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All reviews - Movies (195) - TV Shows (5) - Books (2) - Music (16) - Games (6)

The Astronaut's Wife

Posted : 9 years, 5 months ago on 25 May 2008 04:03 (A review of The Astronaut's Wife)

"Now you just keep quiet, and you rest. I'm here with you. I'm always going to be here Jillian. Always."

The Astronaut's Wife was a film I saw for Johnny Depp, and that reason only. If he wasn't included in this cast then I would have no intention of watching this, and I had low expectations despite the fact that it has in my eyes the greatest actor of all time included in the cast. It was a pleasant surprise for me when this film ended and I gathered my thoughts, as I realized that it wasn't actually half bad. Sure, there are some flaws and things I disliked about The Astronaut's Wife, but it has proven to be a pretty decent thriller.

Johnny Depp is Spencer Armacost, an astronaut who loses contact with NASA when on a mission at the beginning of this suspenseful film. For those two minutes it becomes a mystery as to what really happened, but it is stated by NASA that an explosion occurred while repairing a satellite. Meanwhile Spencer's wife, Jillian, and his partner's wife are left in confusion and emotions about what happened, and the viewers know no more than they do about what has happened. Shortly after the astronauts are rescued, and safely returned back to earth. The news is all good for Spencer, but for the other astronaut there comes some bad news not long after the pair's return to Earth.
But that is only the start of the complications. Spencer and Jillian then move to New York to accept Spencer's new job offer, and then it isn't long before Jill becomes pregnant. As time goes on we notice sudden changes in Spencer's personality and realise that he isn't quite the same as he was before the contact was lost for those two minutes. As Jillian notices, we notice more changes as well. Jillian must make decisions that affect her relationship with her husband and eventually find out exactly what happened for that short and eventful time in outer space.

The plot is original to say the least, but there were still times when I started wondering where it was going. It seemed as if it delivered the chills and suspense where it was needed, and the various sneers from Spencer make his overall character quite chilling and unsettling. For most of the film the information and discoveries were made at the right time in the plot, giving it more realism and effectiveness. The ending was absolutely and incredibly unique, giving an exceptional view on the events. If possible, watch the alternate ending. Looking back on it now, I like the alternate a lot better. It gives more of an insight and ends the film on a higher note than the other ending. There was really only one main aspect of the film that I particularly disliked, and that was the constant shots of the babies towards the end. The Astronaut's Wife could have done a lot better without them, but nonetheless; there were many dodgy effects despite when this was made. For most of the film it wasn't too distracting though I must admit, mostly it was held together by the interesting plot and powerful acting.

Johnny Depp certainly made Spencer Armacost one defying and creepy character. Although he wasn't the only reason this film has succeeded my expectations, he certainly was the one who held it together. He gave a brilliant and electrifying performance and maintains my view of his acting talent. Charlize Theron wasn't half bad, and gave a pretty good performance considering she usually doesn't quite satisfy me. She portrayed Jillian's emotions intensely and I can now say that I admire her more as an actress. Joe Morton gave a great performance through my eyes, he was someone I'm not too familiar with.. and yet I found him to be quite exhilarating. Clea DuVall was.. well, Clea DuVall. Nothing beyond average from her, or from the rest of the cast.

The Astronaut's Wife was overall a pretty decent and effective thriller. It combines Sci-Fi with horror/thrills and does it highly effectively. I can't say that this is a perfect film, but I found it to be definitely worth watching, so I therefore recommend it to anyone interested. If you give this film the attention it needs and look beyond what you would expect, you should find yourself thinking that this is an entertaining way to spend a couple of hours.


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Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Posted : 9 years, 5 months ago on 24 May 2008 07:16 (A review of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull)

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is the long awaited return of one of the most successful movie franchises ever. This time Indy is back, maybe not better than ever, but certainly to the pleasing of fans across the globe. It's been far too long since I've watched one of the Indiana Jones films, and this film is exactly what I needed to get back into the hype. There will be some that see The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and dislike it for various reasons, but I know for a fact that there will be many that will be entertained and thrilled to have Indy back, and I am one of them.

