Film Reviews by PV

Welcome to PV's film reviews page. PV has written 752 reviews and rated 1587 films.

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Mr. Nobody

A Pretentious Arty Sci-fi Mess of a Movie - a Belgium/Canada Co-Production

(Edit) 03/04/2020

This movie reminds me of other huge, vast-ranging, pretentious movies which seemed to arrive in the 1990s and end around the time this was made. I am thinking of The Fifth Element, and the truly awful Tree of Life.

A great cast, yes, and some interesting scenes. But all too tricksy and self-consciously post-modern. Why not just TELL A STORY instead of all the endless faffing with alternative universes etc and all the pretentious cod-scientific guff.

I see it was written by the director who is French/Belgian - and also that this self-indulgent mess of a movie was partly paid for by our taxes via the EU, it seems. HOORAH! The whole thing must've cost tens of millions - all to pay for one director's derivative vision. Sigh...

An interesting watch, and enjoyable in parts - but boy, did it test my patience. And young people made up to look old just don't, somehow.

Probably one for the sci-fi fans and those who like tricksy Matrix-type games.

For me, 1.5 stars rounded up.

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Ghostbusters 3

Weak, Silly, CGI-fest, Unfunny, All-female sequel full of new gender and race stereotyping.

(Edit) 31/03/2020

This is a weak pc metoo version of a classic 80s comedy movie. Hollywood keeps doing this now - remaking old movies with all women casts. The results are usually awful and they all flop.

To be fair, this starts relatively well - I enjoyed the first act.

After that, it went rapidly downhill, with silly CGI overload scenes, loads of girly silliness, loads of stereotyped moron and/or baddie men. I almost turned off but decided to yawn it out.

It is true women were stereotyped in the past in films - yes, and so were men. They still are - the only difference is the stereotypes have changed. Now almost every Hollywood movie has to have the obligatory stereotyped sassy black woman (and these 2-d performances even win Oscars). Next time I see a sassy black mama in a Hollywood movie I am turning off.

I just hope Hollywood stops pandering to angry MeToo feminists and remaking all old movies as preachy feminist statements with all-female casts. What next - an all-female Lawrence of Arabia? A man-free Saving Private Ryan with silly Hollywood identikit actresses in pink uniforms defeating the nasty-wasty men AKA nazis? STOP IT. Just STOP IT. End the diversity-worshipping, the box-ticking casting and the preachy polemic and lectures. And the BBC should stop it too (looking at you Dr Who are almost every other UK TV drama).

1.5 stars rounded up.

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Only Two Can Play

Very Dated but Enjoyable Welsh-Set Film from 1961/2.

(Edit) 19/03/2020

Yes, this is very dated - based on 1950s Kingsley Amis novel THAT CERTAIN FEELING which, like his earlier LUCKY JIM, is set in Swansea, South Wales (and filmed there), and portrays that generation that fought in the war in the 1950s when they are the first in their families to go to university and enter the professions.

This was made in 1961 and released in 1962, but feels more 1950s than anything else.

It is fascinating to see how people put up with basic living conditions and incomes at that time - which would be called dire poverty now. It is also refreshing to see much more ordinary and normal male/female relations than the rather misandrist and hysterical MeToo puritanism of now, which is very weird, actually. Nice to see a couple making a go at marriage too - how unlike these days. Not so good is everybody smoking all the time, and no seat belts worn in cars of course.

Anyway, I enjoyed it - and the rather corrupt Welsh culture it portrays still exists today, with its petty nationalists, its local authors (there are rare unsigned copies of their state-subsidised books still available somewhere), very amateur dramatics etc (the novel apparently is far less forgiving of the pretentious Welsh actors and writers). Richard Attenborough does aturn as pretentious Welshish Welsh author. The Welsh language brigade is sent up on their corrupt little committee.

So I found it all fun, and know that making such a film today would be impossible. Peter Sellers is always wonderful in any film, even his weakest roles. His strongest roles such as Dr Strangelove and I'm Alright Jack are sublime.

3.5 stars rounded up.

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Britannia: Series 2

Absurd cod-historical drama set in Ancient Britain but about as historically accurate as Star Trek

(Edit) 19/03/2020

Britannia is bonkers. About as close to real historical events as Star Trek, and full of absurd Americanised dialogue and right-on pc characters, it really is more of a curiosity than anything else. Not in the same league as VIKINGS (which also casts rather too many pretty women as warriors and monarchs).

