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The Kominsky Method

Classy Elegant Mature Funny Sophisticated Sweet Too short.


Waste of a good podcast
We binged the podcast series and really loved it. The characterisations were much stronger and the twist in the tale delivered better. The TV series was very slow and I have to say it had the worst background music of anything I've seen. A sad waste of a good plot.

The End of the F***ing World

We binged this one. We just couldn't stop watching. There is so much that is wonderful about this drama. Excellent writing and acting. The locations and sets are uniquely fabulous. It doesn't feel like a British TV drama, more like an American road movie. Great pacing. A wonderful mix of humour, darkness and pathos. Truly fantastic.


If time travel were possible I would go back and not watch this film
I came out of the film thinking it wasn't bad but it just wasn't good either. After 24 hours of mulling it over it's dropped further in my estimation. Initially I just thought that if he had presented the same stuff in 1hr 49mins instead of 2hrs 49mins it would have been good but having had time to reflect, even that would not save it.

I know that there is no sound in space but those moments of silence were really odd especially during explosions. It dulled all the excitement. The film was hugely lacking in suspense or tension.

There are so many things wrong with the film and they are all topped off with the cheese-ball ending.

Spoilers! Here are some of the irksome plot holes.

Her dad is the "ghost" in the bookshelf who leaves her a message. The message that he doesn't leave is "It's me, your Dad"

If our future selves can transport Cooper through time and space why not put him in the bedroom and not in the book case. Why leave a message in binary or morse, why not just write it in the dust with the gravity?

Why did Cooper take notice of the co-ordinates but not the message that said "Stay"?

Matt Damon was trying to describe how desperate he was to see fellow humans but no one gave a thought for the astronaut still on the main ship for 23 years.

If you had secretly built a rocket that was mankind's last hope why would you ask a farmer, an ex-pilot to fly it at a few days notice?

What the hell was Michael Caine rambling about in his death scene? What was he lying about and why the hell didn't our future selves communicate with him instead of a teenage girl?

Blackboard mathematics? Really? Do mathematicians still write on blackboards? I suspect they have something slightly more sophisticated. I have seen the Big Bang Theory and even Sheldon Cooper uses a whiteboard and dry wipe pens.

When Cooper disengages his craft and falls into the black hole so Brand can follow her heart it was so reminiscent of Bruce Willis staying behind in Armageddon that I wanted to barf. Not really a plot whole, just a reminder of more space hero cheese.

The biggest goof of all for me was the ending. His aged daughter tells him to go after Brand. Now, hang on a minute, didn't he set Brand on her way to find her lover Edmund? Did I miss something? Did people find out that Edmund was a gonner? I don't think so. That means Cooper is potentially on his way to be the biggest gooseberry in history (or in the future) ever? Imagine that, Brand and her lover Edmund all set to be the new Adam and Eve when Cooper flies in all ready to procreate.

I must have missed a key plot point. Had they fallen in love on the mission but there hadn't been time to cover it in 2hrs 49 mins?

My final comment: I liked the robots.

The Babadook

Not what I expected but very good indeed
As a Halloween treat I went to see The Babadook. I've waited a long time for the film to get here from Australia and I really enjoyed it. Not a traditional horror movie. No big shocks to make you jump and no slasher gore either. A darkly claustrophobic film with 2 brilliant central performances.

It's the story of a woman and her son who are terrorised by a ghoul from a bedtime book. The book is wonderfully horrible. I found it especially odd how the Babadook in the book seems to resemble the boy in some ways.

It triggered memories of horror films I saw in the 70s and 80s, films that left a lingering unease in the back of my mind as the lights went out at night. The electrical buzzing reminded me of the intense soundscapes from Eraserhead. The TV montages as she flicks channels increase the sense of psychological breakdown.

Spoiler alert: the whole nightmarish situation is very clearly the mother's anger at her child who she blames for the death of his father. Her mental anguish fuels the whole psychodrama.

I don't think everyone in the theatre felt the same as me. If you go expecting a traditional horror film you could be disappointed. If you are open to a dark, psychological drama with nightmarish overtones then you might feel like I did.

