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The Shack

Tedious and unimaginative
Puleeeeze. I don't know why I started watching this movie. Firstly, to say that I am an ex-Christian, and that my spirituality has shifted from Christianity with great difficulty and no little trauma. This movie tries earnestly to be sensitive to doubt and emotional/psychological pain, but I've seen other Christian movies and at least those made me think:'The Shack' from the start proposes an orthodox spirituality which I for one ceased connecting with many years ago and was the main reason why my spirituality shifted - an orthodox Christian spirituality which I find unimaginative and tedious. I experienced it as​ being very b-o-r-i-n-g, and I unavoidably found myself, about forty minutes into the film, just rolling eyes, sighing deeply, and remembering​ that you I have much better things to do with my time. Yes, it's the orthodoxy which I find so tiresome. I feel like 'Been there, got the t-shirt, asked the same dumb question';. I feel like I've heard all this stuff before, and the theology remains the same (complacent) no matter how lavish the cinematography that clearly seeks to tart it up. After forty minutes I felt like I was being preached at, and it was stuff I've already heard a million and one times; and have moved on from.

And instead of taking notice of the simple theology, I found myself waiting for the noticeably regular occasions when Sam Worthington's native Australian brogue broke through his mumbled Midwestern American.

Quite frankly, i think that this kind of theology is inadequate and an insult to the intelligence. I think it is wise to give 'The Shack' a miss. Quite a wide one.


Memorable though patchy in places
I enjoyed this movie. I found it was memorable. A little daft in places but the story was based on an excellent premise. Very good movie considering it was obviously done on a very low budget, was independent, and the acting not excellent. Jonah Green and Sam Katz did a very good job of everything; and with more money and resources i'm sure they will become excellent film-makers. I particularly liked the soundtrack; the Kevin Macleod work you can take or leave - but i thought Jeremy Green and Scott Green's compositions were excellent. I would like there to be a soundtrack of 'Insight' containing the Greens' work.

The Lost Future

Awful. Naive. Sexist. Unimaginative. Twee.
This movie only has Sean Bean acting in it to recommend it but - guess what - in it he plays a rough, tough Yorkshireman (can Sean Bean play anything else?), albeit a disenfranchised one. All the villagers wander in the dust around wearing neat and pristine animal skins which are just a little too perfect, and the inhabitants themselves are all a little too finely-manicured (including beards and haircuts neatly-trimmed) to suggest the rough living of a sparse and dangerous post-apocalyptic world. The movie is kind of broadly plausible until it announces The Yellow Powder, the salvation of the human race, but currently in the possession of an evil overlord who looks like the Sheriff of Nottingham from numerous Robin Hood incarnations. The evil overlord's young daughter is just a little too eager to help the escapees, especially as it will mean inevitable death to her unfortunately evil father. Oh, and The Yellow Powder has a miraculous and instant healing power; and there seems to be quite a lot of it for something which was apparently in crucially short supply only fifteen minutes earlier and worth killing indiscriminately for.

This movie is ghastly.

Oh, and then there are zombies. Yes. of course there are the zombies. I'm going to train as an undertaker so that i can tie up the shoelaces of dead people. Then the Zombie Apocalypse will be hilarious.

Confessions of a Shopaholic

Light but sweet and funny
I enjoyed this movie. Sure it's light and shallow but it is entertaining and sweet. It made me laugh throughout. Liking this movie is a guilty pleasure, but a happy one. The character of Becky is actually very earthy because she is so flawed, and real for that reason. The point of her realising the effects of her addiction on others and on herself is truly moving. The movie is standard chick flick fayre, Like the ditzy girl who falls in love with the well-to-do, charming and handsome man who is in love with her. Is life really like that (or like shopping for that matter?). This movie has some genuine slapstick moments which are hilarious.

Sex Drive

a memorable teen movie
I don't usually like teen movies or road movies, but the two are combined in this. I would not normally give a movie like this a second glance, but right from the start it is very funny, and the puerile, slapstick and excruciating humour immediately roped me in. The movie has a sense of post-irony in the way it makes a point about the representation on film of gratuitous nudity, and the different points in the movie when the action suddenly widens to involve the production crew and even spontaneous unscripted moments by the cast.

This movie is more subversive of the genre than it lets on, and for that reason i think it is very clever. The script and the characterisation is so realistic; i particularly liked the character of Ian's raucous brother Rex, and his genuine excitement at receiving a juicer at Christmas an excellent masterstroke and a witty comment on the gay lifestyle.

Fabulous. An unexpected treat.

Oral Fixation

Oh dear
Hmmm. This was entertaining, but not a movie i would write home about. The soundtrack was awful, like something from a film noir, and didn't enhance (or even compliment) the action. Emily Parker as the protagonist did an OK job, but neither she nor her character didn't sit comfortably with the movie. Aidan Sullivan as Paul's wife gives by far the best performance. So mad psychotic bunny boiler was damaged in a mysterious experiment by her crazy psychiatrist father. This movie has a kind of basic underlying understanding of psychopathology, but just ends up being ridiculous and like a thousand other bunny-boiler thrillers that have been made. The movie was well-produced, but the acting a little wooden and self-conscious at times. Perhaps a more glamorous studio might have done something better with this movie - but not even it could escape from the formulaic thriller format. The fight scene at the end, while i'm sure intended to be reminiscent of 'Fatal Attraction', was just silly. I'm sure i have come across the plot before, or at least it feels like i have. This movie felt like it was done by actors who needed the work. Unconvincing.

