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4/10
Makes the NHL look like a park
16 November 2018
If you are the sort of person who goes to a hockey game to watch the fights rather than the game, this is your movie. Fists fly. Knives flash. Guns bark. There is absurd, non stop, pointless fighting throughout. Do movies like this reflect our violent society or create it? I have given it an otherwise undeserved 4 because of some excellent special effects at the end and some effective use of exotic locations. But other than that, it has all the good taste and artistic appeal of a bar brawl.
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Darkest Hour (2017)
7/10
A well done piece of fiction
30 October 2018
When history provides drama, suspense and spectacle in abundancer, why does Hollywood try to improve on it? Gary Oldman is superb as Churchill. The settings and the atmosphere are first rate. The cinematography is rich and compelling. They have done a superb job of fictionalizing history!. But why? The scene in the Underground was compelling. But it never happened. Edward R.Murrow wrote some of the best words of the millions written on World War II. Yet his memorable line about Churchill mobilizing the English language is attributed to Lord Halifax. King George had a speech impediment yet there is no hint of it in this movie. There are many other goofs and gaffes. You can excuse the occasional wrong auto model year or minor geographic discrepancy. You can even put a certain spin on history. But a supposedly serious movie like this should not stray from the basic facts.
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Inferno (I) (2016)
9/10
Stupendously over the top!
17 October 2018
Amazed by the overwhelming number of bad reviews. This was a great film. The only thing missing was James Bond. Lots of action. Neat gadgets. Exotic locations. Hateful villains, Surprise plot twists. Interesting snips of history. Superb staging and photography. It's a far fetched fantasy. Tom Hanks and friends save the world. But what better way to spend a dreary fall evening?
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9/10
Delightful British nonsense
11 October 2018
If you dislike or don't understand British humour, you'll rate this a 1. But if you accept the fact that the Brits are all a bit mad --- I mean,who else could have dreamt up Monty Python? --- you will enjoy it immensely: the totally absurd story, the British prototypes, the brilliantly rich and round use of the English language. Having said that, there was excessive and unnecessary use of the"'f word" If you don't understand British humour, there is no way to explain it.But if you do, you'll love this film and consider it a masterpiece of the genre. l
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3/10
Typical Moore
3 October 2018
Despite being no fan of Michael Moore --- he is to journalism as Bugs Bunny is to serious drama --- I took in his new film, Fahrenheit 11/9.

At least the title...a clever play on his earlier film Fahrenheit 9/11...was an interesting turn.

But the rest of it is a tawdry sequence of news clips taken out of context and interviews with loaded questions. And there was the now standard stunt cliche as Moore, in his usual slob attire, turns up at the Michigan state capitol to make a citizen's arrest of the governor.

The baseball cap is getting a little tired Mikey and you really should do something about the wrinkles and the weight you've added since your last film.

11/9 loses its way in the story of Flint Michigan's tainted water and West Virginia's teachers' strike. Nor is it strictly a Trump hatchet job. Moore makes a pretty messy attack on Barack Obama as well.

Moore strains credulity with his long comparison of Hitler and Trump and of the Reichstag fire and 9/11. Lip synching Trump's voice in an image of Hitler giving a speech --- and it was not very well done --- was a bit much even for Moore.

