markleachsa-1

IMDb member since February 2005
    Lifetime Total
    25+
    IMDb Member
    14 years

Reviews

The Keeping Hours
(2017)

Very empathic
For the subject matter, and it's no spoiler to say that's it's about the death of a young boy and a very broken marriage, this is a remarkably self-controlled and empathic film, while at the same time being very emotionally fulfilling.

The acting from every single player is surprisingly good, and the script so well written, that the whole story feels like it is simply a window onto real life, and people trying to cope as best they can in an almost untenable situation.

And it isn't all raw emotion, the film taking nuanced and well-crafted twists and turns, to leave a very satisfied viewer.

Ninety minutes of great enjoyment.

How to Get Girls
(2017)

Embarrassingly bad
When I say embarrassing in the context of this movie, I'm not talking about the naked girls, or even the crusty old sex jokes about sex. It's a dirty joke, which is fine - but it's an unfunny dirty joke, which is a crime.

And in fact, that's what this is - an unfunny dirty joke, designed to get a giggle out of 12 year old boys.

The script and the acting are embarrassing. I'm talking your-mother-trying-to-comb-your-hair-in-the-office-on-your-first-day-at-the-job type embarrassment. Or how you would feel if your gran spit-cleaned your face when your girlfriend visited for the first time.

Cringeworthy acting and eye-rolling humour.

Global Meltdown
(2017)

Puzzling
What puzzles me is the ambition of the filmakers with this project. I salute the ambition, but I don't understand it.

This is a film about global tectonic shifts. These are massive, continent-sized slabs of solid rock that basically float on the liquid mantle. They move about and when they catch as one rides up over another over centuries, the tension builds up and up and up. So when they release, it's like a rubber band being stretched and then released. That's the idiots guide to earthquakes for you in

Think the movie 2012 with John Cusack. So lots of buildings destroyed, massive tidal waves, huge earthquakes and incredible volcanoes.

So why would you even attempt to portray that on film when all you can afford is a wobbly camera, a couple of flares, and a box of matches. Oh, and a really bad visual effects computer.

This would be a great attempt by a school film club.

Above Ground
(2017)

Silliness for an hour and a half
Watching this film, I couldn't help but feel that it seems to reflect the idea of America that the outside world has - everyone in the USA quite willing and happy to shoot each other without fear or even thought of consequences.

So perhaps that view of Americans is fairly true then. Which is very worrying to the rest of us.

The acting went from average to dismal. The characters were bog standard. The plot was silly. The dialogue was silly. The music wasn't bad, but not something I would voluntarily give up 90 minutes of my life for.

I want that time back.

A Breed Apart
(1984)

Movie spoiled by IMDB storyline
Why would I watch the movie now that the person who so carefully crafted the storyline on this page has just as carefully given away every single aspect of the movie?

If you are going to write a synopsis, then don't give away all the major plot points. Hint, give clues, talk generalities, but don't spoil THE WHOLE DAMN THING!

What is wrong with you people?

God's Not Dead 2
(2016)

Difficult to describe without repeating oneself.
Okay. This one is tough. But here goes.

This is a fairy tale about people telling fairy tales to people who aren't supposed to be taught that fairy tales are real, and the supposed good fairy getting into trouble for telling fairy tales.

In this tale, lots of people get very excited one way or another about the fairy and her fairy tales because she takes quotes from a story book and tells people they are true - on the basis of absolutely no real facts whatsoever. So kinda understandable why the parents of the little people being taught, and those who try and follow the law of the land about telling fairy tales in school, get all upset about it.

Supposedly the teacher is Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel and the Little Mermaid all in one, supported by the Seven Dwarfs; and everyone else is the Wicked Witch, Wicked King, Wicked Uncle, Wicked Step-brother and Wicked People in General.

Basically the story is completely irrelevant, and has all the gravitas of a hot-under-the-collar discussion about whether Rapunzel could beat the Little Mermaid in a fight, or whether Little Red Riding Hood was a communist freedom fighter.

Bleh! In the end just another... well... fairy tale.

7 Below
(2012)

Synopsis writers - please use real English
I don't know whether the writers of synopses gain kudos in doing so, but I would like to request that if English is your second or third language (and I truly take my hat off to you and admire you for being multi-lingual) then please don't write the synopsis for a movie listed in IMDb. English is a strange language to learn, and if you don't fully understand it, then the synopses you write can become tortured, the spelling hellish and the use of colloquialisms ridiculously distracting.

Those who do have English as their first language, get off your butts and help out here! Don't leave it all to German, Brazilian and Spanish people to write English synopses.

