Film Reviews by Dax Williams

Welcome to Dax Williams's film reviews page. Dax Williams has written 9 reviews and rated 132 films.

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Hereditary

Chilling nonsense

(Edit) 10/04/2019

I don't often watch horror movies as I'm not into violence/gore or cheap jumpscares; but I gave this one a go due to the critical acclaim. Firstly the positives - Collete's performance is very good and the technical stuff (lighting, music, camerawork) was sound enough that it continually gave me chills (perhaps a more seasoned horror viewer would disagree). The main negative was that I had zero clue as to what was going on. Maybe I didn't pay enough attention to tiny details, maybe I should have been looking out for clues, I dont know. With previous horror films that I enjoyed (Elm Street, Blair Witch) I knew what the storyline was and therefor I knew what is was I was supposed to be afraid of. Here I gave up assuming that the story made any sense (even in a supernatural way) and it became a 2 hour excersize in making the hairs on my neck stand up with 'eerie things' happening - (think ghosts momentarily appearing in half lit rooms to an uber-creepy soundtrack). I have to say that in the main it worked on a technical level and I remained prettty creeped throughout the movie; but also, by the final few scenes I was laughing too as I found it a bit ridiculous and had no idea what was supposed to be happening.

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Una

Not bad, not great

(Edit) 23/01/2019

I was not really looking forward to this film after reading the other reviews here, but actually it was better than I thought it would be. I guess it's about expectations. As another person mentioned, it is clearly based on a play, but I thought the flashbacks worked pretty well which is something that always works better in films than in theatre. Mendelsohn and Mara are good actors that give strong enough performances here - RM making a decent fist of a southern English accent too. The script has no award winning emotional speeches of note, but gets the story/atmoshpere across fine and stops short of falling into the cringe territory of many British movies.

Una is by no means a masterpiece and I found the ambient music/noise an unnecessary nuisance - perhaps a bit over-directed (if that's a word) in an attempt to diminish stage-like feel of the piece.

Una deals with a dificult subject matter and the complicated personal issues that arise thereafter, so this isn't a movie for everybody. Riz Ahmed's character didn't really make much sense and was only there as a convenient tool to push the plot along. I would say the film lost it's way a bit in the final 15 minutes, but overall it is a pretty decent watch.

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Red Sparrow

Good fun

(Edit) 15/01/2019

I found this film surprisingly enjoyable. Not knowing too much about it, I was expecting more yawn-inducing car chases and fight scenes a la Bourne, or even Atomic Blonde; so I was quite relieved to discover that this movie is more espionage-y and less action-y. There was the obligatory fight scene which follows all the cliches of a Hollywood movie where the 'bad guy' simply forgets that a trained CIA operative is on the floor behind him (kill that guy first you idiot!). Overall Red Sparrow is not exactly La Carre level stuff, but a decent enough spy thriller nontheless.

Ok, yes, the Russians are speaking English with russian accents (check out Charlotte Rampling rolling her Rs like it's going out of style) and, yes, the plot is a bit silly and lightly garnished with lazy cliches; but that is pretty much what I want from a spy movie - and I feel there were just the right amount of twists and turns to satisfy without crossing into the totally absurd. There are enough charasmatic actors in this film to keep one's attention and I thought all the performances were fine for this kind of thing - and J-Law carries the whole film very well indeed. The only annoyance I suppose is that ultimately the americans 'win' ( I always kinda support the Russians for some reason), but that is to be expected to sell a movie to a predominately American audience. Overall, worth a watch if you are in the mood for an enterataining bit of spy fun set accross a handful of european cities.

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Scott and Sid

Worth a watch

(Edit) 11/11/2018

A pretty fun little movie that I would recommend watching. It's great to see original, independent films like this being made in the UK - makes a nice change from the genre movies that seem to be the majority of what is produced here (period dramas or cringe inducing cockney gangsters) - so it's worth watching just to support this kind of British filmmaking.

This is by no means a classic film, but it is an enjoyable 90 minutes or so that provides a few good laughs and moments of emotional drama. Tonally its all over the place, regularly switching from a 'quirky indie' to surreal set pieces, to dead serious-kitchen-sink stuff. They seem to have thrown in everything! The performances are fine and I though Mason was particularly good. There is a relatively interesting back story behind the production that is worth looking up too.

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In Between

Strong performances

(Edit) 16/05/2018

This film is about the lives of 3 female flatmates in Tel Aviv. Devout Nour, who is engaged to be married, moves in to the spare room of the appartment occupied by Laila and Salma - who follow a less than traditional lifestyle. Like many movies coming out of the Middle East it deals with the clash between generations as well as issues of gender relations, orientation, identity and tradtional values. It is not a heavily plot driven movie, and wont be to everyone's taste, but the central performances of the three women are superb and I found it to be very confidently made and was impressed throughout.

