Johnny English: Reborn (2011) – 3/10 espionage action comedy movie review

Cast / crew
Rowan Atkinson: Johnny English
Gillian Anderson: Pamela
Dominic West: Ambrose
Rosamund Pike: Kate
Daniel Kaluuya: Tucker
Richard Schiff: Fisher
Director: Oliver Parker
Producer: Tim Bevan
Producer: Eric Fellner
Producer: Chris Clark
Writer (Screenplay): Hamish McColl
Writer (Story): William Davies
Executive Producer: William Davies

Johnny English: Reborn (2011)

Years after being dismissed from MI7 in disgrace for the death of a Head of State during his watch, English is called back as the only trustworthy person for a contact who has details of another upcoming assassination.

3/10

This is a movie that very nearly works as the makers attempts to reduce English’s horrendously unfunny ineptitude from the first movie. Sadly, it absolutely does not work. This is a comedy where you frequently sit stony-faced through the comedy scenes and suffer queasily while Johnny English hits on every woman in the movie. What makes it more disappointing is how close it is to working. The thriller plot is fine, there’s a surprisingly nice relationship between English and Tucker, Dominic West is terrific and the action sequences are unusual and imaginative. Generally, English doesn’t bumble his way through. In the first one he uses his brain to outwit a more agile and younger opponent (using a lift instead of clambering down a building, for example). The helicopter sequence features a couple of good gags (chopping the trees and following the road). The wheelchair sequence is set up well, has a great location (The Mall) and a cool escape (spoiled in the trailer, of course). But for every good idea and each of the two funny moments ("Stop!" and "I’ve been trained to resist…"), there’s something excruciating to sit through and the whole movie makes you ache for some Roger Moore Bond; some fun and some fun action. Special mention for, arguably, the best scene which runs over closing credits as English prepares some dinner. If the whole movie had been this delightful, this would have been a classic.

This movie contains bad language, adult dialogue and violence and mild sensuality.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011) – 3/10 fantasy action movie review

AmazonBuy Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides at Amazon

Cast / crew
Director: Rob Marshall
Screenplay Writer: Ted Elliott
Screenplay Writer: Terry Rossio
Characters Creator: Ted Elliott
Characters Creator: Terry Rossio
Characters Creator: Stuart Beattie
Characters Creator: Jay Wolpert
Novel Writer Suggested by the novel “On Stranger Tides”: Tim Powers
Johnny Depp: Jack Sparrow
Penélope Cruz: Angelica Malon
Geoffrey Rush: Barbossa
Ian McShane: Blackbeard
Kevin McNally: Gibbs
Sam Claflin: Philip
Astrid Berges-Frisbey: Syrena
Stephen Graham: Scrum
Keith Richards: Captain Teague

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)

Having a map to the Fountain of Youth, Jack Sparrow finds himself in demand as the English, under the captaincy of Hector Barbossa, try to beat the Spaniards to the loot. However, they aren’t the only runners in the race as the dread pirate Blackbeard is also trying to find it to stave off his prophesied death at the hands of a one-legged man.

3/10

This is a movie with an embarrassing lack of imagination and a barely coherent story. The cast all turn up but, with the exception of Penélope Cruz and her chests, that’s all they do. Ian McShane’s Blackbeard really looks the part and he, interestingly, plays it like he’s the hero and Geoffrey Rush’s repulsive Barbossa is the villain. Sadly, director Rob Marshall never uses this, or anything in the luxurious production, to do anything worthwhile or entertaining. Hans Zimmer’s music is too often intrusively bombastic as he desperately tries to drag some excitement out of the aimless action sequences; you just want to say “Hans! Turn it down will ya?!” This really is a poor show. P.S. The movie poster was taken from theshiznit.

This movie contains adult dialogue, violence

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

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Alice in Wonderland (2010, Dull Tim Burton Fantasy Adventure) – 3/10 movie review

Cast / crew
Director: Tim Burton
Writer (Screenplay): Linda Woolverton
Writer (Original Novels) “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass”: Lewis Carroll
Producer: Richard D. Zanuck
Producer: Suzanne Todd
Producer: Jennifer Todd
Producer: Joe Roth
Johnny Depp: Mad Hatter
Anne Hathaway: White Queen
Helena Bonham Carter: Red Queen
Crispin Glover: Stayne – Knave of Hearts
Mia Wasikowskia: Alice
Alan Rickman: Blue Caterpillar
Stephen Fry: Cheshire Cat
Michael Sheen: White Rabbit
Timothy Spall: Bayard
Barbara Windsor: Dormouse

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Fleeing from a surprise and not exactly wanted wedding proposal, Alice falls down a hole into Underland, a fantastical place she presumes is one of her strange dreams.

3/10

Unengaging fantasy adventure with largely unappealing design (Anne Hathaway’s White Queen and Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter especially). The dragon at the end is cool and Helena Bonham Carter’s Red Queen is a genuine highlight and an all-time great movie character. Everything and everyone else is dull and unconvincing. Mia Wasikowskia is bland and is saddled with a depressingly unconvincing modern-woman-before-her-time character. The decision to make the Mad Hatter some kind of swashbuckling hero is especially ridiculous and presumably only done to capitalise on Depp’s Pirates of the Caribbean image. Half of Depp’s dialogue disappears into a impenetrable surprise Scottish accent, the other half makes little sense anyway, then he becomes a swordmaster. This is a disappointing dull disaster.

