Film Reviews by JD

Welcome to JD's film reviews page. JD has written 49 reviews and rated 60 films.

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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.

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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.

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Angel Has Fallen

Twice as good as the last one. Half as good as a half good action film

(Edit) 07/03/2020

The last one was a terrible film, so i wasnt holding much hope for this.

And largely thats the case again. Its just cheesy drivel. Films like this are ok if they dont take themselves to seriously - but this does. When you have films like John Wick where we see some proper, serious gun skills and sucker punch showing girls can do it to and Sicario which gives us gritty, believable action and all three every bit as dramatic and exciting (a lot more so actually) than this - I am left at a loss at what they are trying to do with films like this which just revolve around one stupidly OP character.

Our hero cuts through all comers without really showing any skill. They stand looking at him. He kills them. Awesome. Its mixed up occasionally with some hand to hand (where again the badguy stands and waits to be hit), usually assisted by zero light or shakey cam. Lame stuff.

For me there were a couple of saviours that kept me watching. Our lead certainly wasnt one of them.

The inclusion of his dad did take some of the weight of the serious naffness away (its still naff, but so naff it feels light hearted). Thinking about it, i may of turned the film off had he not turned up.

And the shoot out between the police and the more aggressive mercenaries was a tiny glimpse of some proper action. This exciting scene sadly was ruined by focusing on our hero taking out dummies, it really should of made more of a security v mercenary shoot out where the outcome would of hung in the balance or made the presidents predicament more tense. But as it was, no worries superman with his shakey cam and dummies will save the day.

Blaming the Russians was funny, as we know the Russians are to blame to everything we dont we like. Which i think would of been the only thing resembling a joke in the film.

Its just your typical by the numbers hero with token flaws, gets setup then beats all comers to save the day.

Yawn.

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Went totally over my head, but a great film

(Edit) 26/02/2020

This is a film that oozes quality.

The writing and directing is top drawer stuff and the acting is superb. I hate brad pit (why would JA choose him over me?) but he is an ok actor to be fair.

The film felt a bit drawn out and pointless however. Seemingly only propped up by its innate quality.

But as it finished my partner read about it - the film seemed an odd mix of reality and made up stuff. It turns out that my self proclaimed lack of understanding wasnt the half of it. I was like a chimp watching pictures and hearing noises with no understanding of what was playing out in front of me.

Tarantino has put together a complex (as all the old movie references and using fact and then turning it on its head) yet highly entertaining story.

For those like me who 'dont get it' i highly recommend watching it through, then reading about it when its finished. While most of it still went over my head, the ending then made sense and what he did with the ending will play with your emotions.

Tarantino has done this his own way, its not like other films and doesnt follow a tired trend or try to please people who dont believe films are there for entertainment reasons.

This is a fantastic film from an incredibly talented director and performed by some talented actors.

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Alita: Battle Angel

There is something very right about this film

(Edit) 09/02/2020

About 20 minutes in i had a feeling. Theres something odd about this film.

Its all held to together with superglue. Robust plot (yes there are holes and questions but it just rides past them with a wave), like able and fascinating characters (even the doctors side kick who says hardly anything is a friendly, familiar face you cant help but like) amazing action, an awesome 'hero' character and fantastic effects.

Given the rubbish being released today this all added up to something peculiar. What could it be? So checked IMDB and yep. James Cameron.

Nobody seems to like the guy, but he is a master of film no question. I dont want to take anything away from others involved but is super sus that one of the best fantasy action films of recent years has heavy involvement from him.

For adults it probably does lack a bit of complexity but this is a film anyone can enjoy. There are no F bombs or scaring amputations for the kids, no blaming dad for ruining the world and being the source of everyones problems, the action is equally offset by (admittedly odd!) romance for mum and the teens can just revall in it all.

Great stuff.

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Conan the Barbarian

completely forgettable.

(Edit) 08/02/2020

This film has 3 good points.

1. Its called Conan, a film made familiar to many by Arny.

2. Ron Pearlman

3. I forgot.

3. oh, the bad guy. I Forget his name but he's cool.

Its to much cheese and silly to be remotely entertaining.

Our hero is a your typical millennial hero. Flawless. And with it has zero interest.

It looks like he cant even swing sword. He can pose well, but every swing has the camera cut to a new angle and new move, and i mean every swing. Its truly horrible to watch. Gal Gadot does a far better job with a sword in wonder woman. Indeed, she took an interest in that role - here our star looks like he is there to look pretty and collect a cheque. Its little wonder his roles to date have been extremely limited.

But its not just him, the whole thing is carried out in such a forgettable fashion. Its a by the numbers rubbish film.

Ive not seen the originals as rumor has it they weren't fantastic. But rumor also has it, now we have this 20xx version the originals wernt actually quite as bad as they seemed!!

One thing i know ill get when the rent the originals is Arny swinging a sword around like he means it. Not like he's on a fashion shoot.....

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Sucker Punch

Hugely entertaining stuff.

(Edit) 22/01/2020

Like most modern films this is about women defeating there evil male oppressors. They even run round with guns (rarely a good thing)

But this isnt a modern film.

All the men maybe bad, but they are just bad people. The film isnt making a point of making me feel worthless (being male).

All the women are good. But they arent invincible.

And 3 of them show John Wick style weapon handling skills- years before John wick. Watching the 3 leads using fire arms is real joy in this film. They are exceptionally good.

There is much more to this film however, its a multi layered fantasy drama thing with some awesome (lots) action thrown in. No doubt a lot of the story went over my head.

This is a brilliant film.

