Film Reviews by PV

Welcome to PV's film reviews page. PV has written 797 reviews and rated 1637 films.

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The Last Kingdom: Series 2

Excellent 9th Century Viking versus Anglo-Saxon Saga, with Superb Battle Scenes

(Edit) 03/10/2020

I generally enjoy this series - it does sometimes get bogged down in rather Mills and Boon romantic subplots, no doubt to appeal to female viewers. That is yawnsome. It slows the series right down, and it loses momentum at those points - hence 4 stars and not 5.

However, the battle scenes are awsome! Really great. I rewound and watched some again. They are so well done it is awsome. They must have had such fun filming this (in Hungary, coz it's cheaper - watch the EXTRA little film on the final DVD).

Not sure it's necessary to pander to 'authentic casting' with Scandinavian actors playing Vikings (after all they look no different to Brits really). However, thank goodness there is no 'colourblind casting' - imagine if 40% of the actors here were BAME as on TV ads or awful woke BBC drama. I for one would not watch it, in that case. Historical drama MUST be authentic re skin colour. The way it is. Film is visual.

One weak point of series like these is that there are so many characters and so many look alike! One has to keep track. The last DVD has an EXTRA with a full recap of series 1 and 2. Useful, that. Hard to keep track of all the characters and changing allegiances at times too.

Very silly to see female warriors fighting and killing men twice their size but woke pandering to metoo pc girl power criteria is standard these days, if utterly tiresome and not authentic - though there were a very small number of manly female Viking warriors (in sensible shoes no doubt lol), but I'd bet anything they were not the eye candy blonde model totty we see here with long perfect blonde hair, perfect teeth, perfect skin, perfect unstained clothes etc. SO one has to bear in mind all that fantasy element. Maybe that is being true to the historical novels, I have no idea.

Anyway, a decent watch - better than any drama on terrestrial TV now, all the woke preachy pc Dr Who drivel which I avoid. Different from VIKINGS but about as violent - though I do not mind appropriate goriness. To leave it out would be pofaced and prissy indeed. Life was very violent back then.

4 stars. I hope they keep it up in series 3.

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Doghouse

Laddish, Fun, OTT, non-PC, Slasher Zombie Britflick

(Edit) 25/09/2020

I really enjoyed this. OK it is no SHAUN OF THE DEAD in comedy horror zombie stakes. And it is no SEVERANCE either which is the better film of a group out in a strange place in the woods. THE RITUAL is a seriously scary version of this sort of thing too. This film though looks are feel cheap and stagey. And becomes an OTT Grand Guignol blood and guts fest. It is what it is.

However, what is REALLY refreshing is the lack of pc - and it is very un-pc at times. Probably wouldn;t be allowed not - or maybe the other way round only with women killing male zombies. 2009 was a saner time.

BUT it does not take itself too seriously and is tongue in cheek always SO any wokies or feminuts who have an issue with it, should go back to gurning over Sylvia Plath whinge-gest poems or watch the femiwhinge fantasy Handmaids Tale or watch manhating femi-TV or the BB-She, and steer well clear of this.

I laughed and rolled my eyes and generally let myself go - so enjoyed this for what it was.

I never like Noel Clarke as an actor - so stagey, fake and over-rated - every character he plays is always Noel Clarke. BUT I like Stephen Graham and other actors here like Lee Ingleby.

Some of the female zombies are GREAT - especially the big mama! Others are fun. The plot s nonsense - but the same can be said of most horror films and most Hollywood movies too, even Oscar winners.

4 stars. One for the lads - get the beers in! Very refreshing in these woke and broke pc New Puritan times.

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Pain and Glory

Tedious, Pretentious, Self-indulgent Drivel from THE most Over-rated Director of our Age.

(Edit) 24/09/2020

This film was AWFUL, But then I tend to think Almodovar is THE most over-rated film director EVER. If a British film director made drivel like this he'd get slated. Maybe there is a Hispanic bias at work here because his mediocre movies get showered with praise.

I turned off before 1 hour as I could not stand any more.

Pointless, pretentious, dull, tedious, deeply boring - it could be a BBC TV drama!

FOR A DECENT film about drugs watch 'OSLO, 31 AUGUST' which is a BRILLIANT 2011 Scandinavian film.

AWFUL no stars.

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Sinister 2

So-so Horror Hokum Sequel

(Edit) 24/09/2020

Well more of the same, if you've watched the first film SINISTER.

It is really painting by numbers and predictable - and as in so many horror movies these days, the torture porn of SAW etc demands all movies like this are gruesome.

The usual tropes - possession, haunted house, bogie man, dead children, darkness, tinkly music, TV/radio interference.

But I have watched worse. Nothing special but OK. 3 stars.

