Rating 15 Length 2h11 Release 07.4.2000 Director Steven Soderbergh About In Hinkley, California, a legal assistant discovers a major company’s dark secret that affects the health of the residents. With the help of her employer, she sets off to seek justice. Moon: no moon sighting Where to Watch: Netflix Trailer:
Albert Finney is always on form. From his breakout performance in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, to his main stream choices like Daddy Warbucks in Annie. I may not like his Christmas Carol (Scrooge 1980), but he does give an amazing performance as Ebenezer. He on perfect form as Ed Masry and his chemistry with Julia Roberts’ Brockovich is phenomenal. It’s hard to say that Finney was robbed of the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Mainly because I’ve never seen Traffic. However, this was an award winning performance from Finney.
Julia Roberts was not only a bankable star, she had the talent to back it up. Her name alone, in the decade since Pretty Woman, guaranteed bums on seats for the producers. That would never have been in doubt. However, there’s few actresses today, let alone back then, who would have been able to give such a performance that would ensure people would still be watching 22 years later.
The story is gut wrenching, yet understated. Yes, you get the impression good will out, but the intimate perspective the film gives you; you’re there with Erin. You feel every story, you fear for the outcome.
The film is also really funny. You need that in a film that is embedded with emotional journeys. Thankfully the relationship between Ed and Erin gives you that rest bite.
There’s no bad in this film. It’s a film that’s economic with it’s time, generous with giving the characters room to tell the story and the cinematography is beautifully intimate and almost independent cinema in feel.
It’s the ugly truth of it all. This actually happened, effecting families and workers. Yet, the company did attempt to cover it all up and those families had to fight hard. Yes, you’ll feel like there was a win when we hear all the figures being thrown around, but once the film finishes, you do have to remember that $5 million is not actually going to have gotten the Jensen family very far considering the medical bills they would have.
Okay, so if you want a cushy Roberts rom-com, you’ve picked the wrong option. If you want a hard hitting, smart, biopic that makes you think this is the one for you.
Rating 15 Length 1h38 Release 12.4.2017 Director James Wong About Alex saves his school friends from death when he gets a premonition that their plane will crash. Unfortunately, they all begin to die one after another in horrifying ways. Moon: no moon sighting Where to Watch: Now TV Trailer:
Some of the pacing, or perhaps the editing, is way off. After Alex is picked up for being super stalker freaky outside the teacher’s house, he’s let go by the detectives and made to make his own way home. That’s shit, but what then happens is worse. Yes, this allows Alex to be seen leaving the house right before it blows, but that also the exact reason why they would have insisted on taking him to his own house. Then, the next scene the detectives are at Clear’s and looking for Alex. Without a scene between Alex fleeing and Clear’s house, it almost looks as if the detectives have had a premonition of their own and not that they’d interviewed Hitchcock as a later scene suggest. It’s sloppy and given the short run time, its not like they couldn’t have added a little bit to the scene.
Trope moan! Why is it when a person is impaled, they instantly remove the object. While we’re at it, why does it always land in an artery?! Seriously, impalement 101; do not remove the plug that is keeping you alive! This is now the second film in a matter of days that’s done this and it fucking bugs me.
Finding out that this was possibly an abandoned X-Files script has me a little gutted. I’d have loved to have seen Mulder and Scully explain away this phenomenon that is “Death’s plan”.
There is an anticipation and a crafted build up to a number of deaths once the survivors begin to pay the price for leaving the plan. It’s not just the music and it’s much more complex than the trope of closing the bathroom cabinet and seeing a figure standing behind the person. Not only that. Once the film settles you in, it thows an odd shock death. It’s all designed to keep you on edge and it works, beautifully. That said, there are two to this day that I struggle to watch for the sheer number of near misses that happen during the unfolding death.
Tony Todd, Candyman himself, makes a chilling cameo. His knowledge and understanding of what the seven survivors have been through has led to many a fan theory that he’s Death himself. Only Tony Todd could have that presence and I was open to the theory before I knew he was already a Horror icon.
The cast is as brilliant now as it was when the film first came out. Being a teen, it was awesome to see that Casper had hit puberty, that Stiffler was in another movie. Add to it Brendan Fehr, Kerr Smith and up and coming Ali Larter and you’ve got the perfect poster for the teen magazines.
Certainly the high for the franchise and a reason why I get a little scared flying on occasion. Also the reason why I’m going to have a good tidy around my house this evening so I don’t trip in the night and freak myself out.
