Film Reviews by Alphaville

Welcome to Alphaville's film reviews page. Alphaville has written 790 reviews and rated 747 films.

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Poor Things

A cinematic smorgasbord of delight

(Edit) 17/04/2024

A surreal fantasy beautifully directed, quirkily shot and scored, opulently staged, funny, grotesque, raucous, outrageous and defiantly anti-snowflake (eat you heart out, Barbie), this is a scintillating riposte to the bland TV-fare that often passes for film these days. Weird and wonderful, with outrageous sex scenes and gorgeous set designs of a surreal Lisbon, Paris… all luxuriating in deep-focus detail that makes it a feast for the eye. Just watch it.

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Star Trek: Picard: Series 1

Insipid bore

(Edit) 03/04/2024

Based on the first disk (the first three episodes), and especially if you’re a Next Generation fan, this is a disaster. Picard is no longer a dynamic leader. He acts and sounds old as he whispers his lines. Perhaps not surprising given Patrick Stewart’s age. Most of the time he drinks tea and worries about the harvest on the French farm to which he’s retired. It’s a low-key talkathon with no plot or character interest and barely any action. Space? Forget it. I was soon on FF. Maybe it improves with disk 2, but I won’t be finding out. From what I hear, both Season 1 and 2 are rubbish but Season 3 at last gets going, with Jonathon Frakes back as Number 1 and director. So maybe I’ll give that a shot.

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River

Fun sci-fi in snowy Kyoto

(Edit) 03/04/2024

Thoroughly enjoyable (though unrelated) follow-up to the five-star Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes. In that brilliantly realised film the characters have to deal with seeing two minutes into the future. Here the characters are trapped in a time loop that keeps sending them back to the same spot they were in two minutes ago. On each loop they have only two minutes before reset to figure out a way forward. Cue lots of frantic running around as they rush to achieve something useful before reset. Beautifully shot in single-shot two-minute takes, the film also makes the most of one of the snowiest winters ever experienced in picturesque Kyoto. The disk also has a fascinating hour-long making-of feature in which director Junta Yamaguchi discusses the shoot and further possible sci-fi films. More please.

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Talk to Me

Another failing wannabe scary teen film

(Edit) 05/03/2024

After a startling opening (the only one in the film), this immediately degenerates into a talkfest of annoying Australian teens glued to their phones. Hip hop soundtrack? Tick. They start to conjure up spirits, but it’s never scary or any more interesting than the job-lot characters. The plot goes nowhere and peters put. The end.

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The Night of the 12th

Riveting murder mystery

(Edit) 05/03/2024

This impeccably realised film follows a bunch of cops as they investigate the murder of a teenage girl in a French alpine town. With masterful storytelling, interesting characters and an enigmatic soundtrack, it’s engrossing from Frame 1. Every scene moves the plot forward with no slack. As the investigation becomes increasingly fraught, along with the investigating cops, it becomes ever more involving and moving. A masterclass in its genre.

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How to Have Sex

Simply Dire

(Edit) 24/02/2024

Horrible title for horrible film that unaccountably has some five-star-reviews on the DVD cover. Those critics should have their licences revoked. It’s a dire tale of three obnoxious, shouty, sweary, teenage girls smoking, boozing and clubbing their way through a beach holiday in Greece. The amateur, naturalistic filming makes it seem even worse. I tried to watch it, but after 15mins couldn’t stand their company any longer. The DVD describes the film as ‘vibrant’. ‘Sad’ would be nearer the mark.

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Get Out Your Handkerchief

Wonderful anti-woke anti-romcom

(Edit) 24/02/2024

After Les Valseuses, director Betrand Blier reunites with stars Gerard Depardieu and Patrick Dewaere for another refreshing blast against snowflake cinema. Still a riot decades after winning the Oscar for best foreign film in 1979. Gerard’s run out of ideas as to how to rouse his wife (Carole Laure) from her soporific demeanour. She spends all her time knitting topless. Perhaps sex with a different guy would help, so he ropes in a stranger in a restaurant (Patrick). If that still doesn’t work, perhaps a 13yo boy could provide the right impetus. Strap yourself in for an uproarious comedy that will have wokists tearing their hair out.

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Typist Artist Pirate King

Oh dear

(Edit) 14/02/2024

Here we go again. Yet another doggedly-filmed, dialogue-heavy, actorly product of the British film industry. It’s based on a true story and means well, so no wonder it was beloved of the arthouse circuit, which helps proliferate this kind of non-cinematic bore. Among real film lovers it sank without trace. As usual, better suited to the stage or TV.

0 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

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The Rover

Stylish and different, but interest increasingly flags

(Edit) 14/02/2024

A stylish, moody, downbeat, slow-paced film that’s interesting at first but eventually begins to drag along with its whining score. The characters’ actions make no sense and the director needs to ditch the overlong speechless close-ups for a tad more upbeat excitement to maintain interest.

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Blood Glacier

Scenic creature feature

(Edit) 01/02/2024

This is John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’ set in a glacial monitoring station in the Austrian Alps. To begin with it’s too low-key, with stock characters, slow pacing and a score that needs more zip. On the plus side, the mountain scenery is a feast for the eye and after half an hour the action picks up. Not one Thing, but multiple hybrid mutant Things. Ever seen a fox-beetle? It gets sillier and consequently more enjoyable as it progresses. Just don’t get bitten!

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The Creator

Great effects let down by terrible script

(Edit) 26/01/2024

Exotic sci-fi adventure set in Thailand in which humans battle androids. The androids have a robo-child with special powers whom the humans have to eliminate. Our human hero is caught between the two sides. It starts interestingly but soon gets bogged down in scattergun action scenes and flashbacks with little happening plot-wise during the two-hour run-time. The hero’s motivation and his relationship with the child never convince, while the rest of the cast are one-dimensional cyphers. The repetitive action soon palls and the film begins to drag. Eventually you’re left just to admire yet more cgi flash-bangs until the silly ending.

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The Tournament

Sheer dross

(Edit) 20/01/2024

Blood-spattered shoot-em-up with nothing to recommend it. One-note plot, terrible dialogue, zero characterisation, in-your-face amateurish direction, slapdash editing, washed-out colour. The cast never stood a chance.

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Prey

Ho-hum Predator movie

(Edit) 19/01/2024

It’s not the best Predator movie, but nor is it the worst. This time it’s an 18th-century Comanche girl with an axe who has to fight one of them. She has to prove her hunting skills to the woke-less tribes-boys, you see. There’s loads of tribal banter to fill time and much of it takes place in the dark to avoid us seeing too much. The climactic fight itself is ruined by dim lighting. The same-old Predator effects are getting pretty tiresome by now and you know our heroine will have enough superpower to defeat him, even after he despatches all the menfolk fodder, so there’s little tension in the plot. Still, it all passes by amiably enough and there’s some nice North American scenery to look at.

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The Thirteenth Floor

Fascinating sci-fi

(Edit) 16/01/2024

Okay, so some of the acting and direction is flat, but this remains a fascinating watch thanks to the fiendish plot and stylish sets. Constantly keeps you on your toes with puzzle after puzzle and revelation on revelation. Don’t expect a special effects extravaganza, but this is a proper grown-up sci-fi film that absorbs from start to finish. Certainly more interesting than your average sci-fi film, so four stars.

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24: Redemption

Don’t waste your time

(Edit) 09/01/2024

Dreadful cheapskate TV spin-off set between series 5 and 6 of the 24 franchise. Threadbare plot so badly directed that it’s impossible to watch. Mainly close-ups of talking heads.

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