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IzzyS

IzzyS

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Thanks for all rates. Let me know if I dont re-rate you. For my recent birthday, I got a Netflix gift card - I've plenty more films to watch now!.

Reviews written

since 27/07/2006

664

Testament of Youth (2014) (DVD) 26/03/2017

Bittersweet & Sentimental, This Is A Haunting Period Drama

Testament of Youth (2014) (DVD) - Story - Based on the real life memoir of the main character, this film depicts Vera Brittains adolescent years while trying to maintain her studies, as the first world war starts and the love of her life decides to sign up to join other soldiers on the front line. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a period drama film, covering themes or subject areas including war (although it is admittedly more of a background topic - more on this later) independence, hope and romance. To start with, I felt this film seemed visually and audibly quite 'rose tinted', somewhat over sentimental, due to the light piano and harp pieces which are slightly haunting in tone and played in the background, while the skyline looked rather plump and blurry - as if the camera which filmed it had steamed up, only primarily at the top and not so much lower down in shots, where the characters are shown. It gave the earlier scenes a sort of dream like feeling, I'd say. There was a fairly strong sense of optimism I picked up on from the start. I felt that Vera Brittain was an easy character to hope the best for, to root for as the Americans may say. I could understand her wish to live life the way she wanted, for her to be given the chance to make her own successes. It felt quite frustrating how her family (and indeed wider society at that time) regarded her life choices and the like. It made me think about how far society has come in the last 100 years or so. I liked the cinematography - ...

99 Homes (DVD) 25/03/2017

Them vs Us-A Gritty Depiction of the American Foreclosure Crisis

99 Homes (DVD) - Story - Dennis Nash finds him, his wife and son the victims of a sudden forclosure in Orlando, Florida, with them being evicted from their house. Having been forced to stay in a nearby rather run down motel, he desperately struggles to find work and only after some time does he get offered work from a rather shady local man called Rick Carver, who apparently represents a local realtor and who needs Dennis to do some of his dirty work for him - that is, announcing to other local residents that their properties have gone in to foreclosure and thus they are trespassing on private property by being in their homes and they must leave right away. The irony is understandably not lost on him and he reluctantly agrees to help out, in exchange for financial help to allow him and his family to stay in the neighbourhood. He stays quiet about what exactly he's doing to earn the money the family rely on and things get increasinly desperate, with his conscience eating away at him. Will his family realise what he's got himself into? will Dennis manage to keep providing for his family and at what cost? you'll have to watch the film to find out, of course. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is quite a grim and bleak film, obviously reflecting on the recent US property market crash. It shows the importance of families staying together in such tough circumstances, with various characters playing their own roles in trying to stay strong and as the saying goes 'grit your teeth and ...

The Danish Girl (DVD) 22/03/2017

A Captivating, Emotional, Characted Focussed Film

The Danish Girl (DVD) - Story - Set in Denmark in the 1920s, it depicts a husband called Einar, who accidentally discovers a love of cross dressing, when he's asked to pose for his wifes painting, after the first model was no longer available. The painting becomes popular and he decides to slowly appear in public as a female persona. Although at first his wife, Gerda, plays along, as Einar becomes more serious in what he sees as his new transgender identity, it puts pressure on their marriage but what will society at large think, if his secret (beneath all the makeup, smoke and mirrors) is discovered?. You'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a period drama, with themes including identity, acceptance and fear and gender stereotypes. It features some quite quiet dialogue, which anyone who may be hard of hearing might struggle to fully follow but there are subtitles available on the DVD, if thats any consellation. Due to the plot and the lack of social acceptance and wider understanding of the main issue, its not exactly surprising that things are talked about quieitly. I found myself feeling quite sorry for the main character, Lili/Einar. To me, he appeared to show his emotions quite clearly on his sleeve (or, should I say, on her dress?). His reluctance and fear of what may happen if he were to be found out makes him appear somewhat fragile and quite sensitive, which I suppose to a small extent I could relate to. I found it interesting how his ...

Ride Along (DVD) 19/03/2017

An Easily Watchable Yet Unoriginal Watch

Ride Along (DVD) - Story - In order to prove himself (his manliness) to his girlfriends brother, a security guard called Ben. who spends most of his time playing video games at home; decides to join James Payton, a cop, on a 24 hour long patrol of the local area (Atlanta, US). - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is an action comedy film, with themes including comararderie, vigiliantism and deception. It is fast paced and quick witted (read - fast talker). Ben comes across as quite comic, seeming to have an almost rubber-y face, a bit like Jim Carrey seemed in his '90s comedy films. His physical movements look quite exaggerated at times and the plot is relatively zany, so the combination is well suited. The film has a decent cast, in the form of Kevin Hart playing Ben Barber (said rubbery comic guy) who comes across as hyperactive, a bit like the Duracell bunny, buzzing and always on the move - he reminded me somewhat of Eddie Murphy in his 1980s action roles. Meanwhile Ice Cube plays the other main character, James Payton, who is more laidback and tries his best not to let Ben wind him up quite too much, as you can probably imagine. It is pretty much a typical good cop/bad cop type film, so as such it isn't particularly original, plot wise. Other cast members include Laurence Fishburne as Omar, Bruce McGill as Lt. Brooks and John Leguizamo as Santiago. This is an urban film which seems to try to be seen as urban and gritty, although I didn't feel there was a great deal of ...

