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IzzyS

IzzyS

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Thanks for all rates. Let me know if I dont re-rate you - I will rectify it ASAP. My thoughts go to all affected by the recent tragedies.

Reviews written

since 27/07/2006

711

The Big Short (DVD) 23/07/2017

A Sad But True Story Of Americas Financial Greed

The Big Short (DVD) - Story - This film tells the story of four high rolling bankers who had the foresight to predict the upcoming financial and housing crisis of the mid noughties (2000s). They decide to take on the industry themselves, to make them pay for their greed. What happens and will they get away with it? you'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a comedy drama film, with a biographical element to it, as its based on the book by Michael Lewis. It covers themes such as the financial industry, fraud, loans and short selling, among others. Most of us are probably if mildly aware of the financial crisis which affected much of the developed world some years ago, not least us here in the UK but also, obviously, in the US. This is very much a drama film, compared to a documentary, with a pretty high profile cast et al. At first, I felt a bit confused about who the various characters were and what their backgrounds are. It did feel like we were expected to know more than we did about what was going on. The film makes it clear that American society, more specifically in relation to banking, was/is very much focussed on excesses, promoting one-upmanship and the like - pretty much what most of us would likely expect, given the stereotypes relating to Wall Street and the like. Back stabbing also comes in to the picture. Back to the film visually and it did feel a little boring at times - I reckon you have to be relatively keen on character based ...

Passengers (DVD) 22/07/2017

A Thought Provoking, Immersive Space Based Film

Passengers (DVD) - Story - While travelling to a distant planet and, in doing so, carrying thousands of people, a spaceship experiences a glitch within its sleep chambers, leading to one passenger being woken up 90 years early, before reaching his intended destination. Finding himself alone, what will he do, being surrounded by other sleeping passengers, will he slowly go insane? you'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a science fiction and action/adventure film, with themes covered including automation, glitches or malfunctions, artificial intelligence, loneliness and the concept of hibernation. First off, the visual effects were quite impressive - this is no budget film, thats for sure. It has a very futuristic feel to it, thanks to the space-y, electronic music which is subtle-y played in the background and the visual effects. As Jim becomes aware of his situation, I could feel the panic rising in his voice and I found myself feeling quite engrossed, hence I thought it was a pretty immersive watch. Chris Pratt did well in his portrayal of Jim - I felt quite concerned for him and was really hoping things would go well for him. I thought he did well at showing his more vulnerable side, trying to cope with the fact that he appeared to be trapped in a purely artificial and somewhat despairing, hopeless situation. The plot concept is an interesting one, although I'm not normally especially keen on science fiction films but the plot for ...

The Drop (DVD) 19/07/2017

A Gritty, Urban Crime Film Thats Dark but Easy To Follow

The Drop (DVD) - Story - This film tells the tale of a New York bartender called Bob Saginowski, who finds himself involved in an illegal money laundering scheme, whereby cash from a variety of bars in the area is passed to mobsters. Bob finds himself under the spotlight after his involvement in a robbery that goes very wrong and its not long before the authorities try to figure out whats been going on but will his involvement be discovered? you'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a crime drama with mystery elements and it covers themes including organised crime and robberies, blackmail and the mob. I notice Ciao has categorised it as a 'thriller/mystery' but I'd disagree and I'll explain why later. As a dog lover, I found the film quite engrossing as the main character is shown discovering and handing in a presumably abandoned dog, a relatively young puppy which is identified as a pit bull but barely looks aggressive and did steal my heart somewhat!. I thought it did well at portraying a quite dark and shifty atmosphere from early on as well. The musical score, including background music/sounds, did well at makign me, as a viewer, feel uncomfortable and like anything could happen at any moment, so it did well on that front. I should perhaps also note that it is quite dark, in terms of lighting but I found myself able to follow most of what went on and not too disorientated. I say that as I still clearly remember having issues with ...

Network (DVD) 16/07/2017

One Mans Slow Breakdown Exploited Via Live TV

Network (DVD) - Story - Network depicts how a networked TV channel in New York City decides to cash in on the heavy ratings they get after a news anchor, Howard Beale, learns he's to be fired and lets out an outburst, threatening suicide, while on TV. They decide not to fire Beale but to give him his own aggressively promoted show. His friend, who also works for the network, is concerned that their cashing in on his presumed break down but the network won't drop him in a rush. This surely can't continue forever - will someone manage to get Beale off the air? you'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a drama film, with themes including the media, delusion, TV ratings and social commentary. I thought the main plot sounded quite interesting, although it is (inevitably) quite bleak, featuring what some may see as dark comedy, although others may well feel uncomfortable with the idea of comedy being in relation to someone feeling suicidal, of course. I felt that aspects of this film are still relevant to the modern day, certainly in terms of manipulating, or exploiting, the media for selfish reasons (alternative news anyone?!) and the like. I thought that some of the dialogue was quite witty - I did smirk at times. I like to sometimes watch films which cover somewhat taboo issues and subjects and I felt this was a well made film in general. There is definitely an element of back stabbing, with the dog eat dog world of television reporting ...