All suffused with a dark mystical spiritual flavour but one so unbelievable it is hard to suspend disbelief, I whizzed through these episodes in a couple of days. The Romans are great - the Ancient Britons seemingly made up by fantasy producers. Ancient Celts and Britons were really not the pantomime characters as portrayed here.

And, as in the first series, I just could not believe the young girl main character and her importance - she is just too stage school for my tastes and, like many here, should be more scarred, deformed and pock-marked to add to the realism (there is not much here though!). The Druids were all male and trained boys only, as recounted in Roman histories. But...

SO LONG AS you do not take it at all seriously, it passes the time - but that is all. 3 stars. Meh.

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High-Rise

Nothing Dates More Quickly Than a Vision of the Future...

(Edit) 17/03/2020

This film is based on the 1975 JG Ballard novel - and it shows. Those late 60s and early 70s sci-fi dystopian novels and films are now horribly dated - as is Clockwork Orange which this references a lot, consciously or otherwise.

I lasted an hour then gave up. It#s a weird mix this - it aims to show a sci-fi 1970s which we all know now did not exist.

The main character is called Laing which is no doubt a reference to the hippy psychiatrist and this film is infused with the drug culture and psychotherapy of that hippy time, much of it exposed and debunked now.

Maybe sci-fans will like me. Me, I found it really very boring indeed, and silly. Even more so than modern Dr Who episodes, and that's saying something. Some good actors in here and design, so that gets 1.5 stars rounded up.

JG Ballard's other novels include Cocaine and The Drowned World, but he is most famous for his autobiography (about his childhood) Empire of the Sun, a brilliant Spielberg movie. If you want dystopia, then try 28 Days Later, not this.

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The Imposter

A fascinating DOCUMENTARY about an imposter claiming to be a disappeared kid in the USA

(Edit) 14/03/2020

I do not usually watch documentaries but got this out as it looked fascinating and it is.

All about identity and who we pretend to be, the roles we play, what we choose to believe and what is or may be true or false, and who may or may not be telling the truth, or sociopaths or even psychopaths.

Also all about a massively messed up American family which, as the 'imposter' says himself, is not the USA of tall buildings and busy cities he was expecting to see and what is always shown in Hollywood movies. That flyover state America of malls and debt and wooden houses and wasteland is the real America for many.

This whole story may pan out more in future decades if more evidence is uncovered - which may or may nor happen. No spoilers but I know what I think happened...

I would have liked a little more information about what 'the imposter' is doing now at the end BUT the documentary got a scoop anyway by interviewing him so much.

I just do not understand another reviewer;'s 1 star score and the claim it is in a 'documentary style' - did they really think it was a feature film mockumentary? This is a DOCUMENTARY about real events with real people.

4 stars. A decent watch and a fascinating almost incredible story. But true.

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Foster

Horribly Schmaltzy Saccharine Sentimental Kids' Movie

(Edit) 14/03/2020

Sorry but I hated this and turned off halfway through. It is a sickly sweet, saccharine sentimental schmaltzy Christmas-y kids' movie, full of magic and sentimentality and other 'cute' overload. Reminds me of the awful BILLIONS and those awful NATIVITY TV movies.

Try renting DUMBO or BAMBI instead or THE LION KING - they have the same message but do it better.

Avoid if you dislike schmaltzy nonsense.

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The Long Weekend

Gross-out lewd unfunny slapstick teen movie for undemanding 13-16 year olds.

(Edit) 12/03/2020

I lasted 40 minutes with this before ejecting. Maybe if I were 13 or 14 and of very little brain, I'd find it funny. Or maybe not. It is gross-out as with AMERICAN PIE and PORKY'S and THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY. I dislike such movies in general and do not find them remotely funny. Many will of course - the more unsophisticated audience who think vulgar visual gags about sex and toilets are hilarious. Zzzz.

It is a B-movie gross-out movie too - bodily fluids, cheap video clips used throughout (maybe to save money and maybe to appeal to kids weaned on YouTube?) The hilarious thing is, video tapes and cameras are almost antiques now and obsolete.

The plot is so paper thin it blew away within seconds. The characters all vile and unpleasant.

