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joff43 / Jonathan Tanner
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37 entries have been written about this.

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Awake — 5 years ago


Awake is complete and utter nonsense. The most excellent Friday night with nothing to do nonsense. Hayden Christensen plays the son and heir of a very rich family who suffers from a dicky heart and is awaiting a heart transplant. Of course to make things even worse he has a strange blood type so has to wait for ages for a suitable donor heart. His (over-bearing) mother wants a world renowned heart surgeon to carry out the procedure but Hayden wants his mate from the local cheapo hospital to do the swap (how hard can it be? It’s not brain surgery!)

Somehow a suitable heart becomes available and then it all goes belly up (literally). There is intrigue gallore and cross and double crossing like mad. The main conceit that some people stay concious during general anaesthetic is kind of tenuous but adds to the crazy fun.

This is in essence an old fashioned thriller reminiscent of an old TV series – maybe a souped old cop show but it whips along and hold ones attention to th end. Just don’t start picking it to pieces we know at the beginning that it’s a bunch of nonsense. Well Jessica Alba is in it…

Into the Wild — 5 years ago


This movie looks very good. The cinematography is excellent. That’s the upside. The downside is that the people in it are distant. unknowable and unsympathetic.

Watching this film one gets no real sense of the childhood trauma that is mentioned in the sisters (tedious) back story so it’s very difficult to see the main character as nothing more than a self-obsessed slightly mentally unstable person who found it impossible to understand human relationships.

Whenever he is drawn in by someone he rejects any possibility of a relationship and remains a loner – but why? The film makes a big deal of his burning all his money ($24,000) but clearly this was not a big deal when his father is a multimillionaire.

I could not understand what he expected to find in Alaska apart from snow. He seemed to suggest at one point that he would stay there alone for a few months and then he would be sorted out. Obviously this plan was (literally) fatally flawed.

Penn’s direction is all self absorbed and portentous. Basically it comes across as one big vanity project. I got half way through and turned it off. You may fare better of course.

You , The Living — 5 years ago


This movie is great fun a series of short almost cartoon like stories linked together at the end of one and the beginning of another. The plotting and characterisation is paired down but never at the expense of interest in either. Look out for the psychiatrist’s story and of course the great Micke Larsson. The wedding scene between Anna and Micke is stunning.

The film has been described as surreal which I suppose it is but whatever it is is it definitely worth at least one viewing. It’s the kind of film you could watch bits of every now and then without getting bored with it. Highly recommended.

Here is a link to the film on the IMDB:

Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber of Fleet Street — 5 years ago


Silly me I did not realise that this movie is a straight lift of the Stephen Sondheim stage musical. For some reason I thought it would be dialogue based with the occasional bit of singing. But no, it’s nearly all musical but that should not necessarily be a bad thing. The main problem with this movie is the Sondheim music.

After about 15 minutes it starts to get very, very irritating and even worse it becomes apparent that many of the cast including J Depp cannot sing to save their lives. The big problem with this apart from the fact that it sounds bad is you can’t understand what the actors (for this is what they are) are singing about. This is a bit unfortunate when the songs make up the main dialogue. After a while it starts to become tedious. I have to admit I did not watch much more than the first half hour and that was more than enough. On the positive side the film does look really good almost animated in some scenes and the art direction is second to none.

I know there are some who love Sondheim maybe this movie should be ring fenced only for them.

Paranoid Park — 5 years ago


Begs the question what’s the point?

Southland Tales — 5 years ago



The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford — 5 years ago


The movie starts toward the end of Jesse James’ career as an outlaw and his increasing paranoia with his own gang and the increasing impatience of the authorities for the James Gang to be captured and put out of business.

The plot follows Jesse’s attempts to find out which of his gang members are plotting against him and also focuses on the need for him and his family to constantly move house in order to evade the Pinkerton detectives and others out to claim the reward that had been put on his head.

The main story is about the relationship between Jesse and his cousin Robert Ford. Ford had spent his life hero worshipping Jesse but eventually falls under the influence of the Missouri governor Thomas T. Crittenden. Crittenden presses Ford to assassinate Jesse.

The story is slow moving but full of portent and tension as the date of the assassination gets nearer. The cinematography is excellent and the acting especially of Casey Affleck as Ford is superb. Brad Pitt plays Jesse as a complex character troubled by his past, untrusting and knowing that there is no future for him as the world moves on around him.

This is a film that is definitely worth seeing. Great acting and great direction.

Ratatouille — 5 years ago


Great animation. The movie is about 20 minutes too long though. It’s definitely worth watching.

The Savages — 5 years ago


In a word…dull.

This film looks like it has been cloned from one of the increasing number of ‘writer has old parent and dysfunctional family but they all get sorted out in the end’ genre.

We don’t care about the characters, we don’t care about the plot and we don’t care about their dysfunctions.

As with previous versions of this film the main character is a writer struggling to get his magnum opus completed. He has a dysfunctional relationship with a Polish woman (a non-character) and he teaches in a university. His sister is a writer trying to get a play performed but in the mean time temps in offices to pay the bills. The siblings have been competing with each other most of their lives but both live under the shadow of bad parenting and this has clouded their ability to be successes. He’s overweight (loser?) and she is having a relationship with a married man (loser?)

The father is losing his marbles and is placed in a (cheap) old people’s home. The place is funded by Medicare so you expect the worse but the orderlies turn out to be very nice and caring.

Through the trials and tribulations of being old and dying the children learn how to turn their lives around and become less dysfunctional.

If you want to see this film in another guise watch one of these:

  • About Schmidt (old man film)
  • Little Miss Sunshine (writer/old man)
  • The Squid and the Whale (writer/old man/dysfunctional family)
  • Running with Scissors (writer/old man/dysfunctional family)
  • Wonder Boys (writer/dysfunctional people)


The Counterfeiters — 5 years ago


This movie is well worth watching. I had not heard about the German plot to flood the British and American economies with counterfeit bank notes. It is really interesting to see how people react in the most extreme circumstances and even try to achieve the seeming impossible in the most difficult of circumstances because of the challenge.

The characters are well developed and complex in their motivations. The film looks like it could have been based on a play or could be produced as a theatrical play as the action is based around a small number of people in a confined place.

The story takes place in a concentration camp but the characters are kept in segregated buildings behind a high wooden fence and work under the camp commandant almost as his employees. The only clue to what is happening on the other side comes from the sounds of shouting, shootings and screams.

Inside the counterfeiting ‘workshops’ the prisoners live in relative luxury and work on creating the perfect Dollar bill although death is an ever present threat it is also their motivation to get the job done.

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