Share this page on

silver Status silver (Level 8/10)



No member profile available. The person you are looking for is no longer a Ciao member.

Reviews written

since 21/01/2006


Murder At 1600 (DVD) 11/04/2008

Could the President be a murderer

Murder At 1600 (DVD) After a woman is discovered murdered in the toilets at the White House, tough talking Washington police detective Harlan Regis (Wesley Snipes) is assigned to the case. Struggling to break through the barriers placed in his way by the White House's head of the Secret Service, Spikings (Daniel Benzali), Regis finds his every move shadowed by one of his agents, Nina Chance (Diane Lane). But when a White House cleaner is suddenly charged with the murder, Regis believes an innocent man is being set up to cover a much darker truth. For a film which is such a stereotypical/ paint it by numbers cop thriller, I really like "Murder at 1600". Nearly everything about the film is completely predictable from the hard nosed cop, to the Secret Service shadow; even the scenes could have been picked out of any other film from this genre and placed in order to make this film. The one resounding fact that makes this film rise from predictable mediocrity is that although in time honoured tradition of having a twist, this one is pretty unpredictable. As I have already mentioned, "Murder at 1600" is predictable and uses the standard cop looking for a killer whilst putting his own life in danger type storyline. Even placing the action in the White House is not overly original, but does add the enjoyable twist that maybe the Presidnet may be a killer. Although it is predictable, each scene is pretty good, with the opening sequence establishing our hero as a hard nosed cop who is willing to ...

Christine (DVD) 09/04/2008

Meet Christine, Herbie's Evil Cousin

Christine (DVD) When college geek, Arnie Cunningham (Keith Gordon) buys a beaten up old car in the hope of restoring it to its former glory, it seems to take over his life. Spending more and more time repairing his beloved car, he shuns his friends and families concerns as he becomes moody and unstable. But it is not just Arnie's moods which raise concern, as the car seems to have a violent life of its own, reeking revenge on anyone which attempts to get between them. To be honest I am not one for horror movies, especially those from the current crop which seem to work on the basis of showing as much blood and guts as possible to gain a reaction from the viewer. On the odd occasion that I fancy a horror flick, I usually find myself watching one from years back where they managed to scare the audience through suspense rather than blood and guts, one in particular which I always enjoy is "Christine". Directed by John Carpenter and adapted from a Stephen King novel, the film manages to build up suspense throughout its entire duration with out resorting to in your face gore. But to be honest, the plot and suspense is not the reason why I first encountered "Christine", it was the beautiful red and white 1958 Plymouth Fury which is undoubtedly the star of the film which grabbed my attention. As already mentioned, "Christine" is an adaptation of the Stephen King novel, and whilst I cannot comment on how true to the book the adaptation is, I will say that it makes for a thoroughly decent ...

Walk The Line (DVD) 05/04/2008

Walk the Line said the Man in Black

Walk The Line (DVD) "Walk the Line" chronicles the early years of legendary Country singer Johnny Cash from his childhood days, through to his rise to fame as a singer, his romance with June Carter, his decline into drug addiction and culminating in the now legendary concert at Folsom Prison in 1968. There is nothing I enjoy more than a really good biopic, one which entertains, educates and excites you whenever you watch it. For me "Walk the Line" fits that scenario perfectly, leaving me fully entertained once the film has finished, in fact despite its 124 minute duration it leaves me wanting more. What also makes this film so enjoyable is that whilst it sounds like a pretty stock storyline it is made all that more special because it is also an amazing true love story. As is often the case with biopics we get a look at the life of Johnny Cash from childhood, thankfully the film does not over dwell in this area just delivering what is important, such as the accidental death of his brother and the deteriorating relationship between Johnny and his father. "Walk the Line" then gets into the meat of the film and concentrates on Johnny's rise to fame, his decline into drug addiction and his relationship with fellow country singer June Carter. What the film does for me is to not compartmentalize any of these but keeps all 3 areas flowing effortlessly into one compelling story. But having said that, you would have thought the film would have predominantly been about Johnny's music, where in ...

Four Brothers (DVD) 01/04/2008

Brotherly Love

Four Brothers (DVD) When their adopted mother is murdered in a grocery store robbery, four estranged brothers return to the rough Detroit neighbourhood to bury their beloved mother, but also to seek vengeance for her death. Turning the neighbourhood upside down in search of the killers, they soon discover things are not all they seem. The other day I watched an old John Wayne western called "The Sons of Katie Elder" which sees 4 brothers' return to their homestead to bury their mother and seek revenge for a handful of wrong doings. It was thoroughly enjoyable, but the whole time I had a nagging feeling that I recognized the storyline from a much more recent movie and then it hit me. John Singleton's "Four Brothers" pretty much uses an identical plot line but in a more contemporary situation and does a brilliant job of making a film which could easily be a western if it was not situated in modern day Detroit. From having four rough brothers returning back to town, the beloved mother and plenty of shoot outs as well as chases, everything about "Four Brothers" reminded me of a really good old fashioned western. Well with that in mind it would be hypocritical of me to say the plot was in any way original, heck I reckon there must be hundreds if not thousands of films which use a similar plot line to drive the entertainment onwards. But what "Four Brothers" manages to achieve where other fail, is to make the whole thing feel fresh and exciting with a perfect balance of action, emotion, ...