This movie contains violence, some graphic violence.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Max Payne (2008) – 3/10 revenge thriller movie review

Cast / crew
Director: John Moore
Writer (Screenplay) Based upon the Max Payne video game Published by Rockstar Games: Beau Thorne
Producer: John Moore
Mark Wahlberg: Max Payne
Mila Kunis: Mona Sax
Beau Bridges: BB Hensley
Chris “Ludacris” Bridges: Jim Bravura
Chris O’Donnell: Jason Colvin
Donal Logue: Alex Balder
Kate Burton: Nicole Horne
Olga Kurylenko: Natasha

Max Payne (2008)

After the murder of his wife and child cop Max Payne uses his time in the cold case department to help him uncover clues as to the identity of the murderer. Finally, a chance meeting with the beautiful Natasha Sax causes events to be set in motion that, unfortunately, start with Max being suspected of murder.

3/10

Remarkably dull crime thriller that makes the typical mistake of not making it’s protagonists recognisably human. And that’s before our lead character takes the drug (that always causes psychosis and / or death) for a finalé which he strides forward looking like Frankenstein’s monster. Occasionally, the movie is good-looking and the sound designers had a field day (your subwoofer will get a neighbour-hassling workout). Appropriately, Mark Wahlberg uses a single facial expression throughout the film.

This movie contains sexual swear words and fictional substance abuse and strong violence, graphic gun violence, unpleasant and gory scenes and nudity.

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

Butterfly on a Wheel (2007, Child Kidnap Thriller) – 3/10 movie review

Cast / crew
Director: Mike Barker
Pierce Brosnan: Tom Ryan
Gerard Butler: Neil Randall
Maria Bello: Abby Randall
Claudette Mink: Judy Ryan
Nicholas Lea: Jerry Crane
Producer: William Vince
Producer: William Morrissey
Producer: Pierce Brosnan
Writer: William Morrissey

Butterfly on a Wheel (2007)

Happily married Neil and Abby Randall are put to ultimate test when their daughter Sophie is kidnapped and they are forced to make huge sacrifices in order to see her again.

3/10

This is a film which tries to ask the question ‘how far would you go to save someone you love?’ (and turns out, unsurprisingly, SPOILER to have an anti-adultery message ‘twist’) but embeds it in a set of really stupid actions that do not resonate with or convince anyone who does loves someone, i.e., the entire population of the world. On top of the transparently ridiculous story, the acting from Gerard Butler and Maria Bello is bland and unconvincing while Pierce Brosnan is merely adequate and manages to avoid delivering menace or charm with his bad guy.

This movie contains a couple of sexual swear words, brief strong adult dialogue and violence.

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

The International (2009, Boring Conspiracy Thriller) – 3/10 movie review

Cast / crew
Director: Tom Tykwer
Writer: Eric Warren Singer
Producer: Charles Roven
Producer: Richard Suckle
Producer: Lloyd Phillips
Clive Owen: Louis Salinger
Naomi Watts: Eleanor Whitman
Armin Mueller-Stahl: Wilhelm Wexler
Ulrich Thomsen: Jonas Skarssen
Brían F. O’Byrne: The Consultant
Jack McGee: Detective Bernie Ward
Music: Tom Tykwer
Eric Warren Singer: Cashier

International, The (2009)

Interpol and the New York District Attorney’s office are investigating megabank I.B.B.C. but keep finding their progress impeded by people continually dropping dead.

3/10

Sadly, almost instantly boring and uninvolving. One gets the impression that the filmmakers were attempting to make a more intelligent than usual globe-trotting thriller that relied on detective work, intelligence and intriguing moral quandaries instead of just shooting people in visually striking locations. The International, rather predictably then, is notably dull at the intelligence and detective work and rather good at shooting dudes in visually striking locations, specifically in The Solomon Guggenheim Museum and the rooftops of Istanbul. There are a couple of interesting wrinkles to try and give clichés a minor tweak but all the mildly positive points are lost in an ocean of boring.

This movie contains sexual swear words, mild adult dialogue and unpleasant scenes, graphic gun violence, extremely gory scenes.

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

Duplicity (2009, Industrial Espionage Romance Movie) – 3/10 review

Julia Roberts: Claire Stenwick
Clive Owen: Ray Koval
Tom Wilkinson: Howard Tully
Paul Giamatti: Richard Garsik
Producer: Jennifer Fox
Producer: Kerry Orent
Producer: Laura Bickford
Writer: Tony Gilroy
Writer: Tony Gilroy

Duplicity (2009)

Two ex-secret agents try to con a duelling pair of big businessmen out of $40 million.

3/10

This probably sounded really clever in Tony Gilroy’s head but he doesn’t manage to get it down on paper or up on screen. His principle saviour is Clive Owen (Julia Roberts looks ill with her sunken eyes) who makes most of his scenes feel fun even when they’re not and you’re not terribly interested in what’s going on. The opening credits are a bit of a hoot as two middle-aged men have a handbags-at-dawn fight in super-super-slo-mo (150 frames-per-second) but that’s the only interesting thing in a transparently-plotted (who’s fighting who at the start), woefully unconvincing, generally useless movie.

This movie contains mild adult dialogue and brief violence and sensuality.

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.