Film Reviews by Tim from London

Welcome to Tim from London's film reviews page. Tim from London has written 41 reviews and rated 1869 films.

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Knocked Up

Luke warm comedy

(Edit) 08/01/2008

This is an overly long but not completely unfunny film that attempts to mesh together the rom-com and the 'gross out male humour' genres. There are some genuinely funny moments - especially where the girls try to get into a nightclub and meet a sensitive doorman who admits he really hates his job. However the film is let down by poor lead actors who, may be funny individually, fail to generate any on screen chemistry - and a tendency to try and disgiuse this by relying too much on crude adolescent humour at moments when it wasn't needed.

3 out of 7 members found this review helpful.

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Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Enjoyable take on the series

(Edit) 12/01/2012

It will always suffer from comparison with the Charlton Heston original, but this is still a good film. The first hour is particularly good and introduces some interesting themes, although it does run out of ideas soon afterwards and becomes a special effects/chase film. Andy Serkis is great though as Caesar - his use of human facial expressions is amazing.

A million times better than the Tim Burton rubbish.

Important point - do not turn off the DVD once the credits start to roll!!

1 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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The Devil's Double

Shallow and dull

(Edit) 06/01/2012

An exceptional performance from Dominic Cooper fails to save this disappointing film. It glories in the horrors of the Saddam regime while pretending to disapprove. None of the characters are developed and remain one dimensional. In particular Sadam and the girlfriend are dreadful. Consequently the film is under developed, becomes very dull and predictable, and has nothing whatsoever to say about for example the nature of evil or the Iraq regime. I dread to think what it would have been like without the fine central performance from Cooper.

0 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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Lust, Caution

Erotic and electrifying

(Edit) 04/01/2008

Wonderful film that is both an erotic spy thriller drama and a complex psychological study of hidden passions. Set in 1930/40s Hong Kong and Shanghai, it tells the story of drama students who turn away from acting to join the resistance and attempt to assasinate a collaborationist police chief. But the real story is about deep seated sexual passions (in a simailar way to Brokeback Mountain) - but this is a more subtle film with a focus on what isn't rather than what is said. Wonderful performances all round - and the director achieves a great sense of time and history. The film is littered with some wonderful scenes - my favourites being those with the women sitting round the table playing games for money (and silently judging each other). Some very graphic sex scenes towards the end which are particularly effective beacuse of the silent tensions that have preceded them (and because they mirror the comical scenes where Wong is deflowered by members of her resistance group). Wonderful film by a great director.

3 out of 8 members found this review helpful.

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Leaving

A triumph for Kristin - but what about the rest of the film?

(Edit) 27/09/2011

First things first. Kristin Scott Thomas is wonderful, and clearly the director loves her. The trouble is that her performance overshadows the rest of the film and the other (male) characters who feel underdeveloped and half baked in comparison. Thus, we never quite understand her obsession with the dull and wooden Sergi Lopez. Her husband is just a pantomime villain and needed to be more sympathetic for the film to work more effectively. Having said that, it is worth seeing for the lead performance alone, and it is

an OK retelling of Lady Chatterley's lover - but a warning, the plot gets very silly towards the end.

1 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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The Fighter

Very average

(Edit) 14/09/2011

Think about the great boxing films - Raging Bull, When We Were Kings, Body and Soul and On the Waterfront (just about a boxing film). Well this film just doesn't cut it in comparison. A slightly dull and straightforward film about a boxer overcoming adversity which doesn't even have melodramatic feel good factor of a Rocky film. The boxing scenes are unconvincing and consist merely of Mark Wahlberg getting hit a lot and then dong his rope a dope trick. I found Christian Bale to be highly irritating and histrionic and his performance should have been reined in by the director. Just about watchable is the best I can say.

0 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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Echo Park L.A.

A slice of Mexican America life

(Edit) 19/02/2007

This is a low key film about a small district in LA where the Mexican - American community is gradually being assimilated into American culture. This is nowhere clearer than in the opening scene where the formal ceremony of the Quinceanere is contrasted nicely with the young people dancing to modern American music in the back of the limo. The best part of the film is the relationship between Carlos and his uncle Tomas - which is touching and loving. Carlos in particular is brilliant - he appears initally to be a stereotypical latin American tough guy - until we learn that he is gay and his brooding outsider status takes on a different meaning. Unfortunately the actress playing Magdalena is the weak link in the film - as is her pregnancy without conception storyline which felt out of place. I know this film won alot of awards when it was originally released - including Sundance - I didn't think it was that good and the narrative doesn't really go anywhere but it is a gentle and at times touching film.

1 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

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Apocalypto

A film of two halves

(Edit) 12/07/2007

The first hour of the film was excellent - although as the first reviewer said highly bloodthirsty and indicative of Mel Gibson's obsession with the limitations of the flesh (eg Passion of the Christ). The first set peice when the village is ransacked is impressively staged and a truly gut-wrenching piece of cinema - as are the scenes in the Mayan city (which reminded me of Mad Max 3). Unfortunately the second half of the film does not live up to this and becomes a standard chase film - with ever ridiculous twists and turns.

