Reviews written by registered user
ken558

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46 reviews in total 
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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Nagisa Ôshima's 100 Years, 17 December 2016
10/10

When I watched it, the DVD was clearly entitled "Nagisa Ôshima's 100 Years of Japanese Cinema".

Nowhere in the DVD nor the narration that it purports to be the definitive "100 Years of Japanese Cinema", simply Nagisa Ôshima's OWN experience and view of it. Anyone with some intelligence and a clear open mind watching this short 54mins documentary with personalised narration would know it is not meant at all to be definitive in any way, but simply one person's view.

Except of course for the two pseudo-purists reviewers before me here who simply ignored this aspect and simply went on to blindly savage both this very interesting 'personalised view' and Nagisa Ôshima himself as if he is a demagogue interested merely in promoting himself.

This is totally far from the truth - it is these two ridiculously narrow-minded reviewers who are so keen to promote their own egoistical 'wow I am so knowledgeable of Japanese cinema' that they simply took cheap advantage of their own chosen misinterpretation to promote themselves. Ignore these two farcical and pretentious know-it-alls.

This personalised documentary is highly interesting in itself for what it is, with well-chosen imagery and snippets from a range of Japanese movies from 1910s to 1990s from a range of directors, and there is nothing about it that is meant to be definitive, and is great as it is.

Nagisa Ôshima's efforts to compile this set of quaint compelling imagery and narration representing his view is a treasure.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Wild Oats (2016)
12 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
MacLaine & Lange Excellent! Such Wonderful Aged Wine Served in a Cheap Plastic Cup of a Script :(, 7 October 2016
5/10

Both Shirley and Jessica are experienced talents capable of bringing to live a real topper script, compared to this humdrum 1980s TV movie script they've been saddled with.

If they had their hands on a truly competent script, these two would sizzle in both the comedic and dramatic aspects. The direction don't fare any much better, and all you get is a lazy evening mildly enjoyable fare.

Demi Moore is given next to nothing real to do here, except mouth tacky predictable soap opera lines ... another waste!

What wasted opportunity with such acting talents on hand!

Andy Tennant (Director here) just snoozing out another of his sub-par bland celluloid.

The producer, script writer, director ... all ought to be zip-locked and cast away into 80s TV movie land!

23 out of 40 people found the following review useful:
Wasted Opportunity. Simply Trite and Just Not Compelling., 30 August 2016
5/10

In better hands - scripting, directing and casting of main character - this would have been a winner of a movie based on a real-to-life mathematical genius.

As it is, the whole thing is simply trite, contrived and a whole waste of a good opportunity. Right up front, the use of near standard English by the Indian cast who were supposed to be from the "abject poverty" of Madras is downright unbelievable and ridiculous.

The script doesn't know what it wants to focus on - is it about an Indian displaced in England? Is it about the genius of the man? Is it about the tribulations of leaving your young wife and family to go abroad? Is it about another important leap of mankind in the area of mathematics? Is it about the relationship between a student and his mentor? It is all over the place and at the same time pointless and trite.

Jeremy Irons is superb and is the only key redeeming feature of the whole movie. Cinematography is colour-by-numbers, but good enough. Apart from the mundane meandering scripting, Dev Patel is a total miscast. He is simply a one-dimensional school play actor who simply does not at all have the talent to take on the range a proper lead sorely requires. He is just playing himself in all the movies he has done - same doe-eyed expression, same hesitating mannerisms, same scuttling around, same intonation, just same himself - he does not at all inhabit this very important lead character, and his amateurism is just a constant sore annoyance throughout the movie.

This movie is a dis-service to Srinivasa Ramanujan. It doesn't give any insight into his genius nor a sense of his highly unique and compelling short life.

Watch it with little expectations, and it may be mildly entertaining, but never interesting, and certainly never compelling.

