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SteveParkes’s Film Reviews

30 Films have been rated or reviewed by SteveParkes.

Fast and the Furious, TheFast and the Furious, The (2001)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Surprise hit & surprisingly entertaining, I can see why petrol heads loved it. I’m not a car nut, but the enthusiasm comes across, just holding my interest. Diesel’s performance managed a certain charisma. Forgettable fun.
DVD $19.95, $49.95 | Blu-Ray $39.95, $44.95
Diving Bell and the Butterfly, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, The (Scaphandre et le papillon, Le) (2007)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) A hypnotic & arresting film, the movie has a sense of the tragedy for Bauby and his family, but it wasn't merely an artful tearjerker. It’s ironic that a film about such a devastating, disconnecting condition should be a rich and human experience.
CasablancaCasablanca (1942)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) "Classics" are often of interest but underwhelming (eg Citizen Kane), or outright silly & disappointing (eg Gone with the Wind). Casablanca is what I expect from the term. Gorgeously played in every respect, it puts the class in classic.
DVD $25 $18.75
Donnie DarkoDonnie Darko (2001)
5 stars (Exceptional) Touches on so many genres that it's hard to define. The original theatrical cut is perfectly balanced in its dream–like fantasy atmosphere, sci–fi plot details & period piece feel. Well crafted but also has that ‘x–factor’ that makes a classic.
DVD $19.95 | Blu-Ray $24.95
Hangover, TheHangover, The (2009)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Cleverer than usual ‘crude–comedy’, it has a well constructed script, and is solidly crafted and acted. I expected more ‘side splitting’ and cringe–inducing scenes, but it was really no more bad taste than a Farrelly Bros pic. Still, well hungover.
DVD $12 $6, $39.95 | Blu-Ray $49.95
Natural Born KillersNatural Born Killers (1994)
1 star (Turkey) Stylised but not stylish, it satirises the ‘MTV Generation’, CNN, E! channel zeitgeist by mimicking it, but its observations are mostly trite. You get better media parody in an average Simpsons episode. Despite OTT styling & violence, it’s vanilla satire.
DVD $15 $11.25
Southland TalesSouthland Tales (2006)
2 stars (Good Try) Satirical epic; epic fail. Incoherent, pretentious, derivative, forced. Still, ambitious and a bit of fun, with a good soundtrack & some nice scenes (eg Timberlake’s The Killers sing–along, car ad, blood squibs).
DVD $24.95 | Blu-Ray $29.95
Up in the AirUp in the Air (2009)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) Rom–com with a dash of politics, but it’s myopic to see this film purely in those terms. A rare instance of Hollywood living up to its own hype: it’s about a man trying to make a connection in a world increasingly built around superficial connectedness.
DVD $12.50 $6.25, $20 $15
Serious Man, ASerious Man, A (2009)
3 stars (Good Enough) Fun, effective satire with a great lead performance. But with the exception of the protagonist, physics teacher Larry Gopnik, the characters are flat, no one is really likeable, and almost everyone is infuriatingly selfish. Caricature overdose, perhaps.
DVD $20 $15
No Man's LandNo Man's Land (2001)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Does a competent job blending genres: war, sit com, tragedy, satire, farce, thriller. Criticism was that it has little to say other than 'war is hell'. That’s true of many war films. It’s a 'shooting fish in a barrel' thing – war is easy to satirize.
DVD $15 $11.25, $29.95 $15

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