Reviews (604)

  • I am the first to complain about lack of character building but this swerves too far the other way.

    The main character's life is pretty harsh before she even gets hold of the hell box.

    It goes on for so long about this woman's drug and housing issues that I forgot what I was watching.

    The first quarter of the film feels like a documentary about inner-city living.

    Eventually they set of for hell-box related adventures but first there is a lot of admin and foot work that needs to be done - this really drags.

    When the Cenobites arrive they don't look scary at all.

    Covered in lights and strange triangular plastic looking flaps they look like aliens rather than mutilated bodies.

    Their powers are inconsistent -sometimes they click their fingers and you are toast, other times they blunder after you and pummel you into submission.

    A lot of the film is filler with people shouting or getting from one place to another.

    When the action starts a lot is filmed in near darkness so you can't really tell what is going on.

    The characters are really passive basically twiddling their thumbs waiting to be pricked and torn apart.

    There are some twists but with the makeup of the cast it is no surprise as to who the bad guys really are.

    This felt very, very long and everything that happens is very obvious and I didn't really care about the outcomes.
  • I watched this as a kid in the 80's and I was absolutely spell bound by it.

    There is just so much going on here as a young boy follows a group of bungling interdimensional thieves as they flee from the Supreme Being.

    On their way they have adventures with all kinds of figures from history.

    This is a film of its time (back when children weren't as coddled) and looking back it has some brutal elements and imagery.

    The effects aren't as exuberant as new films but, as they are mostly physical, don't look too shabby and even add to the dreamlike experience.

    The acting is uneven with excellent performances from pros like Sean Connery and Ralph Richardson to other less-seasoned actors who try very hard.

    This is great fun and you are unlikely to see anything else similar.

    If you get on with this check out other Gilliam features like Brazil or Jabberwocky.
  • I remember being a bit sniffy about it at the time but I really enjoyed re-watching this in 2023.

    Maybe as I get older my tastes change or maybe I just crave nostalgia or maybe this was pretty good all along.

    This is a cop version of the odd couple.

    One character is brash and vulgar the other is serious and meticulousness in her duties.

    Their contrasting personalities clash as they are forced to work on a case together.

    What follows is pretty predictable but well executed.

    The two leads are perfectly suited for the parts and it is good fun watching McCarthy screaming in people's faces as Bullock fusses around.

    The story is paper thin but is rigid enough to hold the film up.

    There is some action, some quite silly comedy and (as always) McCarthy and Bullock are game to have a laugh at themselves.

    Watching this in 2023 I found this simple, good fun and engaging enough to put my phone down for 90 minutes.
  • There is nothing terrible about this - it is just quite ordinary.

    This shares nothing with the first Evil Dead's and it would have measured expectations better if it wasn't carrying any baggage.

    Instead of the creepy woods this is set in a grey apartment block.

    The family is set up adequately but they are quite drab, everything about their lives is grungy before any ghost shows up.

    The source of evil here is pretty unstoppable slaying at will - but seems content to lurk around hallways.

    In the previous outings the hut felt like a sanctuary, albeit a delicate one, from the horrors out in the woods.

    Here they just hide behind a door.

    Gross stuff happens but it misses the comic flair of Campbell and just comes off as silly or trite.

    Everyone involved has a good go at this and there are some interesting elements but it all felt a bit laboured and dull.

    This takes itself a bit too seriously in parts and is too goofy in others.

    I didn't really care what happened to anyone.

    The evil power is inconsistent and the fates of the protagonists felt like they were decided by chance.

    Not a bad movie, just quite drab.
  • There is a lot of good stuff in here.

    The characters are quirky and interesting and there are some great set-pieces that are very imaginative and really good fun.

    When the CGI is good it is very, very good and the fight scenes are well choreographed.

    So what's the issue?

    When the CGI isn't good it is pretty bad.

    Unfortunately this film leans heavily on CGI - most outdoor shots are obviously green-screened in, badly, and transition scenes often looks like computer graphics from the early 2000's.

    The story has great points but it is painfully lineal.

    The heroes go to A to get the thing to open door B on the way they find the keys to door C.

    Most films have lineal plots but not as obvious as this.

