Film Reviews by CS

Welcome to CS's film reviews page. CS has written 193 reviews and rated 524 films.

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Aladdin

A good generally tame family movie for the kids!

(Edit) 24/10/2019

Having watched this film twice now, just to make sure, I'm still not quite sure what to make of it! First time around I hated it, thought the songs were awful, that it was way over the top on both special effects and PC'ness, full of Feminist propaganda and that it really dragged on. Having watched it a second time, I warmed to it and now have a bit of a love hate relationship with the film!

Nothing new or original with the plot, script or storyline. Given that the original story, taken from the classic Arabian Nights, is actually very dark and that in Arabia if you stole food, you would have had your hand chopped off or be put to death, being Disney they make light of these little issues, unlike the original 40's to 60's films, which would have portrayed a time and place like this in all it's grim reality. It's quite obvious to see that the film is made to appeal to a wide variety of markets around the world, including the Middle East and China, so any real life historical references are conveniently left out. I remember all the old Chinese and Arabian adventures from my childhood being quite violent and bloody, being a more accurate reflection of cultural values at the time!

Some of the songs are quite upbeat, funky and energetic, but others are downright awful. Why all the male songs, chiefly sung by either Genie or Aladdin (Will Smith or Mena Massed) are uptempo catchy numbers, whilst the female songs, mainly sung by the Princes (Naomi Watts) are all awful warbling screechy power ballads ranting on about female empowerment and self belief, is beyond comprehension. I personally am not a fan of those awful power ballad operatic numbers, of which Frozen was full of them, droning on about feminist agendas, I prefer the classic sing-a-long poppy numbers that Disney used to do back in the 60's, in films like Mary Poppins and Bedknobs & Broomsticks! I could not help wonder if these female empowerment songs in this film, clearly slagging off male power, were directly aimed at the Muslim Community and current issue within those communities, which in itself is not a bad thing!

The costumes and scenery are great, but some of the CGI does get a little blurry and not so impressive or a bit OTT at times, such as when Prince Ali make his grand entrance to the City! But the Jewellery, which should be one of the main features in the film, all looks very cheap and tacky, like cheap costume jewellery, rather than the real thing. The acting is quite good and both leads give strong performances, as does the cheeky little monkey Jafar, but I feel that Mena Massad as Aladdin (Allah-Din), gives the strongest performance, simply because all Naomi does when she sings is warble incessantly! All in a very good family movie, some great highs and lows, not overfly funny, just a good live action film that I can see now being adapted for the stage!

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John Wick 3: Parabellum

Awful, really badly made, Jackie Chan fight sequences and a silly over the top ending!

(Edit) 15/10/2019

The first two films were brilliant and I really enjoyed watching them, but I've read some very negative reviews of this third film in the series, as a fan of Keanu thought I'd give it a shot! Sadly there is no actual plot or real storyline of any depth in this film, the script is really basic and dire and they resort to using irrelevant and inappropriate swearing to prop up the lack of script! There is no actual plot, storyline or explanation as to why, but the entire film is literally fight sequences and people trying to bump him off. The script appears to think it's being deep and meaningful, when it's not, it's just very shallow, cheap and lazy! What makes a good action movie is knowing where and when not to use the action, sadly this film is all action, with continual fight scenes throughout and not a moment to pause or take a breath. The fight scenes are very badly choreographed and constructed, hammy, predictable and way too long and drawn out. The bad guys literally stand there waiting to be punched and why the womans dogs keep biting on mens crutches, when this simply would not happen to a woman is highly inappropriate, lots of inverse sexism throughout! This comes across more as a Jackie Chan comedy film and would have suited Jackie far more than it does Keanu. This reminded me of all the other films of this genre such as Underworld, Resident Evil, or a Liam Neeson film, where the plot is secondary to the action and fighting. However the film does appear to have a penchant for promoting gratuitous and senseless violence and comes across as more of a computer game than anything else! Which leads me on to the rather annoying and silly pc pandering to feminism which has become so apparent in so many recent films. In the past the woman would have simply been strong and good at kicking ass, but nowadays almost every action woman has to promote a feminist agenda and put down the man, for no apparent reason and it's getting really yawn some! I can see the woman in the movie, becoming the new female John Wick, just to appeal to feminists. And of course we also have the nowadays obligatory set up at the end for the next instalment in the series. If you like watching films which are nothing more than extended fight sequences from a computer game, then this is for you and I did get the impression that this film is aimed at the teenage market more than the adult market! However if you like well crafted, thoughtful action thrillers, then this is one to give a miss!

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Avengers: Endgame

Why bother!