Northern Soul

Bloody brilliant
So I saw Northern Soul the film tonight for the 2nd time. The first time I saw it was at the premier and it wasn't in a proper cinema and the sound was so bad that you couldn't pick out the dialogue.

I am so glad I went back. I realise that I am biased but it's a bloody good film. I happen to have been lucky enough to be an extra in the dance scenes and have waited 2 years to see this film make it to the big screen. Many times along the way I thought it would never come.

Elaine Constantine, the director, captures 2 things really well: the 70s and the passion for northern soul.

She paints a great picture of growing up working class in the 70s and doesn't give in to the more comedic ideas of 70s fashion. This is all very real and there's not one Chopper or Space Hopper in sight.

The film is dark and gritty but the soundtrack is amazing and her dancers are spot on. Elaine's experience as a photographer is very evident throughout as is her passion for the subject matter.

She brilliantly captures the look on a dancer's face when they are lost in the music, when it's just you, the music and the dance floor.

There are several cameos in the film and all are played down and the young leads really shine. All the cast do a superb job. I love the fact that James Lance is a great soul dancer and he picked up the moves to better understand his role but you never see him dance in the film. You can feel that love, that dedication throughout from all involved. This was a labour of love and it worked.

Although the film sinks into a very dark place she really lifts it with the final scenes.

A great British picture and I was proud to be allowed to be part of it.

Gone Girl

Utter Tripe
Just seen the film Gone Girl.

I really struggled with the book and found it incredulous so never finished it but the film was getting good reviews so I thought I'd give it a go.

What a pile of crap!

Two and a half hours of my life wasted. The story is just unbelievable. Neither character makes you like them or hate them. They are just bland and, well, unbelievable.

By the end I just wanted someone to firebomb the house and kill the pair of them. I would have stood up and cheered. As it happened it has a really lame ending.

A waste of my life. Utter tripe!

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Such a huge disappointment
I have been a fan of Planet of the Apes since I was a kid in the 70s. I was instantly in love. I read the books of the films when I could get them (you couldn't just pick up a movie back then. There was no video available). I avidly watched the TV show and I bought merchandise. I was besotted and have remained so. Maybe this has something to do with why nothing since has quite come close.

Let's get the good stuff out of the way. The animation /CGI of the apes is phenomenal. They look real. The idea that humans had almost been annihilated by a deadly flu is a great plot device and better than the reason given in the original films (a plague killed cats and dogs so we brought apes in to replace them as pets and then to be servants). That's it. After that it's all down hill.

The story is riddled with holes and left me asking why, why, why throughout the film and long after it had ended. Forgive me but I have to get them off my chest.

This is 10 years since Rise and no humans have been seen for 2 years but there is a huge city just over the bridge. It's so close you can see it when the generator turns on the power and the lights come on. Hang on, they already had power anyway so the lights would already have been visible.

The humans come to find the dam because they only have 2 weeks power left. Hey, great forward planning people.

The man they bring who is the only person who knows about water power is a dick, such a badly drawn character but they need him. Then they dump him and get the power station working. Err how? Why do apes hunt stag? Why do they kill a bear after the way they have been treated? Don't they appreciate letting wild animals live in the wild? Why do the apes ride horses? Are these the naturally wild horses normally found in forests? Why does Caesar's son, Blue Eyes, side with Kobo the bonobo? When Kobo and his mates get the guns they have no problem in loading them and shooting them. Kobo is such a good shot he hits Caesar easily.

When Blue Eye's goes to Caesar's house they all speak to him in English. When did he learn this? Caesar plops out the odd word now and again but surely he normally talks ape talk and sign language.

After 10 years the camcorder still has battery life and works. It wasn't looted or smashed.

Gary Oldman's character has no motivation for wanting a war.

The humans have a "Tower" that strangely seems to be all scaffolding. Ideal if you're a bunch of monkeys and want a fight.

Oldman set C4 around the tower - just above his own head. Erm that might just kill you when you detonate it. It did but it didn't kill our boring human hero who was standing there at the time.

Caesar's other half, Cornelia, is very ill and needs antibiotics. She gets them and feels as right as rain by the end of the same day.

Caesar after being shot is really weak from blood loss. Never mind. Give him 2 days and he will fight like he's on meth against Kobo Bonobo.