    Bad guys enter but you know they are just filler to kill time on the way to the next obvious plot point.

    Problems pop up and disappear at an alarming rate, often the solution is just for the heroes to try a bit harder.

    A lot of the jokes were (on paper) very funny but they hardly ever landed - the timing was always off.

    There was just something off about the chemistry between the cast.

    All the acting was good but I never felt like they were any kind of a team or really cared for each other.

    I am sure this will be on TV at Christmas and I would highly recommend watching it as it is great fun - but it isn't the classic I was hoping for and feels more suited to the small screen.
  • This is a spoof documentary following the contestants attending the Mascot Awards.

    I am not usually a fan of adlib but it really works here as the interviews come off quite candid but obviously silly.

    There is a lot of really good talent here and utilised well.

    The lesser-known names are also really good and all the characters are fleshed out.

    The film cumulates in the Mascot performance finale - which is entertaining in its own right.

    This is an unusual movie - it is silly but professionally made and the story is coherent.

    I didn't find it laugh-out-loud funny but it quite amusing and I was invested in the characters.

    I feel like this film deserves more praise than I am prepared to give it.

    I recommend this for a week night watch for a few chuckles.
  • This is all about Tetris (obviously) and how it became a such a popular game all around the world.

    Except it doesn't really - this is more about who profits from it.

    The central character (literally) bets the house on being able to get the Japanese rights.

    For this he needs to tussle with publishers, moguls, bankers and the brutal bureaucracy of soviet Russia.

    The film does a very good job keeping things interesting adding flare, drama and some 8bit graphics.

    A lot of the drama depends on how much you care about contract law.

    It is never really clear what the contracts represent or the consequences of not having them.

    Could or would the U. S. S. R sue Nintendo - and would they care?

    We don't really know and no attempt is made to clarify this or set the stakes.

    At the end of the day everyone is chasing money - some characters are depicted as having higher goals with an almost angelic light shone on them - but this is reaching at best.

    Sometimes it feels like the leads are fighting to share the cure for cancer with the world not a computer game.

    If you stop and think about the outcomes no one really comes out smelling great - even the most sympathetic characters are really just slamming the door shut as they run from a burning building.

    This is a decent watch and I recommend it for a Sunday afternoon.
  • I quite like old style slasher/horror movies and have spent some time with the likes of Zombeavers and Piranha etc.

    A lot of these movies were quite silly and suffered from a lack of time and funding - but they made up for it with heart

    This starts of quite well building up some characters that you can get invested in.

    But then it tries too hard to be funny.

    With something like this I think you need to own your silliness or try and hold the line.

    So much of this film is taken up by people walking places talking - which is ok but tends to drag, then we switch to the comedy characters that are just plain stupid.

    Maybe I am just getting old and grumpy, but I don't find wonky accents and talking about vaginas funny in itself - you need wit and comedic timing.

    I tried hard to like this but after a while my phone appeared in my hand and I was totally distracted - not caring who or what killed what.

    I think there is an audience for this and perhaps younger (less jaded viewers) will get a kick out of it - for me it felt thrown together and uninspired.
  • This starts off looking a bit drab and feely - but settles in after about fifteen minutes into something quite special.

    The characters are undergoing some really gut-wrenching issues but somehow it is kept light and funny.

    A lot of the humour is snarky and biting but with excellent delivery and is measured in such a way so it never feels like anyone is getting picked on.

    This is one of those shows where you can't pick your favourite character because everyone is special and has their moments or adds something.

    The acting and writing really is top class.

    I am guilty of moaning about programs being too woke - but this is the level ground I am after.

    There are "political" jokes but they are witty and good natured and allow you to laugh at yourself.

    Is it possible to explore death and loneliness and rejection and debilitating illness in a light and funny way?

    It appears so.

    I didn't see this advertised anywhere and it could easily have slipped by me - this is really good quality, funny viewing.
  • This is the story of how Roger Sharpe assisted in overturning the New York ban on pinball machines.

    It is as exciting as it sounds.

    That is not a bad thing - not every movie has to have planets crashing into the sun, but be aware of this.

    It is well filmed, using the interview process as a clever naration device that adds some welcomed disruption and humour to it.

