Film Reviews by GF

Welcome to GF's film reviews page. GF has written 44 reviews and rated 1468 films.

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Maborosi

STUNNING DEBUT BY LEADING JAPANESE DIRECTOR

(Edit) 05/05/2019

It may be unavailable on DVD, but the time of writing, this debut by Hirokazu Kore-eda, is available as a re-release in cinemas. Kore-eda's films deal mainly with family and relationships and this one is no exception. Like hs better know films including Like Father Like Son, Our Little Sister and last year's P'alme D'or winner Shoplifters, Maborosi is beautifully shot, has layers of emotions and a great soundtrack.

Following a tragedy a young Japanese woman moves from downtown Tokyo, to a small fishing village, taking a chance on a marriage to a man she has never met. With her is her young son who becomes a brother to her new husband's daughter. Can they find family happiness in unusual circumstances?

If you get this chance to see this, it is well worth watching one of our current great Director's earlier films.

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My Neighbour Totoro

Another beautiful film from Studio Ghibli

(Edit) 24/01/2019

A heart rending movie about two girls and their Father living in a run down country house while their Mother is in hospital. Lovely backdrops and as usual the music is great.

By the way you HAVE to watch it in English, you can like me, watch it in Japanese with subtitles - the way it was made.

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Free Fire

MISFIRE

(Edit) 23/10/2018

Ben Wheatley has been one of the UK's film makers to watch since the inspired darkness of "Kill List', but this is a turkey that ca neither be excused or denied.

Set in a large disused factory, the characters are a mixture of American low entry arms dealers and Irish terrorists, meeting to exhcange cash for guns.

For little apparent reason everyone starts shooting at each, but miraculously hardly anyone seems to stay shot and for the tiresome last hour, people are crawling around uttering unfunny dialogue. It really is one of the worst movies of the year, which seems like the filming of a script half finished.

Avoid.

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Most Beautiful Island

CLEVER AND TENSE DRAM

(Edit) 16/05/2018

The first part of this film is fairly routine - a young Spanish immigrant to New York without legal status is struggling to make ends meet in a series of dead end jobs like babysitting and dressing up in a chicken costume to promote a fast food shop.

Her friend Olga then invites her to a well paid job and THAT is where the movie takes an unexpected turn. The twist is clever and the tension is suddenly racked up. I should point out that this denouement is not entirely original - a film with a very similar twist came out several years ago, although I won't it spoil things for future viewers by naming it!

That said, if you want to be surprised by a well made indie movie, this is certainly one to watch.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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Eureka

MODERN MASTERPIECE

(Edit) 03/04/2018

The above synopsis sums up the plot, but this three hour and twenty eight minute meditation on the value of life, of forgiveness and redemption is much, much more.

The two children and the bus diver who have survived the tragic hijacking of a bus, drift towards each other two years later and end up leaving their small town to travel through Japan to see the ocean.

This is a wonderful and deep movie, full of understated emotion, and dense with passion.

A modern masterpiece of Japanese and world cinema.

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Ethel and Ernest

BEAUTIFUL SLICE OF BRITISH LIFE

(Edit) 12/07/2017

This lively animated film tells the true story of Raymond Brigg's own parents from the day they first meet until their passing, in the same year in 1971.

Along they way they fall in love, marry, buy their lifelong family home and acquire the various trappings of their times, such as a telephone, a car and other more subliminal items which always set the tone of the times.

History too is very much a part of the story. WW11 comes and goes as does the 1945 Atlee Government and their real life son Raymond himself, grows up and shocks his parents by going to art college in the 1950's.

What makes this special is that it could so readily be the parents of many of us and that is also what makes it so moving.

An underrated masterpiece.

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Miss Hokusai

GENTLE AND HEARTFELT STORY

(Edit) 10/07/2017

Moving Japanese anime telling the story of the great artist through his daughters and entourage. The storytelling is bound together through various stories behind his more famous paintings and all in all it is an accomplished moving example of current anime with a lovely soundtrack.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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5 Centimeters Per Second

BEAUTIFUL JAPANESE LOVE STORY

(Edit) 24/06/2017

Two teenagers a boy and a girl, strike up a heartfelt freindship at school, and although they both move hundreds of miles away to new schools, their love endures, or does it? Told in three parts, the first shows the characters at school together and on a visit to meet each other, the second involves another girl who has a crush on the male character ,and the third sees the two characters in adulthood years later.

