Some typical Arnie 80s fare on offer here as our biceped hero kills his way to victory whilst offering a plethora of cheesy puns along the way. You know, the usual corny throwaway line of “He had to split” after he sliced some bad guy down the middle with a chainsaw, or after strangling another deserving villain with some barbed wire, “What a pain in the neck.” Terrible, and yet somehow brilliant. You know you’d be very disappointed if they weren’t there. Based loosely on a Stephen King short story (how prolific is he?) set in a dystopian world, Arnie is supposed to pay for his “crimes” against society by being the hunted target in a rigged TV show. You can pretty much write the rest for yourself… he doesn’t go softly into the night, but he fights back and kills the hunters sent to kill him… whilst dropping terrible yet brilliant puns in all over the place. Oh and there is a ridiculous tacked on romance angle too. I know, how silly and utterly unnecessary. This is by no means the best Arnie film, but there are worse.
Disappointing. Cars was excellent. Cars 2 is not. I just can't help but think that the only reason they made it was because of the merchandising opportunities - which are vast (just look in any toy shop). The big news here is: Finally Pixar have made a dud. It boils down to the fact that that Mater is just not a very interesting character. In fact, scratch that. Mater is a really annoying character. He is fine as a bit part as in the first film, but give him the lead role and he quickly overstays his welcome.
The only reason I have given this film 2 stars is because the animation is spectacular. The opening spy sequence and the panoramic city sweeps are breathtaking, but impressive animation just isn't enough if the story is this bad.
Cartoon Rover: just as fat & gormless Rodney
If you are one of those rather odd people that for some inexplicable reason finds Rodney Dangerfield funny then this is probably right up your (rather limited) street. If you, like me, think he is an irritating very unfunny waste of space who is just staggered that this man has achieved success in this (or any) field, then avoid this film the plague. I caught it when channel surfing on late night TV and watched it with exasperated masochistic interest wondering just how something this bad could ever get made. This is no more than a cartoon film of Dangerfield being Dangerfield. As a dog. Seeing as he wrote it and adapted it and wrote the songs in it (just awful – just thinking about it again brings me close to tears) and starred in it, it is nothing more than a Dangerfield-Ego-Stroking-Project. I just don’t know how there is a market for this head-bangingly irritating dross.
What an introduction to the world Audrey Hepburn gives in Roman Holiday as a princess who wants more from life than administrable duties. She is nothing short of enchanting and it is no wonder that she both launched a successful career (winning a Best Actress Oscar) and captured many hearts worldwide out of this performance. On the subject of the Academy Awards, comment must also go to Edith Head’s costume design: One of the eight statues she received in her lifetime, out of a staggering 35 nominations. Both tally’s being records for the highest number ever achieved by a woman in the history of cinema. This film, as well as being a tribute to Rome (all shot in location), is amusing, engaging and just plain fun.
I’m not sure I entirely see the point in the remaking of a film if all you are going to do is remake it. Just as the first one was, but with different actors. Perhaps if the original was diabolical and really warranted a more professional effort, then it might be excusable, but that cannot be said to be the case here. The ‘69 True Grit directed by Henry Hathaway and starring big John Wayne himself is an excellent picture, the only low-point perhaps being the irritating interpretation of Mattie Ross by Kim Darby (who? Exactly. She went on to star in star in Teen Wolf Too) who was far too annoying and deserved to be left in the snake pit. Hailee Steinfeld as the same character in the Coen Brother’s vision is superb, the fact that she is headstrong and exasperating is intentional – and she certainly is both. But why remake a perfectly good film? The Coen brothers are better than this. If they want to make a Western, then by all means, make a Western – but why not be ‘Coen Brothersy’ about it and reinvent the western genre or parody it or have some fun with it at least? The only significant differences between this and the original were that the Coens shot a few scenes at night and changed the location to one more befitting the source material. Oh and they stuck in a man who wears a bear hat. Wow, big difference. I just don’t see what all the awards hype is about - 10 Oscar noms, seriously?! - and am so thankful that it didn’t win anything. I am sure that much of its success is simply due to it having been made by the Coen Brothers. Had the exact same film been made by anybody else, it would not have had half the recognition, but “ooh, it is the Coens, it must be good’. Not so.
