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since 27/07/2006


Enduring Love (DVD) 15/11/2017

A what if? scenario film

Enduring Love (DVD) - Story - Two strangers find themselves too close for comfort after witnessing a frightening accident. The after effect of what happened may have profound effects for them both but what does this mean? you'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a drama/mystery film which features themes including obsession, emotional breakdown and harassment. It is quite a sad film, with a philosophical feel to it, or so I thought at first. Its one of those films which depicts a situation which must be hard for anyone who happens to be passing by, to observe and take in - obviously its difficult to go in to many details about it for risk of giving spoilers. Suffice to say, I found myself wondering how I'd react if I'd been there, what could have been done differently to potentially lead to an alternative scenario and the like. Quite early on, it features camerawork depicting the main characters in bed from above (filmed from above i.e. down from the bedroom ceiling), with the camera going slowly around in circles, which is somewhat dizzying and claustrophobic. It also features stringed instruments and piano based instrumentals, sounding a little like someone on a tightrope - a tense, volatile situation, so it made me feel a bit edgy and unsure what may happen next. There is a definite unsettling feel to it, almost like with Hitchcock's thrillers...a bit of a slow burn type feel to it. I thought the plot was intriguing - not particularly ...

Everest (2015) (DVD) 12/11/2017

A Film About Human Vulnerabilities

Everest (2015) (DVD) - Story - This film depicts the story of Robert Hall, a New Zealander who, alongside Scott Fischer, attempted to ascend Mount Everest in 1996. Were they successful and what complications did they encounter? you'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is an action/adventure film, with themes covered including mountain climbing, blizzards, expedition and survival. I quite liked the start of the film, which gives a good background to the impending situation, introducing us to the various characters, their travels in preparation of the Everest climb. The pace was neither especially fast nor achingly slow to start with, although I suppose if you tend to be impatient for the more extreme situations to be portrayed early on then you may find it a bit slow due to the depiction of the general backstory to the expedition but regardless, I didn't find it entirely boring or dull. I liked that we were given glimpses in to one of the climbers family, making us feel more attached to them, hence there's a good amount of characterisation. There were some really good landscape shots featured at times, with some impressive ariel photography capturing the rough and bleak terrain the expedition group faced, so I liked the cinematography. I'd say that this film very much focusses on the human aspect of adventure explorers, the vulnerabilities and consequences of chasing after such a lofty goal as to climb such an inhospitable place. I suppose its ...

Blue Ruin (DVD) 11/11/2017

An Edgy Film Thats Good But Not Great

Blue Ruin (DVD) - Story - A strangers quiet life is suddenly uprooted when he arrives at the home he grew up in, determined to commit an act of vengeance. He ends up in the middle of a fight to try to protect his estranged family. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a crime thriller film which covers themes including vengeance, vigilantism and vagrancy. This is a very violent and bloody film from relatively early on and I felt in the dark in terms of the background of the plot. The main plot is far from original but it has some good characterisation, with a surprising amount of human fragility and not in the way you may expect. Cast wise, Macon Blair plays the main character, Dwight. He is quite an unassuming person, a fairly average joe type, not exactly a Bruce Willis or Jean Claude Van Damme type. I thought he played the role well. Other cast members include Kevin Kolack as Teddy Cleland and Eve Plumb as Kris Cleland. There wasn't anything about the cast that especially stood out to me, so I don't think I can say much about that, other than that I wasn't familiar with the cast members. Content wise, the film is pretty violent and really quite bloody, with various scenes happening quite suddenly, thus its quite shocking. Bloody injuries include blood spurts and the like. Flesh is depicted, if briefly, so you need a relatively strong stomach - this isn't for the overly squeamish!. Strong language is used at times and more generally the film is quite dark and edgy in tone ...

Ted 2 (DVD) 08/11/2017

Ted Returns With More Of The Same - Silly Stuff!

Ted 2 (DVD) - Story - A sequel to the previous Ted film, Ted finds himself in court, hoping to be allowed to have a child, after being declared as property by the government and effectively losing all his civil rights. Things don't look too good for him, so will he manage to persude everyone that he's more than just property and that he can be a responsible parent? you'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a comedy film, with themes present including marriage, adoption and trials. It has a very 'razzmatazz' start, in the opening titles, where the main credits appear - (think top hat and tails) looking like something straight from a 1950s musical film or similar before we crash back down to reality. If you've seen the first 'Ted' film then you'll have a good idea of what to expect, in terms of lude/bawdy (pretty immature) comedy, jokes and some slapstick and this doesn't exactly stray far away from that, its fair to say. However, as should be expected, its an easy watch, its not one to be overly analysed - the basic premise of a talking (be that of the foul mouthed variety) teddy is literally in-credible enough as it is but I found the ludicrous plot quite amusing and relatively madcap, so suffice to say it entertained me well enough. Cast wise, Mark Wahlberg returns as Teds friend John, a slacker type, while Seth MacFarlane provides the voice of Ted. Jessica Barth plays Teds wife, Tami-Lynn and Amanda Seyfried plays Samantha, their ...

