The Birds

Name: The Birds
Year: 1963
Rating: Made For TV
Running Time (minutes): 119
Description: Melanie Daniels is the modern rich socialite, part of the jet-set who always gets what she wants. When lawyer Mitch Brenner sees her in a pet shop, he plays something of a practical joke on her, and she decides to return the favour. She drives about an hour north of San Francisco to Bodega Bay, where Mitch spends the weekends with his mother Lydia and younger sister Cathy. Soon after her arrival, however, the birds in the area begin to act strangely. A sea gull attacks Melanie as she is crossing the bay in a small boat and then Lydia finds her neighbour dead, obviously the victim of a bird attack. Soon, birds in the hundreds and thousands are attacking anyone they find out of doors. There is no explanation as to why this might be happening and as the birds continue their vicious attacks, survival becomes the priority.
Stars: Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren and Suzanne Pleshette
Genres: Horror, Thriller

I usually avoid old movies like this because the obsolete sound usually reduces the enjoyment for me, but I felt I had to try this one because it’s kind of iconic and, well, nothing good was on anyway.

It all lasted too long. The women, minus Cathy, sounded really weird and artificial and Tippi Hedren’s voice sounded so artificial that I had severe trouble trying to guess her age. Also don’t understand why Melanie had to come after Mitch, her character is just odd and, let’s see… oh yes, why exactly did the birds attack? Wouldn’t an explanation have been nice after two hours?

There was no score in this movie and that worked quite well. Despite everything coming from one speaker, the tension was always palpable, even though lots of birds sounded like angry cats to me.


The Man With The Golden Gun

Name: The Man With The Golden Gun
Year: 1974
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 125
Description: Scaramanga is a hitman who charges a million dollars per job. He becomes linked to the death of a scientist working on a powerful solar cell, and James Bond is called in to investigate. As he tracks down Scaramanga, he realises that he is highly respected by the killer, but will this prove to be an advantage in the final showdown?
Stars: Roger Moore, Christopher Lee and Britt Ekland
Genres: Action, Adventure, Thriller

Best Bond film I’ve watched so far! Liked the interaction between Moore and the Bond girls a lot.

The score had its moments.


Name: Next
Year: 2007
Rating: PG-13
Running Time (minutes): 96
Description: Las Vegas showroom magician Chris Johnson has a secret which torments him: he can see a few minutes into the future. Sick of the examinations he underwent as a child and the interest of the government and medical establishment in his power, he lies low under an assumed name in Vegas, performing cheap tricks and living off small-time gambling ‘winnings’. But when a terrorist group threatens to detonate a nuclear device in Los Angeles, government agent Callie Ferris must use all her wiles to capture Cris and convince him to help her stop the cataclysm.
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Julianne Moore and Jessica Biel
Genres: Action, Fantasy, Romance, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Meh. Didn’t know there were French terrorists who had a grudge against the US for no particular reason whatsoever. I really did like the twist at the end, though.

The score was at times functional and at times very effective.

The Holiday

Name: The Holiday
Year: 2006
Rating: PG-13
Running Time (minutes): 138
Description: Two women troubled with guy problems swap homes in each other’s countries, where they each meet a local guy and fall in love.
Stars: Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law
Genre: Comedy, Romance

I really liked the first 40 minutes or so, but as the story progressed, I became kind of tired of it and when the children entered, I really became tired of it. I don’t like Cameron Diaz and even Kate Winslet became boring.

Hans Zimmer’s score was definitely the reason I kept watching this feel-good film. I’ve heard better romantic scores, but I’ve most certainly heard worse ones too. This score was so exuberant at times that it made me laugh and its limitless happiness was quite infectious. I also liked how they talked about film music in this movie, though Ennio Morricone’s name was pronounced quite badly. The songs were mostly great too.

And finally, I wish audio-describers would stop saying things before they happened, in this case a woman hitting a man and something else I already forgot.

Beethoven’s Christmas Adventure

Name: Beethoven’s Christmas Adventure
Year: 2011
Rating: G
Running Time (minutes): 90
Description: A Christmas elf accidentally takes off in Santa’s sleigh, crash lands in a small town and loses the magic toy bag. Beethoven must rescue the elf, recover the bag from greedy crooks and return the sleigh to Santa in time to save Christmas.
Stars: John Cleese, Munro Chambers, Kim Rhodes
Genres: Comedy, Fantasy

Absurd, but rather amusing.

And not surprisingly, I really liked the score.


