IMDb member since March 2004
    Lifetime Total
    Top Reviewer
    IMDb Member
    17 years



Girl with epilepsy.
Top rating for this BFI film, apparently co-financed by the Wellcome Foundation (big pharma) that has the pay-off in its last shot: the heroine's face has cleared up, she's had no attacks on her updated medicine. But the film is perfectly frank about pharmaceuticals and what she has been through on them.

It's very distressing to live from day to day with this young woman and suffer her seizures with her, as she searches for her beloved kid brother who stuck up for her throughout her childhood but has since disappeared. Her whole search is extremely credible, and I don't think anyone should miss this picture.

Above all, get Agyness Deyn (who once had a real name): she's never taken any acting lessons, but she gets it big time. This is a breakthrough for her that should put her in US indie pix at least. You'll love it when she cuts through blokes' bullshit with an instant "Bollocks!" Wonderful stuff, and so rare for the BFI to achieve something as real as this.

Tokyo Fiancée

Pauline Etienne. Yeah!!!
Top marks for this excellently directed picture about a highly motivated Belgian who sets out to give French lessons and immediately meets the charming Rinri, whose parents happen to be quite extraordinarily eccentric and very rich.

Soon they are making love in his home, and Amelie (Pauline Etienne) is over the moon. He takes her (and us) everywhere, including to a goods yard where some brightly illuminated trucks appear. She loves it, and so do we.

This is simply an adorable film with a suitably sad ending, highly recommended.

Warrior Women

First two episodes excellent
Lucy Lawless makes an excellent presenter in this documentary series about war-like women. I've seen the docs on Joan of Arc and on Grace O'Malley, a woman I regret I had never heard of. Lawless speaks clearly and looks great. The docs have irritating dramatisations that are not good enough to carry the stories, but they are adequate. I would have been quite happy with Lawless interviewing experts in order to tell the tales, but the producers feel the need to feed the crippled imaginations of their viewers. We barely glimpse the face of the woman playing Grace O'Malley, who lived a dramatic enough life, fighting as a pirate at sea and ruling her clan, and eventually visiting Queen Elizabeth the First at her palace in Greenwich and talking out a deal that took the brutal local governor off her shoulders, but not before she had lost at least two of her sons. Recommended.

The Jungle Book

Mowgli in knickers
This is a very successful Disney movie, with a very good boy-actor discovery in the lead. The animals were made to "speak" with great skill, and the death of heroic Akela was played down. It's a good children's film, with tons of adventure and no bad language or sex innuendo (there is no female). At the end of the picture, it dissolved to an old book, marked "The Jungle Book" and I thought fondly of old Rudyard telling his great tales in his home in Rottingdean, just a couple of miles from my subsequent home in Roedean. He certainly gave good value, and this movie lives up to Kipling's imagination. A fine picture, highly recommended.


Youngster grows up
Female writer-director Leite has an interesting future. In "Bare" she stuck to the rules and never showed the girls fully nude or exposing their genitals. The heroine (Donna Agron) sniffed a powder, but apparently never sold her body to one of the revolting clients of her den-of-sin club. She preferred to romp in the desert with her bad-girl friend Pepper (La Huaz) who shares a small amount of peyote with her and ravishes her young body afterwards. We've seen Donna shagging in the car with her boyfriend, with no back-arching of the sort Pepper instigates. But eventually the two separate, and Donna goes home and hugs her mother and makes up with her boy-friend. Showing off her assets in a sex club and sniffing powders has caused her to grow up. A nice film, worth seeing.

Lay the Favorite

Wow! Rebecca Hall...
I was dumbfounded when I read that Rebecca Hall was the daughter of Sir Peter Hall, and his former American wife. She carries this movie brilliantly, wearing tight, tiny shorts throughout. Her enthusiasm is infectious and her affection for Dink (Bruce Willis) utterly credible. The whole gambling scenario is educative and astonishing, and Rebecca's career in it completely credible. I'd do gambling if I had half a million to start with: reckon I could double it before long. Particularly I'd hire women like Rebecca Hall to participate in my operation. I'd make sure they all wore short-shorts the way she does. And they'd all have to have long slim legs like hers. All hail to Rebecca Hall for pulling off this great picture with such brio and style. See this movie next!

The Family

A good laugh
DeNiro plays it straight in this picture, returning to his gangster origins. It's totally credible when he pounds the plumber into the ground for being full of himself, or murders the mayor for interrupting. His wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) blows up the supermarket where she heard disparaging remarks, and his daughter pounds the hell out of a teenager who dared to caress her shoulder. They are a nightmare for the long- suffering FBI captain managing them. The big shoot-out at the end is a complete reversal of what should have happened, and Dianna Agron (as the daughter) has another go with a baseball bat or something. It's all great fun, and affectionately made by a Frenchman (Luc Besson). Well worth watching.

