Movie review entries

June 18, 2006

Review: Hard Candy

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Hard Candy
3 out of 5 stars

The story of a girl's quest to discover the truth behind a man's privacy and expose her actions for the audience to appraise.

I can really see what this film tries to do, it's certainly meant to be disturbing and relies not on graphics or sounds to get its reactions. I get that the unfolding subject (and if you don't know what that is then the better if you intend to see and appreciate) is one that can't be taken lightly and is somewhat brave in doing so. And I see that the dialogue based interactions between a handful of characters is all it needs to spin itself out. All of that is great, and commendable; but it doesn't mean I have to like it. I don't. 6/10

I found that I actually sided with the male character in it, from the point in the film where the girl's intentions become clear, which I doubt the script–writer intended. I found the girl to be too much of a smart–ass, and sometimes hoped that she'd get at least a little of her own medicine back; sure the male character is far from saintly but that didn't make her actions at the time justifiable – which I feel is the overall moral message the film trys to convey. The problem is that I could see what the director wanted me to feel towards the film, and how my alliegances should keep switching; but they didn't, so I couldn't get involved and believe in the film, which ultimately left me somewhat disappointed.

June 07, 2006

Review: The Omen (2006)

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The Omen
4 out of 5 stars

The Omen 2006

The story of the US Ambassador to the UK's son, whose secretive past hides a destiny beyond his parent's comprehension.

Review: (no spoilers) 8.5/10

Firstly, let me say I haven't seen – and therefore am not influenced by – the original 1976 version of this film, although I was familiar with the general plot. So no accusations of this being better/worse, just whether you should go see it or not!

The Omen is a wonderfully gripping progressive film, which unfurls itself slowly to the audience, increasing with tension with such certainty as to be quite unsettling. Indeed, this horror film starts off getting its scares from disturbing scenes but don't be fooled – this film will certainly make you jump when it starts to get going using a mix of classic fast cut–shots and noise, to the downright unexpected. On more than one occasion I definitely saw popcorn flying: you have been warned!
The film cleverly incorporates recent history in its rationale as to why the Church expected an entity like Damien to come, giving it a quite contemporary feel that's just a little too close to the truth: it makes the entire film seem quite plausible and might make even the most devout atheist consider taking up some form of religious faith as it proceeds to exactly correlate with the events of today.


This film would definitely be a classic if it were not for the slightly bad casting. To me it felt distinctly B–list and I would be very surprised if the actors in it were the first choices. Julia Stiles (both Bourne films) really didn't have the motherly warmth needed for her role which made it hard for her character to lever any emotional weight over the film. Liev Schreiber acted finely but I just don't think he suited this type of lead role; I find him too type–cast as being an untrustworthy character (Manchurian Candidate, Scream 3) when here the script demands integrity and honour.
It neeed one more audience screening before release, as some of the scenes don't quite work: the line "There's something about Damien" had me in stitches at the possibility of a spin–off comedy spoof film, whilst the very ending is just corny to the point of getting a few giggles. Spot the 'scary' pictures Damien painted in his bedroom, as well as the front–page's hilarious graphic inappropriateness and caption.


It's a really fine film, the only reason to not see it is if being made to jump isn't your thing: this film will get you jumping out your seat. And don't be put off by the terrible cinema trailers, they don't even feature in the film.
Go see it, it's certainly the highlight of this year's Cinema season.


It's almost good enough to be a classic, but I can't give it full points because the casting was just amiss across the board thus with a little deductive marking The Omen 2006 scores 8.5/10.

As always, the Comments board (link just below) eagerly awaits you. Go see the film and come back here, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

The Omen review 2006 film cinema

May 23, 2006

Review: Mission Impossible 3

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Mission Impossible 3
4 out of 5 stars


  • Expected it to be a sub average bond film (like The Saint) as was MI:1.
  • Expected it to be badly put together like MI:2, and be disconnected from the MI:1 style (like Terminator 3 was with its predecessors)
  • Not sure I could picture Tom Cruise without bits of placenta dangling from between his teeth (story)

Review: (includes spoilers) 8.5 out of 10

The shaky camera work of the opening scene coupled with human torture in place of clever direction pretty much summed up what I have hated this year. I was expecting this film to give me everything I didn't want, in a boring predictable fashion. I was wrong!
This film, after the opening flashback scene pulls you in nicely to a not–particularly–deep plot that jumps around fast enough to keep you entertained without letting you think "What a minute, what? That's a stupid idea Ethan!". Some masterful scenes at the start (the helicopers chasing through the wind farm at night) set the bar for which the rest of the direction follows; it is simply put together excellently. Whilst computer graphics were clearly used, every shot was done realistically leaving you clueless as to where the props ended and the trickery began.
Whilst the film is superficially about a rescue, the body of the subplot rotates around Cruises's relationship with his fiancee/wife and how maintaining a life of deciet is morally wrong and endagers the lives of the ones you love (almost barf worthy but executed well). In this context the action cuts back and forth in the same scenes intertwining these two stories, and well enough to be convincing although Michelle Monaghan played the role slightly too dappy for my liking.

It's a great, entertaining film which certainly stands above the second, and in it's own right against the first. Not too clever for it's own good, it's comfy to follow, and the direction and production are excellent. And if that's not enough, Simon Pegg (Spaced) is in it! I highly recommend it, and give it 8.5/10.


  • Plot: not really particularly clear why he'd go back on this mission. She was like a sister to him yadda but now he's got a real family…
  • He drives a Volvo 850, and from the rims looks like a 2.5 petrol. Clearly Volvo owners are not to be messed with, and are at least as cool (often cooler) than Ethan himself.
  • If you go on an undercover mission, wearing black is a good idea. Unless you're wearing a shiny black leather jacket: Ving Rhames, sort it out. Shiny Gucci shoes and other sheeny hides don't suit you.
  • I liked the embrace Ethan and Julia shared, with the camera capturing each of their expressions of fear and uncertaintly both in the situation and ther relationship. Nice touch, executed excellently.
  • Lawrence Fishborne is very fat. If he had been this fat during the Matrix, the helicoper couldn't have saved him.
  • Simon Pegg was hilariously British. I strongly suspect that audiences outside the UK won't get the humour in his character.
  • If I ever get married, it's going to be like that. Seriously. I'm being deep and meaningful here. It was beautiful in it's bare sincerity.
  • Ethan used the OQO handheld PC I must have one, so cool!
  • DHL van broke down lots. Corporate advertising but bad message surely?
  • If a lady wants to blend into a crowd, don't wear what is essentially just a red scarf draped across those bits which kept this film a 12A. Or turn up in an orange Gallardo. And then blow it up.

April 19, 2006

Another 'scary' horror film

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An American Haunting
2 out of 5 stars

Seriously I have had enough of "creepy little boy/girl" horror films. They just aren't scary and are cliched.

For me this film was The Crucible meets The Exorcist, set in early American settler times with a Devil-possession theme. It gets its scares from textbook camera moments like sending the eye into the distance then flashing something in the foreground. The plot is disconnected and you won't care of the characters.
The ending caught me off guard, it does a very short summary at the end that I didn't fully understand so if you see it, pay more attention at the end. Or save yourself around a fiver, and do anything else.

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