Tuesday, January 26, 2010



Charles Robert Darwin (February 1809 –April 1882) had an early interest in nature. While attending the University of Edinburgh he studied marine invertebrates. Invited to sail on the HMS Beagle his published journal of the five-year voyage made him famous as a popular author. Intrigued by the geographical distribution of wildlife he investigated the transmutation of species. From these studies he developed his theory of natural selection in 1838. Some twenty years later in 1859 he published these in his controversial book entitled On The Origin of Species.

Joseph Dalton Hooker (June 1817 – December 1911) was a British botanist and explorer. For twenty years he was Director of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew.

Thomas Henry Huxley (May 1825 – June 1895) was an English biologist. He had little formal schooling and taught himself almost everything he knew. His area of expertise was with vertebrates especially the relationship between apes and humans. He concluded that there was an evolutionary connection between the two species.

The Christian evangelical fervour in England during the 1830's and 1840's had many believing that the world was just 6000 years old and that God created the universe, earth and man in only 6 days. They thought that man had not changed biologically since that time. The idea of any evolution from God’s handiwork was totally unacceptable and anyone promoting that idea could have been charged with sedition and blasphemy.

Paul Bettany: English naturalist Charles Darwin
Jennifer Connelly: his wife Emma
Martha West: their eldest daughter 9-year-old Annie
Benedict Cumberbatch: Charles’ best friend and fellow scientist Joseph Hooker
Toby Jones: Charles’ biggest supporter Thomas Huxley
Jeremy Northam: family friend the Reverend John Brodie-Innes

This might have been a biography about one of history’s most famous scientists who proposed one of the most ground-breaking concepts in human history. Instead it is more about Darwin’s relationship with his daughter and to a lesser extent with his wife.

Consequently there are several major shortcomings for those who are not intimately familiar with Darwin and his work:
• instead of showing where he travelled on the Beagle and the discoveries he made we are shown a fanciful snippet of the first encounters with the natives
• not providing sufficient information about the scientific basis for his theories nor explaining why he spent so much time with pigeons
• not setting the scene, giving some idea of the temper of the times
• devoting so much screen time to Annie and so little to Darwin’s peers who played a more significant role in his published work than his daughter did

for some intense thematic material.

Monday, January 25, 2010



Jeff Bridges: 57-year-old Country and Western singer Bad Blake
Maggie Gyllenhaal: 30-something Jean Craddock, newspaper music critic
Jack Nation: her four-year old son Buddy
James Keane: Bad’s agent
Colin Farrell: Bad’s protégé, superstar Tommy Sweet
Robert Duvall: Bad’s old buddy Wayne Kramer

This character study of someone who has seen better days while struggling to hold on is not all that unusual. What makes this film different from others is the terrific performance by Jeff Bridges, in my opinion his career-best. The supporting cast are all top notch too but he stands above the rest.

With great attention to detail (except for a few minor nitpicks mentioned below) it all rings true. In fact you might find yourself waiting for the end titles to confirm the fact it is based on the true story of so-and-so. I did.

The stunning vistas of the south-western United States have been beautifully captured and fans of C&W will love the soundtrack. I did.

for language and brief sexuality.

• Early on if you look carefully you can see Bad’s reflection in the camera lens as he is talking outside the bar he’s booked to play.
• Bad’s agent while talking on the phone has a newspaper tucked under his arm. Sometimes the fold is up, sometimes down even though he does not touch it.
• Santa Fe, New Mexico and Phoenix, Arizona are 525 miles apart and it would take 8 to 10 hours to drive the distance rather than the “3 to 4 hours” Bad tells Jean it will take him.

For some reason Colin Farrel’s is an uncredited performance. Strange.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Based on a true story

Brendan Fraser: John Crowley, marketing executive with Bristol-Myers Squibb
Keri Russell: his wife Aileen
Meredith Droeger: their seven-year-old daughter Megan
Diego Velazquez: their five-year-old son Patrick
Sam M. Hall: Megan and Patrick's older brother John Jr.
Harrison Ford: Dr. Robert Stonehill, University of Nebraska researcher
Jared Harris: Dr. Kent Webber, executive with Zymagen

There is not much that sets this one apart except for the story: the efforts to develop a drug for children affected by a terrible disease. The production values (acting, music, etc.) are uniformly good, not great.

Although there are a couple of gaping holes with respect to John’s personal finances these are easily overlooked as is one out of place line uttered by Dr. Stonehill.

for thematic material, language and a mild suggestive moment.