Damsels in Distress

An amusing indie picteure
Greta Gerwig's unique style is perfect for her role as Heather in this excellent little flick. She sets a moralistic tone and clearly intends to reduce the rate of suicides in her college, which she says are all caused by boys. Boys also stink, and later she adopts a cheap soap which helped her to deal with losing Frank's (incoherent) love. Sadly, none of the boys care. As we learn about Heathers misconceived love for Frank (who is an idiot), we learn that she changed her identity as a child, when she was called Emily Tweeter. She wrestles with suicide, and is saved by the savour of her motel's free soap. The dialogue throughout is excellent. I did not stop laughing. The ending is even more ridiculous as the whole cast does a "Freak" Astaire musical dance.


See into the heart of a Catholic Irish girl
If you really are interested in the heart of an Irish Catholic girl, this picture will have you blubbing within five minutes and keep you at it for over an hour. For me, it was a ten-hankie job. Although I couldn't really give a damn for the frigid girl's future. She seems to have nothing to do with anything modern at all. Lord knows why she's off to Brooklyn, puking all the way. When she finally gets on a swimming costume on Coney Island, her mound of Venus is enormous and unshadowed by any camel toe. But, ah, she's a charmin' lassie, after all, and she does fall for the Italian boy who shows an interest. She actually has sex with him after he proposes. Then her Mammy dies and she has to rush back to Ireland without him. There she falls in with a whole crowd, including Jim the son and heir of the town's biggest store. But the town gossip has heard from Brooklyn and knows she's married. "My name is Ellish Fiorello," she states and leaves for Brooklyn next day, falling into her husband's arms there. It's a wrenching tale, if you can care enough. It should get the star an Oscar later this year.

Dupa dealuri

Dykes blow a nunnery apart
The profane love between two orphanage graduates causes mayhem in a cute little nunnery far from anywhere. It's a contemporary theme (if not too popular with lesbians in its implications) that brought two Romanian actresses world acclaim at Cannes film festival.

The lengthy story takes pains to set the scene in the impoverished little community of half a dozen nuns, two novices, and one male priest. The nuns get up in the middle of the night to read scripture, and one of the nuns starts reading out a list of 624 sins from some text or other. The intervening girl seems to have committed all the first 17 that she reads. After she confesses, the priest awards her 1,000 prostrations, and various other tasks in order to purify herself. However, she remains very sceptical and outspoken about her predicament. She wants her friend and nothing else will do.

She goes nuts when her friend (a novice) asks her, in relation to her confession: "Did you mention self-abuse?", meaning masturbation. And it all goes downhill from there, until the priest is convinced to read the ceremony for casting out devils. Alina has to be strapped down on a crucifix-shaped pallet to perform this. She is kept thus for several days and eventually appears calm, then suddenly dies. The cops arrive and tell them they could all face sentences of 20 years. Apparently in the real story, the priest got eight years and the others got five, although the film leaves us unknowing.

I found this foreign film riveting viewing, and strongly recommend getting to enjoy it.


I waited 15 years to see this one
Is David Dunn (Bruce Willis) a comic-book superhero? He survived a terrible train crash: the only person to do so. He discovers that he has never been ill. However, he is lonely, his life is a mess and he considers himself just a regular guy. Then he meets Elijah (Samuel Jackson), who reveals his powers to him.

The film is told in director M. Night Shyamalan's typical style: misty, baffled, episodic. The climax comes when Dunn, standing in central station, picks up on a maintenance man with evil desires, follows him and manages to save two children, although their parents have been murdered. He manages to strangle the perpetrator and to read about it in the newspaper next day.

His son picks up on Elijah's analysis and decides to shoot his father, to prove he can't die. That's a dramatic scene. Everyone survives, though. There's a mighty twist at the end that is more or less thrown away with final captions. Shyamalan is a deft hand at creating a thriller, and this film is worth watching.

The New World

The worst film ever made
Who could possibly have thought of starting and ending the movie with an impossibly long monotone? Who the heck thought it might be cute to use a Mozart Piano Concerto as the love theme, even though it was written 150 years after the action depicted? This picture was created by morons. It has so many longeuers that the entire film becomes one. Pocohontas was never believable and Farrell obviously loathed her: no magic whatsoever. Farrell just made doe eyes and thought that would do. By the way, barely a word he said was intelligible, being delivered in some awful Irish brogue. The natives are depicted according to the Puritan psychosis: painted, unpredictable imbeciles. They appeared to have only one breeding-age female: the star of the show (Q'orianka Kilcher), a half-Inca actress who was fourteen years old shooting this pic. She's done nothing but bits and pieces since. The "development of Virginia" theme is rubbish, because the entire film is about Pocohontas, who has a by no means inspiring story, I assure you: a native princess whom the Puritans turned into a little "ladyship". If that turns you on, get this film, if not utterly forget it. It's worthless, and directed by an ignoramus, Terence Malick. Poor old Paramount, what a pack of losers.

