Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Favourite movies: Pulp Fiction; Memento; Apocalypse Now; Annie Hall; American Beauty; The Big Lebowski; Million Dollar Baby; Reservoir Dogs; Citizen Kane; Paris Texas; Lost in Translation; Rear Window; Fargo; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; A Clockwork Orange; The Godfather; Dr Strangelove; Full Metal Jacket; The Apartment; Anatomy of a Murder; Short Cuts; Sin City; Modern Times; Stagecoach; Ikiru; The Search (1948); Glory; Monty Python and the Holy Grail; The Wrestler; The Usual Suspects; Up; This is Spinal Tap; Taxi Driver; Mr. Smith Goes To Washington; Gettysburg; Fight Club; Treasure of the Sierra Madre; La Strada; The Deer Hunter; The Sixth Sense; To Kill a Mockingbird; Tora! Tora! Tora!; The Best Years Of Our Lives; Still Life; Witness for the Prosecution; Stars in my Crown; All About Eve; No Country for Old Men; M; A Tree Grows in Brooklyn; Stalker; Wild Strawberries; Saving Private Ryan.
Prefer clever dramas with good plots, character depth and/or a profound point, gritty crime dramas, edgy comedies and realistic war movies. Movies that make me think and/or feel.
Favourite directors: Quentin Tarantino, The Coen Brothers, Woody Allen, Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, Orson Welles, Charlie Chaplin, Billy Wilder, Christopher Nolan.
Favourite TV drama series (incl. mini-series): The Sopranos; Band of Brothers; Breaking Bad; The Wire; Firefly; Generation Kill; Stranger Things; Black Mirror; The Americans; Peaky Blinders; Narcos; Sherlock; The Night Of; After Life; Fargo; Orange is the New Black.
Favourite TV comedy series: Monty Python's Flying Circus; The Simpsons; Seinfeld; Chappelle's Show; Friends; Fawlty Towers; Arrested Development; Scrubs; 30 Rock; The Thick Of It; The Mighty Boosh; Family Guy; The Office (UK series); Black Adder; Yes Minister; The Colbert Report; Cheers; Action; The IT Crowd; Veep; Married With Children.
Intelligent and/or edgy comedies, plus gritty dramas, in general. Documentaries, esp on military history.
ListsAn error has ocurred. Please try again
Death Proof - highly entertaining; Planet Terror - disappointing
Death Proof: 8/10
Very entertaining and action-filled.
Good drama and fun, with some good action scenes. Has the depth of character and amusing conversations and diversions that make Tarantino movies so special.
However, not as multi-faceted as any of his other movies, and a deliberate attempt to make a B-grade movie, this is Tarantino's worst movie yet. Not that it is bad, just not as good as any of his other stuff, and considering that "other stuff" includes some of the greatest movies ever made - Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill - this is not a great insult.
Planet Terror: 2/10
I liked the Quentin Tarantino contribution to the Grindhouse pair of movies, "Death Proof". I have always been more of a Tarantino fan than Robert Rodriguez, but thought "Sin City" was brilliant and expected at least something entertaining for "Planet Terror". No, it is incredibly lame.
Plot is full of holes, action sequences are incredibly contrived, acting is wooden.
I realise that this was a homage to the Z-grade cheap horror Grindhouse movies of the 70s, but Rodriguez didn't have to be so faithful to the genre and make a crap movie.
Jackie Brown (1997)
Great follow-up to a masterpiece
Jackie Brown is a middle-aged airline stewardess who supplements her income by smuggling arms for crime kingpin Ordell Robbie. One day she is caught and the agents offer her a deal in order to apprehend Robbie. Robbie, however, is onto the threat and tries to have Brown eliminated. What follows is a dangerous game of bluff, deceit and betrayal.
In 1994, Quentin Tarantino wrote and directed the greatest film ever made, Pulp Fiction. Following up that movie was always going to be a tall order, especially as his previous movie, Reservoir Dogs, was almost as good. There was almost no way his third movie could even come close to those two masterpieces.
However, Tarantino gives it a good try.
Yes, Jackie Brown is not in the same league as Pulp Fiction, or Reservoir Dogs, but very little is. It is, however, still a great movie. Clever, solid, plot, based on Elmore Leonard's novel 'Rum Punch'. Has the Tarantino trademark complexity and interconnectivity of a few stories and characters and meticulous plot detail, all combined with very witty dialogue and dry dark humour.
