Film Reviews by JD

Welcome to JD's film reviews page. JD has written 61 reviews and rated 75 films.

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Survive the Night

Awesome what not to do home invasion documentry

(Edit) 22/11/2020

They should make more documentaries like this.

Having someone like Bruce Willis demonstrate things you shouldnt do in this situation really adds some interest.

Not only does this documentry show you what not to do if your home is invaded by a couple of loons, it also shows you what not to do if you ARE a deranged loon. Few programs run such information in parallel so well.

I came away a new person. I learnt so much watching this. Tomorrow im going to take my family through the list of things not to do, that i learnt from this.

I cant wait for part 2 which shows us what we should do. Be it the invaded, or invaders

As per everyone elses reviews, seriously, dont watch this garbage.

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Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan

Arguably the best of all Star Trek

(Edit) 22/11/2020

I never liked this when i was kid. I didnt get all the rambling and poignant moments. The action was short and lacked excitement etc etc.

but now im older I can see why this is such a revered film amongst fans.

You need to understand trek and the relationships between the characters to really appreciate it.

Here we see Kirk as an old man, he is past his prime and even makes mistakes. But he stands out as a brilliant leader.

There is also the chemistry of the main 3 actors. Something I felt was a massive fail and missing of the point in the reboot. The 3 work fantastically together. Completely different characters that use there differences for humour, subvertly explaining whats happening, offering balanced views. Often a scene is made up of few words. Because the words used really count. Its brilliant stuff.

To be fair its not a 5 star film. It shows its age and would likely bore most people. But compared to any trek made today this is an utter masterpeice and true to what is real star trek.

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The New Statesman: Series 1

As funny as it is scary

(Edit) 04/11/2020

My parents loved this, and watching it with them changed my political view for ever.

Not because of the clear bias in the show, but how it made clear what really does happen when you let a certain type of person have such influence. So rather than question or accept a policy or decision directly the question often becomes 'who gains what' And as the show points out, the 'who gains what' can often comprise of several layers!

But beside the politics its actually pretty funny. In the most part thanks to the brilliant Rik Mayall. The guy was massively talented and fantastic entertainer.

Few things stand the test of time, but Rik has. Watching him today as a parent he is every bit as funny as when i first watched him as a child.

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The Big Ugly

really bad

(Edit) 25/10/2020

Given the cast i figured this might be ok.

How wrong could i be. The story is just everywhere and so full of 'character does x coz plot'.

Nothing makes sense, and the only thing of remoted interest - Ron and Malcolms relationship is little more than teased.

Vinny - I need somewhere to stay

Woman who has never seen him before - Ok, here's my keys.

This is one really, really bad film.

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Fantasy Island

Surprisingly good

(Edit) 04/10/2020

This film seems to have bad ratings across the net and indeed at first it came across pretty naff.

But this is one of those rare films that just keeps getting better - even the very last moments of the film had me gripped.

It keeps throwing twists at you and what started (well for me) as just a bunch of annoying characters i wanted to switch off - by the end you have investment in each of them.

There does seem to be quite a few glaring errors through the film (such as a girl who's facial makeup changes scene to scene or a soldier who walks off without his rifle) but as the film progressed and given its nature I was left wondering if id missed something and there was some reason for such odd things.

I really enjoyed this film and have no shame in giving it 4 stars.

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Bad Boys for Life

Even one of hollywoods finest cant save this

(Edit) 20/09/2020

Ill admit to not having seen the original bad boys yet (dont know why, just never got round to it)

But i was expecting good things given the 2 lead characters.

In that assumption i failed to consider the complete lack of film making talent in hollywood at the moment.

Right from the start this film sets the tone as utter trash. And it just doesnt recover.

I love Will Smith (not that way, although i could if i was) and ill say i dont think ive ever not enjoyed a film he has been in, even rubbish ones. This sadly bucks that trend. Its so bad even the super cool Will can do nothing to recover it - but worse still he seems to be enjoying himself being centre of attention in this rubbish.

As my girlfriend said, Life is short and we shouldnt be spending it watching rubbish like this.

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Darkest Hour

Interesting reminder of the massive task faced by the British people

(Edit) 02/07/2020

Churchill is largely lauded as a hero, although to many who read history the feelings arent quite this flattering.

The film i feared would simply charge down the former route but to be fair it does make the viewer aware Churchill was a flawed leader.

Although he does across more cuddly than anything at times.

I cant comment on the films accuracy (ive read a lot of military history so only seen a catalogue of failures at Churchills hands) so had to take it as it came.

As a film I just saw more of a reminder of those dark days we endured - and conquered as a nation than anything hugely entertaining.

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Hotel Mumbai

Great film of a tragic event

(Edit) 08/06/2020

I'd read about the military aspect of this event but was unaware of the 'people' side. As such i cant say how true all this is, but i get the impression due to the apparent complete lack of over/unrealistic drama they have tried to keep it accurate.

Firstly the filming, acting, script are all fantastic.

And while there isnt much to make a film of - it was a slaughter - it remains captivating and plays right down the middle keeping true to its story and not deviating with hip western issues being thrown in randomly to send a message or try to spice it up.

In the first part of the film the hotels moto is mentioned 'the customer is god' which is great for a place proud of its service.

but the moto is repeated later and its incredibly sad to think these people still thought it applied while they were being shot at. Its very brave but really, just run away! At that point its really up to the states security services to fix the problem. Which of course is another aspect to this story.

Its a well done film and worth a watch, but more than anything its worth watching to appreciate the sacrifice and bravery of the staff.

And how a countries military focus left a huge city totally unprotected....