BBC The Lady Vanishes (DVD) 05/11/2017

A Spooky Period Drama Mystery

BBC The Lady Vanishes (DVD) - Story - During a train journey, a young lady called Iris finds herself befriended by an older woman, a Miss Froy. She seems to vanish and when Iris asks if anyone has noticed her wandering off, it seems that no-one remembers ever having seen a Miss Froy, yet Iris is adamant - she can't be making it up, imagining this person, can she? you'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a mystery drama, with elements of thriller and it features themes including distrust, disappearances and spies. The main character, Iris Carr, is someone I found easy to feel sorry for, as some unfortunate things happen to her before she ends up on the train. I could somewhat relate to the feeling that a rushed day leads to you wondering quite whats going on, questioning things a bit more than maybe you would normally. The main premise of this film is rather unsettling and I do like a well made mystery film, which is what attracted me to it - after reading another Ciao member's review of it, in any case. Cast wise, Iris Carr is played by Tuppence Middleton, a seemingly rather scatter brained young lady but also someone of a relatively high social standing. As I say, I felt sorry for her in some regards, although she does have some snobby attitudes, like her utter disdain of foreign people not being entirely fluent in English, which is a bit unthoughtful considering she is abroad and not in Britain!. Meanwhile, the titular character is a Miss Froy, ...

The Martian (DVD) 04/11/2017

A Surprisingly Chilling Film - Slow But Sobering

The Martian (DVD) - Story - An astronaut finds himself stranded on Mars, after being left behind as his team mistakenly think him dead. He must rely on his know-how to somehow get the message back to Earth that he's still alive and hope that help will come to take him back. Will he manage to return to Earth? you'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a science fiction and adventure drama film, with themes covered including exploration, peril, hope and mutiny. Its fairly slow paced (understandably so, I thought), with some good visual effects - I imagine this would have been quite impressive if viewed at the cinema - it certainly looked impressive on my smaller TV screen. It is fairly immersive and thus atmospheric as well. I liked how the viewer sees things from time to time from the in-built space capsule's camera, as if viewing his activities from a cold and scientific type of viewpoint. Some of the music used is pretty space-y, new age style at times, while other music tracks are very much retro disco in style (believe it or not). That aside, the film definitely has quite a futuristic feel - you could argue that the selfish element of the plot is sadly reminiscent of current society, given how much emphasis people often put on themselves (often, not always of course). I thought it did have a surprisingly uplifting element to itself and its fair to say that the fragility of humanity, of life and so on is quite well put across. There are ...

Last Passenger (DVD) 01/11/2017

An Average At Best Action/Thriller

Last Passenger (DVD) - Story - A group of fairly anonymous passengers on an average London underground train, commuting, find themselves having to attempt to get off, after realising the driver has dark intentions for all on board. Will they manage to make it off the train in one piece? you'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is an action/thriller film, containing themes such as runaway transport, peril and suspense. The film seemed pretty mundane to start with, with pretty run of the mill conversations taking place between people on the train, obviously prior to their situation becoming apparent. There is a young boy present, Max, who is presumed to be the son of the main character, Lewis and I liked how we're shown some clues as to what may be about to happen, through his viewpoint. I found myself jumping on ocassion, when sudden things happen. Cast wise, Dougray Scott plays Lewis Shaler, father to Max and well regarded doctor, he looks like an average businessman, seeming quite methodical, calm and collected, certainly at the start anyway. Joshua Kaynama plays Max - an inquisitive/curious young boy. Meanwhile, Kara Tointon plays Sarah Berwell, a friend Lewis makes on the train and Lindsay Duncan plays Elaine Middleton, another of the trains passengers, while Iddo Goldberg plays an anti-social passenger called Jan Klimowski, who seems quite menacing and potentially sinister. Meanwhile, Samuel Gewker-Kawle plays the train guard. It takes a ...