Spider-Man 2

A competently directed, fantastically expensive production.
Only a six, because Kirsten Dunst was so badly photographed. She looked like the girl next door in almost every shot: very homely. Toby Maguire, by comparison, looked terrific, with his steely eyes and deadpan expression throughout. The special effects were superb, with Doc Ock's multiple arms excellently done. This film proves how close comic books and movies really are --- except one costs two hundred thousand times the other. It's a tailor-made "family" picture with something for everyone. However, I did not think the pair of lovers were convincing: Peter was so wretchedly tongue-tied throughout, and they only kissed for five seconds at the very end. Still, it was good fun to watch.

Viva Riva!

Kinshasa is a cow pie
Djo Munga has made a magnificent movie on a shoestring in Kinshasa. All hail to him! His hero, Riva of the title (Patsha Bay) is a daring, foolhardy type like all heroes, and he has no fear at all of stealing from gangster Azor (Diplome Amekindra) his gorgeous girl-friend, Nora, played by the ravishing Manie Malone. He has one more truckload of fuel in a city having a fuel crisis. Cesar (Hoji Fortuna) is also after it, as are several others, including a lady military officer (La Commandante: Marlene Longange). Even Riva's parents get a look-in. Everybody appears sooner or later in this wonderful picture. The great thing is that when somebody swings a punch, someone falls, hurt. And, by the same token, when somebody shoots a gun, people fall, but they do get up again in many cases. These are real people involved in a fiction film. It's a great work of art and I strongly recommend it.


Where did this pile of twoddle come from?
The UK film industry is in a bad enough state without some producer coming up with this feeble idea about "stars". All he could muster was two worn-out old ladies: Claire Danes (who looked really plain in some shots) and Michelle Pfeiffer. It was impossible to understand whence Claire Danes's role came: the Moon? Anyway, lots of much bigger stars turned down the role, probably as soon as they read the vacuous, derivative, extremely thin, screenplay written by Jane Goldman. Just to assure himself that he would lose the studio about $50m, the producer Neil Gaiman hired Robert De Niro for a cameo role. Huge loss guaranteed by that choice. The characters rush about, although we the viewers have little idea of what's happening. Peter O'Toole, in what must have been his last role, spoke his lines clearly enough to set up the ridiculous plot, but we still did not understand.This is Neil Gaiman's revenge on Britain, I guess, since he's moved to the USA.

Martha Marcy May Marlene

Riveting performance by Elizabeth Olsen
What hell it must be, to be a hot girl when there's no one to take care of you. Particularly if you find your way into a cultish group on a farm where people seem to have taken leave of their common sense. They have group sex, produce boy-children indiscriminately, and occasionally kill living creatures, animal and human, with no associated emotion. The titular heroine, being a beauteous hottie, is ruthlessly shagged by all the men until her loins must ache and her mind is bending. At last she escapes, and one of the fellows who has been having her, finds her in the local town, lazily snacking on hotcakes. He then leaves her there, and she manages to call her long-lost sister, who drives three hours to fetch her. This is where she starts to become defined as mad, because of her misfit behaviour (swimming nude, joining her sister in bed while her sister is getting noisily shafted). Finally, in a fit, she kicks her brother- in-law down the stairs and tells her sister she would make a lousy mother. The couple decide to take her into town with them and get her treatment. At the end, as they are driving into town, someone seems to take over the car, and she sees the cult leader's big black SUV behind her. End: yes, we are abandoned by the film-maker as the action is just about to start, and we realise we have been watching the preliminaries only, not the real film. I'd like to see Elizabeth Olsen again, it's so nice when a talented actress also has breasts, (as any reader of my reviews will know). She carries this film, but it's a heavy load. Not recommended.

