Film Reviews by CD

Welcome to CD's film reviews page. CD has written 167 reviews and rated 172 films.

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Warlock

Surprisingly fun with good acting

(Edit) 20/07/2024

I remember reading an article about Julian Sands where it was said he regretted starring in "Warlock". My hopes were therefore not that high but actually it is a very entertaining and well directed film, with two terrific British lead actors in Richard E Grant and Julian Sands. The plot is a bit whacky but there are some great twists and surprises and the film never drags. There is some good dark humour as well and some funny late 1980s hairstyles and fashion. Julian Sands was a terrific actor and much missed following his death in 2023. I am looking forward to following up on his other films.

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Klute

Uneven, but with Brilliant Lead Actor Performance

(Edit) 16/07/2024

I was a bit disappointed with this film overall, but very impressed with Jane Fonda's performance, which makes it worthwhile. The movie seems uneven and a bit dated now and does not really have the momentum, action or plot interest to hold the attention throughout. There are too many minor characters who flit in and out and do not really add to the drama. The relationship between Klute and Bree seems really unlikely as well. Donald Sutherland is certainly one of the less convincing policemen/ private investigators, albeit an excellent and interesting actor. The film still receives high ratings nowadays - I personally prefer movies such as Chinatown (Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway, 1974) for this kind of relationship intense but dark group of films, usually involving greed or corporate sleaze.

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Never Let Go

1960s London Grit

(Edit) 16/07/2024

Really enjoyed this very British drama with excellent performances from all the leads. I was reminded a bit of the 1948 film "The Bicycle Thieves" in the way that a man's job and status is so tied up with his mode of transport, and his determination to retrieve it when stolen. Fortunately it goes in a different and ultimately more satisfying direction with the baddies very much visible, and the main character remorseless in his determination. Richard Todd (the main character) reminded me at times of Christopher Plummer, and he and his wife must be one of the poshest couples ever to have lived in a London council flat. However, the characters and emotions are genuine and the directing is excellent. As other reviewers have commented, it is great to see the London scenes of that era and the rather grimy pubs and cafes, before the era of gentrification.

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The Seventh Seal

Striking and Powerful Drama

(Edit) 23/06/2024

Very impressed with this fantastically powerful Mediaeval drama set in Sweden in the 14th century at the time of the Black Death. The photography, casting, acting and narrative are all brilliant and this 1957 film fully deserves all of its accolades. The scenes of the Mummers Play, the Flagellants and the cruelty and humour in the alehouse, and the feeling of darkness at the stake are all memorable. The modern relevance is strong to a society that is losing faith but feels the loss, and the lack of anything with which to fill it in the face of death.

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Comanche Moon: Mini-Series

Entertaining Western Yarn

(Edit) 02/05/2024

Having greatly enjoyed “Lonesome Dove” (also based on Larry McMurtry’s novels), Disc 1 was a little bit of a disappointment in comparison . The casting is not quite right for Augustus McRae, who in the novels is much wilier, more charming and taller than the character in this version. The film does have some entertaining moments however,  particularly from Val Kilmer’s character, Captain Scull.  The Comanche Braves and other outlaws add to the excitement, and the supporting cast, music score and scenery are all strong.  

In Disc 2 the child actor

playing Newt is excellent and there are some beautiful landscape scenes.  Steve Zahn gets a much better grip on Gus Mc Crea’s character and Karl Urban is a strong Woodrow Call. 

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The Missing

A truly great western

(Edit) 19/06/2024

This is probably the third time I’ve watched this film over the years.

The acting is  magnificent and the film puts a welcome slightly spooky spin on the genre. Based on a fantastic Thomas Eidson novel, which I strongly recommend, it tells of a brutal kidnapping but also a past fractured relationship between father and daughter, which is progressively resolved during the film. This relationship is not explored as thoroughly as in the novel, but the film still works as an explanation.