• Amongst the pile of books John has, the title of one with a purplish cover begins with POM. He refers to his notes written on a yellow legal pad and then glances back at his reference material without touching it and now the POM title is completely hidden by the pamphlet on top of it that moved all by itself.
• This is a common nitpick, the product placement rotating bottle. From one shot to the next the bottle rotates without being touched so that the label is clearly seen. In this instance all this takes place while John and Bob are having dinner in the local bar while drinking Budweiser.

Sunday, January 17, 2010



Saoirse Ronan: 14-year-old Susie Salmon
Mark Wahlberg: her father Jack
Rachel Weisz: her mother Abigail
Rose McIver: Susie’s younger sister Lindsey
Christian Ashdale: Susie’s younger brother Buckley
Susan Sarandon: Susie’s grandmother Lynn
Reece Ritchie: Susie’s boyfriend Ray Singh
Stanley Tucci: the Salmon’s next door neighbour George Harvey
Michael Imperioli: Police Detective Len Fenerman
Nikki SooHoo: 7-year-old Holly

First, the good things about this film:
1. Stanley Tucci really nails the role as George Harvey.
2. The special effects are first-rate.

Now, the not so good stuff:
1. The running time is two hours and 15 minutes but doesn’t have to be since there are quite a few scenes that are either repetitive or simply go on forever. Although the film editor might have exercised his prerogative and done something about that, the fact that Peter Jackson as Director, Producer and Screenwriter no doubt had a lot to say about what got cut, if anything.
2. Some of the performances lack credibility, notably by Susan Saradon.
3. The principal focus is not on the down to earth storyline but on some fanciful place. Just when things get going, there is an interlude of visual images that puts a stop to the narrative. Very disconcerting.

for mature thematic material involving disturbing violent content and images, and some language.

Saturday, January 16, 2010



Denzel Washington: Eli
Tom Waits: a pawnshop owner
Gary Oldman: Carnegie, the town boss
Jennifer Beals: his mistress Claudia
Mila Kunis: her daughter Solara
Ray Stevenson: Carnegie’s right-hand man Redridge
Michael Gambon: homeowner George
Frances de la Tour: his wife Martha

The bleakness and devastation of a post-apocalyptic world is a suitable setting for a lone walker “heading west”. Along the way he encounters people out to do him harm giving him ample opportunity to demonstrate his skill in Kung Fu fighting.

The acting is fine throughout and there are enough holes in the plot to keep you guessing.

Even though it is not an entirely original idea, it is nevertheless entertaining enough but a tad too long at almost 2 hours.

for brutal violence and language.

• When Carnegie confronts Eli outside in front of the saloon strong shadows are falling across the width of the street; when Eli turns and walks down the street the sun has done a 90° change in direction and now the shadows are along the length of the street.
• Without reloading Eli fires off 28 shots with his pistol. The largest magazine of any handgun (a Glock Model 22) holds a mere 15 bullets.
• Two bad guys are killed and lay somewhere in the middle of a 15’ long cement storm sewer. When Eli approaches them they have conveniently moved closer to the end of it so he does not have to go in it.
• After a barroom fight Eli has a fairly large blood stain on the right hand side of his grungy old sweater. Later when sitting around a campfire we can see the stain has completely disappeared and in fact the sweater looks perfectly new.
• Eli says the lyrics he just quoted are from Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues; they are not.
• Again the sun plays tricks on us: the long shadows when Eli meets up with Carnegie and his gang outside the old house are those of late afternoon. When they leave in their van the overhead shot shows the shadows to be directly beneath the vehicle, which would be around noon.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Anthology of short films

2006 saw the release of Paris, je t'aime, a new concept in filmmaking conceived by Emmanuel Benbihy which I described as “a potpourri of eighteen short films by as many directors to convey in just 5 minutes some aspect of the human endeavour in and about one of the arrondissements (neighbourhoods) of Paris.”

Hayden Chistense: Ben, a pickpocket
Rachel Bilson: Molly
Andy Garcia: her boyfriend college professor Garry
Emilie Ohana: videophotographer Zoe
Natalie Portman: Hasidic Jewish diamond broker Rifka
Irrfan Khan: her supplier Mansuhkbai
Orlando Bloom: David
Christina Ricci: Camille, a girl David picks up in a bar
Julie Christie: aging opera diva
John Hurt: hotel receptionist
Shia LaBeouf: hotel bellboy
James Caan: the father
Olivia Thirlby: his wheelchair-bound daughter
Anton Yelchin: her date for the evening
Bradley Cooper: Gus
Drea de Matteo: Lydia, a girl Gus meets in the bar
Ethan Hawke: an aspiring writer
Maggie Q: an attractive woman outside a Soho bar

and others no doubt

This is Benbihy’s second installment in a series he says “will eventually include Rio de Janerio, Shanghai, Mumbai and Jerusalem.” If they are anything like this one, he can count me out.

