134 – 20 Word Film Reviews

Apart from writing my book, reading quite a bit, listening to French radio, running, eating and drinking, I’ve watched quite a few films over the past six months. The fabled Film Night we have here at the farm has become quite a fixture.

So for no reason whatsoever here are the films reviewed in 20 words or less complete with a Blogley and IMDb rating. Also an * marks a Blogley recommendation.

(In no particular order)

*Argo (2012, US) Intricate CIA plot to get embassy staff out of Iran in the 1980 hostage crisis. Edgy and well worked drama with plenty of ski jump collars. IMDb: 7.9 Blogley: 8.5

Kill List (2011, UK) Two gormless assassins are hired for a big contract. An incredibly annoying and wearying thriller. I: 6.3 B: 4.0

*Sightseers (2012, UK) Unhinged brummie couple go off on a camping holiday/killing spree. Brilliantly dark and funny comedy from the same director (unbelievably) as Kill List. I: 6.5 B: 9.0

A Good Year (2006, UK) A ruthless city trader inherits French country house and tries to flog it. A good Englishman-falls-in-love-with-France film, despite being lethargic at times. I: 6.9. B: 7.0

About Time (2013, UK) Young lawyer finds he can time travel and starts changing the past. A sort of reworking of Groundhog Day, except everybody is phenomenally rich. I: 7.8 B: 7.7

Burn After Reading (2008, US) The memoirs of a CIA operative goes missing. Run of the mill Coen brothers farce with Brad Pitt as a total bonehead. I: 7.0 B: 7.6

*Superbad (2007, US) Three whey faced nerds try to get popular in school by getting drunk and laid. Crude, juvenile and very funny. I: 7.7 B: 8.5

Donnie Brasco (1997, US) FBI agent infiltrates mafia mob. Poignant and gripping gangster flick with Pacino and Depp on top form. I: 7.8 B: 7.6

Drive (2011, US ) Stuntman turned getaway driver ends up in trouble. Ryan Gosling is annoying silent. An incredibly tiresome film. I: 7.9 B: 5.0

*Gran Torino (2008, US) An old duffer gets pissed off when his ‘gook’ neighbour steals his prized Gran Torino. Excellent Client Eastwood vehicle. I: 8.2 B: 8.0

Inception (2010, US) A man capable of extracting dreams finds the ultimate job. Complicated yet fascinating sci-fi movie. I: 8.8 B: 8.0

Insomnia (2002, US) Al Pacino can’t sleep as he hunts for a killer in Alaska. Stylish, Twin Peaksish cop caper. Light on action. I: 7.2 B: 7.5

Prometheus (2012, US/UK) Spacecraft stumbles upon possible origin of man. Rather ham-fisted prequel to Aliens, but not bad after flying with RyanAir. I: 7.1 B: 7.5

The Lincoln Lawyer (2011, US) Flashy lawyer takes on a case too big. Tepid storyline that leaves you wondering what it was all about. I: 7.3 B: 6.0

A History of Violence (2005, US) Quiet café owner becomes local hero by slaying gangsters. Good thriller albeit with a rather blundering end. I: 7.5 B: 7.2

Looper (2011, US) Mob discovers a way to send their enemies to get shot in the past. Confusing and weak action sci-fi. I: 7.5. B: 5.0

*Midnight in Paris (2011, US) A dreaming novelist in modern day Paris finds a way back to the glorious past. Highly enjoyable film with Owen Wilson playing the retarded hero. I: 7.7 B: 8.5

Midnight Run (1988, US) De Nero goes to find a crook jumping bail. Half funny comedy in the Planes, Trains, and Automobiles mould. But not as good. I: 7.6 B: 7.0

*Notes on a Scandal (2006, UK) Ageing battling axe teacher gets one up on pretty art teacher. Notable drama with Bill Nighy playing the hapless husband. Again. I: 7.5 B: 8.2

*Submarine (2010, UK) Welsh kid living with dreary parents needs some action in his dull life. Highly enjoyable comedy with some great lines and characters. I: 7.3 B: 7.6

Sunshine (2007, UK) Voyage to the sun goes wrong. Well executed sci-fi, despite the end feeling like they didn’t know how to finish it. I: 7.3 B: 7.5

Synecdoche (2008, US) Frustrated theatre director builds a massive set for his next project. I thought I would enjoy this. But didn’t. I: 7.4 B: 4.0

Ted (2012, US) A childhood teddy bear becomes John Bennett’s best friend. Strikingly stupid comedy that works. I: 7.1 B: 7.5

*Thank you for Smoking (2005, US) Fag lobbyist tries to avoid promoting cigarettes to his kid. Clever satire that tries hard not to demonise smokers. I: 7.7 B: 7.5

Kill Bill 1 & 2 (2003, US) An assassin plots to avenge the death of her baby. Ludicrously long and showy half action half comic book film that bored me senseless. I: 8.2 B: 4.5

The Adjustment Bureau (2011, US) Strange forces keep Matt Damon from bedding pretty ballerina. Interesting, if not exceptional, adaptation of Philip K Dick short story. I: 7.1 B: 7.0

*The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008, US) A man is born old and becomes young. Fantastic adaptation with the Pittster on great form. I: 7.8 B: 8.5

The Heat (2013, US) A hardcore cop and her wet behind the ears FBI partner tackle a drugs racket. Surprisingly funny film with some great lines. I: 6.7 B: 8.1

The Number 23 (2007, US) Jim Carrey discovers a book about his life. Hammy physiological thriller that starts well but falls away badly. I: 6.4 B: 6.0