I'm no fan of Trump but I also am no fan of sleazy journalism and Moore excels at that.
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The Angel (I) (2018)
8/10
Gritty spy story
20 September 2018
This film has all the ingredients of a good cloak and dagger movie yet does not overdo the violence or the sex. James Bond it ain't but there still is plenty of suspense and treachery. It's based on a true event prior to the war between Israel and Egypt and the understated style actually adds to the tension. Nor does it follow the standard portrayal of Israel as the perfect democracy that can do no wrong isolated and surrounded by scheming, evil Arab dictatorships. There are lots of bad guys on both sides. It's a well done espionage nail biter.
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8/10
Well handled
17 September 2018
This is a difficult subject very well and tastefully handled. It explores the complex world of the trans-gendered honestly and most effectively without any lewd or graphic scenes. But it doesn't pull any punches either. The story is both tender and tragic. The film work is delicate and creative although it overdoes the use of mirrors. There are any number of scenes in which the character's image is creatively reflected in a mirror. Does any city really have that many mirrors? Beautiful work but it becomes an end in itself rather than a technique for advancing the story with unique and creative shots. A bonus is the setting in Santiago Chile, a city I always have wanted to see. There are many scenes of roadways, buildings, parks and places. I now want to see Santiago more than ever. This is not for everyone. But if you understand the LGBTQ world and appreciate creative film work, you will savour it
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The Lodgers (2017)
6/10
Weird
4 September 2018
This is one weird movie. That's not to say it isn't good because it is. It's super spooky and leaves many unanswered questions. But it is original, it is well cast and well acted and the cinematography is superb.
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The Beyond (2017)
7/10
Different ...
26 August 2018
I read a lot of science fiction but avoid most sci-fi films because 90% of them are awful. This one is not bad and it uses a couple of unique techniques. The basic story: Discovery of what appears to be a wormhole close to earth. I won't reveal more than that. There are some excellent effects. The ending is not what you expect. And the story is told essentially with a series of "clips" of people being interviewed. That sounds awkward. It's unconventional. Some viewers may be uncomfortable with it. But it works. People who don't like science fiction won't like it or "get" it. Others will find the story and the way it is told intriguing.
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How It Ends (2018)
6/10
Loved it, hated it...
25 July 2018
This is a very well done nail biter. The cinematography and scenery are great, the acting is excellent, the effects are impressive.

But they have smeared an otherwise excellent film with excessive use of the "f-word" Over and over as a noun, an adjective, a verb, a modifier, an exclamation. Here and there? Okay!. In almost every line of dialogue? Objectionable! And although youngsters might enjoy it, they should not be exposed to this torrent of profanity. I doubt if there is as much foul language on a warship as there is in this film.

Although it's an apocalypse story, it assumes that in the face of cataclysm, everybody turns into a self centered, villainous bad guy. If something like this did indeed happen, there would be lots of good guys too.

It's also puzzling why two of the main characters vanish in mid plot for no discernable dramatic reason.

As for the ending (or lack of it), it failed to produce the dramatic impact that I'm sure was intended.

