Film Reviews by Old Devonian

Welcome to Old Devonian's film reviews page. Old Devonian has written 27 reviews and rated 30 films.

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Judy

Depressingly sad

(Edit) 14/12/2020

Renee Zellweger gives a stellar performance in an absorbing mini biopic. At times depressing, Judy’s tragic early professional life is laid bare in short flashbacks which enter the narrative seamlessly and her damaged psyche is thoughtfully explained. The on stage performances presaged the tragedy that lay around the corner. A good watch.

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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Felt like a low budget remake of the original

(Edit) 19/11/2020

I guess, 30 plus years later, the original is due a remake for a new young audience. I would have expected more. This is a pale imitation full of cliches, in jokes and hackneyed storylines. Watch the originals.

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The Personal History of David Copperfield

An Entertaining Romp through a much loved classic

(Edit) 08/10/2020

I agree with the final paragraphs by the reviewer ‘DS’. A TV Series in 6 one hour episodes would have allowed a more faithful rendition of the novel, but as Armando  wanted to do a film he had to decide on style I guess. What you get is two hours of , mainly manic, fast moving storyline with modern editing against a background of pseudo CGI enhanced Dickensian Britain played by some great household names who put in very good performances. Particularly enjoyed Peter Capaldi as Mr Micawber. Some have commented on the diversity of the acting ensemble. Yes it was weird to square it away to begin with but that didn’t last long. I read that Armando wasn’t making any point, as others have mentioned, but he just thought ‘why not’ and select from 100 pc of the available acting talent.

It is an interesting casting issue and I, for one, salute Armando for going for it big time in this production.

1 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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The Hustle

Oh dear

(Edit) 05/09/2020

I gave it 20 minutes. Absolute garbage I am afraid. How could Anne Hathaway have given her name and talent to such a lamentable film. Laughs were few and far between

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Joker

Lived up to its billing

(Edit) 13/07/2020

Wow! What a superb film in the desert that is Hollywood at the moment. No sentimentality or mush here. The central character is acknowledged as the DC character living in a bleak, decaying Gotham City. But the similarity pretty much ends there. There is no Batman and no Robin. This is a powerful portrayal of how Someone living in the margins, with a chequered history and abusive childhood turns from punchbag to madman.

Phoenix delivers a compelling performance. The score adds to the mesmerising narrative. There is no padding. The film moves along at a good pace and there are some scenes that will live long.

Be warned there is some graphic violence that some viewers will find shocking; the director holds no punches but it isn’t Tarantinoesque.

If you want to see a proper film and can cope with some realistic violence, you won’t regret watching this one. It deserves all the critical praise that has been heaped upon it.

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Gruesome five minutes only is a welcome change for Tarantino

(Edit) 08/06/2020

Di Caprio and Pitt are awesome in this, at times, quite thoughtful piece. Di Caprio has to play two very different characters effectively and pulls it off like the veteran he is. Pitt is Di Caprio’s character’s gofer and close friend and Pitt excels as the nominal support act. In fact his role and performance is central to the plot and the scene at the hippie camp was mesmeric. It is a long film and at times the point of some scenes was not immediately clear. I can imagine some viewers getting bored and Tarantino aficionados wondering when the real action is going to start.  Have patience. 

In summary, not as enjoyable as the Hateful Eight and  inglorious Bastards, perhaps close to the pace of Django but with far less blood and gore. I enjoyed it and reached for Google immediately to discover the historical context.

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Sometimes Always Never

Poignant, beautiful, quirky

(Edit) 24/05/2020

We discover through a series of cameos that Mellor (Nighy) brought up two boys on his own as best he could and is a Scrabble fiend and imbued his kids with a love hate relationship with the game. Tragedy hits and the film explores his character and how he is dealing with living with the tragic circumstances and the impact on his extended family. The film is probably low budget, as other commenters have said but so what. The film is beautifully lit to enhance the colorisation which, together with the camera angles gives it a Comic and at times surreal feel. If you go with it and enjoy it as art, you can concentrate on the performances. The cameos by Tim McInery and Jenny Agutter are particularly memorable. The relationship of the Grandson with Mellor and transformation of the grandson is charming. Based on some of the reviews I imagined I would be wasting my time. I am so glad I ignored them. Loved this film.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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Their Finest

Not the finest but an enjoyable 100 minutes

(Edit) 26/04/2020

The Review by PV is fair but I empathise with Champ's review which is more from the heart I guess.