Zodiac (DVD) 27/03/2008

More signs than the Zodiac

Zodiac (DVD) As a murderer, calling himself Zodiac, starts sending cryptic messages and threats to the police as well as newspapers in and around San Francisco. Chronicle reporter Paul Avery becomes obsessed with the case which frustrates the investigating officers David Toschi and Bill Armstrong, as well as causing wide scale paranoia in the Bay area. Years later, and without anyone solving the riddle of the Zodiac killer, Chronicle cartoonist Robert Graysmith is still following up leads as he believes he is closing down on the killer. Once in a blue moon a film comes along which grabs your attention to the extent that you stop everything else that you were doing and become transfixed, unaware of anything else except what is happening on the screen. One such film is David Fincher's "Zodiac" which retells the true story of the Zodiac killer who caused major paranoia in the bay area of San Francisco in the 60s and 70s. For me I had read the hype over the film but as is often the case was not expecting it to live up to all it's acclaim, thankfully it did and in some ways surpassed it. Part of the reason why this film bit me in the ass and made me pay attention is that it is not like your usual serial killer films. Yes a big part of the film is solving the mystery as to who the killer is as well as the unravelling of the clues, and the depth the film goes into as to how and why is truly fascinating. But what is more prominent for me is the way the film also shows the effect it had on ...

The Terminal (DVD) 22/03/2008

Lost in Transportation

The Terminal (DVD) The Terminal is rather a strange film, it doesn't really have a strong plot, and it is more of a gentle, sometimes whimsical tale about a man who becomes stranded at JFK airport. The man in question is Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks) who having come to America on a mission, which is divulged as the film progresses, finds himself in no mans land due to a coup in his homeland of Krakozia. With his country no longer recognized by America he is forced by the airports immigration department to stay at the airport for as long as it takes for him to be allowed in or return to home. But as time goes on, and having made the airport his home he becomes a permanent thorn in the side of immigration official Frank Dixon (Stanley Tucci) who is trying to become the next airport commissioner. I have to admit that the whole concept of the film seems very far fetched but then sometimes life is stranger than fiction, especially when you learn that The Terminal was inspired by the true story of Merhan Nasseri, an Iranian refugee who in 1988 landed at Charles de Gaulle airport and due to the loss of paper work ended up living in the airport till 2006. Of course there are huge differences between Nasseri's real story and that which has been constructed for The Terminal but just the whole idea of having to learn to survive in such a limited world allows for some fascinating stories and indeed allows your own imagination to run riot. How would you go about sleeping, washing, paying for food and just ...

Father Goose (DVD) 18/03/2008

Goosey Goosey Gander

Father Goose (DVD) With WWII going on around him, loner Walter Eckland is forced into becoming a Japanese plane spotter amongst the South Pacific islands in return for food and more importantly alcohol. Having begrudgingly agreed to take on the mission he finds his solitary life completely turned upside down by the arrival of a French school teacher and her class to his island after becoming stranded. --------------- --------------- ------------ With the plethora of new films hitting the big screens and DVDs every week it is quite easy to forget the films from yester year, ones which are not known for being classics but are equally good. One of my favourites which fits into this category is "Father Goose" a film from 1964 which was sadly Cary Grant's penultimate film outing. Why I like it so much is that despite being set during WWII it is a light hearted, clean, romantic comedy with a very entertaining storyline and has an even more entertaining array of performances. As already mentioned, although "Father Goose" is set during WWII it is by no means a war movie; it is basically a comedy which focuses on the relationships between the characters, most significantly that of Walter Eckland and the French teacher, but also the interactions between Eckland and all the other characters. Where the film really works for me is the progression as the storyline is built up quite literally brick by brick. It starts off with the curmudgeonly Eckland being forced into a job he doesn't want by old ...

