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Yeti: Curse of the Snow Demon

So bad it's great
Ed Wood is either still alive or has been reincarnated to make hilariously bad movies for the Syfy channel. This movie is so bad, that it's great. A 747 flying from the USA to play in Japan somehow mysteriously ends up flying over the Himalayas. Anyway, we see a plane crash which is a direct copy of the crash in 'Alive', and a group of survivors dressed in jeans and T shirts wandering about looking for means to start a fire, all despite the fact there's wreckage still burning all around them. The Himalaya search team consists of a man and woman, both Americans, being dropped off, while their helicopter flies off and doesn't join in the search. The Yetis manage to combine limping along with 40 foot leaps, all while carrying off the dead, or the female lead. Rabbits being harpooned (standard issue on this flight). A poor pilot who is clearly dying, but shaken awake so violently that he would likely die of that instead. Great to see that the searchers took along a couple of Glocks, just in case. This movie is a must see, just for the most ridiculous final 20 minutes when the survivors battle the yeti's, and to see someone beaten to death with their own leg.

Mega Piranha

So bad it is brilliant
I haven't laughed so much for a long time. Giant piranhas which throw themselves out of the water onto buildings before exploding. Then there's the complete non existence of continuity. A road which was 3 lanes wide suddenly becomes a dirt track in a village, the village suddenly becomes jungle, and the jungle then becomes open land. Or how about a ship that changes from a salvage vessel into a battleship, and a crewman working a cardboard box with knobs and buttons being twiddled feverishly! I love the Captain with the long hair and suggestion of a ponytail, or the submarine which has a periscope made from the tube that carpets are wound on. Honestly it is so ridiculously awful, you have to watch it!

Battle Los Angeles

Blackhawk Down on steroids! Excellent
Thoroughly enjoyed this despite the literally shaky start. The wobbly camera effects are a wee bit overdone initially, but whether they eased off or I just got used to them as the film went on, I am not sure. This isn't an intellectual masterpiece, but is damned fine entertainment, or you could argue its a 21st century war film with aliens playing the baddies. The special effects are extremely well done, and the alien flying machines actually do look menacing. The aliens themselves look good, and their weaponry looks and sounds very intimidating. I'd say this is the sort of film to go and see if you want to be entertained with some escapist nonsense and appreciate the John Wayne type of hero as the main character. I know it's a bit predictable, full of clich├ęs and clearly very US Marines Gunghoesque, but damn it was fun!


Sheer brilliance
James Cameron has thrown down the gauntlet for some time to come with this piece of work. I was speechless at the detail, the beauty, the colours, and of course the 3D imagery. I could have sat for even longer, as I was utterly engrossed. For those who seem hellbent on dismissing this film, you really need to relax, and just enjoy the film for all the reasons I just stated. If you have not seen this yet, don't be a fool. Go see it, watch it in 3D if you can and enjoy an evening of sheer fantasy. Don't bother with food, I sat with a tub of ice cream which had turned to liquid because I was so engrossed. You will not regret watching this!


Predictable Hokum
Firstly, if special effects are your 'thing', then you will adore this movie. They have crammed so many into the movie, that you will want to watch it again and again. You will see tiny figures clinging to the wreckage of crumbling buildings as they crumble into the bowels of the earth. There are the spectacular losses of world famous landmarks, and the associated death of panic stricken onlookers. For those with Blue Ray and HD TV's, this will be a slow motion voyeurs dream as you watch these scenes unfold.

However, if like my wife and I you like a good story, then this is not for you. The story is a minor incidental part of the movie. Whats worse, the script is very B moviesque. "But it's a suicide mission!" "I'll do it". Cue much kissing and hugging while I muttered, "get on with it then". A huge crack is racing towards the escaping car/plane (insert mode of transport) and you just know they have to escape because the films still got 2 hours to go. Then there's the speech by one of the main characters about cherishing family and so on, so you just know they will be dead very soon. It was cheesy and too predictable.

I read one of the other reviews, and he/she commented that this film had the potential to be truly great. If the quality of the script and storyline had even been half as good as the effects, then this could have been one of the greatest movies of recent years. Unfortunately, Roland Emmerich seems to have spent so much time and money on the effects budget, that they either didn't have time to do a good script, or they couldn't afford one of Hollywood's great writers to produce something memorable.

