Reviews

261 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
9/10
Compelling Emotional Turbulence
5 December 2017
Marion Cotillard is arresting as a selfish, neurotic young woman who carries her self-imposed burdens into adulthood before an epiphany years later awakes her to the realities of love and life. Cotillard's "Gabrielle" when younger, reveals a selfish, emotionally disturbed young lady believing she has an entitlement to a passionate erotic love life with partners out of her reach. Such leads to her parents' drastic counter-productive remedy of an arranged marriage. I've not read the novel and am unsure if Gabby's physical malady which send her to a sanatorium suggests a cause of her problems or is simply a plot devise. Regardless, the dialog, acting, pacing and photography in this film are first rate! If I had to find fault I'd suggest adding some "clues" and/or nuance to the "mystery" that leads us to the solution But don't miss this fine French film!
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Lady Bird (2017)
8/10
Very Good ...... Not Great
25 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
A perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes says something. Maybe something more about ourselves than the movie itself. Lady Bird is a charming, engrossing, well-written and acted film. Greta Gerwig would have to concede that her movie breaks no new ground though it certainly covers excellently a niche within a genre; i.e., American high school coming- of-age, as well or better than most. Especially the mother/daughter relationship; e.g., Laurie Metcalf's airport circle cry could jerk tears out of a crash dummy. But the RT hype tells us we are so starved for quality with the state of multiplex fare that we'll elevate a fine take on a tried-and-true vehicle to Citizen Kane status. Call me a snob if you will. I wholly expect and maybe deserve "2 out of 50 liked this COMMENT" feedback. But I'm not trying to draw attention to myself or play the devil's advocate. Everyone loved Lady Bird and I had a nice time with it. However, after the tears dry and the gushing ends, it's just a nice movie.
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Crimson Peak (2015)
2/10
Horror To Endure
20 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
If you have not seen Crimson Peak before, yes you have. About a thousand times. Sometimes less lavishly, less melodramatic, less formulamatic, lesser-known cast, etc. The only ground this film breaks is the pink-ooze built into the setting and plot. The heroine is possibly the stupidest character ever to make it to screen; e.g., having seen monsters and apparitions in the morning wanders about in the afternoon as if she's on vacation. The leading male creep is as handsome and charismatic as a bathroom plunger. The dialogue gives new definition to contrived. What was del Toro thinking? "I'll make the ultimate Gothic horror film!". And who and why, Guilllmero, would anyone be interested in sitting through two-hours af absolute predictability watching caricatures mouth loaded banalities to one another? Emily Bronte, Mary Shelley and Edgar Allen Poe are laughing so hard they're busting out of their graves.
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Salt and Fire (2016)
4/10
Give it a Rest, Werner
18 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Mr. Herzog has had a long and acclaimed career, And deservedly so. But after films such as MY SON, MY SON ..." (also with Mike Shannon) and this one some one must tell him he's not so much making films anymore as he is preaching to the audience, while tossing in the odd joke here and there. The dialog gives new definition to "stilted". You can see the pain on the actors faces trying to deliver such. Characters and ostensible plot points disappear. Unconnected philosophical bon mots are delivered out of nowhere. S&F does have some beautiful scenery, though the musical score accompanying such -no doubt culturally true to the locale- becomes increasingly annoying. I finished S&F because .....well, it IS Werner Herzog. Watch only if you share my degree of respect.
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Yr Ymadawiad (2015)
8/10
Welsh Suspense and Surprise
14 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Wales is a beautiful country and Welsh a beautiful language. Add this haunting story and you've a sure winner. What's great about this film is the pacing, oh so slow at first, just enough to keep your interest. Then a slow and improbable -but believable- sexual tension that builds to a crescendo that is tragic on more than one level. Oddly, though a clear supernatural element is introduced rather early, such takes a distant back seat to the real life drams taking place among our three characters - or is it real life at all? All this plus a surprise ending. Excellent camera work. Having gushed this much, THE PASSING is not for everyone; e,g, some horror fans might be disappointed. I'll take this film over an American slasher or zombie flick any day!
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The Beguiled (2017)
7/10
Could Have Been A Contender
7 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I am guessing nothing irks a writer and/or director more than being told that a film was good but could have been great. The talented Sophia Copolla indeed adds to a feather-in-her-cap, jewel-in-her-crown with THE BEGUILED. Yet ................