The plot is something that would be expected from an Indiana Jones film. Of course there are a few turns along the way with some new details brought into the series, but mostly it is what is to be expected (that, by the way, is not necessarily a bad thing). On this adventure we experience some Indy-style action and some great performances from actors new and old to the franchise. The film starts off on a high note with music and speeding cars to get the atmosphere started, and it's not long before we reach the place that we re-unite with the action hero himself. It didn't take long to reveal some of the key plot points and characters, but makes use of it's time efficiently only having a few parts that The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull could have done without. Seeing the character Indiana Jones back at first glance could be taken the wrong way, but for me it was superb to see Harrison Ford back at his best again. Obviously as the actor has aged, so has the character, so that in itself is staying true to the previous films. This time we see Indy back with very little differences, still with the iconic costume and fated humor, still the character we have come to love. It's not long after we first see him that the film gets right down to its plot and a memorable action sequence, and of course introduces the famed villain.

Steven Spielberg should be congratulated for his efforts with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, creating an Indiana Jones film that will surely not be forgotten. For the most of this film the time is used effectively as we are shown the hidden treasures and secrets of the setting and characters. One of the only things that I noticed not exactly to my liking was the use of CGI. Although it is nothing compared to the use from other movies these days, for an Indiana Jones film it stands out. It definitely made the experience more realistic, but wasn't necessarily needed in some parts.
The original score by John Williams was phenomenal and exceeds other music in various other films in many ways. Just hearing that theme music sets the complete atmosphere of the film, particularly for the action scenes.

Harrison Ford has yet again showed the world what an iconic and innovative character he portrays. Without Harrison Ford this film would have gone nowhere, and I praise him for the dedication he has put into Indiana Jones, both in his performance and to be physically up to the part. Cate Blanchett introduces Indy's new baddie, Irina Spalko, and shows what a versatile and incredible actress she is. She gave an excellent and astonishing performance to create a character that is certainly one of a kind. Shia LaBeouf was very entertaining and gave the film light at times when it was most needed, while Karen Allen provided another familiar face to the Indiana Jones films. Even the other actors gave some pretty decent performances, those including Ray Winstone and John Hurt. Overall the acting in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was superb and overwhelming.

The main momentum for the return of Indy is the success of the previous films, and I have no doubt that this will be remembered as one of the greatest comebacks in the history of cinema. Not only has Indy come back with style, an incredible cast and a remarkable story to be remembered by, but it reminds us of what a true action/adventure movie really is. This is a must-see movie for Indy lovers and anyone interested in an action-packed film from start to finish.


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Hamlet

Posted : 9 years, 5 months ago on 23 May 2008 05:32 (A review of Hamlet)

"Good night sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest."

Hamlet is a modern Shakespeare play adaptation that I found to be both visually stunning, but also a compelling and engaging film. Complete with a stellar cast, this is a rare film that shouldn't me missed.

I can't call myself a huge fan of some other films based on one of Shakespeare's plays, but Hamlet has proved as an exception. Director Michael Almereyda has done as Baz Luhrmann did for Romeo + Juliet, in that he has created a very contemporary vision for Hamlet, being set in the modern era. In this case, the film is set in New York City, in 2000. This version stays true to the original play and manages to fit everything effectively within less than two hours (the original play taking four hours to conclude). As expected, it centres around the character Hamlet, now played by Ethan Hawke. The plot could be considered complicated at times and hard to understand, but if you give this film the attention it needs then you will certainly appreciate it's story.

The plot revolves around the experiences and emotions coming from Hamlet, and we get an insight into exactly what is happening at the time. It tells the tragic story of murder, compassion and betrayal, and is put together beautifully with strong acting performances, a stylish score and an enthralling take on Shakespeare's work. The score in particular perfectly matched the events at the time and showed contrast between different emotions and characters. The music reflected the tragic events and seemed even grim at times, with the actor's help, to maintain the intriguing scenes.

