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All reviews - Movies (44) - TV Shows (21) - DVDs (1) - Books (6) - Music (16) - Games (15)

My Left Foot Review

Posted : 8 years, 9 months ago on 28 August 2008 09:25 (A review of My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown)

Christy Brown was an Irish painter and writer who was one of 14 surviving children of Irish catholic, Bridget Brown. Christy was born with severe cerebral palsy. Unable to move himself or speak, he was also presumed mentally disabled, despite this, his mother continued to speak and nurture him. He finally gained control over the movement of his left foot, upon discovering this, Bridget painstakingly taught Christy how to write and draw, using only his left foot. At the age of 19, he was given ground breaking muscle therapy, which earned him the power of speech.

So why am I telling you all this? Well, mainly to highlight the poignancy of a remarkable and harrowing true story. This isn't a yarn dreamt up by 50 writers in a board room. It is an autobiographical story, relaying the experiences of a man who has pushed the limit of human endeavour. Taking on this story for adaptation is a brave move in itself, it has to be dealt with sensitively and done well, lest they insult one of history's true geniuses. Luckily Jim Sheridan knew exactly who could play his lead role, without turning it into a farce.

I have always been a fan of Daniel Day-Lewis, renowned for his Oscar winning performances, but if you consider the level of discipline he adopted in portraying Christy Brown, you see why his shelves need reinforcing.

* DDL refused to leave the wheel chair in between takes.
* DDL often refused to break character for lunch, and had to be fed by his friends.
* He broke 2 ribs in his performance, due to his thrashing movements and slumped position in the wheelchair.

As a result you cannot fail to read a sense of frustration in every movement of his performance, from his futile suicide attempts to his heartbroken outbursts on platonic love. This film is by no means a one man show however, there are a number of remarkable performances, most notably that of Brenda Fricker as the long suffering Mrs Brown and the child actor Hugh O'Connor as young Christy, who out acts many adult professionals.




This is a beautiful film, which is only enhanced by the charming conventions of British cinema, which I so adore. Understated, subtle and social realist, yet by no means depressing. The occasional hi-jinks of the Brown boys, place intermittent moments of comic relief, which stop the film taking itself too seriously. I could not recommend this film more. Brilliant yarn, superbly acted, emotional roller coaster, reassuring and reaffirming.


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Making Money (Discworld Novel) review

Posted : 8 years, 10 months ago on 8 August 2008 07:58 (A review of Making Money (Discworld Novel))

Now this is a bloody intelligent book.

It may take a while to get in to but it is inevitably rewarding, you gain a real sense of satisfaction from reading it. Pratchett keeps to his outlandish examples of fantasy, that he does so well, but this time uses it to write a book which essentially describes the development of modern banking and the capitalist way.

Economics and Fantasy seem to be almost binary oppositions, however somehow, TP manages to intertwine them so well, that you don’t even realise you're being educated. When asked to take over the running of Ankh-Morpork bank, Moist von Lipwig introduces a radical form of bankers note, that sends the whole city into an unprecedented boon. All the while a range of hilariously funny, disgruntled creatures foil his plans, or fail to see his grand designs.

If you like Terry Pratchett purely for the fantasy, magic and wizards..this may come as a shock for you, you may not even like it. This is a whole new take on the discworld that I personally found refreshing; this is an economics/ political book in essentials. If like me, you read TP for his sarcastic comments, dry humour and witty asides, I have no doubt Making Money will find its place in your heart.




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How to doom a film with 3 actors.

Posted : 8 years, 10 months ago on 8 August 2008 07:25 (A review of Fool's Gold)

This was another film that only got my attention because it was on and I was trapped in a metal bucket in the sky.

"A great adventure and a laugh riot", boasted the in-flight magazine. With a cynical eye I gazed at the cast;

Matthew McConaughey - The wet blanket, famous for his cheesy roles in such classic turkeys as 'How to lose a guy in 10 days' and 'The Wedding Planner'

Donald Sutherland - Scourge of the acting world, notorious for his poor accents and being one of those people who you aren’t quite sure whether or not they are dead.

Kate Hudson - *Flatline*

So, as you can imagine I started viewing this film with the lowest of expectations. In fact they couldn't have been any lower if I'd dug to the centre of the earth and buried them in The Earth's core. YET Fool's Gold still found a way to disappoint me!!

