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Deep Sea

Beautiful Visuals, Awful Narration
Deep Sea 3D is a stunning insight in to an underwater world only a few have had the opportunity to view first hand.

From the opening sequence when a wave rushes towards the audience momentarily engulfing us in the ocean, the filmmakers make full use of the IMAX format. A jelly fish field appears to fill the whole theatre, a shark powers towards us, predators pounce from behind rocks and devour their prey. It is a beautifully captured under sea feast for the eyes.

Our ears on the other hand, are not given the same treatment. The film is narrated by Hollywood stars Jonny Depp and Kate Winslet. Both sound so ridiculous it positively spoils the enjoyment of the visuals. Depp sounds slightly bored whilst Winslet sounds as if she is reading a bedtime story to the village idiot. I was shocked that an actress of her status could have pitched her performance so wrongly. The script is fairly silly and contains very little depth. The soundtrack is filled with strange, unrealistic sound effects which I assume are meant to be funny but in fact detract attention from the material which should have been allowed to speak for itself.

Danny Elfman has provided an excellent score which gives plenty of impact to the ups and downs of life under the sea, when it is allowed to play out without the silly bubble sounds or crayfish footfalls which pepper film.

The film is a technical marvel but with it's childish script, annoying narration and misplaced sound effects it cannot be taken seriously.


James Bond Sings...
The story is that of Desmond Doyle (Brosnan), an unemployed painter and decorator in 1950's Ireland who is abandoned by his wife and left to care for his three young children. When the Irish courts suggest he puts them in to care while he finds work Desmond begins a long struggle to regain custody of the plucky Evelyn (Sophie Vavasseur) and her brothers from the Jesuits and Nuns.

This movie falls below average for me because it could have been so much better. The stellar supporting cast are excellent however it does appear to be a vehicle for Pierce Brosnan and Pierce Brosnan only. Not that I dislike Mr Brosnan I just think he is miscast in this film. This is most evident in one scene in the film when Desmond walks down the street with his legal team. He is advised by tidy himself up for court and yet there he stands amongst his besuited, and immaculate colleagues looking, well, just gorgeous. Pierce Brosnan unfortunately IS James Bond and no amount of stubble and thick Irish brogueing is going to disguise it. The accent is woeful by the way - how an Irishman can make an Irish accent sounds so forced I'll never know.

Julianna Margulies is shamefully under-used yet still manages to shine as the obligitory love-interest. She is never really allowed to say more then a few words at a time, AND still her Irish accent is more convincing.

Alan Bates is wonderful as the comical hard-drinking Family Law expert and former Ireland rugby player. Aiden Quinn delivers a solid performance as the American barrister and love rival. Stephen Rea is also under-used as Desmond's solicitor. All three supply the film's funnier moments.

This film never really raises itself above it's made-for-TV True-Life Drama feel and is neither inspiring nor gripping which means it simply plods to it's predictable and somewhat cheesy conclusion.

The Long and Short of It

This is a wonderful short by immerging filmmaker Sean Astin. Made on their days off while shooting Lord of the Rings in New Zealand it makes use of the lesser seen crew members in a gentle and simple story about a man in a spot of bother who is helped by some passersby. I absolutely love the idea that Elijah Wood is First Assistant Director and Andy Serkis is Assistant Location Manager.

To me this is really about the spirit of Peter Jackson's trilogy and the bonds that were formed. It's just a really sweet and endearing little film with some astonishly big names attached to it.

Queen of the Damned

Bad...yet good.
The acting is shocking, the plot has drive-thru size holes and the characterisation is appalling yet I found this movie oddly entertaining.

Stuart Townsend camps it up as Lestat, a 18th century French nobleman now a present day Marilyn Manson style rock star. He is very beautiful and moves like a vampire. I found him strangely alluring despite his hammy accent and near constant mugging at the camera. It amuses me greatly that Stuart Townsend left the set of smash hit LOTR: TFOTR after creative differences and ended up on this disaster movie. Vincent Perez plays his maker Maurius just as camp and there are some amusing exchanges between the two vamps. I particularly enjoyed the scenes where they sit in front of the mammoth billboard of Lestat and a discussion they have about late twentieth century fashion. But this is where it unclear whether the director and writers is taking the film seriously. The actors clearly are not. This is truly demonstrated by the casting of Aliliyah. Although she looks the part as Akasha, the mother of all vampires she gives a performance that is wooden at best. It reminded me of a school play, not least because she looks like a child at a costume party. I am a fan of Anne Rice and I believe she offered to write the screenplay for this film and was turned down. That, I think is a clear statement that this was to be a departure from the original Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, which boasts the talents of Brad Pitt and a bizarrely unrecognisable Tom Cruise as Lestat. Townsend's Lestat is different from Cruise's but no less valid. (Cruise was pretty hammy too.) But then Anne Rice did create Lestat as a mass of contradictions. Queen of the Damned's visual design is lavish but lacks the sumptuousness of Neil Jordan's production. The special effects are good although they sometimes feel out of place. Despite all these failings there is still something I liked about the film. I could easily watch it again. Credit is due to Paul McGann as David Talbot for managing to keep a straight face. I didn't.