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The Wind and the Lion

Good old-fashioned derring-do yarn about Arabs and Berber Sultans in 1904 Morocco

(Edit) 23/09/2020

I seriously enjoyed this 1975 film - old-fashioned, maybe, but a good yarn of derring-do. They don;t make em like this any more and wouldn't - not with today's pc woke diverse casting box-ticking.

This is a movie where Sean Connery plays an Arab or Berber Sultan with a broad Scottish accent, remember - and these days the demand would be for someone non-white to play the role (hardly authentic though and no demand for colourblind casting for any ethnic roles ever, I notice...SUCH woke hypocrisy).

I have no idea if this is based on a true story or not. And really, I do not care. The British are there and Americans and French and Germans - and Moroccans. So it predates Casablanca then but is just as much a melting pot.

All that matters is that this is an action-packed story set in 1904 Morocco and thoroughly entertaining, with Connery acting the Berber Sultan in the manner of the Arab rulers in Lawrence of Arabia.

Of course, one has to remind oneself that the Barbary (Berber) pirates were the ones who raided the coast of Europe and especially England (Devon and Cornwall), Wales and Ireland stealing slaves - estimated at 1.25 million between the 14th and 18th centuries, right up to when Britain banned the slave trade in 1807. The BBC has yet to make a documentary about that - it does not fit the 'bad white European colonialist' agenda. But it is FACT. These Muslim Arab slave traders would raid villages on Sunday mornings when everyone was at church - they especially wanted the women and children, and all people stolen ended up in Arab slave markets, sold to hareems. Many people in Asia and the Middle East and North Africa have white European ancestry because of it (and soldiers). I would LOVE to see a movie made about that - but it won;t be in these woke and broke lie times.

4.5 stars. A good yarn. A Sunday afternoon film. Watch with Lawrence of Arabia.

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The Last Kingdom: Series 1

Highly Enjoyable and Authentic 9th Century Saxons versus Vikings saga, based on novels

(Edit) 20/09/2020

I really enjoyed this AND would recommend watching the 3 excellent little extra films on the final disc showing how the series was made and how they all strove for authenticity.

It's not fair really to compare it to VIKINGS - also an excellent show, but with a very different feel. I enjoyed both series massively.

Some great characters and fight scenes, although i would advise viewers to pay attention esp in early episodes as there are lots of characters and it can be confusing, esp when some of the women look so alike!

I'm not sure it's 100% necessary to have authentic casting for the Vikings with Scandinavian actors - though they are all great; the equal and opposite would be to say no non-native English speaker should be allowed to play native English speaker British/American roles in films. But anyway THANK GOODNESS there is no colourblind casting - if the BBC had make this or a pc woke film maker (like the one who cast an Indian actor as David Copperfield) the Anglo-Saxon and Viking strongholds may well resemble Wakanda lol. Or perhaps Midsomer Murders...

Some serious characters and some good fun comic ones - I liked the poor king who lives in a 'palace' shed! There were so many kings around at that time, in what was to be England and Wales, and Ireland and Scotland, it seems anyone who thought they could chance it as a warlord did so.

I am not a fan of historical novels really - I always see them as a bit of a cheat too, taking facts and characters from history with research and writing them up. But it is a popular genre and I often like the TV series that come from the books.

I particularly liked the authenticity in place names and character names too - though some of the Vikings are perhaps not so authentic, and look more like a 1980s version of Keith Richards! I know Winchester which was Alfred's capital so that made it even more interesting for me.

Great anyway. Good music too.

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The Personal History of David Copperfield

Dreadful silly racist adaptation of Dicken's great autobiographical novel

(Edit) 14/09/2020

SO what about 'authentic casting' which is demanded for ANY non-white role?

David Copperfield is meant to be Charles Dickens who was not, as far as I am \aware, Indian.

This is utter nonsense and hypocrisy. The demand for socalled 'colourblind casting' is only made when BAME actors demand top play white roles. BUT what about white actors playing BAME roles? WHY no white Zulu tribesmen or white native Africans or Asians? WHY not cat a white as Nelson Mandela, Ghandi, reidents of black fantasy land Wakanda.

The activists pick and choose whenever they want 'colourblind casting' or 'authentic casting' and the one they want depends on nothing but their greed and self-interest. I call these racist hypocrites out.

AND Ianucci is an unfunny and over-rated writer and director too. Pleases the critics. Not the public. Just not as talented as he thinks he is.

Woke and broke. Shameful racist pc posturing. No stars. Watch OLD versions of Dickens to avoid this depressing racist mind virus of woke. Watch DAVID LEAN'S Great version. Watch all the old films, not modern pc woke adaptations.

3 out of 6 members found this review helpful.

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Border

Brilliantly Original Swedish Film + one of the best films I have seen in a decade

(Edit) 14/09/2020

I had no idea what to expect from this film. None. I thought it may be the usual tedious Scandinavian smuggery. Slow movies which go nowhere about relationships.