OzLand
(2014)

Vote up for cash!
I got this on the strength of the IMDb rating and then realised that it was simply yet another Australian film with paid reviewers slamming in the tens for it. I'm actually not sure any of the other reviewers who rated it so highly have actually even seen it.

But there you are. You make an independent film in Australia and part of the budget has to go to pay reviewers so that other unsuspecting people will watch it. That money would have been so much better used if it had actually been put into the production.

A tip: the more the reviewer mentions who directed it, starred in it, did the effects in it, or any other name in it, the more you know it's a put-up job. Tired of these people and will make sure not to watch anything else from Australia that doesn't appear in my local cinema.

War Room
(2015)

This Needs a Spoiler Alert
I must admit I don't pray very often. In fact as an intelligent adult I put more faith in hope, chance and coincidence than in prayer.

This film needs a spoiler alert. It didn't alert me and my evening's viewing was spoilt - which is surely the raison-d'etre of spoiler alerts.

So I do pray ... that IMDb will add the category Religious Drama, rather than simply Drama for this type of movie. After all we already have a Fantasy section, and this needs a genre all of its own.

It doesn't proselytise - meaning try to convert someone. It simply offers the premise that for all your household needs... whites whiter and coloureds brighter ... prayer is the one and only answer. So, in the end, it's not for anyone at all who doesn't already believe a whole, and I mean really whole, lot. An enormously whole lot. A lot.

Extinction
(2014)

Not as bad as I expected
This is a strangely watchable movie. It is found footage and follows the genre quite faithfully. But is has an element of tongue in cheek about it that brings a slight attraction.

The hero, strangely enough, is the cameraman who is brought in as a last minute substitute on a very BBC-like documentary project. Strange because he is a complete nob; inappropriate, crass and somewhat stupid, but at the same time with the innocence of an everyman. And because of that he is strangely likable - probably because we all unfortunately have a friend like him somewhere in our circle.

So when faced with a completely impossible situation in the jungle, he acts like most of us probably would - trying to shout quietly, leaving the camera light on in dangerous times, having a dangerously daft curiosity and other very believable stuff.

It's not going to beat out Jurassic World for quality CGI and in-your-face-believable-graphics, and the jungle looks suspiciously like friendly English woodlands, but I could empathise, and that for me was enough for a couple of hours.

Minuscule - La vallée des fourmis perdues
(2013)

No dialogue - but perfectly understandable
When I started watching this charming film, I was surprised not to see the usual list of stars who would be voicing the various parts. However, once the film got going and went to ground level I realised that there are no human stars - because there are no words. And yet I understood every conversation with no difficulty whatsoever.

This is the brilliance of this film - one which puts cgi (and not a lot of cgi really) over real filmed scenes in an effortless, flowing way to create completely believable cinematography. That is not to say the film is believable, in the same way that Tinkerbell and A Bugs Life are unbelievable. And yet it is completely riveting to watch a ladybug take a meandering, drifting, wonderfully entertaining journey to save the day for new friends.

There are no words spoken, and yet there is plenty of perfectly understandable dialogue - a mixture of toots, peeps and growls that need no translation, along with a mass of subtle and not-so-subtle sound effects. The humour of realising that the buzz flies are the insect equivalent of a motorcycle gang, and the smile at hearing the oh-so-faint sounds of sawing and hammering as the ants build their nest - these are some of what make the-film-with-the-impossibly-long-name so satisfying, even as an adult. And my children were completely engrossed and living the story along with the minuscule hero all the way through.

Great movie.

Outpost 37
(2014)

Better than the reviews would indicate
The title Outpost 37 is much better than the alternative Alien Outpost, the latter seeming to suggest some crappy Uwe Boll type film.

In fact I was very pleasantly surprised by the premise, the acting, and the cinematography. Although very aware that this was a low budget film with a necessary limit on special effects, I was engrossed by the story all the way to an end - which, albeit a little obvious some way before, was a satisfactory one. It left some questions and highlighted a couple of plot holes, but it was still way better than its budget would suggest.

What effects there were were effective, the cinematography and the editing sharp and snappy, and the actors surprisingly above par and very comfortable in their roles, making the film believable all the way through.

All in all a good couple of hours well spent.

Big Bad Bugs
(2012)

Ed Wood Resurrected
I laughed. I cried. I watched from behind the sofa with my mouth open. I was stunned.

Don't get me wrong, any amazement I felt at this movie was incredulity at the sheer amateurish antics of everyone involved with the making of this... this... I want to say film, but can't. A film has some sort of structure - a plot, acting, cinematics. But this ... thing... doesn't have anything.