(Edit) 15/10/2019

This film was much better than I thought it was going to be and better I thought than the last one! At almost three hours long, i thought it owed drag, but up until the last 20 minutes, it was actually quite good to watch, sadly the last 20 minutes and the final fight scene are just silly and really kill it off. One big mistake Marvel have made is turning the male character of Captain marvel female. Given that the original Captain Marvel was male and that this new female character is blatantly playing to feminist propaganda, she has virtually every superpower going and then some, so why did they even bother with the other characters when she could have done it all herself! There is far too much political correctness going on many films today and Marvel sadly have got hold of the wrong end of the stick when it comes to promoting so called Black and Feminist propaganda, because they have actually ended up giving us in many forms, what is known as inverse racism or inverse sexism instead! It just makes a complete mockery of the whole plot. And of course we have to have the obligatory set up for the next in the series, which is really yawn some!

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Hellboy

Nowhere close to the originals, but ok for a Saturday night in!

(Edit) 26/09/2019

After reading other reviews I didn't have high hopes for this film, and upon watching it I wasn't disappointed! The big mistake they have made with this film is to try and bring  an X-Men feel to it all and it simply doesn't work! The make up and special effects are very poor and stuck in the 1980's, how they have redesigned Hellboy himself is very poor and as soon as you see him, you just think, err no, that doesn't work or look right at all! Perhaps part of the issue is that the original two films by Del Torro, were so well thought out and executed, that it was just too difficult to match them anyway! But for me I get like I was watching an old 80's B Movie, with a low budget and a very Doctor Who feel to it all, I also thought it reminded me of many Stephen King films, because the witch in it really is right out of something else. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it was like a mash up of loads of other films, that in themselves were mash up's, like Vin Diesels 'The Last Witch Hunter' or ' Warlock' and so on! In all it just had a very dated and unoriginal feel to it and the acting was pretty poor too, as was the script, storyline and direction. An ok film, but it did drag on a bit and had nowhere near the kind of love and attention of the originals!

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G.I. Joe: Retaliation

Difficult to watch if you have a hearing loss!

(Edit) 31/07/2013

The first thing that you need to know is that there are no Subtitles or other languages available on this rental format at all! The only language is spoken English, so if you need Subtitles for hearing loss, as I do, you will struggle to watch this film.

As a result I'm giving it a big thumbs down, as it is unforgivable that being a new release, there are no Subtitles at all, especially when the version you can buy n the shops does have subtitles! So why are they not on the rental version?!

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Alex Cross

Difficult to watch for those with hearing loss!

(Edit) 31/07/2013

The first thing that you need to know is that there are no Subtitles or other languages available on this rental format at all! The only language is spoken English or German, so if you need Subtitles for hearing loss, as I do, you will struggle to watch this film.

As a result I'm giving it a big thumbs down, as it is unforgivable that being a new release, there are no Subtitles at all!!

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Get Out

A Classic Example of the Inverse Racism that appears to be sweeping America at the moment!

(Edit) 20/09/2019

To start off with, this has a very strong 1970’s ‘Stepford Wives’ feel to it, but that soon changes into something much darker. However far from being as original as the film tries to make out, the actual theme has been done numerous times before, predominantly in the 60’s and 70’s in cinema, but in fiction, harks right back to the turn of the 19th century!

This film is not about turning black people into sex slaves, which some reviews appear to falsely suggest, not wanting to give away the plot, the theme actually explores something much more sinister and has a very strong sense of ‘The Bodysnatchers’ to it.

Contrary to what some of the reviews suggest, this film for me does not explore the issue of racism, but rather suggests a form of inverse racism, whereby black people feel they are superior to the white man! This is made very evident by the numerous put downs of white people throughout the film and the suggestion that everyone wants to be black, because black is superior! Even making a comment about how Jesse Owens at the Berlin Olympics in 1939 showed up Hitler by winning the Olympics, thus suggesting that Black Americans are better, conveniently forgetting to mention that most countries apart from America, actually boycotted these games!

I am unclear as to how a blind person can become a successful art dealer when he cannot see the paintings or photos and there is one scene where the blind person even successfully bids for a body, when they are bidding in silence using sign language, so there are a few glaringly obvious mistakes such as this in the film, which again suggests the makers do not have such a deep grasp and understanding of such issues

This could have actually been quite a good film, if it hadn’t chosen to so blatantly play off the Black vs White agenda, which seems to have become quite prevalent of late, particularly from America, in such inverse racist films as ‘Black Panther’! Sadly for me, as a person of mixed ethnic heritage, it simply comes across as yet another Black American propaganda movie, promoting the false ideal of one skin colour being better than another, it doesn’t have anywhere near the kind of depth and complexity that it seems to feel it has. And I was left feeling quite uncomfortable, asking myself whatever happened to the concept of equality and respect for all, because this new wave of films seem to promote a sense of superiority for the other side, like many recent feminist movies, rather than the honest concept of true equality and a level playing field for everyone! 