8 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Enjoyable Adventure, Plot Kinda If-fish, 21 July 2016
7/10

The latest installment of the franchise is packed with action and physical combat, and is an enjoyable enough adventure in itself, but breaks no new grounds in terms of sci-fi film- making nor advancing the Enterprise and it's crew in any longer term arc.

The plot is kind of loopy and unconvincing, and one kinda of have to just ignore the weaknesses and just go with the action. The motivational element of the villain(s) is more of a 'really? That's it?" The Enterprise and its crew seems to have gone into 'unchartered' space rather carelessly and unprepared, and too easily overwhelmed. Also, Krall, the villain, could have simply threatened first to get the 'thingy' he wanted, and effectively demonstrated the efficacy of his threat, rather than go into the, "Who is he? Why is he doing all this massive destruction? What does he want?" Anyway …. see it for the adventure, not the strategy and logic (despite Spock).

Some plot devices are just overly retro and tacky in a bad way e.g. playing loud metal-rock music to blast the smithereens of the rival multitudes of space pods => really? Some parts can also be a tad too Indiana Jones.

There are probably too many scenes on terra-firma (almost three quarter of the movie). Being a Star Trek movie, one would probably expect more intergalactic actions.

There is a reasonably good attempt at humor and most are worthy of a smile, though the overall dialogue could do with more oomph and sufficient gravitas. Chris Pine's Captain Kirk somehow does not come across here as sufficiently Captain-ny, and he looks a little blotted and not quite in tip-top shape. I think Idris Elba would have been a much more effective menacing villain (he has the look and the talent to pull it off) if they had NOT alien- masked him. As it is, he is indistinguishable, and is just another space-age movie villain.

The stand-out character would be Sofia Boutella's white-bodied Jaylah, who flowed into the character smoothly and would likely see her again in future installments. (Sofia also did an excellent job as the blade-legged lady in 'Kingsman The Secret Service')

Sadly, this would be the last outing for Anton Yelchin as Chekov (though he has four other upcoming movies in the pipeline). Also included is a little tribute to the late Leonard Nimoy. As for the 'gay Sulu' thing - hardly noticeable nor matter - that little non-dialogue scene could just as easily be about his brother and niece.

Enjoyable enough, nothing disappointing, but nothing to write home about either. Worth a watch!

5 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Mainly Hits The Mark - Both as a Compelling Drama of an Unusual Family & a Social Commentary, 14 July 2016
8/10

As an almost first time director (his second), Matt Ross, did a fantastic job with Captain Fantastic, appropriately nuanced without being cloying, anti-establishment without being absurdist, interesting multi-dimensional characters without caricatures, and different yet being sufficiently mainstream, skillfully steering the difficult edges between realism, satire, and drama.

In lesser hands, it could have become another Jason Bateman or Robin Williams type of one-dimensional comedy or pretentious drama - which unfortunately the likes of The Family Fang (acted and directed by Jason Bateman, whom I like as an actor, but doesn't yet have the director's chop) fell into despite its initial promise of being a Wes Anderson type black comedy.

Matt Ross is also an accomplished actor - I remember him as the shallow conniving yet cowardly Alby Grant from Big Love some years back. So effective was he in that TV series, that I find it hard to accept that such a low-down 'character' could bring such warmth and empathy towards Captain Fantastic as a director - which could have in lesser directorial hands become affected and pretentiously clever rather than the effective portrayal of an unusual non-mainstream family.

The casting is excellent, including the mother who we only see in brief flashbacks or as a dead body - but everything about her face and the way the others interacted and talked about her fits in like hand and glove, providing the believability that is required to carry the movie forward given the unusual premise the family is in.

The children and of course the father (Viggo Mortensen) played their roles very realistically without under or over-playing it, which they could easily have done, which would then change the whole tone of the movie to something plain, loud, crass and boringly overly showy and dramatized or 'comedied'.

Kudos too to the director's sensitivity in not turning the grandfather into another one- dimensional white selfish righteous rich buffoon. It almost went there, but pulled back just in time.

