Film Reviews by ZS

Welcome to ZS's film reviews page. ZS has written 18 reviews and rated 20 films.

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The Gods Must Be Crazy

Dated but worthwhile madcap humour

(Edit) 12/11/2008

This screwball comedy shows us the innocent side of Africa from a 1980s mindset.

The film is shot in a fast and fun way, with a variety of film styles helping to keep the viewer engrossed in a wildly amusing story.

Also shows a great range of Botswanan scenery - one to watch for a little light relief.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

The kind of thing that gives experimental cinema a bad name.

(Edit) 06/12/2008

Oh how simply splendid.

Such double reverse angle cinematography, with whites and reds and blacks and the extra second pause between the camera shake and then the 'oh so effective' realistic conversation.

Whilst the above was probsbly frequently said at Cannes by the jury who had lost any sense of what a good film involves, for the rest of us living in the real world, this movie is not worth watching. It is filled with clever cinematic tricks, but lacks any character realism, any subtlety, any depth, any humour and any value.

A travesty.

4 out of 10 members found this review helpful.

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Taken

Excellent Film - Better than you could expect.

(Edit) 21/02/2009

These reviews do not do justice to a superb and intelligent thriller by a director whose time has now arrived (Pierre Morel).

This is a well crafted story. At 87 minutes it doesn't keep you longer than necessary. It is exciting yet at the same time intelligent. I highly recommend it.

3 out of 6 members found this review helpful.

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Nights in Rodanthe

Dire inconsistent illiterate codswallop

(Edit) 06/06/2009

We found this film to be quite hopeless. The story makes little sense, nor are the characters believable. It centres around the story of a woman who is rejecting her husband's approaches to rebuild a marriage. She then flirts with an old man whilst supposedly looking after her friend's guest house, and ends up finding the way to wonderful romance is to neglect your children and write long passionate letters to the man of her dreams who is hiding from her at a roughly drawn hospital in Ecuador. It is hard to believe throughout that the film isn't meant to be tongue in cheek, but the sad truth is that it isn't.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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Carlito's Way

Superb. Good story, good acting, good sense of humour.

(Edit) 06/06/2009

A great acheivement for everyone involved. So many memorable and enjoyable scenes. This is what Tarantino is forever aspiring to. Great music throughout, including good instrumental scores and good use of modern (well, not any more) popular music. Sean Penn a superb and very hatable anti-hero, and Pacino as good as ever. Towards the end gets a bit wacky, as can be expected from de Palma (not intended particularly as a criticism).

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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Life is Sweet

Mike Leigh gets darker - beautiful film

(Edit) 06/06/2009

This sees Mike Leigh delving a little deeper and a little darker than in some of his earlier films. The subject matter is loosely the same, a dysfunctional family living on the bread-line, with well drawn divisions between the characters. Lots of heart-aching and lots of laughter, this is a beautiful if uncomfortable modern-day saga. It is not a film that anyone should regret seeing.

3 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

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Mike Leigh at the BBC: Abigail's Party

Over-rated but still a worthy part of Leigh's oeuvre

(Edit) 12/11/2008

I saw this film once on the stage around ten years ago, and now for the first time on the screen. Initially I was impressed with the dramatic versions of everyday traits demonstrated in the play. Having now seen many of Leigh's later works however, this seems less sophisticated by comparison and the characters too ridiculous.

The play is funny with a dark thread, and shows a great understanding of human character, however the characters do not attract much empathy, and at certain times the play seems to jolt forwards. I think that films such as 'High Hopes' or 'Happy-go-Lucky' are far stronger examples of Leigh's work.

Nevertheless, Mike Leigh would definitely rank among the better directors of British 'theatre-influenced' film in the late twentieth century, and so it is fair to say that there is value in watching any of his films.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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The Bourne Supremacy

Clumsy sub-standard thriller.

(Edit) 17/11/2008

Whereas the first film was tightly scripted and well shot, this film relaxes both of these criteria, and settles for the old trick of playing loud dramatic music throughout to try and create tension.

