Film Reviews by TE

Welcome to TE's film reviews page. TE has written 218 reviews and rated 227 films.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

A Gentle Creature

And now for something different, in a good way!

(Edit) 23/09/2020

A fascinating film that challenges the audience in brave and interesting ways. Very much a film for people who believe that one of the functions of art is to disturb us and make us think.

The story in itself is very absorbing and is enhanced by some excellent cinematography. It is hard to write about 'A Gentle Creature' without giving away key elements of the narrative, but suffice to say that much of the final 20-25 minutes is taken up with a dream sequence that has divided critics.

Personally, I did find this sequence too much of a jarring change from the highly realistic body of the film. However, it is just an exaggerated version of the critique of modern Russia that is the theme of the whole movie, so it is at least consistent.

There are many haunting sequences in 'A Gentle Creature', and Loznitsa is definitely "one to watch" in terms of groundbreaking World Cinema.

The disc contains an interview with him, and a very useful talk by a UK film writer.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Aniara

How to go nowhere in space

(Edit) 19/09/2020

The weakness of this film lies in its sheer implausibility. A civilisation that can travel regularly to Mars and set up colonies there is likely to be able to rescue one of its ships, or at least communicate with it. And life seems to continue pretty much as normal for rather a long time after the ship has lost all its power. Everybody looks suspiciously buff and well fed on a diet of algae.

The strengths lie in its message about the dystopia that the human race seems bent on creating. The ship is, of course, a microcosm of our existing society and the film makers take us through the various stages of our decay.

There are, however, additional disappointments. It's a pity that the one prominent non-white character is the one who becomes a murdering tyrant. And the weird cult orgy scene is hilarious rather than sinister or erotic.

Maybe the book that Aniara is based on is better...the film doesn't make me want to find out.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

A Brighter Summer Day

Up there with the very best!

(Edit) 19/09/2020

This is one of the great films of world cinema. It appears regularly in the various top 100 films of all time lists, though the same director's other major masterpiece, 'Yi Yi: a One and a Two' appears higher up those lists. And these accolades are thoroughly deserved.

If I could I would give it more than 5 stars (partly to balance out the crass review by RD already on here!).

Don't be put off by the epic length, this is an absorbing story that takes in complex family dynamics, teenage psychosis, political displacement and many subtle shades of power abuse.

The extra dimension that Edward Yang brings to these subjects is empathy and a humane warmth. I recommend 'A One and a Two' as a better starting point for an acquaintance with Yang's work, but 'A Brighter Summer Day' (the title is a quotation from an Elvis Presley song) is also a timeless classic.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

The Emigrants / The New Land

Absorbing saga, but not the full story

(Edit) 14/09/2020

The early section of this epic portrayal of Swedish emigration to America in the mid-19th century gets a little bogged down in its depiction of life in a rural Swedish community. However, the film hits its stride once the central family hit the road and cross the Atlantic.

The second disc offers an excellent portrayal of the hardships, dangers and drudgery that these early settlers faced.

The film is propelled by reliable performances from Max Von Sydow as the patriarch, and from Liv Ullman as the baby-machine mother. However, it is Eddie Axberg who really stands out as the restless, troubled brother.

The film does give a rather one-sided view of the clashes with the native Americans that erupted in the Minnesota area in 1862. There is no real questioning of the way that the Swedish families seize land for themselves. The film was made 50 years ago and I suspect that a contemporary director would adopt a much more nuanced approach to this issue.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

24 Frames

A quietly contemplative triumph

(Edit) 14/09/2020

This is a brilliant 'signing off' by the great Abbas Kiarostami. It includes a short but revealing interview with his son, who makes the point that this is not an entry point for the director's work, but is a magnificant coda.

The use of sound and music is vital to the project, and the result is a stunning all round artistic achievement.

The first of the 24 Frames is a charming adaptation of the well known winter scene by Brueghel. This segues into a series of 23 meditative shorts that sometimes pick up on aspects of the painting.

Kiarostami knew he was dying and this is a rare opportunity to accompany an artist in his final visions.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Wyatt Earp

Just a bad home movie

(Edit) 10/09/2020

This is an amateur home movie. Not even unintentionally funny enough to be worth watching. Even the sound recording is dreadful. Avoid!

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Bill Morrison: Selected Films 1996-2014

Uniquely brilliant artistry

(Edit) 27/08/2020

This gets 5 stars for 'Decasia' alone!