Excellent performances, with Pam Grier (as Jackie Brown) and Robert Forster to the fore.
On the negative side, the plot does feel overly drawn out. The meticulousness slows down the pace of the movie. Also feels overly complex at times, as if some of the twists are there for twist's sake.
Still a great movie though.
Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018)
It is ten years since the world was attacked by creatures from another dimension. The creatures were only defeated due to the introduction of Jaegers, massive fighting machines, and the bravery and self-sacrifice of one man, Stacker Pentecost. Now his son, Jake, is a Jaeger training instructor and finds the fame of his father hard to live up to. Moreover, Earth's peace is about to be shattered as someone is out to unseal the breach and allow the creatures back in.
I was pleasantly surprised by the original Pacific Rim. I am not generally into CGI-driven sci fi action movies but, despite its many flaws, I found it reasonably entertaining. It seemed to have more substance than your average CGI movie.
Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the sequel. Pacific Rim - Uprising is incredibly bad. Basic, largely nonsensical plot. Any semblance of a storyline exists merely to move you from one mindless action scene to another. Throw in some gung ho dialogue and acting and this movie has nothing going for it.
Well, almost nothing: there are some nice views of Sydney, Australia. That was the main reason I even bothered to watch this, as some scenes were filmed outside my office.
Game of Thrones (2011)
Good but not great: massively over-rated
(Updated after Season 8)
Set in a fantasy land (though, in many ways, very similar to Earth in the Middle ages) the stories of several families and individuals and their quest for power. In particular, they all want the Iron Throne...
Good, epic, fantasy drama, based on the books by George RR Martin. Started extremely well: the focus on several individuals, the clever interlocking story lines, the weaving together of family feuds, power trips and pure greed and malice. Add in superb cinematography, settings, scenery and CGI, spot-on performances and some great battle scenes and we had an intriguing, engaging, action-packed drama.
One of the early trademarks of the show was the principle that no character was expendable: characters, often heroes and seemingly there for the long haul, get killed off in the blink of an eye, and out of the blue. This is good and bad. Good in that it shows that, as in life, there are no certainties and "heroes" / very likable characters with depth aren't necessarily immortal (this is definitely not Disney!). On the other hand, it leaves you feeling distant and unengaged. It's difficult to support a character when they could be killed off at any moment.
The other issue early on was that there are possibly too many stories being told simultaneously. Too many characters in the story I didn't care about (though the previous issue diluted this phenomenon somewhat!). This is particularly so in Seasons 3 and 4.
While the plot is good and the characters have depth, it isn't all substance: style plays its part and sometimes the dial is too much over to the style side. Over time, style starts to overwhelm substance.
This all said, it does start to come together from Season 5 onwards. Seasons 1 and 2 were good, and set up the story for some great development in Season 3. Unfortunately, Seasons 3 and 4 drifted somewhat. Season 5 gets us back on track and Season 6 propelled the story forward in a big way.
Season 7 is where the individual, seemingly parallel at times, stories start to come together, as we start to effectively get one story, rather than several. It also set up the series for the final season, which promised to be a humdinger.
...which it certainly wasn't. Game of Thrones Season 8 would have to be one of the most eagerly anticipated final seasons in TV history...and one of the worst (and I've watched the final seasons of Dexter and True Blood!). Having created the mythical world and developed the plot to this thrilling climax, spending eight years in doing so, the writers seemed to not know how to end it. Pacing is uneven, some plot developments are quite laughable (deux ex machina, anyone...), direction is weird at times - artsy for the sake of it (Episode 3...) and there's far more style than substance (and the style feels forced).
The final episode does tie things up quite neatly but more with a whimper than a bang. Very disappointing, especially considering the build-up.
Less drifting in the middle seasons (even cull one or two seasons), a tighter final season and no zombies (the white walkers were a waste of time - a distraction from the real confrontation) and this would have been brilliant.
Stage Fright (1950)
Not one of Hitchcock's best
Jonathan Cooper is on the run from the police, wanted for murder. He hides out with a friend, Eve Gill, who then investigates the crime.
Directed by the great Alfred Hitchcock, but not one of his best. Plot is overly convoluted and confusing, and drifts. Not very interesting either.
Acting is so-so.
Benjamin Button lives his life backwards, starting as an old man and getting younger instead of older. This has a major impact on his relationships.
Good movie. Interesting and very original plot. Considering the concept I was expecting something more profound towards the end, but instead got a romantic angle, which was a bit disappointing.
Ultimately, no big meaning, but a very good story.
