Film Reviews by CW

Welcome to CW's film reviews page. CW has written 122 reviews and rated 127 films.

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Flawless

Great acting

(Edit) 05/10/2020

I loved this. Philip Seymour Hoffman is totally convincing as an OTT drag queen. He takes care of everyone, the grand dame and mother of his band of flamboyant friends. He hides his loneliness. Robert De Niro is also excellent in his depiction of a once strong policeman who suffers a stroke that leaves him barely able to talk. He struggles to walk. Both PSH and RDN nail these brave roles that a a giant departure from other characters they have played. There is a powerful scene when PSH is dressed for once in a suit. He has returned from his mother’s funeral. De Niro sits with him as PSH in a long monologue, reveals his incredible skills as an actor. The characters learn about friendship and love. I was delighted that they became friends. 

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The Good Fight: Series 3

Wickedly good

(Edit) 24/09/2020

I throughly enjoyed Series 1 and 2 and Series 3 continues the excellent humorous drama. Great cast of recurring and new characters. Michael Sheen a despicable corrupt attorney. He steals every scene he is in. This Series bashes Trump.  Uncannily predicts the corruption of US Republican Party prior to 2020 election. I already have Series 4 on my saved list. 

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Moonlight

Heart stopping

(Edit) 07/09/2020

My gosh this was brilliant. First I watched the special features, and am glad I did. I learned about how the stories of the book and then the screenplay were developed. The author and director grew up in the Miami neighbourhood depicted. This is not the expensive stylish white Miami usually shown in movies. I could rave about every aspect of this movie. Directing, casting, story, acting, sets, music, colours. Major themes of identity, despair, acceptance, forgiveness, compassion. It is a very brave story and felt true. I am so glad that it won awards and recognition. Some people have complained about not understanding some of the dialogue. I understood almost all, but a few words I missed but in real life I don’t get every word. This all felt very real to me. It is a movie I want all of my friends to see. 

Absolutely marvellous. 

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Big Little Lies: Series 2

Loved it

(Edit) 22/08/2020

Obviously great cast. I saw series one and then just had to see series two. Characters are further developed in series two as their friendship grows. They are linked by a secret. I loved watching Meryl Streep gleefully play a twisted vile manipulative woman. I liked that the series is based on a book by a woman who co wrote the screenplay. Directed and produced by women. Totally addictive. 

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True Detective: Series 1

Finally

(Edit) 11/08/2020

I have been wanting to see the two incredible actors - Harrelson and McConaughey together to watch them play off one another. True Detective gave them this opportunity. Excellent script, directing and acting. At times the role McConaughey plays is Shakespearean in depth. The other reviewers have described the series much better than I can. Moments that are wonderfully scary and I had to watch through my fingers. Yipes. Throughly enjoyable. Deep and dark. Loved it.

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Greta

Soooo scary

(Edit) 09/07/2020

Chilling thriller. Sometimes had to watch through my fingers! Isabelle Huppert plays a deranged elegant monster. Great roles played by excellent actresses. Satisfying ending too.

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Page Eight

Worricker Trilogy

(Edit) 09/07/2020

Watch this first, then Turks and Caicos and finally Salting the Battlefield. Bill Nighy is marvellous as always. Subtle, wry, elegant, intelligent and ethical. Ralph Fiennes seems to have fun playing the ruthless Prime Minister. Judy Davis is also such a delight to watch. Great cast, directing and acting. Sounds silly but I love watching Bill Nighy walk. Such a commanding presence. He is spy for the Secret Service. I throughly enjoyed watching the trilogy filled with intrigue. 

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The Deuce: Series 1

Surprisingly good

(Edit) 14/06/2020

I wanted to see more movies or TV shows with Maggie Gyllenhaal & found this. At first I thought, no, why would I want to watch a series about prostitution and the mafia in NYC in early 70’s? Watched the pilot and then looked forward to each episode of series one. Excellent scripts, casting, acting, directing. James Franco plays very different twin brothers. Everyone in the show does such a good job. Compelling, sad, stark, well researched. Looking forward to series two.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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The Commissar

One of my top favourite movies

(Edit) 15/06/2020

Years ago I saw Commissar at a  Russian film festival. I was stunned by its brilliance and bravery. Thanks to Cinema Paradiso I was able to see it again. This is a vast story of war and the effect on the lives of the soldiers and people trying to survive. It is a story of profound love, empathy and kindness. The woman commissar is soon to have a baby. She is lodged with an extremely poor Jewish family with 6 young children. They are forced to and then willingly, lovingly share their cramped home and meagre rations with her. All she knows is military life. She sees their struggles and watches them laugh and dance. They are survivors. There are shocking memorable scenes of what happened to Jews. This was the only film made by Askoldov, the writer and director. Because he refused to change the ethnicity of the Jews and because he showcased the hard life of women, the movie was confiscated and banned. He was not allowed to make another movie. What a loss. There are marvellous long shots of riderless horses symbolising soldiers killed in battle. Heartbreaking and gorgeous. This classic immense story certainly does not feel like a first film by a director. So after years since I first saw it, I watched it again and will watch it once more before returning. Thank you Cinema Paradiso.