How wrong I was! This is a\bout relationships but oh so much more.

Oddly it is utterly believable. And wonderfully specific to Scandinavian traditions and myths.

The specific crime ring plotline may be a tad unbelievable BUT the writing, set-up, sheer skill at establishing character and place that has happened before means we can suspend our disbelief for that too.

I LOVED this film. Just brilliant. Better than anything I have seen from Hollywood for years. If I could I'd give it the Oscar.

Imagine the BBC Film Unit making this - the demand for authentic casting and the shoehorning of black characters and racism issues in the plot. Thankfully, there is none of that. None. WHAT A BREATH OF FRESH AIR.

5 stars and then some - this is a brilliant movie. SO good. Intelligent, thoughtful, genuine, BRILLIANT!

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The New Pope

Stylish, Stylised, Hit-and-Miss Papal Fantasy by a massively over-rated Italian director

(Edit) 12/09/2020

This series is occasionally enjoyable but often very irritating indeed. I suspect this director's style fits the southern Catholic Italian sensibility more than the northern Anglo-Saxon one. I suspect Catholics who care so much who the pope is will find this more interesting than I do. I have no idea why he won the Cannes from with THE GREAT BEAUTY - awful, pretentious movie.

The director's tendency to keep trying to make pop videos grates, as does his stereotypical nonsense about British food being awful (It isn';t and in Italian restaurants here you can get anything anywhere, unlike in regional Italy) and British weather being always rainy. IN FACT, Rome gets more annual rainfall than London, YES, REALLY. Lazy, silly, Italian bigotry.

BUT there are some great scenes and actors - and nice to see Woburn Abbey on TV standing in for the stately home of the John Malkovich character. BUT ultimately it is all rather silly and pointless.

2 stars

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Candyman

A Decent Enough 1992 Horror which is still Very 80s (based on Clive Barker's novel Forbidden)

(Edit) 31/08/2020

I see they are remaking this or have done - predictably with a black female director and screenplay from the man who wrote GET OUT (who also says films with white people in have no interest for him - such utter racism! The characters matter NOT the skin colour).

Anyway, this is fun and there are several points than made me jump out of my skin. Funny how all actors in it white and black disappeared without trace though.

Remember that this is based on a horror novel by a white British man, Clive Barker. No doubt people yell STAY IN YOUR LANE at him now. It was Mr Barker who came up with the classic stare in the mirror and say the name 5 times shtick. Perfect. I can imagine youngsters doing that and being disappinted when sod all happens lol.

One thing has always puzzled me though - why Candymen takes revenge on the poor black people. Supposedly as they didn't help him in the legend but still doesn;t quite work logically. Nor does the whole bee thing, though it looks good. And as for the toilet scene and what happens to the boy - a lot of this just does not make sense and is here for pure imagery and the look of it. Fair enough.

Reminds me of SHE actually - and those old Egyptian mummy films with a modern woman who looks like an ancient princess in a picture.

3 stars for the film and 1 extra star for the brilliant Philip Glass soundtrack. I bet the remake uses awful rap and R&B. Yawn.

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Bates Motel: Series 5

Enjoyable Thrilling Series about Abnormal Norman which almost Jumps the Mad Mash-up Shark

(Edit) 30/08/2020

I enjoyed all 5 series of this - watched the shows back to back, and only found out recently they were made between 2012 and 2017.

Freddie Highmore is perfectly cast here. Maz Thieriot is superb as normal Dylan. Vera Farimiga grew on me as Norma, even if looking way too young and glamorous at first. I loved the character of Chick and Romero's character curve neatly mirror's Norman/Norma's.

The show pays homage to the 1960/1 Psycho movie. That is blatant here in an episode (5) with the motel shower scene... ALTHOUGH Hitchcock himself did not create that - it was storyboarded by a French scriptwriter apparently.

However, WHY did they cast Rihanna as Marion Crane. In the original movie a pretty Marliyn-Monroe-esque sexy blonde woman played her. In the EXTRA documentary here they say Rihanna was a fan of the show so cast her. WHY? She may well be a good rapper/singer (I have no idea - not my kind of music) but she is not stunningly pretty which is what is required for this character. I just did not believe the person she was in a relationship with would have a relationship with her (no spoilers). This spoilt the story for me. I suspect a reaction to #OscarsSoWhite etc and deliberate diverse casting (ie shoehorning black actors into the drama, which is set in a VERY white area of the USA actually).

There is also a pc nod to female casting with the female Sheriff. That doesn't work really. It's a copy and paste job from Fargo to tick diversity boxes again - and made me cringe.

I am so glad the series has ended here as it was in serious danger of jumping the shark and outstaying its welcome.

