Tag Archives: tv

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

I wonder sometimes why I write reviews for movies which are, all things considered, pretty old1.  However, I guess I do it because I enjoy writing movie reviews.  Before watching Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (LS&TSB) I’d seen maybe one 5 minute section I caught accidentally one day flicking through the channels, and I’d never seen a Guy Ritchie movie.

LS&TSB is good.  It’s clever, witty, well paced and very stylish.  I like that style, I enjoy the little voice over narration and the slow motion / paused motion shots.  I liked the characters and I really enjoyed some of the performances.  The dialog felt reasonably natural although it was obviously styalised to fit with the theme.  The plot was good and interesting and although I saw the little twists coming, they were so well delivered it didn’t really matter.  I really don’t normally enjoy a lot of different characters in a film, but I managed to hold it together during LS&TSB thanks to the actors and the script.

Overall, watching it was a really good experience, and I’d recommend it to anyone who’s not seen it.  If you’re not British, you may struggle with some of the accents and the slang, but hey, it’s your turn to cope for a change (or was in 1998).

  1. let’s be honest, I wonder sometimes why I bother writing anything, but there you go []

Cloverfield

So I’m late to the party. We watched Cloverfield on TV this evening (it won out over Juno). It’s engaging, fresh and interesting. It wasn’t too tense for me (I’m a wuss) which was pleasing. The dialog and acting were superb I have to say, it really did feel like it was being shot live and the actors didn’t know what was going on.

But (and it’s a big but) I hate the camera work. For me it detracts 100% from the movie going experience. I understand the whole style and the entire intent of the film is wrapped up in that style, but I was just constantly dragged out of the experience by the camera work.

I really do understand how it adds atmosphere, and that the drama of the scenes were enhanced because of the style, but for me, I hate it. There, I said it.

So, Cloverfield, if you can stand the camera work, it’s really good, if you’re like me, it’ll just bug you.

Cars

We were sitting in the sitting room and found Cars on the TV, missed the first 5 minutes or so but doesn’t appear to have been anything serious. It’s not the kind of movie I’d rent or pick to watch, but it’s also the kind of movie I know I’ll probably enjoy if I do watch it.

Cars is the story of a cocky little race car who discovers maybe his life is shallow, and ends up turning it around and coming good.

There’s nothing surprising in the story, but the characters are great, even if they’re cliched, and the voice acting really brings them all to life. After only a very short time I had totally forgotten I was watching computer animation, it’s very accomplished and provides a very accessible platform for the show. There are a few laugh out loud moments (tractor tipping) and some tender moments and it has a nice glowing happy ending feel. A fun movie, worth watching once.

Decent Television and Sky+

Sky+ has really totally changed the way we watch television. We spend a lot of time on the computers, and that meant we used to not watch much TV. We taped a few things we really wanted to see (like Buffy), but even when we had Cable we only really watched a few programs, most of the stuff on TV just passed us by. We moved house, and ended up with Sky, and I started catching an hour of CSI or something before bed, because on Sky you can be sure that at least one channel is playing some form of CSI around 11pm, but we still didn’t really watch much TV.

And then we got Sky+ and honestly, it totally changed how we watch TV. I’m sure any good PVR with a scheduler built in will do the same. We watch CSI (all 3), Criminal Minds, Without a Trace, Grete watches a whole bunch of other stuff like Moonlight, Heroes, soaps. I record stuff I love like Time Team and Michael Pailin stuff and just catch up with them when I can. It’s just so useful being able to record good television and watch it when you want, rather than trying to arrange your life around a TV slot.

Which brings me to good television, I’m sure that I miss loads of quality TV, afterall we don’t have time to watch everything. But we do love our crime drama, CSI (Vegas is still the best, New York is ok, Miama is almost like a pantomime), Without a Trace, Criminal Minds (sometimes it’s hard to watch, but rewarding), Bones. We finished the season two DVD of Without a Trace, I think we’re watching season three on Sky at the moment, but we’ll probably get the boxed set and catch up. I’d love to get all the CSI’s but there’s so many of them, and since we’ve seen them all it’s harder to justify compared to Without a Trace where we hadn’t seen a full season until we got the boxed sets.

The Fugitive

I want to say two things before I start, I’ve seen this movie at least twice, maybe three times before writing this review, and I love Tommy Lee Jones. Ok, so that’s out of the way.

The Fugitive is a who-dunnit thriller in which Dr. Richard Kimble (Ford) is accused of killing his wife, before making a run for it and being chased down by Marshal Samuel Gerard (Jones). There’s a decent back story, a good underlying plot and a couple of twists to keep you interested, but this movie is good not because the story is engaging, but because Jones brings the chase to life. Ford puts in a solid performance, playing an understated role and giving Kimble a totally believable appearance. Jones gives us an overblown chariacture of a US Marshall and steals every shot he’s in as a result. Despite the size of the performance Gerard still feels real and his energy keeps the story moving forward when the other scenes are determined and rather more slow paced.

It’s a tight cast, and if anyone’s ever spoken to me about books and movies you know I prefer a small tight focussed cast. It works well, Kimble’s involvement in what turns out to be the reason for his wife’s murder slowly becomming more clear through his research, while the US Marshalls slowly catch up with him. At the outset, in their first interaction Kimble tells Gerard he didn’t kill his wife and Gerard replies, “I don’t care!” The US Marshall is just doing his job, and plans to capture Kimble and let justice run its course. However, as the story moves forward, Gerard can’t help but consider the circumstances around the original murder, and that just makes later scenes where Gerard ‘just does his job’ even more profound.

This is an excellent high quality 90’s movie, with a solid script, good story and top quality acting from everyone involved. It’s a role that Tommy Lee Jones looks like he had a lot of fun playing and for me, the movie is about Gerard more than Kimble. I really recommend this one.

Without a Trace ….

We’ve been Sky+ing Without a Trace for a little while now and bought the first season on DVD a while back, since we never saw it. Just finished watching the last episodes tonight (been watching them over the last week and a bit) and it’s pretty good.

Some of the episodes leave you a little unfulfilled, but that’s probably because there can’t always be a satisfactory conclusion to missing person’s cases, but there are some pretty emotional episodes and it doesn’t feel too contrived (my main complaint about a lot of ‘crime’ drama). I can recommend them, and I think I’m going to go and buy the season 2 boxed set right now 🙂

X-Men

I saw X-Men in the cinema when it first came out; I was disappointed. A long time was spent introducing characters and concepts, there was very little actual action, and what there was seemed flat and uninspired compared to the other movies around at the time.

However, as with MI:2 which I saw on TV recently, I enjoyed X-Men more the second time around, and on the small screen.

In the not too distant future, mutants are becoming more and more common among the human population. They exhibit strange and dangerous powers, and the anti-mutant movement is gearing up. Two humans intend to ‘fight’ for their mutant causes in different ways, on the left we have Evil Mutant who wants to turn everyone into mutants, and on the right we have Good Mutant who wants to promote understanding among the normal populace.

Each of our ringleaders has a bunch of mutants working with them, and they duke it out to see who gets to live until the sequel.

There’s a reasonably lengthy setup at the start of the movie, introducing the major players, then we have a brief conflict, and move swiftly into the closing finale. There’s just not much here to get excited about. The dialog is dry, the characters aren’t all that loveable, there’s never a real feeling of risk or danger, and the mutant powers look like something out of a 70’s B-movie to be quite honest.

This could have been so much more, and perhaps the sequels will be, without the need for intro’s and scene-setting. We can always hope.