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Magnolia

Huge, complicated and compelling

(Edit) 23/05/2020

As other reviewers have said, Magnolia is a composite of several stories that later are woven together. I enjoyed each story and their resolution. Excellent cast and directing. I think THE best role Tom Cruise has had. Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s performance will break your art. Riveting performances.

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Gloria Bell

How and why did this get made?

(Edit) 07/05/2020

I agree with the other reviewers who will have expressed this much better. This is a totally depressing movie about a sad woman with a tiny life. She loves her grown children (that part of her life good) and to go to a disco bar at night so she can drink and dance. Since dancing his her one hobby or real passion it was surprising  to me that either the character or Julianne Moore  was a self conscious clumsy dancer. 

Many great movies out there, including with Julianne Moore and John Turturro but this is not one. 

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Ash Is Purest White

I kept waiting to like it

(Edit) 19/04/2020

Maybe I just didn’t get it. There are many Chinese movies that I love but this was not one of them. Unlike able characters, dull story. To me a total yawn.

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Ivans xtc.

The final scene

(Edit) 17/04/2020

I am giving this 5 stars because of the last scene. Watching the movie I was tempted to stop because I just wasn’t interested in the totally self centred people . I kept going though because the main character Ivan, played by Danny Huston, is such a sweet loveable guy. Ivan has a smile that lights up the room. There are glimpses of him at parties, surrounded by people, when you see sadness in his eyes. If anyone looks at him he breaks into a smile. His best friend seems to be an old golden retriever. (I did wonder when does that poor dog ever get taken out?). 

Spoiler: Then the final scene. Ivan’s world is imploding.  He is in intensive care, dying in hospital. The soaring music is from Tristan and Isolde. Ian is tethered to the bed with tubes. Machines blinking to either side of him. A nurse enters his room. She does not know him but with profound empathy she tenderly wipes his face as his wild eyes bore into her. He reaches to her shoulder. Instead of shrugging him off, she puts her hand on his. She holds his other hand. She puts her forehead on his. She offers him dignity. This compassion, human touch is what he so craved. As she leaves, in slow motion, she touches his foot. I watched this while we are in lockdown with the plague like virus. Doctors, nurses and staff in hospitals are covered in protective gear. They are unable to offer this human touch. People are dying without being held. This last scene is done so incredibly well I was literally gasping. As soon as it was over, I reversed and watched that scene again. The directing is truly marvellous. 

Danny Huston  is as good as it gets. I want to see every movie he is in. 

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Judy

No wonder Renee Zellweger won the academy award!

(Edit) 15/04/2020

I think Renee Zellweger nailed the role. She achieved the look, the voice and the way Judy Garland moved her body, turned her head, used her arms. I was amazed and delighted to learn that Renee Zellweger did her own singing. She transformed her body for the role (thin to the point of gaunt) as she has for other roles. I was in NYC when Judy Garland died and it felt as if the entire city was mourning. I thought the movie was very well done. Wouldn’t change a thing. 

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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The Possibilities Are Endless

Truly inspiring

(Edit) 13/04/2020

I have thrilled many times to The Magic Piper of Love and A Girl Like You. The music! The dancing! The concept! I didn’t know anything about the man. This documentary was recommended to me. I learned about the stroke, the massive brain bleed. Six months in hospital. Edwyn Collins could not speak except for a few words. Could not read or write or walk. With the fierce no matter what love of his wife Grace Maxwell, Edwyn Collins struggled to relearn motor skills. He practiced reading and writing, starting from the basics. He was a words man and had to deal with barely being able to string words together. You never see him complaining nor feeling sorry for himself. He answers questions about his past and the paths to recovery but his own focus is the present and the future. It is heartbreaking to see and hear him struggle but positively heartwarming to witness all he has now achieved. His lust for life and commitment to love comes across. He is a real hero and unbelievable role model. There is no stopping him. 

Grace still has her adorable smile and flirtatious manner. They are obviously in love. They love their life together and their son William and time on earth.  

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