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About me

I work as a teacher and in my spare time run the film themed (pretty obvious if you look at the name) Film Pigeons podcast. We're on the web at the film pigeon's blog

Occupation: Teacher



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Recent reviews

All reviews - Movies (44) - TV Shows (2) - DVDs (4) - Games (30)

Non-Stop (2014) review

Posted : 5 years, 1 month ago on 7 August 2014 07:19 (A review of Non-Stop (2014))

This is high concept film done wrong. The premise - Liam Neeson playing detective AND kicking terrorist ass within the confined, claustrophobic setting of a plane sounds promising enough.

Sadly, the movie is deeply stupid. The plot is ramshackle, Neeson is flat and wooden - both arguably predictable results. The biggest sin of Non-Stop is that it fails to make use of its setting,which was the one selling point differentiating Non-Stop from all the other Neeson action flicks. However, the fact that they're on a plane really only contributes to one set piece during the climax of the movie. Everything else is piecemeal and could easily take place in literally any setting.

In short, if you're looking for a unique action-thriller look elsewhere. If you are simply looking for what equates to Unknown 2 then you might be happy.

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Night Train to Munich review

Posted : 5 years, 1 month ago on 7 August 2014 06:50 (A review of Night Train to Munich)

If you come into Night Train to Munich expecting a visionary masterpiece on par with director Carol Reed's better known The Third Man you will likely be disappointed.

Night Train to Munich is, however, a classic wartime romp. It is a thriller that masterfully weaves an impending World War II into a well written script heavy on the cat and mouse chase between British agent Gus Bennett (Rex Harrison) and the Nazis as they seek to secure advanced armor plating technology invented by the father of convenient love interest Anna Bomasch (Margerte Lockwood).

The film really shines when the characters board the titular night train and the chance of survival for Bennett and Bomasch decreases as the stakes become greater. The interplay between the major characters takes on a palpable tension, specifically in what is probably the most dramatic eating of tea and biscuits ever.

The only drawbacks here might be a slightly icky "love story" where the agency of the female lead is in question and some rather dated set pieces that lack the gravitas of Reed's train scenes.

Overall though, Night Train to Munich is an exciting addition to classic wartime dramas/thrillers.

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Mr. 3000 review

Posted : 6 years, 2 months ago on 4 July 2013 07:27 (A review of Mr. 3000)

A lackluster comedy that wastes the appeal of Bernie Mac by turning him into one of the most unappealing undeserving sports film characters I've ever seen. A good sports movie makes you root for the underdog - Mr. 3000 makes you hope that the underdog gets neutered. Though, judging by the completely lackluster romantic parts, that might have already happened. On the plus side, some of the extras on the DVD feature cameos from real major leaguers so, if you somehow don't have access to youtube, you can see a middle aged Ryne Sandberg talking about a fictional movie character.

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Larry Crowne review

Posted : 6 years, 3 months ago on 10 June 2013 06:52 (A review of Larry Crowne)

If you open up the big encyclopedia of film cliches and turn to the entry for "forgettable fluff piece" you'll see a picture of a grinning Tom Hanks riding a scooter on the set of Larry Crowne. Julia Roberts might have been pictured too but I forgot.

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Detropia review

Posted : 6 years, 5 months ago on 15 April 2013 02:57 (A review of Detropia)

Almost like a tone poem than a real film. A bit trippy, nicely shot ode to the end of an era in Detroit. This style does lead to a bit of a sloppy, disconnected study of the city that jumps around at seemingly random intervals.

It also features many interviews with the inhabitants of the city but fails to find any real standout personalities despite its desperate search for one. Fascinating but largely empty.

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Frankenweenie (2012) review

Posted : 6 years, 8 months ago on 13 January 2013 10:33 (A review of Frankenweenie (2012))

Despite some rather shoddy characterizations and a disconnected meandering plot Frankenweenie is one of Tim Burton's better recent efforts. The films is an expansion of an older live action short shot by Burton during his early years with Disney and, to be honest, it shows. The core idea of reanimating a dog is nicely plotted but the other story events seem almost random with numerous less than memorable characters doing strange and bizarre things for little to no reason. There is no real cohesion to the events here.

That being said Frankenweenie deserves to be seen because the animation in it is spectacular. The choice of black and white fits the character design and the "Burtonesque" mood and the titular Frankenweenie is a tour de force of animation. The design and animations of his stop motion puppet imbue the character with a life and personality not often seen in animated films (not often seen here either as most of the human characters lack that same spark). Combine this with some truly breathtaking set pieces at the end of the film and you have a visual masterpiece that elevates the art of the genre. Go into it like you would a imagery laden foreign film - be numbed by the nonsensical nature of the script but blown away by the visuals and you should be happy.