I would have given it an 8 were it not for the pointless bad language.
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1/10
Trash!
28 June 2018
This horrid film is a prime example of the depths to which the movie industry so often falls. The plot --- super secure security --- is absurd. It may hold the Guinness record for the most times the "f-word" is used. It also brims with pointless, needless, excess violence. The acting is mediocre. The production is overdone. Offensive. Absurd. Without merit.
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8/10
A double header...
12 May 2018
Trains intrigue me and my hobby is photography. This is a train movie. It also is a fantastic body of superb photography. This was done in 1932, an era of slow emulsions and balky cameras. Yet it outshines most of what is done today and also illustrates that black and white can indeed outdo colour photography. Some of the shots are reminiscent of Karsh, Eisenstadt and Ansel Adams. Filling the water tank of a locomotive is hardly a glamorous business. But here it has been turned into mysterious, shadowy artistry. There are angles and techniques seventy years ahead of their time. This is not a memorable story. Yet the cast creates an interesting bunch of characters and although shot in an American rail station, captures a very believable oriental atmosphere with throngs of extras and unrelenting background sound. This indeed is a museum piece. But so is the Mona Lisa.
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9/10
Impressive!
6 April 2018
A splendid if somewhat overly long film. It has captured the horrors of the Cambodian nightmare and pointed an accusing finger at the United States and Richard Nixon. The truly stunning aspect of this film is the superb cast of child actors, especially when you consider they are from a culture with little cinematic background or culture and one where young children are more likely to become workers rather than actors. There also is superb film work with wonderful light and shadows, effective lines and patterns and unique aerial shots that look straight down from perhaps a thousand feet on the chequerboard of violence and death with no camera motion. Drones??? Helicopter? It's a unique and effective technique. A well done chronicle of a grim and gory piece of history!
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8/10
Very British
13 March 2018
When the BBC logo flashes on the screen, you know you're in for a great evening of movie watching. This is a rather odd title for a rather odd, but excellent , movie. Its all very British: the plot, the settings, the actors. Essentially its the story of a sixtyish man recapping his life as a student. Its very well done with frequent and cleverly done flashbacks. Yet, unlike many films with flashbacks, there is no choppiness or confusion. Its very British. Many Americans may just not get it. But I found it made a provocative, interesting, compelling evening.
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Left Behind (I) (2014)
4/10
A rare film indeed
13 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
This film joins the exclusive list of movies --- only five or ten of 'em --- that are so incredibly bad that they're actually quite good. It is so enjoyable to watch one stupid scene cascade into the next; to express amazement that people actually allowed their names to be used in the credits. Again, it meets the important criterion of providing a hearty debate over coffee the next morning, pondering questions such as What was it all about? Where did all the people go? How can a jet collide with another yet survive? What dramatic purpose did the midget serve? Did it set a record for the number of errors in one scene? Does the "born again" movement really believe that such ludicrous nonsense promotes its cause. Indeed, if hell exists, it's probably a place where every theatre and every television station shows "Left Behind" over and over again for eternity. That concept is so intimidating , even the worst sinner will shout fervent Hallelujahs in an effort to evade such a ghastly fate. God's ways are indeed strange. If the motion picture academy had an Oscar for "Worst Movie", this would be the overwhelming winner for 2014. Likewise "Stupidest Film." It obviously will never be shown as an in flight movie. Airlines don't want passengers using the escape hatch in flight.
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6/10
Very dark
12 February 2018
This was an excellent production, well done, well acted and well produced with some creative cine-shots. But it is disturbingly dark. Lady Sings The Blues was similar but it didn't have the dark undercurrent of this piece. I never knew much about Chet Baker so I can't comment on its accuracy.(Judging from other reviews here, it is much more fiction than fact.) There is very effective intercutting of black and white (the past) and colour (the present.) The F-word is over used and the sex scenes are a bit too graphic, too long and too frequent. I was interested in the Canadian credits and to find out here much was shot in Sudbury and Espanola Ontario, hardly Hollywood North. Overall, it's a worthwhile watch. But expect a downer
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10/10
Superb!
2 January 2018
Puzzled by the number of bad reviews and one star ratings! This film gets one of my not too frequent tens. Where do we start? The superb performances, especially the incomparable Ben Kingsley... The stunningly beautiful photography... The fascinating locations... The effective dialogue... The realistic recreation of 1914 in both the US and Turkey...There also is an intriguing plot with an unconventional love triangle... It's a war movie, a love story, an historical drama and a travelogue all wrapped to-gether in one very nice package.
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Remember (I) (2015)
10/10
Wow!!!
22 December 2017
This is a gripping, powerful, original, magnificent film with a fist in the gut ending. I would rate it 12 or 15 if such were possible. Beautifully written, filmed, produced and acted with the incomparable and superb Christopher Plummer. It is unlike any holocaust film I have ever seen. There are so many bad movies out there it is a rare joy to experience a masterpiece like this!
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Playing for Time (1980 TV Movie)
7/10
A long downer
21 December 2017