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The Pyramid

Pretty Basic, Predictable and quite boring!

(Edit) 07/09/2019

I had never heard of this film before, so decided to watch it out of curiosity, my expectations were not high and sure enough this film does not disappoint on this front! Coming across as one of those awful films where someone is carrying around a camera, so you see it through the lens of the cameraman, like Cloverfiled and Blair Witch, this film delivers nothing new or interesting and really is quite predictable right from the start! It comes across as very cheaply made, with a very thin cast, all filmed mostly inside a studio. It reminded me of the low budget student films where a load of students at Theatre University receive a grant of a thousand pounds to make a film as part of their degree, so very low budget indeed! The acting is very hammy and mundane, the script dire, the plot wafer thin and there are so many holes in the plot. Not sure why I watched it until the end, I said to myself I do hope the ending is not really predictable, as I could literally work out within the first five minutes what was going to happen all the way through, and sure enough, the ending was just as predictable as I had expected! I worked our pretty quickly who and what the monster was and this reminded me far too much of Alien vs Predator and The Mummy. All in an ok film for students to watch in the evening with some beers and pizzas, but not a blockbuster by any means!

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Cold Pursuit

Not a patch on the original!

(Edit) 07/09/2019

Having seen the original Norwegian version from 2014 called 'In Order of Disappearance', starring Stellen Skarsgard, which is absolutely brilliant in every way. This comes across as nothing more than a slow paced, pale imitation and I'm not quite sure why they even bothered to remake it when the original is so good? The role suits Liam Neeson very well, and the storyline is very good, but unusually for a Neeson film, this is quite slow, I was expecting a hyper pumped up version of the original and whilst the original is slow paced, it is so well done that doesn't really matter, because the original is such a great strong movie. But this was just boring and so slow to the point that a snail could have out run it! If you want to see this film, I strongly recommend you watch the original instead, which is brilliant and far superior to this hollywood remake!

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Mary Poppins Returns

Good Songs but simply a Remake rather than anything new!

(Edit) 28/08/2019

This is called 'Mary Poppins Returns', but turns out to less of a sequel and much more of a remake, as the storyline keeps slipping back and badly attempting to reproduce the original, only in a much poorer style! Emily Blunt is rude, stuck up, arrogant, pompous and cold as a fridge in her role as Mary Poppins. The Lamplighter is quite a loveable rouge, as played by Lin Manuel, but really this is just a re-make of the same characters and new versions of old themes, with the same old storyline. Julie Walters is badly mis-cast as the house keeper and gives a completely over the top performance, a though it is she who is trying to steal the show! Ben Wishaw as Mr.Banks gives quite a good performance as usual, but his character really is quite bland, wishy washy and blatantly pushed to one side! There's lots of blatant product placement for Royal Doulton when they enter the realm of the broken pot, but the animation really is very good and well done and it's nice to see the original 60's style animation too. Then comes along the completely irrelevant but obligatory romance between the sister and the Lamplighter, so much so that this comes across as more about the blossoming romance between these two, especially as Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins has nothing to offer this film from her rather lacklustre acting! It's quite obvious that there are lots of blatant Feminist and Politically Correct elements throughout, would there really be lots of Black Staff working in a UK Bank in 1929, Disney need to stop being PC and show a bit of reality from this angle! What really stands out for me about this film though, rather unusually for Disney nowadays, is the great strength of the songs. Rather than going with all those awful warbling operatic numbers that seem to have become standard nowadays, they've gone back to the 60's and given us some great poppy singalong ones, just like in the original! So all in a good but average re-telling of the original, but could have been so much better!

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Captain Marvel

Sexist, racist and just infinitely boring to boot!

(Edit) 25/08/2019

Captain Marvel is male in the original comic books series, so why have they decided to pander to feminist agendas and give him a sex change is beyond comprehension? This film comes across a a mega mash up of Star Trek, Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Wars and The Green Lantern, with even a bit of Independence Day thrown in for good measure! Very unoriginal and infinitely boring to boot, this film simply steals from other infinitely better movies and gives us nothing new nor adds anything to the Marvel Universe! The acting is non existent and the script is so unoriginal and again has been done so many times before in other marvel movies. Really awful editing, all over the place, back and forth with timelines and universes. And once again they feel the need to give us an ending which ties in with the next film in the series. Personally I find all these superheroes inhabiting the same world boring and overdone, too much hype and marketing and for me it feels as though all the marvel movies which have come out in the last few years have been all about marketing rather than making a decent stand alone movie. One for the trash bin in my opinion, just like Black Panther and Wonder Woman, pushing blatantly sexist and racist agendas upon us all!

