jegpad

IMDb member since September 2006
    Highlights
    2015 Oscars
    Lifetime Total
    25+
    IMDb Member
    15 years

Reviews

The Tomorrow War
(2021)

As many holes in the plot as bullets shot
Oh Chris, dear dear me. You honed that six pack for a right doozie. Fortunately for you voters are easily pleased. Millennials should watch the classics and get a perspective on the trash deemed acceptable these days. Give me strength...

Alien: Covenant
(2017)

If you don't laugh at the opening scene then you're the sucker they banked on
Piracy. Use it, don't be a victim of it. The Jolly Roger is flying high on the pirate ship Fuckem. They've yet to cut even in box office takings at the time of writing this, but Captain Pugwash will be counting the diamonds and rubies already cached from hijacking the USS Franchise. Master Bates is, well, at it. Seaman Stains is hard on the heels of Roger the Cabin Boy. Jump ship!

Careful What You Wish For
(2015)

A tweaked copy of 'Body Heat' made for teenagers, watch the original to see how the grown-ups do it
If you're a boy teenager with a hard-on, go for it - enjoy the shower scene, especially.

If you're a juvenile looking for mild mental stimulation with one eye on another screen, it's passable.

If you're as old as I am then you'll quickly suss this is a regurgitated plot based on the classic film 'Body Heat' (1981) with William Hurt and Kathleen Turner. I continued watching just to see how close to the wind they sailed. And yep, I suggest you cut your losses and immerse yourself in the original.

Plus ça change ...

John Wick
(2014)

Worrying representation of the gratuitous violence in Hollywood today
Sickeningly violent involving long sequences of Keanu Reeves shooting people in the face. Character sympathy is attempted by smashing the skull of his pet dog and placing it in front of his unconscious face as a wake up vision of loveliness.

It is a sad indictment of the attitude of Hollywood producers these days that they pander to the most base instincts of it's audience, subliminally nurturing violent streaks in disaffected youth. Focus is placed on the heavy artillery and preparation for a killing spree.

You couldn't find a better mainstream film to feed to disturbed teenagers on the cusp of walking into a school and shooting dead their fellow students.

Oh, and the music will give you a headache.

The Saratov Approach
(2013)

You need blind faith to endure this Rasputin v. Tintin mush
Be highly aware that the positive reviews written here are driven by the religion of the writers.

The score is truly appalling, ill-fitted to the context, almost constant throughout the film and extremely irritating.

The narrative is cardboard cut-out in it's execution and as convincing in it's delivery as the fable that the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, Joseph Smith, was directed to golden plates buried near his home by an angel. (Oh, and the angel repossessed the plates before they ever saw the light of day - convenient eh?).

If you want to watch a couple of preppies handcuffed to a radiator for 90 minutes, be my guest.

The Counselor
(2013)

So miserable I started thinking Scott was projecting his grief
Disjointed, hollow, depressing and thoroughly miserable, this was a huge disappointment given the director and actors involved.

I really began to think at one point that Scott must have been affected so badly by the suicide of his brother during the making of the film that he subconsciously projected his emptiness into his work.

I so wanted some character sympathy to be shown but there was none. I so wanted some redeeming plot twist to occur, but it just fell deeper into a black hole of despair.

There was no-one, nothing to cling to in an effort to pull you out of the quicksand of nothingness. Just nothing.

And if you read all of this, then you might just find meaning in the diatribe spouted by the meanest muvverfukker on the phone to Fassbender as he puts the last nail in the coffin of hope.

Not recommended whatever mood you're in.

Hours
(2013)

Pap - more like how a junior doctor ends up after a 72 hour shift !
Doctor 'What's the blood pressure?' Nurse 'High' First warning sign this film is aiming low.

Gawd how the packaging of tripe movies these days is so clever you get drawn in with great expectations. Attractive marketing techniques may just about help this movie break even, but as for value for money - you'll be sheared.