0 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

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Funny Ha Ha

Off beat, low key, post college comedy

(Edit) 15/01/2008

This reminded me an Eric Rohmer film - lots of talk, focused on character and little narrative - but transported into Boston and film in US indie style. The film looks like it was made on a shoe-string (which adds to it authenticity) and follows a woman working in of dead end jobs, hanging out with friends and attracting attention from several unsuitable men. Two in particular attract her attention - a passive aggressive former work colleague (brilliantly played by the director)and a now married old friend - both of whom are equally unsuitable in different ways. All the characters are wonderfully inarticulate - who repeatedly use terms like 'sort of', 'kind of' and 'it's like um' - which wonderfully reinforces the nervousness and uncertainty of leaving college and tying to move on to the next stage of life. Some great performances especially by Kate Dollenmayer in the central role. A wonderful small film - in the best sense of the word.

1 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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The Great Ecstasy of Robert Carmichael

Disturbing and horrific - but an important film

(Edit) 12/03/2007

I saw this film 2 days agao and the final horrific scene still makes my stomach turn. The film is about a group of bored and disaffected drug taking teenagers in a nondescript British coastal town - who lack any sense of morality and engage in acts of violence and lawlessness - which culminate in a terrible act of violence. The film reminded me of A Clockwork Orange -in a less stylised way and it was also similar to the films of Bruno Dumont in the way it captured the disaffection and meaningless of the lives of young people in small towns. The film also mocks the audience (abit like Michael Haneke's Funny Games) in that you are encouraged to identify with the 'sensitive' and middle class Robert Carmichael and expect him to end the violence - when all along he was capable of such a horrific act. I found it very hard to rate this film because I couldn't say I really liked it - but it was a very good film and tried to say some important things. OK - at times it was rather heavy handed - especially in the links made to the Iraq war and the role of the media. But it was wonderfully shot - making the coastal town appear dreamlike - and there were some frightingly realistic performances. But be warned - the ending is very violent and disturbing.

3 out of 5 members found this review helpful.

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The Wind That Shakes the Barley

Ideological and passionate

(Edit) 03/01/2007

This film is fully committed to the director's political stance on Ireland - and this is both its great strength and its main flaw. On the one hand it is gripping and driven and the sheer force of the conviction makes this a compelling film. However like many Ken Loach films it is very one sided and lacks subtlety - eg all English people are either toffs or thugs and even the IRA soldiers who supported the treaty are viewed negatively. However on balance I would highly recommend this film if nothing else for its highly committed ideological stance.

5 out of 8 members found this review helpful.

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The Pornographer

Pretentious

(Edit) 29/01/2007

For the first half an hour I was unsure whether this was a comedy or not. The film tells the story of a pornographer who comes out of retirement in order to clear his debts. In the process his film is taken over by a younger director who feels he is out of touch with modern audiences and he is reunited with his estranged son. I suppose the film was trying to reflect on reconnecting with the past and the nature of art - but it was slow, dull and took itself far too seriously. See in particular the scene where the young students undertake to speak 'the language of muteness, which is the only form of radicalism' (!!).

3 out of 4 members found this review helpful.

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Babel

A truly impressive film

(Edit) 23/01/2007

A hugely impressive film which is on a much larger scale than the director's last 2 films - unlike Amores Perros which looks at life in Mexico and 21 Gramms which looks at American sub culture - this film spans three continents and several languages (hence the title). It superfically tells the story of an American tourist who is accidently shot in Morocco and the various people's lives who are affected and implicated by this - but it's really about people trying to communicate with each other across different cultures and communities, and the problems that people face communicating with each other. A wonderful and gripping film with lots of cross cutting storylines and sharp editing - ala Magnolia or Robert Altman - and a genuinely touching ending. A great film by a great modern director.

3 out of 5 members found this review helpful.

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The Barbarian Invasions

touching and intelligent

(Edit) 11/02/2007

A thoughtful and often humourous film about dying. Really well acted - it features many of the characters from the director's previous film 'Decline of the American Empire'. But you don't have to see that film to enjoy this one. Most importantly it avoids cliches and over sentimentality and often pulls the rug from under your feet - such as the scene where three former students vist Remy in hospital - which genuinely touches him - only for us to find out that they had been paid to be there. If you like talky films with developed characterisation - this is highly recommended.

4 out of 4 members found this review helpful.

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Le Grand Voyage

Intimate and at times touching

(Edit) 20/01/2007

This film is a 'classic road movie' which avoids many of the cliches of the genre. It's about a father and son travelling from France to Mecca - and their developing relationship along the way. The father is a stern and rigid moslem - while the son is 'westernised' and drinks and has a french girlfriend, etc. The film is very 'quiet' with little dialougue - but this often underlines the subtle changes in the relationship between father and son without being too heavy handed. The scenes at the end of Mecca are also remarkable. You will enjoy this film if you like intimate and subtle films -without being too challenging.

5 out of 6 members found this review helpful.
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