Jeune et jolie

See a lot of Marine Vacth and remain baffled
Marine first has sex when she turns 17, with a German boy on the beach during her holidays in the south of France. She has no feelings about him. In the autumn she is dressed up in her mother's stolen grey shirt, blue skirt and high heels, heading towards a big downtown hotel to see Georges, a man probably five times her age, at least. He pays her good money just to caress and stare at the beautiful girl. She does other clients who f++k her hard, we see her at it, but she remains unmoved. In the winter, her mother finds out from the police who investigated the sudden death of Georges, under Marine, while f++king her. Her mother finds all her money, the servant finds out, her young brother finds out, her stepfather finds out. She remains unmoved and only tells a trusting psychiatrist what occurred between Georges and her. In the spring, she hooks up with a boy from school, a "normal" affair at last, but when he starts staying over and having breakfast with the family, she announces that it is over between them. She picks up a phone chip and puts it in her phone. She allows a small smile as dozens of messages from clients rack up. She is not dressed up this time: she returns to Georges' hotel. Georges' aged wife turns up and takes her up to room 6093. They rest there together and Marine thanks her for bringing her to the room, for closure. When she wakes up Charlotte Rampling is gone and the movie ends. Lots of nudity of the pretty young lead actress. Watchable, but meaningless.

The Puffy Chair

Weird idea of a comedy
The most annoying thing for me was the awful camera work. Worse than any porno I've ever seen. The characters were all unsympathetic and the only redemption came at the end, when the girl said: "I think we should make up". She actually said it twice, and my partner thought she said: "Break up", not "make up", which puts a whole different spin on the entire film, doesn't it?

I guess the film-makers (who are most of the cast) came into some money somehow (Netflix seems to have been in there, although it seems incredible in 2005, when they were still mailing DVDs across the country). The story is a road-movie/comedy, although lots of joke opportunities were lost, and the "puffy chair" in question gets burned in a parking lot before the gift opportunity occurs. I doubt if they spent much more on it than the price of a decent second-hand car.

Katie Aselton looked very pretty and shapely throughout (although we never got anywhere near seeing any of her assets), although her role was definitely whingeing bitch --- well wouldn't you be, with her partner? These musician guys are impossible.

Crime d'amour

Ludivine's sexuality hasty and poorly presented
This is a great little French thriller, with a well-thought out plot that requires considerable acting ability on the part of Ludivine Sagnier's character.

Ludivine was almost visionary in this picture. She stared out of every shot like someone possessed. Perhaps that's what she thinks ambition looks like.

Sadly, little was made of her great figure. Photographs from "Swimming Pool" her American hit, prove that she has great breasts, worthy of a few shots in a film about a crime of passion.

However, Ludivine's sex scenes with her love-object, her bosses's lover Phillipe are almost a joke. She rips off her clothes in a fury, but we glimpse not so much as a thigh, let alone a mammary gland. The director sadly died 12 days after the film's release, so perhaps he had lost interest in sex.

Ludivine's crime is fantastic. She poses as utterly mad, eating barrels of supposed madness pills, and leaving all kinds of evidence that she indeed stabbed her evil boss to death. Then, hey presto, somehow she persuades the cops she never did it. Miraculous escape!

Whereupon, she regains her position in the company and sees off her lover with her boss's document against him, a copy of which she had kept for this purpose. A very long-sighted character with brilliant acting ability. In the end, she thrives and we wish her all the best, even if we never saw her breasts.

Jack Goes Boating

Seymour Hoffmann's pleasing little film riddled with drugs
Seymour Hoffmann apparently died of drugs, so it's hardly surprising to find them featuring in his directorial effort. I enjoyed watching him learning to swim at the local pool, since I am pretty aquatic myself, but other than that the film lacked interest. Hoffmann's character's friend, Clyde, a fellow limo driver, confides to him that his wife had a two-year affair five years earlier and he still worries about it, even thinking she might be launching another. Hoffmann's character is horrified. Clyde introduces him to Connie, who works at Clyde's wife's office, selling mortician services and regularly getting molested by the mortician himself. They take a shine to each other. She lets him stroke her yoni, very gently, while conversing with him. Later in their relationship, she urges him to take her: "Overcome me", she says. He does so, and they seem idyllically happy. Meanwhile Clyde's relationship is on the rocks. Clyde hits cocaine and smokes hashish through a four-way hookah at Hoffmann's character's long-awaited dinner party for Connie. It's a disaster. They are obliged to escape. Later, they do go boating on the lake, so it ends happily ever after. Recommended.

From the Terrace

Endless soap opera
Joanne Woodward steals this lengthy movie. Cast as an unthinking bourgeoise daughter with no ambition other than comfortable marriage, she lands the handsome Alfred Eaton instead of her current love, a psychiatric doctor. But she's soon back in bed with him after being ignored for several years by the success-obsessed Eaton.

