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Nice music. Lots of serious acting. Lots of Jewish rituals. Beautiful photography. But I'm not sure what, if anything, I got out of it. I do know, from other films and TV drama series, that you should never take a photo of your illicit lover in a hotel room.
I'm not sure whether it's a 3 or an 8, so I'll compromise with 6.5. The Blu-ray is amazingly good quality, but lacks subtitles for the hard of hearing.
A bit like I don't need to watch anti war films to know that war is bad, I don't need to watch films like this to know that organised religion is oppressive and inflexible.
Now I need to watch something humourous as an antidote.
Juste la fin du monde (2016)
Irritating stage play
More like a stage play than a movie, about an extremely unlikable family. I wouldn't want to spend more than one minute in the company of any of them. All they do is shout at each other. I'm not surprised that Louis never visited them. Whether you watch this to the end or not depends on your tolerance for screaming idiots. My advice is ... don't.
Star Trek: Discovery (2017)
Oh get on with it!
Everything stops for characters to have their lengthy heart to hearts. It could be so much shorter and pithier. Instead, we have to suffer their personal agonising and backstories. Superb special effects diluted by mushy emotions. Maybe I'm a Vulcan.
This is just stupid
If it's Michael from the future then her future self would know that this is a con and Michael would be saved at the last second. In addition, she'd be dead far sooner than they calculate. Also, it's a stupid idea which no-one in their right mind would carry out. It's also unnecessarily melodramatic. And suddenly they have all the tech necessary to trap a time traveller? Lose one star.
On the plus side, the actress who plays young Michael is superb.
It was a struggle
And so not worth the effort. But I managed it on the second attempt. First time around I gave up at thirty minutes. But, because it's supposed to be a masterpiece I thought I'd better try again, and managed the whole thing in two sessions.
It could have been dramatically improved if they could have afforded colour film. In black and white it all looks so cold and drab.
Most annoying features include the unnecessary dogs (either stray or ignored) and the irritating, out of control, spoiled children. There's a vague plot of sorts, but only one vaguely sympathetic character. Having said that, I only felt sorry for her rather than empathising in any way.
If you're unsure about watching this, my advice is to not bother, unless you're a pretentious intellectual.
Part sci-fi, part melodrama. Worth a watch.
I initially watched the first two episodes and gave it 5 out of 10 - not intending to watch any more. Then one day I felt in the mood to watch the third episode and ended up binge-watching the rest of the season in one go!
I have to say that there's a lot of crying involved. Top marks to both male and female actors for being able to cry on camera, but I did feel sorry for them having to go through the mill of emotions in order to serve the melodramatic aspects of the series.
There's a Rescue of the Day in all episodes prior to the last two. These rescues tend to be very introspective and emotional. Reverie should really be shown on Really rather than SyFy in the UK. But I remained intrigued by the psychological and science fiction aspects, which turned it into more of a thriller towards the end.
I've always been a big fan of Sarah Shahi, and she puts in a great performance in this series. The supporting cast is also pretty good, including some convincing per-episode guest casts.
Overall, I enjoyed it and was kept pretty close to the edge of my seat throughout. I'm still worrying about that final, unsettling, scene. It tends more towards therapy than science, but managed to tread a tightrope between the two quite successfully.
I'd love to see a second season but, sadly, I believe it's been cancelled.
Zimna wojna (2018)
I was taken in by the hype and the trailer
I loved Pawel Pawlikovski's previous films - especially Ida - but this didn't work for me. The leads are competent enough but don't seem to have any chemistry. The music is nice but the staged numbers should have been in wide-screen colour. The main female character, Zula, is very unsympathetic. All she wanted was to be mistreated by everyone, including the world in general.
A shame, as I wanted to like it. It's not a love story. I honestly don't know what it is. A tragedy, maybe. But I didn't feel any sympathy for either of the two main characters.
Good but awkward
I can't make my mind up about Pure. On the one hand it's an average, corny, sitcom and,on the other hand, it's trying to break new ground as the first "drama" to address a specific type of OCD. I've watched five episodes so far, but I'm on the verge of abandoning it every minute. It strays into embarrassment regularly, and I hate embarrassment. I just do not want to be around as an observer when things get embarrassing. But the acting, writing and direction are consistently good enough quality that I'm still persisting.
So there's no way I can give it a high rating, but it just about scrapes above the cutoff point for watchability.
