Pithy 10 Second Movie Reviews #11


1. (of language or style) Concise and forcefully expressive.

2. (of a fruit or plant) Containing much pith.

3. (generally) I take the pith for your entertainment.

The Campaign (2012:  Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Sudeikis, Dylan McDermott)

… wins nil champagne.

Zach G holds the whole thing together as the mincing fop who is really steely otherwise this would be less absorbing than cat litter that had not been changed for about a century.

The Rite (2011: Anthony Hopkins, Colin O’Donoghue, Ciarán Hinds)

… that turned out wrong.

Seen one exorcism, seen them all.

The devil has the gall to practice on the Vatican’s doorstep.

Hopkins still comes with a light frosting of “Lambs” which is lucky for us.

Bernie (2011: Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey)

The vox pop commentary style can’t sustain a whole film.

Best bit is seeing Black at the end with the real Bernie.

The Heavy (2010: Vinnie Jones, Christopher Lee, Stephen Rea, Jean Marsh)

Poor old scrumptious Stretch has every nullius filius* after him.

AND, his own fully-paid-up cur-brother suddenly wants him to hand over (excruciating to gather) life-giving nectar.

Stretch’s moniker is the unexplained “Boots” which puth one in mind of a luf-lee, fluffy puuthee, doth it not?


Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011: Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Thomas Horn)

Hanksy phones home at 9.58 am from the South Tower … Uh-oh.

Quite annoying child that won tons of money in a quiz show in real life so that explains it.

Bullock blubbs and snots her way through (one wonders how many million per gunked-up tissue that worked out to).

Due Date (2010: Robert Downey Jr, Zach Galifianakis)

aka Crude Mate.

The ol’ Planes and Trains and Automobiles (from 1987 yikes!) subversion gets resurrected but look which two divine wags are in charge of resuscitation.

These two rub along together as smoothly as coal on a cheese-grater.

The query I don’t really want to hear the answer to “How did they make that sound effect?”  à propos Zachy can’t sleep unless … while poor Jnr …

Last Day of Summer (2009: DJ Qualls, Nikki Reed)

The schnozzle gets more screen time than the lead.

And why not?

Crazy but “life-changing” according to the blurb. If you say so.

TIP If your hooter is as de Bergerac-ed as Qualls, you too could be a Prada model.

Spiral (2007: Joel David Moore, Amber Tamblyn, Zachary Levi)

Repellent beanpole who is afraid of dialogue survives very nicely as a telemarketer!

And he can paint.

It was a sympathy bonk too far for me to believe that Tamblyn would so speedily sink into the sack with said Sad Sack.

Sleuth (2007: Michael Caine, Jude Law; screenplay by Harold Pinter from play by Anthony Shaffer)



Never was the eternal triangle more endlessly pointy and deadly.

Whiplash whimsicalities.

Not a syllable wasted.

The Night Listener (2006: Robin Williams, Toni Collette, Bobby Cannavale, Sandra Oh)

Williams does well when he plays it straight as a gay man; as here and La Cage aux Folles.

Numerous escalators up from Play Misty for Me courtesy Clint Eastwood and Jessica Walter, 1971.

SPOILER ALERT It revolves around Münchausen Syndrome by Proxy combined with Fabulism.

Syriana (2005: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Jeffrey Wright)

Hard to keep up with who were the fuckers and fuckees but we got there in the end.

More sub-plots than a tri-sold cemetery.


The Quiet (2005: Elisha Cuthbert, Martin Donovan, Edie Falco, Camilla Belle)

Dot the Dreary Dope moves in with godparents and their spoilt daughter.

TRIPLE-YUK ALERT Spoilt as in …

Falco is useless as a mother/wife since she gets worn out every day studying wallpaper swatches.

Stay (2005: Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts, Ryan Gosling)

EMcG gets bitten by a dead dog.

Apart from that, why don’t they tell us why his slacks are always thee inches too short and he owns no socks?

And why do they keep showing groups of identical people?

The I Inside (2004: Ryan Phillippe, Stephen Rea, Sarah Polley, Piper Perabo, Robert Sean Leonard)

Sweetie Phillippie can’t remember the previous two years (I can’t remember the last 22 – make a film about that!). 

