The Sixth Sense (1999) Film Review

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After receiving an award for his work in psychology with children, Dr Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) and his wife Anna (Olivia Williams) are attacked in their home by one of his former patients, Vincent Grey (Donnie Wahlberg). Several months later, Malcolm feels he cannot connect with his wife and has lost his work mojo. Then he meets Cole (Haley Joel Osment), a nervous young boy who reminds him of Vincent, living with his wonderful mother, Lynn (Toni Collette). But when Cole reveals that he sees dead people, Malcolm has a challenge that, if he can sole, may bring him peace of mind.

Do I give away the spoiler? Along with the revelation of what Rosebud is in Citizen Kane and the big secret from The Crying Game, it has to be one of the most quoted spoilers of all time. Just for that, I’ll keep schtum. It is most certainly worth watching. It is tense and freaky and so very, very sad. Watch it. If you haven’t seen it, you really must.

The Sixth Sense was nominated for Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Haley Joel Osment), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Toni Collette), Best Director (M. Night Shyamalan), Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (M. Night Shyamalan) and Best Film Editing (Andrew Mondshein).

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Mission Impossible 4 – Ghost Protocol (2011) Film Review

Mission Impossible Four

Everyone knows I love a good Hollywood blockbuster, blow ‘em up, smash ‘em up type movie, and that’s exactly what this is. Lots of fantastic explosions with bits flying toward the camera, lots of Tom Cruise running, lots of masks being ripped off and hidden technology and all that kind of stuff. What more could I want?

A bigger screen, really. Boo to Palace Cinemas (who I usually love, but this is a definite mark against them) for putting such a big movie in a tiny cinema with a tiny screen. Having said this, I am actually not sure that I would have made it through the climbing-on-the-tower scene in a larger cinema, but that is unimportant. If you are going to take my money for a blockbuster, put it on your big screen. Complaint over.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve seen the previous installments – you don’t really need to know who they work for or why. This film is Tom Cruise at his best. He doesn’t need to smile much, but rather can just stand around looking intense. Jeremy Renner does a great counter-intense character and Paula Patton plays the token strong woman well – although it does feel like her character is only there to wear the short skirts and have a catfight. Note to action movies – we want more strong women. Like those in Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Long Kiss Goodnight.

Mission Impossible Five is apparently to be released next year. I will definitely see that one in a cinema with a decent sized screen.

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Shrek (2001) Film Review

Shrek

Shrek (Mike Meyers) is an ogre who lives in a swamp and is blissfully happy on his own. Then a whole heap of fairy tale characters turn up in his swamp, dumped there by the evil Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow). To get his swamp back, he must rescue Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) and take her to marry Lord Farquaad. Shrek takes his new companion, Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and it turns into a marvelous adventure.

It’s such a great film. Funny, silly, loads of cultural references that have not grown old. And really, how many kids’ movies can get away with a lead character with an extremely rude sounding name, popular kids fairy tale characters being tortured and a bird exploding? What ace times.

Shrek won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature and was nominated for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published.

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MIFF 2014 – The Wrap UP

It’s over a week since MIFF 2014 wrapped up, and I’m only just starting to get my sleep patterns back in order. This year, I managed to see 31 films, and in general, I was pretty pleased with my choices. I’ve got nine big recommendations, mostly fun films, although Han Gong-ju nearly killed me, and Joe was a bit tough going too:

A Hard Day

Anina

Han Gong-ju

In Order of Disappearance

Joe

Ping Pong Summer

Pulp: A Film About Life, Death and Supermarkets

The Mole Song: Undercover Agent Reiji

Supermensch – The Legend of Shep Gordon

There are only a handful I wouldn’t bother with, but I am totally aware that people’s tastes vary, and I had a chat to someone who really enjoyed Life of Riley. We really are all different. Here are the few that I disliked.

Our Sunhi

Life of Riley

School of Babel

We Are Mari Pepa

Whitey: United States of America vs James Bulger

Goodbye MIFF for another 11 months, see you next winter!

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The Broken Shore -TV Review

The Broken Shore

For The Broke Shore Book Review, click here

Joe Cashin (Jon Haney) is a cop who has returned to the rural seaside town of his youth to recooperate from an injury caused through his work. An old man in the neighbouring region is killed and he ends up on the scene, although then it is taken over by a nasty piece of work cop, Hopgood (Anthony Hayes). Regardless of the conclusions that Hopgood is making, Cashin continues with his own investigation and discovers a much deeper and more sinister story.

I read the book by Peter Temple a few years ago and quite enjoyed it (if enjoy is the correct word for this type of graphic, violent and troubling book), although I seem to recall finding it a bit dense at times, leaving me to really use my brain to put it all together. The television interpretation is excellent, taking the essence of the characters, most particularly Cashin, and bringing the story together leaving far less confusion. It’s not that it was dumbed down at all; it was actually extremely true to the book. Rather, it was that getting all the information presented to you over about ninety minutes in one sitting worked better for me that the several days or possibly even weeks it took me to read the book.

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Sin City (2005) Film Review

Sin City

 

Based on the Frank Miller graphic novel of the same name and filmed almost entirely against green screen, Sin City takes a dip into the sordid world of Basin City. This is a world with pedophilia, prostitute wars and corrupt cops.

Along with general action films, I really like the genre of films made from comics and graphic novels. Sin City takes this to a whole new level. The entire look of the film is like a dark comic strip, with lots of dark shadows and limited use of colour. What’s more, it is extremely and horrifically violent, but in a way that, even though it is clearly fake, it is uncomfortable to watch. I think this is a truly wonderful film, and I’m very excited to see that another Sin City is due to be released next year.

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To Rome With Love (2012) Film Review

To Rome With Love

 

Ovbiously, set in Rome, To Rome With Love follows several plot lines that flow over each other and could easily be separate films.

There’s the opera plot, with Woody Allen and Judy Davis playing parents to Hayley (Alison Pill), a visiting American student who falls in love and becomes engaged to a very handsome Italian. Allen’s character discovers a talent in Hayley’s soon-to-be father-in-law that, I recall, was a plot from the Brady Bunch back in the seventies. This plotline was ridiculous and drove me nuts, but luckily I felt the rest of the film made up for it.

There’s the mysterious character plot, which covers architect Jack (Jesse Eisenberg) having to entertain his girlfriend’s best friend Monica (Ellen Page) who is visiting. Jack’s girlfriend is studying and has exams, so leaves the two of them alone despite the number of men who have fallen in love with Monica over the years. Alec Baldwin plays the mysterious character of John, a highly successful architect who is hanging around like an imaginary friend to Jack, pointing out how pretentious Monica is, and how inevitable the story is. Despite the fact that I have no inclination to assess and interpret this character, I liked this plotline.

Then there’s the newlyweds who are planning to move to Rome for the husband to work for his family, but through a series of misunderstandings, he ends up taking a prostitute around with his sombre relatives and she ends up in the hotel room of a famous actor.

And finally, Roberto Benigni, ah, the wonderful Roberto Benigni, who plays an average office worked who suddenly has extreme fame thrust upon him for no reason. Too wonderful, and delightful, and fabulous.

I quite like short stories, and this film was just like a collection of little short stories. It’s not a big, important piece of work. It’s just delightful, and what a beautiful and amazing setting. I’ve not yet been to Rome. Now, I really, really want to.

 

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