Film Reviews by HG

Welcome to HG's film reviews page. HG has written 10 reviews and rated 104 films.

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My Life as a Courgette

Adult themes wasted on the young

(Edit) 09/04/2018

I have idea why this a PG - the basic premise of abandonment is not for the pre teen and the sexually explicit conversation is only funny got the knowledgeable. However this is a genius comedy with levels of incongruity only possible in stop motion.

It lurches between melodrama, the absurd and intense realism which makes it both hard work and rewarding. Ultimately feel good do not be put off by the grimness of the start you'll enjoy the ride.

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Zoolander No. 2

Silly and Fun - ignore the critics

(Edit) 06/01/2018

This is adult gross out - you need a fair amount of knowledge and pop culture awareness to get some of the jokes but there is body part humour in there too - the plot is deliberately ridiculous and in poor taste but that's part of the charm. It's not pushing many boundaries and I'm sure it's partly a commercial exercise after the success of Z1 but like Wayne's world 2 it's probably worth it and you will be quoting it in the right company. If you've had a couple of drinks you'll probably laugh out loud a lot.

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The Lego Batman Movie

Genius but not a kids' film

(Edit) 13/12/2017

This is not a kids' film - almost at any level. All the jokes and reference and themes are adult and most of the humor is ironic. If you are an adult you will not be disappointed. If you loved the first film then this one is better although it has to be because the first one was so fresh and new. As a Xmas option I'd say it works with the under 12's but their attention is being held by the bright colours and the acceptable story rather than the constant stream of knowing gags and backstory.

Be warned you will laugh out loud - don't be ashamed about it.

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Manchester by the Sea

Grim but some redemption

(Edit) 10/11/2017

Not for the depressed this is unremittingly grim almost throughout with viewer expecting further tragedies just around the corner until there is a modicum of redemption towards the end. It is interesting and worth the effort but I won't be watching it again as the payback for the investment isn't necessarily worth it. A bit confused by the plaudits because it's just not very accessible and the acting is just understated rather than believable. My suspicion is there is a bit of snobbery at work here where the intellectual will smugly regard themselves as having benefited from the pain of trawling through the horror.

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Trolls

Derivative

(Edit) 08/11/2017

This is a good kids movie like the various Smurf incarnations to which it owes everything. Some smiles for adults but nothing really engaging an the songs are not that memorable and the characters not really likable or quirky. Leave the kids to watch in on their own unless you fancy a doze.

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Upside Down

Physics Degree not required

(Edit) 07/11/2017

I have got a science degree albeit Chemistry not Physics but you don't need one to watch this film unlike what I suspect are science hating critics who run away at the first mention of it and don't much like sci-fi either. It's quite clever and whilst you're thinking about how the world works and how the hero gets around it they slip in a love story that does engage although maybe not as much as Romeo and Juliet. Of course it will be accused of trying to package the romance for a male audience (I'm male and I don't mind a good romance) but it's just beautifully shot in this imaginary world. It is clearly inspired by a kind of Blade Runner meets Stardust feel and perhaps it doesn't have an audience that would identify with both but Kirsten Dunst smiles (she is very good at this) and that works for me. Don't watch is tired though - you will need to concentrate and the lack of colour might have you drifting off.

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The Invention of Lying

Has its moments but is more of a linear philosophy 101 thought experiment than a comedy.

(Edit) 21/04/2017

It's funny because it's true but unfortunately it actually needs to be clever and this isn't. Although it is true about Mr G's appearance flabby and a bit short which is how the script gets after the jokes start getting recycled half way through. What it does show is the thought experiment doesn't work given rg's imagination at doesn't really entertain either and has a shockingly bad ending.

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Macbeth

Worthy and atmospheric - watch at night

(Edit) 01/10/2016

This is not a daytime film which I'm guessing is not a good thing in that although earlier interpretations have involved gross nudity and determined violence this one tones it down (a little) to get a 15 rating which suggests it's in part going for the GCSE market (given most of them are at least 15 and who's counting at that age anyway) but in doing so it opens up the afternoon slot on Film4 which is it's destiny. This would be a mistake because unless it's dark and you have a big screen (which thankfully you can get big enough at home these days) and decent sound you miss the experience which not really about the acting but more about the piece as a whole,the scenery, the mist, the dark. If you want the words go to the theatre - you can barely catch some of the lines in this and that is where it's going to lose the GCSE market - it such an interpretation that you need to watch it before reading the play and then try and work out where Justin got his thinking - it's not weird but it is embellished and actually well done. To be honest I really liked it and it's certainly brave but it's not going to help students because it's just not about the text. What it does show is how compelling Shakespeare's narrative is - Macbeth is the original Hitchcock - with the terror - the twist. It is a masterpiece and I doubt anyone will do it justice ever even with all the CGI,FX and slowmo full of both sound and fury.

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Birdman

A bit weird in quite a creepy way and not that funny

(Edit) 06/05/2016

I suspect I should watch this again to try and understand it but frankly I was so underwhelmed first time I can't be bothered. It was just a bit too disconcerting the whole way through as you worried about all the characters mental states and as to what was or wasn't real. There was a fair bit of grown up gross out but no really any gags and certainly none I laughed out loud at. I'm guessing the reason why this got so many oscar nominations is the great and the good in hollywood felt that it was genuinely cool and they were just so cool to get it. I loved the Grand Budapest Hotel which felt similar albeit nothing like as dark - perhaps this was just to black for me or but I didn't get it and I don't think I've really missed anything either.

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Nativity 3: Dude, Where's My Donkey?!

Truly terrible but so bad its good

(Edit) 05/02/2016

I cannot imagine any of the actors were paid enough for the embarrassment of being in it but if you've had a drink I'm guessing you might wet yourself because you might be overwhelmed by it. I think it must have been made for 2 year olds because anyone with any kind of self awareness will cringe from start to finish. Watch at your own risk.

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