Captain America: Civil War (2016) Film Review


There are these superheroes who go around and save the world against terrible horrors – like giant alien worms and the like. And behind them, they leave destroyed cities, dead civilians and people are not happy about it. So, the world wants to set a restriction on them – make them responsible to a panel. Some of the heroes, notably Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) are for this – he is feeling particularly guilty from the last film. Others, like Captain America (Chris Evans) are against this, concerned that they would become puppets for bad guys. And then there are problems, and they all fight, and it gets exciting.

I love it. They’ve thrown in some new guys, like Spiderman (Tom Holland), and brought back loads of the originals. Notably, the Hulk is missing, and I want him back, but I’ll still enjoy all the fun and ridiculous stuff that this film gives me. And I’ll watch more in the future!


Crash (2004) Film Review


A whole bunch of people of a variety of different nationalities are living their lives, going about things as they do. But then someone is racist toward them, or they are racist toward someone else, it’s just racism and racism and racism. And, I think, the point is that everyone can be racist, and no-one likes it when someone is racist toward them.

Okay, way over simplified, but there are a lot of stories, and some of them are really awful (actually, most of them are really awful in some way or another). And by awful, I mean tragic, not cheesy and bad. But since it won the Oscar, there has been a lot of backlash for it being an over-simplification of the issue of race. I don’t know, I just think that it is not a great film. It’s got far too much going on, it has all of these events addressed on a really shallow level, and surely what we want from a film about race and racism is some depth? And then there is the soundtrack… continual, overbearing, and very annoying. And it gave the sense for a very long time of the film ending, but then it never ended. At least, it felt like it never ended. Possibly, with better editing and the soundtrack removed altogether, it could have been an okay film. Maybe. The soundtrack just made me really, really angry.

Crash won Oscars for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Writing, Original Screenplay (Paul Haggis, Robert Moresco) and Best Achievement in Film Editing, and was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Matt Dillon), Best Achievement in Directing (Paul Haggis) and Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song (In the Deep).


Ocean’s Thirteen (2007) Film Review


Like the two films leading up to this, it’s a big, exciting heist film with lots of misdirection and cleverness. This time, it’s all about revenge on Willy Bank (Al Pacino), a casino operator opening a new hotel, who has ripped off one of their own, Reuben Tishkoff (Elliot Gould), causing heart failure and a coma.

My big issue with the last two films was the women in the film having very little character and being (sometimes willingly) manipulated very obviously by the men of the film. This time, it wasn’t the wives or girlfriends. The one female in the film, Bank’s top assistant Abigail Sponder (Ellen Barkin), initially appears to be in control and in charge, strong and spotting the bullshit being weaved around her. Then, she is painted as a ‘cougar’ (such an insulting term, but I won’t get started on that one today) and manipulated into seducing Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon), one of the eleven who is playing a character as part of the plot. I guess the big question is – how good does the film need to be to be able to ignore this? (Or perhaps a bigger question – after being annoyed by this in the first two films, why did I go on to watch the third?)

Ocean’s Twelve (2004) Film Review


So, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) is back out of jail (again) and he and the rest of the eleven have found things to spend their millions on. But Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) has found them, and insists on compensation. And then there is Francois Toulour (Vincent Cassel), a super-rich, super-clever gangster who wants to compete against Ocean to be considered the best thief in the world, and Isabel Lahiri (Catherine Zeta-Jones) a beautiful police officer who was dating Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt), but now is set to catch him and arrest him.

Again, there is a lot of fun, trickiness and playing with expectations, but it is, yet again, ruined for me by the representations of the females in the film. At least Tess (JuliaRoberts) gets a bit of a better go this time, actually doing something (even if she is forced into it by a whole bunch of men she doesn’t even know… creepy) (although seeing her play a character pretending to be Julia Roberts was a lot of fun). Then there is the Catherine Zeta-Jones character, a high-ranking police officer who is driven to fraud by her emotions – the need for revenge against her ex, and who (spoiler alert) is manipulated into giving up her very successful career by the very same ex and her father, who she believed was dead. Men manipulating women a lot. Way to spoil a good, fun film.


Ocean’s Eleven (2001) Film Review


Danny Ocean (George Clooney) has two goals when he gets out of jail; to win back his ex-wife, Tess (Julia Roberts) and to rob the casino that belongs to her current beau, Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia). He gets together a crack team of specialists (ten others to be exact… hence the Ocean’s Eleven).

A heist film is great. A casino heist film is even better. And with a whole bunch of hunks and spunks, clever writing and fun technology, plus twists that have you thinking one thing then it flips? What more could one want? How about a half decent female character in here? There is only one woman of any significantce in this film, and she is an object to be possessed. What’s more (spoiler alert), when she learns that her current beau is not the nicest guy, does she go and work her own life out? Hells no. She goes back to the man who lied to her and ruined her life. Sheesh, this film would have been better with no women at all. Annoying, because I really liked the rest of it.


