As I never have time for a writing a full length review, I'll list and make a quick review of the films I see in 2006. Movies take a long time to reach Japan, so for people outside Japan, these might make good rental choices.....or not!
This adaptation of the novel by Christopher Paolini is okay. It's not a great movie, certainly not in the league of Lord of the Rings, but it's fun. It does stray quite a bit from the book, but I believe that most of that is to fit a long story into a less than 2 hour movie. The story is basically a Star Wars plot with a dragon thrown in for good measure....young farm boy finds a dragon, leaves home, is given a wonderful weapon by an older mentor who then perishes saving the boy's life, and along the way he saves a princess/elf and falls in love. See what I mean? Almost Star Wars. However, I liked it. It's fun. The book is quite violent, the movie a little less so, but the scenes of the dragon flying were wonderful. Not a bad time waster. However, if you are a huge fan of the book, you might not be as forgiving of it's omissions.
An action packed entry into the Bond series by Daniel Craig. This movie starts moving from the very first second and rarely stops for breath. The thing I liked most about this Bond was that it seemed almost believable. Bond's actions didn't seem to be all CG'd up, I got the feeling that a very fit man could actually do them. He'd suffer, but he could do them. I was a big fan of Pierce Brosnan's Bond, but I have to say that I liked Daniel Craig's better. He's good looking when he wants to be, but all killer when he has to be. Also, there was a real story this time, rather than just a sequence of stunts. However, the stunts were phenomenal!
If you like action films or James Bond, this film is definitely worth checking out!
A light and frothy movie about a young woman who almost sells her soul to a fashion magazine. Andrea is given a job at at Runway Magazine. She's Assistant number 2 to Miranda, the editor, an unpleasant woman played brilliantly (as ever) by Meryl Streep. It's classic chick-flick stuff, "ugly " duckling becomes swan by putting on a few designer clothes and losing weight....she goes from a size 6 to a size 4...(I don't like that message. Come on , a size 6 is fat? Pulease.) Anyway, the actors almost manage to sell it and it is a fun, but like most fashion magazines, ultimately meaningless movie. Fun, but not essential.
From P.D. James' bleak novel about a world where women cannot have children, this adaptation of her story works on many levels. Britain, about 30 years on, is in a crisis. All foreigners are being deported, rounded up and caged, before being sent away. Is this a jab at the US government's prison in Cuba? The treatment of illegal immigrants into Britain and the US?
Theo (Clive Owen), a man given to drinking and smoking too much is asked to help take a woman to the coast where she can join a group that will help her. He doesn't know why she needs help, but discovers soon that she's pregnant. Kee (Claire-Hope Ashitey) is the first pregnant woman on the planet for almost 20 years. The group that claimed they want to help her wants to use her instead, and the government would almost certainly take her child away.Theo must risk his life in order to take Kee to safety. It's a depressing yet compelling story. What happens to people when all hope for the future is gone, and then it is given back to them? This movie attempts to answer this question. Very good, but not a "fun time" at the movies.
A confusing film noir that looks great,but sadly, just doesn't work. There's a little bit of everything in this film, a love triangle, lesbians, movie starlets,boxing, cops, ex-prostitutes, pornography...and it's just too much. It's very loosely based on a real murder case, but the movie isn't about solving the case. Sadly, after 2 hours, I'm just not sure what it is about! I've read that an hour was taken out of the film, I'd be interested in finding out if that hour helps the movie make any more sense. Definitely one to wait for the dvd-director's cut version!
An okay story of a man who discovers a Narf living in the swimming pool of the building he takes care of. He tries to help her and involves most of the tenants of the building in the process. I liked the little touches that Shyamalan put in, the Korean mother and daughter who always fought, the strange athletic guy building up one side of his body only, and the father and son figuring out puzzles of different sorts. The overall story is a bit of a letdown, but Paul Giamatti is good enough to almost make it up. Worth watching if you like Shyamalan's work, or Paul Giamatti. Okay to see on DVD too I think!