The director later directed the brilliant Britflick horror WHEN THE LIGHTS WENT OUT in 2013. Rent that and forget this trash.

1 star.

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Less Than Zero

Very Eighties, Very Bling, full of spoilt rich kids and drugs, as always in Bret Easton Ellis novels

(Edit) 10/03/2020

Well if you want similar stories of addictions etc then watch LEAVING LAS VEGAS, MIDNIGHT COWBOY or the superb TV series BREAKING BAD.

This movie is from a Bret Easten Ellis novel and they always suffer from 1) having spoilt rich characters that not many can relate to, and often behaving so horribly you do not care at all if bad things happen to them; 2) an almost worship of money, bling, wealth which always leads to poetic justice.

It is all very 80s and all totally MEH really - I watched it, shrugged, then turned off.

As ever in these films, the massive addicts never look as bad as real ones (cf WOLF OF WALL STREET) so it';s hard to believe in the characters really and suspend disbelief. ALSO the SHOCK HORROR revelation (no spoilers) would not be so shocking today in our pansexual transanything world. That happens with novels too - a shocking unmarried mother in novels of even 50 years ago is almost standard these days.

So, it's all very 80s, and fun to look at the hairdos and cars and clothes etc - but I did not care about the characters at all. The musicis all pretty awful west coast US 80s tracks rather than the superior early 80s UK synth stuff.

2.5 stars rounded up.

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When the Lights Went Out

Brilliant Low-Budget 1970s-set Poltergeist Britflick - the Best Horror Film I have Watched for Ages!

(Edit) 08/03/2020

I LOVED this film - it is watchable, effective, scary - with some real jumps - and is pretty spot-on re the 1970s decor and issues. Nice to see a film set 'oop north' in Sheffield (South Yorkshire) area too, from the accents. The era is shown accurately - women in scarves, the freedom kids had back then, the hard-drinking council house working class men (in work, back then, in industry), coal man delivering etc. ALL spot on and rarely seen.

My only criticism is there is not a SUBTITLES option and I was not so sure about some school scenes - I think girls in 1974 had to do domestic science and boys did metalwork/woodwork. Most people had black and white TVs then too so that is as spot on as the hideous orange and brown patterned wallpaper.

Anyway, I LOVED this. Skillful use of pace and imagery suggests a horrific presence which is always way more effective than endless CGI (ask Spielberg whose Jurassic Park did the same, with dinosaurs on screen for only 6 minutes or so - the rest is suggestion). So the noises, the chil, the swinging lampshades all work so well. And the exorcism scenes are not so silly, nor is the historical bit, because it does not go on TOO long - this is a quick, snappy film, and keeps the interest from the beginning till the end. This is WAY better than all the state-funded drivel paid for by the BFI, Lottery, BBC - all pc box-ticking and so slow and boring. This is not slow or boring - it is GREAT!

A perfect little British horror film which needs to be seen by more people. Original, in its setting, though of course ALL exorcism films will be compared to The Exorcist. BUT I preferred this film to that. Poltergeist is another reference.

4.5 stars rounded up.

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Equity

Awful #MeToo B-Movie Femi-flop about finance - like a Z-list Wall Street with women only

(Edit) 07/03/2020

This is an awful film. It is short but feels long, It is dull and boring. Moreover it is totally sexist - thew few males characters are all cartoon baddies (all except a token old goodie man in the prosecutor's office). One real issue is that the main character is such a vile, nasty, greedy, selfish, horrible amoral woman that we do not care what happens to her - no matter how bad. The other women are often just as vile.

Watch WALL STREET or the wonderful MARGIN CALL or some other movies about finance. Good movies. Unlike this trash.

This is very badly written, unrealistic, misandrist (sexist against men), with much whining and whingeing from women who claim constantly how much harder everything is for them. Nope, not true - I may sympathise with these vile bankers' cleaners but not with them! Ever. Watching the horrible self-serving women - and men - in corporate finance here is not only irritating but makes me sympathise with anyone who wants to come down hard on that greedy corrupt world.

Some massively sexist nuggets of dialogue here - in one scene, the main character says 'you men don;t do that, do you?' when she is worrying. Oh no, men never worry - ever, Life for them is so easy peasy they never have any worries at all. Maybe that's why 85% of suicides are male and every day up to 15 men kill themselves - because they have it so easy.