    This is well produced and acted.

    We watched this on a Wednesday evening and it was perfect.

    A lot of this revolves around Roger's love life.

    Roger does seem to like Pinball a bit too much and the stakes here are low. I really don't care if pinball machines got banned in a city on the otherside of the world 50 years.

    This is a nice film that chews up and idle afternoon.
  • I am not the target audience for this but it was really enjoyable.

    The world setting is deftly explained without labouring any points.

    In this world ghosts prowl the street and can only be subdued by government trained and approved teenagers.

    This is a YA show but it isn't treated with the normal distain that many are, real effort and talent has gone into this.

    The main cast are superbly cast and put in great performances - Cameron, Ruby and Ali have great chemistry and I feel like I could watch them sit around their flat all day just hanging out.

    The episodes are interesting, introducing some new ghost or ghost-fighting tool - it never felt like we were filling time.

    The overall story is really good but does run a little out of steam near the end - but it is still enjoyable.

    I really hope this gets a second season.

    EDIT - unfortunately Netflix is not picking up a second season.

    This is still worth a watch as a single season.
  • I think we all remember the aircraft disappearing and how unusual this was.

    This delves into the mystery - except it doesn't.

    There are large sections on the families and how much they missed their love ones. This is very sad and I feel bad for them but I don't consider other peoples grief entertainment.

    Then we have the conspiracy theories.

    Some muppets come forward with complex and imaginative theories based on a white splodge on a photo or the surname of a passenger.

    Then the (normally quite bonkers theory) is dramatised - normally adding some very questionable details.

    The thing that drives this forward is that the people in the documentary cannot handle that a plane could ever go missing.

    Again and again they lament that a plane "can't simply disappear".

    To put this in context, in1942 (admittedly the technology was more basic) the entire Imperial Japanese navy couldn't spot a battle group consisting of aircraft carriers and cruisers steaming towards them.

    The oceans are very, very, very big places and constantly moving; and for a lot of the search no one was even sure which ocean to look in.

    It is not beyond comprehension that the wreckage of a plane (largely made of aluminium and plastic, crashing into the sea at hundreds of miles an hour) doesn't leave a visible trace the air for years to follow.

    Throughout history ships, huge ships, have been lost and never found.
  • This starts of how you imagine, and it was quite entertaining.

    But then some contestants realise that rather than Outlasting the other teams you can just attack them.

    Two female contestants raided another survivors camp and started stealing and destroying his things.

    He asked them to leave, they refused.

    They told him to quit or they would destroy his camp the second he leaves.

    He complained this was against the rules but she pointed out there were no rules and no one disagreed with her.

    The male contestant didn't want to be violent (especially to a woman) so could do nothing.

    The women split up and destroyed his camp piggy-in-the-middle style.

    This is just awful.

    How the produces stood by and watch this unfold (assuming it is real) is just beyond me.

    Is this really what they dreamed of creating?

    We had to switch off around episode 5 as it was just nasty.

    I am up for freedom of creative expression but this made me feel sick.

    I worry for the people who enjoyed this.

    Although there are lots of things I dislike on Netflix, nothing has ever made me consider cancelling my subscription as much as this..
  • Two people's lives intersect when one of them runs over a dog.

    They are very different people and the injured dog seems to be the only thing they have in common.

    The characters are suitably broken and struggling in their own ways.

    This is sharp and very witty - there are some great characters and some excellent writing.

    This is very grounded with a typical Ozzy roughness to it.

    The situations are a little silly but never stray into ridiculous and everything makes sense.

    A lot of the humour is based on the differences between the main characters (age, ambition, family) and they have great chemistry.

    I hope this gets a second season - but if not the first one stands on its own.

    There are no big themes in this - it is honest good fun.
  • Two young women get trapped atop a very tall tower - there you go.

    The characters are well set up and well-acted.

    The two actresses are very easy on the eye - which is good as they are going to be taking up most of the screen most of time.

    The direction and effects mange to turn my stomach a few times and you get that real sense of danger.

    The location restricts the potential for story telling quite a bit but the writers pull a few tricks to start some drama atop the pole.

    I can't fault anything technical about this film - I think it is pretty much as good as this type of film can get.

