Reviews written by registered user

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28 reviews in total 
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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
An entertaining library evening., 4 November 2016

I'm pretty sure it's the first entirely Welsh film I've seen. I rather enjoyed it. Being quite cheerful, in parts, it wasn't quite as Welsh as it could have been.

A library is an excellent setting for a film with a low budget -- yet another good reason for libraries to continue to exist.

Twins lend themselves to interesting films, often for quite surprising reasons.

I guessed, correctly, that the library was in Aberystwyth - clearly being bitten by a donkey somewhere helps fix the place in one's memory.

I hope there'll be more from this director.

6 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
A masterpiece of French noir, in English, 30 March 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A masterpiece! French noir in English.

The atmosphere is absolutely right, and the acting, particularly Rowan Atkinson's, is quite brilliant.

I enjoyed it all the way through. The plot is of the right vintage for the period.

Margret's discomfort with his inability to solve the case, and his dogged determination to succeed against the odds is perfectly signaled. His great risk brings palpable suspense.

I've no idea why I guessed, and said, the occupation of his father a second before it was revealed - not quite deja vu, but something like that.

1 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
There won't be many coming home..., 21 December 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Naming a film, 'The Hateful Eight', in order to remind anybody watching that this is your eight film, isn't the act of a modest man, but, if anybody were concerned that Mr Tarantino had been replaced by a doppelganger, this, along with the extreme, and, somewhat, gratuitous violence in the film, ought to put his mind at rest.

Though Mr Tarantino doesn't credit Laurence Sterne for the smashing of the fourth wall as an art form, he does do it as well as Mr Sterne does in 'Tristam Shandy'. I think he'd call it 'post modern', as, too, no doubt, he'd also label the other devices found in 'Tristam Shandy', like telling the story in a peculiar order, and adding lots of clever self-reference. Odd, really, that such, albeit unconscious, homage should be given to a book published in 1759, by a chap so keen to be hip and 21st Century as Mr. Tarantino, but there it is.

It is a sound point that the animosities of wars, particularly of civil wars, continue for a considerable time after the mass killing has been stopped. He might be right, but I'm not sure if the possible implication this film intends is really accurate. Do so many current American problems really have their ætiology in the Civil War? He certainly does make a good stab, if you excuse the term in this context, at making that point.

The ghastly characters in the film are nicely drawn, and the dialogue between them is often funny. Their perspectives are sharply drawn, and it's interesting to see what things they appear to hold in common. As far as I can see they hold these views in common:

- Guns are a really good thing - The Civil War was a really bad thing, but certainly the other side's fault - Lying is a bad thing, particularly when practiced by somebody else - Lying is, however, not only inevitable, but ubiquitous, so only actions can be believed - The pecking order is: White male -> White female -> Black Male -> Black Female -> dog -> Mexican - Capital punishment, in particular, public execution by hanging, is a good thing. Not for everybody, but essential for some. - Might is right

The film is evidently, at least at some level, intended to be satirical, so, clearly Mr Tarantino believes some, probably most, of these are not only wrong, but currently ubiquitous enough to require satirical treatment.

The well worn device of having the unlikely collection of characters isolated, in this case by a blizzard, works well. I'm not sure that the indulgence of such a long running time is justified. Certain aspects of the plot, signalled with crystal clarity in the first quarter of the film, are only revealed, as if an amazing surprise, a couple of hours later. I think the film could be much improved by reducing it to normal length.

Roy Orbison's song seems apt as a description of the Civil War, Tarantino films generally, and the problems that he highlights, quite well, all in all:

Now the old folks will remember On that dark and dismal day How their hearts were choked with pride As their children marched away Now the glory is all gone

They are left alone And there won't be many coming home No, there won't be many coming home oh, there won't be many Maybe five out of twenty but there won't be many coming home


5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Fun, if you like that sort of thin, otherwise, avoid it., 14 September 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A film best avoided if you're irritated by pretentious people, or not that keen on food.

I quite enjoyed it. It was often amusing - I'm not sure that always was the intent.

It was a pity that the 'foodies' weren't that articulate - but, had they been, they'd probably have not ended up that way.

What was saddest, to me, was how they all seemed, mainly, to eat at these expensive restaurants on their own. One essential component to a good meal is the company, and the discussion - without that, it can be the best place on the planet, but only second rate.

I was amused by one of the chaps who wants, rather as Curnonski did, all those years ago, to establish an eater's hierarchy of taste, not a chef's - but, despite this, he, and the others, accepted the Michelin star rating without question. It'd have been much more interesting if they'd thought that one had been graded to high, or too low.

6 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Truly, one of the worst, most racist and badly acted films I have ever watched., 18 March 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I could not have believed quite how bad Interstellar is. It is truly dreadful. After six months travelling, with just 12 minutes to go to entering the wormhole, the token Blackman speaks to the hero (who has his suntan intact): Massa, Massa, what is going on? The hero then takes a piece of paper and explains to the poor, ignorant black man how space warps in a wormhole. If he didn't know this, WTF was he doing on the trip? Their understanding of relativity is at the level I'd expect from my goldfish. They give plenty of time to grotesque emotional watching of film clips from Earth - for some reason in B&W. The hero goes through, as Dorothy Parker said, all the emotions from A to B. They claim it is a post colonial world, but the space suits all have the US flag on them. The spaceship controls are circia 1960. Poor Michael Cain, is he so short of money that he has to be pare of this shite? To be fair, it is, unconsciously funny from time to time because it is so utterly clueless. Avoid this film if you possibly can.

