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Man on Fire

The best revenge film of all time
Not that I've seen every revenge film of all time, I don't think. But this film is SO good, I still feel that this sweeping statement is true. It's an amazing film - Tony Scott knows how to make good looking stylish beautifully shot cinema.

Washington, has many a time, really annoyed me in his movies. He seems to do the same thing every time, he doesn't have much range. This script had his name written all over it, though, and no one could have portrayed the damaged, depressed alcoholic as well as he did in this film. His calm persona is brilliant, the dead behind the eyes look that he had in all of those awful dramas he's done in the past now make sense. It seems to me, he was destined to play this part - it is him, he is it. He's brilliant. I doubt he'll ever match this performance.

The story is excellent. Predictable and a bit disappointing when they reveal the twist, but to mark this film down for that would be a shame. It's not about twists and turns and all that over complicated rubbish, this is a story of sacrifice, revenge and love.

It's awesome - watch it and enjoy.

Going Overboard

It's terminal I'm afraid
Yes absolutely this is a load of rubbish.

I got it 'cos it was the only Adam Sandler film I've not seen. It's a film, sort of, and in that sense it's the only good thing I can say about it. I've sure that, like a school play or project, family members or close friends of those involved will say "Wow, what a great movie", but in all honesty, for people like me and you, no. It's a no.

It's all a little too Pugwall for me. Sandler addresses the camera in a soliloquy far too often. This does not bode well for any modern silver screen production.

However, to end on a positive note, you could enjoy your evening a little better by going outside and shooting yourself through the head.

The Dark Knight

What more do you want?!
This is it. This is as good as a film can be. It's funny, it's beautiful, it's clever. It's complex but in a way that's easy to follow. It's simply amazing how much they've managed to fit into this movie. The most captivating part, I think, is the creation of Two-Face. The contrast of his two personalities is simply brilliant.

The recreation of the joker is blinding too. Ledger aside, just look at the role. Any old actor could have done this job and made it good! The dialogue is impeccable. The magic trick scene is funny, and his conversation with Two-Face is expressive. "You know what I am? I'm a dog chasing cars. I wouldn't know what to do with one if I caught it!" Ledger did an amazing job, but I feel that his death made this The Heath Ledger Show. Which is a shame because it distracts from all of the many other brilliant elements.

I've said it ever since he made Memento, Nolan is as good a film maker as you can ever get. He wrote this movie too, don't forget. The burden, and therefore the credit, goes to him. This is simply one of the best films ever made.


Watch this with your bird
I like this film. I want to cuddle it like it's a kitten or a bunny rabbit. That's not to say the film is like a fluffy animal, more than it just makes me feel good. The story is really human, and it hits the mark perfectly when it comes to romance. But not in the Debbie does Dalas sense of romance. This is poetry in movie form. If the film was a man, it would be Wordsworth.

The music takes over this film like a cancer. It's just one song! Effing hell people, how many times can you play it in one film?! It's a lovely song, it's a bit Damien Rice but not as good. The makers obviously thought it was great though. That aside, the music does give depth to the relationship between the guy and the girl. They're literally making sweet music together.

It's witty, beautifully shot (Dublin is a grand town), well acted and made with real love. One of the best independent pictures I've seen.

The Matrix

The best of the best
Everything about this film is perfect. Reeves is perfect (for the first time since Bill and Ted) in the role of Neo. In fact, the casting overall is perfect. Every single actor and actress does their job brilliantly - credit where credit's due to the brothers, it's their baby, they did it.

The action redefined every film I can think of from this point on. The CGI, the brutal expendable nature of all of the people inside the matrix. It's simply fantastic. I think we'll all be waiting a long long time before we ever see a film so rich in story, visual effects, action and overall quality.

This film was also brilliant in the music department. The music makes the action better. The background music makes the atmosphere more atmospheric. Think about it, Prodigy, Rob Zombie, Mayalin Manson, Rage Against the Machine, Deftones, Rob D and most surprisingly, the fantastic cheesy metal of Rammstein. A soundtrack like that could have made Little House on the Prarie awesome.

I can't imagine that there is anyone on God's green earth who hasn't seen this film. But if you've not seen it, then your life is emptier because of it.

The Ring

This is seriously good. It's one of the only films that I've ever watched that not only sent shivers down my spine, but petrified me. It's brilliantly put together, and considering it's made in America, keeps the Japanese feel of the original.

The concept may seem silly - a video cassette that kills you. But when all is explained, it actually makes it plausible to even the most critical critic. Well, most critical critics anyway. Some people are never happy.

*This paragraph has some spoilers* Look out for the moment where the boy says - "You helped her? ... Why did you do that? ... You weren't supposed to help her." Granted, the fact that I've just told you about it spoils the whole moment. But the concept is brilliant! And the idea that you can be frightened to death is also excellent. When she climbs out of the TV the first time, with that spooky Japanese camera flickery thing, its scary. More so than any other film I've ever watched.

For horror fans, miss this at your own peril.

