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IzzyS

IzzyS

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Thanks for all rates. Let me know if I dont re-rate you. Roll on the summer. My thoughts go to all affected by the Manchester tragedy.

Reviews written

since 27/07/2006

691

Street Kings(DVD) 28/05/2017

A Gritty Urban Drama About The LAPD

Street Kings(DVD) - Story - An undercover cop in the LAPD, by the name of Tom Ludlow, finds himself disillusioned following the murder of his wife and its not long before he's implicated in another murder - that of a colleague and so he finds himself desperately trying to get the truth to come out while IA (Internal Affairs) investigate. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is an crime based drama film with a fair amount of action in it and it covers themes including undercover policing, racism and vigilantism. It is a gritty, urban film with an impressive cast (more on that later). I felt unsure of what was happening at the very start - its quite dark, lighting wise and there's a definite air of mystery and tension via the relatively quiet, foreboding incidental music played in the background as the main character investigates the building he finds himself in. I found myself wondering what he was going to find next and where things may lead to. I felt the film was relatively suspenseful, with some particular moments taking me by surprise and I could imagine some people may find themselves feeling a bit jumpy on ocassion, due to the sudden increase in tension clearly shown between multiple characters and how plot developments escalate. It was one of those films in which the viewer feels unsure quite when things may blow up, metaphorically, but we feel sure that something big will happen, its just a case of when and how. Cast wise, Keanu Reeves plays the main character, detective ...

Tideland (DVD) 27/05/2017

A Bleak, Zany, Eccentric & Unsettling Watch

Tideland (DVD) - Story - Young girl Jeliza Rose is unfortunately lumbered with parents who have drug addictions. When his father, Noah, discovers her mother has succumbed to an overdose, he fears being tried for murder and runs away with Jeliza, with plans to stay at his mothers place in an isolated rural area out of town. On arriving, he passes out and Jeliza retreats into her imagination as a coping strategy to deal with her new, unfamiliar surroundings, while he isn't around to help her. Jeliza finds numerous characters to spend time in, including people from nearby but what is real and what isn't and what will become of her and her dad? you'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This film features elements of a few genres, namely fantasy, drama and horror. It has quite an unsettling feel to it generally, being particularly spooky in some key scenes perhaps moreso than others. The film covers themes including isolation and childhood imagination. This film is quite depressing, in that the plot is quite bleak but then you should realise that given the main plot, of course. Its a tough watch in places and its certainly not a child-friendly fantasy film - if anything, its more of a spooky fantasy about child neglect for adult viewing (not in a pornographic way, of course). I was impressed by the camerawork, as its sudden switching between angles really added to the shock factor - that and the bizarre visuals, when Jeliza's imagination seemed to go ...

The Tree Of Life (DVD) 24/05/2017

A Slowly Evolving, Thoughtful Film

The Tree Of Life (DVD) - Story - The film follows a family growing up in Texas in the 1950s, including sons, father and mother. The film concentrates on the oldest son, Jack, as he grows up and finds himself questioning things about life and faith. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a historical drama film with some fantasy elements to it. Themes covered include family bonds, sibling love and discipline, plus the importance of faith. First off, I can't not say that this is a hard film type to review properly, as it seemed to be missing much of what we expect to find in a film these days, particularly a drama film and certainly in the first half hour or so. What do I mean? well, for just over the first half an hour, there were only very few (human) characters shown and they weren't identified by name at all, plus there was no real dialogue (and thus plot) as such - there aren't even any opening credits, with the name of the film not appearing on screen. Instead of dialogue and named characters, we see a series of pretty awe inspiring visual effects - not CGI as you may expect to see in, for example, an action film but more like shots of Earth from space, the stars and bright, colourful patterns from space. I found it really quite confusing, trying to figure out what to make of it. It seemed, frankly, directionless - not unpretty at all, with classical music heard while watching various shots of nature and space, it is fairly relaxing and definitely pretty but I couldn't help but ...

The Man In The Iron Mask (DVD) 21/05/2017

An unnecessarily long winded costume drama

The Man In The Iron Mask (DVD) - Story - The people in Paris are starving and the king seems only interested in himself, his wealth and who he can bed. Following an unnecessary death, the three musketeers plan to forcibly replace the king with his identical twin, who is little known in the area and who has been cruelly held prisoner for many years behind said iron mask. Will their plan be successful? you'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a historical costume drama with elements of action adventure and it covers themes including secrets, the aristocracy and abuse of power. This is a film I remember coming out in cinemas in the late 1990s but I avoided watching it at that time as I really didn't like the lead actor, Leonardo DiCaprio. I wouldn't say I'm his number 1 fan, by any means, even nowadays but I have enjoyed some period dramas in the recent past and I thought I'd give this a go with it being available via Netflix. I found the start a bit slow and slightly off putting in as much as just about all the characters seemed particularly snobby and unlikeable. There is a clear case of one upmanship present but I stuck with it. From early on, I found myself comparing it to the more recent Pirates of the Caribbean films - I suppose they also have bright and colourful settings and fancy costumes, being (of course) set in the past. This film definitely does have a strong sense of morality about it, with the main plot being quite depressing in a way but I ...

