Film Reviews by JD

Welcome to JD's film reviews page. JD has written 140 reviews and rated 180 films.

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Beast

Barely watchable

(Edit) 07/07/2024

Interesting concept, but there is probably a reason this hasnt been explored before.

Just take Jaws - we stand no chance so the film spends most of its time hinting at horror and has our actors absolutely staying as far from it as possible.

Just imagine if Brody decided to cut his arm and jump in the water, had a bit of a splash... then used his ninja skillz to avoid the legendry predator on its own turf. Using human smarts to out wit millions of years of sensory evolution. Yeh, BS.

Well, this film...... seems to make a big big break to our planets rules. In this film Lions do not have top tier hearing, smell or night vision. They do however have asbestos fur.

The ending was ok, setup and pay off and satisfying. Apart from the lack of giblets shall i say.

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Dream Scenario

A bit odd, but its Nick Cage so 4 stars

(Edit) 04/06/2024

Its a film i felt to be drab, bland and awkward. But that might just be because Nic plays a drab, bland, awkward man. A man who lets face it is like a lot of us men.

The film seems to touch strongly on several issues. Marketing BS, Cancel culture, a mans fear of not taking action when needed (an interesting contrast to the other side of men who take action when they really shouldnt), the human desire to have some relevance, and the various ways people react to the impact dreams have on our emotions. There are other things in there to and it makes the film far more interesting than it appears on the surface.

I also liked the end where instead of doing the arty thing and being a complete let down, it simply reinforced where it had been heading and added some additional food for thought.

Im still not quite sure what to make of it all tho.

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Lifeforce

Excellent old sci-fi with more than one twist on the Vampire Genre

(Edit) 28/05/2024

I loved this film as a kid, is was a proper gritty sci-fi of the like id never seen at the time.

Watching it again as an adult a few things stand out. First is i didnt realise Dan Obannon was behind the writing - which explains some of the top drawer sci-fi.

On the negative its dated. Unlike say Alien or the Thing which are better today than the day they were released - this film is dated. An not just the special effects.

And another thing is the twist on the vampire tale. Typically, Vampires are a fantasy for young women. As seen in the twilight saga. This flips it on its head and makes no excuses for being more of a male fantasy. Its weird at times, but its different!

All in, great stuff.

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47 Ronin

Mildly entertaining.

(Edit) 24/05/2024

I found the film pretty entertaining, although wtf Keanu was doing in it I have no idea. Normally a film is worth watching thanks to his incredible dedication to his craft - but here he is mostly expected to act, which isnt his strongest suit. And it lets the film down.

Its bit naff and feels at times like its trying to re-tell an already told story........

Its ok tho, ive got no issues spending a couple of hours watching it. But flawed it is.

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Air Force One

So this is what prompted the likes of olympus has fallen

(Edit) 21/05/2024

Like the recent films that involve bad guys gunning for the US president, this is utter garbage.

I can forgive some US patriotism, no harm in that. But its 100% brain out stuff. Like the newer films nothing makes sense and the level of realism is on par with Tom and Jerry. It really is terrible.

Dont let Harrison Fords presence and Gary Oldman channelling his inner Alan Rickman fool you into watching it.

There were 2 very interesting statements in the film tho, given the passing of time.

The US taking action in other countries. And the resurgence of Russia. Although the reality in cause and effect is, as youd expect in such a miss of a film - the complete opposite to what it portrays.

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Enemy

Interesting, confusing and most of us will completely miss whats going on.

(Edit) 17/04/2024

I cant help but feel this film is held together for the most part by Jack's great acting and Denis's clear directing talent. The film, taken literally is odd, confusing and contradictory.

For us we needed to do some googling to find what was really happening, and indeed lots of people pretend to understand but eventually we found someone who's explanation made sense.

What do i make of it? No idea.

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Pinocchio

Quality re-telling of the wooden boy story

(Edit) 12/03/2024

I was a kid when i watched the disney version and ive never read the original tale (im assuming there was one?) so cant really compare them all.

But Del Toros version has plenty of depth and oozes quality through out.

I dont really like the tale as its a bit sad - but here with some skilled story telling the darkness is offset by how the characters develop to what is ultimately a satisfying conclusion. Its is a joy to watch.

At the end of the day, this is Del Toro work so it going to be good. And it is.

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High Plains Drifter

Classic Clint Cowboy

(Edit) 05/03/2024

Last time i saw this film i was a kid, and i enjoyed it everybit as much now as i did then. Even seeing it through very different eyes it remains a great film. And one that holds up well today. There are odd things that stand out, convenient coincident, 20 shot six shooters and gunslingers who have clearly never held a gun in there lives etc.

But the acting and the story all remain strong.

And now having watched the Sergio films its clear this draws strongly from them. Even the score sounds like an amateur trying to be Ennio! But it doesnt detract from a dark and fascinating revenge flick.

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The Great Wall

Silly but enjoyable

(Edit) 05/03/2024

This wont be winning awards at Festival de Canne. But its fun.

Unlike most modern, fully western films, this one appearing to be aimed at Chinese audience, just plays for entertainment. There is no messaging or telling you what think. This is just traditional fun.