Irreplaceable You (2018)
Afternoon movie for when you're feeling sick
Okay, I'm only watching this because I adore Gugu Mbatha-Raw. She's terrific in everything she's in. But otherwise it's an absolutely meh film which, despite my usual tendency to bawl at sad films, does nothing for me.
There's the occasional amusing line of dialogue, which helps. But, for some reason, I just felt distanced from the whole thing. Not enough character development? Maybe it's too corny? After all it's nothing new. It's all been done before.
The cast is good, and they all put in a lot of effort, but the whole is smaller than the sum of its parts. Gugu is wasted but is still nice to look at and does a good job with mediocre material. Actually, her character is really annoying.
The Shape of Water (2017)
Corny, derivative tosh
What a load of corny, derivative tosh this turned out to be. I can understand why it won an Oscar for production design, but, best film? No way.
It initially mad me think of Amelie. It has that kind of not-quite-reality feel about it. So it was good to look at, with nice music, but nasty violence and an inevitable Bad Guy. Why do American films always have to have a Bad Guy? Usually the military.
I failed to feel any sympathy with anyone except for Octavia Spencer's character, Zelda. Everyone else had An Agenda. And, as usual, the whole thing is, sadly, reduced to firearms.
Interesting to see good old Nigel Bennett from Wolverhampton (UK) playing a Russian. Not sure how good his accent was, but probably not as good as the genuine Russians in The Americans.
Why are films built up so much by critics only to be a disappointment? The films critics hate also seem to do better at the box office.
I don't understand all the negative comments
I really enjoyed this series, more than any non-Scandi series since Strike. I thought the direction was terrific. I loved Cary Mulligan's cool performance as a newly promoted detective. I enjoyed the interlocking stories and the roles that all the other characters fulfilled, without it getting so complex that I couldn't understand. The acting was flawless. The music non-intrusive. Four episodes is perfect for a mini-series, in the same way that 90 minutes is better than 120+ for a movie.
It's been a while since I wanted to continue to watch a series. Normally, I'm on the verge of abandoning a series (I'm currently struggling to continue Jessica Jones season 2). But this one kept me interested and entertained from beginning to end. Lots of sympathetic characters and suitably Machiavellian bad guys. I'm glad I watched it.
Fascinating but largely a whitewash
I watched a couple of Rocco Siffredi porn videos many, many years ago and was always put off by his "nasty" streak. In fact, he likes the word "nasty". I hated his bullying attitude, disguised as a love of women. This is an interesting documentary regarding his decision to pack it all up. It's a shame he didn't take that decision long ago. I felt sorry for the poor, degraded victims of his particular brand of punishment. They probably have their reasons for participating. I only hope they'll learn a lesson and move on.
I don't know why he carries his idiot relative around with him to do the photography. They obviously dislike each other and he's incapable of doing a professional job. Why not hire a proper photographer? It only makes sense in the context of his being Family. A distinctly Italian thing.
So he loves his Mama, hates his partner in crime, and seems to be ignored by his kids (sensible pair of boys). What his ex-porn wife sees in him, God only knows. After watching this I felt primarily sad for his victims.
An interesting watch, as long as you read between the lines.
The Tunnel (2013)
I'm very sorry that it's finished
I'm going to put in a good word for The Tunnel. Yes, I enjoyed The Bridge first, but The Tunnel stands on its own. The scripts are good, the direction is good, the locations are good, and the characters and their relationships are especially well drawn. Of course, the whole thing is held together by the close friendship between the two lead characters, played by Clemence Poesy and Stephen Dillane. They both deserve awards for their performances.
So, after watching the end of season 3, it's not only sad that they will not only be absent from our screens in future, but it's an added sadness that the UK is leaving the EU so that this kind of cross-channel cooperation may be scaled back. It was great to see French and English police forces getting on well and cooperating with investigations.
Many crime series go beyond their watch-by date, but this finished at least one series too soon. I'm going to miss Elise and Karl.
Beyond the Lights (2014)
Gugu vs clichés
Other than gorgeous Gugu, this is a collection of clichés strung end to end. All the mandatory scenes are there, including the breakdown, the on-stage embarrassment, the beach montage, the hair removal (normally using scissors but this time removing extensions), and many, many more. The writer must have read the Hollywood Big Book of Clichés.
I rented this DVD simply because Gugu is in it, and hoped that it would at least be okay. But it's not. It's just pants. I actually skipped through some of the clichés without missing a thing.
Minnie Driver is pretty good, and it's nice to hear British accents for a change. But it's an afternoon TV chick-flick, not a thriller, blockbuster or art film.
