Friday, 26 February 2010

Tell No One - Phil's Five Words for Films -

Tell No One ( Ne le Dis a Personne) There were several times whilst watching this film that I found myself saying 'I'm not sure where this is going or what that was for, but I'll go with it'. The plot idea was excellent and the film gets to it's conclusion in a nice way but it is a long and sometimes slow journey. The initial set-up worked really well and the 'email scene' was very well done and quite chilling. Someone should make a film based on that idea alone. The multi-strand plot slowly reveals itself and you have to pay attention or you will quickly lose touch. Scenes with the main characters as children and the baffling musical-montage scenes could probably do with being left on the cutting room floor but the plot, dialogue and acting are excellent. The direction is quirky to say the least but, in the end, you are left with a gripping, twisty, who dunnit type film that has some truly nice moments. Francois Cluzet played a brilliant part as the desperate Doctor. Slow but enjoyable.

7 out of 10
Cert 15 (uk). 2007.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Paranormal Activity - Phil's Five Words For Film -

Paranormal Activity. This is not a 'Horror' film, it is more of a 'Terror' film. The plot is this: A young woman is hearing and seeing things in her own home at night. Her sceptical boyfriend gladly sets up a camera to capture any night-time activity. To begin with, the events are nothing more than twitching bedsheets and some sleep-walking but it soon gets much worse. The tension gradually builds with the clever use of off-camera noises and long, oppressive stretches of silence, when you are straining your eyes and ears waiting for the inevitable scare. It is refreshing to see a film that doesn't come with a 12 piece orchestra in the background gently announcing the next moment of terror. Filmed on an amazingly low budget, the clever use of hand-held cameras and night vision effects - a bit 'Blair Witch' but without the motion sickness - increases the claustrophobic nature of the footage. The increasing ferocity of the 'hauntings' is cleverly controlled and the atmospheric tension in places is really effective. The terror is mostly suggested / off camera until the climax of the film when it becomes very real. I was a touch disappointed with the ending but it in no way detracted from the rest of the film. Home movie-type acting and script added to the general feel of this film which should be a case study in how to successfully generate on-screen tension. Creepy.

8 out of 10
Cert 15 (uk) 2009.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Avatar - Phil's Five Words For Films -

Avatar First things first - this really is a film to be seen on the big screen and in 3D. It looks great, sounds great and the CGI characters are awesome - but throwing money at a film is no guarantee of a classic. Visually, the film is stunning, but it should be after 10 years and endless millions of pounds. The 'new-world' of Pandora is beautiful and wondrous and the 3D really comes into its own, adding depth rather than 'in-your-face' effects. The plot is fairly simple, lovely spiritual world is being invaded by nasty humans who don't care about anything other than the mighty dollar and see the lovely, spiritual world as profit owned by savages. Warfare. Rebellion. American / human history?. Overall though, it is a cracking tale, it looks amazing, it is a little too long (nearly 3hrs), it sometimes seemed to be preaching a bit too much about capitalism / nature / gun toting americans and it is the only film that made me wish I was a blue hunter from another planet. Oh and spot the crazy cigarette product placement and discuss where some of those millions came from. Well worth the ticket price though.

8.5 out of 10
Cert 12A (uk).2009.

Taken - Phil's Five Words for Film -

Taken. ( Contains Spoilers) Liam Neeson seems to have had a mid-life crisis and decided to become super-kick-ass bad. If you forget about the first 15mins of this film ( start from 'that phone call' ) then it works as a brutal, if slightly silly, tale of revenge. Everybody good is American and all the baddies are European. The body count mounts up as Liam hunts down the nasty Europeans that have 'taken' his daughter. Everyone bad ( I hereby invent the word Euroganistans ) will die and his daughter seems untroubled by the terrible things she's been through - recovering enough to go for her dream of being a singer - god bless america. The end. Good action in places, brutal body count for one fella, thin plot with many holes but quite enjoyable.

6 out of 10
Cert.18 (uk).2008.