The range of characters in this film is very strong, with great performances from the main child actor. The film has good action and some beautiful photography as well. Highly recommended. 

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The Two Faces of January

Highly enjoyable Drama

(Edit) 10/06/2024

I enjoyed this greatly having also enjoyed “Ripley” based on a Patricia Highsmith novel.  The greek and cretan context adds colour and is well filmed, and the characters are believable with terrific acting performances from the 3 leads.  The film perhaps lacks tight direction and meanders a bit towards the end but is always fun and interesting . Recommended . 

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Road House

Patrick Swayze in top form

(Edit) 26/05/2024

I realised what a talented and charming actor Patrick Swayze was, and he is the main interest in this film.  The soundtrack and band (Jeff Healey) is excellent and it is nostalgic to look back at a 1990s style bar.  Beyond that it is all fisticuffs and a lot of caricatured baddies - it’s funny and entertaining for half the film but then takes a darker turn and gets a bit monotonous.  Overall worth a watch just for the main actors, not for the plot.

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Desperado

Tongue in Cheek Shoot out movie

(Edit) 23/05/2024

I did not enjoy this film, although it has some good actors, a good music score and and an interesting Mexican small town locale. The amount of shooting and violence totally overwhelms anything else and it becomes a comic book gangster movie. Probably of interest to Quentin Tarantino fans, but not one for me.

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Open Range

Absorbing Western

(Edit) 08/05/2024

Robert Duvall and Kevin Costner lift this above the ordinary but the plot is not very sophisticated and it feels overlong. The wider array of characters and their warming towards the free grazers’ cause is  well done, and the extended  gunfight is a powerful bit of filming .  The film misses a chance to go deeper into the lead characters and their motivations.  There are quite a few night shots so if your TV is as bad as  mine in coping with low light then you may struggle with seeing some of the action.

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Appaloosa

Hugely enjoyable western

(Edit) 28/04/2024

An excellent cast including English actors such as Jeremy Irons and Timothy Spall.  The chemistry and interaction between the two leads lifts this above the average western, and the camera work, filmscore and landscape all contribute to the enjoyment.   The pacing of the film is good and there is enough action to keep the plot moving well.

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Hostiles

Top Notch Western

(Edit) 28/04/2024

The casting looked very strong and does not disappoint with Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike.  The characters are very well defined with the focus being on the pychological trauma they have experienced and how they cope with it.  The setting, script and action are all high quality and the changing relationships between the soldiers, civilians and their former foes are handled sensitively and are believable.  An all round great film.

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Lonesome Dove

Wonderfully evocative western

(Edit) 23/04/2024

I recently listened to the entire audiobook of Larry McMurty’s  “Lonesome Dove”.  This film version is absolutely brilliant and faithfully reflects the book except in a few scenes and small details.  The casting is great and the lead actors do a great job.  The range of action and incidents keeps a good momentum and there are some convincing baddies.  Music score is majestic and the only slight issue is with the slightly sub-optimal film quality - hope this could be fixed with a future re-master.

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From Dusk Till Dawn

Good Acting and Exciting Special Effects

(Edit) 25/03/2024

It is always a pleasure seeing the acting talent of George Clooney, particularly in this film where he brings his comic side together with tougher action. The film is pretty violent the whole way through and the comedy is dark. How you rate this film very much depends on how much you like the extraordinary twist half way through. For me, there was enough of an interesting drama arising from the chemistry between Harvey Keitel, the actors playing his character's children George Clooney, and Quentin Tarantino to have made this a good film, without the horror twist. The musical score is great as well.

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Inside Llewyn Davis

Thoughtful and Beautifully Acted

(Edit) 25/03/2024

This a really well acted and directed film. The music is great and allowed to come through in full. The pathos of the lead character's plight is spiced with some light comedy moments and some bizarre characters. Carey Mulligan does a great job in support and John Goodman has a great cameo role as a jazz musician en route to Chicago. It's quite quirky but well worth an evening's viewing.

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