Any trace of human interest or character development in the first film is wiped out as the film tries for the effect of big-action thriller. It fails dramatically, with dull, aggressive car chases and too many dramatic FBI faces.

This is to the action thriller what porn is to the nude portrait.

2 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

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District 13

Superbly crafted pop thriller. Great for a Friday night.

(Edit) 23/11/2008

This is a superb film!

Pacy, fun, bright and with an intelligent script to match.

We watched this because we had seen the latest offering by director Pierre Morel, with Luc Besson's script (Taken - 2008) and it was mind-blowingly good.

I don't tend to use superlatives when reviewing films and this is the first I have given a 5* for Cinema Paradiso.

Watch this if it's the only French movie you see.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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Bananas

Some sparks of brilliance, but over-indulgent

(Edit) 26/11/2008

If we snipped out the first half of this film, then we would have a pretty good 40 minute comedy romp.

Allen unfortunately splices all manner of peculiarities onto the end, to make up the

remainder of the 79 minute run-time.

If you like Woody Allen, or the Marx Brothers, or Monty Python for that matter, then it's probably worth watching for the great bits, but as a stand-alone film, it's pretty shoddy.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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James Bond: Casino Royale

Better than average Bond, but too deliberately twisty.

(Edit) 27/11/2008

Daniel Craig doesn't meet the typical expectation of a Bond character. Instead of a slick, smooth operator, we have a slightly rougher character, with a kind of sadism more true to the novels than that shown in earlier films.

The film includes many standard Bond-film features, but cleverly uses these as a starting point to develop the Bond theme somewhat from previous films.

As to be expected, some first-rate action sequences and wit. Overall, definitely a welcome addition to the franchise.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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Half Moon

Deliberately artistic; great idea that fails in the realisation.

(Edit) 28/11/2008

We watched this film after watching Ghobadi's excellent 'Turtles Can Fly', however it fell far short of this in quality.

This demonstrates all the qualities that put people off small independent films and send them to the comforting arms of Hollywood.

Not recommended.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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The Apple

Pleasantly playful perspective.

(Edit) 26/10/2008

This is a docu-style movie following the life of two young female twins in Iran.

The film centres around a clash between a social worker, who wants the children to be allowed out to socialise with other children, and the twins' parents, who are worried about them interacting with boys.

We enjoyed watching the film, chiefly because of some amusing scenes, due to superb dead-pan acting by Ali Naderi, playing the twins' father.

The film style starts off seeming to be overly experimental with a deliberate feel to the camerawork, however quickly finds a natural groove allowing for a pleasant 80-90 minutes.

Overall, we would highly recommend the film, however it was far less enjoyable than the beautiful satires by fellow Iranian lady, Rakhsan Bani Etemad, such as Off Limits and Foreign Currency.

3 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

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Take the Money and Run

Less mad-cap Marx brothers style comedy.

(Edit) 27/10/2008

Zanier than Allen's later films, this is a spoof-type film, with influences apparent from Marx Brothers movies and many Pythonesque moments.

Whilst being amusing, the last twenty minutes dragged a bit. This is of a higher quality than a lot of spoof-type films, largely due to the momentum maintained throughout the film, with no individual scene over-indulged in.

Recommend viewing as an introduction to Allen's distinctive jazzy approach to film.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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Turtles Can Fly

Beautiful and subtle portrayal of the after-effects of brutality.

(Edit) 30/10/2008

Set in the area of Kurdistan within Iraq (by the Turkish border), the vast majority of the cast are young children, playing refugees from around Iraq who have come together with the apparent main aim of being able to listen to the news.

The children spend their days picking land-mines, for which they derive an income firstly from the land-owner whose land they clear, and secondly by selling the mines.

The core of the story is around three unique children who are refugees from Halabja, the depth of whose story unfolds with the film.

This film is a beautiful portrayal of the consequences of war, and transcends its setting in the dog-days of Saddam's regime.

Nevertheless, it also helps portray some of the attitudes held by contemporary Iraqis and features some beautiful photography.

3 out of 3 members found this review helpful.
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