Like its predecessor, this is the collective work of eleven short films with each segment running about 10 minutes. That’s twice as long as his first film but twice as long does not make each one twice as good. Au contraire: for most of the segments I saw it meant having to endure it twice as long.

Unlike its predecessor, the segments all have the same heavily saturated dimly lit visual look about them so it is difficult to distinguish one from the other whereas in the first go-around each segment looked different.

In any event none of the segments I sat through was any good, the subject matter not always of great interest, boring even. The result is a very unsettling viewing experience. But what bothered me the most was the last one I saw: a vulgar, sexually explicit conversation between two people. That did it. I could no longer put up with any more of it and so I walked out.

for language and sexual content.

I was not the first to leave. Four people had better sense than me and left before I did.

Apparently the budget for this disaster was $14,000,000. I can think of at least 14 million better ways of spending that kind of money.


Romantic comedy

Michael Cera: sex-obsessed 16-year-old Nick Twisp and his alter-ego François
Jean Smart: Nick's divorced mother Estelle
Zach Galifianakis: her current crude and rude live-in boyfriend Jerry
Portia Doubleday: 16-year-old Sheeni Saunders
Mary Kay Place: her mother
M. Emmet Walsh: her father
Steve Buscemi: Nick’s dad George
Adhir Kalyan: Nick’s newfound friend Vijay
Ray Liotta: Oakland PD Officer Lance Wescott

You might want to take note of two clues before deciding to see this film:
1. The title which promises rebellious behaviour
2. The R classification since there are sexual situations, nudity and vulgar language.

And if that is not enough, while the screen remains black we hear the unmistakeable sound of someone whose only sexual outlet is of the solitary sort. Clearly this would be very much to the liking of the target audience: young adults, especially horny male teenagers who feel comfortable with graphic, vulgar behaviour.

Not fitting that description I walked out.

for sexual situations, substance abuse, vulgar language and nudity.

Saturday, January 9, 2010



In many of today's cultures, it is perfectly acceptable for a woman to propose marriage to a man. However, that hasn't always been the case. When the rules of courtship were stricter, women were only allowed to pop the question on one day every four years. That day was February 29th. It is believed this tradition was started in 5th century Ireland when St. Bridget complained to St. Patrick about women having to wait so long for a man to propose. According to legend, St. Patrick said the yearning females could propose on February 29 during the leap year.

Amy Adams: Anna, a real estate “stager”
Adam Scott: her longtime doctor boyfriend Jeremy
Kaitlin Olson: Anna’s older sister Libby
John Lithgow: Anna and Libby’s father Jack
Matthew Goode: an Irish pub owner Declan
Tony Rohr: the Stationmaster
Maggie McCarthy: his wife, owner/operator of a B&B

There’s one thing I’ve learned about movies: if it is a romantic-comedy, you’re better off if you lower your expectations. That way you won’t be disappointed if it is cliché-ridden or the situations seem forced and/or implausible. Those are a given.

What varies from one to another is the acting. In this case, I’d have to say that is definitely one thing it has going for it. Add to that the gorgeous views of western Ireland, crisp editing so things don’t drag on and that makes for a pleasant outing.

for sensuality and language.

• One of the pub regulars tells Anna she has to hurry because “February 29 falls on a Monday this year.” The last time that happened was in 1988, some 20 years before these events took place and six years before the next one in 2016.
• While driving Declan is eating a sandwich; the wrapping conveniently moves down all by itself as he munches away.

A hawk sandwich is one made on white bread with ham, cheese, canned asparagus, canned pineapple, bell pepper, mayonnaise & pretzel sticks.

Monday, January 4, 2010



In 1962, the U.S.S.R. was desperately behind the United States in the nuclear arms race. Soviet missiles were only powerful enough to be effective against European targets but U.S. missiles were capable of striking anywhere in the Soviet Union. Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev came up with the idea of secretly placing intermediate-range missiles closer to the U.S.A. Working quickly during the summer months the Soviet Union built missile installations in Communist Cuba. In so doing they doubled their strategic arsenal and now had a meaningful deterrent to any potential U.S. attack just 90 miles off the eastern coast of the United States.

