Hitchcock (2012) – 6/10 biographical movie review

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Cast / crew
Director: Sacha Gervasi
Screenplay Writer Based on the book “Alfred Hitchcock and The Making of Psycho” by Stephen Rebello: John J. McLaughlin
Writer (Book) Alfred Hitchcock and The Making of Psycho: Stephen Rebello
Producer: Ivan Reitman
Producer: Tom Pollock
Producer: Joe Medjuck
Producer: Tom Thayer
Producer: Alan Barnette
Alfred Hitchcock: Anthony Hopkins
Alma Reville: Helen Mirren
Janet Leigh: Scarlett Johansson
Toni Collette: Peggy
Danny Huston: Whitfield Cook
Vera Miles: Jessica Biel
Michael Stuhlbarg: Lew Wasserman
Anthony Perkins: James D’Arcy
Ed Gein: Michael Wincott
Kurtwood Smith: Geoffrey Shurlock
Richard Portnow: Barney Balaban

Hitchcock (2012)

Craving a creative renaissance after the success of North by Northwest, feted director Alfred Hitchcock settles upon a lurid little horror story inspired by the life and crimes of notorious serial killer Ed Gein: Psycho. However, his movie-making partners are mortified at his descent into the world of meaningless B-movie exploitation and Hitch will need to call upon all his reserves of self-confidence and the support of his wife and constant creative partner Alma Reville.


Gentle down-to-earth, rather fictional and unofficial biopic looking at the time surrounding the production and release of Psycho and the important role that Alma Reville, Mrs. Alfred Hitchcock, played in his life and art. Viewers are likely unaware of her importance and, even though he perhaps didn’t always treat her as well as he should, Hitchcock himself knew how critical she was; his AFI Lifetime Achievement speech contains a nice eulogy and they remained, reportedly happily, married for 50-odd years.

This movie contains adult dialogue, sexuality, unpleasant scenes, brief violence

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


Red 2 (2013) – 4/10 action movie review

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Cast / crew
Bruce Willis: Frank
John Malkovich: Marvin
Mary-Louise Parker: Sarah
Anthony Hopkins: Bailey
Helen Mirren: Victoria
Catherine Zeta-Jones: Katja
Byung-Hun Lee: Han Cho Bai
David Thewlis: The Frog
Brian Cox: Ivan
Neal McDonough: Jack Horton
Producer: Lorenzo di Bonaventura
Producer: Mark Vahradian
Characters Creator: Warren Ellis
Characters Creator: Cully Hamner
Writer: Jon Hoeber
Writer: Erich Hoeber
Director: Dean Parisot

Red 2 (2013)

The CIA try to cover up a Cold War mission that could come back to bite them by eliminating Frank and Marvin (operatives involved at the time), a high-ranking US General and, er, dozens of US security professionals because it is a well known fact that slaughtering dozens of people in America is a surefire way to avoid any kind of attention whatsoever. After executing this perfectly conceived cover-up, except for the kill Frank part, the CIA hire the world’s best assassin to kill Frank for them and proceed to torture their way through a couple of other countries to pass the time.


This is rather more the movie we were expecting with the first Red: a witless waste of time. Scenes occur with no care given to coherence, consistency or even old-fashioned story-telling. You’ll never have any idea why anybody is anywhere, how they got there and why slaughtering dozens of innocent policemen, US security professionals and Russian security guards was required. Bruce is occasionally okay but usually appears disinterested and coasting on his, still considerable, charisma. It’s not all bad. Malkovich is fun and the whole thing is nearly rescued by Anthony Hopkins who does his usual trick of making it sound like he received a much better script than everyone else. He’s fun, charismatic and energises proceedings whenever he strolls by.

This movie contains extreme violence, sensuality, adult dialogue

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


Inkheart (2008) – 6/10 fantasy adventure movie review

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Cast / crew
Director and Producer: Iain Softley
Screenplay Writer: David Lindsay-Abaire
Writer (Original Book) and Producer: Cornelia Funke
Producer: Diana Pokorny
Brendan Fraser: Mo
Paul Bettany: Dustfinger
Helen Mirren: Elinor
Jim Broadbent: Fenoglio
Andy Serkis: Capricorn
Sienna Guillory: Resa
Eliza Hope Bennett: Meggie
Rafi Gavron: Farid

Inkheart (2008)

Nine years after his wife left, antique book restorer Mo travels the world with 12-year-old daughter Meggie looking for a particular rare book, Inkheart. When, at last, he finds a copy, he is confronted in the street by Dustfinger – a man who can conjure fire in his hands – and Meggie is about to learn the truth about her mother and father.