The Remains Of The Day (DVD) 18/03/2017

A Sobering Period Drama With Brilliant Casting

The Remains Of The Day (DVD) - Story - A strict and rigid butler, who has given many decades of professional service in Darlington Hall, finds reason to reminisce about the various people he worked for and he slowly realises the errors in his misguided devotion to his job in the past. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a period (historical) drama, with themes including loyalty, duty and nostalgia. It is a slow paced film, one which is quite thought provoking, with a beautiful setting (Darlington Hall in Oxford) and a fair sense of melancholia present at times. It is generally quite brusque in tone - certainly James Stevens is that way himself. I found it an interesting watch, to see the relationship between James and his father, how he reacted to certain changes in the household and I found myself feeling quite defensive and concerned for him at different points due to certain events, while, at other points, the opposite seemed to be the case, as he appeared to be relatively harsh in his dealings with others (I try my best not to give any potential spoilers, so I hope this isn't seen as giving too much away). I found myself trying to second guess James responses and I did feel it was emotionally somewhat moving in parts, although, as I say, I won't say why. I thought it was interesting to see how James communicated with different people, the gentry and otherwise. Cast wise, Anthony Hopkins plays the main character, James Stevens. He very much looks the part of an aristocratic butler, ...

Song For Marion (DVD) 15/03/2017

A Moving, Emotional, Brilliant British Film

Song For Marion (DVD) - Story - Arthur, an elderly husband, struggles to cope as his wife, Marion, receives a grim prognosis and she decides to make the most of her time left, to indulge in one of her favourite hobbies - singing in the local community choir among other local elderly residents. Arthur is encouraged to get involved with the choir and after she is no longer able to participate, he finds it hard to open himself up to the possibility of taking part but will he manage to let go of his inhibitions and will the others help him or mock him? he has a reputation for being a bit of a grump, so will he manage to show another side of himself or will he clam up and fail to open up like his wife managed and what will happen to his already strained and distant relationship with his son?. Obviously, you'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a comedy drama, which covers themes including loss, companionship, denial and self expression. I thought this was quite an entertaining, amusingly light hearted film in parts, with some rather emotional scenes (inevitably, given the plot) also present. The characters were quite loveable, even the husband, Arthur, to an extent. It has a real community feel to it, with the local characters looking out for Marion as she's well regarded - they rally around her when she appears and when they sing in choir practice, its hard not to smile as they sound so good and genuinely do give it a good 'bit of welly', as they ...

Thor (DVD) 12/03/2017

An Entertaining & Amusing Fantasy Action Flick

Thor (DVD) - Story - After the great warrior Thor becomes too selfish and greedy, his father reluctantly banishes him to earth as punishment for putting his homeland (the other world of Asgard) in peril. Once there, he falls in love with a young scientist called Jane. Villains attempt to attack Thor as he's now more vulnerable in human form but will he manage to avoid them and what becomes of Jane? you'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is an action adventure film with obvious fantasy (in a mythological, almost science fiction sense) elements presents. It covers themes including father and son relationship and betrayal. The first half an hour or so is set in the 'realm' or other world and I felt less bothered or interested in it during these scenes as everything just looked so clearly artificial. For me it was when Thor was sent to Earth and forced to get the help of humans, that it really started to interest me. There were definitely some awkward scenes with Thor, finding himself unsure of his surroundings and acting unsurprisingly peculiar to the eyes of onlookers and I found those scenes quite amusing. Of course the plot is somewhat ludicrous but to me it was a mostly enjoyable watch, a bit of fun. I felt that there were some quite impressive special effects used - the visuals are quite good (explosions etc.), with bright lights, fast paced scenes, and plenty to keep you watching. The camerawork is quite good too, with various ...