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The Walking Dead review

Posted : 6 years, 8 months ago on 28 December 2012 10:24 (A review of The Walking Dead)

At its heart The Walking Dead is as emotionally affecting an experience as you can have during a video game. Set in the Walking Dead universe of the graphic novels, the episodic adventure series tasks you with getting your group of survivors (most specifically your young ward Clementine) to as much a safe place as possible during the zombie apocalypse. The intensity of the game comes from the difficult choices you must make, choices that seem to transcend the traditional good/bad choices found in most branching video game storylines. These choices provide the backbone for the game's "puzzles" as it chooses to focus on them over the linear object combination puzzles common to adventure games (though it has those as well).

That being said, the multitude of choices doesn't really seem to ultimately affect how the story turns out. While your experience may vary on your way to the ending it seems completely set in stone. This makes for good cinematic flair but for a game so devoted to giving you choice also feels like a bit of a letdown for a game that gives you so much input into how the rest of the story pans out.

Still, the story and characters are fantastic and anyone looking to experience this game should really avoid any spoilers as being put through the emotional wringer is what makes The Walking Dead so memorable.

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It's a Wonderful Life (1946) review

Posted : 6 years, 9 months ago on 25 December 2012 08:34 (A review of It's a Wonderful Life (1946))

Frank Capra's more timeless films seem to be the caffeine of classic Hollywood. They're peppy, fun to consume and leave you with a positive buzz until the cold hard realities of your world set in.

One of the finest examples of this Capra rush is the holiday classic "It's A Wonderful Life". The film adroitly tells the story of small-town hero George Bailey and the many lives he touches. It also throws in a miserable miser and an extended dream sequence ripped off from Dickens but does so in a way that almost outclasses "A Christmas Carol". Instead of spending time with a bitter old man you spend time with a genuinely kind soul as the world slowly crushes his spirit before building it back up again in a flurry of joy. The turns by James Stewart and Donna Reed are captivating in their kindness and humor. There is also some memorable supporting roles for the great Lionel Barrymoore and Gloria Grahame but the real star is the gloriously uplifting script. Sure, there are some cloying Hee-Haw moments and you don't get the satisfaction of seeing that miserable miser get his but the unfettered anti-cynicism is refreshing and makes this Capra's finest film this side of It Happened One Night.

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The Lady Vanishes (1938) review

Posted : 6 years, 9 months ago on 9 December 2012 09:07 (A review of The Lady Vanishes (1938))

I'd call The Lady Vanishes lesser Hitchcock but it does hit on some of his more common tropes. We've a train, a Macgufffin and a case of mistaken (or missing) identity wrapped up in this story of Margaret Lockwood's character searching for a vanished without a trace woman on a train. The search itself is rather compelling as is the interplay between Lockwood and Michael Redgrave (who joins in the search) but the movie quickly devolves into an extended allegory about England's hesitancy to fight Germany in World War II.
This is essentially the movie's downfall. The character's attitudes towards war are one note and exaggerated and those final scenes feel more like an infomercial than a satisfying ending to the story. Unlike something like The Great Dictator It doesn't really rise above its wartime allegory coming closer to a Mrs. Miniver.
It's still interesting and it still has some of that Hitchcock flair but its not among his greatest.

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The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012) review

Posted : 6 years, 9 months ago on 4 December 2012 08:10 (A review of The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012))

Appreciating Aardman films seems to be easier for a certain, shall we say, less colonial segment of the movie watching population. The humor is oft-described as simply "British" whatever that actually means. Strangely, despite my avowed love of the Monty Python films, Aardman just hasn't done it for me. Sure I enjoyed Chicken Run and I tolerated Wallace and Gromit because of the neat characterizations but a movie like The Pirates! Band of Misfits just doesn't draw me in. The humor is mostly throwaway one liners stuffed into a very flimsy plot about Pirate Captain trying to become the pirate of the year. These attempts at humor rarely even elicited a chuckle - they just kind of flopped around on the deck of a nicely animated pirate ship. This doesn't mean there aren't redeeming qualities to this effort - the animation looks a lot better than your usual Aardman fare and when they actually construct jokes instead of throwing them at their audience it can be funny. But overall its humor at the level of Wallace and Gromit without the interesting character interaction.

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Posted: 8 years, 5 months ago at Apr 26 7:58
ty very much!Please vote if you like it