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

George Clooney over-acting
I was disappointed when i watched this movie because i had heard so much about it. I found a couple of bits slightly funny but it seemed to drag a bit just after halfway through so that i fell asleep while watching it. For the first half hour George Clooney over-acted so that his character was just irritating. The dim-witted redneck boys were a racial stereotype, as were many of the characters - why was that acceptable while racially stereotyping an African-Caribbean man was self-consciously not? I think more could have been made of Don Goodman's character, which was larger than life and comical. I was intrigued at how the directors handled the race issue (since it was set in a historical context) & i think they just about passed but tackling it was just asking for trouble. I liked the music soundtrack. I didn't like the assumption that we can have sympathy for convicts especially Clooney's character, that made me feel uncomfortable. Some difficult moral aspects were tackled efficiently; others left a nasty taste in the mouth. A movie to see just to say you have seen it.

Picking Up the Pieces

definitely not funny
Two questions occurred to me on watching this movie: 1) whoever thought the plot was funny when it was pitched in the first place? and 2) why did a class act like Woody Allen ever get caught up in this nonsense? This movie is pretentious in that it thinks it is clever by satirising religion but all it does is satirise Roman Catholicism which is an easy target anyway (and doesn't even do that in a particularly innovative way). For example some of the miracles attributed to the townsfolk are as ridiculous as i'm sure was intended by the movie, but they are not satirical they are just crass and stupid. Also the idea that a joke can be made of somebody being hacked to pieces is just sick. Avoid this movie; it's pretentious rubbish.


Worth a viewing
I think this movie, for what it is and when it was made, is a very good effort. I think it tries to be better than it is, and with a bigger budget and a higher certificate rating (i.e. if it were remade now) would be really good.

There were scenes in it that i thought wanted to show the brutality of a post-apocalyptic society but stopped short of fully doing it. The character of the psychopathic Gideon Hayes played by Kevin King was thoroughly unconvincing because he looked like a 12-year old more suited to "Lord of the Flies".

This movie is memorable and worth a watch. A good candidate for a remake.

Orion's Key

a formulaic plot
Dumb as hell. Stupid. A plot that's the same as a million other badly-made movies you wish you'd never watched. Someone nice finds something. Some one nasty wants it back. Someone else nasty also wants it to make themselves powerful. What makes this movie slightly different i suppose is that two nasty people each want what the nice person has found instead of one nasty person. I wasted an hour of my life watching this nonsense before i gave up. And it's racist: African people are either savages smeared in dust, lazy, or dependent upon westerners for their livelihoods. Don't bother watching this. It's rubbish.

Julie and Jack

worth staying with
I'm glad that i stayed with this movie, the first few minutes led me to think it is amateurish, badly-acted and with poor production values. Once i was into this movie those things didn't matter. A superb & unexpected twist after the first 30 minutes added depth and mystery to the plot. The character Jack's friend Mark is initially annoying but actually is cruelly representative of a lot of 'lads'.

Jenn Gotzon's acting ability stands out from every other actor in the movie; which is easy to tell by the length of her filmography. The soundtrack is awful in some places (dreadful new age synthesizer music) at other times is sublime (orchestral).

This movie benefits from staying with it. It makes you question modern love and its place in a relationship.

Merc Force

Amateurish is a polite term to describe this movie
I needed 2 minutes to give a review of this 'movie' (i use the term loosely). The acting terrible, the CGI terrible, an annoying rock soundtrack in the background all the time, the audio awful. Don't bother watching this. Amateurish is a polite term to describe this. I was curious because the plot synopsis looked interesting but quite frankly this is just plain embarrassing. Did they use real actors or are they all extras because the real actors got wind of this farce? I cannot believe this mess was ever made. Who would buy this to watch on DVD? Though i doubt it would even go straight onto DVD even though it would never warrant a cinema release in a million years. I only pray that in a thousand years time when a future civilisation examines 21st century culture it doesn't come across this terrible effort. They'll die laughing. Completely completely inept.

Because Why

A thoughtful movie well worth the time spent on watching it.
This movie has the feel of a continental movie about it. It is infinitely memorable, i loved the space the director gave the movie for the characters to grow and for things to happen. It is a quirky movie as other reviewers have written, and the humour is dry (though slapstick in places, which is really funny); but i liked the randomness of a lot of things in the movie because life is really like that. I was impressed by the scenery of Montreal. There are some very clever shots - for example one shot of the ceiling, to represent the hopelessness that a couple feel whilst lying in bed discussing the state of their relationship. I liked the character of Alex, who is somebody that life sort of happens to, and who finds himself resisting the urge to run when he starts being responsible for what happens around him.

I think you have to either be in the mood for this sort of movie, or be appreciative of the measured pace. A thoughtful movie well worth the time spent on watching it.

The Dogwalker

I hope that life isn't really like this
My problem with this movie is that it is amoral. I think that any representation of reality should contain an uplifting moral for life, and i think that is an important function of art.

This movie is genuinely funny in parts, but is racist, sexist and in many other respects stereotypical. There is the desperate housewife, the dumb, emotionally-absent husband more interested in playing golf than in his family, the sexually-precocious daughter, the cantankerous mother; and the racial stereotypes placed upon Gerry's three African-American friends are disappointing, as is their involvement with the drug culture. I don't like to think that ordinary people are so shallow as to be deceitful, lying, perfidious, and that drugs are so everyday a part of existence.

Throughout the movie the African-American characters are never more than companions for somebody else, and fail to present desirable social role models.

I'm sure the director would say that there is an overall message of the movie; that is that there is no morality in life. Relationships are short-lived and you just make do with things you've got. So perhaps this movie is realistic, but as i say i hope it isn't; and even then, i don't believe that should be the point of art.

For that reason i give it an 8 out of 10 - it does not shy away from depicting people as they really are, and it is genuinely funny in places, and in fact it is a memorable movie to watch. The only genuine characters are the dog Lucky and Gerry, the drifter. Perhaps that is what the director intended.

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