Hard to negotiate the Giant Slalom timelines, as if formerly famous frog skier, Jean-Claude Killy, were at the tiller.

Peut-être était-il.

Secret Window (2004: Johnny Depp, John Turturro, Timonthy Hutton, Maria Bello; from Stephen King)

Depp at the mercy of a splendidly cast Turturro doing a grand job of putting the shits up our esteemed scribbler, who is not a stranger to plagiarism.

(Reminds me of a poem I once wrote: “With some mere flicks of the wrist, I’m the original plagiarist.)

Suspect Zero (2004: Aaron Eckhart, Ben Kinsley, Carrie-Ann Moss)

… Serial killers minus zero.

Gives vigilantes a good name which is probably not the intention.

The Statement (2003: Michael Caine, Tilda Swinton, Jeremy Northam)

The bloody Catholic church and their speciality: cover-ups that make the CIA look like train-spotters.

Caine, incredible, as the cowardly, slimy fugitive with his hand permanently in the collection plate.

Owning Mahowny (2003: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Minnie Driver, John Hurt; based on true story from Canada)

Almost impossible to imagine any actor that could deliver this better than Hoffman.

Driver done up as a complete dimwit, including unflattering 80s hair and those (aviator) glasses that serial killers always wear.

TIP And serial killers also always have the middle-name “Wayne” (Google it)

(“But not Bundy.” “Well, that’s no tip then, is it?”)

Spider (2002: Ralph Fiennes, Miranda Richardson, Gabriel Byrne)

Fiennes lovely voice wasted since he mumbles non-stop into his Old Shag.

Richardson, as always, lights up the screen as did the “hardly anyone today comes close to” dames of the 40s/50s.

Requiem (2001: French)

Bunch of untameable thugs are sprung out of prison to hole up in a local monkery.

The frothing frogs learn there is no “I” in team (the hard way).

Stigmata (1999: Gabriel Byrne, Patricia Arquette, Jonathan Pryce)

Arquette miscast by light-years.

The Catholics will do anything to silence rewrites of even a line of the Bible.

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10 Second Movie Reviews #10


  1. (of language or style) Concise and forcefully expressive.
  2. (of a fruit or plant) Containing much pith.
  3. (usually) I take the pith for your entertainment.


Contraband (2012: Mark Wahlberg, Kate Beckinsale, Giovanni Ribisi)

Having upgraded from crook to Mr Middling, the erstwhile Marky Mark, he of the San Francisco bridge homage eyebrows, has to mop up a heap of some snivelling twat’s inglorious poop.

Queue here for a severe tongue-lashing, laddies.

Dark Shadows (2012: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham-Carter, Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer)

Visually – a delight.

Aurally – an abortion without benefit of anaesthetic.

Viz; no money leftover for scriptwriters.

Or clothes. Eva Green recycles outfits from her Bond movie.

Project X (2012: Oliver Cooper, Jonathan Daniel Brown, Thomas Mann)

All the XXs get their kit off. (Never!)

Tasteful finger-banging tips thrown in which remain ‘academic’ for our lead XYs. (Never!)

Hangover Part II (2011: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong)

Yes, I know we’ve all seen it.

A smaller budget for wildlife than Part I.

Complaint: unrealistic Bangkok; where are all the armies of people with no arms or legs on the street that I saw?

Hint to Producers: could have been edgier with, a cameo from, eg, that wiley rapscallion OJ Simpson.

Martha, Marcy, May Marlene (2011: Elizabeth Olsen, Sarah Paulson, John Hawkes)

Makes you believe brain-washing is possible.

Terribly understanding in-laws.

Now THAT I don’t believe.

“I can never look you in the eye ever again scene”: M4 slips into bed with sister and husband while they’re getting it on.

Cringeworthy scene: hugely cone-nosed boss of the malefactors appoints himself head of deflowering fledgling cultists – in their sleep!

Dinner for Schmucks (2010: Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, Jemaine Clement, Stephanie Szostak, Lucy Punch, Bruce Greenwood, David Walliams)

… equals nigh-nighs for tiny rodents.