The BFG (2016) (DVD) 11/03/2017

A Fantastical Film Adaptation of Roald Dahls BFG

The BFG (2016) (DVD) - Story - A little girl who has become an orphan, ends up befriending a kindly giant who snatched her and took her to his land, Giant Country. It soon becomes clear that the not so friendly giant variety are going to cause big trouble back in the human world, so the two of them have to work fast to prevent this from happening. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a family friendly fantasy film based on the Roald Dahl novel of the same name. It covers themes such as loss, isolation and companionship. Its quite a visually pleasing film, I felt, with decent CGI bringing the titular character to life. I remember enjoying reading the book as a child and seeing the animated film version from the 1980s, back in the day. This isn't a particularly easy story to bring to screen through mostly live action, I think its fair to say but its been done fairly well in this instance. I liked Mark Rylance's voice as the BFG - its quite hard to describe but it sounded quite well suited to the role, sounding like a quite warm, caring person but also with an element of stubborness and wisdom to it, I'd say. There are some scenes in the film which are relatively dark, in terms of the lighting and also taking me slightly by surprise when sudden actions happened, so its fair to say that especially young viewers may find it mildly frightening. Alsom cast wise, I liked Ruby Barnhill who played Sohpie, as she gave a good performance, playing the quite innocent and fascinated young girl. ...

The Man With One Red Shoe (DVD) 08/03/2017

A Distinctly Average 80s Spy Spoof Film

The Man With One Red Shoe (DVD) - Story - A man picked out of a crowd is made the target of official government surveillance and becomes pursued by undercover agents but is he who they think he is? you'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a comedy spy/crime film, featuring themes including surveillance and undercover intelligence. The first thing I'd like to say is that it isn't a film which seems to take itself particularly seriously - I felt the main character of Richard came across as somewhat exaggerated, being a bit geeky perhaps and the term slapstick came to mind. Having said that, its not as extreme as, say, the Mask in the film The Mask - Hanks is no Jim Carrey (Sorry Tom, though thats not necessarily a bad thing). The plot seemed quite far fetched but it certainly does have its funny moments. Another word, or term, that came to mind was quirky - thats not specifically referring to Richard but probably moreso the undercover agents secretly tracking him and having to guess why he does what he does and having to (often wrongly) interpret the strange things they hear. There is certainly an element of incompetence brought across and I found it quite amusing, in terms of the very much official people being stumped by what they were seeing and hearing and the way they respond to things which makes them seem less than the brilliant professionals they appear to be. Its definitely a spoof of the spy/crime sub-genres and as such its a relatively pleasant ...

100 Bloody Acres (DVD) 05/03/2017

A Ludicrous Yet Darkly Amusing Aussie Comedy Horror

100 Bloody Acres (DVD) - Story - Reg and Lindsay are two brothers who run an organic fertiliser business in rural Australia. What people don't realise is that the special ingredient their produce uses, that makes it so popular, comes from human or animal bodies. They claim to source it via roadkill while the truth is more sinister. As supply becomes very low, Reg is relieved to come across some teens stranded by a broken down vehicle, so he goes over and offers to 'help them'. Will they manage to realise what they've got themselves in for and will they survive their encounter? you'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a dark comedy horror film which features themes including survival and back stabbing/deception. The plot is pretty laughable - I found myself feeling quite amused in various parts of it, due to the absurdity of it all quite frankly. It reminded me of another dark comedy horror film I saw last year called Black Sheep. The characters are somewhat exaggerated, with a number of Australian stereotypes being clearly brought across, thanks to the strong accents the characters have, some of the slang dialogue used and so on. Certainly at first the characters don't appear to be greatly clever, as can often be the case in horror (and especially teen horror) films. Most (although not all) of the characters in this film are adolescent. There is relatively little music used, although sometimes there are light hearted jingles played during some ...

Magic In The Water (DVD) 04/03/2017

A Delightful Mostly Family Friendly Film I Enjoyed

Magic In The Water (DVD) - Story - A hard working father, who doesn't spend much time with his kids, takes them on a holiday to a a lakeside area in Canada. Finding himself unable to fully pull away from his work, his kids explore the local area, in which there's a well known tourist tale of there being a lake monster called 'Orky' (somewhat comparable to the Scottish Loch Ness Monster). His son Josh doesn't give this tale any credence but Ashley quickly finds reason to believe the tale could be true and its up to her to convince them of this. Will anyone believe her? you'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a family friendly adventure/fantasy film, with themes including local mythology and parental love. While I don't tend to watch many specifically family films, I liked the sound of the plot of this and I have to say I did enjoy the general naivety of it in a way. Its hardly greatly original, as plots go but I liked the daughter character, Ashley - I liked her adventurous nature, her strive for independence and so on. The father, Jack, is an over worked employee who struggles to connect with his children at first. However, he becomes quite a daydreamer and plays along with his kids after a while. There is a real simplicity to it which I found quite re-assuring. Some other adult members of the local community are portrayed as almost childlike, having experienced encounters with the mythical local monster and struggling to fully describe and put ...