The Lobster (Blu-ray) 20/05/2017

A Deeply Unsettling, Darkly Atmospheric Satirical Comedy Drama

The Lobster (Blu-ray) - Story - In a hellish western European/American society of the future, single people are arrested and forced to go to whats known as 'the hotel', where they have to find a willing partner within forty five days, otherwise they'll be turned in to animals and let loose in the nearby woods. David is one such single person - will he manage to stay human? you'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a deeply dark, satirical comedy drama, with romantic elements. It covers themes including dystopia, torture and manhunts. I'd say its more of a drama than a comedy but the comedy is very much of a dark nature. First off, the story sounded so bizarre that it appealed to me almost right away - particularly as it wasn't categorised in the young adult fantasy, genre, although it does have science fiction elements. It made me think somewhat of The Hunger Games but thankfully this film is set in a country that much more resembles the UK as it physically appears, than some far off land like in The Hunger Games et al. I suppose it has elements of George Orwell's 1984 about it - with a big brother of sorts watching over things and the hotel acting as a sort of room 101 of sorts for the inhabitants. For anyone curious about the films title, it refers to when David is asked about what type of animal he may choose to be, if he had a choice in the matter, if he fails to find a partner and he claims he'd like to come back as a lobster. I was also ...

The Voices (DVD) 17/05/2017

A Zany, Wacky, Darkly Comic Horror/Comedy

The Voices (DVD) - Story - A likeable guy who works at a local bath factory, on the factory floor, finds himself asking out a lady he has a crush on, thanks to the encouragement of his talking pets (yes, talking pets!) but when she doesn't spend time with him, things take a markedly sinister turn. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is very much a dark comedy and crime related film, with horror elements present and themes including murder, trauma and impersonation. Its very much a surreal and wacky type of a film, which is made clear from the start, probably about the second scene onwards. The ending is also particularly spookily light hearted and fun to watch. I felt there was a strongly artificial feel of what I can only term as 'enforced happiness' present relatively early on, with the film having somewhat of a corporate feel to it as well. It struck me, somehow, as possibly like a live action, darker version of something like Garfield. It also reminded me of the relatively new Netflix series 'Santa Clarita Diet', due to the more gory elements and dark humour, of course. Cast wise, Ryan Reynolds plays the main character, Jerry, who comes across, certainly initially, as quite a regular inoffensive, run-of-the-mill type - a pretty average-joe. I found myself feeling sorry for him after the initial turn of events. He is the sort of person who, I imagine, most wouldn't think it at all likely that he'd do what he does and in a way I suppose that could make the film more ...

The Gambler (DVD) 14/05/2017

An Ok Film About Apathy

The Gambler (DVD) - Story - English University professor and compulsive gambler Jim Bennett's in a bad way, with a large debt owed to gangsters, he's running out of ways to pay his way out of debt. Will he manage to get out of his situation in one piece? you'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a crime drama film with themes including hope, desperation, greed and risk. Its one of those films whereby the main character isn't very likeable from the start but there is more than meets the eye. I found this film to be a slow watch - the plot is quite slow in terms of pace and build up generally. I felt that, while the film is called what it is and features gambling quite heavily, its not, ultimately, about gambling but moreso about hope - more specifically losing hope. The main character, Jim, comes across as clearly quite apathetic, feeling like he'll be permanently stuck in a rut. He does seem someone who at first isn't greatly bothered about what might come to him but I don't think thats necessarily entirely true. There is a definite numbness about his character, so I felt anyway. He seems a bit of a mysterious enigma type character, with very little in terms of character development or, more specifically, his background, shared with the viewer in the first hour or so. I didn't feel that this was a greatly immersive, stylish film which really intrigued or fascinated me but it was ok. I gather its received a lot of negative reviews and I can ...