Ghostbusters (2016) (DVD) 29/10/2017

Crude, Silly & Sadly Lacking In Detail

Ghostbusters (2016) (DVD) - Story - Manhattan finds itself at the centre of a large invasion of ghosts and this leads to a couple of paranormal enthusiasts, a nuclear engineer and a subway employee coming together determined to defeat the spooky threat and return NYC to normal. Will they manage this? you'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is an action comedy film with obviously science fiction elements and it covers themes including feminism, the supernatural and teamwork. I should say that I was a great fan of the original Ghostbusters films from the 1980s - I used to watch the cartoons and buy the comic/magazine as a child - in fact my dad helped me to make a supposed 'ghost trap' out of an old shoe box and some paint and so on, so this film had a lot to live up to in my eyes. I concede that this film probably didn't set out to be viewed as a complete replacement to the original, well loved films and if so then its just as well, as this is very much different. The main difference is not just that the characters are female, which is probably the most well known thing about this remake (I say remake in a loose fashion as it features a different story and so isn't a direct remake) but that it features much more fruity humour, including a heavy dose of toilet humour throughout. The characters are all relatively sassy, though somewhat loud mouthed, especially Abby Yates, played by Melissa McCarthy and annoyingly petty at times. There is a fair amount ...

Another Mother's Son (DVD) 28/10/2017

An Interesting Story Reasonably Well Told

Another Mother's Son (DVD) - Story - This film tells the tale of a Louisa Gould, who lived on Jersey and gave shelter to a Russian prisoner of war camp escapee during the second world war. She hid him during the war but was he ever detected and did others manage to catch wind of the situation? you'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a historical drama with a war setting - one based on a true story at that and it features themes including World War 2, community spirit, bravery and selflessness. It is unsurprisingly quite grim in tone and features many dark scenes, literally, in terms of darkly lit scenes. The plot pace is a bit slow but I'd say necessarily so, as we find out how Louisa was personally affected by the war, how people on the island had their lives changed and so on. I found myself feeling quite emotionally attached to Louisa and hoping for a good outcome for the situation. The characters, primarily Louisa and Bill (the Russian escapee) are shown to have their own flaws but to be good people and I thought it seemed like a pretty realistically made film, if that makes sense - of course I wasn't around during the World War but it didn't come across to me as being especially Hollywood-ised or featuring wooden performances. There are lighter moments present, with an ocassional amusing scene, which did somewhat surprise me given the general tone of the film but it didn't seem especially fake or forced as such. There are, of course, plenty of ...

Duel (DVD) 25/10/2017

Spielberg's Directorial Debut Is A Tense Gripping Watch

Duel (DVD) - Story - While driving through a desert to attend an appointment, a businessman from California called David Mann finds himself overtaking a slow truck. The driver of said truck is offended by this and decides to chase David along the entire highway trying to get rid of him. Will he succeed? you'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a thriller film which features themes including pursuit, road race, anonymous assailants and fear. I found it to be quite tense and gripping and it was rather claustrophobic, with the main character, David, seeming somewhat self conscious, aware of the fact that people may not believe him if he says that he feels he's being targeted by the truck driver to the extent that he feels the truck driver is trying to kill him. I felt that he seemed a bit paranoid, only of course we know (as viewers) that he's not paranoid and that he is apparently being targeted as we see the actions of said truck driver ourselves. Its one of those films which makes you think, as its something that could potentially happen to any of us and the thought of that is certainly fairly chilling. We hear Davids thoughts, spoken as semi-whispers while he sits contemplating what to do at one point in the film and I found that quite spooky and I certainly felt sorry for him. Due to his circumstances, he does seem quite isolated, which also increases the sense of worry and suspense. The music played sounded a bit Hitchcock-ian, ...

Romeo And Juliet (+CD) (DVD) 22/10/2017

Both Modern & Old - This Didnt Quite Work - For Me Anyway

Romeo And Juliet (+CD) (DVD) - Story - This is a modern day re-telling of the classic Shakespeare tale, with the star crossed lovers having to hide their feelings for each other from their families, knowing that it would never be allowed for them to knowingly be a couple. It is set in a contemporary (well, mid 90s, which is when the film was released) Verona Beach in California. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a romantic drama film, with themes including feuding families, forbidden love, urban gangs and duels. Its very much a colourful, stylish film - if anything, visually it looks as if its gone to town with bright vivid colours - mostly yellow and blue at the start. This is a Baz Luhrmann film and his films do tend to be quite flamboyant and colourful, it has to be said. The dialogue between characters is what I presume to be true to the original Shakespeare play (lots of 'thine's, 'shall's and the like). The mix of extremes (proudly modern and all guns blazing and yet also with a clear historical basis or angle) is a bit disorientating and I definitely did feel there was an element of pretentiousness. I was never especially keen to see this film as a teen, as I wasn't keen on either romance based films, nor Leonardo DiCaprio as an actor then but im a little more open minded nowadays and have fairly enjoyed Luhrmann's subsequent films, so I thought I'd finally give this a watch. There was quite a strong presence of classical, orchestral sounding music during scenes, both moderately ...

