Archive | Film reviews

An archive of the blog's film reviews. There's also an archive and an A-Z index of all reviews.


July 11, 2014

What have you been watching? Including The Lego Movie, The Bridge (US), The Leftovers and Halt and Catch Fire

Posted on July 11, 2014 | comments | Bookmark and Share

It's "What have you been watching?", my chance to tell you what movies and TV I’ve been watching recently that I haven't already reviewed and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case I've missed them.

The usual "TMINE recommends" page features links to reviews of all the shows I've ever recommended, and there's also the Reviews A-Z, for when you want to check more or less anything I've reviewed ever. And if you want to know when any of these shows are on in your area, there's Locate TV - they’ll even email you a weekly schedule.

The fourth of July weekend hasn’t stopped American unveiling a slew of new shows this week, so elsewhere, I’ve reviewed:

I also managed to squeeze a movie in this week, too:

The Lego Movie (2014)
Not a 100% slam dunk and the live action bit towards the end felt a bit uncomfortable, but a very funny movie overall, in which an average Lego construction worker (Chris Pratt) must save the Lego world from the oppressive regime of President Business (Will Ferrell). Featuring slews of in-jokes and classic Lego sets (yes, I did have the blue space Lego in the 70s), the best bits are nevertheless the cameos from licensed characters such as Superman and Green Lantern, and especially Batman and certain characters from Star Wars. Definitely worth a watch.

After the jump, a round-up of the regulars, with reviews of 24, Halt and Catch Fire, The Leftovers and Suits, as well as the returning The Bridge (US).

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June 27, 2014

What have you been watching? Including Belle, Halt and Catch Fire, and Continuum

Posted on June 27, 2014 | comments | Bookmark and Share

It's "What have you been watching?", my chance to tell you what movies and TV I’ve been watching recently that I haven't already reviewed and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case I've missed them.

The usual "TMINE recommends" page features links to reviews of all the shows I've ever recommended, and there's also the Reviews A-Z, for when you want to check more or less anything I've reviewed ever. And if you want to know when any of these shows are on in your area, there's Locate TV - they’ll even email you a weekly schedule.

The heat's back on again, both in terms of the summer weather and the arrival of new shows, so I've not been able to get round to/force myself to watch FX's Middle Eastern-yet-largely Caucasian dictator and familial rapist show, Tyrant. I'll try to get round to that by Monday, assuming that all these Dulux swatches I'm keeping my eye on have lost enough moisture that I can compare them accurately. But I have reviewed two new shows:

One was better than the other.

I also managed to watch a couple of movies. Well, one and a half.

Belle (2013)
Jane Austen but with a black woman and slavery. Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Undercovers, Bonekickers (yikes), and Touch, but best known as Martha Jones' sister Tish in Doctor Who) excels as the daughter of a slave whose aristocrat father places her with his uncle to look after - his uncle being the highest-ranked judge in England (Tom Wilkinson). Based on a true story, it's a two-threaded piece, on the one hand examining the place of black and mixed race women in 18th century society, with Belle too high-born to eat with servants yet because of her skin too low-born to formally eat with her own family. She may have a £2,000 income a year, unlike her impoverished, equally-illegitimate white cousin, but that doesn't mean anyone wants to marry her either. Contrasted with that is a case being examined by Wilkinson in which slaves are thrown overboard a ship and the ship's captain tries to claim on the insurance for loss of cargo. The two threads mirror each other, with Wilkinson's growing awareness of Belle's station informing his opinion on the case and vice versa. The cast are fabulous, with Penelope Wilton, Miranda Richardson and Emily Watson shining, too, although Tom Felton (Murder in the First, but best known as Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter) is horribly typecast as an evil racist aristo. Some tear-jerking moments and a lovely romance, but a little too gently paced and in need of trimming in places.

Monuments Men (2013)
Another film based on a true story, this sees George Clooney, Matt Damon, John Goodman and others as somewhat past-it art experts at the end of World War 2 flying out to Europe to try to rescue whatever art they can before the Nazis steal it or destroy it - or the Allies bomb the hell out of it. That's the first half-hour anyway, but we gave up after that because pretty much nothing much happens. There's no good dialogue, the direction is limp, there's no action, no scenes of note: there's more excitement in a Pathé newsreel.

After the jump, a round-up of the regulars, with reviews of 24, Continuum, Enlisted, Halt and Catch Fire, Old School, Penny Dreadful, Suits and Undateable.

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June 6, 2014

What have you been watching? Including The Night Shift, Godzilla, Penny Dreadful, Enlisted and Silicon Valley

Posted on June 6, 2014 | comments | Bookmark and Share

It's "What have you been watching?", my chance to tell you what movies and TV I’ve been watching recently that I haven't already reviewed and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case I've missed them.

The usual "TMINE recommends" page features links to reviews of all the shows I've ever recommended, and there's also the Reviews A-Z, for when you want to check more or less anything I've reviewed ever. And if you want to know when any of these shows are on in your area, there's Locate TV – they’ll even email you a weekly schedule.

After letting things slide a bit last week, I feel a bit chuffed with myself because this week, I’ve managed to watch everything in my viewing pile except for one episode of Prisoners of War and today’s episode of Old School. I’ve even put up some proper reviews of new shows:

Yay me! I even remembered that I’d watched NBC’s Night Shift last week but forgot to review it. Because it’s so bad (as one reviewer put it, it’s for people who couldn’t cope with the intellectual rigour of Chicago Fire)

Night Shift (US: NBC)
A summer medical show, in which all bunch of tedious human beings try to outdo each other at how great they are as doctors, nurses and paramedics. Literally every scene involved a new character arriving, someone flailing at medicine, and then Johnny New Arrival showing some technique he or she had learnt in Iraq, volunteering with underprivileged children in Zimbabwe while recovering from chemotherapy and the like, and then rubbing it in the face of everyone else. Bizarrely, it features Jill Flint who gave up a decent job playing an efficient hospital administrator in the enjoyable Royal Pains to play an efficient hospital administrator in this steaming pile of offal.

Even more excitingly, I’ve watched another movie:

Godzilla (2014)
A frustrating, tantalising piece of work that sees Bryan Cranston trying to work out what destroyed the Japanese nuclear power plant he worked in with his wife (Juliette Binoche), while his body-disposal expert son Aaron Taylor-Johnson tries to get back home to his wife (Elizabeth Olsen). Except it turns out that dinosaurs still roam the Earth and they really don’t care what cities stand in their way.

In many ways, a lovely tribute to original with some of the scenes recreations of scenes from the original Toho series of movies but made to look truly realistic and devastating. Some thought’s gone into making the bad monsters, why Godzilla wants to save us from them and why some giant cockroaches would even need to be able to create electromagnetic pulses (when you spot it, you’ll kick yourself). But despite a full hour of work by director Gareth Edwards (Monsters) to make you care about the humans before the fights properly start, you still don’t give a toss about them and ultimately, you'll just want to see Godzilla punching some big monsters – except largely Edwards cuts away to a news broadcast whenever anything gets too close to being exciting. And there are whole bits that are absolutely irrelevant. The final fight is great, though, with some truly whoop-worthy moments, and the HALO drop almost atones for the lack of action in other places.

After the jump, yet more, with a round-up of the regulars, with reviews of 24, Enlisted, Penny Dreadful, Prisoners of War and Silicon Valley

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