Iron Man Three (2013) Film Review


Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jnr) is having panic attacks brought on by the alien attack in New York (The Avengers). On top of this, there is a super criminal, The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) who is taking over the airwaves to threaten the President of the US. And then there are these glowing people. They glow orange, as though they are full of lava. It’s weird.

Iron Man Three was everything I wanted it to be. Really evil bad guys, Robert Downey Jnr being funny and sexy, Don Cheadle getting to do some cool running and shooting. I don’t like Gwenyth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, but I think that’s because this character is a bit wet, and I’d like her to be a bit more… something. It’s not that she’s not strong – she runs the company and she stands up to Stark like no-one else. I just don’t like her as a character. I do like Paltrow, and need to see her doing something better, thanks. Oh, and then there is Guy Pearce, and I really cannot say often enough just how much I love his acting. He’s just fabulous.

Stay through the credits – as with all of these recent Marvel films, there’s a little bonus bit at the end. Especially if you like Mark Ruffalo.

The Guard (2011) MIFF Film Review


When I think of ‘buddy cop’ films, I think of Hollywood blockbusters such as Rush Hour with Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan, or Showtime with Robert De Niro and Eddie Murphy. Or, of course, Lethal Weapon. Films that, like romantic comedies, are a bit of a guilty secret for me. I love a blockbuster, but I often don’t tell people that.

So, when a film like The Guard comes along and is tagged as a buddy cop film, I cringe a little. Buddy cops don’t have a quirky sense of humour, or a cop who doesn’t play by the rules. Oh, hang on. They often do. I was about to argue that the tag of buddy cop was misplaced, but I am quickly reversing my opinion. What makes this different to most films of this style is the Irish sense of humour.

Boyle is a middle-aged cop in a sleepy town outside of Galway in Ireland. He doesn’t act like a cop – he deals with a crime scene in his own unique way and isn’t afraid to shy away from drugs or prostitutes. Along comes FBI Agent Everett to town to try to intercept a boat carrying half a billion dollars (street value) of cocaine from arriving in Ireland, and we have our buddy cop element.

I absolutely loved this film. Apart from the fact that this is almost the only film that has not left me depressed about life and the world, which really would have been enough for me to like the film, not to love it. I loved it for its humour, for it’s characters and for it’s ridiculousness. (Especially note: the scene with the bad guys in the aquarium. Why the hell were they there, and what was going on with the editing? But so, so funny – I’m glad they kept it in!)

In fact, there was only one thing which spoilt this film for me, and that was the unpleasant man sitting in front of me with rancid body odour.  Thanks, filthy man. Not only has your stink pervaded my nose and my clothes, but I cannot get the word ‘rancid’ out of my head. How filthy. How dare you spoil this film for me and I will be doubly annoyed if you now spoil the next two films I am seeing for me today.

Flight (2012) Film Review

When Denzel Washington acts, he plays the characters with such extreme intensity it is difficult not to get taken deep into their world. I’ve not always enjoyed the films, but generally I have enjoyed his performances. Although there tends to be little variety between performances.

Flight tells the story of pilot Whip Whitaker who manages to land a commercial airliner in extremely difficult circumstances. However, the investigations afterwards reveal that he has a problem with substance abuse.

What is very interesting is the way that, despite being a fairly deplorable character who treats those around him poorly, the audience is on the side of Whitaker throughout. Is this just because it is Denzel? Perhaps.

Even if you’re not a fan of Denzel, the film is worth seeing just for the system malfunction and miraculous landing alone. Far too exciting.

Denzel Washington was nominated for an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role and a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama.

John Gatins was nominated for an Oscar for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen.

Boogie Nights (1997) Film Review


It had been so long since I’d seen the film. All I could remember was that it was fabulous. It did not disappoint – such magnificent performances, excellent scripting, wonderful costume and set designs. It is amazing.

Boogie Nights is the story of the rise of Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg) a young and extremely well-endowed man who forged a career in the adult film industry. Led by one of the top producers in the field, Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds in one of the film world’s greatest comeback roles) and taken under the wing of actress Amber Waves (Julianne Moore), Diggler achieves stardom in the porn world. But, for all of the players, the partying, drugs and money have a finite life. Especially when the industry is turned on its head with the introduction of video.

I’m such a whinger about long films – I truly believe that most film stories can be told in ninety to a hundred minutes, and that going above this is rarely worth it. Boogie nights is two-and-a-half hours long, and not a moment is wasted. If every long movie was as good as this, I’d stop complaining. I promise.