More twists and turns than a rollercoaster, this keeps you guessing and immersed till the very end. This man Nolan really does have an impressive string of hits to his name. Inception and the two Batman pictures (to date) may be the huge box office hits, but Memento, Insomnia and this, really are all first rate cinema too. Nolan may look disturbingly like Harry Enfield’s ‘Tim Tim Nice But Dim’, and his career may very much be in the limelight now, but it is one well worth following. This film elicits grade A performances from Bale, Caine and (perhaps more impressively) Jackson too, but can’t quite stretch as far as to get too much out of Johansson – but then that might be asking as much as one of Borden’s more spectacular magic tricks.
It is no wonder than Capra was dubbed making ‘Capracorn’ as the accusation of making smaltzy films is there to see. But that is not necessarily a bad thing. Not if it is done well – and Capra does it well. His use of James Stewart is spot on as we readily identify with the injustices served him and we get to enjoy one of the best performances from an actor, who unjustly lost the Best Actor Oscar to Robert Donat in Goodbye Mr Chips (which leads me on to an interesting observation: Mr. Smith Goes To Washington is one of the biggest Oscar losers ever having been nominated 11 times and only winning one (for writing)), the tension of the final scenes, the enchanting Jean Arthur, the bubbling injustice as Jim Taylor manipulates everyone against our lone hero – all of these elements build up a great and involving story. If I have one criticism it is that it ends too fast – I would have liked to see just 5 minutes of the aftermath of climactic filibuster, Taylor getting his comeuppance, the Boy Rangers’ triumphs, a kiss with Clarissa etc. Apparently, some such scenes were shot, but test audiences said they were unnecessary. It may be corny cinema, but it is good cinema and it is just as worth seeing now, 72 years after it was made, as it was then.
I just can’t seem to get my head around Bergman. I often find his films hard to engage with, as they involve bleak studies into human conscience and their inner turmoils, offering no light reprieve. Not that all films should be simple walks in the park, but I often feel tired and fatigued after his work. I found no-one to identify with in Cries and Whispers, no redeeming characters to support and this was its biggest drawback as it stopped me being able to emotionally involve myself with anyone’s disquiet. Whilst the plot and the characters gave me little, I can appreciate the art of the filmmaker here – his control of the lens is masterful (Nykvist deservedly winning a Oscar for cinematography), he adeptly uses both space and setting to say much more than dialogue can (no words are said in the first 9 minutes, so you know you are going to be ‘spoken to’ in other ways) and his use of colour intriguing and meaningful. This is not easy watching (Karin’s genital mutilation scene was Von Trier-esque!) but it is worth seeing, as long as you are in the mood to think.
An 80s comedy classic if ever there was one. Oh how I wish for the giddy old days when Eddie Murphy was hilarious, when you knew you were in for a treat when he popped up on screen with his infectious laugh. Sadly those days seem long gone. This comedy caper, however, serves up no end of treats. It has some humorous dialogue (“When I was growing up, if we wanted a Jacuzzi, we had to fart in the tub!”) as well as brilliant sight gags (seeing a bruised and dirty Dan Aykroyd, dressed as the grubbiest Santa you’ve ever seen, stuff a whole smoked salmon down behind his red coat and then nibble on it on the Subway is priceless) and some wonderful comic acting (Aykroyd and Murphy were great, but Denholm Elliott as the subservient Coleman was pitch-perfect). The whole stock market trading scenario is still a complete bloody mystery to me, and if you look at Murphy’s face during the climax you’ll realise he has no idea either!
Most famous for being the first film ever to win ‘The Big 5’ at the Oscars, a feat that has only been twice (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The Silence of the Lambs being the other two) so you know you are in for something special. Reputed as being the first ever screwball comedy, this is essentially a road trip come romantic comedy. Of course everyone knows the plot projection of the rom-com these days… 1. Two totally different people meet and annoy each other 2. These two people fall in love 3. One of them goes off with someone else 4. They get together and we’re all incredibly happy about it. This, of course, being one of the first of its kind is no different. But the fun is not in the plot, but in the dialogue and in the banter shared between Gable and Colbert. The ‘improvised’ scene in the motel when the detectives come to see if the spoiled heiress is in hiding is brilliantly charged with emotion and humour. Capra knows how to make a film well – as he clearly shows in this record setting film. Connolly is excellent as Colbert’s father, bringing real humour to all his scenes.
Another lonely voice on the internet.