Kon-Tiki (DVD) 15/07/2017

An Intriguing Foreign Tale Of Determined Seabound Exploration

Kon-Tiki (DVD) - Story - This film tells the story of a famous Norwegian explorer named Thor Heyerdahl, who travelled across the Pacific Ocean in a somewhat flimsy wooden raft in the late 1940s, with a small group of other men, in order to try and prove that people in South America, in times gone past, were able to cross said ocean and settle down on the Polynesian islands. Will this clearly treacherous journey manage to be completed without losing any of the crew, or will Thor be forced to concede he was wrong about the ability of Southern Americans to move to the Polynesian islands in olden days? you'll obviously have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a historical adventure film, based on a true story (and thus is biographical in nature) with themes featured including expedition and voyage, obsession, trust and scientific theory. Fairly early on, I found myself thinking it seemed like a Norwegian version of the Willy Fogg Around The World in 80 Days story - a case of one mans steely determination to disprove the opinions of the ruling elite, or thereabouts. The story is quite an intriguing one and while the dialogue is mostly in Norwegian, there are also moments whereby French and Swedish are spoken, as well as English. Suffice to say, if your really not keen on subtitling, then you may want to bypass this title, as there is a fair amount of it present but I was pleasantly surprised to see that said subtitling was quite large in font size, ...

Forrest Gump (DVD) 12/07/2017

A Truly Endearing, Engrossing Character Driven Drama

Forrest Gump (DVD) - Story - This film depicts the life of a man who is slow to learn but who has remarkably optimistic view on life. It turns out that he's been present at a number of historical events through the decades, all of which are depicted in a perhaps different way to what we may expect, or be used to. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a drama film, with some comedic moments and themes including innocence, kindness, racism, war and the military. The comedy present is a sort of a slapstick, sentimental style of comedy - its hard to explain but I hope that makes sense(?). It is quite saccharine sweet in tone for most of the film, with a very light, jaunty piano tune played in the background while Hanks narrates Forrests memories and thoughts about his past, particularly his childhood, from quite early on. This is regarded as a classic film and as such was a film I'd wanted to see for some time. I felt it had a fairy tale quality to itself and certainly the theme of childhood innocence seemed very present for quite a while. There is something quite endearing about Gump's staunch belief in what his mother (his 'momma') told him, some of which could be hard for us to believe. He has an optimism which is admirable but there is an inevitable feeling of sadness to it as well, for the viewer, as we realise how vulnerable he is and fear what may become of him, in the various situations he finds himself in. I found the film quite engrossing - its definitely a classic case of ...

Lion (DVD) 30/06/2017

A thoughtful, engrossing film about one boys need for identity

Lion (DVD) - Story - This film tells the true story of a boy called Saroo, who becomes lost in the Indian city of Calcutta as a youngster. He finds himself in numerous challenging circumstances before eventually becoming adopted by a foreign family. However, many years later he becomes determined to track down his long lost true family. Will he manage to find them and whether or not he does, what might he learn about himself in trying to track his parents down? you'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a biographical style drama film, with themes including adoption, flashbacks and adaptation to different cultures. There are a fair amount of subtitles present at the start of the film, with Saroo as a young boy finding himself on his own, scared and missing his siblings. It is a fairly emotional watch and it features a good use of stringed instruments to bring home the delicate, fragile and vulnerable state Saroo found himself in at that time. I felt the film made a very good use of music, with mainly Indian sounding music (perhaps what you may hear in Bollywood films, I believe) played in the background adding emphasis to the various scenes. I suppose it gave the film a sort of mystical sense to it. The film I found quite engrossing - I was desperately hoping that Saroo would manage to find what he was looking for but as the plot progressed, things got more complicated. I think its quite a human story, in that it'd be hard not to feel ...

Reign Of Fire (DVD) 28/06/2017

An allegedly fiery fantasy film thats more damp than hot

Reign Of Fire (DVD) - Story - A family of dragons takes over the earth, quickly causing mayhem as they start mass fires via their ability to breath fire. Will nothing stop them from becoming the dominant species? you'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This film is a mix of action, adventure and fantasy - probably primarily fantasy, genre wise and it features themes including survival, fighting and militia. It starts off resembling almost a family film, with a young boy striding along in a construction site but within a few minutes it quite clearly turns much more dark and bleak in tone and otherwise. The main character, Quinn, is played by Christian Bale, so in a way you could argue that was the first clue that it'd be a somewhat dark film, as Bale does tend to appear in rather sombre/dark films. It has a somewhat medieval dystopian feel of sorts, which is a little bizarre given its a film set in the future but the outpost depicted has to rely on candlelight and the adults are shown (early on in the film) attempting to provide basic entertainment for the younger members, so it made me think of that. It has quite a chilling feel to it as the pace quickens, while we see that something is clearly not right and we're left to try and figure out whats going on, not long off the start of the film. I did think it had somewhat of a feel of a feature length TV show about it - I'm not sure what the budget was but it seemed mildly under-whelming somehow. It ...