I still love Gugu and I forgive her, but I'm going to forget this pile of poo as fast as I can - which will be very easy.
The Affair (2014)
Life's a mess
So Dominic West plays this complete tosser who hasn't the first clue about how to deal with people, so God knows how he manages to write a best selling book. Maybe if he were magically extracted from the whole thing, everyone would have happy lives. Well, happier anyway.
I'm just polishing off series 1. I really do not know how they can make more. I have to say that I really like the script, the acting, the locations and the direction. I thought it would be a bit too chick-lit and, I suppose, it is to an extent. But it stands on its own as an involving drama which grips you and keeps you wanting to know what happens next.
I love the way it's shown from each of the main characters points of view. And it constantly kept surprising me. Overall, it's an above-average drama. The only annoyance is that Dominic West can't quite do an American accent, but Ruth Wilson's accent is flawless.
Amy Adams Saves the World
I have to write a review about this long, stretched out piece of hokum. But what to write? All the obvious, predictable stuff is in there, including the rogue army idiots. Like Gravity, it has the dead daughter.
Amy Adams whispers her way through it, forcing me to turn subtitles for the hard of hearing on. Did she have something wrong with her voice? I found the slow pace really annoying. The "music" starts out really irritating but eventually becomes classical.
The word that occurs to me is "tedium". Oh - and there's "unbelievable rubbish", especially with regard to the alien language. But then I'm obviously no expert.
I was hoping for better. Thank goodness it's over. I can watch something interesting instead. 6 out of 10, but decreasing to 5 as I watch the credits.
For pity's sake
Well, it started out like a regular Scandi noir crime drama. But, as it progressed, it became apparent that there are no bad guys or good guys because they're all idiots. The police are idiots. The bad guys are idiots. The minions are idiots. The teenage girls are idiots. The parents are idiots.
I think the best thing for everyone is if they all got locked up in a nice cosy institution.
It starts out intriguing and fairly entertaining, if you're keen on drug taking and under age sex. No-one is introduced but we gradually find out each character's role - sort of. Then they all start to get annoying - especially the police. No-one talks to anyone else. None of the characters are sympathetic. They all make stupid choices.
So it started out as a 7 but dropped to a 6 by episode 7 due to my utter frustration with these fools.
What is all the fuss about?
Not interested in westerns. Not interested in violence. I do like science fiction but I don't understand why anyone would spend so much on such an elaborate theme park. I'm only watching the first episode, but so far it hasn't grabbed me. I don't see why these robot humanoids continue to play-act when no-one is watching them. I'll give it a little longer but I must be missing something.
So, in conclusion, if I want to watch a western I'll watch a western. There are some good actors in this. Why??
The violence is really over the top. I'll never understand why it's necessary to see people's faces being blown off. I've now seen the pilot. I'll look for something better to watch next time.
This Is Us (2016)
I can't spoil this as it's already spoiled
Okay - what am I missing? I noticed a Tweet from the wonderful (and underrated) Janet Montgomery, saying that she's in episode four of this series, so I thought it must be British. But no, it's American. So I thought I'd better catch up with previous episodes via All4 streaming. I also read a review online - from the Evening Standard, I think - which said I should have tissues handy. I may be a grown man but I have been known to sob out loud at certain scenes in movies and TV, so fine.
I watched episode one and had no desire at all to continue. There isn't one sympathetic character in it. It's tacky, corny, predictable and completely unbelievable. I didn't need tissues, I needed a bucket. I don't know how anyone can like this twaddle.
I shall watch episode four, just for Janet, but I may cringe all the way through and I certainly will not be watching any more.
Wynonna Earp (2016)
Hanging in there despite shortcomings
A few episodes in and I'm still watching - despite not being able to follow fifty percent of the dialogue (especially Doc Holliday) - and trying to skip through anything which involves graphic violence or blood and guts. I occasionally catch snappy one-liners from Ms Scrofano, but she talks so quickly and quietly that it's a struggle. Doc Holliday is the worst for dialogue as he just mumbles everything into his moustache.
My biggest issue with this series is that Janet Montgomery should be in the lead role. Melanie Scrofano looks a lot like Janet, but she isn't Janet. Perhaps I'd be able to follow her dialogue if Ms Montgomery was in the role.
Kudos to another Brit - Dominique Provost-Chalkley - who is eminently watchable. And her name alone pads out a sketchy user review.
