Reviews written by registered user
philip-ct

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83 reviews in total 
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Maurice (1987)
3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Now Maurice has aged very well :-), 26 September 2013
8/10

Similar to goldilocks-78, I watched Maurice again - I saw it when I was in my 20s, when it was first released. There is some very good acting, and a very good sociological recreation of the Edwardian period. Maurice, the novel, might well not be considered as EM Forster's finest work. But similar to Lady Chatterley's Lover (not considered among Lawrence's best), the work raises issues of class, gender, and sexuality. The three leads are good - Hugh Grant gives a plausible portrayal of a more refined, upper-class man, who denies his homosexual urgings and marries. He clearly shows (after this conversion of sorts) his ambivalence and almost forced denial. Hugh Grant, almost effortlessly, shows the two sides to this character. James Wilby,as Maurice, moves from self-disgust, despair and guilt, to self-acceptance. Rupert Graves as Scudder (similar to Mellors) is really good. The scenes he shares with James Wilby are not forced. The supporting cast are good - the women, Simon Callow (who introduces us to the Edwardian conformist ideology) are equally good. And Ben Kingsley, as the hypnotherapist nicely shows the push-pull in the then-British psyche. My favourite Merchant-Ivory film is Room with a view. Maurice is darker, but just as well filmed, with enough humour to balance the seriousness of the film. The naive, happily-ever-after ending (EM Forster's) doesn't quite work, but leads to good discussion. Of all the DVD-shown deleted scenes, the final 'confrontation' between Maurice and Durham should be, in my opinion, restored. It's a fine film, both engaging and unsettling. Sensitively adapted, directed, acted and shot. Kudos

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Not at all despicable!, 26 September 2013
8/10

Animated films aimed at younger children seem to have a dual audience, the kids and the adults. This film succeeds on both levels. (I currently use Up! as part of my media course, but Despicable Me is a close 3rd - The Lion King, a 2nd) I am biased, unashamedly so, but the stand- out for me in this dizzying film, ending with a sense of belonging, and acceptance / redemption, dotted with wit, throw-away lines, aha moments, and emotional connectedness, is Julie Andrews, who voices the terrible mother, with aplomb and a good accent. She, in an essentially supporting role, is excellent. And the main voices are equally as good!! See the film: it is well worth it.

Wrecked (2009/I)
3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Quite frankly, the worst film I have seen this year: WRECKED it is., 26 September 2013
1/10

I think the review by GayFilmViewer says it all, except that I disagree on one point, I would add, abysmal acting. Seen with the rest of the cast, I would grudgingly agree that the lead gives a decent performance. Comparing his acting to that in similar films, it is tepid. Story line, nil; acting, one (for the lead); photography and editing - at times, bizarre colouring and sound, nil; this film is fake, unengaging and unpleasant. This is gay cinema at a total low. (Review refers to DVD version; just seen.) A pity this was dragged out to over an hour; 15 minutes is long enough. In Afrikaans, there is a lovely expression: ".. vol strond"; Shakespeare's line from Macbeth more than suffices: "Full of (unpleasant, bizarre, inept scenes), signifying NOTHING.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Well worth its Emmy awards and nominations, 16 November 2008
10/10

I managed to see most of the shows via an American contact - copies of the VHS tapes (on DVD) - I would love for the Studio to recapture these. The shows are excellent - professional in terms of the sketches, the interviews and the singing. The pilot episode, consisting of Julie Andrews and the "regulars" is excellent, but then again I am biased (being a Julie Andrews fan). The show extends her range - and shows with some of the Big Band stars and rock stars of the time (Sammy Davis, Henry Belafonte, Mamma Cass Eliot, to name some) are excellent. Brilliant singing, choreography and acting - Julie Andrews herself is on record of saying that TV was hard work, and the hard work is evident in the series - although she makes it look so easy. It's a brilliant series, which must be made available....

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
"Two truths are told...", 8 July 2006
9/10

This is a well-crafted film, and the DVD documentaries reveal cast and crew that are intelligent, non-sensationalist and committed, both to the filming process and storyline.

The film is a mixture of two genres - one is the horror genre, in which Jennifer Carpenter gives a very good (and chilling) performance as Emily Rose. The colours, the musical score, and (surprisingly) muted and in-obvious special effects work very well indeed.

The other genre is the courtroom drama. Based on actual happenings, the writer does not waste time trying to look at which side is right. The perennial problem of faith and doubt is examined. Examined in a way where "evidence" is presented. The audience, like the jury, must weigh up the matter.

Laura Linney as the defendant is well-cast. She gives her character the right blend of authority contrasted with confusion. The dignity she brings to Erin is excellent. Likewise Tom Wilkinson, as the accused neglectful priest. Campbell Scott, as a church-going "believer" is impressive as the prosecution. At no time does the film approach the TV courtroom drama genre. That this film works is thanks to these actors, as well as to Mary Beth Hurt, who imbues the judge with the right touch of authority and humanity.