Ethan Hawke still remains the youngest actor to have played Hamlet on film, and I think he did it exceptionally. He showed every emotion and seemed to put so much passion into the character; it's hard to imagine anyone to have played Hamlet better for this film. He certainly showed more of the character's darker side, which I found even more interesting to watch. Kyle MacLachlan as Claudius was more of a diverse choice, and yet he still managed to pull off the role very well. Julia Stiles' role was smaller than I would have imagined, but even for her very few scenes she gave a pretty decent performance. There were some other recognisable performances from versatile actors such as Bill Murray, but nothing of an incredibly high standard.
Probably the only flaw of this film was the consistency of the acting standard. At times it is strong, powerful and very connecting... but for some other scenes it had a standard below mediocre.

Indie director Michael Almereyda has created a brilliant film that should be appreciated and treasured by all who see it. Unfortunately, I can't say that this film is for everyone, but those who don't mind its dialogue and the story by Shakespeare should find it to be an emotional and innovative film. I recommend this to anyone interested, for me it was definitely worth try.


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Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Posted : 9 years, 6 months ago on 27 April 2008 03:31 (A review of Forgetting Sarah Marshall)

Forgetting Sarah Marshall has proven to be one of the funniest movies that I have seen, and will surely not be forgotten. Judd Apatow has succeeded yet again with his new comedy which is very much a romance/disaster movie.

Jason Segel is Peter Bretter, who within the first couple of minutes of this film has been dumped by his girlfriend, Sarah Marshall. The two work together on a TV show, 'Crime Scene'. Sarah being the lead star of the series, with her boyfriend Peter being responsible for the dodgy sound effects on the show. This has always left Peter out of the spotlight, with Sarah being known everywhere as the star of the show. So when Sarah comes home one day to find peter wearing nothing but a towel and reveals that she doesn't want to be with him anymore, you can imagine that Peter doesn't find this very good news. In-fact, he drops his towel and sits confused and paranoid thinking about life without Sarah Marshall.

So Peter, left broken hearted, seeks out advice from his brother, Brian. To Brian it seems that the best thing for Peter to do is go away on a holiday and escape everything that is reminding Peter or Sarah Marshall. But who does Peter find there at the Hawaiian resort, none other than the very person that he had been trying to escape, Sarah Marshall.

As you can imagine, every situation in this is turned comical. Whether it be laughing for the circumstances of what is happening to Peter, or at the uproarious themes and references from other characters, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a film that can guarantee you laughs.

As well as being a Judd Apatow picture, director Nicholas Stoller also contributes hugely to this film's success. But mostly the credit goes to the multi-talented Jason Segel. Not only did he have the lead role in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but he also wrote the script which is the basis of this film's entertainment. He is a true star and I admire what he has put into this film, a great comedian and incredible actor. Kristen Bell as Sarah Marshall also gave an exceptional performance, giving the viewer a clear view of her character and feelings towards Sarah Marshall. Mila Kunis and Russell Brand were also admirable with their performances, Russell Brand in particular providing many entertaining scenes. Bill Hader, Jonah Hill and Paul Rudd were also hilarious and largely contributed to this film even with their smaller roles.

Overall Forgetting Sarah Marshall is an intriguing and extremely entertaining flick somewhat similar to movies like Knocked Up or Good luck Chuck. If this sounds like your thing, then I strongly recommend that you see this for a laugh and some enjoyment.


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Hitman

Posted : 9 years, 6 months ago on 23 April 2008 06:33 (A review of Hitman)

"Because that suitcase perfectly holds my Blazer Sniper Rifle, two .45s and a gag for irritating, talkative little girls like yourself. You want me to stop and get it out?"

Hitman was a movie that I had no real set expectations for. All I knew was the fact that it's a video game adaptation and that it is basically a agent/killing type of movie. That's it. I found it to be a stylish and entertaining movie, but it certainly could have been better.

Timothy Olyphant has the title role of the 'Hitman', also known as Agent 47. He has no real name and very few memories of how he came to the profession that he is in. The plot I am told is not based on the storyline used in the game, so I'm guessing that the only real similarity between the two would be the characters and their main background. The plot I found quite confusing at times, it was detailed and perplexing.. but at the same time riveting and interesting to watch. It had its ups and downs, and scenes that I felt didn't quite need to be in there. I found myself wondering certain things even at the end of the film when all should have been explained, but the fact that it left me still wondering and mystified was a good thing in a way.