I've seen better, deeper, better filmed and more thoughtful movies in the epic fails section on YouTube. This was made by a group of less talented members of a high school film club, scripted by one of their primary school siblings using an encyclopedia of clichés, and using clothes store mannequins so as not to pay real actors. Well, that is what it looks like, and I am probably doing down the film club here.

The acting is of the densest mahogany, the script is (very old) cheese from the very first word, the graphics are laughably bad attempts from the 1970's, the music hand-recorded from inside an elevator, the lighting performed with flashlights. And the director can only aspire to the greatness of Ed Wood, astonishingly making even the atrociously bad Uwe Boll look like an auteur in comparison.

The worst fifteen minutes of my life! And they brought it out in 3D as well! Amazing!

Left Behind
(2014)

Cringeworthy!
I just spent 30 minutes in acute pain hoping something good would happen in this movie. And the most interesting part was - the actors often looked as embarrassed in saying their lines as I felt for them watching them do it.

Not only is the whole premise very silly, where the film would have been improved enormously if even aliens had appeared out of nowhere to be the bad guys, the non sequiturs and illogical sub-plots didn't make sense even in a fantasy world. Seemingly bad people turn out good and vice versa without any explanation at all. And in the end it seems to all come down to divine capriciousness - talk about deus ex machina! It wasn't good enough to be taken seriously or funny enough to be enjoyed.

But I suppose in the end there is a serious message in this movie - and that message is ... da da dahhhh ... don't go and see this film!

OMG, who saw that coming?

Noah
(2014)

Neither Fish Nor Foul
I didn't approach this movie as a believer or non-believer.

To me, religion is the ignorance of the ancients passed on in a massive centuries-long game of Chinese whispers. That people live and die by the end result of this delusion is both fascinating and horrifying.

The thing is, every religion is the (usually oral) history of tribes dressed up to make themselves God's favourites. And almost every religion in the world has a Flood mythology, as in - ice age ends and a lot of places flood. God did it! Pass it on!

But that has nothing whatsoever to do with this film - despite it being purportedly about the great Flood of the Christian Bible. It is a mish-mash of make-believe that has nothing to do with sacred texts, and dashes hither and thither like a child with a sugar overdose at a party looking for someone with just one more cupcake.

The actors battle valiantly but in vain with the sudden switches from preaching to sentiment to nastiness to extracts from 300 and the Life of Pi. At times it is set way in the past - as would be expected - but then you realise that it's actually set in the future ... no, it's the past ... wait, it certainly is supposed to look like the future ... wait...

Noah as a film goes nowhere and actually does very little along the way, while Noah as a character - does pretty much the same. However, Russel Crowe does his best to disguise this by switching from manic to passive/aggressive and back at the drop of a "cut!" I will spare the blushes of the rest of the cast by not mentioning their names, apart from saying "You know who you are! And you should have known better!"

I have no problem with the apparently controversial Fallen Angels - they are no stranger than anything else in this movie. They look like the rock monster that fought Tim Allen in Galaxy Quest, which was quite cute, and move like the Ents in Lord of the Rings ... and sci-fi, fantasy and religion are the same thing anyway, so why not?

Is it a religious movie - yes, but not very good at it in trying to be for every religion - even to the point of never naming the "Supreme Being" God and sticking with "The Creator", in case other religions with different names for it get the hump.

Is it sci-fi or fantasy - yes, but not very good at that either (and the cgi really sucks.)

Is it an environmental message - yes, although pretty weak apart from the traditional 'Man is evil! Man should die!" theme.

Is it an action movie - yes - but unexpectedly not very much actually happens.

Is it a documentary demonstrating how an ark could have been constructed - yes, but not really, as this ark would have sunk immediately, in the same way that an oil drum and a few pieces of bamboo tied together and laughingly called a raft sinks when a dozen boy scout clamber on.

Is it inspirational finishing with a message of hope - no.

So why do I give it a four? Well, the actors did try their best (except Anthony Hopkins who smirked quite a bit and allowed quite a broad welsh accent to creep into his ancient Aramaic voice.) And anything with Emma Watson is worth a watch.

Zombie Massacre
(2013)

Nothing ... is better than this!
I missed the opening credits unfortunately and didn't spot the spoiler at the start first time round. After half way through, when I turned it off in disgust, I played the credits through again and realised my mistake.

It seems that the legendary Uwe Boll is the opposite to the legendary King Midas whose touch turned everything to gold, as anything Boll touches turns to crap. And so it is with this one as well.

Although the makeup and effects are sort of fairly good, they are not nearly enough to save this movie. In fact the film is so awful, I find it hard to actually put it into words.