Routine flyover reconnaissance photographs taken October 15, 1962 revealed the presence of these missiles. The next day United States President John Kennedy along with twelve of his most important advisors got together to discuss and debate how to handle the crisis. A week later Kennedy announced his decision to set up a naval quarantine of the island and said that “any nuclear missile launched from Cuba would be regarded as an attack on the United States by the Soviet Union” and demanded that the Soviets remove all of their offensive weapons from Cuba.

Khrushchev did not respond. Tensions mounted as Russian ships continued to sail towards Cuba, presumably with missals on board. On October 25 Kennedy pulled the quarantine line back further from Cuba and raised military readiness to DEFCON 2. Finally on October 28 Khrushchev announced that he would dismantle the installations and return the missiles to the Soviet Union, expressing his trust that the United States would not invade Cuba.

As it turned out, the Cuban Missile Crisis was the closest the world has ever come to nuclear war. The United States armed forces were at their highest state of readiness and Soviet field commanders in Cuba were prepared to use battlefield nuclear weapons to defend the island if it was invaded.

Colin Firth: George Falconer, small Southern California university professor
Nicholas Hoult: Kenny, one of his students
Julianne Moore: George’s best friend Charley
Matthew Goode: George’s friend of 16 years Jim

Dealing with circumstances life hands us is not always easy. Sometimes it is downright difficult and this becomes painfully apparent as we watch George coping with his situation.
With great attention to detail (apart from a few minor instances noted below) it has the look and feel of Los Angeles in the early ‘60’s. But what really stands out is the performance of Colin Firth: although he betrays very little emotion this is probably his best effort ever. Not far behind is Julianne Moore.
One quibble though: the ending, it didn't work for me, but perhaps I’m of the minority? Change that and it gets another star.

for some disturbing images and nudity/sexual content.

• This is one of my classic all-time favourite nitpicks: at the end of the telephone conversation the caller hangs up and George is left listening to the dial tone. In reality the dial tone is only heard after picking up the phone before dialling. That’s why it’s called a dial tone.
• And this happens a second time when Charley hangs up on him. They just don’t get it!
• Georges sets his brief case down on his desk in school. It has a mind of its own: without being touched by anyone, it changes position between one shot and the next, sometimes at an angle to George, sometimes parallel to him and other times off to the side.
• George bangs his head and a band-aid is applied covering most of the contusion but in some shots it completely hides the abrasion which changes in size with great abandon.

Friday, January 1, 2010



Daniel Day-Lewis: 40-something Italian Film Director Guido Contini
Judi Dench: his confidante and costume designer Lilli La Fleur
Penélope Cruz: Guido’s close friend Carla Albanese
Marion Cotillard: Guido’s wife Luisa
Fergie: Saraghina
Sophia Loren: Mamma Contini
Kate Hudson: American fashion journalist Stephanie Necrophuros
Nicole Kidman: songstress Claudia Jenssen

Struggling to begin production of his next film, Italia, the famous film director Guido has more than a few distractions to cope with, some going as far back to when he was nine. Relying upon his vivid imagination of what is to be, the musical numbers often come up unexpectedly. And disappear from your consciousness just as quickly: there is not one really good song out of the whole bunch. Nothing memorable at all. In fact several songs are downright painful to sit through, the worst being that touching musical number My Husband Makes Movies.

This is proof positive that it takes more than a group of A-class actors to make a musical work: good music is an essential requirement. Having a good story on top of that would be a bonus.

for sexual content and smoking.

2009 TOP TEN + 2

This is the true story of one of the most incredible people of the 20th century, a woman holding title to many “firsts” not just in aviation but with product endorsements as well. And Hilary Swank nails it: not only does she look and act the part of Amelia she ably handles a full range of emotion. I think this is her best performance ever. The production values are top notch with great attention to detail creating the look and feel of the period. The producers have resisted the temptation to exaggerate a little (or a lot as sometimes happens in Hollywood) especially about the uncertainty of some events.

This is one terrific movie, particularly the acting which is uniformly superb, in this film about growing up and getting an education. I do not want to expound on that for fear of giving away too much. In any event, it all rings true. The dialogue and costuming are right on, the pacing excellent, the musical score fits in beautifully. This movie will win awards, it’s that good.

A really good movie combining a well-constructed character study with exceptionally fine acting. Movies about war and how it can destroy individuals and relationships are too often so predictable; this one is not. This is riveting stuff. Oh by the way: did I mention the superb acting? I’ve not seen better performances from Tobey Maguire, Natalie Portman and Jake Gyllenhaal. In part because their character demands a wide range of emotion but more so because they are just that good and pulled it off beautifully.