There is no 'action' to speak of, and the protagonist at the end of a dreary yawnfest looks like a junior doctor after a triple shift in a London A&E clinic. Laughable. The sound track at the end credits is quite nice, I'll give it that.

A True Story. Based on Things That Never Actually Happened. ...And Some That Did.
(2013)

Engaging look at the underbelly of Hollywood written, acted and produced by two anti-establishment bright sparks
I love films which have an independent, rebellious nature, seemingly untainted by the power of the Hollywood factory.

The story is of two struggling writers in Hollywood weaving their own experiences into the first script they hope to sell. The comic consequences of being broke, the heartbreak caused by a heartless harlot and the testing of their friendship all provide great food for thought.

Tyler McGee and Cameron Fife have their hand in every stage of this film - producing, writing, acting the leads, editing and original music.

Malcolm Goodwin directs brilliantly as well as acting and editing, making for a very close collaboration with all involved.

The result is a very tight script, excellent storyline and great score. The direction keeps the pace as snappy as the dialogue and Goodwin and the cameramen use lots of natty techniques to enhance what would otherwise be simple talking-head scenes. Really impressive, especially considering filming was completed within a few weeks for under $50k!

The skill of the actors is captivating, everyone keeps the scenes totally believable, showing that budgets are irrelevant when you have a strong cast, good story and skilled technicians.

A terrific cock-a-snook at the Hollywood establishment and highly recommended.

The Challenger
(2013)

Mesmerizing performance by William Hurt
Recent revelations of the Lyndon Johnson taped conversations exposing the sabotage by Nixon of the Vietnam peace talks in 1968 had me reeling at the extent to which the pursuit of power and money causes politicians to cover up the facts, even if it costs lives.

Feynman was the critical independent factor which foiled such attempts when the Challenger exploded during take off in January 1986.

This factual account reveals Feynman was by chance adopted onto the investigative commission over the Challenger disaster at a time when he was critically ill. Unlike the rest of the commission members who had other agendas, Feynman approached the problem objectively and, through his popular demonstrations of physics for which he'd become famous, had the skill and passionate commitment to reveal the truth to the public. As he wrote in his report, 'For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled' Throughout this gripping drama you are taking the part of the underdog, frustrated at the increasing knowledge that the commission members, bar one or two, were driven by political agendas which meant the truth was trying to be covered up. Feynman represents the common man, and as such makes you part of the battle to foil the exasperating corruption.

William Hurt is magnificent playing Feynman, depicting non-conformist behaviour which is only tolerated because of his brilliance. I found his nuances of expression fascinating and wonderfully representative of how we, the public, would have reacted when faced with pompous authority attempting to control our behaviour. Brilliant stuff, and all the more telling because it is true.

A Dangerous Method
(2011)

Watching Knightley getting spanked ...
Perhaps it is just me, a female with a yawning boredom of sex depicted on screen and even less interested in the machinations of privileged men who in the early 20th Century saw women as secondary beings.

But watching Keira Knightley getting spanked was not my idea of psychoanalysis other than to give her what she deserves for being such a hammy actress.

Jung and Freud thought autism was caused by bad parenting, their only avenue to solution when sex could not be held accountable. Temple Grandin who suffered years of psychoanalysis ("put the 'o' in, it sounds better" to quote Freud) can testify eloquently to that having found her own cure!

To verdener
(2008)

Excellent example of how religion thrives on the indoctrination of children and the tyranny of stupidity
A true story of the painful experience suffered by a good girl wanting to do right by her family whilst it dawns on her that the religious sect she was born into places a doomsday belief above simple humanity.

She and her family are subjected to sentencing by a cabal of men who are called 'elders' whenever they stray from the path of Jehovah. Wrong doers who smoke, fornicate or receive blood transfusions risk being expelled from the chosen few who believe a happy life will be theirs after Armageddon.

The strong irony of adulterous men being forgiven is in stark contrast to the wrath shown towards a teenage girl who loves her family deeply and wants to please them, yet is exposed to the normal temptations of an adolescent.

