Martin Howard's reviews of films seen on the big screen in 2004, with links to the BBC's alternate views.

The Terminal

(8th September 2004)

Definitely a film where one has to suspend any rational sense of reality- but where is the problem in that? I really enjoyed Cathernine Zeta-Jones' role in this film and Tom Hanks was, well, Tom Hanks. Viktor Navorski (Hanks) comes from a fictional East European country, learns to speak English incredibly fast (with a reasonably convincing East European accent) and is generally rather likeable. I rather enjoyed this film, but the truth is you will either like it or loathe it and there probably isn't much middle ground. For a more rounded Steven Spielberg film, try Catch Me If You Can. BBC Review

The Bourne Supremacy

(14th August 2004)

Matt Damon reprises his 2002 role as Jason Bourne. Superbly tight directing by Paul Greengrass and much steadicam work leads to an unusual documentary style to the film. Personally I think the action and story lines in the Robert Ludlum stories are good enough to give the Bond franchise a run for its money, though only time will tell. If you like spies and action, DON'T MISS, but concentrate else you'll miss the clever bits! BBC Review

I, Robot

(9th August 2004)

I was fully prepared to say "It does what it says on the tin". However I was pleasantly surprised- the story fleshes out pretty well, the rules get broken and the special effects are outstanding. The film was made to make money and make it, it will. Even the world's richest man can suffer an allergic reaction. BBC Review

Spider-Man 2

(16th July 2004)

Review here BBC Review

Shrek 2

(9th July 2004)

Review here BBC Review

Around The World In 80 Days

(27th June 2004)

Review here BBC Review

The Cooler

(20th June 2004)

An interesting one this- what to write about a film where my mind kept wandering to other things. Not usually a good sign. Alec Baldwin (as boss of an old style Las Vegas Casion) didn't have much of a character, but played what he did have well. William Macy and Maria Bello played the joint leads convincingly. I note that Wayne Kramer is credited as co-writer as well as Director. He should stick to directing- some of the storylines towards the end were so far out, I hope they were just a sign of production overspend. On balance.. go and see it, or wait for it to come out on rental. Whatever. A very strange release schedule. BBC Review

Harry Potter and The Prisoner Of Azkaban

(31st May 2004)

The latest Harry Potter offering is a fast moving romp through JK Rowling's third novel- I cannot recall how true to the book it is, but it doesn't matter! There is plenty of magic and the special effects are so good I didn't even notice them. The Hippogryff is rather good- There are so many stars in the film, throwing in lots of chuckles, that they act as a good counter-point to the obvious dark side of this film brought about by the change of director (Alfonso Cuarón) from the first two in the series. Don't miss! BBC Review
The Day After Tomorrow

(30th May 2004)
A rather good film that works well at most of its many levels. The human interest story line is a bit formulaic, but tthis really doesn't matter. The special effects are absolutely incredible- all we can hope (and I fear it is a forlorn hope) is that oilman Bush takes note and does rather more now to ratify the Kyoto Treaty than hitherto. The reality is that Roland Emmerich's film is so powerful and dramatic that environmental sceptics will dismiss it as alarmist without considering any of the underlying message. BBC Review
Lost in Translation

(8th February 2004)
Hmmmmmm. Not impressed. Either I was looking for something too deep, or this film was too deep for me. The end result was definitely lost in translation. There were a few atmospheric shots of Tokyo and the surrounding countryside, but other than that, I felt it was a poor screenplay (ie negligible story line). I doubt it took long to film. BBC Review
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