Auschwitz was not a fun place. But this film is too graphic, too long and too much of a downer. It starts well with brutally grim and realistic scenes. But at almost three hours it's just too lengthy. Although the first half is compelling (if depressing), it gets a little silly and loses its credibility in the second half. I can't be specific without creating spoilers. Let's just say all the characters ---the good guys (gals?) and the bad guys both become somewhat ridiculous. The story, apparently based on reality, is about a group of female inmate musicians who form an orchestra for the pleasure of the camp officials including an unconvincing Josef Mengele. But their performances are dreadful. Never has Beethoven's fifth symphony been played so badly nor Puccini's Madama Butterfly sung so hopelessly. And in bad English at that. They might have taken a little cinematic license and given us enjoyable musical performances. From a production viewpoint, occasional interludes of great music, well played, would have provided brief relief from the unrelenting horror of this endless film.
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10/10
I'd give it a 15 if I could!
20 November 2017
A wonderful beautiful, dramatic, compelling and sensitive film. It is a romance, a political drama, and an historical documentary all in one. The acting is superb. The cinematography both in sunny, scenic Africa and foggy, wet London is masterful. There are a couple of minor discrepancies. For example the word "black" is repeated many times but in 1947, the usual term was "negro" or "coloured." A few other discrepancies turn up in the "goofs" section. But they don't really matter nor do they detract from what in all respects is a cinematic masterpiece. It goes on my top five list!
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The Revenant (2015)
3/10
Machismo in the mountains
19 November 2017
We watched this film on the basis of several rave reviews when it first came out. I fail to see why it rated so well. There is spectacular scenery and dramatic camera work. (Although splatters of artificial blood on the camera lens during one of the many violent scenes seem surprisingly sloppy. Nor did the frequent appearance of lens flair serve any artistic purpose as it sometimes can. This was simply careless cinematography.) The whole movie is relentless machismo, one disturbingly violent scene after another and frequent, gratuitous use of the "F word" which was not even in the thesaurus of early nineteenth century profanity. If you're intent on watching this appallingly violent, lengthy, sexist and pointless film, turn the sound down and enjoy the scenery. It is the only positive aspect of a very disappointing movie.
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7/10
One eerie, evil movie
13 November 2017
From the Netflix summary, I didn't know whether I'd be watching a drama or a comedy. It turned out to be a very weird and scary horror film. The settings are both dramatic and scenic. The camera work and effects are excellent.But the key quality is the lurking, implied evil that runs under even the most common, social scenes. Indeed the bad guys are well mannered and charming. But you still know they are up to no good. Negatives? There is a beautifully done train sequence at the beginning of the film but it has no connection to the plot. This is a horror picture, not a travelogue. At one point I was thinking 'well,at least there is no humping scene.." Fifteen seconds later, there was the mandatory humping scene, complete with kinky overtones. The film runs well over two hours. It's good but it's too long. And the producers run a little wild with an overly long and excessively dramatic ending sprinkled with elaborate special effects, which again clash with the understated menace and evil that are so effective in the first ninety minutes. It's all very well done but, for example, plush, formal ballroom dancing with hundreds of people you haven't seen until now, seems at odds with the low key horror in most of the film. Sometimes less is more. It's different, effective and crammed with the stuff of bad dreams. Worth a couple of hours of your time even if, like me, you're not really into horror flicks.
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Los Inocentes (2015)
8/10
Wonderfully dark
31 October 2017
It was Halloween and we wanted a horror movie. This is not a horror film despite being billed as such.But it is a wonderfully dark and morbid drama that implies rather than depicts horror. The characters are intensely real, whether the self absorbed "master" or the fearful slaves. There is a brooding undercurrent of evil and tension. The dark mood is enhanced by creative lighting and artistic camera work. It also is the antithesis of Hollywood film culture, achieving its dark impact by suggestion rather than depiction. Something a little different and perhaps not to everyone's taste. But I considered it a masterpiece of cinema art. And the ending... Well, I don't do spoilers and I sure wouldn't want to spoil this one.
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Gerald's Game (2017)
2/10
Disturbing and dreadful
15 October 2017
Gerald's Game offers kinky sex, incest, gore and a liberal sprinkling of the F Word. All the ingredients of good box office! I stuck with it only to see if it could get much worse. (It did!) My vote of 2 is generous, based mainly on some good effects and effective cinematography. But the story is confusing and the characters improbable. This is a tense and disturbing film which is difficult to watch and impossible to enjoy. Horror films can be fun. This one, the product of a dissolute Hollywood and an amoral society is not!
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7/10
Cute and cheeky
13 October 2017
This is a pleasant, low budget, entertaining film. The story is built around a high school production of a play written by a former student of the school. But there are complications galore. It's funny. It's clever. It's original. There are a lot of laughs but also some serious moments, a bit of rumpy-pumpy and a few profanities, tied to-gether with a humorous, British accented voice over commentary and occasional, bluntly worded on screen titles. It's a happy combination of good writing, interesting characters, original ideas and snappy production, all done on a low budget.
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