There was more. So much more.

On top of that it's too dark and too long.


Just lovely
So Frank is a great film. Let's be clear, this is not a bio-pic. It was inspired by Frank Sidebottom in so much as the story is about a band whose front man wears a big papier-mâché head.

It's a really lovely story of an odd group of musicians and their new keyboard player Jon. The musicians are all a bit barking and the beautiful Maggie Gyllenhaal is the craziest. The whole cast are superb and Michael Fassbender is excellent under the head as well as showing that he is a great vocalist too.

The film is engaging, funny and moving.It also made me jump more than any horror movie ever has. It has some wonderful scenes that made me laugh out loud and the direction is just beautiful with some truly clever touches.

It starts with a very unusual aural soundscape that draws you in immediately and finishes with the band's songs playing over the credits that guarantee you won't leave until the final note of "Lone Standing Tuft".

Incidentally a documentary about Frank Sidebottom is in production right now and Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story will be out soon.

The Book Thief

Lovely book. Lovely film. 1 odd niggle
Today I saw The Book Thief. I really liked the book so I was hoping for good things from the film. It's nice to be able to report that it was a good adaptation. If my memory of the book serves me correctly then it was a fairly faithful translation to the screen. The cast were really good and the sets were excellent. I guess that the little village was a set and not real but it looked wonderful. The cast was fabulous. Who wouldn't want Geoffrey Rush putting reading them a book at bedtime? The younger players were great too. It did sag a little in the middle and could have been trimmed a touch but overall I enjoyed it.

I have one odd niggle with the film - It is set in Germany and all the characters are German so why did they need to speak English with German accents? It wasn't a problem but it just strikes me as odd. Also, they would occasionally use common German references like "Dummkopf" but this wasn't consistent as Geoffrey Rush uses the phrase "God in Heaven" at one point and not "Gott in Himmel". There is a lot of writing in the film, on advertisements, books and newspapers and it's all in German, all apart from the girl's dictionary on the cellar walls which she writes in English. This inconsistency with the language does not spoil the film for me but I do find it puzzling.

Overall - good movie


Intimate, warm and a film that raises questions.
Her is a very unusual film. The concept of a man falling in love with his computer's operating system is not an obvious crowd puller but it's well written, fantastically well acted and beautifully directed.

I was really impressed. Scarlet Johansson brings her character to life with just her voice and Joaquin Phoenix is splendid as the emotionally challenged central character. Amy Adams and Chris Pratt add great support too.

The story opens up so many questions about love, personality, sentience and much more. The story plays out very simply but there are very deep threads woven through the film. I was very impressed.

I am not sure I have seen a film that felt quite as intimate. There are so many close up shots of the actors, more I think, than I have seen in any other film. The production design needs a big nod too. They somehow managed to make it look like it was set in the future but not too far in the future. The use of locations was spot on. They all managed to look slightly skewed form the norm. (The male character's all wore trousers with high waists and huge flies.) If you like this then you need to check out Robot and Frank which has some similarities in it's subject matter.

I thoroughly enjoyed it. It will be in my head for some time and I will definitely give it another watch.

Where do I sign up for my OS1?

The Monuments Men

Eye opening and heart warming
Occasionally a film comes along, based on a true story, that really opens your eyes. That's what The Monuments Men did for me. I was aware that the Nazis had stolen artwork during WWII but I wasn't aware of the scale of what they had done.

George Clooney was obviously moved by the story as he wrote this screenplay, directed and produced the movie and acted in it.

Looking every bit the 50s movie idol George leads a great cast including John Goodman, Matt Damon and Bill Murray. For a war story it has a very light touch. The story is told in small vignettes of the bigger tale. This is a little disjointed and possibly gives the idea that finding the stolen art was a fairly simple task but there are some wonderful scenes which allow me to forgive the minor flaws here. The shower scene with Bill Murray is very moving and the scale of some of the sets is breath-taking. There is some amazing scenery and the art dept must have been stretched on this one.

I felt moved, entertained and educated when I came away from the cinema. Overall, a really good film. Worth a look.

Just so you know, the film carries a warning - "Contains violence, details of bloody injuries and scenes of smoking". Seriously, that's what it said at the beginning.

