Film Reviews by Jawbreaker

Welcome to Jawbreaker's film reviews page. Jawbreaker has written 389 reviews and rated 473 films.

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Baader Meinhof Complex

Fascinating insight

(Edit) 26/04/2009

This is another intriguing German film, dealing with demons of the past, recently seen in The Wave and Downfall. Many today seem unaware of the Baader Meinhof terrorist group and their actions during the 70’s, this film will certainly put that straight, acting as a historical report of their origins and struggles. The group were a direct reaction to the right wing events in Germany history and the existing government, slowly implementing measures that were deemed by many to be a prologue to a police state. The production creates the feel and look of the 70’s with real aplomb. Being based on a book, which in itself was a complex report on the group, the transition to the silver screen in comparison is not as successful. I wonder if the decision to split the film into two episodes (as seen recently in Che) would have been far more beneficial. This would have allowed worthwhile focus on the original group, with different agendas and methods to the more violent and infamous splinter group. The running time is too long and tries to condense all the group activities and divisions into this one film. This comes at the expense of character depth and relationships, with the main players exclaiming their political agenda on a frequent basis. Baader Meinhof Complex is still a fascinating experience and the extras documentary provides a little more depth, with actors reflecting on their own memories of the turbulent period.

6 out of 8 members found this review helpful.

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Martyrs

French Art house horror

(Edit) 04/06/2009

Martyrs is an incredible experience, a film that will divide opinion and provoke debate. I am still shell-shocked and flabbergasted by the experience. It’s brutal, unstoppable and features a huge amount of blood and suffering, with the emphasis on physical, rather than special effects. Not a ‘torture porn’ movie, Martyrs is far superior to Saw, Hotel and films of that ilk. Pascal has brought a sense of French style and composure to a tired genre, the end result is a horror that sets a new standard. At the end you will have questions and the huge ‘making of’ documentary is worth viewing.

2 out of 5 members found this review helpful.

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Australia

Baz At Work

(Edit) 03/05/2009

Baz Luhrmann with Australia has thrown everything but the kitchen sink into this epic mess. Set against the beautiful outback, this is one of the most visually stunning films of recent times. Practically a constant trailer for visiting the country, it’s a shame that some of the special effects and projection techniques let the mystique slip. Crammed into its epic running time is a Western: a love story: the dawning of World War II and how the aboriginal population was treated. Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman seem to have a ball with the manic script, somehow you do want to see how things turn out. Just like Tarsem Singh’s The Fall, the backdrops and cinematography prove to be more entertaining than the script itself, which loses direction after the first hour.

2 out of 5 members found this review helpful.

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Fish Tank

Candid Camera

(Edit) 23/02/2010

A real highlight from 2009 is Fish Tank where Andrea Arnold finally delivers. I wasn't that impressed with her previous film Red Road, however she's learned from that experience and crafted a candid and startling portrayal of teenage life on a UK housing estate. Katie Jarvis is terrific in her first ever role; substituting her own life experiences for her onscreen character. The end result is an experience that will provoke debate and some sadness at the state of our inner cities and society in general. Also another fine performance from Michael Fassbender.

4 out of 6 members found this review helpful.

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The Game

Play The Game

(Edit) 11/03/2009

Perhaps the most overlooked film from David Fincher yet it deserves to sit alongside Seven and Fight Club. The Game is a great thriller, one where Fincher honed his skills for future projects. Another fine performance by Michael Douglas, assisted by Sean Penn and Deborah Unger, keeps your interest high as the script twists and turns. Too many films try to be too smart, The Game through careful manipulation and staging manages to pull it off. Making The Game well worth checking out.

3 out of 4 members found this review helpful.

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Genova

Half the story

(Edit) 27/08/2009

Quite disappointing really, the film dwells mostly the family trying to lay down roots in a new country. For the most part this involves getting lost in back streets, sunbathing or swimming. The actual emotional loss is never fully explored and the deceased visits are left open to interpretation. Those looking for a stimulating family drama should check out Tokyo Sonata instead.

3 out of 4 members found this review helpful.

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Team America: World Police

Growing Tired

(Edit) 15/07/2009

Being a fan of South Park in its early days, Team American recycles the same gags and voices albeit in a new form. The technical aspect of World Police is great, what they've acheived with the puppets is impressive, especially North Korea's Dear Leader. As a comedy it is hit and miss, often plummeting into the gutter and throwing in songs when all else fails.

2 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

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Tell No One

Outstanding Thriller

(Edit) 04/05/2009

This outstanding French thriller is one of the best I’ve seen in recent years and keeps you fully engaged until the end. It’s a really subtle experience that gets under your skin simply by exploiting the premise to the maximum potential. There’s no need for blood or huge action stunts and this maintains its sense of realism. You can really identify with Alex Beck’s roller coaster of emotions, as his wife is murdered and he is badly injured. Eight years later and he is only just coming to terms with the huge black hole in his life, despite support from a close-knit circle of friends, and then he receives the most unexpected of emails. This starts a chain reaction of events, which leads him and the police to question everything. Tell No One is thoroughly recommended; see this before Hollywood ruins it.