A charming story of two lovers separated by time, but joined by letters and a beautiful house on a lake. The story is quite simple. A man moves into a glass lakehouse, built by his father. He receives letters from a doctor who used to live in the house, but in the future. Confusing? It is a little at first, but soon is sorted out. We realized that these two people belong together but they are separated by two years. How and will they meet?
It's wonderful to see a movie where people write to each other, and where people talk about books. Especially about Persuasion. (Note: Jane Austen's Persuasion is my favourite of her books so I was delighted to see it used in this film.) This is a great little film and you'll be rooting for the couple to find a way to be together. I recommend it for romantics of any age.
The gang is back, and it's a rush to see them all. Jean Grey returns, but she's not the nice quiet scientist that she was before. There's a "cure" found for mutants, but is it needed? Magneto doesn't think so and declares war on the makers of the cure. The Xavier crew tries to protect mutant rights and the source of the cure. It's a good, fun time at the movie. Well worth seeing if you are a fan of the X-men.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I saw this film. I had heard both good and bad things, and I found them both in this film. The first is the good. While to me, the definitive film Superman will always be Christopher Reeve, I must say I was pleasantly suprised at how sweet I found Brandon Routh's performance to be. This is a nice guy hiding behind the glasses. The bad? Lex Luthor's plot. Oh, come on Lex, you couldn't think of something more evil than creating a new continent?
The story goes something like this. After a break of five years, Superman returns to find Lois is engaged to a nice guy, and surprise, surprise, she has a son. He's roughly five years old. Hmmm. At almost the same time, Lex Luther gets out of prison and visits the Fortress of Solitude and has a conversation with Marlon Brando...oops, I mean Superman's Dad. He discovers how to use the crystals and decides to do bad things with them.
One small complaint I had with this film is that there wasn't enough of Clark Kent. Superman was in most of the film, and Clark was only in a few scenes. I think one thing I liked most about Superman was the dichotomy between Clark and Superman, but that isn't a featured part of this film.
So, the question I'm sure you're dying to know is, do I like this film? Yes, very much. It's a worthy entry in the Superman series. If you're a fan of the guy in blue tights, visit your local theatre!
Despite hearing that the second movie was a letdown and not as good as the first, I enjoyed it greatly. Some intriguing new characters are added to the mix, and the action scenes are wild, hilarous and breathtaking. This is a great little film. I'll probably try to see it again, and I will buy the DVD when it comes out! If you liked the first one, you'll most likely enjoy this one too.
Our hero Ethan Hunt (Cruise) is on the verge of getting married, but is asked to perform one last mission, to rescue a fellow operative that he trained. He and his team attempt a rescue and set in motion a train of events that just don't stop.
I love action movies if they are intelligent or show me something that I've never seen before. This one has some great stunts and special effects, but there is a simple love story in the middle too. I found it very sweet, and reasonably believeable. If you liked the first MI movie, you'll probably like this one.
This is a remake of one of the first disaster movies. I haven't seen the entire first movie, although I read the novel many, many times as a teenager. This version, the story of a group of survivors who struggle to get out of the ship after it turns upside-down on New Year's Eve, is okay. I never felt in sympathy with the characters, and never really forgot that this was a movie. I like Kurt Russell very much, and he's quite believeable as a former fire-fighter/former New York Mayor, but not much else in this movie works. It was a pleasant time-waster, and not much else. Good if there's nothing else to watch.
Unless you've lived under a rock for the last 2 years, you probably know something about the story of this movie. I read the book, couldn't put it down in fact, and then when it was over was horribly disappointed. It was terrible. The story was fascinating, but the writing was terrible. Happily, the movie works where the book didn't. The story is a non-stop action ride, and doesn't give the viewer time to dwell on it's shortcomings. The curator of the Lourve is murdered, but before he died, left clues to a huge secret. Robert Langdon, a University professor in town for a lecture is called in to help solve the clues. Helped by Sophie Neuveu, a police cryptologist, he begins a one night quest to find the holy grail. Or something. If you take this in the right light, it's a movie folks, it's fun. As Theology 101, well, I'd just as soon pass.
The actors are all fine, and the director (Ron Howard) keeps everything moving quickly, so it's a fun evening at the movies. Just a note for the squeamish, there are some scenes of self-mutilation in the movie that are hard to watch. Not for the kiddies then, and not for people who can't envision religious lies, or the possibility that there may have been some lies about religion.