Alpha Dog

Good film - disturbing
I watched this film completely blind to the real life drama of 1999. After the film I checked up on it over the internet, and I wish I'd done that before so that I could have been prepared. There is a brutal moment that I didn't expect and made me feel ill. I have been called a big wimp by many a girl however, so take that advice with a pinch of salt.

The film is generally well acted, you've got to allow for Timberlake not being an actor by trade. But the cast support each other well and make for good watching. The story is quite simple, but it's better that way rather than speculating on lots of details. There are moments which have, I think, been thrown in with poetic license. Which is fair enough, you can't make a movie on facts alone.

It's a lovely looking movie, nicely shot. It's not the best film you'll watch, but it does take you in. Don't let Timberlake put you off, he's not that bad. Well worth two hours of your day.

Life on Mars

The funniest manc programme ever?
Some might say Shameless is the best, but distaste aside, this is by far the better programme.

The Sweeny and Spooks and all that other BBC jollop was inspired by American 70's cop stuff. This was a parody of an imitation. It's different! This series is VERY funny, VERY witty and VERY unrealistic. It was never intended to be realistic. I hope...

Simm is brilliant as Sam Tyler, he delivers jokes with the utmost understanding of comedy. In the very first episode there is a great moment where he shouts at the tele "Wait! I'm in BUPA!" at a TV set. Maybe you have to be there...

Really, some of the stories here are brilliant. But the clash of Sam and Gene is what makes it so good. Look out for the cartoon intro, and the "Stay out of Camberwick Green!" line. This had me laughing out loud. If you miss this series, you're missing out.

Superman Returns

Superb movie made with love for an iconic character
I'm gonna make this short - others have said it all and said it probably better than I can. I love Superman. Let it be said. And so, I was always going to love this film. But when I realised that Singer had continued the story from Superman II I was more than intrigued.

The original two films were written by Mario Puzo, the author of the Godfather book and screenplay. They were amazing films. That's a fact. And to continue this story was no easy task - many people (myself included) love them. But I feel it was done brilliantly. Even the theme of land. Destroying a country in Superman, creating a country in Superman Returns. Very clever Brian!

The picture is witty, well acted, spectacular and exciting. It's slow, and some people would criticise this, but personally, I feel it gives the film a poetic grace. It's a beautiful looking two hours of cinema.

First Blood

Sets the bar for all action films to follow
This film was the one that inspired all action movies to follow. Everything until the Matrix was in one way or another inspired by First Blood. The characters are brilliantly portrayed, Stallone is seriously good. The movie is 95% action, and the other 5% is very touching drama. It's a message mostly lost on audiences who aren't American, but the humanity of the story is there for all.

Trautman is an oxy moron - you either love him or loath him. Personally, the cheese factor of "I didn't come to rescue Rambo from you. I came here to rescue you from him" makes me smile and makes me very happy. I love him. I wish I was that cool. And Rambo is under his thumb! He's like the master puppeteer! Brilliant.

Put plainly, no respected movie lover would miss this. It's a masterpiece. There are many criticisms the people could pull out of it, but to do so would miss the point. The end scene with Rambo's speech is magnificent. Stallone is magnificent.

The Searchers

Spectacular cinematography, involving story
Many people would probably watch a film like this and come away thinking that it was too long and slow - but they'd be wrong. It's the perfect length for an epic visual feast. It tells a story in it's own impeccable time. It is a story spread over a period of years after all. The dialogue is brilliant, I love the way (now considered cheesy or clich├ęd phrases etc) the characters express themselves. The concept of the ruthless, merciless good guy isn't new but in this film I feel it's produced to perfection. I can only imagine that this movie is one of the first of it's kind.

In an attempt not to be over analysing things, it seems to me that there is real depth to an old school cowboy and Indian picture. This is regard to the themes of racism and revenge, the war torn vet. Even the more obvious rebellion and admiration adds even more complexity to it. However, by modern standards, the acting is questionable. It's melodramatic to say the least and John Wayne, as iconic as he is, isn't brilliant. You can see him anticipating his next lines, you can see in his eyes that this is just another day at the office. But hell, this was a different time and a different method.

Red Dwarf

Clever, funny and original
It's the best Si-Fi you'll ever see. The writers (Grant and Naylor) are little shy of genius. Good writing is accompanied by good acting and more importantly, good chemistry and comedy timing. Craig Charles, when you think about it, was brilliant in the first six series. It was incredible how he took his hand to acting as well as he did. All the cast complement each other perfectly, and the only main cast member not to tick this box is Chloe Annett. She's OK, but she doesn't fit in. She's like her character - upper middle class mixing with working class muppets.

It is important to note, too, that really, red dwarf ended at series six (last episode Out Of Time). After Rob Grant left the writing lost a vital dimension. I personally cannot pin point any one thing that isn't as good, but the feel of it, the jokes, the stories... It's just not cricket anymore. It's still good. By BBC comedy standards, it still up there with the best, but it's more mainstream.

To summarise - Red Dwarf is one of the best programmes I've ever seen come from the BBC. Inventive, intelligent, articulate - all good things. There is very little to criticise about series 1-6.

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