background and gets referred to from time to time. Believe me, the murders are infinitely more interesting than the main plotline, which we have seen before many, many times. If New Yorkers are really like this (and I suspect that they must be, since that's how they're always portrayed), remind me never to go there.

To Kill a King
(2003)

How not to make an historical drama
What's Good:

The set and costume design.

What's Bad:

Quite frankly, almost everything else. This is a catalogue of historical errors. In fact, almost everything is incorrect. Some people will no doubt bleat that it's a film and it doesn't matter. This is our history, ladies and gentlemen. If you want to tell a story, then make it all up, but don't mess with historical fact. Tim Roth's portrayal of Cromwell is laughably inaccurate. Cromwell was nothing like this. And he was also a general, and a very good one at that, something the filmmakers seem to have conveniently forgotten. The performances are mediocre at best. Even the usually reliable Roth turns in a thoroughly average performance. Rupert Everett (as Charles I) is the best, but even he hardly shines. The script is slow, dull and poorly written.

Conclusion:

When will filmmakers realise that real history is invariably more interesting than their warped version of it? This is one of the worst historical dramas I've seen in a long time. I was glad to get out. Take my advice and don't even go in.

Gummo
(1997)

Awful
To say that this is a pointless film about inbred mutants would be incorrect. It's not actually about the inbred mutants, since that would involve a plot, dialogue, things like that. In actual fact, the mutants are just passing through this garbage. A film that proves (if proof were necessary) that affected artiness is a very poor framework off which to hang a movie. Go and watch paint dry or grass grow. But don't, whatever you do, bother watching this film.

No Man's Land
(2001)

Anti-gay? What is the man talking about?
Funny how some people have almighty chips on their shoulders. I watched this excellent film without even considering the sexuality of the men involved. It is not an issue in the film. At all. Odd that one person seems to think that the whole film hinges on it. Yes, it's true that the elderly Serbian soldier (he's just an ordinary private by the way, not a general or even an officer) has a picture of a naked man in his wallet. As far as I can see, it's meant to be a throwaway amusing two seconds, a counterpoint to his macho attitude. Nothing more than that. No deep meaning. Not the crux of the whole film or even a vaguely important part of the plot. The film is about war, not sexuality. Don't try to factor it into your personal crusade.

Tmavomodrý svet
(2001)

Decent film, but ultimately unsatisfying
This is a solid film, a decent way to spend a couple of hours, but I didn't feel it really lived up to its potential. The story of European pilots who came to fight with the RAF is a fascinating one and certainly needs to be told, but I came out feeling that this was an ultimately unsatisfying film that largely failed to tell a coherent story. And the military adviser slipped up a few times as well.

Dog Soldiers
(2002)

Excellent Film
This has to be the best werewolf film I've ever seen. It's not entirely accurate militarily (e.g. the British Army has eight-man sections, not six-man squads), but it's witty and it's well-made and it's nice to finally see a sympathetic and accurate portrayal of modern British soldiers, complete with realistic language. Ignore the people who say it's rubbish (they obviously either didn't see it, saw it with the wrong expectations or just got out of bed on the wrong side) and see it!

A Room for Romeo Brass
(1999)

Stunningly average film
I'm afraid I can't see what all the fuss is about. I found this to be an astonishingly average film. British cinema has produced some great films over the years. This is certainly not one of them.

The ending in particular is completely unsatisfying. This man is obviously deeply disturbed (as his attack on the customer at Ladine's shop, if nothing else, proved), and yet we are allowed to believe that in the face of violence he simply goes away never to return. Why should he?

I read the previous comments with interest, but I wonder why Romeo's father is consistently described as thuggish? We do not know that he has ever been violent in the past. All we know is that he left his wife for another woman. Carol describes him as selfish, not violent. He does not attack Morell when he has the chance and the motivation earlier in the film and in his final confrontation he uses only enough violence to prevent Morell bashing his neighbour's head in with a hammer. He is probably capable of inflicting substantial damage on him, but he does not. These are not the actions of a thug. Would we prefer that he allowed Morell to seriously injure or kill Gavin's father? Is this the message we would rather see? That it is better to stand by and allow an armed man to attack another when you are capable of stopping it with a minimum of violence. I sincerely hope not.

Soldier Soldier
(1991)

Solid military drama
It would be very pleasant if people posting comments had actually watched the shows they purport to be commenting on. Sadly this is obviously not the case. None of the officers are portrayed as halfwits, none of the noncoms are portrayed as masochists (or even sadists, which I suspect was meant) and only a handful of the fusiliers are portrayed as drunken or stupid or oafs.

In fact, if you want a sensible portrayal of military life without the sensationalism or over the top flag-waving that's usually attached to such dramas then 'Soldier Soldier' is the one to watch. It was a couple of series too long and it started to get tired towards the end, but the first few series were excellent stuff. And yes, I too speak from experience.

I Know What You Did Last Summer
(1997)

Utterly Average
What a completely average film. God knows why it was so popular. It may have been based on a novel, but it's an entirely formulaic and predictable 'horror' flick that would be in the budget section of the video shops had it been made in the '80s with an unknown cast (since it has exactly the same storyline as several hundred other low-budget films). Unlikeable characters, no plot and no reason for the killer to do what he does. Poor.

Unbreakable
(2000)

Unwatchable
This is a dire film. After seeing it, I had the desperate urge to go home and watch some paint dry. It does nothing, it says nothing, it goes nowhere...very, very slowly. After the excellent 'Sixth Sense' this is a very big disappointment. It's almost as though they thought 'Sixth Sense' was such a big success that they needed another idea immediately, to be made in the same style. And the style is very similar. Unfortunately, that, and the people it shares, is where the resemblance ends.

We have all the ingredients here for a bad film. The leading man can't act (I am not a Willis fan, although he was right for the role in 'Sixth Sense'). Samuel L Jackson looks truly bizarre and comes across as just plain annoying. Although even he pales in comparison to the kid, who is truly irritating. And as for Dunn's (Willis's) wife, she's just a complete non-entity. Quite frankly, I didn't care enough about any of these characters to give a damn what happened to them. In addition, too many of the characters mumbled incoherently (especially the school nurse - what the hell was she saying?). There is just about enough plot to make a short, certainly not a feature film, and the director makes up for this with long drawn out and frankly tedious sequences (the opening sequence on the train was so long and boring that I knew it was going to be a poor film within minutes), frequent extended shots of characters' faces and weird camera angles. There was, to be honest, nothing to hold one's interest at all. Even the twist at the end provoked no more than very vague surprise. Very poor.

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