Darth Stujitzu's Reviews

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Sir Sean Connery's love-child
2006 Directed by : Timur Bekmambetov

The sequel to Nightwatch continues with the battle between light and dark and the search for the mysterious Chalk of Fate.

Although far from perfect, Nightwatch was an enjoyable experience, a decent story and some very intresting visuals.
Daywatch follows the general rule of sequels, bigger budget, bigger effects, bigger action etc.

Unfortunately it appears that Bekmambetov has been given free reign and has gone for all out huge visual effects and style over content.
Story definetly plays second fiddle in this sequel, but rather than benefit from these bigger effect driven action sequences, the film looses its way and seems to indulge the director's every whim to the detrement of the plot.

Big action sequences are fine, but once again dodgy CGI gives the film an almost cartoon like feel at times, and most of the scenes are just so unbelievable that I lost interest long before the film finished some two hours and twenty six minutes later.

Looks like more of the same from Bekmambetov as his next film is the action daft " Wanted " with Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman, and that other great Scotsman James MacAvoy, before completing his trilogy with Twilight Watch in 2009.

Rating 2/5 Style over content, big on effects but short on story!!!
Hey Pepe, would you say I have a plethora of presents?

Toga, toga, toga......

Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbour?

Sir Sean Connery's love-child
Of Mice And Men
1992 Directed by : Gary Sinise

Based on the novel by John Steinbeck, the film follows the lives of two drifters George & Lennie as they travel across America during the great depression.

Of Mice And Men is one of those books that changes your life, along with The Great Gatsby, The Catcher in the Rye & To Kill A Mockingbird, it is the stable reading of many schoolkids of my generation, these books are invaluable teaching tools for personal growth of young developing minds.

A tragic, bittersweet book that touches almost everyone that reads it, it was always going to be a tall order to do the book justice as a film.

The film itself is a decent effort, the caliber of acting is impressive, Hollywood regulars Gary Sinise & John Malkovich headline as George & Lennie respectfully, Malkovich is his usual dependable self, whilst Sinise is an actor who is always watchable.

My main problem with the film is that it has a distinctly made for TV look about it.
It never quite fully engaged me as much as the book, there is nothing far wrong with it, but personally I didn't feel it did the material justice.

Sinise's direction is fine, the supporting cast all do their jobs, especially Sherilyn Fenn ( but then she was one of my first huge teenage crushes ), so it's worth a look if you need to kill a couple of hours.

Rating 3/5 Good but not great.

Sir Sean Connery's love-child
The Diving Bell & The Butterfly
2007 Directed by : Julian Schnabel

The true story of French Editor of Elle Magazine Jean-Dominique Bauby, who managed to write his memoir by blinking to the alphabet after being paralised by a stroke.

I'd been looking forward to seeing the film for ages, due to my extreme workload last year, I missed so many films, and for once hadn't seen any of the major films nominated for this year's Oscars.

After watching the film, it was pretty much what I expected, well directed & acted, some great cinematography, and loads of dark humour.
What's more amazing is that film is a true story, its a truely uplifting piece of cinema, that once again proves the human spirit knows no bounds.
Schnabel is a very apt director, and managed to make an entertaining and very watchable film.
By showing Bauby's life before the accident in flashbacks, the excellent Mathieu Amalric is given plenty to do, he is a very capable actor whom I've been impressed with anytime I've seen him. Aided by strong female leads Emmanuelle Seigner, Marina Hands, Talina Boyaci, & the ever watchable Max Von Sydow, the film is carried along with verve & humor applenty.

The Diving Bell & The Butterfly is one of the better films I've seen recently, it won't be to everyone's taste, but for those that like World Cinema, its a very worthwhile film.

Rating 4/5 Worth the wait!

Sir Sean Connery's love-child
1985 Directed by : Jeff Kanew

Travelling to Europe on his summer break from college, Jonathon goes in search of fun, excitement and women.
Soon he meets the alluring Sasha and ends up in all sorts of trouble.

OK, so its' a guilty pleasure, revisiting films of your teenage years, films you loved back then, to see if they've lasted the test of time and to see if your taste has also lasted the test of time.

Its an ok film, dumb but fun, it hasn't aged as well as other films from my formulative teenage years, I guess sometimes its not wise to revisit your youth.

Fun to watch a very young Anthony Edwards & Linda Fiorentino going through their paces, unfortunately like a lot of films from the 80's, its Cold War plot seems very dated to today's youth.

Rating 2.5/5 Weird Science still rocks!!!

Sir Sean Connery's love-child
This Girls Life
2003 Directed by : Ash

Moon is a modern girl in every way, a huge internet porn star, Moon makes no excuses for her choice of lifestyle, but just how in control of her life is she really?