    But after all that praise, I didn't really enjoy this much.

    The movie was fine and I like disaster movies but having a limited cast really breaks the tension for me.

    I had the same issues with "Gravity" and "Buried" A lot of what happens feels prescribed and is only some stuff that has to happen until we can get to the end and we see who makes it out.

    If intimate-disaster movies are your thing then I would highly recommend this - but just not for me.
  • I assumed this would be a family movie (it is PG13) but it is really a goofy caper aimed at young children.

    This starts off quite well.

    A family move into a haunted house. The son sees the ghost as a desperate soul in need of help but dad sees only a cash-cow.

    The main family are great and the ghost is entertaining enough.

    The social media aspect isn't really that big a deal - it is always in the background but is really only a device to instigate a silly chase scene - and there are a lot or silly chase scenes.

    The worst part of this film by a long stretch is Joy.

    Her first words are about racism - is this important to her character? Nope.

    I assume it is just so the writers can enjoy a high-five about how great they are at dismantling racisit stereotypes.

    Well at least they are not going to push the narrative that all Asian girls are super tech-savvy and have overbearing fathers that force them to study.


    Joy has such nuggets like '"being quiet in a library! Since when did noise make you stupid?" or "Why can't I go into the boys' toilet and watch you pee - screw your gender norms!" I feel sorry for the actress that got lumbered with this creepy, idiot of a character.

    This film is mostly about chasing which is unfortunate for Joy as she doesn't seem to be able to run or jump without some heavy editing.

    People charge around, fall over, drop stuff, scream: pretty much like on any early morning children's TV show.

    The chases are punctuated by some emotional scenes but they are pretty on-the-nose stuff about dads and loneliness.

    Young children might get a kick out of it but I found little value in it.

    I am obviously not the audience for this and it suffers my low score mostly due to unscrupulous marketing by Netflix.
  • The film opens showing how girls are conditioned to project their desires on men, chasing a fairytale ending.

    As a man who apprecites a good romcom -and has fawned over girls who obviosuly had no interest in me - it was nice to see this explored from the male side too.

    The premise is a set of loosley connected individuals playing at (and mostly failing) the dating game.

    This is not hillarious but has some funny moments and is played quite straight-laced.

    It does have an overall positive feel and a good pace.

    My big problem wih moden Romcoms is that the characters are so squeaky clean and capable that I never feel for them.

    Here the character's really pull you in. There are a couple of scenes that are really gut wretching and others that bring you to the edge of your seat.

    Sure,everyone is super attractive and articulate but this is Hollywood RomCom standard fair.

    It's clear that not everyone here is going to get their happy-ending but I found myself willing them on anyway.

    Great actors and perfomances, expertly written and filmed.
  • I am a big fan of 27 Dresses so I was excited when this popped up.

    Unfortunately, this film is pretty drab.

    Plot: As a Brit I have always wondered about the difference between smug, self-righteous L. A buttholes and smug, self-righteous buttholes from New York.

    Luckily, this film is basically a side-by-side comparison, so now I know.

    There are some side plots about an exam, a book and an asthmatic kid - but they are mostly irrelevant.

    Script: The painfully stilted dialogue sways between cringy adlib and hostage proof-of-life video.

    Everybody reels out exactly what they think and feel in a jarringly unnatural way.

    Comedy: There are so many zingers to choose from like: the recurring joke that Debbie's suitcase only has two wheels, or someone shows their bum-crack and then referencing it later, or how Peter calls a kid weasel face. Very, very, very funny stuff.

    Tig Notaro and Steve Zahn: I am not going to say anything bad about these two as I assume the only reason they keep getting booked is they have strong mafia ties or something.

    Bloat: Have you ever fantasied about opening an Air-BNB, fitting it with hidden cameras and renting it to Reece Wetherspoon so you could voyeuristically watch her wander around the house opening cupboards, reading, sitting about in her nightie? If so then you can save yourself the trouble and just watch this.

    There is so much in this film that is just irrelevant filler.

    Chemistry: There is none

    Camera work: Whoever shot this loves widescreen and pulls way-way back so you can get huge slices of empty set.