We need more films such as this in a world where increasing religious fanaticism and evangelism are threatening the intelligent evolution of man and women kind.

The girl on whom the film is based gives her stamp of approval by making a very brief appearance.

The saddest thing of all is the excruciating loneliness suffered by those who are expelled from a tightly enclosed religious sect and treated as though they are dead. What a compassionate bunch of nitwits!

Albert Nobbs
(2011)

Strangely haunting and McTeer is mesmerising
When I first saw McTeer I was captivated by an Oscar worthy performance. The nuances in her expressions spoke a thousand words and I found myself eager for her to break cover in her secret battle against the iniquities of master and servant.

Close is a little too closeted for the viewer to empathise completely. Her naivety is frustrating compared to McTeer's emancipated demeanour.

The premise of the film is engaging and creates a suspense which held my attention throughout, although I was too optimistic in my expectation for a comeuppance denouement. Rather the viewer is satisfied that the secret battle for female emancipation continues despite the tragedies along the way.

Beautifully filmed with glorious attention to detail, Albert Nobbs is a story that comes back to haunt you.

The Resident
(2011)

Falls far short of expectation, despite good scene-setting, due to poor story and acting
I expected Hilary Swank to produce so much better, but this film was merely a vehicle for her to show off her body which is a surprise from an Oscar-winning actress.

The direction and atmosphere was suspenseful, but the lack of depth to the plot and narrative was such a disappointment given such good production. There are unanswered questions and missed opportunities which are hugely frustrating given the quality of filming.

I was glad not to have watched this in a cinema because I would have felt trapped and assaulted to have sat all the way through the chasing and fighting in the last 20 minutes. As it was, with control of the fast forward, I could skip the repetitive hide and seek.

There was no satisfying explanation for this perverted stalking landlord choosing his tenant, and no intelligent reason for wanting to watch until the end, unless you just enjoy gratuitous violence.

Suitable for post-pub group viewing, Resident is fine for mindless scares; but the lack of whodunnit and whydunnit just leaves the viewer wondering why did I watch it.

Accused
(2010)

Cracking series by stellar writer
Each of these individual one hour stories are captivating from start to finish. Jimmy McGovern excels in tight scripts which gripped me with their realism and pace. The series is further enhanced by fine English acting.

Each episode begins with a person in a prison cell awaiting trial. Flashbacks build up to a crescendo as to why the accused is on trial and whether or not they will be found guilty. The concept is great for those who love a whodunnit type scenario, only this time it's did they didn't they. And even if they did, the complexities of the back story provides moral angles which make you the judge too. Lovely armchair stuff.

In a year when the BBC has had to generally tread carefully in its broadcasting post the faux pas by Ross and Brand on radio which caused thicker red tape to be introduced, this miniseries is one of the few stars in an otherwise cloudy darkness.

It is one of the few, if only, must see fictional programmes on British television today and I thoroughly recommend it.

Skyline
(2010)

X Factor fun in sci-fi - splendiferous fluff from industry leaders in special effects
Just a great roller coaster ride in visuals - a must see for those who love cutting edge special effects.

I quickly discarded my critical head and went with the fun of the fair which was packed with rides down memory lane of some of the best sci-fi films and a whole bunch of new rides to beat anything else out there. And so it should be as the directors have led the industry in special effects from the Titanic to Terminator. So why shouldn't they showcase their talents in a film using $10 million worth of digital effects.

It cocks a snook at the high-brow toffs of sci-fi and provides a toffee apple I was delighted to lick, suck, and crunch on. I'll certainly be watching any sequel and stuffing my face with candy floss at the same time. Thoroughly recommended for those who don't want to think about it.

Mulholland Dr.
(2001)

Memorable and provoking despite the Lynch mob hype
I put off seeing this film as it sounded like a trial rather than a pleasure. I like mysteries although Twin Peaks was not my thing, at all. Lynch is generally a director I avoid as the pretentious hype around his work seems to create an exclusivity amongst his fans which is borne out by the Message Board here. It just seemed like too much hard work.