All told, it was well executed hokum. I had been looking forward to this for months, but the hype simply doesn't match the reality in any way.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Dull dull dull
This could have been superb. The book was by far the best of the series, but yet again David Yates has somehow contrived to rip the soul out of the story just as he did with Order of the Phoenix.

I had high hopes that with the return of Steve Kloves doing the screen writing and with the resounding criticism of the Order of the Phoenix ringing in David Yates ears we would see a dark and sometimes chilling story. Sadly I was so wrong.

Instead it felt in parts like an English farce with giggling girls, pubescent innuendo and an emphasis on 'snogging' (cue more giggling).

Sections of the story made no sense as they simply did not occur in the book, and major portions, such as the Horcrux search and Dumbledores funeral had vanished. I cannot fathom how Yates justifies leaving the funeral scene on the cutting room floor, particularly given the public comments Daniel Radcliffe made on how moving that scene was. Instead he leaves in crass love scenes and teenage angst. If thats what he wants, go and direct a Hannah Montana movie.

The appalling thing is he is doing the final two movies as well, so I presume we can anticipate tedium, and disjointed story lines because he can't resurrect that which he has chopped out in this film.

Shame on you Yates for killing a superb story.

Star Trek

Phenomenal. A must see!!
I have read some of the comments by the 'hated it' brigade and I would like to say 'Get a life'. This wasn't a documentary intended to be shown on Discovery Science. This is a movie which was made to entertain, and it does so in spades. The film blends humour, sadness, action, special effects and so much more into one massive package of escapism. On our way home, my daughter and I couldn't stop discussing the film, the actors, the effects. Sadly I am old enough to remember watching the original series and I agree there may be plot holes when you compare it with the original series or the other films, but for God's sake, is it not possible for some of you to sit and watch a movie and just enjoy it as a stand alone film for its own sake? To the open minded, this is an absolutely brilliant film which passes all to quickly and will be a must for my Blue Ray collection when the time comes. Go out, leave your Trekkie brain at the door and watch this with a smile on your face. It wont leave you very often.

The Young Victoria

Not bad
I was initially forced to attend by my wife as she is fascinated by the Royal families of Britain and their history, and she won't go to the cinema without me. Although viewers shouldn't expect to be electrified, this film is very well made and the visual aspect is second to none. In many ways it helps dispel the myth that Victoria was the miserable unsmiling dumpy woman usually seen in photographs. She was a bright intelligent and according to the history of her early years, a fun loving happy young woman. Her love of Albert was the essence of true love, and even if you only count the number of children she bore (9), they must have had a passionate relationship. All of this is well borne out in the film. To this end, the cast has been well selected with both Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend giving sound performances as Victoria and Albert.

(SPOILER ALERT) The historical accuracy is somewhat questionable as at no time did Prince Albert get shot while defending Victoria. There was at least one assassination attempt when they were out together, but nobody was struck by the shot/s. I also found it odd that little was done to expand on the allegedly intimate relationship between Victoria's mother and Sir John Conroy. It is quite likely that this relationship was the true reason for Victoria's distaste for both her mother and Conroy. I also found it odd that there was an attempt to portray the relationship between Victoria and Lord Melbourne as erring on the romantic, or at least having the potential to become romantic. He was already in his late 50's when Victoria came to the throne, and while marriages between older men and young women were common in that era, the movie portrays Melbourne as being a dashing 30 something and rival to Prince Albert. There were apparently rivals to Albert, but she could never have married even slightly below her station in life, and Albert was one of only a handful who would have been acceptable in any case.

All in all I have spent worse times at the cinema, and brownie points with my wife can't be a bad thing either.

The Fountain

Arguably one of the worst films ever
Dire, abysmal, dull, confusing, awful, etc etc. I could use just about every synonym for the foregoing comments in the entire Roget's Thesaurus and still not quantify just how bad this film is. In fact, so confusing is this story that I suspect that some crazed editor simply patched three films together in a random fashion. This has absolutely no saving graces at all and represented a waste of 3 hours of my life (I watched it twice simply to be fair and see if I was being overly critical after the first viewing, but no, it's still awful) I can well understand why Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett pulled out of this. Maybe the Mystery Science Theater 3000 people will do something great with this in the future.

Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Walter Raleigh, or was it Errol Flynn
Utter tripe. While I wasn't expecting a documentary, surely the film makers could have kept the storyline a little more plausible. Sir Walter Raleigh, played ineffectually by Clive Owen, is depicted as an Errol Flynn type swashbuckler who personally sailed a fireship into the heart of the Spanish armada before diving overboard and swimming under the flaming aftermath to safety. It couldn't have been any worse if they had put a cutlass between his teeth and had a parrot on his shoulder. I half expected Captain Jack Sparrow to put in an appearance as well. Sir Francis Drake was relegated to one sentence of dialogue, and then only to egg on Raleigh, who in reality wasn't even on a ship at the time of the main conflict.

Mary Queen of Scots had the worst Scottish accent since Mel Gibsons portrayal of William Wallace. Francis Walsingham is portrayed somewhat woodenly by Geoffrey Rush, who seemed to be going through the motions and portrayed a character who ended up as menacing as a rather sleepy sheep.

Sorry if I am a bit negative, but this was utter tosh.


Simply wonderful
I wasn't sure what to expect of this as this isn't a genre that I normally favour, but having watched it I am simply entranced. This is a wonderful story, well acted and with a feel good factor I haven't taken from a film for years.

The film has everything, humour, a love story, adventure, special effects and of course Michelle Pfeiffer who is still simply stunning. Robert Di Nero adds another great character to his collection and never disappoints.

If you want to have a warm glow inside, see this. You wont be disappointed.


Well done to all
I'd also say 'about time too' as thats how I feel about previous screen adaptations of Stephen Kings books. Having read just about everything written by King, I am at a loss as to why few directors seems to be able to capture on screen the terror which Kings written work inspires.

Anyway, Mikael Hafstrom has succeeded where so many have failed and given us a first class horror/thriller. The horror is actually fairly low key, but there is an pervading menace throughout with occasional glimpses or suggestions of unpleasant goings on. The most obvious being the scene in the air conditioning duct. The 'thing' in the duct isn't that visible, but there's enough to get you to the edge of your seat, and coupled with the claustrophobic metal walls around I could feel myself scrabbling along to get away from it. Similarly the ledge scene, while not new in any way, is so well done that it gives you that stomach tightening sensation which makes you want to grip onto something really tightly.

Samuel L Jacksons part which is fairly brief, is so well done that he deserves added praise. I can't say I am a huge fan of John Cusack, but in this role, he has pulled off a superb performance.

All in all this was a super film, and one I would unreservedly recommend.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Somewhat Disappointing
As an avid reader of the books, I have always considered the Order of the Phoenix and The Half Blood Price as my two favourite Harry Potter books. It worries me therefore that David Yates is/will be directing the Half Blood Prince when in my opinion, in the Order of the Phoenix he has failed to capture the full experience which J K Rowling created in her novel.

I know it is an incredibly difficult task to condense a novel of the sheer length of Order of the Phoenix onto film, however again in my opinion, Mike Newell did a far better job in interpreting The Goblet of Fire novel (which isn't a short story by anyone's standards) and captured most of the truly significant elements from the book onto the screen.

I wonder how much of this is down to the screen writing skills of Steve Kloves who was responsible for all the screenplays for the previous films. Screenwriters are often the unsung heroes of successful films and in this case through Steve Kloves, we have seen a progression of improvements in the transfer of book to screen through each film as the screen writer becomes familiar with the characters and the storyline. David Yates brings in Michael Goldenberg and suddenly we have a fabulous novel turned into a mediocre movie.

We started off with a simple but satisfying film in the form of HP and the Sorcerers Stone and in each successive film we saw a build up of the stories and the characters which I think we had all hoped would lead to a crescendo for the final movie. However, I just feel let down by Yate's interpretation of the Order of the Phoenix and I really hope that Steve Klove's return as screenwriter for the Half Blood Prince signals a return to that development of character, storyline and content. Forget about CGI effects (well maybe not forget them) but at least lets get all the elements of character back onto the screen for the two final films.

Plaudits do have to go to Gary Oldman and Alan Rickman who simply ooze quality for their portrayal of Sirius Black and Severus Snape. Daniel Radcliffe too has progressed from the 'amdram' new boy we saw in the Sorcerer's Stone, to a polished character who displayed all the anger and confusion which epitomised J K's portrayal of him in the Order of the Phoenix.

(Oh, and by the way, I would have had no problem with a 3 hour movie with an intermission. Maybe we'll see a 'Directors cut' version of the Order of the Phoenix in the future)

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