    Sometimes it felt like I was watching this on a neighbours TV through binoculars.

    Fun: This takes itself much too seriously to be any fun.

    Everyone is so self-conscious and so pleased with themselves for adding in little highbrow nods and winks about how aware and clever they are about modern culture that any sense of fun is lost.

    Modern romcoms are plagued by characters that are so super-duper-awesome and so capable that you really can't care about them.

    Whatever happens everyone will be just fine and I never cared if they got together or not.
  • So, Dave takes on the evil world of banking.

    Enter Hugh, a lawyer sent to disuade Dave from his suicidal charge at the finaincial in industry

    What follows is a sappy tour of Dave's home town where we see what can be achieved when communities pull together, opening Hugh's eyes to life beyond the coporate climate of London.

    As Dave gets traction the banks retailate in sinister and underhand ways.

    This is a typical Brit-flick: big on character with little in the way of bells and whistles.

    Things esclate and the finalie is satisfyingly silly.

    The acting and production is fair and the story is simplistic - you are never in any doubt of who the bad guys are.

    This is inoffensive, feel-good fodder that will make you smile.

    This is not a memorable movie and is quickly lost amongst the likes of Brassed Off, Kinky Boots, or The Fully Monty.

    But that is not a bad thing - there is a place for this inexpensive yarn and I am happy projects like this go ahead.
  • J-lo is getting married but there is the normal sitcom wedding stuff going on - when some pirates turn up (the kind with AK47's not the eye-patch type)

    What follows is action and jokes and all kinds of shenanigans.

    No opportunity to blow something up, have wedding guest fight or for Ms Lopez to get down to her pants is missed.

    This all makes the film a bit chaotic and the slapstick nature makes it feel a bit like a cartoon.

    At this point I would like to point out that this is an Action Rom-com that have always been a bit silly; even going all the way back to Romancing the Stone.

    This is fast paced, full of action and quips, easy to watch and J-lo looks amazing.

    Some of the acting is a bit hammy and some of the jokes are a bit base but this was never designed to win any Oscars.

    This was an easy fun watch.

    Very silly but bright and breezy fodder.
  • A load of bizarre assassins and general bad guys find themselves on a train speeding its way across Japan.

    The characters range from quirky to goofy and everyone has a violent origin story.

    This plays out like a comic book with lots of bright colours and fast action sandwiched between clever, pithy dialogue.

    This is very well made with great acting, sets and frantic camera work.

    The story is nonsense - but you kind of get that by from the first scene.

    I really thought I would love this but I found it a bit tiresome - perhaps I am just getting too old for this sort of thing.

    The main issue is that the world is too fluid.

    When someone can chop down ten bad guys in a flash it is hard to care if another ten show up.

    When the lethality of bullets and samurai swords is so unpredictable - it is hard to get excited when someone draws their weapon.

    This is a really fun ride but it felt too long.

    It felt like there were a few too many silly backstories about how bad-ass #5 killed twenty nameless dudes, and too many tears spilt over fallen heroes who weren't quite dead.

    I think there is a lot to like here.

    But it feels like a fairground ride that you have to ride for over two hours - it is fun at first but after a bit you just want to sit down.
  • There are two kinds of jump scares: those that work and those that don't.

    This film has an awful lot of the former and I was (pleasantly) surprised, even a veteran horror fan, at how many times I jumped or felt the hairs on my arms stand up.

    Right from the start there is something not quite right with our lead character (Rose) she looks strange, ill and pasty, almost skeletal (sorry Sosie Bacon - I am sure it was the makeup) Lots of little details pile up to give this film an unsettling aura.

    Like most horror movies when it starts to run out of steam it flounders pretty quicky - but this has the good sense to cut and run sharpish.

    I greatly enjoyed this but near the end I was overcome by a sense of inevitability that never left me.

    A very good effort.
  • I was expecting this to be realistic and authentic - a hard hitting anti-war film. It really isn't.

    From small things, like the unrealistically high level of motorisation to major things like magic gas that kills troops instantly and tanks that appear out of nowhere and apparently rumble around for fun, there is very ittle authentic about this film.

    Also there is a serious lack of humanity in this film.