However, forgetting the demand for attention to detail in an effort to 'work it out', I found the film a wonderfully crafted visceral experience. The atmosphere created with superlative techniques, especially by the sound department, drew me in and I was hooked.

*Spoiler* There isn't a convoluted mystery to this, it's just a long dream, followed by flashbacks of reality to explain it and ending in the mind and madness of the lead player who cannot take it anymore. I recommend avoiding looking for greater depth of meaning or you'll walk away resentful you were made a victim of what is a simple film, beautifully executed.

Flashbacks of a Fool
(2008)

If you grew up on Bowie and Ferry this film will transport you back
I grew up on Bowie and Roxy Music so this film gets me fixated from the outset. It struck a deep chord of adolescent discovery and pulsating sexual growth. Evocative sums it up for me.

It recalled to me the days of blue eyeshadow and glitter nail varnish; of rebellion at the mundanity of daily life and the hope of an escape through music and fashion. The attention to detail is exciting - vinyl LP covers, the old stereo record players, decadent decor with white shag pile rugs. The clothing, makeup, props and acting all add up to create a consummate reproduction of an era I loved and lived.

If you loved the music of this era and are still an old rebel at heart, this film will grab you by the sound of Andy McKay's sax and take you on a beautifully photographed trip of nostalgia. The boys and men are lookers too.

The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister
(2010)

Testament to womens liberation
This true story had me glued. To see how the women in Austen's time could pursue gay relationships and benefit financially just blew me away.

Miss Anne Lister would be considered a 'groomer' in modern society. But the fact she did what she did back in the early 19th century is a gutsy delight.

With the luxury of being rich she was able to move within society with a liberty untethered by convention.

It just shows how financial independence for women is the true liberation from the tyranny of conventional society.

Big high five to women doing it for themselves!

The Truth
(2010)

Soft porn heralded this 'pony and trap'
Sigh.

Yet again I am foxed by a fulsome critique by a previous reviewer.

I started watching this hoping the reviewer was right only to be faced with an overweight John Heard in a soft porn entanglement with his 30 years younger 'wife' within two minutes of the opening credits.

"You have husbandly responsibilities to attend to", she says, with the finesse of an 'actress' hired for the money shot. Background music of the sort that's dubbed over films of the XXX amateur genre caused me to wince immediately.

I could almost hear "Action" being grunted as the clapper board snapped for probably the 10th time to herald woman riding man cowgirl styleee in half-hearted bondage. The only convincing part was the groaning. They were probably genuine groans of regret at having committed to such a project.

I couldn't watch anymore, so skipped through stopping to see the same set over and over again with the addition of an intruder plus bondage, blood, bruises, guns, rape, and death. Dialogue of note was there none. Ho, hum. Perhaps my review is invalid. But I'd be surprised if any discerning film buff can get past the first scene.

Blessed
(2008)

Charming tale of lost and found
I was swept away by this short story about a grief stricken father who renews his faith in life through a chance encounter with an orphan.

The opening scenes and score whisked me away to an isolated beautiful island, the choice of escape for a rich financier destroyed by loss. His work as a lighthouse keeper provides a wonderful setting, poignantly connected to the way he lost his family.

James Nesbitt is challenged by the role and delivers one of this best performances.

The unexpected arrival of an ethereal young girl with magical skills and a joie de vivre brings a conflict for Nesbitt, between his peaceful solitary existence and the benefits of childish company. I found myself at times wondering whether or not this child is a figment of his imagination.

Charming little film about tragedy and hope.

I Love You Phillip Morris
(2009)

Fanatical gays may overrate; bigots might rebuff
I suspect the voting on this film may be misleading to those looking for an objective view. I'd suggest in terms of film-making it is very well done, the cinematography especially. Snappy editing is delightful and carries the viewer along. Even the potentially shocking moments are damn funny. I guffawed at the initial gay revelatory scene - classic anti-Mary Whitehouse agitprop.

