Film Reviews by AB

Welcome to AB's film reviews page. AB has written 16 reviews and rated 144 films.

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At Eternity's Gate

Inside the mind of Van Gogh

(Edit) 31/07/2019

If you are interested in art, and particularly in Vincent Van Gogh, then do watch this strange and mesmerising film about his life. Willem Dafoe is perfectly cast in the role of Vincent. The film takes you into the artist's mind - you feel his passion, his madness, his sadness. You see where he drew his inspiration. The film has a beautiful, dream-like quality.

As Van Gogh presciently remarked 'Someday people will see the value of my paintings beyond the cost of the paints'. He only sold one painting in his lifetime. He died aged 37 years.

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Arctic

Tale of endurance with something missing

(Edit) 26/07/2019

So this film is another mostly exciting, epic tale of endurance in glacial conditions. Mads Mikkelsen acts his socks off for most of the film. But I feel a bit cheated by both the start and end of the film. The start because the plane has already crashed and we get no back story about who Overgard (the Mikkelsen character) is, what he is doing in the Arctic, and how come he is so proficient in survival techniques. And the end because the film ends abruptly without telling us what happened to the two survivors - did they in fact both survive? Still, I think it is worth a watch. Oh, and if ever your plane goes down in the Arctic, stay where you are and wait for rescue!!

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Cold Pursuit

Liam Neeson drops a notch

(Edit) 24/07/2019

This film is not up to the standard we expect from Liam Neeson. His acting is OK, but the bad guys, particularly the chief bad guy, are just OTT cartoonish characters with no depth. The story - man seeks revenge on the criminals who killed his son - is simple with no nuances or sub-plots. The whole thing is rather disappointing.

I saw the Norwegian original of this film, called 'In Order of Disappearance' and I suggest you watch this - it is better.

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Beautiful Boy

A hard, but terrific watch

(Edit) 09/07/2019

This is a hard watch, but the terrific performances of the lead actors lifts the film to very good. The scenario of drug addicted child getting clean then relapsing time after time must be horribly familiar to many parents. I found myself asking 'how would I have handled this?' if it were my child. Would I have handled it like Steve Carell in the film, even though I think his anger and accusations were unhelpful? Timothee Chalamet is excellent as the drug addicted son. Overall, a good watch, especially perhaps for older teens.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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The Guilty

An outstanding one-hander

(Edit) 04/06/2019

First off - this film is subtitled. If you are OK with subtitles then this is a tense, psychological thriller. It is set entirely in a police emergency call centre, and is the story of how one cop handles a very difficult call from a kidnapped woman. He, Asger, appears to be handling the situation extremely well, until there is a horrible twist in the plot.

Although you only hear the phone conversations between Asger and the various people involved in the drama, you do feel that you start to know them and what they are going through. Asger himself has his own major problem, and this ordeal he goes through leaves him a better person. It is brilliantly done. Recommended.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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The Hate U Give

Searing portrait of racial divide in US

(Edit) 10/04/2019

This is a terrific portrayal of the racial divide in the US. A young black female student called Starr, who goes to a mainly white school is the only witness to the shooting dead of her best male friend by a cop. This act unleashes collective fury in the black neighbourhood. Starr has to testify to a Grand Jury about what she saw. She mentions that her neighbourhood is plagued by a drug gang.

Some of Starr's friends, while purporting to be very liberal, make crass and insensitive remarks to her. Her white boyfriend, Chris, meanwhile genuinely loves Starr. The drug gang decide to punish Starr and her family for snitching. Here the film gets very tense indeed.

I found this film to be very well acted, and a fair and probably accurate portrayal of the racial divide in the US, and its consequences.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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The 12th Man

Epic tale of endurance

(Edit) 21/02/2019

An epic tale about a Norwegian resistance fighter, Jan Baalsrud, desperately trying to escape from the Gestapo after a failed mission. The Arctic conditions are a greater adversary than the Nazis. Jan is close to death many times during his escape. The film is as much about the brave Norwegians who helped him as it is about Jan. The lead actor is tremendous in the role of Jan, Oscar material I believe.