In my opinion Kevin Spacey was born to play this part. But then I always say that about him.
This is an exceptional performance by Mr Spacey as a man in a psychiatric ward who claims to be from the planet K PAX, one thousand light years from earth. Jeff Bridges gives what is tantamount to a good supporting performance as the doctor trying to save his patient from his delusions to the detriment of his own family life.

An excellent supporting cast give a fair and accurate portrayal of life in a Psychiatric institution. It is nice to see such a place portrayed without the need to show the usual heavy-handed orderlies manhandling patients and uncaring nurses injecting patients with tranquillisers at the first sign of trouble.

The film opens with the character Prot helping a woman who has been attacked in a train station. From that opening scene Spacey gives Prot an unearthly quality. From the childlike innocence of each new discovery the audience travels the journey with him. Spacey's Prot is smug, occasionally arrogant and almost Christ-like but his effect on his fellow patients is what captures the imagination. It's a funny, engrossing yet poignant film, which leaves you feeling both charmed and horrified.

Shallow Hal

Just don't know what to make of it...
I went to see this movie for research purposes only. The Farrelly Brothers are not normally my cup of tea. As a woman of similar proportions to Rosemary in the film I was interested to see how the previously grossly insensitive directors would treat the subject of obesity and 'inner beauty'. I have to say having seen the film and am hopelessly divided on my feelings for it. Half of me feels they were still poking fun at fat people (furniture collapsing, big splashes in the swimming pool etc.) and yet it seems the sentiment is in fact altruistic. Hal is shallow and not particularly physically attractive but is described as having hopelessly high standards when it comes to women. He will only approach very attractive women and as a result is often knocked back.

After he is hypnotised by a self-help guru he is only being to see people's inner beauty, he meets Rosemary, the overweight daughter of his boss. She is funny, intelligent and kind and Hal is soon hooked. There is much reference in this film to attractive women being unfunny and not terribly interesting. Are the directors trying to redress the balance or is that reading too much in to an essentially lighthearted comedy? Oddly as the story progresses and thus the characterisation I found that Hal became more attractive. Perhaps I was also discovering his inner beauty. Gwyneth is without a doubt utterly beautiful but my main concern was how horrid she looked in the 'fat suit' (Worse than Julia Roberts in America's Sweetheart's). Fat people are NOT uniformly unattractive or ugly just as beautiful women are not all stupid and pointless. The Campaign of Fat Acceptance were outraged by the concept of the fat suit - comparing it to 'blacking up' a white actress. I'm not convinced that this attitude promotes acceptance. I admire the Farrelly brothers for taking this subject head on and I believe the message of the film is ultimately good. As I cannot make up my mind where I stand on this film I give it a halfway five.

Autumn in New York

Beautiful but a turkey
***SPOILERS*** ***SPOILERS*** This film received such bad reviews that it stuck in my mind so when it came out on video I thought I'd give it a go just to see if it really lived up to it's reviewers' disappointment. It did. Richard Gere portrayed what I would consider to be a dirty old man albeit a very handsome one. While Winona Ryder plays this sickly,thin little girl-child he seduces.

This film was terrible for so many reasons I can't list them all. Firstly Gere's character falls for this girl after seeing her across a crowed room (cliche?). She is supposed to be intelligent as well as beautiful but all she seems to say is 'wow' and 'amazing'. Not exactly deep and meaningful you'll agree.

Secondly Ryder's supposedly clever and creative character forgives him for cheating on her. Why would you waste your last few months on a man she can't trust?

Gere and Ryder, although they don't really have the best on-screen chemistry give fair performances despite the wishy washy script.

I found the whole thing rather distasteful, particularly as it becomes apparent that Gere had also dated Charlotte's mother. In other words just when you're trying to forget he's old enough to be her father it pops in to your head that he could actually be. Add to that the fact that she's dying and the whole thing became vulgar, unconvincing and extremely embarrassing for all involved.

It is, however beautifully shot and showcases New York's sight, architecture and ambience to perfection. This doesn't make up for a crass script and week plot.

SPOILER ALERT: When she does finally die it felt like a relief as by then the love story was so cheesy and unbearably vile it felt like she was being released from his tainted clutches.

The trailer for this movie is impressive but don't be fooled. A good solid weepy it ain't. It's one of those films where all the best bits are in the trailer. Give me Pretty Woman or Little Women any day over this trivial, nauseating nonsense.

America's Sweethearts

Hollywood laughs at itself
This is a romantic, well paced, and very funny film. John Cusack is wonderfully vulnerable as Eddie the previously deranged, estranged husband of Catherine Zeta Jones' Gwen. Julia Roberts plays her downtrodden sister/PA perfectly. Billy Crystal is extremely believable as Hollywood publicist, Lee. He also co-wrote the film. This is Hollywood parodying itself and although it doesn't quite hit the spot in the same way The Player has in the past, it has its moments of perfect satire. The opening scene is a gem. The ending leaves you a little disappointed though, but the film is definitely worth a look.

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