Film Reviews by CD

Welcome to CD's film reviews page. CD has written 159 reviews and rated 164 films.

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Town Without Pity

Memorable only for Kirk Douglas’ performance

(Edit) 05/10/2022

This film reminded me of Kirk Douglas’ other courtroom war film Paths of Glory, set in WW1, but this film is not nearly as powerful.  The warning signs on this film come early with a very wooden opening scene with the 4 infantrymen and the very clumsy lack of interplay between the music score and what is actually happening on screen.  Kirk Douglas does a great job to make the developing court case interesting and is well supported by the performance of the actress playing the German journalist.  Christine Kaufman playing Karin also does well in what is a limited role.  Overall only really of interest due to Kirk Douglas performance and  the strange atmosphere of post war Germany under allied occupation.

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Rob Roy

Superior 18th century swashbuckler

(Edit) 05/10/2022

I have seen this film 3 times over the years.  Liam Neeson and Tim Roth are excellent and raise this well above the normal caricatures of good and bad in Anglo- Scottish relations.  The plot hangs together and the scenery is memorable.  There is also some good script-writing and Tim Roth in particular plays a fascinating character who really knows how to wield a sword.  Add to that great performances from John Hurt and Brian Cox and this becomes a highly entertaining film.

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Eden Lake

Impressive British horror

(Edit) 31/08/2022

I was made aware of this film via a list in the BFI on best British rural horror - this one just missed the top ten but was mentioned in the suggestions from readers.  I thought it was very powerful and quite convincing.  Excellent acting and a truly evil ringleader coercing young accomplices.  The action sequences are good and the tempo is maintained till the end. Strongly recommended.

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And Soon the Darkness

Disappointing for such a highly rated film

(Edit) 31/08/2022

I came across this film in a BFI list for best British rural horror (although the film is set in France). The film is very 1970s ( which I generally like!) but the warning bells started ringing early on with the very brash music and the rather caricatured French characters. The atmosphere becomes more menacing and the film improves as it goes along, but the pace is slow and although not overlong the action drags and the tension is lost.  The actors do their best but the script is very limited partly because the English nurses cannot speak French!  One for the film buffs really but may not appeal to those who want a good yarn and action.

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Looted

Very impressive and powerful

(Edit) 18/08/2022

This film has great acting and links together the two parts of the main character’s life skilfully and well.  The gang part of the film is refreshingly without violence but picks up on the excitement and buzz for young people living outside the law.  The role of carer is also explored between son and father and the coming together of the two themes is handled really well via the character of the Polish girlfriend.  I was kept entertained throughout - a very good film.  

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Sweetheart

Disappointing Creature Thriller

(Edit) 06/08/2022

The idea behind this film is not a bad one, and the lead actress does a spirited job in trying to make this intense enough to keep the audience. Unfortunately the special effects required to create a realistic and scary enough monster were clearly beyond the budget of the film. The other characters when they appear later in the set seem rather wooden and the energy of the film starts to disappear. The finale is better than expected but it's a film that does not really score on any major points other than the blue sea and palm tree setting.

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David Byrne's American Utopia

Well crafted, but mainly for fans

(Edit) 06/06/2022

I am a long term admirer of David Byrne.  This DVD is well worth a watch for its philosophical insights and sometimes for its music although I think you need to be a fan to really enjoy it.  I found the choreography interesting but ultimately rather monotonous with the grey backdrop not broken up in any way.  It was also a directorial decision to keep the focus on the stage and the people and not use external shots/venues which for me limited the potential impact of some of the songs.  The live audience at times also detracted from the performance.  So overall a good effort, but not for me as enjoyable as his recent solo album work.

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Boiling Point

Well crafted action thriller

(Edit) 06/06/2022

Dennis Hopper and Wesley Snipes give strong performances in this thriller.  It’s a clever film in that it brings out the parallels between the hunter and the hunted in terms of their personal lives, and the way they persuade and manipulate others.  The violence is quite blunt and the film has a similar feel to older style US police series such as Starsky and Hutch.  It certainly has enough incident to keep the energy high and it’s well worth a watch.

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Becky

Intense and Disturbing

(Edit) 26/05/2022

I found this film surprisingly powerful and intense. The baddies are pretty grim and Becky finds some gruesome ways of turning the tables against them. The acting is good and the film adds a psychological dimension in the character of Becky and in the motivation and thinking of the lead bad guy. There is very little sentimentality which makes it uncompromising, even to the end of the film.

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Ready or Not

Superb black comedy horror

(Edit) 26/05/2022

I really enjoyed this film. It has just the right balance of horror, gore, quirky humour and interesting characters. The cast is great and the finale is well done. If you liked this film, you may also like the 1989 film "War of the Roses" which also gets the black humour balance just right in the context of a warring family.

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The Courier

Worthy and well made spy thriller

(Edit) 08/05/2022

Benedict Cumberbatch is well suited to the role of the innocent, suave businessman asked to get involved by MI6. The supporting cast is also strong and with Michael Cain's films in mind this is a nostalgic trip back to cold war days. However, the film lacks real excitement and drama and while enjoyable it is rather predictable.

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Charismata

Crime Thriller with Horror

(Edit) 08/05/2022

Don’t be discouraged by the rather gory start.  This film develops nicely with strong British acting and some humour.  The female lead Sarah Beck Mather is excellent and the deterioration of her mental health is believable. There are some nice light touches on the special effects (eg use of mirrors) and the baddy is at the same time funny and scary.  Recommended for detective and horror fans.

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The Secret in Their Eyes

High Quality Thriller

(Edit) 08/05/2022

Stylish and very accomplished Argentinian murder thriller well meriting its strong reviews. There is humour and an exciting chase in a football stadium.  There are several twists that are well handled and the acting overall is great with an unfulfilled  love relationship running through the whole film between the two leads.  Slightly overlong perhaps but well worth watching to the end.  

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Joan of Arc

Arty but unsatisfying

(Edit) 19/03/2022

I had read the critics reviews and was prepared for a challenging and rather long film.  Hats off to the director for trying to be radical and the actors do their best, but the film is too fragmented and slow moving.  There is some interesting choreography such as using dressage to mimic a battle and the appearance of WW2 bunkers as prison cells.  I’m still awaiting the definitive film of “Joan” though and would only recommend this one if you want to see a radical and allegorical interpretation of a life.  2 stars rather than 1 star for courage of the Director and actors.

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Babyteeth

Worthy, Innovative, Well acted

(Edit) 19/03/2022

This film received very positive critical reviews but in spite of its positivity and excellent  acting I did not enjoy it very much.  The subject matter is well documented in other reviews but the film feels wooden at times, is quite unquestioning about the luxury home and lifestyle of the dysfunctional family, and  some situations (such as the Christmas meal) seem rather artificial.  That being said it has some fantastic visual moments with lighting and music, and the spark between the actors/main characters is undeniable. Almost a family film at times but with some gritty moments that make for some uncomfortable but rewarding viewing. 

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