Foxcatcher (DVD) 13/05/2017

An Engrossing Character Driven Sports Drama

Foxcatcher (DVD) - Story - Two Olympic wrestling champions join a team called team Foxcatcher, which is led by a multi-millionaire (John E. du Pont) where they train for the upcoming 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea. However, it becomes clear that John has some issues and it isn't long before his self-destructive ways have undesired consequences for them all. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a sports related drama with biographical elements, containing themes such as training/sports coaching, domination, the Olympics and egomania. I have to say, it felt less a sports film than a character driven drama, generally. I found it to be quite an engrossing film, with some interesting main characters - those depicted all have their own elements, issues and unique personalities. The plot is somewhat slow but it didn't outright bore me out - instead, I found myself quite curious to see what Mr. Du Pont was going to do next, during the build up to the Olympics. There is a definite sense of mystery, of intrigue, surrounding him, or so I felt anyway. I found it a somewhat sad watch in parts, with Mr. Du Pont clearly in a somewhat deluded way - very idealistic for one thing. It seemed like perhaps he was only convincing himself of some of what he said, as others close to him seem at times unsure and reluctant in terms of how to behave in his presence. Music wise, there are some sombre pieces played during certain scenes, featuring slowly played piano keys and the like. It implies Mr ...

Mr Holmes (DVD) 10/05/2017

A Thoughtful, Enjoyable Film If A Bit Slow

Mr Holmes (DVD) - Story - This film depicts Sherlock Holmes, now having been retired for some time, who lives in a village in Sussex alongside his housekeeper and her young son, Roger. He becomes slowly haunted by an old, mysterious case. The frustration for him is that his memory isn't as good as it once was and so he only remembers some small aspects of it and as time goes by, he encounters more age related issues. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a mystery drama film covering themes including independence, memory, anger and seniority. It is a somewhat under stated film, with a slow plot pace and an emphasis on atmosphere, of its historical nature, with fairly quiet classical/instrumental musical pieces played in the background, as we watch Holmes trying to remember details of the case he attempts to solve before things get worse for him. I found his relationship with the young boy, Roger, quite endearing. He seems to be quite thoughtful in terms of what he says - he seems quite an observant person, which makes sense. I was almost surprised that Roger managed to understand some of what Mr. Holmes said, given he used some particularly long words which I may have struggled to fully understand at Rogers age (around 10 years old or thereabouts, at a guess). There is a sombre, foreboding feel to it at times, which obviously added to its sense of mystery, an element of darkness perhaps. I liked the dialogue, some of it is relatively witty and it did feel like the script had ...

The Book Thief (DVD) 07/05/2017

A Touching, Captivating War Related Film

The Book Thief (DVD) - Story - Young (probably in her early teens) girl Liesel finds herself in Germany just before the 2nd World War, where she is handed to another couple to act as a foster family, after her mother is taken away. She finds slowly learning to read to be a great form of escapism and she's encouraged by her makeshift father, Hans. She finds herself stealing books, reading them and sharing them. It turns out that her new 'parents' are hiding a secret though, which could put everyone in danger. The film is set between approximately 1938 and 1944. Its based on the novel of the same name by Markus Zusak (which I haven't read, so I can't comment on how close to the book, the film adaptation is). - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a historical drama film, with the backdrop of the 2nd World War. It covers themes including trust, alliance, fear and conformity. I found this film to be very good - the story I thought was particularly good, as I felt the characters were quite likeable, even the stern and very strict foster mother, Rosa, who seems unnecessarily harsh but in time we learn some of the reasons why she is so. I felt that this film did well in portraying life in one part of Germany during the years it covers - personally, I was relieved that it didn't cover, especially in any graphic sense, the more horrific elements of the war, as I've seen some pretty unpalattable war footage (real and fictionalised) in the past and I try to avoid very upsetting films. I felt ...

Chronicle (DVD) 06/05/2017

A Typically Dark Adolescent Sci-Fi Film - Not For Kids

Chronicle (DVD) - Story - Three high school friends discover they've acquired superpowers after stumbling on a surprising discovery underground, after leaving a party at school. This leads to some unforeseen circumstances. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This film is a science-fiction and thriller mix, genre wise and it covers themes including friendships, telekenesis, coming of age and anger/teen angst. It seemed quite like earlier films like The Blair Witch Project, in as much as the film shows footage which was recorded by a character via a video camera and thus its fairly jerky and wobbly at times. It is a little disorientating at points due to this but then I suppose some people may say that it helps to add tension and a sense of suspense when you can't necessarily tell everything thats going on at any one point due to the camera not knowing where to focus on - i.e. whats going to happen next. Its certainly true that the 'found footage' camerawork style is far from original nowadays, after films such as the original Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield came out - the latter being more sci-fi based than Blair Witch. This film is definitely more sci-fi oriented than horror and its very much targeted at a teen audience, due to the teen characters featured and t he plot development, I'd say. It could be regarded as a bit of an anti-superhero type film of sorts, in as much as the characters newly found powers aren't immediately used clearly for good purposes i.e. to help others. ...