A vile, sexist, pointless mess of a film - badly written for a start, so amateurish with the pity party femi-whingeing.

No stars.

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The Falling

State-funded studenty arty mish-mash mess of a feminist film

(Edit) 04/03/2020

This British film is state-funded by the BFI and the BBC, I think, and also the Lottery. AND SO it is obsessed with diversity and promoting (some may say overpromoting) female film directors.

The end result is a mess of a movie, pretentious and arty - it all feels like a student film, to be honest, and it felt so long and slow even though it was only 90 minutes.

All set in a girls' school and only 3 males in the entire film, to the diversity-worship of feminist box-tickers will be happy.

Based on some real life stories - of fainting of girls at school, dating from UK in the 1960s and 70s, so the writer has just stolen that and tried to write it all up as a mystical feminist drama - and failed. The plot gets muddled with every social issue you can think of chucked in (and behold, it is all the fault of a nasty wasty man!).

As others have said, the acting is good esp the lead girl. Music is a bit random and done by Tracey Thorn, thereby nailing its arty state-funded colours to its rather limp mast.

All in all it is a MEH movie. Passes the time and then can be forgotten.

1.5 stars rounded up.

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Chevalier

Awful tedious pretentious arty boring rubbish - but with pretty Greek seaside scenery

(Edit) 05/03/2020

I lasted 40 minutes on this. IT IS AWFUL. It no doubt thinks it is profound and meaningful, and some sort of study of modern masculinity. It is not. It is RUBBISH.

The one star is for the pretty Greek scenery - and the scene of bashing octopuses against rocks to remove the slime, which you see all the time in Greece (and allegedly sometimes fisherman, ahem, pleasure themselves with them...)

This film is the sort of foreign film that gives foreign films a bad name. 40 minutes of my life I am never getting back.

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Doctor Strange

Very boring CGI computer game Marvel movie

(Edit) 02/03/2020

I have to confess I hate Marvel and superhero movies BUT rented this as the preview looked good. A mistake. I lasted just after halfway before yawning for the umpteenth time and ejecting. I have forgotten the first half already - it is that sort of movie.

Clearly aimed at the teenaged computer game generation, this is so CGI and computer game-y that for me it got very boring very quickly. A lot of cod spiritual nonsense reminded me of 'grasshopper' in the 1970s - all mystical nonsense about different dimensions and totally humorless.

Watch the 3 series of DA VINCI'S DEMONS instead to get mystical united with fun.

This is just boring. 1.5 stars rounded up.

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Catherine the Great

So-so Biopic which probably portrays her too kindly

(Edit) 29/02/2020

This is a TV series made, I presume, to pander to the MeToo demands for more 'strong female lead' characters in drama. Most movies doing that have flopped badly because the movies are so dull. This is not, BUT I longed for a TV drama about the more fascinating Peter the Great (early 18th C and he worked as a ship builder incognito of Deptford in London too) or Ivan the Terrible (16th C).

Helen Mirren does her usual royal imperious act, though it was hard to keep her portrayal of Elizabeth II in The Queen out of my head while watching this.

I am no expert but I believe Catherine was a brutal ruler who executed many people - she is portrayed here as a 'liberal' who wants to ban slavery (Russia had serfdom till 1860s, I think). I suspect Russian language films about Russian history will be better.

Potemkin in real life was a sycophant who grovelled to Catherine and lied to her about the success of Russia. He lends his name to Potemkin Villages - the fake PR exercise using stage set boarded facades of houses which he ordered by put up along a river so when Catherine saw them from her boat she thought these were wonderful new villages and towns constructed during her reign., It is baffling that that is not included here. Instead Potemkin is portrayed as an idealised and perfect man who was adored by Catherine - the relationship was a lot more political then that. BUT then, The Crown is pure fiction and lies re the British royal family, and Hollywood's pc lies are legion.

The Crimea features no doubt as the recent annexation of Crimea by Russia was a news story not so long ago - and it all started here.

All filmed in Lithuania. Nice period buildings, sure, but it ain't the real thing, the Kremlin, Read Square, the WInter Palace and Hermitage. So it's all rather understated and just not bling enough, really.

But, watchable. If meandering. I'd love to see a series on Peter the Great though. Over to you, Amazon/Netflix/whoever.

3 stars.

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