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Ju-on 2 (2003)
Poor. Waste of time
The first film Ju On: The Grudge, is personally one of the scariest films I have seen so I had high expectations of the sequel. I was sadly disappointed.
Ju On: The Grudge 2 really was a pointless exercise in film-making, that starts off poorly, barely keeps it's head above water in the middle & completely falls apart in the final third, it appears that the good ideas were used in the first film.
Sure you can get away with a lot in the world of horror but too many of the plot twist were just comically absurd & the whole Chiharu sub-plot was completely irrelevant to anything else in the film & didn't need to be there.
The whole rebirth concept reminded me a lot of the first Ringu sequel(Rasen) & guess what, it didn't really work for that series either but I did think that one it's own Rasen was a better film than Grudge 2.
Dai si gin (2004)
Nice premise, nice looking but for myself it just doesn't completely fall into place for me.
Probably the most noticeable aspect to "Breaking News" is the cinematography.. No doubt about it, the cinematography of Siu-keung Cheng & editing by David Richardson are first class, but it is also the source of my greatest frustration with this film. For mine the camera moves around too often, too quickly & will come to a holt in a sudden jolt. The opening scene in particular is just nauseating despite the obvious skill in putting it all together.
Well worth checking out & I'm sure that we will see a Hollywood rip-off of this film some time in the next couple of years.
Gin gwai (2002)
Good, not brilliant
The Eye is a good but not brilliant Hong Kong/Thai addition to Asian horror genre, obviously being influenced by the American film "The sixth sense" & the golden age of Japanese horror of the past 8 or so years.
Personally my personal biggest downer of "The Eye" is the ridiculous love story subplot between Mun & Dr Wah. Out of nowhere the good doctor decides to throw medical ethics out the window & declare he's in love (for no real apparent reason... well apart from the fact she is very attractive)with the blind girl who can see! Be warned you might suffer a bit of eye strain early in the film with Mun's POV shots showing how her vision is as she begins to regain her sight. This out of focus shooting can be a test on your eyes too! Worth checking out if you are a fan of Asian horror. 7/10
Tongan Ninja (2002)
So bad it's good!
I accidentally stumbled across this film while pay-TV channel surfing & I was left in stitches of this high farce. This film really does fall into the category of "it's so bad it's good".
The great thing about Tongan Ninja is that it doesn't take itself seriously, it knows that it is cheap, silly & instead of trying hide from this cheapness, it revels in it.
Dodgy stunts, bad & unnecessary dubbing, bad guys giving a runny commentary of themselves being beaten up by Tongan Ninja, a love story and a fearsome looking All Blacks rugby star, Tongan Ninja has it all! Catch it if you get the chance & leave your brains at the door.
Zero Day (2002)
Intense ending *** spoilers***
I just recently saw this film at the Melbourne Film Festival & the reaction of the film was quite interesting, some of the other films I had seen got applause, but at the end of Zero Day there was no reaction at all. I'm not sure if this was because as a film the audience disliked the movie, or if the audience was still shaken by the final 5-10 minutes of the film. The scenes of the schoolyard massacre are pretty intense.
Otherwise the film can be very patchy in parts & it really does take a while to get involved in this film, maybe due in part to the rough feel of the film.
For a film containing mainly amateur acting talent, the acting standard is very high, especially Andre. It should be remembered that the character were not meant to be perfectly articulate & were meant to stumbled over their lines at times.
In response to an earlier poster who expressed their dislike of the boys "how to" segments, to me they seem like a totally logical thing for someone in their position to do & film. Remember they don't share the same logic as the rest of us!
This is a film you may only want - or need to see once - but one you will defintely have an opinion on. Worth checking out, a film you need to make up your own mind on. 6/10
very good ***minor spoiler***
Do you the most amazing thing about Silmido is, is the fact that it is based on a true story.
It's hard to find much fault with this film, the acting & production quality is very good. Silmido is an engrossing drama from start to finish, firstly see our death-row crims cum crack soldiers preparing for their mission & secondly to see their eventual demise.
Silmido is another example of the huge steps taken by the South Korean film industry in the past decade, making films far more original than Hollywood, with in many cases production & acting standards equal to Hollywood with budgets a fraction of the Hollywood machine.
**** spoilers **** Ending not fleshed out **** spoilers****
Solid but not brilliant Melbourne made telemovie. Stiff is the first movie made from the books of the Murray Whelan series & had that "first movie of the series" feel, a lot of time was spent establishing the characters & their relationships.
The ending was a bit unsatisfying, the discovery that Gardiner was the bad guy & his final moments appeared to be rushed & that part of the story not fully fleshed out.
Good to see brief cameo performances from Australian Labor Party legend Barry Jones & current ALP Premier of Victoria Steve Bracks. Would we see Liberal (conservative) Party officials appear in a film that takes pot-shots at their party setup? I don't think so!