Recently divorced, mop head McConaughey convinces his ex to embark on one last push to find a treasure hidden at the bottom of the sea. Typical treasure hunt films, such as Raider's, rely on two major factors, a desire that the character succeed, and a cryptology/myth surrounding the treasure, which makes it more than mere possession. Fool's fails on both these points. Whiney and irritating, I wanted McConaughey to fail and live in misery forever. Secondly, the treasure was not mystical or even beautiful, the film boiled down to a basic search for easy money, which might as well have followed him joining a pyramid scheme.

The plot is stagnant from the offset, with no real development; the movie manages to drag out nothing for nearly 2 hours, which honesty feels like five. In fact, you get the impression that the director thought of the concept of Hudsons trotting about in a bikini, then loosely strung a narrative to it. The entire cast of this film should be locked in a trunk and sunk to the bottom of the sea, for the good of mankind. Donald Sutherland was so colossally bad, that I felt literally embarrassed on several occasions at what passed for acting in this fetid, swamp of failed actors and B-Movites.



If terrorists had stood up and taken over my plane, I still would have been angrier at the producers of this movie. If I only ever do one good deed in my life, let it be this, a warning to everyone with senses; STAY AWAY FROM THIS "MOVIE".




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How gay was Robotnik?

Posted : 8 years, 11 months ago on 14 July 2008 05:09 (A review of Sonic the Hedgehog )

Sonic the Hedgehog is perhaps one of the most iconic games in video game history. I recently played a game with a friend of mine, I sang the theme to a Sonic Zone, he guessed what one it was...video games can bring people together, even if he's a Scrap Brain kinda guy and I'm more of a Green Hill kinda girl.

This type of everyday reference is not achievable for every game, the game must have wide fan base of people with a biblical knowledge of the game, you can do this with Sonic because it has become ingrained into popular culture and the mind of the pro gamer.

I recently downloaded Sonic the Hedgehog on my Wii, after all these years it is still a pleasure to play. It is unbelievably easy compared to modern platforms, and its charm is perhaps reliant on the nostalgia factor, but each zone is different enough to ensure you're never bored, and playing the game well can give you an immense feeling of satisfaction. For the more seasoned gamer, I suggest once through without dying, or setting a time limit to complete it all.

Sonic the Hedgehog should be in the arsenal of every gamer, it’s important to remember your roots and a bit of easy/non-violent game play will always be periodically required to calm you down after some particularly bloody grand theft or allied assault.


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Reassuringly Different

Posted : 9 years ago on 11 June 2008 10:58 (A review of The Darjeeling Limited)

I watched this with my Dad, he was in the back of the line when God handed out brains. I wasn't at the front, but I kicked a few people in the shins and managed to push in half way. Therein lies the key to why I loved this film and my father didn't.

My dad asked some questions throughout the movie, I'm going to address them now and defend the film from the poor reviews, it has received thus far (on Listal).

Who are these guys?

They are three brothers who have recently lost their father. They reunite on the 'Darjeeling Limited', a train travelling through central India. Similar to the characters in 'The Royal Tennabaums', Darjeeling focuses on the lives of the nuevo-rich, a post modern, middle class. Contrary to traditional cinema, Wes Anderson focuses on the down side of being financially comfortable, highlighting the futile search for well-being that occurs after finance and survival are guaranteed.

What's going on?

No flashbacks or over-simplified back stories are used. You have to just pick up from where you are put. I personally love this, it makes it more realistic, also as the dialogue progresses, you gain a better understanding of what is happening and what HAS happened at the same time. Twice the plot development for your money. So smartly written, Darjeeling takes the length of the film to get you up to date on where you were at the beginning. The sense of closure is therefore doubled at the end of the film, *SPOILER ALERT*, despite it having no cut and dry resolution.



Do they even like each other?, are we supposed to like them or what?

In real life people don't rush down dark hallways with ominous music, or swing into places with epic, orchestral tones. In real life we change, adapt and adjust our opinion of individuals, all the time. Another reason why I love this film. Unlike traditional 'hollywood' no binary oppositions are made, and no symbols are used by the director to tell you how to feel. Much like a tabloid newspaper, Hollywood uses big images and emotive words to tell you, 'you must like this character!'. The broadsheet doesn't adopt such methods, it supplies the facts, you make up your mind. It may seem less exciting, and insulting to some, to compare a movie to a broadsheet. I feel however that it gives the viewer some independence, it's strange not to be spoon fed, it may be scary, but ultimately it is emancipating and satisfying.

I don't get it.