Now don't get me wrong, I love a good zombie movie, and I'm first in the queue when a new one hits the screens. And all I can say is ... nothing is better than this one! Literally - nothing is better than this, so stay at home and watch nothing! You would be so much better off!

How Boll gets the finance time and time again to come up with his rubbish I simply don't understand. He must have a golden tongue to persuade the financiers again and again to stump up the cash in the hope of making a hit film, despite all the evidence to the contrary. I just wish I had his powers of persuasion, as I would probably be in charge of some admittedly fairly small country by now.

'Nuff said - see my vote score!

Alien Armageddon
(2011)

Oh dear, oh dear
I used to think that "Tomorrow When The War Began" was the crappiest film ever. But now there is a new contender. In fact it's no contest.

Who the hell... How the hell... What the hell... made this rubbish?

I'm trying to imagine the pitch to investors in this movie and I can only believe it was by the smoothest, slickest conman ever, to the most naive, gullible idiot ever. A match made in hell ... for the rest of us.

I'm speechless while writing. Think of the advert that annoys you most and then make that advert 90 minutes long. Tadah! Here it is!

Must rest now. My brain has been severely damaged. Must press zero ... on the ... rating button... before I pass... out...

(OK - enough ellipses already!)

Quantum of Solace
(2008)

Sad
(No real spoilers that would make sense) Sad, sad, sad. The end of an era of fun films that started over 20 movies ago with 007 looking down the barrel of a gun in the iconic openings, and now finished in this film as you leave the cinema with a puzzled, "what the hell was that actually about?" Who was the guy in the car boot and why? Who was the consulate filing clerk and why? Who were all the peasants and why? What was that big pointless building and why? Who were the villains and why? What actually was the plot and why did anyone bother to write it? Was Daniel Craig the hero of the movie - James Bond? Or was the heroine actually the James Bond character? Or was the suddenly deeply sun-tanned Felix Leiter the real Bond? Or am I James Bond and this is all just a bad dream - or just a bad idea of a bad movie? Sad, sad, sad...

Fortress
(2012)

Well worth a watch
After a string of stinkers out of Hollywood lately, I wasn't expecting much from this film, with its cast of little known actors. And at first I thought it was living up to my expectations, with a few glitches here and there dragging my attention out of the story. But it kept pulling me back and I found at the end that I was thoroughly absorbed. It hammers a few points perhaps over-strongly, where subtlety might have been more elegant, but it had an honesty that overlaid that.

It isn't gung-ho like a 60's war movie, and it isn't ultra-realistic like a modern battle film, it's somewhere in between and has a charm and compulsion of its own that made me very pleased to have watched it.

Forgive it its few faults and it will reward you with a good watch!

Battle Force
(2012)

Would I have paid for that free ticket? No!
Piracy the scourge of the industry? Hmm, and yet with piracy supposedly on the increase, the industry is making more profits than ever. Bigger and bigger profits, whilst agonising that piracy is killing employment. Big profits and yet jobs still have to go? Anyone spot the deliberate mistake?

It's a mistake that supposedly leads the film and music industries to try so hard to smash the internet completely, on the basis that we are all pirates, liars and thieves and would never ever pay for anything - even if it was worth it! But so much produce of Hollywood and the music industry is dross polished up and advertised as gold - which in my books is genuine fraud - so who are actually the pirates?

I never object to paying good money for a good movie. I don't think many people do at all. But a turd polished up to sparkle is still a turd, even if you sell it as gold - "Look at the shine! Don't look behind the sparkle!"

Of course, the real mistake is thinking that people would actually pay for a ticket to buy this dross if only they hadn't been able to download it. I wouldn't have paid 5p to watch this (a friend treated me - and I didn't contribute) as it's basically a Sunday afternoon TV movie, to watch after you eaten too much lunch and consequently can't be arsed to change the channel even though you have the remote in hand.

Thanks for making snooze material Hollywood, I won't demand a refund of my 90 minutes of life, as I actually enjoyed the nap, but never assume that I will buy a ticket to support mediocrity. I get that free from the television. So count me out of your statistics.

As for this film, my opinion is zzzzzzzz

In the Name of the King: Two Worlds
(2011)

Oh dear, oh dear
To be fair to this movie, it might have had a chance had it been directed and produced by someone else - anyone else - than the now infamous Uwe Boll. Mr Boll can perhaps most accurately be described as a modern-day Ed Wood, and is at best a director whose work produces performances of the finest teak, whose stories have the gravitas and literacy of a MacDonalds burger wrapper, the visual crafting and fine artistic sensibilities of a no parking sign, and whose cinematic inspiration apparently stems solely from bargain bin video games of the 1980s.