The Social Network (2010, US) Story of Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook. Good film that makes you wonder how such a dork made so much money. I: 7.8 B: 7.5

*Casino (1995, US) Gambling man takes up residency in Las Vegas casino run by the mob. Vintage Scorsese/De Nero movie that made me want to start smoking again. I: 8.3 B: 8.8

*Goodfellas (1990, US) Story of the Lucchese family through the eyes of Henry Hill. The best Scorsese/De Nero picture with brilliant performances all round. I: 8.8 B: 9.2

*Office Space (1999, US) Three office goofballs hatch a plan to rip off their ass clown boss Lumbergh. Possibly the best comedy since Trading Places. I: 7.9 B: 9.0

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011, UK) A load of dying pensioners retire to India. Funny Brit comedy my parents would love. Bill Nighy plays the hapless husband. Again. I: 7.3 B: 7.0

*True Romance (1993, US) Happy go lucky badboy meets charming hooker and steals a mountain of coke. Classic Tony Scott action caper. Great! I: 8.0 B: 8.5

Whip It (2009, US) A geeky teenager finds meaning to her life in a roller skating version of British bulldogs. Watchable, but only once. I: 6.9 B: 6.0

The Great Gatsby (2011, US) Mysterious rich playboy longs for wartime sweetheart Daisy and ends up in a swimming pool instead. Over the top production of The Great American Novel. I: 7.4 B: 7.0

*Sexy Beast (2000, UK) Knackered London mobster gets a call from his nemesis Don Logan. Vintage British comedy with Ben Kingsley on brilliant form. I: 7.3 B: 8.6

The Constant Gardener (2005, UK) An apathetic diplomatic in Kenya gets caught up in a corporate kill fest. Adequate adaptation of the book, but a bit meandering. I: 7.3 B: 6.7

The King’s Speech (2010, UK) King George VI has the elocution skills of George from Rainbow (for non-UK readers, George was a stuffed pink hippo from a children’s programme in the 70/80s) and needs to put it right. Damn good film. I: 8.1 B: 8.6

*Intouchables (2010, Fra) Cool inner city misfit befriends stuffy cripple and introduces him to fags and pop music. Brilliantly executed comedy. I: 8.6 B: 8.3

*The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007, Fra) Famous magazine editor suffers rare stroke and is paralysed except in one eye. Remarkable film of a remarkable story. I: 8.1 B: 7.5

The Experiment (2001, Ger) A prison experiment goes horribly wrong. Intriguing and terrifying German drama about what happens when humans get a whiff of power. I: 7.8 B: 7.5

*The Lives of Others (2006, Ger) Stasi spy man gets too involved in his target’s world. Tense pre fall of the Berlin Wall thriller. I: 8.5 B: 8.7

Dead Man’s Shoes (2004, UK) Soldier goes berserk in Matlock to avenge the terrible killing of his brother. A bitterly dark and sad thriller. I: 7.8 B: 7.5

*The Road (2009, US) Father and son relationship savagely dissected and explored in this post apocalyptic tale. Great film of a great book. I: 7.3 B: 8.5

Reservoir Dogs (1992, US) A rat-pack mafia job goes wrong. Is there a rat? Frankly who cares in this overhyped nauseating Tarantino affair. I: 8.4 B: 3.5

The Deerhunter (1978, US) De Nero and Walken play steel plant buddies in this powerful Vietnam period movie. I: 8.3 B: 8.0

Unknown (2011, US) Biochem professor drives into a river and loses everything, including his mind. Bourne-esque identity crisis movie without the panache. I: 6.9 B 6.4

21 Grams (2003, US) Sean Penn gets Naomi Watts’ husband’s heart who was killed by ex-con Benicio Del Toro. Plodding and draining drama. I: 7.8 B: 5.0

Inglourious Basterds (2009, US) A group of mad Jewish soldiers hunt down mad Nazis in this WWII caper. Something new here: a good Tarantino film. I: 8.3 B: 7.8

*Shutter Island (2010, US) A rooky cop goes to investigate strange happenings on a loony bin island and finds himself trapped. Moody and intense thriller. I: 8.1 B: 8.4

Bottle Rocket (1996, US) A group of oddball friends plan to rob a warehouse full of…err, sorry, I can’t remember…This was a real dud. I: 7.2 B: 3.0

The Bling Ring (2013, US) A group of moronic girls break into the homes of celebrities to steal their stuff. This woeful attempt at exploring celebrity obsession falls into an enormous hole. Dreadful. I: 5.7 B: 1.0

Knocked up (2007, US) Glamour girl gets knocked up by overweight curly geek Seth Rogan. Not as funny as Superbad, but it does have its moments. I: 7.1 B: 6.7

We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011, UK) Son of the devil gives mother a tough time. Exceptional performance by Tilda Swinton, but too much for me on a dark night in February in the middle of nowhere. I: 7.4 B: 7.6

*Leon (1994, US) Maverick hitman Jean Reno is persuaded by an orphan to avenge her family’s death. Great film, but might have been even better in French. I: 8.6 B: 8.9

Les Lyonnais (2011, Fra) Story of the infamous Lyonnais gang. Potentially brilliant thriller that fell away towards the end. Good, but not exceptional. I: 7.0 B: 7.5


2 thoughts on “134 – 20 Word Film Reviews

  1. There are some fab films in that little lot. Saw Sightseers a few months ago and really enjoyed it. Very funny and very dark. Kill List was a bit confused, but if you want to check out more of Ben Wheatley’s work, Down Terrace is pretty good.


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