Films Archives

25 May 2006

The Da Vinci Code

Well, I've not read the book, and generally I'm allergic to hype, so I was going to skip this one... then the Church got involved and started making noises (which were almost certainly blown out of all proportion by the media), and I just had to see it.

The film isn't bad, as such, it just isn't good. I honestly don't understand why this film has got anybody's back up. As far as I can tell the biggest concern is that people might not realise this is all fiction. Yeah right. Even "Batman Begins" had a more plausible plot than this film...

My biggest regret about this film though is that it reinforces the "Box office takings = Success" myth that is ultimately going to destroy cinema, and I suppose by paying to see it I have helped hammer another nail in the coffin.

Rating: 2/5

Posted by Robert Hart | Permanent Link | Categories:: Films

01 November 2005

Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-rabbit

Gromit posing
  • 85 minutes, U
  • Peter Sallis, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes
There's just no way you can not like this film. It probably helps if you are familiar with their earlier TV appearances, and have a passing familiarity with British culture (especially of the 'tup north' variety) as there are lots of in jokes, but even still you'll find yourself quoting the film for days after. "I'm just crackers about cheese!!!"

The trivia section on for the film is interesting. e.g.:

The film required 2.8 tons of Plasticine in 42 colours and 1000 baby-wipes per week to wipe it off animators' fingers.

Rating: 4/5

Call me "Totty" :-)

Posted by Robert Hart | Permanent Link | Categories:: Films

01 November 2005

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence

Ghost in the Shell 2 Poster
  • Manga style animation, 100 min
  • Japanese, English subtitles

My first ever anime experience. Not really sure what to make of it really. I can understand why its such a niche market, even if you make allowances for having to read subtitles, and for the fact I didn't see the first movie, the plot was pretty hard to follow, although I think I did a lot better than the bunch of teenagers who I overheard saying things like "I just didn't get it" on the way out.

Having thought about it a bit, I think the problem the film has is that it's trying to be both dramatic (in terms of the action) and thought provoking (in the sense of what is really the difference between a machine and a human, blah, blah, blah)

I don't think I'd recommend it, but I did see potential in it, so I don't think I'll rule out watching more Japenese films in the futute.

Rating: 2/5

Posted by Robert Hart | Permanent Link | Categories:: Films

29 September 2005

40 year old virgin

  • Nobody in particular
  • 15 - Showcase
Not much to say really. Just one of those occasions where you turn up to the cinema and watch whatever is next to start that you haven't already seen. It has some funny moments, and we seemed to be in the mood for laughing out loud.

Rating: 2/5

Posted by Robert Hart | Permanent Link | Categories:: Films

21 September 2005

Pride and Prejudice

  • Keira Knightley, Matthew MacFadyen, Brenda Blethyn, Judi Dench and others...
  • 127 minutes - U - UGC Cinema
I guess the question everybody wants to know is how the film compares to the BBC TV series. Personally, I reckon the two complement each other quite well. The TV series has the advantage of 5 hours to play with, allowing much more of the original plot to be captured, particularly the slowly evolving relationships. The film version has the advantage of getting the plot across to you in one go, so it in someways makes more sense (I didn't religiously follow the TV series, so I may have missed important bits along the way). Equally the acting is, arguably better, particularly with some of the more minor roles: Each of the Bennett sisters has a distinct personality; Mr Collins is fabulous; etc.

The buildings, scenery, costumes and choreography all play their own part in the atmosphere and magic of the film.

In summary: A must see for any P&P fan, and anybody who doesn't actively hate happy endings.

Rating: 4/5

Posted by Robert Hart | Permanent Link | Categories:: Films

01 September 2005

The Island

The Island poster
  • Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson
  • UGC (now Cineworld), 136 minutes, 12A, 2005
I think this is one of those films that the same person could rate very differently depending on their mood when they first saw it. It's certainly easy to come up with reasons to rave about it — Scarlett Johansson, interesting plot concept, Scarlett Johansson, rich visuals and unique camera work, oh, and did I mention Scarlett Johansson. On the other hand, it easy to come up with criticisms — Ewan McGregor whilst a reasonable choice for the role(s) he plays, is just too well known now - I kept finding myself adding in bits of Obiwan Kenobi to his character and even heard myself saying "I hate it when he does that!" to some of the aerial combat scenes. The product placement is almost obscene (think Austin Powers' spoof product placement scene): Puma, Cisco, XBox, MSN Search, Tag Heuer, Calvin Klein, and Ben & Jerry's being the ones that have stuck in my mind four days later. A number of the action scenes are (in my opinion) unnecessarily implausible, and there are various holes in the plot if you really start picking at it.

