Film reviews – summer 2009

As Zosia is away we have had a chance to catch up on some films. The summer season is not the best time to get out there so we had to supplement with a few DVDs as well. I tend to keep my reviews simple! IMDb scores in brackets after the titles.

Terminator Salvation (7.0) – kind of okay if you like action films. This whole thing about not letting the machines kill John Connor is really boring now. As is pouring molten metal on the bad robot guy and a few other things that keep cropping up. Hopefully the last we’ll see of this franchise.

Public Enemies (7.6) – Why do all 30’s gangster films have to steal images from the Grand Central Station scene in “The Untouchables”? This was good but it could have been a lot better. Bad casting of Christian Bale, or bad acting. I’d have to question the direction too. Also it seemed to be shot in very high definition and if the instructions for the correct viewing distance for a HD TV are correct, we should have been sitting in Poznan to have optimum viewing pleasure given the size of the screen! Hard to keep track of HD shots that are moving fast. To be honest, if you want a film like this I’d recommend The Untouchables (8.0) (1987 – Costner, Connery, De Niro, Garcia) or Bonnie & Clyde (8.1) (1967 – Beatty, Dunaway, Hackman). Both far better films.

Ice Age 3 (7.3) – Another Ice Age film. Good in parts. Zosia enjoyed it. Watched Polish language version. (She was home one weekend)

Milk (8.0) – Was expecting something far better given the reviews. That’s why you have to be careful with American reviews if it’s a subject close to their hearts. Not being gay nor American and not having heard of this Milk guy the movie was not really relating to me on any deeper level. As a film it was okay, worth seeing, interesting but that’s about it. I know others disagree.

Dorothy Mills (6.1) – Or as the Polish title maniacs call it “The Exorcism of Dorothy Mills”. Don’t ask me why, there’s no devil and no exorcism. What could possibly be wrong in calling it Dorothy Mills like the makers wanted? Doesn’t deserve the poor IMDb score. Slightly spooky film but not outright scary and hardly any blood. Certainly no spinning heads, pea-soup projectile vomiting or deep voices…..actually there is a deep voice. Sort of low budget feel to it. Based in a small Irish island village where one gets the impression there’s been a fair bit of inbreeding.

Brüno (7.0) – Rates a 3.0 with me. There are a very few truly funny moments but these take up about 5 minutes maximum of the films length and are mostly when nobody is forcing it to be funny. For example, when the idiot is sitting there with the red-necks and nobody’s saying a word. The rest of the red-neck scene is supposed to be funny but it isn’t, unless you’re 10 years old and a bit slow. This might appeal to non English speaking people in the same way Mr Bean or Benny Hill does but I hate both of those so………. This is actually a pretty dishonest film as was well explained by Toby Young in the Spectator & I agree with him.

Coco Chanel (6.8)
– Deserves a better score but it’s not about the USA saving the world so…. Audrey Tautou does a good job, as do the supporting cast. For lovers of Chanel fashion it might be a let-down as the film finishes just as the fashion gets started. Focus is on childhood up until death of the guy she loved, essentially on how she got started. This was in French with Polish subtitles.

Changeling (8.1) – Clint’s a good director, Jolie puts in a good performance and it’s an interesting, if a little unbelievable, story based on real events. We enjoyed it but think the reviews are a little OTT.

There were others but I forget which they were now! All we’ve got left at the kino is the latest Harry Potter and possibly Transformers but I expect we’ve seen all the good bits of that last one in the trailers!

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11 thoughts on “Film reviews – summer 2009

  1. so why so high with Bruno ? – this film is too simple and vulgar. Compared to Bruno, Borat was state of art and sharpness. I would give it 2.0

  2. I’m not sure how useful ratings based on average votes can possibly be. We all have different sets of tastes and interests. I don’t care what everyone else liked.

  3. Thanks for those scatts. Looks like you saved us all a load of time.

    Just as a reference point how many points would you give Saving Private Ryan, Shakespeare in Love and It’s a beautiful life?

  4. MG – Harry Porter we will probably see later this week or next week.

    Mon – true, 3.0 is too high a score. Hope the holiday’s going well!! :)

    DC – I find them to be a useful rough guide of how good a film might be. If you’ve got a choice of seeing a 3.0 or a 8.0 then the latter will almost definitely be a better choice. It goes a bit wonky when the film has particular US appeal, as I mentioned.

    Ad – Well, Saving Private Ryan proves my point about US appeal. It gets an 8.5 but I’d give it a 6.5 / 7.0, I’m not a huge Tom Hanks fan. Band of Brothers (TV I know) was considerably better (gets a whopping 9.6 thanks to the “USA saves the world” factor). Shakey gets a 7.4. I think we must have seen this but I honestly can’t remember it so I suppose that says something. Was it kind of light hearted fluffy fun in frilly collars? Tom Stoppard’s writing normally annoys me a little. Also, I can’t say that ‘period drama’ is my first choice unless it’s Dickens. I have better recollections of ‘Elizabeth’ for example and that’s from the same year. As for La vita è bella (8.4), ashamed to say I haven’t seen it but it gets great reviews.

    So, forgetting points and allowing for the fact I haven’t seen one of them I think my ranking would be (best to worst)

    La vita è bella
    Saving Ryan
    Shakey

    I’m not a Jim Carey lover either but I though The Truman Show was one of the better films of that year along with The Big Lebowski and of course Lock, Stock & Two Smoking. Not sure if they were all the same Oscar period though.

    I see there’s a 1998 Oscars theme to your question. Is that the last time you went to the kino? :)

  5. Re Harry Potter
    Save yourself a great deal of pain and suffering. It is by far the weakest movie in the franchise (with an incredibly weak ending). The movie is long ( 2 hours and 20 minutes) and NOTHING happens. The movie is described as “developmental” which means there is no real story progression (a lot of love struck teenagers snogging however). Ugh. Wait for the DVD and save yourself some time and money.

  6. Thanks scatts.

    Now with the ability to compare I know how to adjust for your original scores.

    The 1998 theme is simply because it by chance brings together a number of films that fit into certain ‘categories’. Having said that:
    Shakey is a superb film – 10+
    La vita e bella – 9+
    Saving Ryan – 7

  7. Shaket was simply that good – mind you, that insight does come from someone who has the ability to watch 5 days of cricket :) No attention deficit disorder there.
    I wonder if you have seen the BBC production (with Colin Firth) of Pride and Prejudice. The finesse, the acting, the production, the directing – EVERYTHING! Just totally, TOTALLY brilliant!! Ask my wife (and she can’t bear to watch cricket). Mind you it is only so if seen and understood in the original language.

    On a related subject, let me raise the matter of TV for pre and post 2 year olds. There is a lot of opinion out there – type ‘toddlers and TV’ in google – see for example http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/talktoyourbaby/tvnews.html#tvdelay
    which says young children’s exposure to TV should be minimal. France has taken some action in the matter for example.
    How have you handled the matter given that M is in the mind business? Would be interesting to see the response on the subject, here or on Polandian.

  8. I heard that HP was disappointing also. As far as the 3 movies mentioned I would have picked #1 as La vita è bella…it would be a tie between Shakey and Ryan but probably if I had to pick would have gone with Shakey since I’m not a big armed forces movie fan. Except for Bill Murray in “Stripes” and that’s a fact Jack :P

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