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Rambo: First Blood

Nearly 40 and still the best

(Edit) 20/05/2020

Last time i watched it was over 20 years ago and having just watched the final Rambo film thought id treat the Wife and Son to the film that started the ever worsening franchise.

Now im older and more critical, plus with all of the high budgets and learning from past films we have now you have to wonder if a film of this vintage can stand up at all, let alone be compared to modern action films.

But this is one oldie that comes out fighting with moves long since forgotten.

Its just fantastic, Im no fan of Sly but he is just brilliant in this. And Brian D is superb, while Sly does the arm flexing Brain is flexing his acting muscles and even my 9 year old son pointed out what a top job he was doing.

Throughout the film there are reminders of the trauma Rambo has gone through - and his breakdown at the end adds a depth and emotion you just dont expect from a film like this.

On this pass i also noticed something i didnt see before - check behind the sheriffs desk. There is more to this film than meets the eye.

And we dont get shakey cam action from actors who cant fight. Action here is short and blunt. It lacks some of the polish you get today - but its to the point and avoids being naff. Action is actually limited with good amounts of dialogue in between and its this dialogue that probably makes the film so special. It even throws in some dry humour.

This is a lesson in how to make a film of this type. I never have and never will compare modern films to this, its just not fair. They dont stand a chance.

Sadly this doesnt apply for the other Rambo films. This is First Blood, leave it at that!

So 20+ years after i first saw this film and its better than i remember. Awesome stuff.

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Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut

Quirky but brilliant SciFi

(Edit) 05/04/2020

Its been a long time since i last watched this so thought id give it another go.

And it didnt disapoint. Its quirky, but brilliant. And being older i could appreciate it even more.

Although it looks like a low budget film it has some quality actors, both Gyllenhaals are brilliant and there is a brilliant soundtrack.

Its one of those rare films that doesnt do things just because 'the plot says so'.

Its fantastic and ive not even mentioned the weird and fascinating storyline for the film.

Im giving it 5 stars, this is superb stuff.

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Rambo: Last Blood

Pointless finale and not a particularly good film on its own.

(Edit) 03/04/2020

Ive never been a fan of Sly. Imo his career has largely been made off the back of two of the greatest films ever made (FB and Rocky)

But i was impressed with the presence he brought to this film. Sadly thats all this film has. John Rambos presence. Everything else about it is terrible and worse still it comes across as utterly pointless.

First Blood was epic. One of those films that was never going to be bettered or replicated, least of all by silly sequels. It should of been left alone and this final film in the saga only goes to prove that.

2 stars, not worth watching unless you really are a die hard Stallone fan. Nothing in it for anyone else.

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Le Mans '66

bit to fake for racing fans, but entertaining stuff when off track

(Edit) 28/03/2020

Rush was a huge surprise to me. It was brilliant. Even my partner thought it was great.

What that did was bring the larger than life characters of hunt and lauda to the forefront and pushed much of the 'boring' (for most movie goers!) engineering and racing to the back.

This story is a bit different. Yes it tells the story of 2 great men, Ken and Carol but the film is based on Fords first lemans victory.

As such there is a lot of car action. And this is risky in my opinion. As a racer myself i found the car scenes cheesy and inaccurate. Theirs lots of changing up and down gears at 200mph, cars braking from 200-50 in a matter of metres, drivers staring at each other at 200mph etc all very silly, etc.

That said, the Ferraris and GT40's looked gorgeous and it was great seeing a real willow springs.

Outside of that its well done. They are forced to quickly mention, twice, the GT40 was sent over from england which was funny given its a story of american success! Well apart from the driver/engineer Ken of course....

The film covers lots of interesting points, the brake reliability and the chapman like rule bending approach to get around it, and then getting one over the famously awkward french stewards. The Corporate US approach v European racer approach and many other little things are well handled and keep the film interesting.

Its a good film telling the story of one of the most iconic cars ever made, 2 great men and 2 legendary companies.

I just wish they had left the cheese at home.

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Ad Astra

drama dressed up well as sci-fi

(Edit) 28/03/2020

I came away from this a bit disappointed. As It has a great setup for great sci-fi romp.

However the film is ultimately little more than a drama about a father/son relationship. And the sci-fi is pushed to the back.

For sci-fi fans little is explained or expanded. Instead everything is focused around our leads feelings and whats going on in his and his dads head.

Its a quality movie however, its looks good for sure and the performances as youd expect are upto the task. But its simply far to drama heavy to make it of any real interest and left us feeling robbed and disappointed. Being good sci-fi is rare, it really is a wasted chance this film. We get drama under every setting, so why tease sci-fi fans this way?

3 stars as its a quality flick with big potential, but ultimately to much drama for its setting and premise.

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Zombieland: Double Tap

Daft zombie fun

(Edit) 13/03/2020

Zombieland is one of those films that never needed a sequal and is probably better off without one.

But it doesnt stop this being an enjoyable romp.

Its makes fun and jokes of everyone but doesnt go so far to make anyone look less of a character. Even the dumb blonde was well balanced, occasionally winning verbal exchanges and seeming to be more a representation of pre zombieland innocence . And the looks shared between her and the main female character are excellent.

Unlike so many modern films there is no OP hero charcter in this, everyone is just muddling through in there own way and they all have there flaws which gives us something to laugh at.

It continues in trying to add its own path to the zombie world and feels like a film made because they wanted to, not to tick boxes or make an absurd amount of money.

3 out of 4 members found this review helpful.

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What We Do in the Shadows

LOL

(Edit) 13/03/2020

Ok, its not a 5star film. But it deserves it and it is hugely entertaining.

The main kick it gives you is its just funny.

But under that its also pretty clever. These are some talented people.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.
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