I was expecting to cringe at the serious love (and I mean the love) scenes between Carrey and McGregor. But they played their parts superbly and placed firmly into today's culture a 'normal' gay relationship without any hint of the sexuality being an issue. Really ground-breaking stuff. I could have been watching Clooney and Roberts for all the difference it made, except they wouldn't have acted as well. Actually, there are a couple of scenes where Carrey hides the gay relationship from his work colleagues in order to further his conman career, but then he lied about everything and everyone, even Phillip.

What's more, it's a true story which makes the facts of the story unquestionable in terms of credibility. You couldn't make it up!

And it's great to see Carrey taking on roles which test his acting rather than showmanship. They must have had a blast doing this, and what a giggle seeing McGregor trying to keep a straight face.

May be a little lengthy, so DVD viewing is advised.

Clubbed
(2008)

Reality gangster with a superb gloss
This film demanded a second take, especially because of the excellent twist at the end. And a second take still retained the virtual stomach punches and the empathy I felt for the fear and loathing pervading the lives of the bouncers.

The shockingly crude language lends even more reality to the perilous nastiness that rules the doormen's existence.

Yet within the scary setting there are some real belly-laughs:

Louis: "Make a bit of noise and the whole army can be robbed of it's spirit. Sun Tzu." Louis exits. Sparky: "Who the **** is Sun Tzu?" Rob: "How do I know, I don't know all his mates do a?"

Spotting which one was Neil Morrisey was quite a tease.

Let me make myself 'crystal' it's expletive deletive brilliant British film-making.

Unthinkable
(2010)

Astounding rubbish
Astounding rubbish. And even more astonishing that people can suspend common sense and be convinced this nonsense bears any resemblance to the reality of counter-terrorism.

Suckered into watching this film due to the previous reviews and the strong male cast, the only jaw dropping moments for me were at the ludicrous plot and gratuitous violence.

Shame on those who were fooled by such dreadful blatant propaganda. Just shows how movie-goers looking for adrenalin thrills will take any old crap these days. It worries me that there are people out there so easily hoodwinked into believing such preposterous garbage could have a serious moral message.

It's not the terrorists we need to worry about, it's the people who gave this film a positive review!

Blood and Oil
(2010)

Bang on the money
An outstanding television drama charting the search for answers to suspicious events which befall an Englishman employed in the oil business in Nigeria.

Tremendous acting draws the viewer in as the horrors committed in pursuit of wealth dawn on both the distraught wife of the Englishman and the sassy PR representative of the oil company whose father is a rich Nigerian. They both face moral dilemmas which exemplify the complexity of the situation they find themselves in. And watching them respond is powerful stuff.

The revelations of the deep-seated corruption blighting Nigerian politics and business are counter-balanced by ground roots attempts to bring a share of the wealth to the poverty-stricken indigenous peoples of a country being plundered of its oil.

Shot in South Africa, the representation of dangerous hinterland in Rivers State where militant gangs hide out and the secure comfort of the hotels in Port Harcourt serving multinational firms related to the petroleum industry, rang true.

I found this a mentally stimulating story which had me researching for fact amid the fiction. And on first investigation it appears 'bang on the money'.

Red Dragon
(2002)

Stellar cast sweeten the regurgitation
A stellar cast grant weight to an otherwise formulaic regurgitation.

I quite enjoyed it, even knowing that you are meant to think it has ended only to find it hasn't.

Just watching such gifted actors together made it swing along even through the ridiculous moments. It's great seeing Hoffmann inject a few smiles into a film with no laughs.

I was left feeling an outstanding cast had just earned their daily bread with little to write home about. Perhaps an 'Airplane' take on these Hannibal histrionics would be liberating for the cast who could camp it up without worrying about 'corpsing'. Oops, nearly gave the plot away!

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