Cuban Fury

Great cast. Great Script. Great Rom-Com.
These 90 minutes had me laughing so much I had tears on my cheeks by the end of the film. Cuban Fury is a great movie. It is full of rom-com clichés and it uses them all superbly. Everything is in there including a training montage. I laughed loads from start to finish. It you want a check list of reasons to see this film then: Nick Frost - Check Chris O'Dowd - Check Rashida Jones - Check Kayvan Novack - Check and Check again. Olivia Coleman - Check.

There is also great support from Ian McShane, Alexandra Roach and Rory Kinear as well as a very quick and hilarious cameo from a star that I will not name. Nick Frost gets a chance to shine and show that he is more than Simon Pegg's sidekick and Kayvan Novack steals every scene he is in. The script written by John Brown is very lean and has lots quotable lines such as "Al Pa-f*cking-cino" and "I'm late for my ball waxing". IMDb lists some cast members who do not actually appear in the film which makes me suspect that there has been some good editing to keep the movie tight and maintain its momentum. There is one teeny tiny flaw in the plot (who uses cassette tapes in their car these days?) but I laughed so much that I don't care.

Superb. See it

Now, where can I get salsa lessons?

Dallas Buyers Club

Brilliantly told
We seem to be spoilt for good films at the moment and today was no different. I have just seen Dallas Buyers Club, the David and Goliath story of one man's battle to get appropriate medical care for the early victims of HIV. This is a story that is worth telling and they told it very well.

Much has been made of the huge weight loss from both Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto which is impressive but not as impressive as the performances they put in. In fact all the performances are faultless but in the last year Matthew McConaughey has shown indisputably that he is one of the best actors of his generation.

The camera work is generally great but the rodeo scenes were incredibly well shot and the metaphor of the bull ride is such a great statement on which to end the film.

This is an excellent story well told and beautifully filmed. If there is any justice then this film will raise the name of Ron Woodruff to the same heights as that of Karen Silkwood and Erin Brockovich.

The Wolf of Wall Street

Roller-coaster of debauchery
Drug fuelled, high octane debauchery from the start. It may well be 3 hours long but it's such a fun ride it really doesn't feel like it. Leonardo DiCaprio is brilliant as Jordan Belfort and he is ably supported by Jonah Hill in what must be his best performance to date.

The writing is excellent and some of the dialogue reminded me of Quentin Tarantino at his best. Those nonsensical, drug filled conversations were very reminiscent of the tipping scene in Reservoir Dogs. The uncontrollable hysterics of the newly rich, quaalude fuelled brokers was so well acted as to make me suspect that some of the actors may have done a fair bit of research.

The scene in which Belfort takes too many out of date 'ludes and loses all control of his body in an attempt to drive home was a highlight of the film for me.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film from start to finish

The Conjuring

A good film in a genre of failures
I love a good horror movie and they are very hard to come by these days. I have waded through a lot of turkey's recently so it was great to watch a film that made me jump and kept me engrossed all the way through.

It starts well, with a good jump really early on and then doesn't let let up. I thought the pacing was great. All the performances were well up to par and the scripting was good.

It was directed by the chap who brought us Saw which I thought was a very cleverly plotted film. He also did Insipid which I thought was pants.

In summary, it made me jump, it kept my interest and it didn't dissolve into stupidity.

12 Years a Slave

Didn't engage me.
12 Years A Slave is nominated for all the awards and talked about with huge praise. Well sorry, but having just seen it, I have to disagree. It's 2hrs 13mins of hardship.

We have seen powerful films in the past that have dealt with injustice and suffering, films like Schindler's List, The Color Purple, The Killing Fields etc., but all these have managed to get across the horror and suffering whilst keeping me engaged. Unfortunately, 12 Years was just suffering.

I felt the film really dragged. Much has been written about how Steve McQueen is very brave to hold shots for a long time. The film is littered with shots that linger for an age while little or nothing happens and I say that if you notice that a shot is long then it's too long and doesn't work. Surely if this was a good thing you wouldn't notice it. I noticed it, and noticed it and noticed it.