This is an intelligent, thought-provoking film, which should engender animated, lively and thoughtful discussion. Don't miss it.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Spotty - avoid, 17 June 2006
2/10

This sequel is thoroughly uneven, incoherent and rambling in "plot" (if there really is one)and tries too damned hard to be modern (ridiculous, out of period and character 21 st century style songs predominate) and cute (yawn: there are too many manufactured, belaboured jokes with animals.) The actors in his film are secondary to the juvenile plot. Even Glenn Close (and she is normally very good) sweeps through this film, parodying herself as the original De Ville and the lead from Sunset Boulevard! It's a film that isn't even good to look at. This is a very good example of a bad and pointless sequel. Even Basic Instinct 2 had a plot, characterisation and acceptable acting. This doesn't. It is bad.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Game, set and match, 17 June 2006
9/10

This is a dazzling film - the only thing similar to other Woody Allen movies were in the musical choices and credits portrayal. This is a gem of a film, with top-notch performances from all the actors, good scripting and fine directing by Woody Allen.

Maybe paranoia overtakes neuroses, and Jonathan Rhys Myers replaces the older, nebbische Woody Allen, and all that's good. It was so refreshing to have a darker film, and less indulgence than in some of Allen's previous movies.

SPOILERS BELOW In what is clearly an interesting move, in this movie, crime does pay. The ball which bounces off the net can cause a match to be won or lost, as says the narrator at the beginning of the film. There was a barely concealed gasp when the ring did not go into the Thames, and most of us assumed that that would lead to Chris Wilton's arrest. It doesn't. The ring, being picked up by a tramp, and found by the police "proves" Chris's innocence.

The moral ambivalence is what makes the film; it had me thinking and talking for long after. Intensely satisfying.

Game, Set and Match!

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A potentially good film spoiled by a lousy last part -- too long., 18 May 2006
6/10

What a good film this could have been - if not for the painfully drawn-out ending! Both women give good performances - and Jennifer Jason Lee, who steals Alison's (Alison, played by Bridget Fonda) "identity" is eerily good.

The film's strength lies i its beginning and middle, where understatement is the key, and Jennife Jason Leigh's transformation into her "heroine" or "idol" is well done.

However, the film spoils all this by leaning towards silly melodrama and drawn out "fighting scenes" (badly put together at that) which are reminiscent of B-grade movies; it's a pity because what could have been a good psychological thriller compromises itself as it appeals to the LCD at the end.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Kids love it: it's a fun film, 10 May 2006
6/10

This is a predictable film, but gripping and saved by some very fine acting and plenty of over-the-top moments, from both adults and kids, "good" and "bad".

The story-line is similar to the Disney staple Mary Poppins: a family (here, a recently widowed, single father played by Colin Firth) has 7 children (shades of Sound of Music). No nanny can tame the children; the agency cannot and will not supply anybody. Enteer Nannny McPhee who has 5 lessons to teach the kids, and whose maxim is "When you need me but don't want me, I'll stay; when you want me, but don't need me, I'll go." A lot like the premise of Mary Poppins.

It's a good-natured film, with some good performances by Anela Lanbury, Imelda Stauten (as the 'cook'), Celia Imrie (as the potential (not so good) stepmother; Kelly Macdonald (as the housemaid-cum-lady), and Thomas Sangster, as a precocious, intelligent child, Simon.

The children learn their five lessons; Nanny McPhee teaches them how to be a more functional family. She can then leave.

This is a kid's movie, and this kid (40-plus) enjoyed it. It's not as magical as Mary Poppins, but it has good moments.

15 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
A good film passing, 5 May 2006
7/10

What a nice film! The premise is simple: Actress Reese Holden (played by Zooey Deschanel) is offered a lot of money if she can get hold of letters written to and by her late mother and father, novelist Don Holdin (played be Ed Harris). Reese hasn't seen her father for a long time; she hadn't gone to her mother's funeral. Ed Harris, performing with sensitivity and rigour (as in Pollock and The Hours)gives a fine performance as the socially maladaptive, reclusive "genius" counterpointed by s dazed, bewildered, but protective Corbit (Will Ferrell, who gives a fine performance. I've just seen him in The Producers, and physically/vocally he is *completely* different. It's a good role.) Like Pieces of April, the film works with silences, visual cues, and verbal cues intertwined. It is a film which is worth concentrating in - and Zooey Deschanel's performance as Reese Holdin is excellent. She doesn't go over the top, rather it is through a subdued range that she succeeds in winning over the audience. Don't miss this film, or let it pass you by.


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