First of, there are graphic scenes of nudity and simulated sex in this film, right from the get go, so to those of a prudish nature, stay clear.

This is one of those films, that on paper probably sounded like a great idea, a modern day Pretty Woman, a tart with a heart, a porn star who looks after her father who suffers from Parkinson's Disease.
There is a decent cast involved, James Woods plays the father, Rosario Dawson plays Moon's best friend who challenges her lifestyle and choices, but at the centre of the film is Juliette Marquis as Moon.

It'll come as no surprise that something happens to Moon that changes her views on her life, yep its the old morale dilema story wrapped up in the sleazy world of internet porn.
A decent cast does not make a decent film in this case, its a tawdry effort that is instantly forgetable.

Rating 2/5 Nothing much to see here, not even Rosario can save it.

Sir Sean Connery's love-child
The Orphanage
2007 Directed by : Juan Antonio Bayona

Returning to the orphanage that she grew up in, Laura brings her family back to help open up the orphanage again for special needs children.
On the opening day her son Simon, who has been communicating with new invisible friends, disappears, and Laura starts a journey into the unknown that challenges her sanity, marriage and her son's life.

The main reason I was drawn to this film is because of the involvement of Guillermo Del Toro, a director & filmmaker I particularly admire.

The look of the film is similar in tone to Del Toro's Pans Labyrinth, but unfortunately it hasn't the same style or direction as his masterpiece.

Its an ok film, let down by a so-so ending, I was really enjoying the film but felt strangely let down by the finale.
Perhaps I was judging the film by Del Toro's standards, which would be unfair as Bayona show signs of being a promising director, but is still a long way off from being as good a director & storyteller as Del Toro.
It was creepy in all the right places, tension was built at the right pace, and the creepy kid in the mask was good but underused. Its a nearly film, good but not great, perhaps Del Toro's involvement heightened my expectations unfairly.

Rating 3.5/5 Give it a go, especially if you like ghost stories.

The Diving Bell & The Butterfly
2007 Directed by : Julian Schnabel

The true story of French Editor of Elle Magazine Jean-Dominique Bauby, who managed to write his memoir by blinking to the alphabet after being paralised by a stroke.

What's more amazing is that film is a true story, its a truely uplifting piece of cinema, that once again proves the human spirit knows no bounds.

The Diving Bell & The Butterfly is one of the better films I've seen recently, it won't be to everyone's taste, but for those that like World Cinema, its a very worthwhile film.
Rating 4/5 Worth the wait!
I saw this at the movies, It was a wonderful emotional journey of the human spirit. Visually i loved it

Sir Sean Connery's love-child
Paris Lockdown
2007 Directed by : Frederic Schoendoerffer

What happens when a criminal overlord looses his power, liberty and trust of his most trusted men.

Billed as the French " Heat ", Paris Lockdown is supposed to be a stylish French take on gangster culture in Paris.
To mention Paris Lockdown in the same sentence as Heat is sacrillage, by comparison its a hack job, imagine Heat directed by Guy Ritchie, and you're not far off.
It is very stylishly shot, and you can see that it had a decent budget, but unfortunately the editing is all over the place, the main lead male character is hammy beyond belief, and spends most of the time gurning at the camera which is supposed to be intimidating.
There are very strong brutal scenes of torture, violence and sex from the start. Some of the torture seems are totally over the top, heavy on gore, but light on tension or dramatic pacing, where "Seven" cleverly planted the seed in your imagination, Paris Lockdown relies heavily in over the top gore.
The structure of the film is all over the place, imagine Tarantino on speed, there are random cut aways that add nothing to the story and seem totally pointless, personally I think the director has been given too much free reign.

A poorly executed, showy, ganster flick that fails to deliver, or tick the right boxes, should never be mentioned in the same vain as Heat.
Rating 1.5/5 I would never swear on Mofo, but this film is MERDE!!!

Sir Sean Connery's love-child
2008 Directed by : Neil Marshall

After the deadly Reper Virus wipes out the Scottish population, the British Government decides to enclose Scotland with a concrete wall.
Several decades later, the virus resurfaces in London, short on ideas, a crack team of military & scientists are sent back into Scotland to search for a cure after life is discovered there.

Doomsday is what happens if you take your favourite moments from post apocaliptic films like Escape from New York, Aliens, Mad Max, 28 Days Later, throw in a pinch of the Warriors and blend all together. In short its a film of little homages to the previous mentioned films, high on style but low on substance.

Its a shame, Neil Marshall is a decent director, his films have always entertained even if made on the lower budget afforded to the afore mentioned Hollywood blockbusters.

The film starts quite well, I was enjoying it until about 50 minutes in when it totally looses the plot and turns into an overlong version of Duran Duran's Wild Boys video, unfortunately, its all downhill from there and the film goes from cliche to cliche.