Its great to look at, convincing cgi, wholesome plot (although the monsters were a bit 2d bad guys) and easy to watch. Just try not to think to hard about whats going on!

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Transformers: Rise of the Beasts

robots doing stuff to a tedious human background

(Edit) 27/02/2024

I like some robot on robot action, and transformers always gives some great action. And at times the visuals are nicely spectacular.

However, it feels like its running out of steam and its attempts to be bigger and better are washed up.

The final action scene is mostly tedious and even gets a bit daft (and thats saying something being brains already switched off!)

But what really turned me against this film was our supposed human heros seemed to not give a monkeys about the men dying in front of them. Police officers or security guards deaths are literally ignored when happening right in front of them. I started rooting for the bad robots in the end.

It does get a fair one star from me (not a desire that there was a zero star rating!) There is the odd piece of dialogue, the odd action scene etc that are ok. But overall its a pretty bad film.

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Funny, sad, Brilliant

(Edit) 14/02/2024

When i was a lad, my dad told me this was a brilliant film.

30 years later - i watch it for the first time. And yep, its brilliant.

Its no wonder this is a staple of best film ever lists. Having recently also watched 12 angry men for the first time, I do wonder whats gone wrong in the movie industry that despite all the learnings and improvements - these very old films stand out as exceptional by modern standards.

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Sicario

Fantastic, quirky revenge flick

(Edit) 05/02/2024

This is a truly fantastic film and id highly recommend after watching it, to watch something that explains why the characters are played like they are - what seems to be the main character seems to play a back seat and feels awkward until you know why this is done - and its genius stuff.

Indeed, most people who rate the film low will critisice the characters - not understanding what Denis has done. (I had no idea either till i tripped over someone explaining it)

The Action here is also worth a mention. Its not the bloated, unrealistic fantasy we get in most films. Its short and brutal and as such is far more tense and effective.

And the same goes for character interactions, they are short and sharp. Its a film thats quality over quantity.

Personally i class this film as a masterpiece.

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Die Hard

A film is only as good as its Villain.

(Edit) 23/01/2024

Re watching this today its a film that certainly shows its age. Both good and bad.

The plot is robust and lacks the pointless complications you find in todays films, it doesnt preach to the audiance and despite the number of rounds loosed off and various explosions, it also refrains from going utterly ott. The bad guys are utterly believable, as are there actions (for the most part) other players have there part, but arent over done. The slimy salesman isnt the nasty villain he would of been today and the girl boss, is a girl boss. She's second in charge and this is made clear with her subtle interactions. Nobody shouts it, she just is.

I also like how the bad guys all have MP5's. No raiding the prop cupboard here - they are an organised group and the weapon of choice is uniform. Subtle, but its one of those classic ways a good film tells you a story without saying a word.

But as solid as the film is, there are 2 things that makes it stand out.

The first is the rough Bruce Willis. He's not great and looks pretty uncomfortable with his weapon handling. But it adds to the charm and his rough, fly by night approach perfectly offsets the films greatest asset - Alan Rickman. Yes, its a brilliantly written villain but Rickman in his first role completely owns it. This is top drawer stuff and Rickmans villain is easily one of the best in movie history. Rickman alone is 10/5 stars.

Also, the Police officers are a superb light hearted addition. The Police chief, the SWAT commander and the FBI agents are all highly entertaining. They arent 2 dimensional idiots. It looks to me they mess up in a funny way so as to not make them look like dimwits.. which in turn makes the bad guy look more dangerous.

Alan Is no longer with us and Bruce with his health issues has not had a great end to his career. With Die Hard we can enjoy these fantastic actors over and over.

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Mission: Impossible: Dead Reckoning: Part 1

Fun, but very silly and getting a bit old.... like the male cast.

(Edit) 17/01/2024

Like all MI films, its utterly ridiculous and as is the habit in holywood, or anything these days there is a need to 'raise the bar' on each release... leading it to getting sillier and sillier.

Physics, biology, common sense etc are not things in the MI univierse to there is no point even starting to question it.

Rather its a series of actions scenes over some global threat.

The male cast makes me feel young. Although this tells me 2 things. Firstly they dont want to risk tanking the box office (which this did anyway from what i gather) by moving in new faces and of course, the lack of potential new faces to replace them with. And lets face it, your going to struggle to make a MI film without the fantastic Tom Cruise.

Perfectly watchable and enjoyable, but its nothing new and nothing special.

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12 Angry Men

Wheres Ironman or Thor?

(Edit) 10/01/2024

5stars?

There is no opening action scene. So i was bored straight away.

Its actually in black and white so there no pretty colors flashing over the screen at all times. This made it hard to watch.

The cast is solely males. And if that wasnt bad enough, white males. I felt offended and triggered.

And, everyone could act, there were distinct characters (12!) who by the end you felt you knew personally, each having there own arc and path to conclusion.

Its an incredibly wholesome plot. In a system we only ever hear failing - this demonstrates success as it was meant. Wholesome stories are so old fashioned.

And worst of all, there was no scatter gun firing of humour during serious moments to spoil the mood.

All in all. This is no modern film.

But this is one seriously impressive film.

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