Poor acting, but not a bad plot, 1 February 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The acting is really bad - if that puts you off, then avoid this. It's not quite as bad as the plank of wood known as Thomas Cruise, but it's getting on that way. This is probably partly the fault of the director as well.

The sets are OK. They're full of Yank flags,which is a bit off-putting. The notion that it is supposed to be an exercise to save humanity is shown to be a xenophobic attempt to save Yankland alone. Still, given it's from Hollywood, you can't really expect the propaganda to be missing.

Forgetting all the above, the idea of looking at how a small, isolated community with a unifying mission fares after five decades of being stuck with each other in a small space is a good one. The various problems the occupants have because of the situation are nicely thought out, in the main.

It suffers rather from its simplistic militarist structure. Surely anybody actually wanting a useful mission to the stars would try to make it as representative of the good parts of humanity as possible, populating it with the dregs, a shipload of soldiers, would be about the worst thing you could do.

But that's really the best thing about the film. Unconsciously, it's a mini-parable for why the USA is the mess that it is. All the assumptions highlight the problems. The flags, the xenophobia, the unpleasant class-structure, the individualistic greed and the fascination with weapons all deliver a thought-provoking experience. Even the bad acting and direction contribute to the anthropological value.

97 out of 216 people found the following review useful:
The most disgusting and morally degrading film of 2014, 18 January 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Glorifying a cowardly murderer in order to encourage impressionable children to join the world's biggest terrorist cell is quite disgusting.

The film portrays the religion of patriotism, the only religion to still revel in human sacrifice, as if it is acceptable.

Patriotism is the refuge of the cowardly, the stupid and the evil. This killer is in all three categories.

It's unfortunate that American children don't realise that the rest of the world pities their plight as brainwashed, brain-dead victims of the world's rogue state.

Why couldn't they make a good film about the only known American hero, the amazingly courageous Chelsea Manning? Now that might help cure some of the huge damage that the US terror has done to the reputation of America.

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Surprising and engaging, 23 November 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I really was impressed. It's a good film - I can only assume that the poor ratings are a result of people watching it expecting a Mel Gibson blood-fest with blue, kilted battles every few minutes. If that's what you want, then this certainly isn't for you.

It's interestingly atmospheric - and it draws you in to the complexity cleverly. I really warmed to Mary, despite not being that keen on queens generally.

You can see the problem, one queen is bad enough, certainly otiose to requirements - but two must have been a, literally, bloody nuisance.

She was, to be polite, mixed-up and confused, but, if you're brought up as a pet, you can't really be expected to turn into a sane and well-rounded human being. Despite that she did well.

I can't understand why sub-title technology appears stuck in the 1950s. Surely it isn't beyond the wit of man to avoid white writing on white backgrounds. Not that there's all that much French, it's mainly in English, but it's annoying to have the intrusion of subtitles, but be unable to read some of them.

You have to feel for people, living in such violent times with so many people hating them that they have to live in castles, obviously very uncomfortable, draughty, gloomy places.

I'd recommend it. It's certainly my cup of tea.

2 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
A propaganda film for the alcoholics anonymous cult, 23 November 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There's no sign that the funding came from the Alcoholics Anonymous cult, but the film is entirely focused on pushing the POV of the cult.

The acting is pretty bad, and the plot trite and obvious from the start - there are plot inconsistencies all over the place, but it's a bit tedious to point them out. Essentially, the plot is not properly thought-through. That's because it's not really necessary, the whole idea is to show somebody going against the AA cult, then being redeemed by it.

Propaganda films like this should really say who has funded them and reveal the fact that they are propaganda - it is dishonest not to.

The real reason it's a bad film is just exactly that, it's polemic, it's propaganda, it's not engaging with the audience because it's too busy preaching.

We only watched this because I didn't see the IMDb score - never ever rely on what iTunes says about something - come to IMDb and check what real people have said.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Very Welsh, very human., 16 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Undoubtedly a peculiar film. Certainly a very Welsh film.

It'd be easy to make the mistake of stopping watching it in the first twenty minutes - the editing could have been a lot tighter.

I'm pleased to have watched it - I learned of things I didn't even know I didn't know. It's a funny film, but also a sad one. Ultimately, I think, a film about sacredness. The importance of understanding what is important; the tragedy of the loss of the diversity of language and thought... along with losing the sense of the unity of our shared experience... the value of hospitality for strangers because their strangeness only masks their similarity to us.

It's best to find out what is precious before it's gone and failing ultimately is no reflection on the value of the path trodden to get there.

Part of the reason it was so good was that, despite being about mythology, it was real, despite being full of pretending, it was not pretentious... Taking itself so lightly, having no axes to grind or claims to great insight, made it's serious insights very moving.

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