Woodward is pretty and witty in this role, and beautifully dressed. Sadly, she is cast as the "bad guy" because she goes to bed with her ex-lover, although she tries all the time to get Eaton into bed with her. Finally, she tries a reconciliation, secretly knowing that Eaton is to be named a partner at his bank in her presence next day. But Eaton throws a testy scene, walks out and drives off to join his young love in Mountain City, somewhere in Nevada, and make a completely different life. Poor Joanne is left shouting "Alfred" after his taxi, a pathetic role for this actress who injected the only sense of fun and adventure into this ponderous yard. No way did I reject her: I felt sorry for her!

En solitaire

Not much plot, but thrillingly shot aboard a competition boat
I have no idea whether this film is based on a true story or not. The almost complete absence of plot would suggest it was. The hero (Francois Cluzet) sets out on a single-handed round-the-world race, and his sailboat gets hit by flotsam, which breaks the steering mechanism. He pulls in to the Canaries for repairs, and finds a few days later that a 16 year-old boy has stowed away on board. He is hopping mad, shouting that his trip has to be single-handed or he's done for. The days go by, and he rescues a fellow (female) competitor who is kind to the boy and tells Francois to look after him as she leaves to get into a rescue launch. Cluzet evidently takes this to heart, because he rescues the boy after he escapes in the rescue dinghy, and then won't hand him over to the boat's injured owner (for whom he is standing in) off the Azores. Eventually, he is escorted by scores of vessels into the French harbour and sails deliberately straight past the victory buoys, thereby disqualifying himself. A most unsatisfactory ending that completely fails to explain how this film was a hit in French cinemas. I guess the round-the-world sailing race has a much bigger public in that country. But it doesn't explain their lousy taste in adventure movies. No big recommendation here.

Minority Report

Feeble sci-fi, ludicrous police procedural, hodge-podge movie
Just a so-so movie IMO. In spite of its huge budget, it barely makes it as a sci-fi epic: there's only one jet-car, for example. The scene in which Tom Cruise (as Anderton) grabs on to a cop and uses his jet-foil to escape is colourful, but silly. (There's even a blatant continuity error, in spite of the massive budget.) The plot is absurd, with so many holes in it that that our heads spin with the multiple flashbacks, or flash-forwards or whatever they are. The female "pre-cog" has a see- through garment that exposes her nipples while she's in the water, but later there's an undergarment that makes her decent. We're never quite sure whether Anderton committed the murder or not, which is wildly confusing. The ending is just discursive, via a cell-phone call, and bang the bad-guy shoots himself. Really disappointing. There's not even a chase at the end: very poor film-scripting! Overall, miss this one is my recommendation.

The Lunchbox

Outstanding acting
A gentle film that takes you right into the hearts of its characters. The housewife who prepares the lunches has such a touching relationship with her "Auntie" upstairs, and we never see her! She is just a characterful voice. She also has a perfect little daughter who has an enormous doll as big as her. She sees her off to school every morning in a hugely crowded scooter-bus and sends off her lunch with a courier service --- to the wrong address! The infallible lunch-box service has developed a hitch, and her loving lunches go every day to a heartbroken widower accountant with whom she starts exchanging notelets. Eventually she tells him her husband has a mistress: she has smelt perfume in her husband's shirts. Naturally, she is downhearted and she starts planning to leave for Bhutan, where one Mumbai rupee is worth five Bhutanese. The accountant agrees to go with her, and they plan to meet. Sadly, that morning, he goes into his grandfather's bathroom and is struck with age, plus someone offers him a seat on the metro, which he tries unsuccessfully to deny. It all combines to cause him to stand her up, although he does secretly attend the restaurant to study her. He notes that she is young and lovely. Eventually they do seem to be preparing to leave together, although we are never sure. This is a fascinating masterpiece that will intrigue and entertain you without any doubt. Eight points, this time!


A great thriller, but you must suspend disbelief
Of course the film begins with a long set-up, and the lead actress smiling for about 10 minutes to really emphasise how pleased she is to be arriving in Paris. No non-Canadian actress would ever do that IMO. Anyway, the catastrophe is bad when it occurs: the horrid sight of French cops in raiding outfits, led by ---- yes, Eric Cantona. I saw him play for Manchester at Chelsea football ground and the Chelsea audience hated and baited him. It was something. But playing a detective, a bit dumb at first, but finally quite sharp, he is absolutely excellent. I certainly hope we see him more. The same goes for Karine Vanasse, who has lovely breasts and doesn't mind displaying them. She also is a great screamer. Two big talents for one small Quebecois lady. The movie turns into a complicated genetic mystery and the wicked killer is another gorgeous blonde. She is shot stone dead by Eric at the end. Very satisfying, as Karine, whose legs have been horribly broken, gasps: "I didn't do it". Definitely to be watched.

See all reviews