    A lot of the areas are all but deserted of people, often the main characters are the only inhabitants.

    Most people when shot roll into a neat little bundle and lie still. Nobody gets hit in the hand or the head or the stomach - it might as well be a shooting gallery of dummies.

    I found the characters to be bland and underdeveloped - one likes girls, one wears glasses, one is a bit dippy.

    Most of their dialogue is pointing things out like "that sound is a gun" or "that thing is deadly" or "these guys all died"

    The depiction of artillery, gas, tanks, flamethrowers, grenades and machine guns is incredibly inaccurate and played out for show.

    It follows the tired troupe that World War One was a crazy mess with no planning or structure and everyone ran around bludgeoning each other with shovels.

    This movie was sold as something special but compared to other anti-war movies like Das Boot, Cross of Iron, Platoon or the original All Quiet this is just a particularly gory action move.

    It works pretty well as as an action movie: there are plenty of set pieces with planes swooping, tanks crashing, flames whooshing and people jumping with an explosion in the background.
  • This is a light horror movie based on the robotic Over-Logical-Prime-Directive syndrome.

    You, know?

    Tell your robot to make sure the cat doesn't run in to traffic and when you get home the robot has snapped its legs off, just to make sure.

    This handles that impeccably.

    It manages to shift between sad and scary with very little effort and has great pacing.

    The action scenes are exciting without being overly dramatic, but most of all they are interesting, people trip or fumble in unpredictable ways.

    M3gan looks good (most of the time) and the way her voice modulates at certain times is very creepy.

    On top of all this, the movie has a really witty streak running through it.

    There is the normal "too much technology makes Jack a dull boy" affair but it is honest and done with a wry grin.

    Like, yes we could take the tablet off our child but then she will be really needy and annoying.

    This is well written, well cast, well shot, well directed with good effects - just don't expect to pee your pants with fear.
  • The documentary opens with a black woman showing how her computer doesn't recognise her face until she covers it with a white mask.

    Does this prove that the coding is racist?

    No, it demonstrates that it recognises a mask that is coloured white much more effectively than her face. If the mask was sprayed brown, would it still be an issue?

    We don't know.

    It is suggested that she has done extensive research into this but none is shown - so let's take that on blind faith for the moment.

    The documentary is very casual with terminology especially with "Recognised" and "Identified" a lot of the times it is unclear if the issue is correctly matching the face with its owner or recognising it is a face at all.

    We are told that the facial recognition software employed by Governments is powerful and we shouldn't take its application in blind faith. OK

    Lines of dubious logic are followed such as: 1. Men are recognised easier than women 2. Men wrote the code Conclusion: The code is biased against women

    This is a biased view - the "blame the patriarchy path" is so well trodden the council have paved it and put in parking restrictions.

    If we apply the same logic with different variables we can come to some vastly different outcomes.

    1. Men are recognised easier than women 2. White people are recognised easier than black people 3. U. K law enforcement invest greatly in the software 4. There are many more incarcerated white men than black women Conclusion: The system is set to allow black women to get away with crime.

    Obviously, this is nonsense but is demonstrates how easy it is to introduce bias.

    There are lots of reasons why male faces could be easier to identify: men are less likely to wear makeup, have piercings, colour their hair or generally change their appearance as often as women.

    As well as a myriad of other variables: the programmer in the first scene has the largest pair of hexagonal spectacles I have ever seen.

    Is their bias in programming and structures?


    If I was to "Sophie's Choice" I would pick the girl child every time as I have a bias to value female life over male. It is not morally right and it is complex as to why I think like that - but I do.

    This documentary is well paced and easy to watch but doesn't really offer much up and is very obviously (and ironically) hampered by its own biases.

    It doesn't offer any counter point, for instance: If a large percentage of smokers reject transplanted organs and one ethnic group smokes more than others - wouldn't you want an AI system to have a bias against them for transplant lists?

    I am sure the police have lots of clips of their system catching murderers and rapists that they would rather show instead of the clip the documentary chose of a black child being stopped and searched.

    Also it is worth noting that you don't need an A. I to make biased judgments or to assign labels to people.

    There are some interesting points here and there is definitely food for thought, but this is far too simplistic and agenda driven.
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