There are of course some inconsistencies (e.g. how did the girls have nicely coiffed tresses, or the kids ever learning things just sitting down and reading 'deep' books, etc) and un-explained fast forwards (e.g. how could all the children hide beneath the bus floor for so many hours, and why the grandparents did not alert the police of their absence, or why digging up a grave by the whole family did not raise any alarm, etc) - but at the end of the day, they mattered somewhat, but not enough to mar the flow, impact and enjoyability of the movie.

Go see it!

Way Too Little, Too Late, Too Long, …. Simply Uninteresting, 3 July 2016
4/10

A movie is definitely in big trouble if the cameo roles (and there are many here) are way way more interesting than the movie is by a long shot. And yes, this movie is that movie.

It has pretty good cinematography, very competent actors all round. Each minute if taken in itself could be part of a great movie … but string them all together all 143 minutes of it (and I saw the long version!) …. it becomes one pointless uninteresting movie.

The many many sex scenes are unnecessary and pointless. It's the only movie that could make Kristen Stewart wanking off two guys, all three totally naked while speeding down the road … totally inconsequential and just plain contrived and boring.

If this movie had come out when the characters it was based on were still fresh and hot … like in the 60s … it could have been of some interest. In the 21st century … it's passé.

Seeing a bunch of unremarkable everyday deadbeats wasting their pointless life on pointless things … who cares. Deadbeats traveling around doing irresponsible selfish nonsensical things while simply backstabbing and laying waste to one another … just not interesting at all.

But the worse of it is, it's really not about the material nor the time nor the premise. The main problem is really just mundane uninspired direction and scripting (though technically competent but not great). A movie like this needs to take on a very different inspired approach that would bring out the freshness and the meaning of these meaningless souls straying in the American landscape in the beat era (and not just come across as ordinary boring deadbeats who you'd rather not bother to know).

But the opportunity was lost on the director and the scriptwriter who just did the technically competent 'tell it like it is' …. boring and uninteresting be damned. And well it is. In truly competent hands, this sort of movie could sparkle, especially with such a good cast and cameos. As it is, the cast efforts …. simply wasted.

Quoting or mumbling poetry and having percussion jazz just doesn't cut it … just makes it come across as desperate, pretentious, uninspired. (Btw - the percussion jazz was nice, but out of place in this movie and comes across as misplaced and distracting)

Truly, what a waste!

Vengeance (2009)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Ridiculous, Pretentious, Tacky … Just a Bad Joke of an Action Movie, 3 July 2016
2/10

If you make a bad spoof of a bad spoof action movie, this would be it.

The ridiculously high ratings given even by so-called 'professional' institutional reviewers makes you wonder how much gad zillions of palmed-off cash was paid off to give such a sell-off rating.

Everything about it so contrived right down to the really cartoonish acting by Johnny Hallyday and his dark glasses, black coat, upturned collar, hat cocked hat over the brows … so bad it's not even funny. The plot makes no sense, the dialogue is whatchama get out of a 3 year old. The acting is so so bad … much worse than even a school play. The two kids hiding in the close with their hands over the mouths … just about the best acting you can find in this jaw- droppingly bad movie!

I wouldn't blink an eye if 'Get Smart' or the 'Pink Panther' suddenly appear and do a tacky caricatured karate chop and high kick. Adding parody to nonsense is still pointless nonsense.

Thank god Alain Delon has the simple good sense to run away from this nonsense after reading the script. Johnnie To? Will not bother with any of his other rubbish. It's Johnnie goodnight.

181 out of 261 people found the following review useful:
Poorly Scripted, Senseless Plotting, Badly Dated, Cookie-Cutter Characterizations, 23 June 2016
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If this sequel had appeared in 1997 or 98, it would have been averagely interesting. But in the past twenty years hence, the audience has had the delight to savor so many other much more superior movies of its genre (which were ironically spawned by the first Independence Day's success) - something which the direction of this movie did not bother to account for, hence we are in for a very badly dated why-bother sci-fi flick. The original was passably good for its time, and this sequel is but almost a poor spoof of itself.