Tin Cup (DVD) 14/03/2008

Nearly a Hole in One

Tin Cup (DVD) Roy 'Tin Cup' McAvoy (Kevin Costner), a one time promising golfer, seems content in his life as a golf pro at a back of nowhere driving range, where he spends his days drinking with his buddies and betting on which fly will die first. But when Molly Griswold (Rene Russo), the local town's new psychologist, shows up at the range for golfing lessons, Roy's out look on life changes. Especially when he finds out that Molly is dating Dave Simms (Don Johnson) a smarmy golfing pro who at one point was his best friend but is now his nemesis. Determined to win the heart of Molly, he bucks up his ideas and sets out on the road to being a serious golfer once again. --------------- --------------- --------------- --------------- - I won't deny that at times I have thought that Kevin Costner is one of the worst actors about, but placed in the realms of a sports movie with a romantic plot thrown in for good measure and he shines like no one else can. As is the case of "Tin Cup" a movie which focuses on the world of golf and in particular a golfer who epitomises the word Underdog. Whilst the world of golf and yet another underdog style sports movie may not be to everyone's liking, the additional romantic plot which is as much the focus of the film as it the sports scenario does give the film a greater appeal and a much more rounded feel to it. The sporting side of the film does dwell in the world of the predictable, setting up our hero as being the typical underdog who given half ...

Catacombs (DVD) 10/03/2008

Some things are best left buried

Catacombs (DVD) On a trip to visit her sister in Paris, a young American is taken to an illegal rave in the Catacombs, a vast labyrinth of tunnels deep beneath the romantic streets, where the remains of 7 million people make up the tunnels. When the rave gets raided by the police, she becomes separated from her friends and lost amongst the vast array of tunnels; she believes that she is being chased by someone or something. --------------- --------------- --------------- --------------- - With the words "From the producers of Saw" blazoned across the top of the DVD case, I was expecting either a torture teaser in the same manner of the Saw films, or at least a film which was equally as entertaining, suspenseful and scary. Sadly I was expecting far too much, as "Catacombs" is a serious disappointment, it is neither a torture teaser and it is far from entertaining or suspenseful, in fact I would struggle to really class it as a Horror. The scariest things about "Catacombs" are the terrible plot, the crap characters and the fact that I managed to sit through it despite the urge to switch off after the first 10 minutes and every five minutes there after. "Catacombs" really doesn't start well, with a glimpse of a woman dancing at a rave whilst baring her chest, for me this was just titillation for the sake of it, in the blatant hope that it will grab your attention and it set alarm bells ringing straight away. But that isn't the real issue, right from the outset there is no real ...

Ground Control (DVD) 06/03/2008

Even Jack Bauer couldn't rescue this

Ground Control (DVD) When air traffic controller Jack Harris (Kiefer Sutherland) loses a plane in an unavoidable accident his confidence takes a knock and quits the profession which he loved. But several years later and with the Phoenix airport fighting tight budget controls as well as the worst storm in years, he answers an emergency call and returns to the control tower to help out. But can he beat the demons that have haunted him since that fateful night and help bring down the planes when the odds are stacked against him. --------------- --------------- --------------- --------------- ---- When I spotted "Ground Control" and saw the cast list which included Kiefer Sutherland, Kelly McGillis, Bruce McGill and Henry Winkler I was thinking that maybe this was a film which slipped under the radar of being commercially successful due to lack of promotion. But then when I saw that the asking price was just £1, I wondered what could be so bad about this film that it only warrants just 100 pennies. Well curiosity got the better of me and having spent £1 I can honestly say that it is pretty mediocre but at a pound is not a complete waste of money. The biggest problem with the film is that it turns out that it was made for TV and so really suffers from not having a big budget, but despite that it has some charm and compared to other made for TV movies is quite good. The actual plot of the film revolves around the drama of a flight control tower and in particular one New Years eve where the ...

Stepmom (DVD) 02/03/2008

Mother's Day, and Stepmom's Too

Stepmom (DVD) When Luke decides it's time to ask his girlfriend Isabel to become his new wife, it doesn't go down well with either his two children or his ex-wife Jackie, who thinks Isabel is a selfish career go getter who is incapable of looking after her children. But when Jackie discovers that she has terminal cancer, attitudes have to change. --------------- --------------- --------------- --------------- ---- I've heard some critics and reviewers describe "Stepmom" as a good old fashioned tear jerker, well either I am missing something or I am just very cold hearted. Yes at times the film is emotional, but never to the extent that it could produce a single tear as it just doesn't go all the way to really pull your strings. For me it is a good drama which at times will make you smile, at others make you think and occasionally give a gentle tug on your emotions before moving on to the next scene. But what really stands out for me are the performances of the two leading ladies, Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts who make this film much more than it really should be. I actually quite like the idea for the film, with the mother starting out to upstage the step mom at every possible opportunity; in fact the opening sequence which shows how clueless Isabel is at parenting did make me smile. Even the way the film turns round with the frostiness between Isabel, Jackie and the children melting is well worked and let's rise to some great scenes. But, I do have one issue with the whole ...