This viewer couldn't help but think what might have been. Instead of beginning with John's discovery, if we had been given an introduction of the harmony, balance, etc., of the mansion life and it's female world such would have stood in interesting contrast to the story. And a brief moment or two of John in battle, facing death, would have serviced well. Some broader paint strokes might have been used in emphasizing three stages of female life represented by Miss Martha, Edwina and Alicia; e.g., different degrees of wisdom, restraint, charm (or lack of it) and approach all the while there existing a similar desire. Plot wise, I like the amputation as punishment, retribution and/or just-desserts but did not think it had to be a product of Edwina's intrusion into Alicia's lusts. The accident giving rise to the amputation would have been better worked as an intentional act caused by an unidentified resident.

But for the above, this could have been Oscar material. Don't hate me, Sophia.
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The Deadly Recruits (1986 TV Movie)
3/10
Dated and Second Rate
16 May 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I allow for the fact that this film is 30-year old British television, that TV budgets of said era were cut-rate an that we've new international concerns today. But some/many of the scenes in D-R were laughable. A Russian spy "shadows" a British agent by walking 20 yards behind him in open countryside. Rookie rabbit hunters later 'bag" the Russian. Protesters chant to empty space then participate in a sissy-slap riot. Worse, subplots and characters go nowhere; e.g., the guru and the crutches guy. Our "hero" imagines himself James Bond but is closer to Mr. Bean. The score appears provided by an adolescent garage band. We know of the Philby & Co. background to British espionage, but this is, at best, exploitive of such. I dare you to make it to the end of this movie
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Cold (I) (2013)
5/10
Doesn't Work
25 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Grabs your attention with myriad possibilities, intrigue and suspense. Such continues for a full two-thirds of the film and then just totally evaporates. Indeed, if you want to watch the first hour or so just do so and then turn LEOPARD off and make up your own ending. It's not that the last third of the film is disappointing, implausible, inconsistent, etc. Rather, it is numbingly mundane, cruel and inconsequential. What a shame. Odd to say, but if this film didn't appear to be so darn good at first the ending wouldn't be so downright irritating. Okay, okay, some homage paid to Steinbeck's "East of Eden". And at the price of creating a truly annoying film.
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The Discovery (I) (2017)
4/10
A Splendid Failure
11 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Great acting, especially Segal, who I've never seen before. Jessy Plemons is almost scene stealing in a small roll. Redford well cast as a cult leader aspirant. But what is introduced as a story of the afterlife evaporates into existential angst and worn out sci-fi ideas using cheesy "science" props reminiscent of Dr. Frankenstien. Rooney Mara's character is poorly drawn, clumsily inserted and downright irritating at times. You know a film is bad when the characters attempt to explain to watchers what is going on by saying, "Hey! What if reality really is (insert your favorite sci-fi theme)". The final ten minutes is laughably bad. This film went nowhere for good reason. Watch only if you've ABSOLUTELY nothing else to do.
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Neckan (2015)
9/10
Very Absorbing
10 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
If you have not already, read hof-4's COMMENT for some background on the history. I had the luck to have viewed a three part documentary of the Spanish Civil War and was able to quickly pick up on the background politics; i.e., as far as impact on plot.. If you too know some of the details leading up to the eruption of the SCW, your viewing pleasure will be enhanced. Even if not, the English subtitles do a fine job. History aside, the lead characters and the setting create a compelling detective/suspense story. Amazing that I'm only the second COMMENTer for this film. I especially like the cafe and alley scenes, though the love interest is done sweetly and discreetly. Tired of all the manure streaming nowadays? Try NECKAN.
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