Everything from the plot to the mundane cheesy dialogue, un-laughable jokes, and empty characters, and OK-ish CGI … all cookie-cutter mishmash from other passé movies. Situations make no sense, neither do the illogical reaction of the characters, including our supposedly 'super-intelligent' big mother-monster chasing after a school bus for no real reason apart from the fact its there, like a playful kitten after a spot of light on the floor. And of course the 'saviour' alienship with all its bombastic intellect and scientific pizazz comes right up face-on to be blown to smithereens without doing the obvious thing of announcing the altruistic reason for its presence … when apparently it does speak English at that too! Anyway, so so so many nonsensical senseless situations here, don't even bother to care two hoots after a while.

None of the characters nor actors have any lasting impression nor charisma … and the two 'romantic' couples …. totally plastic with inert chemistry. I can almost hear Jeff Goldblum whispering to Judd Hirsch, "Geez, this movie is just so bad we need to wind-up our exaggerated gestures and jaw-drops to save it!"

The original TV Star Trek would be more interesting.

16 out of 24 people found the following review useful:
Overly Self-Conscious and Void - Like a Child Trying Too Hard at Show-and-Tell, 13 May 2016
4/10

'Son of Saul' started off with a refreshing burst, but barely a quarter in, it meanders on its own overly self-conscious showiness. It becomes painfully obvious that there's a director and production crew behind it trying too hard to drive the impact and be different, resulting in a showy look-at-me stilted performances from its actors and even the set screams "wow aren't we just realistic and meticulous in our details", like a bratty girl twirling her hula-hoop in a vigorously attention seeking manner.

The core motivation of Saul in trying to get 'a random son' buried is …… nada. The entire essence of this movie pivots on this core 'motivation'. Without it, there is only the mundane uninteresting idiosyncrasy of Saul - drifting in the sea of all the other equally mundane idiosyncrasies, all of which are equally uninteresting.

The actors (both the clothed and the naked) are way too healthy and lackadaisically bland in their appearances and attitudes, lacking any anguished sense of desperation and despair. As you watch them and the overly-crafted sets, you can't help but be 'constantly aware' that you are watching actors and extras and movie sets going about their motions as directed.

Even the constant background chattering sounds consciously deliberate and staged. And the Nazi officers - another bunch of one-dimensional caricatured bullies … same cartoonish-cardboard ones you find in WWII comedies, action genres, dramas, you name it.

Hence, even after over an hour into the movie, there is no immersion of oneself into the proceedings of the plot nor in the characters.

The most realistic actors on set are the ones playing the dead bodies, but even then their positioning and the manner in which they are piled and dragged around …. overly choreographed.

Why did it win the Oscar Best Foreign award? Absolutely no idea - just another no-sense award from Hollywood. Probably it gives the voters a misplaced sense of politically-correct 'artsiness'.

'Son of Saul' has become an obligatory-must-watch-because-its-won-these-bunch-of-awards. A good compelling movie it is NOT. Vain-glorious, and does not impress beyond its first 5 mins of fame.

99 Homes (2014)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
If Only … It Had Steered Clear Off Hallmark Mushiness, 2 April 2016
4/10

This movie is frustrating to watch because it's first quarter implied much potential in truly bringing the issue and the drama to the fore. Acting by both Michael Shannon and Andrew Garfield is fine, but given what eventually turned out to be a Hallmark-ish script, good acting can only help it that bit. Laura Dern and her character was way under-utilized, and all three characters way over-caricatured.

Whether the fault of the author or the script-writer or the director or all three, the plot is sadly let to falter from a realistic captivating opening moment into corny Hallmark ordinariness, which got worse and worse as it slid-slides away and by the end absolutely tanks into beyond-repair mawkish Spiderman-saves-the-day oh-geez nonsense.

If only the subject and the movie is dealt with by truly competent writing and direction …. instead of this mishmash mush. IF ONLY …..


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