A very cautionary tale about giving governments too much power. England becomes a totalitarian state after attacks by terrorists. Evie, a young woman, is befriended by the mysterious "V" and she tries to help him overthrow the government. Meanwhile, the police try to find V and why he came to be a terrorist. A cautionary tale, where words and ideas are as important as actions. I loved the beginning monologue V gave, with "v" words.
Yep, I went to see it again, and enjoyed every minute. Really good stuff for older children, and children at heart.
Time Travel, we learn, is tricky. Change even one thing in the past and the future could be totally changed too. TimeSafari, a company run to give rich business men a chance to kill a dinosaur made a mistake. They unknowingly let one of their clients change something 65 million years ago and their world begins to change in terrible ways.
This film isn't terribly serious. The special effects aren't wonderful, but the film itself is a lot of fun. I enjoyed it. The storyline was good, and even though the effects aren't terrific, it doesn't matter. I was reminded of one of my favourite movies, Tremors, while I watched this film. It isn't quite as good, but it comes close.It's a fun little movie, nothing special, but if there's nothing on at the theatre besides this and Aeon Flux, go for this!
The new super-heroine played by Charlize Theron isn't very good. She's too perfect and definitely not human enough to care about. This movie had some interesting special effects and a cool idea but the execution of the parts of this film don't add up.
To give an idea of how bad this film is, it made Catwoman look good! Yikes.
Who or what killed Emily Rose? The story of a lawyer who is hired to defend a Catholic priest accused of letting one of his flock die. The agnostic lawyer experiences things that challenge her belief system. I enjoyed this movie and was a bit creeped out by it. Interesting and a little scary.
A thoroughly fascinating movie about corruption and the oil business.This has a big cast of people and the scenes change frequently, but it's easy to follow. Very enjoyable, if a bit sad.
A faithful and fun adaptation of the classic novel. It may be for children, but I loved it too. For fans of the novel, or first-timers.
Roman Polanski brings the classic Dickens tale to life with this interesting adaptation. Unfortunately, I haven't read this novel, but I have read others of this period and Polanski gets it right. The hypocracy of the workhouse directors eating from a laden table while the children are starved, indifferent judges who want to lock up as many people as possible, and kindness from strangers are all features of novels of this time and this movie.
Oliver makes his way to London and is befriended by the Artful Dodger, taught how to be a thief, but is rescued by a kind gentleman. However, Oliver's old friends decide to use him for their own gain.
Oliver Twist is a movie that entertains and also shocks. Very much worth seeing.
Stephen Spielberg brings us his version of the events that took place after the 1972 Olympic Games tragedy, where 9 Israeli athletes were killed in a terrorist kidnapping. The kidnapping and murders of the athletes are shown to help us understand why the team of assasins would be willing to do what they do for revenge. Eric Bana is excellent as a man who becomes hunted as much as he is a hunter.
This was an era that I barely remember so I found the movie fascinating. It is violent, but there is also a lot of talk of whether the violence is worth it. A very good movie. It made me think a lot.
An exciting ride on an aeroplane. Foster plays a recent widow who loses her daughter aboard a huge and new aeroplane. Sean Bean is the captain and Peter Sarsgaard is the air marshall who try to help her find the six-year old. This is a rare chance to see a woman as the protagonist in this kind of story. I enjoyed it very much. Afterwards I could see the plot holes, but at the time everything seems logical. A good fun movie. Maybe not a good one to see before a flight though!
In all fairness to this movie, I should mention that I am a huge Jane Austen fan, and I've got the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice on dvd, and I can quote parts of it from memory. Having said all of that, I have to say, I loved this film. I don't want to compare it to the fabulous Colin Firth version because that wouldn't be fair.
In it's own right, this new film of Pride and Prejudice really works. Some unnecessary characters are eliminated, and scenes are shortened. There's an earthy feel to this story,these are real people with passion behind the studied (in some cases) manners.
If you are a fan of the source material, Keira Knightley (simply wonderful here) or Jane Austen then this is a DO NOT MISS.