Animated drama
The title says it all: it is a fantastic movie with all the right elements. The smart, funny, grown-up script seems to have been written more with adults and older kids in mind than for children. The voice work is superlative with just the right nuance and phrasing. The inter-titles (aka title cards) which are a throwback to the era of silent movies are a clever touch, reminiscent of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Like that film this one is full of witty dialogue that often provokes smiles and sometimes outright laughter. And like Sundance there are exciting action sequences to keep things moving along at a good clip. The soundtrack is a delight as are the close-up expressions. This is a fun outing.

War action/drama
“Once upon a time ... in Nazi-occupied France,” the title card informs us so right away we know that what follows may not be consistent with fact. What we get instead is a fast paced, exciting, action adventure war movie. Told in five chapters, at times utilising the spaghetti-Western technique (especially the music) including some very clever dialogue. The performances are uniformly good, the costumes and cinematography top notch. One word of caution though: there are more than a few grisly scenes that may require you to avert your eyes. Generally these can be anticipated but some will catch even the wary off guard. Although at two hours and 35 minutes it is longer than most, the time passes so quickly I was surprised when the end credits began to roll. I was not surprised upon hearing the applause.

Drama, romance
Right from the onset you know you’re in for a treat: along with the stunning views of the Irish west coast there is the ambient sound that so often gets lost amidst all the other elements of a movie. And speaking of sound, the musical score is well done too and nicely complements this story of love set in the late ‘60’s, when traditional Irish values had yet to be supplanted by more modern ones. I loved the pace at which things evolve, very much like real life instead of the all- pervasive hurry-up, frantic, “let’s get to it quick” style. So if you expect to take in just one movie of this sort this year, make it this one. This film is definitely for the discerning viewer and their patience will be well rewarded with great performances in the telling of an absorbing story.

Musical performance
Accused of child molestation, rumoured to have paid $20 million to the family of a 13-year-old boy, his career was in ruins. Michael Jackson stopped performing, made no more albums, was no longer a part of the contemporary music scene. Following a sensational trail that acquitted him of all charges, he decided to make a come back and told the world about his forthcoming concert tour. “This Is it”, he said, “This is the final curtain call." How prophetic. The show’s producers had in mind to release a DVD of the actual concert along with behind-the-scenes footage of planning sessions and some rehearsals. Unfortunately for the massive following of his loyal fans that is all there is. Although not intended to be, the film is a wonderful tribute to a man who changed the popular music scene as we know it today, who inspired numerous other artists while also breaking down cultural, racial and generational barriers, who astounded everyone with his innovative choreography and dancing ability even more so than his singing. Is there anyone who has not tried to moon-walk at least once? The seamless mixing of different rehearsals of the same song is nothing short of amazing. At times dressed in casual street clothes, sometimes in full dress rehearsal these shots are melded together as one continuous performance without missing a beat. Someone spent a lot of time making this happen.

Primarily intent on divulging the secret activities that take place annually in Taiji, Japan this film also serves as a clear warning of the consequences. As a secondary consideration, the producers bring to light the underhanded activities taking place behind the scenes of the International Whaling Commission. At times difficult to watch, it is nevertheless of some importance that these facts be known.

War drama
It soon becomes apparent that this is a well-acted suspenseful movie with sequences of considerable tension. Frequently there is a palpable sense of foreboding so don’t go to see it expecting a relaxed feet-up experience: it is anything but. The effective use of a hand-held camera lends itself to capturing the realistic action scenes. In fact all of the camera work is outstanding and unlike most films it tells the story rather than relying on the narrative to do so. How refreshing. The film does not glorify war and there is no political agenda at all. Nor are there any comic book heroes, just the portrayal of real people doing a dangerous job. Excellent editing keeps things moving and great attention to detail makes it all too real. The director has been careful to not dwell on the gory aspect of war but the squeamish like me will have to avert their eyes about half way through as Sgt. James and Sgt. Sanborn checkout a suspicious building.

At the risk of giving away the plot let me just say this is a exciting crime thriller with great acting, superb camerawork and crisp editing to keep things moving along. And that they do, with gusto. Along the way, the tension mounts and the outcome never a sure thing. Riveting stuff.

Animated cartoon
It has it all: an original well-constructed story for adults that children will enjoy, spectacular CGI animation (Pixar’s best so far), lots of comical moments, great casting with the voices perfectly matched to their character and a wonderful score that fits beautifully with the action on the screen. The attention to detail is nothing short of amazing: the stubble that appears on Carl's chin becomes more evident as the days go by, the movement of eyes just to give a few examples.

