Film Reviews by CM

Welcome to CM's film reviews page. CM has written 34 reviews and rated 1696 films.

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Dawson City: Frozen Time

Fascinating stories

(Edit) 07/10/2021

This would have been an excellent watch, with its wide ranging tales from early 20th century history & old film clips, but was ruined by too-brief subtitles.

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Admiral

Enjoyable, beautiful, & informative, but

(Edit) 20/09/2021

A good intro to Netherlands history in the 17th Century - they kept reminding us of the century - & an interesting story where the English aren't automatically the good guys, but it would have benefitted from being five or ten minutes longer, so the headlong rush to tell the tale could have been slowed to a rate where the viewer can absorb better-drawn characters. Marvellous sets & costumes were too often ruined by the frantic camera effect, shots of only 3 or 4 seconds, zooming & cutting away.

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The Pillars of the Earth

Good on CGI, creaky on plot

(Edit) 06/08/2021

Actors are pretty much obliged to take parts just to stay in the public eye, & this has some excellent ones, but the preposterous plot just can't be salvaged, despite great sets & costumes, & being roughly accurate on the Anarchy of Stephen & Matilda. This got ordered because of who's in it, & because I'd enjoyed Wm Golding's 'The Spire', & we managed to watch it all, but it gets a single star rating because of a lack of making sense, & a clunky script.

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Echo in the Canyon

Too many tributes

(Edit) 17/06/2021

Some enjoyable interviews, especially Lou Adler, many of which are on other films, but far too much of Jakob Dylan's tribute band, & too little of Laurel Canyon's original performers. Excellent as JD's band & singers are, the originals are still fresh & more interesting than tributes.

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The In-Laws

Witless

(Edit) 20/05/2021

Amazing how poor this film is, given that Arkin & Falk are both brilliant in a lot of other material, but it creaks along predictably with sledgehammer humour.

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Queerama

Not quite a film

(Edit) 12/05/2021

More a collection of anonymous clips from old feature films & documentaries - it wouldn't have been difficult to have labelled them & given the film some continuity, since many appeared worth looking up - & the soundtrack was good in parts.

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Holes

A tale of the US youth gulag

(Edit) 02/05/2021

An engrossing story, well acted, not too long at just under two hours, with tacit criticism of the US youth 'justice' system which puts Stanley, an innocent kid, into Camp Greenlake, a boys' slave labour camp in all but name, isolated in a merciless desert region of Texas. Sounds grim? The kids aren't sickly-cute, & the plot, humour, music, & acting all lift it out of misery, entertaining the viewer with quirky characters, venomous beasts, & a backstory of love, savage racism, riches, & revenge, haunting the land of the long dried-up lake bed.

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Dick

Enjoyably daft

(Edit) 14/04/2021

For an evening of easy viewing, 'Dick' gets a few laughs. The cast - Hedaya excellent, jowly & growly, as scheming Tricky Dicky, Williams & Dunst frothy as the giddy girls - get the most from a mediocre script that works on Nixon's nickname as an ongoing gag, & overall the film plays the 1970s with more affection than scorn.

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The Story of Science

Big budget, low on continuity

(Edit) 26/01/2021

Mosley's medical documentaries have been compelling & well-presented, but this was a bit too patchy to convey enough information - starting 'science' with the European alchemists, without a mention of Greek or Islamic scientists, was a telling omission. In the modern style, it included a lot of scenes of the narrator travelling & dramatic helicopter shots for small returns. The chapter on the experiments made in hunting the electron was the best part, but I didn't bother to rent Disc 2.

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Carolina Skeletons

Judicial Murder

(Edit) 04/04/2020

Lou Gossett Jr & Bruce Dern's performances keep the film just above mediocre; what makes it poignant & horrifying is that the judicial murder of the character 'Linus Bragg' is based on what actually happened in South Carolina to George Stinney, Jr, who was exonerated many years later.

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Dr Tatianas Sex Advice to All Creation

Great costumes & dance, but...

(Edit) 16/11/2019

The actual documentary was awful, neither a proper natural history look at the mating game, nor a real comedy, but a puerile sort of humour, mainly about genitals of the animal kingdom, that falls flat. Being preceded by c. 15 minutes of dreadful trailers, including 'Climate Change Hoax' was a warning of the sort of demographic aimed at. One we didn't bother to finish.

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Cathedrals of Culture

The ins & outs of modern buildings

(Edit) 16/11/2019

Really enjoyed this for giving the feel & sound of the spaces portrayed. Some of the buildings are fifty years old, but still look as if they were finished this year. It would be interesting to see more in the same vein from other parts of the world - Africa, Asia, Middle East, S America, Australasia.

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The Florida Project

Dismaland USA

(Edit) 07/08/2019

An affecting close-up of life for the left-behind of the American Dream, staggering through poor life choices with vision limited by daily struggles to get by with a shred of dignity. The settings are near-surreal in vulgar colours, the performances are superb, especially the kids' delivery as feral brats left to their own devices, & the film runs from showing them as repellent pests to the hotel residents & staff, by way of showing their lack of agency in any aspect of their existence, to leaving a sense of empathy & disquiet at their likely fate.

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The Stuart Hall Project

Interesting content

(Edit) 19/06/2019

Interesting content, & relevant insights from Stuart Hall, with film & newsreel from the 1970s & before, but only merits two stars - alas! - because the film maker decided that it would be appropriate to play music over Hall's commentary, making parts of it inaudible.

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The Hateful Eight

Tolerable

(Edit) 14/10/2018

A few minutes in, I realized that it was a Tarantino, & feared more like Django Unchained, but it had the superb Jennifer Jason Leigh & Bruce Dern, so we stuck with it. It lost a lot when Dern left the action, & went down a gear, but we saw it through. If this rating system were more nuanced, I'd give two & a half stars.

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