The Butterfly Effect (2004)
Heaps of potential wasted
Had heaps of potential, with an interesting central concept. However, the movie degenerates into populist, movie-for-the-masses schlock. The presence of Ashton Kutcher should give away the fact that this is nothing more than a B-grade movie.
Good, but could have been brilliant
Good movie. Could have been brilliant though, in the hands of a better director. Very original concept and plot, and the first half is riveting. However, the plot gets a bit muddled towards the end, and the movie feels like your average crime-drama. A bit more focus from director Neil Burger in the latter stages would have made this great.
Good performances all round. Bradley Cooper is solid in the lead role. Robert De Niro doesn't know how to give a bad performance. Good support from Abbie Cornish.
Now, imagine how amazing this movie would have been if Christopher Nolan (say) had directed it...
The Greatest Showman (2017)
Much style, little substance
The story of PT Barnum, famous for founding Barnum and Bailey Circus and revolutionising entertainment.
Much style, little substance. Some of this is to be expected, as you can't have a movie on a showman extraordinaire and one of the most significant figures in entertainment history without a large amount of pizzazz.
However, the movie doesn't really give us much of Barnum's history or motivations. The main focus seems to be on cramming as many song and dance numbers into the movie as possible, at the expense of any plot. For every minute of plot or character development you have four minutes of musical numbers.
To crown it all, the music is poor and irritating. Every musical number sounds like something from a made-for-kids animated Disney movie, rather than a biopic. The movie is set in the mid-1800s yet we have ultra-contemporary numbers. It is quite jarring and negates any semblance of historical accuracy, credibility or substance.
Marley & Me (2008)
Sweet, fun, emotional movie
Sweet, fun, emotional movie, all about a dog. Anyone who has ever had a pet dog will relate to this. You will be manipulated by the blatant sentimentality of it, and will not mind. In fact, you will enjoy it.
Surely one of the dumbest, most ridiculous, movies ever made. Was interesting for probably about two minutes at the beginning, and then the rot set in. Not only dumb, but sacrilegious, considering that Abraham Lincoln was one of the greatest statesmen that ever lived.
What's next, "Mahatma Gandhi, hobbit"?
Tristan + Isolde (2006)
Dull, unoriginal and predictable
Dull, unoriginal and predictable. Trite plot. Seriously irritating and hammy acting by James Franco (I still haven't figured out why he has an acting career). Even a supporting cast of biggish names - Rufus Sewell, Mark Strong, Henry Cavill - can't save this.
The only positive is Sophia Myles, for many reasons...
Incredibly bad, for many reasons
A serial killer is killing people, with his method based on the game Hangman. In order to track down the killer, a homicide detective lures his ex-partner out of retirement. During their investigations a crime reporter will shadow them.
Incredibly bad. Plot is wafer thin and lacking in credibility or intrigue. It's just your standard linear plot, interspersed with action scenes. Direction by Johnny Martin is lacklustre: no attempt is made to draw you along on the journey (not that the plot gives him much of a journey to work with). It's all pretty much paint-by-numbers stuff.
Then there's the performances. I suspect the only reason this film got made is that Al Pacino agreed to star in it. Somebody should have reminded the producers that he's 77 years old! This type of movie is something Pacino would have revelled in 25+ years ago but now...not so much. Yet he still plays it like he's 30-something: big, tough, loud and belligerent. It all just seemed so cliched and out of place with his physical appearance. Even he didn't seem convinced that he should be playing the role and phoned it in.
Karl Urban is hardly better, giving a really wooden performance as the other cop.
About the only convincing performance is that of Brittany Snow, as the reporter.
Iron Sky (2012)
Mostly silly, but has its moments
Mostly silly, but has its moments. Think of it more as a parody of international relations and sci fi movies, especially ones involving Nazis, and you'll be fine. Does have some hilarious observations on modern politics.
Performances are so-so. Hard to be very convincing with such a farcical plot.
Pro-Palestinian terrorists hijack an Air France passenger flight, en route from Tel Aviv to Paris, and divert it to Entebbe, Uganda. There are a large number of Israelis on board and the terrorists threaten to execute them if their demands are not met. The Israel Defense Forces plans a daring raid to free the hostages.
Quite weak. Pretty dull and unobjective, largely painting the terrorists as the heroes. Moreover, what should have atoned for all the build-up - the action in the climactic raid - is ruined by director Jose Padilha. He throws in some pretentious, completely-out-of-place interpretative dance during the battle scene, wrecking the flow of the final scene completely.