This is an unfulfilling, unflamboyant movie that takes a great-sounding idea then plods towards an entirely unwonderful climax constantly undermining itself with pop-up villains and a lack of involvement (despite good work from Brendan Fraser and the cast). However, it’s one of those films that may inspire you to write-the-wrongs, to take the good – the Silvertongue concept – and do something better with it. Also, do parents really read stories with undisguisedly sadistic villains and giant shadow monsters from hell to three-year-olds?

This movie contains mild violence, unpleasant scenes

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

State of Play (2009) – 7/10 hero journalist conspiracy drama movie review

Cast / crew
Director: Kevin MacDonald
Writer (Screenplay): Matthew Michael Carnahan
Writer (Screenplay): Tony Gilroy
Writer (Screenplay): Billy Ray
Writer (Original Television Series): Paul Abbott
Producer: Andrew Hauptman
Producer: Tim Bevan
Producer: Eric Fellner
Executive Producer: Paul Abbott
Russell Crowe: Cal McAffrey
Ben Affleck: Stephen Collins
Rachel McAdams: Della Frye
Robin Wright Penn: Anne Collins
Jason Bateman: Dominic Foy
Jeff Daniels: George Fergus
Helen Mirren: Cameron Lynne

State of Play (2009)

Washington Globe star reporter Cal McAffrey is assigned to investigate the shooting of a teenager and a businessman when the suicide of a female political aide his friend, Congressman Stephen Collins, into the spotlight over his relationship with her.


Entertaining conspiracy drama which is certainly one of the better hero-journalist movies, feels impressively reminiscent of rose-tinted seventies movies and pleasingly ticks all the cliché boxes in a crisp, polished manner. Fat Russell Crowe is excellent (as he always is at the moment) and more than makes up for a slight weakness with Ben Affleck (looks too young; the movie infers he’s the same age as Crowe) and Rachel McAdams (audience cipher, no more). This is better than the original BBC TV series simply because it tells it’s story clearly all the way until the end. This is another quality movie from Kevin MacDonald (after Touching the Void and The Last King of Scotland).

This movie contains sexual swear words, adult dialogue, bad language and graphic violence.

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

Red (2010) – 6/10 espionage action movie review

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Cast / crew
Director: Robert Schwentke
Bruce Willis: Frank Moses
Morgan Freeman: Joe Matheson
John Malkovich: Marvin Boggs
Helen Mirren: Victoria
Karl Urban: William Cooper
Mary-Louise Parker: Sarah Ross
Brian Cox: Ivan Simonov
Julian McMahon: Robert Stanton
Rebecca Pidgeon: Cynthia Wilkes
Ernest Borgnine: Henry, The Records Keeper
James Remar: Gabriel Singer
Richard Dreyfuss: Alexander Dunning
Writer (Original Graphic Novel): Warren Ellis
Writer (Original Graphic Novel): Cully Hamner
Screenplay Writer: Jon Hoeber
Screenplay Writer: Erich Hoeber

Red (2010)

Frank Moses is a retired CIA operative coming to terms with the mundanity of suburbia but his old existence explodes back into his life when he is unknowingly marked as RED – Retired: Extremely Dangerous – and his name put on a list of people who must die.


Boasting ideas, good details and some unexpectedly good-looking and cool action sequences, what we have here is a movie that, somehow, isn’t quite the sum of its parts. The biggest problem is certainly the story which is an off-the-shelf conspiracy that goes to the top (almost) and a romance that is intriguing but never really given enough time and attention to become involving. While frequently fun, it’s also not quite as bright and breezy as I think it should be; this kind of thing should be Roger Moore Bond jolly (mind you, I think most action films should be; I love me some Roger Moore Bond). Highlights are undoubtedly two action moments: one outrageously cool cop car exit and shooting for Bruce Willis (it’s right up there with the Die Hard skyscraper jump in coolest Bruce Willis scenes) and a gorgeously-photographed hand-gun / rocket-launcher duel for John Malkovich. A jolly good six, then. By the way, I thought Ernest Borgnine was dead and the commentary might have the coolest / most chilling intro ever.

This movie contains a single sexual swear word, mild swear words, strong violence, unpleasant scenes

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