Rounders (DVD) 24/02/2008

Gambling on the cards

Rounders (DVD) Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) a promising young student and avid poker player manages to lose all his money in one big game with the Russian Mafia. Vowing to never play again he sets about sorting his life out through hard work. Nine months later and seemingly able to keep his addiction in check things take a turn for the worse when his best friend, Lester 'Worm' Murphy (Edward Norton) is released from prison and convinces him to start playing again. Suddenly Mike finds himself in over his head as Lester runs up considerable gambling debts in his name. --------------- --------------- --------------- --------------- ------ It seems that over the last decade the game of Poker has become increasingly popular, with tournaments and games being held on TV most nights of the week, you can even buy your own chips and gambling tables in high street shops. So it is no surprise that the men behind the Hollywood movies would attempt to tap into this current fad with a glossy, star studded film about the world of poker. Whilst they have certainly achieved in making a very engrossing, slick drama, they have failed to portray the life of a gambler in anything but a glamorous light. The concept behind the film of an ex-gambler being dragged back into the world of high stakes poker is actually quite good and sort of demonstrates the allure of the cards that any gambler has. But sadly the writers have failed to capitalize on this interesting premise by not only failing to show the life ...

Reeker DVD 21/01/2008

Reeker - more like stinker

Reeker DVD ● Synopsis When five students, heading for a huge party, find themselves stranded at a recently deserted motel they try not to let it dampen their mood. But when they start to discover mutilated bodies and a foul stench in the air, they begin to fear for their lives. ● Opinion Maybe with the name "Reeker" the films creative team was trying to give us a subtle warning that is that this film stinks. There are so many things wrong with "Reeker" that it is hard to see why a few reviews and critics have actually praised it, but strangely they have. When it comes to the plot "Reeker" is less than original, a group of students stuck in the middle of nowhere face a gruesome death, come on, been there, watched that and got the proverbial t-shirt. But then I suppose I can still see an audience for a film with this unoriginal plot line, that being teenagers themselves who may not have seen this sort of story line before done much more effectively in numerous other films. Whist the lack of originality detracted for me, what really made the film suffer was the countless plot holes which really do not make sense and makes it quite a difficult film to follow, well for me anyway. Throughout the entire film you are left wondering as to why the heck have they done that and sadly no matter how long you wait you will be none the wiser, especially by the time the rushed climax comes along. Even this ending, which attempts to piece everything together to explain what you ...

The Glenn Miller Story (DVD) 05/01/2008

In the mood

The Glenn Miller Story (DVD) ►►► Synopsis The "Glenn Miller Story" is the biopic of legendary big band leader, Glenn Miller (James Stewart), who is famed for creating the big band sound with such classics as 'Moonlight Serenade' and 'Pennsylvania 6-5000'. Covering his life from his early days as a struggling musician / composer through to his commission into the services where he entertained the troops during the war. This film paints a picture perfect look at one of America's most famous and loved musicians. ►►► Opinion Having grown up in a home where Glenn Miller's big band sound was inflicted on me from a very early age, it is a surprise that I did not grow up with a complete hatred for this man let alone his musical legacy. But whilst I am not fanatical about it, there is something about Glenn Miller's music which I kind of like, so when I stumbled across "The Glenn Miller Story" I was intrigued to discover a bit more about the man famed for creating the big band sound, plus it starred one of my favourite actors, Jimmy Stewart. Although I won't deny that I enjoy this film, as it is a pleasant insight into Glenn Miller, I also won't deny that it is a hugely flawed film which without Jimmy Stewart taking the lead would have been utterly terrible. Made back in 1953, this biopic suffers from being over sanitized, failing to paint Glenn Miller in anything but a positive light. Whilst this will please the legions of Glenn Miller fans and those who enjoy ...

50 First Dates (DVD) 10/12/2007

Hawaii Oh Oh

50 First Dates (DVD) ►►► Synopsis Henry Roth (Adam Sandler) is a happy go lucky sort of guy; he has a good job as a vet on a Hawaiian island as well as dating many of the attractive holiday makers with the knowledge that once the holiday is over nothing will ever come of them. That is until he meets local girl Lucy (Drew Barrymore) and immediately falls head over heels in love with her. The only trouble is Lucy has a rare illness which when she wakes up each morning she cannot remember anything from the day before, not even meeting Henry. Desperate to win her over, Henry sets about romancing her everyday in the hope that one day she will remember him. ►►► Opinion After the surprise success of "The Wedding Singer" which saw the pairing of Sandler and Barrymore hit the big screen, it came as no surprise to me when they paired up again for the 2004 romantic comedy "50 First Dates". Whilst this is definitely your typical Sandler comedy, with plenty of screaming from the seemingly petulant star and numerous parts for his buddies who seem to appear in all his films, as well as plenty of over the top humour, it manages to rise above the majority of them due to the likeability of Drew Barrymore. But despite Barrymore's stellar performance this is nothing more than your typical rom-com splattered with Sandler-esque style comedy, a decent soundtrack and of course the likeability of Barrymore. The basis of the film follows the tried and tested route that ...
See more reviews Back to top