The theme of the movie is distance and time and the title takes its name from the speed at which cherry blossom falls, ( popular tree in South East Asia), This is a wonderful, life affirming and gorgeous movie with indelible music, particularly the closing song. Watching it for the second time, it was not hard to see why its Director has become the new star of Japanese Anime.

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Words and Pictures

Worse This Picture

(Edit) 25/06/2017

Oh dear. This looked like a sure winner - Juliette Binoche, the darling of French art cinema, paired up with Clive Owen an actor of intensity. After all, Binoche's English language film Clouds of Sil Maria a couple of years ago saw her team up with Kristen Stewart and the result was one of Olivier Assayas's best movies to date.

However this is a mess. Big time. The plot revolves around a rather pretentious'debate' between' whether words are more powerful than art and much of the dialogue is given over to 'verbal sparring' resulting in unintnetional humour due to the pretentious and cringing lines the cast have to wade through.

The sub-plots are crass including a misjudged attempt to deal with the subject of sexual harrassment.

Quite why Binoche allowed herself to get near a project such as this is beyond me.

One of this years most cringingly bad movies.

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Only Yesterday

BEAUTIFUL STUDIO GHIBLI LOST CLASSIC

(Edit) 01/06/2017

This Studio Ghibli lost gem was first released in 1991 but only made it to DVD in the West last year, for some inexplicable reason.

It nevertheless soared into made the Rotten Tomatoes top twenty movies of the year and deservedly so.

It tells the story of a 21 year old woman on a farming holiday in the Japanese countryside where she evaluates her life and future, through a series of flashbacks to her life as a ten year old girl growing up in Tokyo with her parents, grandmother and three elder sisters, scenes which make up the majority of the film.

The only person who seems to understand her in the present, is a young organic farmer, with whom she is staying for a few weeks. Although some of the anime graphic technology now seems a little dated, this is a warm hearted and enchanting film all the more welcome for its belated arrival in the West.

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Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

Beautiful and moving in a stunning mountain setting

(Edit) 28/04/2017

Set in 1971, coming up to the present day this is a coming of a age film combining politics, literature, and romance in a truly stunning mountain setting. A beautiful and though provoking film with great performances.

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When Marnie Was There

WONDERFUL UPLIFTING ANIME TALE

(Edit) 26/01/2017

Wow, if this proves to be one of the swansongs from Studio Ghibli it is a worthwhile one. Based on a UK shorty story it has echoes of a Letter To Momo, bus very much its own film. It combines andinterlinks various themes such as loneliness, mystery, fantasy and identity in a moving and uplifting style that only Japaese anime can really manage.

A must see.

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The Student and Mr. Henri

SPENDID AND TOUCHING FRENCH COMEDY

(Edit) 05/12/2016

As US romantic comedies plum the depths of vulgarity and crudeness, I find myself turning more to the more sophisticated Romances, that French cinema efortlessly turns out, like this one..

Young student Constance takes a room in the gome of an elderly widower after failing her college exams. Over a year they become firm friends and the relaitonship between the aging Henri and his son and the daughter in law he has never quite taken to, mirrors that of Constance and her Father who is set against her realising her dream of going to music school .

Lovely movie with great music and fine performances.

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Green Room

EXCELLENT SLOW BURNING EXERCISE IN TENSION

(Edit) 11/10/2016

The Director's last film Blue Ruin was widely praised and rightly so, This film is also an exercise in slow burning tension that once in a while explodes into action. A Punk band play a set to a bunch of Nazi skinheads in a remote venue. On their way out, they see something they shouldn't and the movie proceeds from there into a smart psychological game of cat and mouse. An intelligent action movie with a dash of horror.

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Fighting for Love

EXCELLENT HONG KONG COMEDY AND ROMANCE

(Edit) 07/09/2016

Charming romantic comedy, with Tony Leung as a small restuarant owner who meets a pushy office worker who loses her job. The music is lovely and although the ending is never in doubt this is is a film that shows Hong Kong at its beautiful best and a fun way to spend ninety minutes

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