Australian Rules (2002)
not bad, not brilliant
An Ok film, but suffers on too many occasions from the feeling that the story is standing still & going nowhere. Australian Rules could have well gone about five minutes less to improve its pacing.
There is nothing spectacular about film, the acting, direction cinematography, soundtrack are all solid & workman-like. No area of this film could be described as poor while at the same time no aspect of the film was particularly brilliant.
One thing I would like to congratulate the filmmakers on is their dramatic representation of the game of Australian Rules Football. Very rarely is the sport film & edited in a way that truly shows the way the game is played. the filmmakers must be congratulated on producing some dramatic re-enactments of Aussie Rules.
The Dish (2000)
A great story
With "The Dish" & their previous effort "The Castle", the Working Dog crew show their innate ability to tell a great story.
The direction, cinematography, the music & the acting are all A+ quality, but for mine that is not the strength of "The Dish". The main strength of this film is it's story, a beautifully told, heartwarming story about one of the most memorable moments in history & the role a small town in middle-of-nowhere Australia & its citizens played in this event.
For those who see "The Dish" on DVD, check out the directors commentary with Rob Sitch. In this commentary, Sitch shows himself to be a very thoughtful & intelligent director, which may surprise those who see him as the big mouth from "The Panel"
Das Experiment (2001)
Girlfriend character not needed
An interesting film, but I must admit I didn't see it as thought provoking, I just viewed "The Experiment" as a piece of entertainment, a well made piece of entertainment. The longer this film went, the more noticeably graphically violent it became.
This is a classic example when people in power develop a "god" complex, things go pear-shape very quickly & morals & humanity go out the window.
Personally, I did not enjoy the subplot of the girlfriend, the addition of this character added absolutely nothing to the telling of the story, except maybe a few extra minutes. "The Experiment" could have been a leaner. meaner beast without the addition of this character.
Apart from this complaint a very good film & well worth looking out for. 8/10.
Super Size Me (2004)
If you ever thought a diet consisting solely of fast food would be fun? Watch this & you'll reconsider.
Watch as Morgan Spurlock who starts out as a very healthy man quickly goes into decline very quickly over the length of the 30 day diet.
It really is quite scary how fat & lazy Americans have become over the past 20 years, even more scary as my own country is sadly chasing the US to win gold in the "fat olympics".
Maybe "Super Size Me" could have further explored issues about Americans overall attitude to health, not just food.
One scene that stood out for me was the founder of Subway meeting an overweight 14 year old girl, the girl claiming that he was an inspiration but then came out with the excuse "I can't afford two sandwiches a day" to maintain her fat riddled diet. That excuse is total crap, the money that these lazy people spend on fast food could quite easily be spent on fresh food & vegetables, where - shock horror - you actually have to get off your fat lazy backsides & cook a healthy meal yourself!
Heavy on the frights, light on plot
This is one very creepy film, with a constantly menacing tone.
Sadly though I would agree with many of the previous comments, the plot has far too many holes & inconsistencies. Why were our original victims killed & why are they now angry ghosts seeking vengence against anyone who stumbles into their home?
Horror films are renowned for their plotholes, but this just has too many for it's own good.
Despite the lack of a coherent storyline, Ju-on: The Grudge succeeds where horror films need to, in the fright department. Ju-on: The Grudge will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Good horror from Japan, where the best horror of recent years has come from. 6/10
Lasts longer than the Zimbabwean batting line up
Throughly entertaining combining two of India's great obsessions - Bollywood film & the sport of cricket.
Certainly not a short film at over 3&1/2 hours & although it last longer than the current Zimbabwean batting line up would, Lagaan moves along at a brisk pace, suffering few if any dull patches.
The cinematography is great, as is the sound. The songs are fun too!
The cricket scenes are well staged & filmed quite well.
I was impressed overall with the English cast, especially the fact that it appears many of the cast appeared to have learnt to speak fluent Hindi, minor touches such as these can make a huge difference to a film like this.
A great film for cricket fans & non cricket fans alike, even if the end is a tad predictable & not unexpected. 8/10
800 balas (2002)
To keep it simple, this film is just good fun to watch, especially if your a fan of the old spaghetti westerns.
Lots of laughs to be found (many revolving around a 12 year old being corrupted by the old men & their big drinking, whore loving lifestyle).
After dragging slightly in the middle of the film, 800 Bullets, picks up the pace for a great final 30-odd minutes, where it's all action.
Interesting that an "Original Music" credit has been given to Roque Banos, considering that all that was done was to remix Ennio Morricone's classic spaghetti western themes.
