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High School Musical

Mixed Review
I found this a nauseating movie where everyone whined their way through saccharine songs...but my 8 year old daughter absolutely loved it, has watched it, like, a zillion times, and has declared her intention of going out and buying the CD of the score.

Oh, that this Romeo and Juliet had just skipped the infantile plot and gone straight to the poison-taking scene, and then shared the leftovers amongst the rest of what I might laughingly describe as the cast...but I can hear my beloved offspring humming the final song as I type!

Parents, allow your young ones to watch this movie: they will enjoy it...but for God's sake do not attempt to watch it yourself without a large injection of alcohol or other mind-altering substance!

Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

Arrogance is the downfall of the Jedi...and a director!
Let me start by saying that "Attack" is far, far better than "Phantom": and is well worth seeing on the big screen.

However, once again Lucas proves that although he is the master of CGI, sci-fi vision and can do "big", he can't do people. For every special effect or scene that had me gasping with amazement and delight, there was a piece of dialogue or interpersonal interaction that was clumsier than the worst and most cliche-d soap opera in the world!

George, listen to me! You're a God in some things, but for God's sake (your own sake?) collaborate on number 3 and find (i) someone who can write speech and (ii) someone who can direct people.

Oh, a few questions (that may contain mild spoilers):

1) Big battle scene good, but why do both sides march towards each other in straight lines firing vast quantities of energy weapons at each other. It looked like a sci-fi version of Marathon or Cannae. Air support? Shields (as in Phantom)? Tactics? Squad-level support weapons? I know they haven't had a proper war for 1000 years or whatever, but please!

2) Can Jedi arrogance and over-confidence truly explain Mace Windu's "let's walk right into the bad guy's lair, where he has a massive army, with the last of the Jedi, without assessing the situation at all when we know the force is weak etc etc". Dump the chump from the tactical attack team please.

3) Amdala, what do you see in Anakin? He's Kevin the teenager in beige! "It's not fair"? What sort of a quote is that for a Jedi: even a young one? Take me instead, Padme! I may not have the force within me (and who know what Jedi mind tricks mean in terms of the bedroom - "You will have multiple orgasms") but I'm a darn sight more interesting than a spoilt brat with more peach-fuzz than personality.

To finish, I was going to give "Attack" 6 out of 10. Then Natalie Portman put that jump-suit on and my score rocketed to 8 out of 10. An extra point for each of her points, as it were!

The Ghost

I was going to write a full review of this film but, thinking about it, I don't know whether I can bring myself to do so.

It's crap.

Not the most inspired critique but, unfortunately, devastingly accurate.

The acting is wooden, the martial arts is sub-standard seventies terrible, and the whole thing made me want to weep.

I beg you not to watch, rent or buy this movie: it will only make them want to make another.

Gosford Park

Engage brain please.
Gosford Park is a thinking persons film.

No think, no enjoy film.

The relationships between characters aren't laid out on a plate for you: you've got to concentrate and work it out for yourself. So a big sorry to all those people who like good guys to wear white (and speak with american accents) and bad guys to wear black (and speak with "foreign" accents): this film is not for you, you're too stupid and/or lazy to understand it.

As for there being no plot...well, the bodycount is low and there aren't any gunfights, but still waters run deep, and there are strong currents in the depths if you're prepared to use your brain to find them.


For example, Emily Watson's maid makes a fatal error and is fired. Big wow, you say, but maybe you don't realise what this means to her. Let me ask you one question. Where is she going to sleep that night? And another, how's she going to get another job? Okay, she's apparently getting a reference, but one 'careless' word suggesting she isn't suitable, and that's it as regards another job "in service". Women didn't really work then, so no other jobs to do. Where does she get money to live on from? No social security. She's finished. That's it. All over.


The butler's big secret? Okay, he went to jail for not fighting in WW1. Doesn't seem like much maybe, but in its time, it's the equivalent of feeling glad about September 11th. If his employers or co-workers find out, that's it again: ostracised.

This film is packed with layer upon layer of similar stuff. Maybe it's a bit too real for everyone's taste, but then real people don't worry about finding the Philospher's Stone (good but overlong TV commercial that Harry Potter was) or similar...but they do worry about the issues covered in this film: jobs, love, peer pressure, social standing, maintaining appearances, unwanted pregnancies, keeping up with the neighbours, bitching about others etc etc etc.

Watch it again and, this time, engage brain.


Only the score is any good!
This movie should have been made in the 1970's.

Then they could have got away with the wooden acting, the ludicrously cliche-d plot, and the frankly obsolete fight scenes.

Oliver G is obviously a talented martial artist: which makes wasting him in this movie even more of a crime. Compared to the latest Jet Li movies or some of the new bullet-time films (e.g. The Matrix, Swordfish) this film strikes with the speed of a snoozing earthworm.

Let me give you an example. Final fight scene...big baddie just about out on his feet...our hero, a bullet in his leg, is standing on one foot kicking the bounder right-left about the head. Technically very good stuff: balance, poise, position etc etc. But realistic? Not even close. I put it to you, Oliver, that if you've kicked him in the head six times already, and he hasn't gone down, then you need to change your tactics a little. Why doesn't he just boot him between the legs and then stamp on his head to finish him? It's what he did to our hero's best pal earlier in the film! Just cos Savate is a kicking style with many impressive high kicks in its repetoire doesn't mean you don't kick someone lower down. You thigh kicked him a moment ago...why not try something a little bit more direct?

This may sound a bit extreme, but poor fight choreography in what's billed as an exciting martial arts masterpiece is bad for the genre as a whole. Say I'm new to chop-sockey's. I see, buy or rent Savate. I'm disappointed. I don't go and see, buy, rent a martial arts movie ever again.

Come on, people, try a little harder please!

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