Rating 18 Length 1h28 Release 8.9.2000 Director Keenen Ivory Wayans About Cindy Campbell and her friends mistakenly end up killing a man. A year after the unfortunate incident, someone stalks them, leaves threatening messages and tries to kill them one by one. Moon: no moon sighting Where to Watch: Netflix Trailer:
This film hasn’t aged well. There’s some jokes and nods that reference things that were so of the moment that anyone watching today will not understand ‘wassssup’ and the Matrix ‘bullet time’ are among the few that just seem outdated. There are some ‘jokes’ that should never have been okay to put to film. Case in point is the ‘gag’ of Miss Mann, the PE teacher. They’re revealed to be a pre-op trans woman and its oh so funny *please understand the eyeroll and sarcasm that went into this* because geddit, geddit???! Just in case you didn’t, we get an eyeful of scrotum when the character sits, open legged with a skirt on. I don’t care about the intention of this. At all. It’s fucked up and wrong, and there’s no excusing it.
Some of it is a little too on the nose. Like, in some cases its lines of dialogue lifted from the film they’re lampooning. Spoof is no new thing; Mel Brooks is the master and everyone loves Airplane! but the beauty of most of those films lie in their subtlety. They’re commenting upon the genre as a whole, but this makes it almost too personal.
The over-acting at times is painful. It cheapens it and sucks IQ points from me every time I watch. I know I’m not the target audience; I prefer homage to whatever the fuck this is.
I love the black representation in this movie; from the tongue in cheek “A whole bunch of people are dead, so these black asses are getting out of here” to the interaction in the cinema that riffs off the opening of Scream 2. I can see how carefully this film was constructed; it walked that careful ‘White Hollywood’ line so that films like Fifty Shades of Black and Black Panther could run.
You have to hold off for the pay off, but I really like the ongoing persona of Shawn Wayans’ Ray. I’ll admit, I was a little uncomfortable at the sledgehammer hints that he’s gay. However, in that final act when Bobby reveals he’s gay and that so is Ray, Wayans response is brilliant; it’s not offended, its a plain and simple ‘I’m not’. It feels a little bit like a ‘fuck you judgemental motherfucker’ and I’m all up for that.
Doofy is fucking brilliant. It’s a character that really takes the film to its most insane extremes and really does throw you off the first time of watching. Plus, kudos has to go to that neat little nod to the Usual Suspects right at the end there.
Fair play to the sexual positivity of women in this film. Yes, it is done for laughs, but there’s equality in that- there’s pot shots at both male and female masturbation.
This has not aged well, but if you are a teenage boy, you have the emotional range of a teenage boy, or you’re looking to have 90 minutes of ‘I get that reference’ hammered down your throat…. this is your wheelhouse.
Rating 15 Length 1h 41 Release 6.10.2000 Director Eric Blakeney About A seemingly calm and collected DEA agent is a nervous wreck on the inside. As he struggles to demolish a cartel, an incident lands him in the psychiatrist’s chair and, consequently, in group therapy.
The thing that really makes this film work, is the relationships Liam Neeson’s Charlie makes during his undercover work. I say that loosely given that I’m not sure Charlie is ever playing anything other than himself. He has obvious chemistry with Sandra Bullock, but the best relationship by far is the one between Neeson and Oliver Platt. Oh my god, the final act, you will feel for both of them. You’ll understand the decisions they each make.
Speaking of Oliver Platt, he’s incredible in this. I’m not so sure I’ve seen him in a “bad guy” role before and it really worked. To then have the film unpick the character and discover the root of his unhappiness. If you gave me a film just about Fulvio and Charlie, I’d have been very happy.
I was happily surprised to discover Mitch Pileggi had a much larger role in this than I anticipated. While the start of the film may have you thinking he’s in a type-cast role, but no one in this film is who they really seem. I must admit though, I had my suspicions, Pileggi himself speaks of his Italian heritage in interviews, so he feels like a bit of a red herring given the involvement of the Mafia. I reveal this, not to be a spoilsport, but because I can’t let this review sit without taking about the reveal. Not the one to the audience, but the reveal to Charlie. There’s a way that Pileggi can set his face whenever he’s in the position of a bad guy (Son’s of Anarchy, Shocker and Supernatural spring to mind) and it works well here.
It’s a bit wacky. Like, you really do have to roll with it and remember that it was a product of the 2000s; the same era that brought us Mulholland Drive, Get Shorty and Analyze This. If you can stick with it until it really gets going, there’s a payoff.
For an Irishman, Liam Neeson’s accent in this is appalling. It’s so unbelievably inconsistent that I’m certain the line about him being Irish was put in during reshoots.
The plot threads are just not quite all there. It’s almost two or three very different movies in one. There’s attempts to connect the elements but they don’t all quite marry up the way that would lift this film up a little more. The biggest problem for me, is how little Sandra Bullock’s character is integrated into the rest of the narrative. There’s even a clear set up that goes nowhere.
You know, it wasn’t the best film in the world. I wanted three different movies out of it. I wanted a Neeson/Platt movie, a Neeson/ Bullock movie and I wanted a movie just with the group therapy guys. Instead, I got this bag of Revels when I really just wanted the Maltesers out of it.