Almost makes taxidermy socially acceptable. (“No it doesn’t!”)

Best line, “Zat vass my vife’s favourite finger.”

Say no more.

Worth seeing alone for Jemaine (Conchord) Clement bedecked as Pan.

Heartless (2009: Jim Sturgess, Timothy Spall, Eddie Marsan)

aka Smarts-less.

The devil went down to Georgia” and selflessly detoured on the way home for a  “Satan gets down in Shoreditch” gig.

And shouts someone a Mary Kay makeover, alas with a Best By date.

Features the worst case of sunburn sloughing since the Sun was a bubby.

Moral: run for your life at the first glint of a tiny saried Indian girl giving away clean underwear in YOUR SIZE.

Moral II: Beautiful Eastern European girls who speak English better than you do are not interested in chummy; they OL-VAYS VANT SUM-SINK.

The Last Templar (2009: Mira Sorvino, Victor Garber, Omar Sharif, Scott Foley)

… was almost the last straw.

Manolo Blahnik had shares in it, surely?

In keeping with the fashion theme,  Sorvino could be Aniston avant nose-job viewed through another’s bi-focals.

Meanwhile, the fuzz tries to hang onto its virtue ‘coz it’s Lent.

Sorvino a perky know-it-all who leaves a trail of cadavers in her high-heeled wake on a quest for the truth about the jester upstairs.

Cue the Vatican.

Features a slappable daughter who insists on getting her homework projects finished on time.

Knife Edge (2009: Natalie Press, Mattieu Boujenah, Hugh Bonneville, Joan Plowright)

… which upon was I not.

House slightly larger than Lichtenstein for 2.168 persons.

Ms Press oscillates between thinking she’s Helen Mirren in “The Queen” and a 24/7 ad for Jean-Paul Gaulter.

They tried to make it classy, but, oh dear … check out the weekday dinner accoutrements plus the late Lord Olivier’s ancient old lady doing all the hard graft.

A sub-theme too far: We are asked to give credence to the notion that Press was a successful trader on Wall St courtesy of psychic powers.

But I must admit I did not see “it” coming.

The Killing Room (2009: Nick Cannon, Timothy Hutton, Chloë Sevigny, Clea Duvall)

Enough to make one approve of America being flushed (nothing personal).

Moral: no matter how hard up you get – stay in the gutter.

(“Truly, man, stick with the diet of used prophylactics and vege peelings marinated in cat piss.”)

Moral II: always carry one of those infinite pencils.

SPOILER ALERT Lifesaving Heads-Up: the number most people think of when asked to name a digit between 1-50 is 17.

Lies and Illusions (2009: Christian Slater, Cuba Gooding Jr, Robert Giardina)

aka Spies & Contusions.

Slater must have volunteered to pay off 2nd and 3rd World debt single-handedly to even allow the merest whiff of this putrid moose to come within a hemisphere’s radius of those adorable chops.

And not forgetting the guys: there’s a girl-fight in an Irish pub.

Moral: check your cellar regularly (and I don’t mean for vermin or to rotate the Châteauneuf-du-Pape ’53).

No Country for Old Men (2007: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin)

… or dogs, judging by the canine cull.

Hola! Javier method acts his Purdey* hairdo off.

And blows away everyone else’s.

Never was “heads or tails” so enlivening.

Moral: oxygen is not necessarily your friend.

Moral II: drugs really do kill not only you but everyone you ever met.

*Joanna Lumley from Avengers days.

Hard Candy (2005: Patrick Wilson, Ellen Page, Sandra Oh)

… equals hard yards for miscreants.

Having “cherchéd la fille,” this tugger should have commenced “cherché-ing le nearest SWAT squad.”

A novel take indeed.

The first 20 minutes were so disturbing, this particular  convent-educated movie reviewer was wincing for Australasia.

Killing Me Softly (2002: Heather Graham, Joseph Fiennes, Natascha McElhone)

aka Fucking Me Promptly.

Fiennes makes her swoon but feigns the loon too soon.