A second world war romance but with women as the heroes, not simpering housewives keeping the home fires burning, which anyone who was brought up on war films made before the 70s will recognise. A refreshing change and Gemma Arterton gives a lovely performance but the show stealer is once again Bill Nighy.

Nevertheless, nearly 80 years after the events depicted, I found myself asking whether the films made in the 40s and 50s reflected how things were, accurately, and Their Finest imposes a modern slant, inaccurately, and thus is a deceit, despite everyone's best efforts at realism.

Good entertainment, but not the Finest.

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The Mule

An engaging little film starred and directed by a legend.

(Edit) 07/12/2019

Eastwood is brilliant. Pace of the film is similar to the walking speed of the 89 year old Eastwood ( which is pretty good really ). The feisty scenes with family members are brilliant and the story is setup quickly and we see Clint’s character grow into his new role in life. The panoramic road scenes almost became boring but the story moved on just in time. Nice to see Andy Garcia in a cameo role. Overall worth a couple of hours of gentle viewing.

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The Guilty

Very unusual sub titled Danish film

(Edit) 19/07/2019

The main character is Asgar, a Danish policeman currently kicking his heels on the 999 phones. He is in every shot and puts in a super performance of controlled frustration. He is at the same time arrogant, caring and sympathetic and as he is humbled by the enormity of the effect of his arrogance he unwinds and falls apart. Exclusively shot in a small airless office with colleagues that are mostly silent, the sound and lack of sound and background chatter adds to the suffocating atmosphere. All the other characters are voices on the end of a phone and are totally believable. Such an unusual format but it really works and the work that Asgar puts into showing each and every emotion with just his face and hands is remarkable.  

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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Bad Times at the El Royale

Tarantinoesque

(Edit) 16/06/2019

So many interesting angles in this film. Starts like a play, then becomes semi surreal and then flips into the Hateful Eight and ends predictably but no less enjoyable for that. 

Loved it. Bridges and Ham were great and Darlene’s voice was sensational, although her part was difficult to believe even in 60s Nevada/California but hey I didn’t live there at that time, so what do I know. Watch it. 

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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Widows

Unbelievable

(Edit) 03/05/2019

Got to be careful with a review of this film in the "Me Too" world. Is it stretching belief a little too far that the wives of the career criminals can pull off a reasonably ambitious heist against the clock? A good attempt and the four main protagonists did their best with a weak plotline. I think I would have been more interested in a well written drama about how their lives changed. Something like Steel Magnolias on steroids. I expect I will be accused of being patronising for this comment but, seriously, this was nothing like Demi Moore portraying a US SEAL in G I Jane which was far grittier. How it got such a good rating is beyond me but is perhaps a sign of the fact that there are far too few good movies around at the moment. What has happened? has Hollywood gone to sleep?

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Mandy

Just boring from the off

(Edit) 03/05/2019

Don't know how I was enticed into renting this. Slow, dull, couldn't care less about the characters. gave it 20 minutes and stopped

1 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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Hanna

Too much running away - spolier!

(Edit) 17/04/2019

Soairse Ronan at 4 foot nothing and about 5 stone takes on and disables/kills three big baddies in poorly edited fight scene. Almost like the Director didn't think it was necessary to make the film believable. The take down of the family group in the context of what happened to other innocent bystanders made me very uncomfortable. OK they are actors and it is fiction but the scene could have been left out and the information gleaned, inferred. And then the end was just so predictable. I just didn't see the point of the film, the backgrounds were drab and there were far too many running sequences that just were not exciting. The best part of the film was Tom Hollander as a very nasty man.

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The Way

Sentimental but well played

(Edit) 31/03/2019

This is a gentle, sentimental, easy watch and hardly veers ever from a predictable path which some reviewers have found boring. The film’s drive comes from Sheen’s character’s angry grief which he plays with conviction and as usual Sheen connects easily with the viewer. Sucked into the story after 20 minutes, even though you know a travelogue is about to assail your eyeballs, Sheen’s obvious determination to honour his semi estranged son, compels you to keep watching. The rest is predictable but I thought Estevez handled the “America meets quirky foreigners” extremely well and kept the tone believable.

A gently paced sentimental film for a quiet evening. I enjoyed it.

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