Hercules (DVD) 21/10/2017

A Good Take On The Classic Greek Myth

Hercules (DVD) - Story - The legendary mythical greek god known as Hercules finds himself seriously tested when the King of Thrace and his daughter seek him out with hopes he can do what others fail to - bring down an evil warlord. Will he manage this? you'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is an action adventure film, with themes including greek mythology, fate, faith and destiny. It looks, visually, like a war epic type of film (think Alexander, Gladiator etc.). There are numerous impressive landscape shots shown and there is the usual rousing classical style music played in the background of many scenes. The main difference with this film compared to the previously mentioned ones, however, is that this one doesn't take itself quite so seriously. There are some instances of characters making quite witty side comments which I found amusing. There are some cheesy aspects within the plot, such as the young boy who idolises Hercules to a point of cringe-dom (is that a word? if not then it should be!) but other aspects of the plot, or sub-plots, I appreciated more. I found myself surprised by some of what happened and I wouldn't say its entirely predictable. I was also quite pleased that it has a running time of an hour and 40 minutes or thereabouts, as most other war epic type films run for over two hours and they can drag on a bit but this I found to be an entertaining watch. The fact that this is set in a time of greek mythology means ...

The Hundred-Foot Journey (DVD) 18/10/2017

A Very Enjoyable & Thought Provoking Watch

The Hundred-Foot Journey (DVD) - Story - The Kadam family relocate to France and establish a restaurant which is right next to a highly regarded, Michelin starred restaurant, which doesn't go down well with the owner of the latter and so starts a rivalry but who will end up on top? you'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a comedy drama film, with themes featured including cooking, haute cuisine, community and indian cuisine, emigrating and feuds. I found it slightly confusing at first as to what was going on, as it seems like the film starts not entirely at the very beginning of the plot but a little way along, although it doesn't take long to establish the sad situation that led to the Kadam family moving to France. It was an interesting story, one that seems particularly relevant these days. The family is shown to be quite chaotic but the individual family members are people that I felt seemed quite genuine, certainly well intentioned. I very much found myself hoping that things would work out well for them. Cast wise, Helen Mirren plays Madame Mallory, who is quite the prim and proper type and isn't afraid to get to the point and to seemingly stand her ground. She was well cast, looking a bit steely eyed, slightly Cruella De Ville-esque, although I can't criticise her seemingly very authentic sounding French accent. Om Puri plays the patriarch, who is only referred to as papa - he seems very much the proud, stubborn and competitive type, more than ...

Tracker (DVD) 15/10/2017

A Spooky and Mysterious, if but Slightly Plodding Adventure Film

Tracker (DVD) - Story - This film tells the tale of a man called Arjan van Diemen, a veteran of the Boer war, who had relocated to New Zealand. He is hired to track down a man who is accused of murdering a soldier. Will he manage to get to the right person? you'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is an action advenute film, one with a historical setting or basis and it covers themes including murder and being a veteran. First off, I noticed the presence of various different accents with characters from different countries featuring - mainly New Zealand and English. One English officer has quite a stereotyped upper class accent which I did cringe at a bit but I can't say it wasn't accurate, not having been around at the time in any case. I did feel the accents were a bit distracting in general though, so I thought I ought to mention that. The use of incidental music is quite good at promoting a sense of mystery, fear and tension, while we watch scenes in which we're not sure what will happen to whom. The plot pace was a bit slow and I suppose you could say it added to the sense of mystery present. I felt quite unsure where things were headed for some time. I felt the plot was somewhat unpredictable, which is a good thing, obviously. Given my obvious slating of certainly some of the characters accents, I was gladly and pleasantly surprised to find that Ray Winstone, who plays the main character of Arjan van Diemen, didn't provide one of the ...

Cheap Thrills (DVD) 14/10/2017

A Meandering Film - Gross But Not Until Late In The Plot

Cheap Thrills (DVD) - Story - A cunning couple puts a family man and his friend through a series of bizarre and creepy dares one evening, while at their local bar. Will said man manage to complete them and come out unscathed on the other side? you'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a black comedy drama, which features themes including infidelity, bets, dares and satire. I expected it to consist of more in the way of gorey visual effects but there was surprisingly little of that. It starts off as a bunch of mates going from bar to bar, encouraging each other to do more potentially risque things, as a way to pass time - fairly regular adolescent boys stuff, really, no great shakes as such. I noticed the camerawork did seem particularly wobbly and jerky, giving it a somewhat amateur feel - maybe the viewer is to imagine seeing what we see through the eyes of someone drugged up and/or inebriated, as the various characters tend to be. The lighting and lack of watermarks/stamps on the screen made it clear that this isn't to be regarded as a 'found footage' type of film. Based on the main plot, I expected it to be a bit like the US TV show Jackass. I also found it hard to entirely follow the dialogue, with some scenes featuring quite hushed whispers between different characters. The plot seemed a bit bland and meandering but I kept watching regardless and things did speed up a little bit after a while (the first half an hour or so). However, I ...
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