But these are minor points. The entire series is well paced and written, although sometimes when the plot veers off into romantic relationships away from the spooky house and motel, it loses momentum. But when it's in the motel with Norman, it's superb.

The split personality stuff is handled well despite its inaccuracy in medical terms (Ed Gein was the model for this and other mass murderers). It's also worth noting that a son loving his mother and living with her is not odd or abnormal. We wouldn't say that if a daughter did it. so why the sexism? In these times of insane soaring house prices and parents getting older nearing care, many grown-up sons and daughters will be living with mum.

To take a classic movie and mash it up like this is brave and original - those TV series that just plod on, remaking things loyally, or all those TV series which take some old book and make a dull plodding TV series (preferably set in India) are so tedious and best avoided.

But this is special. AND they even get a mention of great Welsh poet Dylan Thomas in at the end so well done for that!

The ending (no spoilers) is satisfying and right. And the soundtrack, as ever, is cool and often very British too.

Watch the extras to hear from the producers and actors.

4 stars.

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Sinister

Very Effective Horror Movie in the Haunted House/Bogie Man Genre

(Edit) 29/08/2020

I really enjoyed this movie - it had me hooked and jumping out of my skin in all the right places.

Gets a tad silly but all very well done. A bit predictable in act 3 to be honest but the ride was great.

Far better than most budget horrors.

But why oh why is the young boy have such long girly hair and why is he called 'Trevor'? I mean, 'Trevor'! If he were e 60 year old cock-er-ney maybe. Maybe it's an American thing. I'd recast that character and rename him.

Otherwise, good fun silly and effective horror. The sequel looks decent too.

The acting and plot are spot-on and the soundtrack is excellent too.

4 stars.

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Offensive

Decent Revenge Fantasy when Feral Kids Get What's Coming...

(Edit) 28/08/2020

OK so this is very much a B-movie with some very wooden acting and on the nose obvious dialogue which should have been edited out before shooting started.

Having said that, it is an enjoyable revenge fantasy. A couple who (improbably) move to France after an army friend of their father leaves them a house in his will but only if they live there a year, get agro from the local yobs, male and female.

This being France, some are obviously north African heritage (in the UK that;d be black, esp in cities). Anyone who has lived in London will know the type - amoral feral kids who make everyone's life a misery with mugging, anti-social behaviour etc. The young actors here get it spot on as does the script - these yobbo kids are truly menacing and scary. AND true to life, sadly.

I wort of didn';t believe some parts (a couple like this would surely own a property at home in the USA by their age and yet they say they have never owned a place themselves, Hmmm). And the police procedure and seeming lack of any investigation or DNA testing or SOC officers make it all a bit absurd.

BUT it is I must admit rather enjoyable to see the yobbish thugs who do not care who they hurt getting what they deserve. If only...

Watch with EDEN LAKE a British-set version of this, violent too and classier to be honest. Great to watch the two movies back to back.

Now I look forward to someone somewhere daring to make a version of this feral youth thug storyline but set in the ethnic inner city with black feral kids making everyone;'s life a misery (an everyday story in London).

4 stars. A decent effort on a small budget.

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Red Monarch

Excellent Drama About the Horrific Farce of Stalin and Beria in early 1950s USSR

(Edit) 27/08/2020

For me, this is a superb TV drama WAY superior to the unfunny posturing 'The Death of Stalin' (2017) by the endlessly over-rated and unfunny Armando Iannucci.

This dates from 1983 and is from a stage play, and that shows in its theatricality and farce tradition - which is maybe the best way to respond to the horror of Stalin. Comedy and tragedy are two sides of the same coin.

Some old British character actors pop up in this, which is fun (eg David Kelly, comedy Irishman from Fawlty Towers and Robin's Nest etc) and Dave the Wincester Club barman from Minder!

Yes, subtitles would be handy as a few lines are hard to understand, esp with all the accents.

To make Stalin and the vile rapist Beria Irish is supposed to mark them as outsiders as both were Georgian in charge of the USSR in Moscow. I would suggest this idea is a bit dated though.

And NOW WAY would the pc gestapo in charge of TV now allow non-Chinese people to play Chinese characters - sadly. Though they always have black actors playing white roles now!

I enjoyed this. I'd like to see it on stage too.

4 stars

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Bates Motel: Series 4

Entertaining Series about Abnormal Norman and Norma, his mummy...

(Edit) 23/08/2020

This series is really interesting and enjoyable. Occasionally, one is brought to think how ridiculous it all is - set in modern day etc - and it is only through nifty plot twists and characters that keep the attention that this gigantic mash-up works.

Occasionally it annoys, as with some diverse ethnic casting, subplots re lung transplants and romance of the brother Dylan. and mental home mooching and wallowing.

But once it returns to the house and Norman, and Norma of course, the spark is reignited.

I cannot wait for series 5 - the last.

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