This film is somewhat difficult to categorize given that there are elements of a romantic comedy along with some serious drama what with the impact the main protagonist has on “real people”. Consequently there are some smart witty lines along with some very sombre ones. Crisp editing keeps things moving at a good clip and there are great performances by all three principals although George Clooney is the best: he does not seem to be acting so much as just being himself. The role is tailor-made for him.


Although the central point of the movie is indeed about capitalism, in typical Michael Moore fashion more than a few other subjects are presented. Much of the film content will be familiar to most people but he has come up with a few lesser known things such as the Second Bill of Rights and life insurance policies to name but a few. As usual he pulls off a couple of stunts to make his point. Certainly if what he says is true, there is a lot of food for thought.

Drama based on a true story
With incredible insight Nelson Mandela knew of a way to unite his shattered country and bring about change. Although the centerpiece of his strategy was the game of rugby, there are other examples of how one person can play a pivotal role in history. There are excellent performances all around and some touching moments. All in all it’s a “feel-good” movie but with several shortcomings starting with hardly anything being said as background material to set the scene and bring us up to speed. Secondly since the game of rugby is such an important part of the story, and takes up a lot of screen time, the basic essentials of the game should have been explained so we can better understand what is going on. As it is fans of the game will be thrilled to see so much of it, non-fans less so.

This story of a ghetto teenager with wild ambitions trying to overcome enormous odds is riveting stuff. The acting is uniformly good but the Oscar-worthy performance by Mo’Nique, although not always easy to watch, is nothing short of amazing. Mostly shot with a hand-held camera and often dimly lit, this technique captures the grim, desperate mood with expert realism. And speaking of realism: the use of the vernacular is well considered but might result in some of the dialogue not being well understood. However you will likely get the gist of it and should present no great problem.


Amimated drama
Sometimes they should leave well enough alone. Anyone who has read the book or seen the 1951 movie Scrooge played by Alastair Sim will probably be disappointed with the latest incarnation of this classic tale by Charles Dickens.
Not because Disney strays from the basic premise of the story (which they don’t) but because it is difficult to relate to animated characters that for the most part look as though they are made of plastic. Although Ebenezer Scrooge shows a range of emotions and comes close to the real thing, the others do not. The use of the latest computer generated animation (including 3D in some theatres) has resulted in some really amazing scenes and Carrey’s versatility is nothing short of amazing. But that is not enough to evoke any real emotional involvement which is the whole point of the exercise. And the transformation Scrooge goes through lacks that eureka moment, overshadowed by all the whiz-bang technology.

Science fiction
Fans of this genre of movie with an abundance of time on their hands will absolutely love it. This is a film of superlatives and excesses:
• photorealistic imagery done in beautiful colours
• beautiful rendering of imaginative creatures
• a good story (although lacking originality)
• intelligent use of 3D to immerse us rather than scare us
• some excellent acting
• and it is loud, very loud; in fact your ears are constantly being assaulted by the intense sound
But the main problem is that it goes on forever and ever; well ok for two hours and 42 minutes. But it seems longer. Especially the final battle. I didn’t time it but after a good 30 minutes I had seen enough and left.

A few years ago we got to know Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat Sagdiyev, a Kazakhstani TV personality. Although the movie was not for everyone I for one really enjoyed it so looked forward to a similar experience with his latest movie, Bruno. What a shock: this time he is a megalomaniacal dissolute individual, the kind of person I would not want to associate with, not even if it’s in a movie theatre. As for the movie itself it is gross, vulgar, tasteless and obscene with no redeeming value. In a word: a total waste of time and money. So I walked out.
PS: it got a zero-star rating, only the second one in well over 600 movies I’ve reviewed. It’s just that bad.

To sum up in one word or less it is one boring film. This dragged out biography of the woman who changed the world of fashion will test your patience since things evolve at a snail’s pace. There are too many words and not enough action. Although it looks good with lovely costumes and grand sweeping exterior shots that is not enough to hold your interest for very long. I left after 45 minutes.

Instead of being the cerebral detective, Sherlock Holmes has been transformed into some sort of action hero like Bruce Lee, an expert in the martial arts quite adept at the brutal, violent pummeling of an opponent. Holmes also comes across as an arrogant slob lacking social graces like any lowly thug. Purists will feel cheated by this character assassination. Some of them, like me, will walk out.