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Blade Runner 2049

Pretty much a waste of time

(Edit) 05/05/2018

Oh no, another piece of fraudulent filmmaking. This one is straight out of the Nicholas Winding Refn playbook! All stylish sets and 'awesome' effects and absolutely ZERO to care about. I have been a fan of Villenueve's previous movies (Incendies and Sicario in particular) but this Bladerunner sequel is a 157 minute snoozefest with a barely understandable storyline.

I quite liked the original Bladerunner (not as much as some people) because it has memorable moments, quotes, themes and characters. The pacing was pretty slow, but it kept my attention and paid off beautifully in the end. This follow up,however, forgot to include anything interesting!

Admittedly, it does look impressive, and the special effects people have earned the film it's 2nd star for this review, but for me stylish effects alone don't make a good movie. Here the director is more concerned with copying the tone of the original he forgot to give us interesting or sympathetic characters and make us give a toss in any way about what we are watching. The aforementioned Mr Refn is regularly guilty of this approach to filmmaking and I've lost all hope in his films, but hopefully Denis Villenueve will return to form in his coming movies.....

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The Florida Project

Good film

(Edit) 14/04/2018

This film was worshipped by the pro critics, and for this I feel it is a touch overrated. But it is still pretty good. This is a cinematic portayal of everyday life in a motel-style housing project not far from Disneyworld in Florida. The kids in it are pretty annoying - actually really annoying - but I think that is supposed to the point of it. In the final scene it kind of pays off with the main child actor doing some good acting. The colours in this movie are quite striking, which is something the critics love I guess.

Willem Defoe is the likeable guy doing his best to run the housing project, but I'm not sure how much he was acting as everyone around him seemed to be a pain in the ass. The only real problem I had was with the lead female who was so annoying and has a terrible attitude. Some may say that her situation justifies her behaviour, but I think manners are free (!) and there are many people much worse off who are much nicer than she is - so I struggled to sympathise too much. Overall I enjoyed this movie - I don't think it is a masterpiece (or even as good as his first film) but it's very much worth a watch for those who have an interest in cinema existing outside of comic book movies

2 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

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Berlin Syndrome

Lovely Job

(Edit) 21/03/2018

This was a bit of an un-expected gem. An Australian tourist (Clare) in Berlin hooks up with a local teacher (Andi) and ends up being kept permanently against her will in his apartment. I really liked the tone and pacing of this movie and although there are a few moments to make you wince, it doesn't descend to over-the-top violence and gore. Rather, it focuses on the pyschological effects of Clare adapting to her situation and over time she does begin to exhibit small signs of Stockholm syndrome, but not to the extent that she is content with the set-up and she always desires to be free. The lead performances were very strong and I found myself captivated and really rooting for Clare.

The are a handful of well trodden cliches of the thriller/horror genre thrown into this film; and at least two events occur here that also take place in Misery (a movie this reminded me of in places). There are one or two moments where you may roll your eyes in a 'yeah, right' kind of way, but by and large Berlin Syndrome steers clear of stupidity and remains relatively realistic the whole way through. A very impressive movie.

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Baby Driver

Hugely disappointing

(Edit) 26/02/2018

The only reason this got 2 stars instead of 1 is that I have to admit the film looks good and there are well choreographed scenes. The car chases are well done; they are wildly unrealistic, but then so are most movie car chases. That is the problem with the movie - its all style. Especially annoying is that the film was written and direct by Edgar Wright, a massively talented filmmaker. Yes, Baby Driver has a cool soundtrack, but that alone is not good filmmaking.

I'm a fan of Wright (Hot Fuzz in particular) but he really dropped the ball with this one. The storyline is both wildly unbelievable and yet not remotely interesting and features a cast of cartoon-like characters that lack any kind of depth or intrigue. Spacey is some kind of criminal kingpin but there is no explanation of who he is, why he is powerful and why we should care. He organises robberies of banks/post offices by armed 4 person units (seriously, in 2017); one of these robberies involves a Mike Myers joke that should have been deleted as soon as the scriptwriter sobered up. A massively under written romantic plot features the beautiful Lily James playing an apparently lonesome waitress who falls for our bore of a 'hero' for no reason. She works in an almost empty cafe in a built up urban area that I'm sure would be full of leering men in real life. Oh and James is doing an accent, I think she was going for 'American' but I can't be sure. The other crew members are buffoonish idiots/thugs (Gonzalez seems to be there just to look hot) and Foxx has way too many 'slick' on liners that sound like they were written by a 14 year old who has just seen Pulp Fiction for the first time. Why would Spacey's character pick these nobs to carry out his oh-so-clever robberies? Also the police appear to give up solving these crimes after 10 minutes of a car chase.

I have seen worse movies but not more annoying movies. The 'Baby' character was not sympathetic despite his laughable sob story - the film is far too smug with it's coolness for me to give a toss about any of it. This is also not helped by the fact that lots of the movie just doesn't make any sense. Without going into spoilers, there is a scene in a multi-storey car park towards the end that left me open-jawed and not in a good way. It was plain ridiculous. Over all, a big shame.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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