Don't try to get it, just sit back and enjoy it. It isn't an overacted piece of cliché drama, it won't be apparent immediately. We've had it drilled into us that films must be hyper-real, hyper fast and formulaic. Even if you have to watch it twice, once to de-programme and again to enjoy, do so!

In conclusion, I cant quite find the words to explain how much I love this film, and what it makes me feel....other than 'happy'. It is typical Wes Anderson stuff. If you liked Tenenbaums and Life Aquatic, you will definitely love this movie. It is slow paced, it is subtle, it is unique and complex yet simple. I could not recommend this enough, but (I cant say this without sounding pretentious), my high recommendation is exclusively to folk of a higher brow.



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A Matter of Life and Death review

Posted : 9 years ago on 25 May 2008 07:20 (A review of A Matter of Life and Death)

A really clever plot, and a beautiful film in general. I don't want to give a synopsis; its so clever, I think it would be too much of a spoiler. This romance/war film is timeless and should be viewed by everyone, no exceptions.

For the time the cinematography and set designs were epic, despite being an 'old' film it is in no way dated or cheesy. A classic, and an underrated one at that note! Better than many of the cinema canon that people chirp on about. Over looked and brilliant.9/10


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CSI Middle Ages???

Posted : 9 years, 1 month ago on 10 May 2008 12:18 (A review of Cadfael)

Im the only one who has rated this classic; so I feel duty bound to bring it to your attention. If you like period dramas or crime dramas, you have to give Cadfael a try.

Derek Jacobi is one of histories greatest actors, and was born to play the overlooked, genius in a period piece.

Cadfael, is based in England in the middle ages, and follows a genius, monk/herbalist Brother Cadfael. Cadfael uncovers the mysteries behind many of the murders that blight the time.

Granted, 'crime fighting monk', is not going to sell itself and seems a little absurd; however it isnt. Give it time and you will find it thoroughly enjoyable..like CSI set in the middle ages.

Let me put it a little more 'sinfully'

The middle ages comprised of;

Plague
Povety
Rampant and unpoliced crime
Murder
and a fundamentalist catholic rule, marred by corruption, sadism and perversion.


When you put it like that, maybe it might be worth a watch? ;)
9/10


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Cate wet Blankett.

Posted : 9 years, 1 month ago on 10 May 2008 12:04 (A review of Babel)

I loved the 'foreign' story lines in this film; but found myself bored out of my skin in the Pitt/Blanchett segments.

I cant pin point exactly what made these bits so dull; if I had to hazard a guess, I'd say it was Cate Blanchett. I think Cate has a tendency to become easily dull and vapid in any role. I fear she's so used to playing the 'virgin queen' she'll never act well again (if she ever did).

Aside from the sparodic moments of the dull american storyline, I was totally encaptivated by the storylines of the 2 morrocan brothers, the mexican nanny and the Japanese, deaf girl. A whole movie dedicated to each of of these would have been amazing; but Pitt and Blanchett kept dragging it back to 'Hollywood'...and it didnt work.

I still give this film and 8/10, purely due to how interesting the other stroylines were. But I think Babel has taught us that independent films are independent films and hollywood is hollywood; and never the twain shall meet.


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New lamps for old

Posted : 9 years, 1 month ago on 7 May 2008 08:53 (A review of Mafia)

There is absolutely no point buying this game; it is too close in price to, and utterly dwarfed by the 'Godfather' game.

Mafia was clearly brought out to cash in on the gangster game craze; and is almost identical to the layout and theme of the Godfather game.

I found the controls, awkward and the graphics sub par.

This is like buying crystal for the same price as diamonds. Really, very disapointing.


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Do we even need the Gym anymore?

Posted : 9 years, 1 month ago on 7 May 2008 01:31 (A review of Wii Fit (with Wii Balance Board))

This 'game' is just like having your own personal trainer.

It will calculate you BMI, tell you what type of excercise/routines to take and what level to start them. It allows you to pick a weight loss 'goal' and marks your progress toward it.

Perhaps, more interestingly it measures your posture and centre of gravity; with an array of games to improve and moniter your balance skills.

The main categories covered are:

Aerobics
Muscle building
Balance and posture and
Yoga

You can choose which area you focus on, the more time spent on the game; the more levels and games made available in each category.

I highly recommend this, not just for the body conscious or the fit freaks. Its a great way to measure your fitness progress. Its similar to Brain training in many ways; but be prepared to work up a sweat!


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