Running On Empty (DVD) 01/03/2017

A Thoughtful Family Drama With Great Characterisation

Running On Empty (DVD) - Story - The Popes are a family who have lived with a fake identity for some years, due to an event from the past that they were involved in. They try to keep to themselves but as their eldest son, Danny, finds his passion in life, for playing music at school, he becomes determined to make a life of his own, to attempt to follow his dream and make a name for himself, which potentially puts the family in trouble and risks him having to cut ties with them forever. How will the family deal with it? you'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a crime drama film revolving around an American family, with themes covered including emancipation, independence and family ties. I felt that Danny had a surprising amount of depth about him, as a character, he wasn't especially stereotyped or anything like that, so I felt anyway. I liked that the family seemed totally normal on one level, while also clearly aware of their personal situation and being seemingly quite on the ball about their need to protect their identity and to adapt to the situations they've found themselves in. Cast wise, River Phoenix played Danny Pope. Phoenix of course died in the early 90s (October 31st 1993, to be precise). He was well regarded for his roles in films such as Stand By Me and My Own Private Idaho. I thought he did quite well in his role, playing a relatively strong minded adolescent, who some believe has his quirks about himself (such as opting in for ...

Akira (DVD) 26/02/2017

Very Watchable, Spooky & Bloody Japanese Animation

Akira (DVD) - Story - A secret Japanese military project puts people in Tokyo at risk after infecting a teenager who is a member of a local bike gang and who turns in to a psychic with psychopathic tendencies. Its up to a small number of people to try and stop his rampage. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is an animated action sci-fi film. It may be an animated film but its definitely not for younger viewers, due to the violence and strong language present. I liked the sudden flashbacks which took me by surprise and the way they were animated made it quite engrossing for me. There are a variety of characters, mostly rebellious adolescents and I think it'd be fairly difficult to not feel the confusion and anger they feel. Themes present include youth gangs, greed, nuclear science, political corruption and supernatural abilities. The animation is 2D and fairly basic in style, although during some of the more bloody scenes you may be glad of this. It is an example of manga animation, given that its tone is somewhat dark and it is, more obviously, a Japanese animated film. I thought it isn't, to me anyway, as visually pleasing to watch as some other styles of animation - I suppose it looked perhaps a little bland but then again this is very much a gritty film and not a Disney type family watch. I thought it seemed quite gritty and urban, unsurprisingly given the plot. To me it seemed pretty realistic, in terms of the depiction of a slightly run down city, with disaffected ...

Men Of Honour (DVD) 25/02/2017

A Worthy Watch With Gripping Performances

Men Of Honour (DVD) - Story - This film tells the story of Carl Brashear, who was the first African American Navy diver and the chief who helped to give him the chance to rise through the ranks. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a historical drama with themes including racism, integration and self motivation. I felt it was quite an eye opening film, clearly depicting the sort of racism which was rife at the time its set in. I can't say it wasn't a hard watch at times but it seemed pretty realistic - a gritty realism if anything. I felt that Cuba Gooding Jnr did very well in his portrayal of Chief Carl Brashear, someone who seemed quite self assured and who was putting his all in to doing the best he could, in the situations he found himself in, with the odds inevitably somewhat against him. He looked at times both quite steely and determined and also rather emotionally vulnerable at times, understandably so. He comes across as someone who feels he owes it to people of his community, of his ethnicity presumably, to do the best he possibly can, to represent them and make the most of the opportunities he's apparently been given. The film features an impressive cast and as well as Cuba Gooding Jnr., Robert De Niro lays the other main character, that of his naval chief (boss) Billy Sunday. His character is also quite a stalwort, determined and if anything more self assured than Carl and as such, it was hardly a change of direction as far as De Niro's roles go, as he tends to play ...

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (DVD) 22/02/2017

A Slick Action Adventure Sequel

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (DVD) - Story - New York finds itself under attack by Oscorp and its left up to Spiderman to try to protect it and those he loves from the new threats. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a slick action adventure film, with sci-fi elements. Its the sequel to 'The Amazing Spiderman'. Themes covered include adolescence, family, friendship, anger and loneliness, plus the age old 'good vs bad'. Its fairly fast paced and it features a decent amount of character development, with the start revealing what happened to Spidermans parents when Peter Parker was young. The special effects (mainly CGI, from what I could tell) are quite impressive, they seemed realistic to me. I felt it was a relatively immersive film overall, with me feeling quite intrigued by the mix of the plot and probably moreso the visual effects which kept me watching. Cast wise, Andrew Garfield plays the title character as Peter Parker, while Emma Stone plays Gwen Stacy. I felt that Garfield gave a particularly good performance in his role, to me he's the better Spiderman, compared to Tobey Maguire - he seemed more believeable somehow, although I'm not sure quite how to explain this. Other cast members include Jamie Foxx as Electro (aka Max Dillon) Felicity Jones as Felicia, Paul Giamatti as Aleksei Sytsevich, Sally Field as Aunt May. I also liked Jamie Foxx's performance, as he portrays someone who is quite unlike Foxx as a performer is, that is to say someone over looked and a bit of an ...
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