To me the dialogue was one of this movie's downfalls. Sometimes there's a sudden clever or amusing remark, but at other times I felt that it certainly could have been improved. The setting and action scenes were excellent and stylish, if only the other aspects of this film could match the action scenes, which I must add were superbly directed by Xavier Gens.

Timothy Olyphant was an exceptional choice as the lead character in Hitman. His performance was riveting in itself; he kind of created an iconic side to his character and a softer side aswell. Just his facial expression defines the character. Olga Kurylenko wasn't terrible to say the least. I didn't expect an amazing performance from her, but she certainly showed that she is capable of roles such as hers. The cast were mostly great choices; I can't narrow down to the ones that could have been chosen differently.

Compared to other video game adaptations, Hitman has certainly made it's mark on not being one of the worst. If you are a fan of the 'Bourne' series, then this will be worth a try. They both have the same kind of plot and similar direction. Hitman was enthralling and had a gripping plot, although there were some things that could have made Hitman a whole lot better.


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1408

Posted : 9 years, 6 months ago on 16 April 2008 07:33 (A review of 1408)

1408 was a movie that I had set high expectations for, and found that only some aspects of this film were satisfactory for me. Others were just disappointing and substandard compared to other films I have seen in the same genre. As far as these types of movies go, 1408 wasn't quite as disappointing as others I have seen.. but still not quite satisfactory in every level.

I am by no means saying that this film was not entertaining for me, in fact it was quite an entertaining film to watch, and I don't by any means feel as if I have wasted my time seeing it. But my expectations were set high and it's as if my standard for thrillers has gone higher as I see more and broaden what I have seen. Comparing this to something of a much lower standard makes 1408 seem not quite so bad, but compared to some extraordinary thrillers that I have seen, 1408 comes low on the list.

John Cusack was probably the best thing about this film. His performance was astonishing and truly amazing in every way. He gave a unique and brilliant performance, expressing every emotion extremely well and making me; the viewer, connected with the character. Samuel L. Jackson had a significantly smaller part than I would have expected, but was still a key character. He was well above average, but nothing amazing.

Overall I think that 1408 is a decent thriller that is certainly worth a look, but it doesn't come close to a masterpiece.


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Zodiac

Posted : 9 years, 6 months ago on 9 April 2008 11:55 (A review of Zodiac)

"I Need to know who he is. I need to stand there, I need to look him in the eye and I need to know that it's him."

Zodiac has proven to be one of the most astonishing and remarkable films I have seen in a long time, and certainly has made a spot on my favourite thrillers of all time. From start to finish, Zodiac is a chilling and fearsome movie that delivers chills and thrills throughout it's entire length, and manages to keep a mysterious and unanticipated ending.

Zodiac, based on true events, focuses on the serial killer in the San Francisco Bay area who called himself 'Zodiac'. Set in mostly in the '70s, this film captures the dark and unwelcoming events during the Zodiac's murders and case which still remains unsolved today. We can see from all points of view in this film, from witnessing the murders to the investigators and reporters somehow becoming obsessive with the case, and it's not long before the viewers soon become as captivated as the characters.

This film manages to maintain a high level of interest even throughout it's whole length of two and a half hours. It's not very often that I sit down and watch a movie and become as awestruck and mesmerized as I did in Zodiac, so that is certainly saying something. For me it was a film where it was impossible to take my eyes off of the screen, and although some (yet very little) parts were disturbing, I was still just as enthralled. Without my high interest in this film, I can understand that towards the end it might not have been quite as appreciated. As well as interest, you will need to pay attention to discover clues and find out how the case is progressing; otherwise I can guarantee that in the end you will be confused and therefore not value the overall film.

For me the cast were also brilliant and for the most of them, perfect for their chosen characters. Jake Gyllenhaal was incredible and gave a truly outstanding performance for his role, as did both Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr. Zodiac has certainly made me appreciate these actors a lot more. Another honourable mention would have to go to Brian Cox; great actor, amazing performance.