The book was better (by Nicci French – actually a man and a woman).

SPOILER ALERT Avoid sibling incest (for reasons other than the obvious).

10 Second Movie Reviews #8


  1. (of language or style) Concise and forcefully expressive.
  2. (of a fruit or plant) Containing much pith.
  3. (often) I take the pith for your entertainment.

The Entitled (2011: Ray Liotta, Kevin Zegers)


Foul, smarmy North American teenagers (you want to punch them) help justify the disenfranchised robbing their (teens’) crumblies. Said olds get their own plot thus doubling your merriment. Conceiver enlists the two most capricious ‘helpers’ the universe has up its sleeve.  Recipe for chaos anyone?  Clever. Wacky finale.

 We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller)


Dishes up the ‘nature or nurture’ quagmire in a fashion to make you consider self-sterilisation-on-the-spot. (“Start boiling up the wire coat-hangers, Mabel.”) Advice to Swinton: get Thee to a podiatrist.

Shame (2011: Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan)


Sex addict can’t glimpse so much as a hole-punch at his office without rubbing one out.  Fassbender is not backward in coming forward, as it were. Thank the Lord it’s not in 3-freakin’-D.  (“Virgins, look away NOW!”)

King of Devil’s Island (2010: Stellan Skarsgård, Benjamin Helstad, Kristoffer Joner)


Wall to wall desolation complete with snow up to your navel and bum-friendly tutor in the fjords. Splendidly done but frightening as is recent history. Reindeer waiting for December get a walk-on.

The Way (2010: dir: Emilio Estevez; Martin Sheen, James Nesbitt)


Sheen and his uneven arms (polio) traverse El Camino de Santiago with nil preparation and nary a blister. Wholly dedicated to keeping unexplained grumpiness on the boil in too-late attempt to bond with son who had fallen off his perch on his (son’s) earlier first trekking day. Stirring. Book your air-tickets now.

Escapist (2008: Brian Cox, Joseph Fiennes, Dominic Cooper, Steven MacKintosh, Damian Lewis)


A bevy of banged-up, wayward, yet enchanting fellows navigate London’s discarded tube tunnels. Worth seeing for that alone.  Hint: A chance for you to play ‘spot the ghost.’

 Five Fingers (2006: Ryan Phillippe, Laurence Fishburne)


Cherubic Phillippe had me stymied.  Intense mental calisthenics. Gaggable knife-skills. Good accents.

Fragile (2005: Calista Flockhart)


The good old “cute as Scrat and his Big Acorn therapist commits herself to the alarmingly freakish nut-house in the middle of bloody nowhere” stratagem.  Formula guaranteed to drive you back to your homework/divorce proceedings/root canal treatment.

The Forgotten (2004: Julianne Moore, Gary Sinise, Dominic West, Linus Roache, Anthony Edwards)


Children are ‘chosen’ but what is the experiment? Moore up to her armpits with pluck. Sinise looking a bit toadish (great though). Stars son of Coro’s Ken Barlow!

Domestic Disturbance (2001:  John Travolta, Vince Vaughn, Steve Buscemi)


Despicable step-dad ruffles various feathers, not the least of which those affixed to the ever-expanding La Travolta. Tame outing. OK if there is nothing else doing.

The End of Violence (1997: Bill Pullman, Andie (She’s Worth It) MacDowell, Gabriel Byrne)


Film mogul turns to the soil. Full of shrouded schema. Gorgeous house. Lovely Mexicans. Atmospheric. Cerebral even.

Sorry, guys, but Big Yawn this week goes to …

Extreme Honour (2001: Dan Anderson, Michael Madsen, Michael  Ironside, Oliver Gruner)

Astounding in that everyone spoke at the wrong (slow) speed with huge pauses.  The proverbial brick shithouse had incredible skin and an incongruous lisp. This appears to be Anderson’s only flirtation with Hollywood, poor guy.  But I could see him making it big in porn (so to speak). Maybe that’s what he’s up to now … (“WE are not that kind of blog.  Spoilsport.”) Mad scenario. Look out for Green Acres’ son who is the spit.