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The Axiom

Good idea, but a dreadful mess

(Edit) 07/12/2019

Looks like this was done on a pretty small budget. And it shows.

The film was every where with a combination of making no sense, a full set of incredibly annoying characters and those characters saying and doing things humans just wouldnt do or say in those situations.

The 6 main cast has 2 women who can do no wrong and 4 men, 3 of which are useless numpties and one a creepy older guy.

Something that springs to mind as maybe comparable is cabin in the woods. But that has a proper director and some budget and is vastly superior.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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Chernobyl

shock. Its really good

(Edit) 23/11/2019

Contrary to everyone else i found this really good :)

Hard to criticize at all. Of course i wasnt there and there many bits that make you wonder how accurate they are.

But the overal path cant be anything but close and what is admitted to be non-fact is simply portrayed legend style which imo is more than acceptable.

As for the program as something to watch, its fascinating and incredibly sad. Ive a lot of respect for the russians, but this shows that while they are very much our equal in courage and intellect, there political system needs a smidge of polish!

I recently saw a film about the sub the 'kursk' and its much the same. A lot of brave men and women let down by a system. (although that film is nothing like as good as this!)

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Ocean's 8

I prefer this to men version

(Edit) 23/11/2019

Im much a syd, but i have to say i enjoyed this much more than the convoluted normal oceans films.

Most of the female actors were superb and there was no silly 'men are sub-beings and women are awesome' undertones. Well apart from Sandra's ex partner but that actually fitted into the story pretty well so was easily watched.

The plot is so so, but i found the characters really entertaining and i enjoyed watching it.

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X-Men: Dark Phoenix

so so bad

(Edit) 23/11/2019

I keep adding films like this thinking 'how bad can it be'

4k, decent budget, lots of action and noise, some big name actors.

But its one of those many films where they have gone out of there way to make it rubbish. There appears to be some real effort put into making this some dull, nonsensical nonsense.

It also owns what is probably the silliest and most pointless line ever spoke in a film. When Jennifer tells Mcavoy the xmen should be called xwomen.

Life is short, far to short to watch rubbish like this.

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Kursk: The Last Mission

average film of a tragic event

(Edit) 15/11/2019

Worth a watch just for the subject and the fact its a true story.

It has the appearance and feeling its on the cheap and doesnt stand out as anything special. But it gets the key points across well enough to be a story worth watching.

Center piece is the impact on family, and there is the bond between service men, the lack of funding causing poor training and equipment so lacking and poorly maintained its both useless and incredibly dangerous. All wrapped around the Soviet politics that ultimately make this such a tragedy.

Of course, thats bad enough but when the Royal Navy was going out of its way to help with what would be the best divers and rescue equipment in the world it just makes it much worse.

There is much dramatisation going on to keep the story rolling along, but the key points, the disaster, the family, the politics and a genuine offer of help from great sea-fairing enemy are all covered.

And a term ive not heard before has stuck in my head. Sailors help Sailors. For the crew of kursk it was there comrades and for those watching it was the royal navy. All every mariner wanted was to see them safe.

But Politics.

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Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Epic, but empty in equal measures

(Edit) 09/11/2019

Id give this 3.5 if i could, but rounded it up as at the end of the day this is Godzilla AND entertaining.

There are much worse films out there certainly as far as monster films go this is pretty good.

This uses lots of monster on monster action to get around what feels a pretty empty film plot wise and the action scenes are by the numbers.

But the action is a plenty, it has good effects and lots of noise.

It also does well to avoid the cheese that ruins so many films like this. The 'annoying' kid is Millie Bobby Brown and she isnt in the slightest bit annoying. Head military guy is a woman, but she carries the position well - rather than simply being better than all men she carries herself like a leader and is utterly believable.

We dont get half a film taken up with soap opera character building (im looking at you independence day). The broken family is a broken family and the film doesnt dwell on it.

As for the monster action it was predictable and it felt a bit like a rocky film, even if it was good. It certainly wasnt clever, just entertaining.

I liked it and i think its got its head firmly above the water. But a classic it isnt. Which is a pity as Godzilla is one of the greatest screen names of all time.

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John Wick 3: Parabellum

This is getting pretty silly now - but still wow!

(Edit) 02/11/2019

All 3 stars here are for Keanu and his incredible weapon handling. (he'd get a 5 on his own)

There is no shaky cam or abrupt cuts and blurry action here. Keanu is on top of every move. Hand to hand is obviously a bit more choreographed but when he has a gun in his hand its like we are watching a master give us a lesson in a shooting range.

All action films need to take note of this, give us an 'actor' (keanu isnt the best 'actor') that knows his subject - not a big name who cant do anything and then hide it with wobbly cam. i.e pretty much all other action films, or even action drama.

Around Keanus brilliance however is a very silly film. They are stepping up the silly each time to make a bigger show and its loosing - fast - what made the original so special (Keanus awesome tactical skills)

There is a section in the middle where Keanu gets a sidekick and this does show how good Keanu is. His accomplice has clearly also had tactical training, but she is so wooden, just following instructions and the bad guys stand around waiting for her. Keanu on the other hand looks supremely natural and rarely do you see the 'bad guy waiting to get it' - Keanu is on them faster than you can notice.

Its pretty obvious Keanu has taken this very seriously and spent a lot of time practicing (Ive seen/heard several things saying he really is extremely good at this).

Its great to see the true action hero isnt dead, and John Wick has certainly brought home to me how dedicated and talented Keanu Reeves is.

Hopefully John Wick 4 will do away with the 1 better for spectical and return to some John Wick focused shoot outs.

Oh, the film... it was ok :)

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.
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