How To Lose Friends and Alienate People - Phil's Five Words For Films -

How To Lose Friends and Alienate People It is such a shame to see the talents of Simon Pegg being put to waste here. Having loved SP's earlier work, this is a real let down. A few famous faces can't make up for a lack of script, lack of decent gags and an all-round weak idea. The comedy misses the spot throughout and is mostly poor slap-stick, the characters are 2d and too selfish to care about and the love interest is totally far-fetched. Not funny enough for a comedy, not nice enough for a Rom-Com and not edgy enough for a satirical comment on the fashion world. There are a few decent performances as it must be difficult to work with such weak material, but in general it really isn't worth it. Forgettable and puerile - this really is how to lose friends and alienate people. Sorry Simon.

4 out of 10
Cert 15 (uk) 2008.

Friday, 12 February 2010

The Damned United - Phil's Five Words For Films -

The Damned United Another brilliant character portrayal by Michael Sheen. Not so much about football but a story of friendship and competition. The beautiful game takes a back seat as Cloughy shines through and makes you yearn for characters with integrity in today's over-payed, money rich game. Well scripted and nicely shot. It is the sort of film that washes over you and leaves you feeling that, although not a lot has happened, you have seen a good story told by people that actually care. A good film for a relaxed night. Gentle, thoughtful and worth a watch. 10% footy 90% character 100% Cloughy.

8.5 out of 10
Cert 15 (uk) 2009

Thursday, 11 February 2010

2012 - Phil's Five Words For Films -

2012 Definitely a film that is meant to be seen at the cinema. It is over-long, loud and it is BIG. Some of the effects are pretty ropey and, for the most part the action is stupid, in places, COMICAL…the same could be said for the science involved. Global environmental disaster keeps happening 10 meters behind you and most people seem able to outrun it anyway. Oh and somehow all the mobile phones still work as the skies go black and the cities collapse. The plot is predictable and heavily loaded with just about every cliché from the "Disaster Film Manual". Having said that, if you can turn off your brain and sit still long enough, it is quite enjoyable. There’s even an over-acting chicken. Don't expect too much, try not to look too hard for plot holes or laughable effects and you might just make it through. Not a classic. A film for the brain dead.

4.5 out of 10
Cert 12A (uk). 2009.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Gran Torino - Phil's Five Words For Films -

Gran Torino Clint Eastwood stars in and directs another great film. Slow paced, growling and mad at the word , Eastwood plays an aging war veteran isolated in his home as the neighbourhood changes around him. With the gangs, the guns and the scum closing in, he decides it is time to take a stand. Heart warming moments of pride, hope and laughter are intermingled with the violence and hatred as Eastwood reluctantly seeks to help out the hard working immigrant family next door. Smashing through stereotypes and ignoring the PC brigade, it builds to the tense stand-off you would expect. A surprising tale of friendship that is nicely directed and well told. I'm a bit surprised that it didn't make much of a splash at the awards season though - perhaps Eastwood just makes too many great films.

8 out of 10
Cert 15.(uk) 2009.

Phil's Five Words for Films

I love films - I really love horror and thrillers but Rom-coms leave me cold and sickly. I have decided to blog a few words about films that I have seen recently - on dvd or at the flicks - and hopefully build up a nice collection of reviews. I have decided to pick 5 words from each review that best describe how that film left me feeling. It's not complicated so I am calling this string of posts "Phil's Five Words For Films". Hope that makes sense. Reviews will follow spasmodically.

Let the Right One In - Phil's Five Words for Films -

Let the Right One In - Is this a horror? Is it a love story? It is difficult to put this beautiful, crafted film in to any particular box. The mood is dark and cold, as is the setting, yet the story is warm and powerful. You don't get blood-curdling screams or out-of-your-seat shocks. There is no gore-fest or ridiculous body count. Instead, you get a personal view of the grotesque. A warm, fuzzy vampire film that portrays the fight against demons. The horror is gentle but spine-chilling and the struggle of both main characters is tragic. Forget the subtitles, forget the Hollywood Vamp-flick remake- this is a subtle, wonderful story of society, bullies and friendship.

9.5 out of 10
Cert 15 (uk). 2009.