0 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

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Captain Marvel

Sexist, racist and just infinitely boring to boot!

(Edit) 25/08/2019

Captain Marvel is male in the original comic books series, so why have they decided to pander to feminist agendas and give him a sex change is beyond comprehension? This film comes across a a mega mash up of Star Trek, Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Wars and The Green Lantern, with even a bit of Independence Day thrown in for good measure! Very unoriginal and infinitely boring to boot, this film simply steals from other infinitely better movies and gives us nothing new nor adds anything to the Marvel Universe! The acting is non existent and the script is so unoriginal and again has been done so many times before in other marvel movies. Really awful editing, all over the place, back and forth with timelines and universes. And once again they feel the need to give us an ending which ties in with the next film in the series. Personally I find all these superheroes inhabiting the same world boring and overdone, too much hype and marketing and for me it feels as though all the marvel movies which have come out in the last few years have been all about marketing rather than making a decent stand alone movie. One for the trash bin in my opinion, just like Black Panther and Wonder Woman, pushing blatantly sexist and racist agendas upon us all!

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How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

Yawnsome, cliched and completely unoriginal!

(Edit) 15/08/2019

I absolutely loved the first two films and the TV series was quite good too, although it did start to get a bit samey over time. This new film in the franchise brings us an all grown up version of the characters and rather disappointingly only concentrates on five main characters, that's Hiccup and his Girlfriend, Toothless and his girlfriend and the bad guy. All the rest of the cast are simply side characters used for fill in and don't really play any solid part in the film at all, it's like they are simply there as scenery to fill in the background. I personally found it quite nauseating how this film is literally all about sexual relationships between Hiccup and his girlfriend and Toothless and his new found girlfriend and (spoiler alert) surprise surprise they even all have kids at the end! The bad guy is equally irritating as he is simply a blend of the vampire from Transylvania and the chap from Despicable Me, even down to the voice! It seems that nowadays animation studios have a standard set of blanks that they use, which is why so many cartoon films nowadays seem to have the same or very similar characters in them and even the voiceovers sound the same and that's what happens in this film too. So it's less of a new film and more like a collage of everything else that has gone before. The storyline is so unoriginal and banal, even taking in elements of Avatar, that I found it quite hard to keep awake and personally found this film utterly boring and a waste of time!

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The Titan

This years most missable sci-fi event!

(Edit) 15/07/2019

The packaging appears to promise more than this film can deliver! I had never heard of this film before, but watched it because of Sam Worthington and Tom Wilkinson. Purporting to be a Sci-Fi movie about the Moon Titan, this is all set here on Earth, apart from literally the last 30 seconds. The storyline, whilst not original, seems at the start as though it may deliver, but given that the intro is the same old apocalypse scenario that's been done so many times before, as the film develops you realise that you've seen this all done so many times before and much better! This reminded me far too much of the 'Species' franchise and towards the end, yep it definitely is Species in so many ways! Whilst Sam and Tom give relatively good performances, there is something about the script, production, direction etc that never really allows them to shine. The film lingers on the development and creation of the superhuman for far too long and in the end , you wonder if they are ever going to get out into space? The ending is very much a damp squib and the plot so full of holes, that you could have used it as a tea strainer! The producers seem to have forgotten that this is a disaster movie or is it sci-fi movie, because in the end it delivers neither!

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Yentl

Uplifting Musical for its time, whilst tackling issues of discrimination and gender!

(Edit) 07/07/2019

I never saw this film when it first came out, because being a vehicle for Streisand, it came across as the usual yawn some and false tale of how hard done by Jews are in society. But when I did finally get around to watching it, I was pleasantly surprised that it's not what I thought it was going to be at all! Rather surprisingly, this is actually a story of sexual discrimination within Jewish Society and how women are treated by so called intellectual males! The basic storyline being that of a woman who is forced to disguise herself and pretend to be a man, so that she can go to college and further her education, in a society where women are prohibited from engaging in such pursuits as the thirst for knowledge. Enter an amusing and interesting love triangle, because she is believed to be a man, she falls for her male friend, who wrongly thinks she could be gay and the women he is pursuing falls for her believing she is a man! The film, set at the turn of the century, is quite sensitive in it's arrangement and delivery, very much a musical but with a very strong dramatic delivery that would work well on the stage. A very strong performance is given by most of the cast and the photography is excellent for the time. This has some quite upbeat moments, but also some lows and in the end is quite a sad tale about how women were treated in that particular society at that period in time and possibly still are today!

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