All in all, the negatives don't really detract too much from the enjoyment value of the film, and in some ways are even quite amusing. To sum it up in one word - Fun. Rating: 3.5/5

Posted by Robert Hart | Permanent Link | Categories:: Films

20 August 2005


Crash Poster
  • Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon
  • 113 min, 15, Broadway
This is another film that proves my point about how much better it is to see a film without having been exposed to excessive amounts of publicity, previews and trailers.

Crash is a film that it's very hard to explain what happens, but in general its an exploration of stereotypes, particularly racial stereotypes, but also looks at the idea of "good" and "bad". Refreshingly, the film avoids many of the Hollywood clichès, and it's nice to see Sandra Bullock doing something a bit different. It was also nice to see a film that wasn't just an ego trip for a big name, but instead a serious of well developed characters that played second fiddle to the film itself.


Posted by Robert Hart | Permanent Link | Categories:: Films

20 July 2005

Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya

Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya poster
  • UGC Cinema, 135 minutes, PH, 2005 — Hindi, English subtitles.

This is the first time I've seen a proper Bollywood film at the cinema. Although the westernised Indian and Britsh Indian films I've seen gave me a little bit of an idea what to expect, it was certainly unlike any film I've ever seen.

The plot was fairly shaky, with much of the characterisation being implausible — not that I have much idea what an Orthopedic surgeon from Mumbai would be like. However, the girls were sexy, the costumes colourful, and the music and dancing lively.

Rating: 3/5 (but mainly for the novelty value!)

Update: I'm trying to work out what the title actually means. I've pieced together the following from an online hindi dictionary

maine ?? my (not sure)
piyar पियार love
kyun क्यो how? what?
kiya किया doings, deed, done, performed

update: 05/08/2005

I am reliably informed that the title means "who is my love?". This would be very consistent with the plot (and would give the plot away to anybody it wasn't obvious to in the first place)

Posted by Robert Hart | Permanent Link | Categories:: Films

14 June 2005

Mr. & Mrs. Smith

Mr and Mrs Smith poster
  • UGC Cinema, 120 minutes, 15, 2005

This action romantic comedy film, staring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, is the first film I've been to in a while without seeing either any reviews or any trailers — in other words I was seeing it blind. I really enjoyed the film, particularly because I didn't have a clue what it was about, or what direction it was heading in.

Rating: 3.5/4

Those who know me well, will be aware that "spoilers" are one of my top ten peeves. ITV are probably the worst offenders, as they seem to assume that trailers are there to enable the viewer to avoid watching the program at all. Books are much more hit and miss. Many books (particularly in hard back) do not have a blurb at all, and a few (e.g. Terry Pratchett's Discworld or Douglas Adam's The Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy) have a blurb written by the author themselves that can be considered part of the book. Many other books however, have blurbs that pretty much ruin the pleasure of reading the book itself, by giving away cruicial information that wont be revealed until well into the plot itself.

For books, reading the blurb is of course optional, and I generally leave reading the blurb til the end. Cinema trailers are much harder to avoid, as you can't see films without first being exposed to trailers for "upcoming releases" many of which you will probably be planning on seeing anyway (or for which the trailer only reinforces my desire not to see it).

Posted by Robert Hart | Permanent Link | Categories:: Films

31 May 2005

Vera Drake

Vera drake poster
  • DVD, 125 minutes, 12A, 2004
Set in 1950s London, this film tells the story of Vera Drake who, it turns out, as been performing back street abortions, or as she puts it "helping girls out". The story is moving, both in terms of how unwanted pregnancies were a real issue for women from all classes, and also in how Vera and her family respond when the authorities uncover what she has been doing.

Rating: 3/5

Posted by Robert Hart | Permanent Link | Categories:: Films