Watch Raid on Entebbe (1976) instead.
Interesting and edifying
A documentary on HMS Victory, Admiral Nelson's flagship. We are led on a guided tour of the ship, showing every aspect of her construction and running and what went into keeping her and her crew functioning perfectly. We also examine her history, especially her most famous battle, Trafalgar.
Interesting and edifying. Presented by Andrew Baines, historian and curator of HMS Victory, we are led on an access-all-areas tour of the great ship. This includes sections that nobody gets to see, or tends to think that they would want to see, e.g. the hold, but whose function is important to the ship. Baines does a great job of creating a narrative around each area and how it fits into the running of the ship.
This also gives us an inkling of what life would have been like for the crew of such a vessel.
Baines then also details the history of HMS Victory and especially her most famous battle, Trafalgar. Through being on the ship, his guided tour and narration we now get a great picture of what that battle must have been like.
Waterloo, l'ultime bataille (2015)
Interesting and edifying
The famous and history-defining Battle of Waterloo: the background, build-up, the protagonists, men in each army, the result.
Interesting and edifying. Doesn't just detail the battle itself but the lead-up to it: the Napoleonic Wars, Napoleon's defeat, exile, escape and re-ascendance, Wellington's history, the coalition formed against Napoleon, Napoleon's strategy and the manoeuvring of the armies, French, British and Prussian, before Waterloo.
We meet some of the everyday soldiers in both camps, how they came to be there, their part in the battle and subsequent history. Even the battle is presented as a chess-like game between Napoleon and Wellington, to add engagement.
Decent array of historians who add some good insights.
USS Franklin: Honor Restored (2011)
The story of USS Franklin (CV-13), an Essex class aircraft carrier. The documentary focuses primarily on the horrific damage and losses she sustained off the coast of Japan in March 1945, the heroic efforts to prevent the ship being lost and her subsequent career.
Interesting, enlightening documentary. Details well the events that lead to Franklin being damaged, the life-and-death struggle to keep her afloat, her travails in returning home and what became of her. In particular, highlights the incompetence and sheer thuggery of her commanding officer, how this contributed to the incident and his subsequent conduct.
Good use of interviews of surviving sailors. Shows what the events meant to them and the ordeal they went through.
Decent narration by Dale A Dye, when I could hear him. The producers insisted on playing music over his narration, and cranking up the volume of the music vs his speaking, making it difficult at times.
Some interesting insights but often quite superficial
The life of Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, with an emphasis on his private life.
The Duke of Wellington is one of the foremost and most famous military figures of all time. While his military feats are well known, this documentary largely shows his lesser-known and troubled private life. Provides some interesting insights but feels quite superficial at times.
This may due to the brief nature of the documentary. A much more extensive documentary, ideally a series, would have been much more ideal. Then, rather than just concentrate on his personal life, we would have seen that plus his much more interesting military endeavours.
Running Time (1997)
Simple but effective
Carl is released from jail after serving a 5-year term and immediately sets about executing his next heist. The plan is relatively simple but time is of the essence. Unfortunately, he doesn't factor in bad luck or the incompetence of his accomplices.
Innovative yet simple film that is quite effective. Directed by Josh Becker, Running Time runs to real time - one minute of the viewer's time is one minute in the world of the movie. It is also shot in black & white, giving the film a raw, film noir atmosphere. Most tellingly, the camera work gives the feel of a single camera and one continuous shot, giving a very realistic feel.
The script, written by Becker and Peter Choi, is reasonably solid, though with one or two minor holes. Dialogue is snappy, and this helps the momentum of the movie. Here Becker is helped immensely by having Bruce Campbell (of The Evil Dead / Army of Darkness fame) in the lead role. He is perfect in the role and is easily a major factor in the effectiveness of the movie. Considering the low production values and how unknown the other actors are, I imagine his salary also made up a large part of the budget (total budget = $130,000, apparently): the idea would have been to keep everything else as cheap as possible and spend the bulk on the lead actor.
This said, the supporting cast are okay. Nobody is terrible and there's no hamminess (The Room this is not!). Dana Craig as the held-up office manager is probably the worst of the lot and his impact is kept to a minimum.
Some clumsiness in direction from Becker but this generally helps the realistic, candid feel of the movie. The real time aspect is not really used as effectively as it could have been: the importance of time is underplayed to an extent. Only during the robbery itself do we get the feeling that we are racing against the clock. What would have made it more enthralling and engaging would have been a count-down timer in the corner of the screen, showing how much time they have left to pull of the job. This may have detracted from the raw feel of the movie though.