Overall Zodiac is a film worth watching for movie lovers of all genres. Although this sits tight under thriller/mystery, this is a movie that should be seen by all; therefore I strongly recommend it.


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Balls of Fury

Posted : 9 years, 6 months ago on 9 April 2008 11:54 (A review of Balls of Fury)

Balls of Fury came across to me as the average 'comedy' these days, delivering very few laughs and a pretty crappy dialogue. I admit at times it was fun to watch, but to me it seemed a lot like a spoof rather than actually an original movie.

The idea of basing a movie about ping pong is a clever one though, and I think it'd be safe to say that it's the first real ping pong movie. I'm just disappointed that it didn't turn out as good as it could have been; even though I wasn't expecting a masterpiece, I feel as though this could have been turned into something far better. The plot was unexplainable.. it kept the sequence right, but I was left wondering how the heck it even started out and how it got to a certain point in the movie. As I have said, the dialogue was just absurd and quite meaningless. I noticed a lot of incidences where a certain line was supposed to be hilarious, but ended up being something that I'd be puzzled by and wondering why it could be considered entertaining. It would have been interesting seeing it in the cinema to see if anyone thought parts were stupid.. or it was just me.

Dan Fogler was mildly entertaining, but compared to others.. you could say that he gave a pretty good performance as the lead character. Christopher Walken wasn't too bad, I guess he was what I'd expect from him in a flick like this. Maggie Q was neither exceptional or completely unbearable... she was just sort of... there. Her lines meant almost nothing coming out of her mouth, so most of the time she was ignorable. I'm still trying to work out if that's such a bad thing.

Overall Balls of Fury wasn't nearly as entertaining as the good comedy movies out there, but considering the stuff that people are coming out with these days... it could be thought of as average.


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The Hunted

Posted : 9 years, 6 months ago on 1 April 2008 05:59 (A review of The Hunted)

The Hunted was to me an unimpressive film that I feel like I almost wasted my time seeing. Even with one of my fave actors, Belicio Del Toro, that doesn't change the fact that the overall movie was extremely disappointing.

The plot was dull and completely explained, probably the thing I hated the most about this flick was the way that it almost felt like it skipped a few minutes going from each scene. One minute one of the characters is in a certain place and the next they suddenly appear somewhere completely different. Another thing is that this film is in no way realistic with some of the events that occur. I found my self constantly thinking 'How did that happen?', 'How did he get there?', 'Why didn't this happen?' etc. I wasn't expecting complete realism but I think they could have at least considered the obvious ones.

Benicio Del Toro gave a truly electrifying and brilliant performance though, he saved this film from a much lower rating. Tommy Lee Jones looked extremely awkward for his role, for me it just didn't work. Connie Nielsen was worse than average, another role I wouldn't have expected.

Please try and avoid this if you can, I have warned you. But if you're looking for an action flick with absolutely no real plot and some pretty shameful moments for some otherwise great actors.. go for this.


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Vincent review

Posted : 9 years, 7 months ago on 27 March 2008 08:01 (A review of Vincent)

Vincent, an early Tim Burton short film, is absolutely brilliant and astonishing to watch. Being a huge Burton fan, I completely loved the unique Tim Burton style to it, each of his films he really makes his own, and Vincent is something that would be easily recognisable as one of his films.

This short (about 6 mins) film shows a young boy named Vincent Malloy, who dreams of being Vincent Price. It's an obsession really, and for something as simple and unique to be made into a short film as brilliant as Vincent is... well, that kind of talent could only come from the genius Tim Burton.

I really loved the stylised narration from Vincent Price himself, and just from having a quick look at the words you can tell that it fits in brilliantly with the animation. I will say it again - I absolutely adore this short film, and I give two thumbs up to Tim Burton for creating such a masterpiece so early in his filmmaking career. It's hard to compare it to his more recent feature length films, and I myself can't pick favourites from his work. They are all so unique and amazing in their own ways, and Vincent is no different.


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