I highly recommend this film to anyone, especially in the mood for a fun, rollicking film. 8/10
Jagoda u supermarketu (2003)
Neatly made, though nothing spectacular film from Yugoslavia (Serbia). Has a made-for-television feel to it (though i'm not sure if this is the case, or if this film had a cinema release in it's homeland).
Some of the attempts at slapstick comedy just did not work, our hijacker constantly slipping on the floor wore thin after about the second time. The mocking of the police by the crowd was rather unrealistically childish.
Hard to find any fault with the acting performances working with a threadbare script.
My advice put your brain into stand-by mode & just let this film take you for a rather silly ride. 5/10
The Pirate Movie (1982)
Arrgh, an Ok film
Arrgh me hearties, this is an OK movie about singing & dancing pirates.
The film keeps a fine pace when it involves the pirates, but struggles to keep an interest when there no salty old seadogs involved in the scene.
Ted Hamilton as the Pirate King, provides a performance that is reminiscent of Errol Flynn at his peak.
Most of the outdoor scenes were filmed at Werribee Mansion, a site that is one of the most commonly used in Australian TV & film.
Arrgh I give this little piccy 5/10, a good film for the youngens. Arrgh.
The Transporter (2002)
Don't think about, just watch it
Sit back, put the brain in "shut down" mode & just enjoy the ride that is "The Transporter".
Sure there are heaps of plot holes, but hey name me an action film that doesn't, action films are about popcorn entertain, their not intellectual think pieces.
Big car chases, fights, explosions & a hot love interest, what more could you ask for in a big dumb action flick?!
Well worth checking out if your after a fun but pointless movie going experience.
La pianiste (2001)
A movie full of vile, nasty characters. The Piano Teacher is not engaging in any way. The direction is poor, the script is awful.
This film may have been slightly more interesting if it was about 25 minutes shorter, maybe they could have cut the soft porn, that must have included purely to spark controversy.
Boring & sick. Avoid 2/10.
Jing Ke ci Qin Wang (1998)
Average attempt at a grand epic. Sadly the film is overly long, unnecessary slow, especially at the beginning & ending "chapters" of the film.
The biggest disappointment of the film had to be the editing. It was quite poor in parts & if it was part of the "visual style" of the film, then it was totally unnecessary.
That said still worth at least a look
Lowbrow comedy at it's finest.
Lowbrow comedy at it's finest. Many people underestimate how hard it is too make good lowbrow humour, the amount of unfunny "spoof" films is a testament of that.
Leslie Neilsen is perfect for the lead role of Lt Frank Drebin & is ably supported by the rest of the cast.
The final third of the film at the baseball game include some of the funniest scenes committed to film. 8/10.
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
A long epic... unlike this review
Wow, a great epic movie. L of A show's T.E Lawrence, not purely in a heroic light, but the complex figure the man was.
Lawrence was a confident leader of men, but also arrogant & naive, the last two qualities becoming more evident as the film wears on.
The Acting in this film is brilliant, especially Peter O'Toole & Omar Sharif. A film that is a must see for all film lovers.
Hotaru no haka (1988)
Touching, but maybe too much for young children
A touching film about the ravages of war. A young teenage boy is left to take care of his young sister after a bombing raid on Japan during WWII. You have to feel for the two young main characters in this film, it's a tough situation for them to be in.
Although Grave of the Fireflies is considered a children's film, personally i think some of the concepts in this film a too much for some children to comprehend, especially young children. While not gory, "Grave" can be very intense & graphic in its depiction of bombing raids. I think some children may find this unsettling, but I must admit I am writing this without having seen this film with a child.
A great film for fans of film. 8/10
An old anime classic. Not what many would expect from anime, there isn't heaps of guns or robot or weird mythology, it's just a simple story.
The two combating nations in the parallel world to ours, remind me of a cross between the US & USSR (although cooling, the Cold War was still alive & well when this film was made in 1987) mixed with a cross between North & South Korea.
The animation is very good, & holds up well even in 2004, though the soundtrack while very catchy, shows the age of the film with the 1980's synthesizer.
Nuovo Cinema Paradiso (1988)
one of the greatest films ever made ***possible spoiler***
Cinema Paradiso is truly one of the greatest films ever made. I have only ever seem the longer directors cut, but why did they ever leave out the scenes where Salvatore & Elena reunite after 30 years? For mine, these scenes were some of the most emotionally interesting scenes in the film.
This is a magical film, one that will even move the most cynical of us, for what in the end is a simple story, a boy & his life long love of films.
Beautiful & moving & a film i can't watch in front of other people, I don't want people thinking I'm a big teary softy now do I! 10/10
Big Loud & Pointless
Stupid, incoherent plot. Characters of little interest.
Some nice jokes, but a little too silly for it's own good at times.
I saw the Korean language version of this film & I'm glad I did, the MTV version sounds truly horrific. 4/10