So, what are the major downfalls of Doomsday, well firstly the lead villan is terrible, he is everything I hate about Scottish acting, more of a clown than someone who would put the fear of God into you after the world around you had fallen to pieces, secondly Malcolm McDowall rehashes a role he's played several times before, the dialogue is woefull, the action sequences are poorly executed and lacking any real tension and there are several plot holes that are never properly explained.

Its not all doom & gloom, as hairdressers the world over will be relieved to know that in a post apocaliptic world they will at least be kept busy tending to everyone's multi-coloured mohawks, whilst those that partake in battle re-enactments will be the very height of fashion, and Glasgow will become sub-tropical, it probably hasn't seen as much of the sun since the big bang!!!

To sum up, Doomsday is a missed opportunity, it could have been as good as 28 Days / Weeks Later, but instead comes across as a poor man's Beyond Thunderdome, especially the woefull decision to introduce Frankie Goes to Hollywood's Two Tribes to try and inject some life into a film that is going into terminal decline.

Rating 2 /5 the film gets an extra half a point for the gorgeous Rhona Mitra, and the fact that about 8 of my colleagues worked on it!!!

Sir Sean Connery's love-child
Hellboy 2 : The Golden Army
2008 Directed by : Guillermo Del Toro

Determined to ruin the peace between humans and mythical creatures, Prince Nuada prepares to launch the unstopable Golden Army to wage war & destruction on mankind.

So, as you would expect from a sequel, the bar is raised, bigger action sequences, stunts, cast etc are all in place, but unfortunately, for this reviewer, Del Toro has taken his eye off the ball this time.

I'm a huge fan of Del Toro as a director, but to be honest, Hellboy 2 is in my mind his poorest, most formulaic film to date.
The original Hellboy was a joy to watch, but I felt my mind wander several times during the sequel, far too much CGI and a wishy washy story failed to hold my attention throughout.

The dynamic between Hellboy & Liz was more of a distraction than a worthwhile addition to the film, whilst other story arcs did little to intrest me or keep me engaged, as for Luke Goss, if you've seen Blade 2, you've pretty much seen his performance already.

I might seem to be a little harsh, but I was hugely disappointed in the film, Del Toro has been a director who's work has constantly hit the heights, but Hellboy 2 never really seems to get going, it seems to be constantly pulled in different directions and has no real sense of purpose or sense of impeading dread to liven things up.

I will watch the film again on DVD, perhaps I was in the wrong frame of mind, or maybe Del Toro is human after all, every director has a turkey in their collection somewhere, only time will tell.

Rating 3/5 disappointing fare from Del Toro.

Sir Sean Connery's love-child
The Dark Knight
2008 Directed by : Christopher Nolan

The much anticipated sequel to Batman Begins follows Batman's continued struggle against the underworld of Gotham City, a new breed of criminal has come to power, the Joker will push Batman to the very limits of his moral code.

So, by now everybody has read or written a review of the Dark Knight, and while the film is almost everything that the hype promised, there were one or two things that didn't quite come up to the mark.

Firstly, I'm not writting this to fly in the face of the popular status quo, the film is breathtaking and easily the best film of the year so far, but there were a few things that left me a little disappointed.
My main gripe is that personally I didn't feel particularly satisfied with the end to either of the villans' story arc.

Ledger is amazing as the Joker, and whilst I loved Nicholson, for me Ledger is possibly the closest thing we will ever see to the real Joker in the comic books.
Twisted, bitter, crazy and totally out of control, his performance was breathtaking, but am I the only one to feel that as the main villan he deserved a somewhat more iconic ending to his participation in the film?

Secondly, Aaron Eckhart was fantastic as Harvey Dent, but I personally felt that the whole Two face arc was dealt with in a rather hurried and unsatisfactory manner, similar to Venom in the Spiderman film, I wanted to see more of him and his villanous ways on screen.

Similar to the other film, the Rachel Dawes character had little to do and again it felt like it was perhaps a missed opportunity to really flesh out the character, although I have an idea that we might perhaps see a bit more of her in a sequel, I know people will raise eyebrows at this thought, but what did we really see regarding her supposed demise???

I did feel that similar to other sequels that perhaps the Dark Knight suffered from introducing too many key characters in the film, did it really need the Two Face character to be fully used in this film?

So, to sum up, I loved the film, but as stated there were a few minor niggles, the scenes in Hong Kong were amazing, as was the bank heist, I look forward to seeing what Nolan will do if he does indeed come back to conclude a triology of films, as for the rumours, I would love to see Johnny Depp as the Riddler, or perhaps a certain love interest coming back to haunt Batman/ Bruce Wayne???

Rating 4.5/5 close, very close to being the Batman film the public are craving for.