6 out of 9 members found this review helpful.

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Knowing

Flawed Blockbuster

(Edit) 06/10/2009

Knowing is another memorable science fiction adventure in the arsenal of Nicolas Cage's CV of wooden performances. Flawed and to put it mildly complete and utter nonsense, its either an enjoyable romp or completely nuts depending on your point of view. Just suspend your belief and try to follow events through the bad CGI and wooden plot. We've had a few of these number based thrillers such as Number 23 or disaster predictions, often starring Will Smith. Best seen on the big screen with a huge sound system Knowing is harmless fun however after giving us Dark City, I expected more from Alex Proyas.

1 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

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The Killing of a Chinese Bookie

Gritty Tale

(Edit) 11/02/2009

This is a visit to the dark side of the strip. For all purposes a decent nightclub owner, who treats his girls and friends well, falls into gambling debt. Setting up a form of repayment that threatens everything. This not only goes against his morals but assists crooks he has come to fear to loathe. Cassavetes has a unique way of directing with many shots seemingly leaving characters out of the shot. Only to pop up on another angle. This disjointed and almost haphazard approach gives Chinese Bookie a real edge. You warm to the main characters and feel immersed in their world. There is no slick seventies LA style here although everyone concerned believes they are living the good life. A great deal of the film is set indoors or takes place at night sets are sparse and dimly lit, you almost wonder what's in the shadows. The seventies are overlooked in cinema yet in the states many interesting films were being released albeit with limited budgets. This is a fine place to start your exploration.

1 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

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The Pixar Short Film Collection: Vol.1

For Fans Only

(Edit) 08/03/2009

I'm a huge fan of Pixar's films so far, but this disk is really only for loyal fans of the studio. It offers the chance to complete the set of shorts starting from the very beginning of the studio. Slowly but surely you can see the Pixar magic develop through the sweat and tears of those involved. Perseverance is the key here as many of those early shorts are more a demonstration of the technical possibilities, rather than any decent short film. Pixar have tried to expand the content with commentaries and vintage footage to back up the thirteen shorts, but it is not enough to warrant a purchase. Arguably then it is ideal rental fodder yet I cannot recommend it hugely, only if you enjoyed the excellent ‘Pixar Story’ documentary that was included on the Wall-E release. If you did and wish to go further, seeing the films in their entirety, then this is for you.

1 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Brilliant

(Edit) 15/02/2009

Thought by many to be impossible to film, Terry Gilliam manages to deliver an excellent adaptation of Thompson's book. Whilst a real fan of Gilliam's previous work, this film was the first for me to highlight what Depp could do as an actor, he's also well supported here in an early role from Del Toro.

The distinctive images of the book and the imagination of the director are well matched. There are plenty of standout and memorable moments. Throw in some laughable moments and you have the ideal Las Vegas experience.

2 out of 5 members found this review helpful.

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Death Note

Death to dumb films

(Edit) 12/05/2009

I found Death Note to be a tad disappointing and under whelming. Clearly showing its manga roots, this adaptation maintains a lightweight cartoonish feel to proceedings. What could have been a decent J-Horror instead is watered down to MTV-lite thriller proportions, adopting a characteristic sterile approach to events. Death Note slots in beside One Missed Call, The Unborn and similar releases with ease. The death god for example is deliberately shown as manga CGI, which contrasts badly with the real-life environments he inhabits while following Light’s commands. Some of the acting performances are wooden and the decision to abandon much of what made the printed Death Note so promising can only be seen to be a travesty.

1 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

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Paul Blart: Mall Cop

Poor Taste & Lacking Laughs

(Edit) 16/08/2009

Expectations weren't high for Paul Blart Mall Cop yet I'm still surprised how much in bad taste the attempts at humour were. Kevin James plays a local security guard who is overweight, unfit, lacking confidence and hypoglycaemic amongst other limitations. Surely comedy can move beyond making fun of physical and medical conditions? A shopping mall should provide plenty of scope but its left for Blart to adopt a Die Hard finale to overcome a cast of extreme sports stars. Whom of course cannot act and put the final nail in the coffin to this film. A comedy without laughs is a truly sad experience, and here it is.

1 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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The Haunting

The Greatest Haunted House

(Edit) 22/03/2009

The Haunting is a masterclass in suspense and terror from Robert Wise. It ranks as one of my favourite films of all time despite the 90's remake which was a travesty. Many years ago I stumbled across a late night showing on BBC 2 and it made for an uncomfortable night. Wise assembled a cast of unknowns for this tale, where the star of proceedings is the house itself. The forces at work within its walls are never fully explained or shown. Clearly it is what you don't seen onscreen that leaves you with a sense of terror. There are several standout moments, especially when the cast decide to bail out. The cinematography is memorable along with the dynamic editing and use of sound. The Haunting only features one special effect of note and even then its very low key. This is the textbook example of how to terrify your audience, no matter how often they see the film.

4 out of 6 members found this review helpful.
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