Airplane! (DVD) 25/06/2017

Buckle Your Seatbelts In For This Classic Comedy!

Airplane! (DVD) - Story - Still keen on his former girlfriend, Ted Striker follows Elaine onto a flight which she is working on as a member of cabin crew. She, however, doesn't want to continue with their relationship but then, during the flight, things take a strange turn as numerous people (including the pilots) appear to fall ill suddenly following having their in-flight meal. It soon becomes clear that its up to Ted and a doctor on board to take control of the cock pit and attempt to land safely, saving all on board but is that possible? you'll have to watch the film to find out, of course. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a comedy film (with elements of a disaster film), some may argue a comedy classic which features themes including narcotics, nerves and emergency situations. This film is a bit of a classic, well known for being quite over the top but in a comic sort of a way - from the very start, it has the visual look and feel (music and visually speaking, with large, blocky text appearing boldly on screen) of an impending disaster film - indeed it could be thought of as a satire on disaster films but most certainly a comedy based one. It features very wacky, somewhat eccentric comedy and its certainly one of my favourite comedy films. The comedy is so random at times, I can't help but laugh at it - Its one of quite a few films that I've seen on more than one ocassion, mostly I just stick to watching new films but when my TiVo box recorded this film as I'd stated ...

How I Spent My Summer Vacation (DVD) 24/06/2017

A Somewhat Bizarre, Gritty Mexico Focussed Crime Action Film

How I Spent My Summer Vacation (DVD) - Story - A hardened criminal who is caught during a large scale robbery by Mexican police, is thrown in to a local prison community, where he is forced to learn how to somehow get by with the help of an unlikely allie - that of a 10 year old boy. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a crime/action/drama film which covers themes including survival, incarceration, torture and narcotics. This is a pretty typical action crime film, like other such films Gibson has been in. Of course Mel has fallen out with a lot of people due to personal issues but he still gives a relatively decent performance in this film, as a fairly anonymous character (more on that later), although I did find myself struggling somewhat to hear some of the dialogue, as he is quite a quiet speaker at times. There is a sense of mystery, although primarily its an action/drama film, as already mentioned. I liked the use of Mexican/Mariachi style music present in some of the scenes, which really added to the tension and the general atmosphere present. I felt (much like the character on screen) that I wasn't sure what might happen next, with the surroundings being fairly darkly lit. There is also an element of dark comedy present at times, with some witty dialogue making me snigger at times - one example being when Gibsons character (who isn't named, only giving fake names and can only be referred to as the driver) comments on the fact that they'd been playing the same Mexican music on loop for ...

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (DVD) 21/06/2017

A Decent Light Hearted Family Friendly Film Sequel

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (DVD) - Story - The 'Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' finds itself more popular than ever, with only one spare room and two highly keen people wanting to rent it. The young owner, Sonny, finds himself desperate to branch out by way of purchasing a second hotel to continue the brand name, flying abroad to try and secure finances for his company but he soon finds circumstances closer to home to be an issue, with a certain figure making an unwelcome return just before his impending wedding. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a gentle comedy drama film with themes including camaraderie and entrepreneurship. It is obviously a sequel to the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and it features quite a few of the same characters from the original film. It features some quite pretty indian landscapes and a number of sub-plots, some of which are more interesting than others. I felt it was quite watchable and entertaining, although not exactly major laugh out loud style funny, it was certainly relatively amusing. I think there is something funny, in an observational comedy sort of a way, about seeing British people who are quite entrenched in their ways, having to adapt to unfamiliar surroundings, which applies to this film in as much as Muriel is dragged long, with young entrepreneur Sonny, to the US to try to get financial support from businesses. Lets say she is less than impressed with what she sees there. Its quite light hearted (for the most part) and I enjoyed seeing how the ...

