Film Reviews by CS

Welcome to CS's film reviews page. CS has written 186 reviews and rated 519 films.

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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!

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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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The Haunted Mansion

Average Sunday afternoon fodder for the kids!

(Edit) 06/07/2019

I was surprised to learn that this was made in 2003, because to me it feels more like something from the late 80's to mid 90's! Although it's an ok film, there is nothing special about it, it's more of a Sunday afternoon film for the kids to watch, than a Saturday night big movie. Apparently this did much better in Europe than it did in America and I can't help wonder if the mixed race relationship theme possibly held it back in the states, because it is well known that race is still a big issue out there, whereas here in Europe audiences are much more relaxed and cosmopolitan about this, but I do  take my hat off to Disney for attempting to deal with the issue! Not overly funny nor scary either, nor is it an original theme, but if this had come out in the 80's then it probably would have been a bigger hit, but by 2003 it all just felt a little bit dated!

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Kin

Good to average, fun to watch, nice n gritty drama, but far from original!

(Edit) 16/06/2019

I still can't decide whether I think this is a good film or just yet another average plodding along B Movie! The storyline is far from original and has been done before so many times in so many formats. This is basically a brother bonding road movie that has been given a si-fi element to beef it up a bit and a few criminal elements to give it some action. Otherwise it really is simply a road movie about two brothers bonding whilst on a road trip, morality message thrown in, oh and of course one has to also throw in the obligatory female just for the sake of it, even though she's completely irrelevant to the story! Zoe Kravitz, who plays the love interest in this, her acting is very average and having seen her in a number of other films, I get the distinct impression that she is only getting the parts because of who her father is (Lenny Kravitz), a bit like Jaden Smith syndrome! The acting from the two leads is solid and so is the direction, it is quite a good film, but I found it dragged in parts and seemed to have a very strong interracial message, which is a good thing, but very American and it was quite predictable who the Aliens were and what connection the young lad had to them. And of course they simply couldn't help setting us up for a sequel towards the end, which really annoys me in films! When this started and we saw the shot of the housing estate, I thought it was a low budget Film Foundation affair, where they fund up and coming film makers, as it had that kind of feel to it, as if most of the people involved had just come out of Art College and were making their first steps into the industry!

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The Girl on the Train

Classic European style Psychotic Thriller!

(Edit) 14/05/2019

I've read some hugely widely varying reviews of this film, but can't understand why it has received such bad reviews, when in fact, or at least for me, it's actually quite a good film to watch. A classic psychotic thriller, that has a slightly erratic and irritating beginning which may lead you to switch off but bear with it and you see why when it all starts to unravel and the story unfold! I actually thought this came across as quite a slick european styler thriller, a classic whodunnit, with lots f twists and turns. The constant flashbacks can get quite confusing as can the fact that two of the characters look virtually the same, but this isn intentional as you will discover later on on the film why! All in I was pleasantly surprised at what a god film this actually is and quite enjoyable too, of not slightly disturbing!

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Mortal Engines

Not as clever or original as it seem to think it is!

(Edit) 06/05/2019

Mortal Instruments: This film tries to portray itself as something totally new and original and that the author has created a totally unique fantasy world that no-one else ever thought of, in fact in the bonus features, they actually quite blatantly claim that no-one has ever seen a moving city before! If you're a Sci-Fi buff and familiar with vintage tales, you'll know that the concept of a moving city eating everything in it's path is at least as old as the 1920's. If you look at Sci-Fi from the 1920's, right through to the 1970's, you'll see this theme constantly repeated in the worlds of authors such as Jules Verne, HG Wells, HP Lovecraft and Isaac Asimov, and also in the classic artworks of artists such as Roger Dean and Dave Greenslade. Disney's 'John Carter' based upon the books by Edgar Rice Burroughs, even has a moving City also! So whilst Mortal Engines is nothing new and definitely not an original storyline, it is quite a good film to watch with some interesting imagery, but it has all been done before. It's like a modern day Cyberpunk mash up of Mad Max, Terminator, Waterworld, Star Wars and oh so many others! It reminded me so much of some of the classic Japanese Anime such as 'Howls Moving Castle', which it echoes very strongly. Hugo Weaving as usual gives a very strong performance as the baddy in all of this, but the rest of the cast really are quite limp in their parts and of course we are given the obligatory but totally unnecessary love angle to boot! So a good Sunday afternoon teen movie and I'm sure teens will probably think it's great and highly original, simply because the producers tell us it is, but an older audience will simply have seen it all done before and so much better!