Housewife 49 (DVD) 03/05/2017

An Enjoyable Amusing Period Drama Featuring Victoria Wood

Housewife 49 (DVD) - Story - Set in the late 1930s, Nella Last, an English housewife aged (you guessed it) 49, takes part in what was called the Mass Observation Project, a scheme that gave insights in to the lifestyles of average people. This entailed her keeping and sending on details of her daily routines. When war dawns, she ignores her worried husband and puts her name forward to join the local WVS (Womens Voluntary Service). How will the war affect her and what will be learnt from her participation in said project? you'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a war related period drama film, featuring themes including marital issues, volunteering and of course the 2nd World War. I realise Ciao has put this under the category of 'TV series' but it is a one off TV film which was released on DVD, hence my publishing this as a film only review (having seen it on TV). I felt the film came across as initially quite cheery and light hearted. Its clear from fairly early on that her relationship with her husband, Will, is quite strained. I felt it was sad to see how distant they appeared to be and it was clear that Nella worked relatively hard to encourage a light and happy atmosphere for the benefit of her children and others. Nella is heard as a narrator, reading out what she's writing, commenting on her feelings at set times and I thought it was a nice touch that made me feel more emotionally concerned about her and certainly helped to paint a ...

Wolf Children (DVD) 30/04/2017

Another Charming Fairy Tale-esque Japanese Anime Film

Wolf Children (DVD) - Story - A college student by the name of Hana falls in love with a fellow student who hides a secret - that he's a werewolf. Sadly, he passes away following the birth of his second child and so Hana and her two children find themselves retreating to the countryside to try and live in peace but will it be so easy for her to bring up her two werewolf children? you'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a Japanese anime (animated - 2D animation), mostly family friendly drama film, covering themes including the supernatural, metamorphosis and love. It is made by Studio Chizu, rather than Studio Ghibli, alrthough the animation is definitely still of a decent quality, albeit perhaps not quite as impressive as that of Ghibli. It has quite a dreamlike, almost fragile sense to it, with pleasant, light, almost sort of float-y sounding piano tunes played and a quiet, near whispering vocals sung in the background during the first few scenes, as the plot slowly starts to develop. As I've noticed with other similar anime/manga films, I was very much impressed with the voice artistry present, as the woman who voiced the main character of Hanna sounded really quite expressive, voicing her emotions at key times. I found myself thinking that the voice of the wolf was particularly apt - sounding quite quiet and shrewd. Cast wise, Takao Osawa voices said character, with Aoi Miyazaki voicing Hana and Tamio Ohki as Yamaoka. Sound effects were ...

No Escape (2016) (DVD) 29/04/2017

A Truly Thrilling, Chilling Thriller

No Escape (2016) (DVD) - Story - An American family move from Texas to an undisclosed Asian country, after the father finds new work and is asked to move there. However, shortly after arriving they find themselves targeted by violent locals who attempt a political coup. Not afraid to shed blood, things turn nasty quickly - will the parents and children manage to make it to safety, considering their linked to the company that the locals feel has betrayed them? You'll have to watch the film to find out. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is an action/thriller film with themes including survival, political upheavel and deception. I felt this was a particularly gripping and tense film from quite early on. The plot is slightly slow to start with but once the main plot comes to light, it really does start with a bang (almost literally) and the pace becomes much faster, barely ever slowing down. I felt like I was on the edge of my seat throughout and I found it relatively engrossing. The camerawork is quite disorientating, in that the film features a lot of very jerky camera movements but then I suppose that just highlights how fast paced and chaotic the situation would have been (if it had been real, of course). I think this film was very much helped by the fact that the plot did seem quite plausible - certainly tensions have been quite high in that part of the world in the recent past and I also felt that the cast did particularly well at playing their roles, with the children seeming ...

Nerve (DVD) 26/04/2017

The Dark Side Of The Internet For Teens & Real Life

Nerve (DVD) - Story - A young adolescent, known as Vee, finds herself deeply involved with an online game consisting of a series of dares, with monetary prizes up for grabs. All seems fine, at first, until it becomes more sinister as she feels she has to comply with increasingly bizarre and potentially dangerous dares, out and about NYC, while her movement is tracked online by an increasing number of unidentifiable people called watchers, who are able to view the live stream of her activity via her mobile phone camera footage. - More Info., Thoughts & Opinions - This is a mystery/thriller film covering themes including computer trust, dares, teen angst and peer pressure. It is very much a teen film, with the characters attending school and so on - probably seniors, around about mid to late teens age wise. I thought the main plot seemed interesting and its certainly quite a relevant film, in as much as teenagers face issues with technology, particularly with social media, with others in their peer groups putting pressure on people to adapt to the newest, latest sites, apps and so on. I liked that at times your shown the city (NYC) from above and everyone who is involved with the 'Nerve' game/app is pointed out via their username displayed above where they currently are (in a flat etc.). It helps to make the viewer feel that the real world is very much also part of the online world - that sense of the online world bleeding in to the real world is quite creepy, although its not ...
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