Film Reviews

Here are some brief reviews of some of the films I've seen in the last 9 months or so:

"Hot Fuzz" (5 out of 5)

Great fun, wonderful parody elements, endearing performances. Love the set up of sleepy English village crossed with Bad Boys-style buddy movie clichés. Pegg + Frost are an immensely watchable double act.

"Sunshine" (5 out of 5)

Have now seen it 3 times... Thoughtful, visually spectacular, intelligent sci-fi for those who want more than just macho heroism and aliens being blasted to bits. There is a very interesting subtext relating to what a person would do if you encountered close up the source of all life in our solar system (literal - the Sun), source of all life (metaphorically - God/Creator). What would it do to your mind? Danny Boyle (director) = catholic. Alex Garland (screenwriter) = atheist. They make a good double act.

"Into Great Silence" (5 out of 5)

A beautiful invitation to spend just under 3 hours in contemplation.... not of the lives of the monks themselves, but of your own life and relationship with God. The film acts as a mirror in this sense, drawing you in to an attitude of spiritual openness. That is, if you are prepared to let go of your movie cliche expectations (no narrative in the traditional sense) and just go with the slow flow of the film. The final 20 minutes are truly sublime. Coming out of the cinema into a crowded street was painful, but the film had left its mark in me. I try to carry a contemplative heart through my daily urban life and this film encourages you to do just that. Should be seen by all those who enjoyed BBC 2's "The Monastery".

"Harry Potter + THe Order Of The Phoenix" (3 1/2 out of 5)

Liked Radcliffe's performance. Really maturing as an actor. A few plot strands dealt with very perfunctorily, though this is probably inevitable given the length of the book. I. Staunton is outstandingly creepy. Overall, a decent addition to the series, but kind of feel it's marking time till the big events of the final 2 books (+ films).

"The Bourne Ultimatum" (4 1/2 out of 5)

Don't get me wrong, I liked this film a lot (tightly scripted, well-acted, good pacing...) but I long for the days when you could actually see what's going on in fight and chase scenes. Though a second viewing of the film (from further back in the cinema) allowed me to appreciate more the wonderful editing, especially in that claustrophobic fight scene in N. Africa. Could the passed-your-eyes-before-you-know-it style of modern fight scenes be a way of trying to keep the rating down to a 12A cert.? Too much obvious, in your face violence and it becomes a 15? Maybe, because much of the violence here is alluded to rather than overtly shown. A satisfying end to the trilogy nonetheless, though Supremacy is my favourite.

"Atonement" (4 1/2 out of 5)

A never less than enthralling film. Director Joe Wright demonstrates a thoughtful visual style and the performances are excellent (especially McAvoy - top actor of his generation I feel). Moving throughout, but in particular in its wonderful denouement which contains a tremendous cameo from Vanessa Redgrave.

"Day Watch" (3 1/2 out of 5)

Enjoyably chaotic, visually demented sequel to Night Watch. More of a relationship film than the first one. Found the blurring of boundaries between Dark + Light characters an interesting touch, as was Anton himself becoming the centre of the emotional tug-of-war rather than his son. But ultimately, these 2 films will be remembered for their wonderful visual style.

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