Overall then, an exciting WWII story of heroism and endurance. Mostly in Norwegian, subtitled.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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The Rider

Beautiful, moving film

(Edit) 23/01/2019

This is a beautiful, languid drama about a young rodeo rider who has a serious head injury. The doctors tell him that he should never ride again, but it is his life. So will he/won't he take the risk? The film takes you deeply into his life with his feckless father, sister with Asperger's and his rodeo friends. You can't help but get emotionally involved with them. The cinematography of the wide open spaces and horses is terrific.

I knew little about this film, but I noticed watching the credits at the end that most of the main actors were playing themselves. So it turns out that they are non-actors playing themselves in what is mostly a true story. A beautiful film - we loved it, and it sticks in the memory for some time.

6 out of 6 members found this review helpful.

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Of Gods and Warriors

A bit of fantasy fun and nonsense

(Edit) 16/01/2019

If you like a bit of Norse gods, swords and battles nonsense then you might like this. Just as long as you don't think too much about the plot. The King's evil brother desires the throne. All possible claimants are despatched except the feisty daughter of the King who escapes. Can she reclaim her rightful inheritance?

There is a fair bit of slaughter and gore, but not too much. There is also one rather unpleasant sex scene, so I would take the 18 rating seriously. All in all, it is watchable and deserves its 3 stars from me.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

A follow-up too far

(Edit) 05/12/2018

Unfortunately, this sequel falls into the 'inferior to the original' bracket. We found the storyline unconvincing. The cast, apart from Lily James, seem to be just going through the motions. And of course, most of the best Abba songs were used in the original. Sadly, the joie de vivre just ain't there. Oh, mama mia, what have they done!

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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Skyscraper

Daft but edge-of-the-seat thrills

(Edit) 23/11/2018

Yes, the plot is far-fetched BUT it Is visually spectacular, nail- biting, edge-of-the-seat stuff. Dwayne Johnson does his modest super hero act very well indeed. We loved it.

1 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

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Sicario 2: Soldado

Not as good as the first one

(Edit) 20/11/2018

This follow-up to Sicario is nowhere near as good as the first film. The plot is confused and bizarre. The ending is just a total cliff-hanger implying a third film. I'm not sure I'll bother.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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Lean on Pete

Painful teenage odyssey

(Edit) 03/10/2018

This is really a story about the journey of a sensitive teenage boy. After a tragedy leaves him a penniless, homeless orphan he sets out with a horse on a perilous journey to find safety. On the way more shocking events happen. The tale is a bit of tear-jerker, and is well acted, although the seriously mumbled dialogue I found irritating. I had hoped that the film was suitable for my young grandchildren, but the amount of swearing put paid to that idea.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Quirky gem

(Edit) 08/06/2018

We loved this film. McDormand is terrific playing a grieving mother determined that the police will focus on finding her daughter's killer. Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson are also excellent. The thing that raises the film from good to excellent are the completely unexpected plot twists - you never know what is going to happen next. The ending is rather unsatisfactory in that nothing is really resolved, although I guess that is true of much of real life.

5 out of 5 members found this review helpful.

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The Florida Project

Terrific child actors

(Edit) 30/03/2018

This is a whimsical drama about poor folk living hand-to-mouth lives next to Disney in Florida. The story itself is rather slow-burn, building up to an inevitable climax. Most of the action is children playing, having fun and misbehaving. The child actors are superb. Willem Dafoe plays a very humane manager of the motel where most of the characters live. I hated the ending, which is a total cliffhanger, and presumably we will never know what happened next. Overall, it is worth watching for the great performances, and for an insight into the chaotic lives of some people living next to a massive tourist attraction.

1 out of 5 members found this review helpful.
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