If you want to know what this film is like, simply look up Uwe's resume on this website and check out any or all of the titles he has written, directed and produced. They are all pretty much on the same level. How he still draws in investors to any project he is connected to mystifies me completely.

But there is one great thing about Uwe Boll. I know with absolute certainty that if his name is on the credits in any capacity whatsoever, to avoid that film like the plague. Somehow I missed seeing it with this film, my attention being drawn aside by the fact that apparently Jason Statham was in the first In the Name of the King movie. I should pay more attention. Mea culpa.

Thank you.

GravyTrain
(2010)

Yawn
I didn't like it very much. It's a comedy with very few laughs, and a mystery with very little mystery at all.

In fact the biggest mystery is how this got two ten vote scores in the-reviews. Oh wait - that's not the mystery, that's the production company trying to boost the viewing by using IMDb as a free clown on the sidewalk handing out flyers. You can tell by the similarity in the writing and syntax as the paid reviewers use the same language from the info sheets they were sent by the producers in order to "review" it.

Nice. Is there no system where you can vote stupid paid reviews off this place?

Pathfinders: In the Company of Strangers
(2011)

Bad actors performing a bad script with very bad direction ... badly!
From the first note of the opening song, this film blunders from anachronism to anachronism with the gay abandon of a film club of 10 year olds. Carefully chosen music that wouldn't be heard for 40 years; vehicles chosen perhaps for comfort rather than any likeness to anything that may have been seen in the US Military; a fascinating variety of guns, most of which bear more resemblance to plastic toys than actual weapons; military huts ordered direct from today's DIY catalogues; trees and casual wild life purportedly in England that never grew outside North America. In the end it's more a game of spot the idiocy than watch the film. Lighting and cameras compete with the director to find the most artistic shots, that of course don't work as art or film, and simply mystify as to their part in a plot which is harder to find than the Pathfinders' actual landing point. Tension is created more by having actors squabble than from real tension points. Characters you don't care about, in places that never existed, doing things that don't make sense ... badly. War films are just too well-researched and lovingly and accurately put together these days for this rubbish to shine in anything except ... well ... a rubbish dump! This is an insult to the real people who really suffered doing real heroic deeds.

Tomorrow, When the War Began
(2010)

Movie Making 101 - spot the bits of every bad movie you ever saw
When I think of how wonderfully original and fresh Australian movies have been in the past, leading the whole world into new trends in the rush by the big studios to copy them, how can I describe this film? How can I describe how disappointed and irritated I felt with it? I can only imagine that it was put together by a group of film students who were given a passing C grade by an indulgent lecturer. Students who took philosophy 101 as a side major. It is not only ridiculously trite and banal, it copies every bad habit that Hollywood ever came up with. It tries so hard to be all things to all men, that it ends up as nothing to anybody. It is an action movie with very little action, but with large gloopy dollops of the most naive philosophy including long static discussions on religious angst, bravery and cowardice, duty to parents, rich versus poor and - most original - how "you should never judge a book by its cover!" Its actors - all beautiful and so carefully chosen to include all races and political groups - are not bad, but are so obviously dying to be given a script with some real acting in it, that it quickly becomes embarrassing to the point of being almost unwatchable, as they champ through their lines with as little impact on the film as the directing. It seems that only the stunts, lighting, sets and explosives were done by professionals, the rest by enthusiastic amateurs with little or no experience. I'm surprised the director knew which way to point the camera. And this could have been so good. Watch Red Dawn - same bad movie, only with a bigger budget. And professional movie makers. And future stars. And oh yes, it was fresh and original. 27 years ago.

Delgo
(2008)

This should have remained a computer game...
As a scriptwriter and producer of, and all-round lover of all types of animation, no matter where in the world it is from, I rushed to see this movie as soon as possible. The trailer looked okay and the art seemed original. So how disappointed was I when it turned out to be this bad. I spent an hour with the deepening niggle that I had seen this all before and in the end realised that, of course, I had. The character and set designs are taken from old (admittedly high quality) adventure games a la 1985, the animation movement is just a little out in many scenes, the script is an awful cobbled hash of better films, and even the voices don't really fit. It may be her last film, but sadly Anne Bancroft simply sounds old and tired. So what was Delgo about? The bad guy secretly pushing peaceful neighbours to go to war, the boy and girl from each side of the divide, the awful, bad leader/general, the overwhelming odds... yadda yadda yadda. You've seen it all before, and the fact that it is from a "new independent" studio makes no difference to its quality, which is cynically derivative, rushed to the screen and generally inferior. Do yourself a favour and play the old adventure games instead. They still have an air of naive originality.

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