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Ghost in the Shell

Good fun to watch, but nothing new or special!

(Edit) 28/04/2019

Based upon the original film and cartoons series from China, this is literally iRobot vs Blade Runner, set in a dystopian future, where humans update and upload themselves into the net for an enhanced lifestyle! There are some very slick and stylish set pieces, scenery and CGI, but the film is mainly CGI with the actors in front of blue screen most of the time. The storyline is completely unoriginal, but engaging enough and the film plods along at a decent pace. Very predictable and nothing new at all for this genre, it's basically yet another telling of the perils of cyberspace and humanity embracing the new digital technology and the big brother corporation manipulating us all for power and money! The city looks like a Blade Runner version of Hong Kong and the film very clearly is made for an east asian market, especially when they are talking Japanese half the time! I'm not quite sure why Scarlett is shown naked most of the time, although she is a humanoid, the necessary sexuality is still there. Given that the premise of the film, is the 'Ghost in the Shell', i.e. the human should in a robotic body, there isn't much investigation or exploration of this concept in the film at all, so it tries to be deeper than it actually is! Most of the imagery looks stolen from other classic sci-fi films and as I said before, this literally comes across as a Blade Runner vs iRobot hybrid!

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The Grinch

Ok but very average and not a patch on the Jim Carrey version!

(Edit) 26/04/2019

At the beginning I found this quite dull and felt it dragged out a bit, but it does get better as you go along. I'm not quite sure the reason for giving us yet another version of a Dr.Seuss classic, when they've already been overdone. In essence The Grinch is a reworking of the Dicken's classic 'Scrooge'. Excessively heavy on the girl power, which could have been pulled back a bit, and cheesy to say the least with the message of love. Which is quite ironic given that it was the Who's and their bad treatment of the Grinch which made him this way in the first place! The ending has got a nice feel good factor to it and I'm sure the kids will love this, but I found it a bit too cheesy to my taste and personally I felt the 2000 version starring Jim Carrey to be far superior! One of the problems Illumination and all the other Animation Studios seem to have is that they use the same templates for all their films, rather than new ones, so you see the same characters rehashed constantly and this film is no exception in that respect, the downside is that you're constantly reminded of characters in other movies, rather than bringing something fresh and new to the film! This film brings nothing new to the story, it's simply yet another animated movie for the time period and very little more in effect!

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The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption

Awful, nothing to do with the original Scorpion King at all!

(Edit) 24/04/2019

Given that the first film starring Dwayne Johnson was such a fantastic and well made film, I should have known better, seeing that there are four of these in the series, and none of them have the same actors staying on for more! Firstly this has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the original Scorpion King character, it feels like they simply used the name to help sales! Secondly it's full of cheap tacky sexual objectification, with female warriors wearing G-strings and the men all pecs and hairy chests pouting out. Yet for all of this, the script is dire, really unoriginal and quite simplistic, as is the storyline. The editing is all over the place and the direction is virtually none existent. This is literally a Chinese Martial Arts movie, made on location at what appear to be the Temple ruins and Jungles of Thailand. Most of the cast appear to be locals drafted in for the film and because they have very little in the way of talking parts every now and then you hear some words shouted from the sidelines in the background, which gets really annoying! You've got Roman Soldiers, Accadians, Greeks, Japanese Ninjas, all sort of characters from completely different timeframes all thrown in to create a really muddled mix, especially when the original Scorpion King was set in the Middle East at the time of the Ancient Egyptians! In all this is a very badly thought out movie, which appears to have been made on a TV Series budget, in fact I kept thinking it felt like a very cheap American-Chinese TV Series strung together into a movie. Why you've got Ninjas running up waterfalls and straight up trees, as though they are in a Chinese Martial Arts movie, obviously on wires, with Accadians, Greeks and Romans, is beyond comprehension! Whoever scripted this very clearly has no awareness of historical timelines and at one point there is even reference to Viking Gods thrown in for good measure! Just a very badly and cheaply made film, with probably more appeal to the Chinese East Asian market than anywhere else.

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