I was so pleased when Brad Pitt showed up, not just because he is always good to watch but his role is that of a saviour and believe me, at that point the film needed a saviour. He has a line that sums up the film "Yours is an amazing story but not one point of it is good".

The final scene really killed it for me. This man has been away 12 years and when he meets his family does he run crying into their arms? No. Does he whoop, laugh and shout with joy? No. He sadly stands and meekly asks their forgiveness for his shabby appearance. Arghhhhh!

I cry at movies. I am an embarrassment as I cry that easily. Guess what? Not a tear. For a movie that deals with the horror of slavery that's a terrible thing.

The Railway Man

Firth's Best yet
Just seen The Railway Man starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth. It's a very powerful film based on the true story of a man broken by torture in WWII.

Brilliantly filmed and directed. The scenes of brutality made me hold my breath.

The whole cast is excellent (although Stellan Skarsgård has to work very hard to come over as English). I always find Nicole Kidman watchable and she is spot on here. (How can she still look so good in a knitted cardigan and beige skirt?) Colin Firth and Jeremy Irvine both play Eric Lomax at different stages in his life and it's very easy to believe in them as the same person. Colin Firth gives his best performance ever.


The Harry Hill Movie

Better than I expected
Although I really like Harry Hill I wasn't exactly excited at the prospect of a Harry Hill film. I went to see it at the cinema because my son was lucky enough to work in the art department on this film. I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be better than I expected.

The story was potty but this is Harry Hill and if you don't expect stupidity then you shouldn't have chosen to watch it. Johnny Vegas does a great job of voicing Abu the hamster and Julie Walters is very funny as Nan. The whole supporting cast was very good.

I thought the jokes were great. Quite often they were terrible jokes but they still made me laugh. Again, if you don't like silly jokes then you really shouldn't be watching a Harry Hill movie.

The look of the film was incredible. They caught a real 70s vibe with really vibrant colours. The puppets were great and the costumes of the shell people were really well done.

I really liked it. If you like the Harry Hill, The Mighty Boosh and daft kids TV shows like Rent-a-Ghost then you'll like it too.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Losing its shine.
You should never go to the cinema because you feel duty bound to see something rather than because you are really excited but that's how I felt about this one. I knew I was going to see a middle section of a story and following from the first Part of The Hobbit I knew it would be visually interesting but probably arse-achingly long.

I was right about the length but the visual appeal is waning. I really liked LOTR and the visuals were stunning but we are used to that style now so the other elements of the film have to be much stronger. With this one they really stretched the story. I didn't appreciate the changes that meant that there were orcs everywhere along the journey. This simply lead to overlong, over-choreographed fight scenes where I felt I was watching a computer game.

The huge scenes in the mountain with dragon fire and falling buildings became tedious. Dwarfs were being thrown all over the place and not one was even slightly injured. Not even dwarfs would believe that covering a fire breathing dragon in molten gold would be of any use. The whole piece about molding a giant dwarvish statue was just silly.

Yes I will slavishly be back for part 3 because these movies need to be seen on the big screen but again it will be a sense of duty (with a huge dollop of hopefulness) not pure desire that drives me to buy a ticket.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

More of the same (maybe a little too much)
I loved the first one. Who didn't? So I was really looking forward to Anchorman 2. It was good but I didn't laugh as much as I had hoped to and I am not sure why. Some of the jokes just didn't hit their mark and it has to be said that the film was overlong.

The comedy seemed to lull and the film started to drag when Ron lost his sight although the huge fight scene with its great cameos really lifted it again.

The best bits of the film certainly went to Steve Carell in his role as Brick. Hilarious.

Overall it was a bit of a let down.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Sweet and visually lovely.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was an absolute delight. I worried that having seen the trailer (massively overlong trailer) I would have seen pretty much the whole film. I was pleasantly wrong.

The film is very warm and funny. I am not a big Ben Stiller fan but his portrayal was very contained and not his normal over the top characterisations. Kirsten Wiig is as good as ever.

It's the overall composition that steals the show though. From the manic superhero like special effects scenes to the sumptuous vistas the movie is a visual treat. Evening the opening titles have a touch of magic about them.

Ben Stiller's directing is great and whoever put the soundtrack together was spot on.

Absolutely wonderful.

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