Star Trek (DVD) 18/06/2017

A Visually Immersive Action Packed 21st Century Star Trek Film

Star Trek (DVD) - Story - James T. Kirk is forced to live up to his well regarded fathers reputation, with Mr. Spock keeping an eye on him as a villainous alien from the future starts to conjour black holes, risking the destruction of the Federation one piece, or planet, at a time. Will the team manage to stop it? you'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a sci-fi film, with themes including survival, time travel and destiny. It starts in a very grand way, seemingly in the middle of a plot of some sort, with a lot going on - special effects and the whole she-bang. I can't claim to be a Trekkie, although im very much aware of them - I like some sci fi, mostly earth based sci fi shows but I wanted to watch this film as I was intrigued to see how a modern day full, big budget film adaptation would go, particularly given the decent cast line up (which I'll elaborate on later). Of course this isn't a film to be analysed in any kind of large detail, although as far as realism goes, I was really quite impressed with the visual effects side of things. This is more of a 'sit, watch and be entertained by the effects (incl. action sequences)' type of a film. Cast wise, I thought that Zachary Quinto was very well chosen to portray Spock. From what I know of old TV show clips, he very much looks the part and plays the slightly brooding and thoughtful captain quite convincingly. Leonard Nimoy, who played Spock in the original TV shows also makes an ...

Crazy Heart (DVD) 17/06/2017

A Bittersweet Reflective Character Driven Drama

Crazy Heart (DVD) - Story - An ageing yet successful country music singer and musician finds himself feeling jaded and somewhat stuck in a rut. Then he comes across a young journalist who he allows to be interviewed by and so starts a rather unexpected relationship. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a drama film with obviously a heavy emphasis on music, more specifically country music and it features themes including reconciliation and redemption, personal identity, loneliness and of course country music. It is very much a character focussed drama. The main character, Bad (who is very hesitant to reveal his real name, I should note), is depicted from early on as quite a disillusioned person. We learn slowly about his history, via the love interest, Jean the journalist. Given his fame and adoration, its surprising to see that he lives a relatively modest life, keeping himself to himself most of the time. I found it hard to fully follow what Bad said at times, as his voice sounded quite mumbly - perhaps its (partly) because of his thick US accent. I often found myself tinkering with the volume to try and improve things, only to find a new scene starting with music playing and the music was too loud, so I'd turn it down, only to find myself, yet again, a bit unclear of the dialogue when it cut to a quieter scene, which is quite frustrating!. Whether thats anything to do with me watching it via my laptop, as I purchased it via Google Play, or not, I don't know but it was quite ...

Fire In The Sky (DVD) 14/06/2017

A Sci-fi Mystery Not Reliant on Masses of Special Effects

Fire In The Sky (DVD) - Story - A logger by the name of Travis Walton, in Arizona goes missing for a number of days, under mysterious circumstances, after his colleagues see him run from his truck to try to see whats going on, after spotting strange lights and his body appears to be flung from the sky. After he's been missing for a day or so, suspicion grows throughout the local community and the sheriff decides to try and determine who was responsible for his sudden disappearance. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a sci-fi/mystery film, with themes including abduction, friendship and the supernatural. At first I wasn't particularly keen on it, with the characters seeming to be quite vain, smug people but the plot starts to come together after a while and it became much more interesting. The visual effects weren't great (this is a film that dates from 1993, so its hardly new) but the story was intriguing enough for me not to feel overly bothered about that, mainly as it is, apparently, based on a true story. The cast seemed genuinely quite scared and all but terrified of what they'd seen and the camerawork was sufficiently jerky, so as to disorientate the viewer. It was one of those films that made me wonder quite how I'd react if I was in the position of being one of Travis' work colleagues. I felt it featured elements of a number of genres, most obviously sci-fi but not exclusively so - it had somewhat of a feel of an old fashioned detective film, with the local sheriff ...

Sleuth (DVD) 11/06/2017

A Slow, Plodding Battle of Wits

Sleuth (DVD) - Story - Set in an aging writers country mansion, Andrew Wyke finds himself confronted with his wifes adulterer, Milo. He decides to make the most of it and a battle of wits commences - who will leave intact? you'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a thriller/drama film, with themes including adultery, intimidation and manipulation. This is very much a meeting of minds type of a film, with the two main characters almost constantly trying to out-wit one another, being very intellectual people. It is relatively slow, plot pace wise but the characters are intriguing enough that I found myself not too distracted as the drip-drip flow of slow information arrived in terms of learning Andrew and Milos backgrounds, their personalities and so on. The music played in the background of numerous scenes is quite sombre in tone, adding a rather spooky and mysterious feel to the film. The building in which most of the film is set in, also looks quite dark and somehow unsettling. In numerous scenes, or rooms, there is a bright blue colour that you can see around the room - it looks quite artificial and adds to the films spookiness. Other scenes feature a fair amount of green, representing night time vision. I suppose you could say the bright colours add a certain sense of surrealism. I noticed, as far as camerawork is concerned, that there were some scenes filmed as if we're hiding from the characters - one scene is shot from behind a ...
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