Not brilliant, but quite innovative and a superb effort given the budgetary constraints.
Very weak. Just about anyone could have written a better script. The plot is predictable and filled with so many gung ho clichés that only kids would find this original and realistic. The dialogue is laughable, and the acting equally appalling.
Strike Back (2010)
The operations of Section 20, a secretive British intelligence unit.
One-dimensional and dull: pretty much all action, little plot. Started badly enough: Season 1, with John Porter as the main character, held very little intrigue and just seemed to be a join-the-random-dots version of James Bond.
With the introduction of two new main characters in Season 2 - Michael Stonebridge and Damian Scott - things initially brightened. Pacing was faster and the plots seemed clearer and less contrived, though still not great. The whole thing became a lot edgier too.
However, Season 2 was just a temporary relief. After that it just degenerated into heaps of action scenes, with the barest excuse for them. Plot largely went out of the window, and what there was was predictable and repetitive.
I gave up halfway through Season 3.
Mind-blowingly brilliant...for two seasons
Stories set in Minnesota, often involving a minor incident that leads to something huge, and multiple-homicidal. In Season 1 an insurance salesman accidentally hires a hitman to kill the man who has been bullying him all his life. In Season 2 a covered-up hit-and-run has major repercussions. In Season 3 a family feud over a stamp leads to a case of mistaken identity and several murders.
Brilliant...for the first two seasons. I was initially sceptical of this series, thinking it was just a serialised version of the Coen Brothers' superb film of the same name. Turns out it's not, but it does have a lot in common with the movie, and this is a good thing.
Creator Noah Hawley manages to capture the atmosphere and central concept of the movie without copying the movie. The plots are different to the movie but have the same pattern: a minor incident/decision that, through misunderstanding and bad luck, escalates into something massive, involving multiple murders. There's the white, cold visual aspect to the movie (being set in Minnesota in winter) which leads to a brooding, desolate feel to the series. Plus, there's the dark Coenesque humour. All this, without the Coens having any creative input into the series: they're executive producers, and nothing more.
This was especially true in Season 1. The season was so true to the feel of the movie I was sure the Coen brothers had a major hand in it (they didn't). Add in a superb performance by Billy Bob Thornton as the psychopathic Lorne Malvo and Season 1 was off-the-charts brilliant.
Season 2 was less intriguing than Season 1 and had a less-tight plot, but had more action. It builds up to this action though and the pacing is superb, building like an avalanche. The last few episodes are absolutely frenetic and riveting. While largely an independent season, the links to characters in Season 1 make this even more interesting. Only downside: the UFOs. They seemed rather gimmicky, added nothing to the story and didn't help the tightness of the plot.
Season 3 was easily the worst of the first three seasons. It has some good passages of play, some interesting characters and a wonderful tie-in with Season 1 but is definitely not in the same league as the first two seasons. The plot is far-fetched, truly testing the series' "This is a true story" line. Quite clumsy and disjointed at times, with sub-plots that add nothing except to take up time, a cartoonish villain (and one of the most dentally-unhygienic characters of all time) and plot developments that don't always make sense.
It also feels a bit unoriginal: the "police officer who sees the full picture but is hindered by the incompetence of their boss" angle was covered in Season 1.
Throw in some David Lynch-like sequences (often involving Ray Wise, who starred in Twin Peaks) and the season has a style-over-substance feel to it.
Overall, Season 3 is watchable but is a major disappointment after Seasons 1 and 2.
Season ratings: Season 1 10/10 (can I go full Spinal Tap and give this an 11/10? It deserves such a score), Season 2 10/10, Season 3 7/10. Yeah, I know this averages to 9/10 but the series deserves a 10/10 just for the concept and, especially, how good Season 1 was.
Jûsan-nin no shikaku (2010)
So-so. Initially interesting but plot is pretty pointless after a while, as it just degenerates into fight scene after fight scene. The fight scenes are superb, however.
Sukiyaki Western Django (2007)
Interesting concept, badly executed
Interesting concept, being a Japanese western. Throw in some clear nods to Quentin Tarantino, including his presence in the movie, and Kurosawa, the direction of Takashi Miike and an interesting initial plot and this movie had heaps of potential.
However, it is very badly executed. The plot is random, the acting weak, and the direction poor. Very weak, ultimately.