Film Reviews by PT

Welcome to PT's film reviews page. PT has written 10 reviews and rated 179 films.

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Brian and Charles

A live action Wallace & Gromit

(Edit) 03/01/2023

If you are looking for a film to banish the winter blues then this joyous slice of British silliness is the one. Its infectious warmth simply bulldozes any carping about the slightness of the plot and the on/off mockumentary format into irrelevance.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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Songs from the Second Floor

Black comedy left out on a beach to weather until bleached to a shade of long dead whale

(Edit) 30/08/2020

Probably the funniest film you will ever see without actually laughing. Is this even supposed to be a comedy? Terry Gilliam’s Brazil is frequently evoked in reviews of Roy Andersson’s films but I think the work of Chris Morris is more apposite. Like “Blue Jam”, but with the jokes taken out, its only really funny afterwards when the immediate unease at what you are watching has safely passed.

The film is comprised of a series of linked vignettes in which the pallid occupants of an imagined Scandinavian city find themselves in the grip of a millennial crisis. The gridlocked streets are full of self flagellating office workers whilst church and state have united to try child sacrifice as their solution to the problem. Ghosts from the main protagonist’s past have come back to haunt him and to make matters worse so have unknown ghosts from the past of other people.

Much in the manner of Jaques Tati’s “Playtime” every scene is meticulously staged in the studio to create an alternative reality but here it is a doomed alternative Sweden which all the tasteful bentwood furniture in the world is not going to save.

I can’t think of any other genuine work of art to emerge from all the hullaballoo around the end of the last millennium and I can’t believe I have only found it 20 years later. This film deserves much wider acclaim.

To sum up: 3 in anticipation (I had previously seen Andersson’s “A pigeon sat on a branch reflecting on existence” which left me bemused and not exactly crying out for more) 4 for enjoyment and 5 in retrospect (this time I “go it” and learned to embrace the darkness) Unremitting gloom with frequent patches of despair - Book Early.

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The Third Murder

Neglected gem you should not miss

(Edit) 14/06/2022

Unfairly overlooked by both critics and UK cinema audiences this is a departure for Koreeda from his recent Ozu inspired family dramas coming between “After The Storm” in 2016 and “Shoplifters” in 2018. On paper this would be considered a “courtroom drama” although the few actual courtroom scenes are incidental to the drama.

In the “DVD Extras” Tony Ryan’s excellent essay points out how rare courtroom dramas are in Japanese cinema and indeed how opaque the workings of the Japanese judicial system are. Koreeda’s film examines how the Japanese legal system is obsessed with process with little interest in the truth of what actually happened. The film is almost a typical courtroom drama in reverse in that it opens with the murder in which the murderer is clearly identified. The rest of the film then picks apart the initially established certainty that he is the guilty person leaving only an uncertainty that the trial has failed to dispel. At the centre of the film is the evolving relationship between the “unreliable” defendant and his hard pressed defence lawyer both brilliantly acted. Ultimately the viewer has to make up their own mind as to what really happened.

If you like a neatly tied up courtroom drama “whodunit” with lots of courtroom theatrics this is not for you. If, however, you like Koreeda’s other films and are familiar with their slow pacing and careful observation you will not be disappointed. Yet another example of why Koreeda is in the forefront of current Japanese directors.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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Sátántangó

The first 2 hours were the worst, the second 2 hours they were the worst too.

(Edit) 18/03/2022

Bela Tarr’s attempt to make a film that takes longer to watch than the source novel takes to read. I know comparisons of films with the books they are derived from are usually irrelevant but this does such a massive disservice to Kraznahorkai’s excellent novel that this needs to be pointed out. Even on fast forward most of the scenes are glacially slow and will have you pleading for them to stop. Editing this down to 90 minutes might actually have made a decent film but someone misguidedly indulged the director. Whoever decided that Bela Tarr was some kind of genius (I missed that meeting) should be forced to watch this on repeat until the disc wears out.

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Stray Dogs

A 5 minute slide show stretched to 2 hours 18 minutes

(Edit) 28/02/2022

A film has finally beaten Bela Tarr's "Man from London" into 2nd place in the "most tedious self-indulgent "Art" film of the 21st century" awards. There is a difference between slow cinema and stopped (thus not) cinema of which director Ming-Liang Tsai seems unaware. Hopefully whoever financed this turkey has been reduced to the penury of its main protagonists.

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Intimate Lighting

Ivan Passer's best film - still a turkey

(Edit) 12/11/2021

Proof that the 60's Czech new wave was equal to the French in its ability to produce truly dreadful films that should be consigned to the dustbin of history. If that sounds unfair just look at the, thankfully short, filmography director Ivan Passer went on to create after he rapidly quit Czechoslovakia for Hollywood. Everything in the CP synopsis is untrue. It is neither delightful nor a comedy it is simply embarrassingly poor.

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Local Hero

Its Local Hero what more do you want?

(Edit) 11/11/2021

Absolute stone classic. For my money up there with “Life of Brian” and “Death of Stalin” as contender for best British comedy film of all time. Superior to any of the various Ealing comedies with which it is often compared in that it produces actual laughter rather than the odd wry smile.

1 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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Monos

Lord of the flies with guns

(Edit) 30/08/2020

What happens when you free a bunch of adolescents from any societal or parental constraints and put them in the jungle with access to heavy armaments, drugs, alcohol and a cow (Plot spoiler - it doesn’t end well for the cow)? Well this film confirms exactly what you would expect. Everything is going to go wrong and the film’s undeniable tension comes from anticipating just how bad that is going to be. The absence of any context for these events, an unidentified revolutionary (presumably) group of unspecified ideology in an un-named jungle, means that the word METAPHOR hangs heavily over the film.

That said, there is much to admire in the film’s construction. It is visually impressive and Mica Levi’s mostly abstract soundtrack really adds to the relentless drama. I would suggest that Alejandro Landes is a director worth looking out for in future.

To sum up: 4 in anticipation (Mark Kermode really liked it I recall), 2 for enjoyment and 3 in retrospect.

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The Consequences of Love

Paulo & Toni get their ducks in a line

(Edit) 20/05/2020

Early outing for the longstanding collaboration between director Paulo Sorrentino and lead actor Toni Servillo before the high water mark of “Il Divo” & “The Great Beauty”. Not in the same league as those 5* films but if you enjoyed them then this one is well worth your time. I would score it: 3 in anticipation, 4 for enjoyment and 3 in retrospect.

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Zazie in the Underground

Mal

(Edit) 04/05/2020

Bad day at the office for Louis only 2 years after the excellent “Lift to the Scaffold”, it seems comedy was not his forte. The foul-mouthed live-wire Zazie of Queneau’s novel (which I can recommend) is lost amongst cartoonish adults competing for her limelight. Goodies-lite surrealism does not excuse slipshod slapstick.

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