The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009) Film Review


Walter (Denzel Washington) is a man working for the transit authority who has been busted down to controller when a train is taken over by Ryder (John Travolta) and his crew. What do they want? Will the innocent live or die?

This is your pretty standard eighties action film with a train, only somehow it was twenty years too late (perhaps I should be watching the original from 1974?). It’s ace and there’s all kinds of running and shooting and fun times. Oh, but John Travolta? I don’t know, I’m usually a fan, and I like it when he’s a bad guy, but he just didn’t do it for me in this one.



Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) Film Review


Why did I not think that a film based on an Old Testament story would be like Sunday School? And quite frankly, while I enjoyed Sunday School at the time, personally I’ve had enough.

So, Moses (Christian Bale) and Ramses (Joel Edgerton) grew up as brothers despite only Ramses being the son of Seti (John Turturro). Then there is a prophecy and Moses ends up discovering his true heritage – he is a Hebrew, and all of the Hebrews are slaves. So, he gets banished and then comes back, with the help of a little boy who is God, to free his people.

The odd thing about this film was that it both bored me and lost me when it skipped large blocks of time with little explanation. The cast is impressive: not only the three mentioned above, but also Aaron Paul, Ben Mendelsohn (who was, by far, the highlight of the film), Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley and Ewen Bremner. Yet yawn. Boring, long, and jeepers, I did not like Christian Bale in the role of Moses. Though, I think I may be realising that I am not a huge fan of Christian Bale. I fully expect him to prove me wrong in the future.

I think if you are into Religious Epic films, you will probably like this. I think if you are not religious and don’t mind a bit of an epic, you might like it. If you are religious, you may like it, although you may be like Egypt and Morocco and ban it because it is not historically accurate. What I would say is that even the most spectacular frog plague and the magnificent rejoining of the parted Red Sea did not make up for the yawnfest.

Miller’s Crossing (1990) Film Review


Tom Reagan (Gabriel Byrne) has worked for a long time as a right-hand-man for gangster Leo during Prohibition. But his loyalty is brought into question and he is left twisting in the wind, playing the sides off for each other and trying to stay alive.

It’s great. A complex film that you need to pay attention to, pay really close attention to. Along with all of the beauty and timing of a film by the Coen brothers. I do love a good prohibition film, and this, indeed is a good prohibition film.


Clockers (1995) Film Review


Strike (Mekhi Phifer) is a drug dealer in Brooklyn, working in the projects. He suffers from chronic stomach pain, possibly an ulcer, possibly just stress from his situation. When his boss, Rodney (Delroy Lindo) tells him he needs to step up to stop a rival dealer taking his territory by killing him, Strike confides in his straight-laced brother. The dealer is killed, but it is not clear who the murderer is.

The film tells a great story, but since the gritty realism of The Wire, it does feel quite dated and almost a bit sanitized. But it is this and other films by Spike Lee that have allowed things like The Wire to be created.


What Just Happened (2008) Film Review


Ben (Robert De Niro) is a film producer whose latest film, staring Sean Penn (playing himself) tests poorly – especially the killing of a dog at the end. He needs to fix it, which takes all kinds of maneuvering. On top of this, he is dealing with the end of his marriage with Kelly (Robin Wright), his teenage daughter Zoe (Kristen Stewart). Plus, the star of his next film, Bruce Willis (also playing himself) has grown an ugly beard and will not listen to pleas to sort himself out before shooting. Even his manager, Dick Bell (John Turturro) cannot sort it out (in-between his serious stomach issues).

It’s a film that is full of stars and Hollywood inside stuff, and I reckon that it is entirely possible that people within the industry would relate to it a lot, even if they may not like it. Me? I found it a bit interesting, and somewhat entertaining, but it didn’t totally grab me.


The Big Lebowski (1998) Film Review


No matter how many times I see this film, I can watch it more. It’s funny, tragic, quirky and ridiculous, and is one of my favourites ever.

So, there’s a guy called Lebowski who is better known as The Dude (Jeff Bridges). He’s an old hippy who potters around, getting through life somehow until one day his house is broken into by thugs who threaten him and urinate on his rug. When realising it is a case of mistaken identity, his best mates and bowling buddies Donnie (Steve Buscemi) and  Walter(John Goodman) advise him on how to resolve this issue. And along the way are nihilists, artists, acid flashbacks, kidnappings, beating up cars and a lot of swearing.

If you’ve not seen the film, you may well not like it. Because if you have friends who like the film, they’ve probably forced it on you. If you didn’t like it, you may no longer have those friends – it’s one of those films that people get crazy passionate about. Use this as a test: watch this clip that shows the entrance of Jesus (John Turturro). If you don’t think this is the most magnificent introduction of a character in cinematic history, you may not like the film. And I’ll chuck it out there: what other character entrances are magnificent? (My second would be Ray Winston in the opening of Sexy Beast. Find that one yourself – I couldn’t find it on youtube. You need the full version with Peaches by The Stranglers)