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valleyjohn

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336 reviews in total 
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Youth (2015/I)
A wonderful movie, 8 February 2016
9/10

To say that Youth is a little odd would be a bit of an understatement. But not odd in a bad way , odd in a very , very good way. I absolutely loved this film. This is the story of a retired orchestra conductor ( Michael Caine) on holiday in a lavish retreat with his daughter and his film director best friend ( Harvey Keitel) in the Alps when he receives an invitation from the Queen to perform for Prince Philip's birthday. In all honesty this isn't really about the invitation , it's about getting old and how you reflect on life so differently than when you are younger. This looks fantastic . Sure it can be classed as a bit arty but director Paolo Sorrentino hasn't gone over the top with it instead he has got Michael Caine , to produce one of the best screen performance I have ever seen him perform. There are a few surreal moments that don't quite fit , like the cameo from Paloma Faith which seems to have been shoehorned into the film just to get her on screen but on the other hand I loved the scene with a fat Diego Maradona doing keepy uppies with a tennis ball. This won't be everyone's bag but it got me big time.

Grandma (2015)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A hidden gem, 8 February 2016
7/10

This is one of those films that had a very limited release in the UK last year and could be classed a hidden gem. Lily Tomlin play a grandmother who tries to help her granddaughter raise the money for an abortion after she gets unexpectedly pregnant. They visit various people asking for the cash, all of which she has a very different relationship with. Lily Tomlin is brilliant in this , you first you get the impression that Granma might not be a very nice person at all. She's blunt , she doesn't mince her words and she has fallen out with loved ones but as the film goes on you begin to realise that she actually has a heart of gold. At only 80 minutes long it's refreshingly short to so Grandma at no stage outshines it's welcome.

Spotlight (2015/I)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Some mis casting going on here, 6 February 2016
7/10

Spotlight is an interesting film about how the Boston Globe uncovered the cover up by the Catholic church of dozens and dozens of priest who systematically molested children . This subject makes me really angry when I think of what these perverts are getting

got away with all in the name of religion and I expected Spotlight to heighten my anger but it didn't really. I found this to be a little sterile despite the fact that his had people like Mark Ruffalo , Michael Keaton and Rachel McAdams in the cast. Perhaps they were just a little bit too " Hollywood" to be playing the parts of these reporters because I never really bought into their performances. John Slattery was the best thing in this because I actually believed he was Ben Bradlee Jr. This is another film that surprises me that it got nominated for best picture at the Academy Awards because there are better films than this that missed out.

Should win best picture and rightly so., 29 January 2016
9/10

I've now seen all the films nominated for this years best picture Oscar bar one ( Spotlight ) and without a doubt , in my mind , The Revenant is the best of the lot . True , it's not a vintage year but this does have the feel of a film that will stand the test of time. Leonardo DiCaprio play Glass , a frontiersman who fights for survival after being mauled by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team , one of whom is particularly nasty , played by Tom Hardy. This is a classic survival/ revenge movie that looks fantastic ( especially the bear fight ) and despite being over two and a half hours , never flounders and that's mainly thanks to a career defining performance from DiCaprio. This looked like a really tough film to make because of the conditions and the physical transformation needed but Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu did a fantastic job.

45 Years (2015)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A subtle drama, 26 January 2016
7/10

This is a really interested film about an elderly couple who have been happily married for 45 years and then the husband gets some news from his past that rocks their relationship to the core. This is a wonderfully gentle film that doesn't rely on any of the bangs and whistles of modern film making but just a great script and some brilliant acting from Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay . In a way this is quite a sad movie. It's about learning that saying less is sometimes better than confrontation especially when a lifetimes relationship is at stake. This won't be to everyone's liking but this made a welcome change to some of the films I have seen lately.

Room (2015/I)
Brilliantly acted, 22 January 2016
8/10

Room is one of those film that is hard to talk about without disclosing what happens in the film but basically it's the story of a mother and child who have been held captive in a room and when they get the chance to escape the boy finds the word outside that he was always told wasn't real. It's a wonderfully acted drama that has you thinking throughout . You think the worst has happened but perhaps the worst is yet to come , especially for the young boy ? Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay are superb as the two leads and understandably this has got a lot of accolades since it's release. I think it's one of those films that I will like even more the more when I think about it and look back on it.

Entertaining despite being a mine field for the financial novice., 21 January 2016
7/10

The Big Short is about the banking crisis in 2008 and how a few individuals predicted what was going to happen and acted accordingly.

Back in 1993 there was a series of chess matched live on TV between Brit , Nigel Short and Russian , Garry Kasparov . Despite not knowing the rules or having ever played a game of chess I was mesmerised by these matches. This film was the same for me. I definitely enjoyed this film but despite them trying their best to explain what was going on it wasn't sinking in . It doesn't matter what you do to jazz it up , banking is and never will be sexy , even if you do involve Brad Pitt and Selena Gomez ! Despite that , this is a fairly entertaining film. I thought it might go down the Wolf of Wall Street route and focus on the excesses of the bankers but it concentrates more on their stupidity and then their absolute gall in getting away with what they did. I like the quirky way the story was told even if I still didn't understand all of it but that probably says more about me than the film.

Creed (2015)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Stand out performance from Stallone, 16 January 2016
8/10

I grew up on watching Rocky films and my kids have seen re-runs of them all too . They are an important part of my movie watching history but Creed feels like an end of an era. This is right up there with the best of them. It reminded me a lot of the first two films. Gritty yet still with the over the top boxing action. This is Stallone's best acting performance of the lot though. He really gets back to grass roots with this performance. Michael B. Jordan is excellent too but what was really surprising was the acting from the real life boxers Andre Ward and Tony Bellew. The one strange thing is the Everton connection to the film. Fans at the fight wearing Everton scarfs and singing Everton songs. Strange. I wonder what the American audience thought of it. All in all I enjoyed this as I have done with most of the films.

Joy (2015/I)
2 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Absolutely Terrible, 15 January 2016
2/10

I absolutely hated this film . So much so it made me angry . I was angry because I cannot for the life of me understand the praise this film has received and why it has received academy award nominations. Why does is a film about a woman who is trying to sell a squeezy mop ever gets made in the first place ? The story really is as dull as it sounds . Duller in fact. I'm not a fan of David O. Russell anyway . Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle were overrated in my opinion but neither were anywhere near as bad as this . If I never see Bradley Cooper and his lopsided face fawning over " look at me I'm the new Meryl Streep" Jennifer Lawrence again in a movie it will be too soon and what was De Niro playing at ?? Another terrible performance from the once great man. This movie felt like a Sunday afternoon , made for TV flick , that my wife would watch and that I run a mile from. Sickly sweet with sentiment , so much so that you literally feel nauseated watching it. It's amazing that I managed to get to the end of this drivel. It's a bloody mop for Christ sake - Who cares ??? One of the worst films I have seen in a very long time.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Not the worst straight to DVD British gangster flick, 10 January 2016
4/10

I normally avoid these straight to DVD British gangster movies because they are generally crap. This one took my eye because it had a half decent cast with actors such as Bernard Hill , Steven Berkoff and Keith Allen and while this isn't as bad as most of the usual rubbish , even these actors , despite giving solid performances , can't make this a film that I can really recommend. The story is about two rival gangs from either ends of the country who are tying to and a feud but behind the scenes there is a romance that will never be tolerated , especially when one gang member is hell bent on destruction. I enjoyed the first half hour , especially the performance of Brad Moore but the film soon falls apart when the story seems to go pear shaped and in the end I didn't really care what happened to anyone


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