Name: Poseidon
Year: 2006
Rating: PG-13
Running Time (minutes): 98
Description: It is New Year’s Eve and over 2,000 passengers and crew are ringing in the New Year aboard the huge cruise ship Poseidon on the open sea in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean. A small group of survivors find themselves unlikely allies in a battle for their lives. Preferring to test the odds alone, career gambler Dylan Johns ignores captain’s orders to wait below for possible rescue and sets out to find his own way to safety. What begins as a solo mission soon draws others, as Dylan is followed by a desperate father searching for his daughter and her fiancĂ©e – a young couple who hours before couldn’t summon the courage to tell him they were engaged and now face much graver challenges. Along the way they are joined by a single mother and her wise-beyond-his-years son, an anxious stowaway and a despondent fellow passenger who boarded the ship not sure he wanted to live, but now knows he doesn’t want to die…
Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, Kurt Russell and Emmy Rossum
Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, Thriller

Why did I even give this a chance? Because Rotten Tomatoes said it was stupid. Well, it is, I turned it off after 30 minutes. Just couldn’t get emotionally attached to any of the characters, including a stupid woman calling her boy sweetie all the damn time.

The score was generic and the opening sounded an awful lot like like Pirates of the Caribbean and King Arthur.


Name: Elysium
Year: 2013
Rating: PG-13
Running Time (minutes): 109
Description: In the year 2154, two classes of people exist: the very wealthy, who live on a pristine, man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. Secretary Delacourt, a government official, will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve the luxurious lifestyle of the citizens of Elysium. That doesn’t stop the people of Earth from trying to get in by any means they can. When unlucky Max is backed into a corner, he agrees to take on a daunting mission that, if successful, will not only save his life, but could bring equality to these polarised worlds.
Stars: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley
Genres: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

Not bad… But the ending is totally ridiculous. As if they couldn’t get Max to that medbay… And I hate Jodie Foster. Is Silence of the Lambs the only film where she doesn’t play a bitch?

Interesting score though, a blend of Patrick Doyle, Hans Zimmer/Remote Control Productions and… something else.

The Illusionist

Name: The Illusionist
Year: 2006
Rating: PG-13
Running Time (minutes): 110
Description: In turn-of-the-century Vienna, a magician uses his abilities to secure the love of a woman far above his social standing.
Stars: Edward Norton, Jessica Biel, Paul Giamatti
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Romance

The first half was quite captivating, but then I started to lose interest because it became rather tedious. It’s also quite annoying that the film was set in Vienna, but that everyone spoke English with a German accent. Just speak German or English. The ending was rushed and turned out exactly the way I expected it to.

I only knew one score by Philip Glass, Notes On A Scandal, and that one was quite boring. This one, however, was really interesting and effective, orchestral with a nice main theme and quite enjoyable to listen to.

The audio description was written and narrated by Tony Cook. I had only heard him once before in Fracture. His delicious, refined British accent makes whatever he describes worth listening to and even improves the quality of the material he’s tackling. During the second half of the film, the descriptions were timed badly, but that was entirely the broadcaster’s fault.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows

Name: Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows
Year: 2011
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 129
Description: Sherlock Holmes and his longtime trusted associate, Doctor Watson, take on their arch-nemesis, Professor Moriarty, with the help of Holmes’s older brother Mycroft Holmes and a gypsy named Sim.
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law and Jared Harris
Genres: Action, Adventure, Crime

I still like this one better than its predecessor. The story is much better and Robert Downey Jr never disappoints. Nor do Stephen Fry and Kelly Reilly, for that matter.

As for the score, I’m currently craving everything non-D minor. The themes are great, as usual, but watching this one after The Force Awakens was a rude awakening.

I decided to watch it on my 5.1 speakers for the first time, and what a great idea that was. Why is it that everything always needs to pound and thump like crazy these days? Even if Hans Zimmer isn’t doing it, trust the special effects to take over. I had to turn down the volume of the trout scene because apparently torturing someone is now accompanied by lots of rumbling that would probably alert the whole of London. Surprised the neighbours aren’t asking me for explanations yet.

Now You See Me

Name: Now You See Me
Year: 2013
Rating: PG-13
Running Time (minutes): 115
Description: Four magicians each answer a mysterious summons to an obscure address with secrets inside. A year later, they are the Four Horsemen, big time stage illusionists who climax their sold-out Las Vegas show with a bank apparently robbed for real. This puts agents Dylan Rhodes of the FBI and Alma Vargas of Interpol on the case to find out how they did it. However, the mystery proves difficult to solve, even with the insights of the professional illusion exposer, Thaddeus Bradley. What follows is a bizarre investigation where nothing is what it seems, with illusions, dark secrets and hidden agendas galore as all involved are reminded of a great truth in this puzzle: the closer you look, the less you see.
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo
Genres: Crime, Mystery, Thriller

Great, except for the ‘The Eye’ part.

The score was unremarkable.