Film Reviews by AB

Welcome to AB's film reviews page. AB has written 24 reviews and rated 201 films.

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In the Line of Duty

Frenetic action, poor story

(Edit) 26/05/2020

The action is frenetic, much of it filmed on a hand-held camera. I felt a bit seasick eventually. Poor Aaron Eckhart, playing the cop, must have run a marathon by the end of the movie. The problem is that there are so many glaring plot-holes and inconsistencies that by the end I just had to shake my head and laugh in disbelief. Would a cop really put a young woman in harm's way by allowing her to live-film him while he fights a dangerous killer?

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

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Le Mans '66

Thrills and Spills in the Ford vs Ferrari battle

(Edit) 22/04/2020

This is an amazing story, very well told. Henry Ford II, after being insulted by Enzo Ferrari, is determined to do whatever it takes to beat Ferrari at the 1966 Le Mans race. The two men tasked to do this are the wealthy sports car designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and the eccentric but brilliant Englishman Ken Miles (Christian Bale). The two lead actors are outstanding. Even if you are not into motor racing, the racing scenes are very exciting. A fascinating true story of triumph and tragedy.

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Black and Blue

Tense thriller

(Edit) 09/04/2020

The plot-line here is familiar with vicious drug gangs and corrupt cops. However, it is extremely well done. The tension ratchets up until it is impossible to see a way out. It is good to see Naomie Harris in a leading role - she plays an honourable, vulnerable yet determined cop. The supporting cast are good too. A worthy thriller.

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Last Christmas

A Likeable Rom-Com

(Edit) 18/03/2020

This likeable romantic comedy is just the thing to cheer you up during these worrying times. Emilia Clarke plays Kate, a selfish, careless young woman who meets Tom, a kind, compassionate man. We discover the reason why she is so cynical later in the film. Tom is mysterious and appears to be hiding something. We thought we had that figured out, but we were wrong! Emma Thompson plays an East European matriarch, Kate's mother, to great effect. Light-hearted, easy to watch, we really enjoyed it.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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Ad Astra

The Immensity and Loneliness of Space

(Edit) 20/02/2020

I want to counterbalance some of the very negative reviews of this film. My wife and I really enjoyed it. If you want a fast moving, thrill-a-minute film, then this is not for you. If you might like a slow, contemplative film that examines the psychology of a loner astronaut, then we think you will also enjoy it. The film gives a powerful recreation of the immensity and loneliness of deep space, and the bravery and resilience of the men and women who venture there. Brad Pitt gives a strong performance as the lead actor. A film to make you think.

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The Informer

Polished thriller

(Edit) 16/01/2020
Spoiler Alert

This is a taut, propulsive thriller about an FBI informer who has infiltrated a Polish mafia gang in New York. He is forced to go back to prison to carry out orders of the mafia boss. What follows is the informer, played very well by Joel Kinnaman, desperately trying to stay alive. There is strong violence and betrayal. Rosamund Pike plays a conflicted FBI agent. It is all done extremely well. Recommended.

5 out of 6 members found this review helpful.

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Late Night

Late Night Crisis

(Edit) 30/11/2019

Emma Thompson is excellent playing the jaded, tyrannical talk-show host Katherine Newbury. Her show has become formulaic because her petrified team of male writers fail to come up with anything that will grab the attention of viewers. What is needed is a breath of fresh air, and this arrives in the shape of Molly, an enthusiastic young woman with absolutely no experience of scriptwriting. Molly is only employed as a token woman in a room full of men. Molly gradually shows that she can come up with ways to update and rebrand the show, much against Katherine's instincts. Emma Thompson dominates the film and once again shows her star quality. We enjoyed it - it's got lots of humour and a few laugh-out-loud moments. Not a bad way to spend 97 minutes.

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Capernaum

Why did the little boy sue his parents?

(Edit) 12/09/2019

Eleven year old Zain, who lives in Beirut, decides to sue his parents. Watch the film and you will found out why. It is a heart-rending tale of poverty, immigrants, and the daily struggle to survive. Zain shows compassion, courage and creativity when he finds himself looking after an adorable toddler, with no help whatsoever. A tough but rewarding watch. Subtitled.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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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.

3 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

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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!!

1 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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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.

0 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

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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.

3 out of 3 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.

2 out of 2 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.

3 out of 3 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.

3 out of 3 members found this review helpful.
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