So take out the gore, add intelligible dialogue (no subtitles on Spike, sadly), and substitute Scrofano with Montgomery - and you have a winner! As it is, I'm close to deleting the episodes I haven't yet viewed or hoping for a rebroadcast with subtitles in English (rather than Drawl, or whatever they are speaking).
Bad habit television
I'm up to episode 2.6 and I really don't know why I'm still watching this. It may be on SyFy (which really should be called Sci-Fi), but it should really be on Really. I've been borderline giving up on it since episode one season one, but for some reason I'm being hooked in by glowing eyes - and wanting to know what happens next.
I've never been much of a fan of Halle Berry, and this series doesn't help. Molly's behaviour as a human and as a hybrid don't seem to be much different. Either way she's emotional, unpredictable and - though I hate to use the word - hysterical. I don't understand how she ever got through the astronaut training. I'm glad her stupid husband is out of the picture but, sadly, her stupid robot boy is still around.
It's not quite a soap opera, and it's not really sci-fi. It's actually mushy melodrama with a science fantasy coating. So I'll grit my teeth and struggle through to the end, despite all my reservations.
I Origins (2014)
Pretty but flawed
I thought I Origins started out quite promising, but the further it went the sillier it became. Initially a vapid love story between a scientist and a flaky foreign model - two people who would obviously break up after a short fling as their basic belief systems were polar opposites. They then engineered his spectacles off in the lab so that she could stupidly accidentally get formaldehyde in his eyes so that they could then get into the ricketiest and probably illegal elevator in New York so that she could die and maybe get reincarnated according to her own spiritual belief system.
There are several plot flaws such as why on earth did the two married scientists not contact the specialist conducting the tests on children with iris pattern matches. Instead, flying off to India on a wild goose chase.
Stylistically it's very nice, with beautiful actors, including the lovely Archie Panjabi from The Good Wife, pretty photography, appropriate incidental music. But otherwise it's just too silly. And what's with the sudden mystical ending?
Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)
Nice to look at, but boring, chick flick
Nicely directed and photographed chick-flick with wooden performances and tame sex scenes. Reminds me of rubbish like the Emmanuelle films in the seventies. Jamie Dornan reminded me of George Lazenby.
I really didn't detect any chemistry between the main actors and, if she needed persuading to be submissive, why did he bother with all that effort to convince her? I'm not convinced, either.
Overall it's not convincing. They are obviously a miss-matched couple who have nothing in common so I'm not sure why they persist in constructing a relationship against all odds. It's a shame it took Ana the whole film to figure out what the rest of us knew all along.
I had no desire to watch this, but it was there as a freebie on Sky Movies. It has to be the most unerotic erotic film I've ever seen. And what on earth is a classy Brit like Jennifer Ehle doing in this?
Jekyll & Hyde (2015)
Well made but not for kiddies
High production values, competent acting talent, rich period settings, exotic locations and a rollicking yarn.
I'm very impressed by this "boy's own" style version of Jekyll and Hyde on ITV1. What concerned me was the degree of well-designed and constructed horror at this early time of day (7pm) on a Sunday.
My first impression was that it's a combination of Sherlock (period setting), Buffy (monsters and some of the snappy dialogue) and The Incredible Hulk (Hyde). Overall I've been very impressed so far but, if I were ITV, I'd shift it back to the watershed.
Nice to see "Abbey" from Misfits looking gorgeous and sophisticated in this. She looks great in evening wear. I have to say that the acting talent is very good throughout. Some roles could be regarded as a little "hammy", but that fits with the genre.
Yet another Bond film
Yeah, it was okay. Quite entertaining but no more or less than any previous Bond films. There was no chemistry between Bond and Swann. Unfortunately I had to take a comfort break about half an hour in and missed Monica Belluci entirely, but apparently didn't miss any of the plot. Moneypenny wasn't in it enough. Q was nicely portrayed by Ben Wishaw. The action scenes were good, but it was soo slooow at times - and very dark (in terms of foot candles rather than plot).
I heard it was very funny and easily passed the "six laugh test" for a comedy (Kermode/Mayo). Er ... no. I laughed once and sniggered once, maybe.
The main thing I enjoyed was the incidental music. The fact that I noticed it says something about where my attention was (not on the plot or characters).
I hope Daniel Craig doesn't make another Bond film. I'm not a fan. The end credits said that Bond will return, but I hope someone "re-imagines" the franchise before they make another.
I've been a big Bond fan since I first saw Dr No at the cinema way back when, but it is definitely getting a bit tired. I need another Daniel Craig Bond film like I need a hole in the head. ;-)