The first disc traces Morrison's development and the origins of his trademark use of distressed found footage and avant garde music.

This is film-poetry that fits in a gallery as much as in a cinematic setting. Full screen showings of Morrison's work must be very rare, which is a shame as that would make for a more immersive experience.

'Outerborough' is the best of the other short films on Disc 1, a mesmerising split-screen ride on an urban monorail.

However, it is 'Decasia' that is the most fully realised work here. It is a treasure trove of memorable images and effects.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

For Sama

Extraordinary window into the horrors of civil war

(Edit) 22/08/2020

The first review on here, by "PV" is simply ignorant.

At no point in 'For Sama' is there any endorsement of Islamic fundamentalism in general or of ISIL in particular. We see the beginnings of the opposition to the Assad regime during the Arab Spring. ISIL did not hi-jack the freedom movement in Aleppo: they were present as one of many anti-Assad groups but chose to leave early on in order to help set up their disastrous caliphate.

It's a shame that such an excellent documentary should be the subject of such an ignorant attack by PV.

This is above all else a timeless document of humane values fighting to survive in the most extreme conditions of inhumanity. It puts the focus where it should be, on the children irreparably damaged by war and sectarian violence.

The honest self-questioning by Waad al-Kateab gives the film an ongoing resonance.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Neighbouring Sounds

Subtle and intriguing

(Edit) 21/08/2020

The sights and sounds in this very watchable film are full of hints and discreet nods. There is a nagging sense that more is happening off screen than on it. The facial close-ups are particularly telling.

The director's light touch works well, though there is perhaps insufficient character development to make us care too much about the security concerns of these upper middle class Brazilians. There is almost a feeling of catharsis when the wealthy patriarch gets his come uppance in the end.

Filho also works plenty of wry humour into the meandering narrative.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Incendies

The true reality of civil war

(Edit) 14/08/2020

A chilling unpacking of the profound horrors of war, especially civil war. The implications of religious sectarianism are spelt out with shocking rigour and detail.

The story itself is gripping and the direction is surefooted. Flashback is an over-used technique these days, but here it is used with great skill, allowing us to follow the quest at the same pace as the sister and brother at the heart of the tale.

The origin of the script is in a successful play and the debt to Greek tragedy is clear.

This is a story that resonates powerfully in the mind for a long time after the final telling image on the screen.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Honeyland

Restores faith in the medium of film

(Edit) 14/08/2020

Every so often a film comes along which defies conventional analysis. The 'docu-drama' genre is a good source of such films, and Honeyland is an outstanding example.

The review by PD contains a lot of helpful detail, and an important questioning. Ultimately the film succeeds on several levels, from the visually stunning cinematography to the allegorical message implicit in the despoiling of Hatidze's bee colony.

This is simply a magnificent example of the power of film to inform and to advocate.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Ema

Attractive surface but ultimately disappointing

(Edit) 08/08/2020

An excellent review by WS, so I won't repeat the points made there.

This film had a very sycophantic review in Sight & Sound magazine, but I feel much more ambivalent about it. The best bits were the set piece dance scenes, which benefit from stunning settings and fine choreography.

Any emotional impact is undermined by the robotic performance of Ema herself, a detached sensibility that is undoubtedly intentional on the part of the director. The whole narrative feels contrived and overheated (pun on arson and pyromania intended). Every action is po-faced and crammed with cynical motivation.

It's hard to care about anyone in this portentous, humourless film.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

The Hunt for Vlad the Impaler

Truly dire

(Edit) 04/08/2020

Slow, ponderous and unintentionally hilarious (mainly because everyone looks so serious and constipated all the time).

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Monos

A visual treat

(Edit) 04/08/2020

A 3-star narrative is elevated to a 4-star film experience by the dangerous beauty of the settings and the excellent camerawork.

The lighting is incredibly good throughout, helped by a superb palette of stark colours.

In some respects the film owes a lot to both Lord of the Flies and Apocalypse Now, but none of the characters are well enough depicted and developed to merit closer comparisons to those great works.

However, this is a striking movie that holds the attention from start to finish.

0 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Country Music

Watch without prejudice!

(Edit) 29/07/2020

I wish I could give this more than 5 stars! What a joy this series is!

Lots of fascinating film footage and still photography, all assembled with the trademark Ken Burns effortless interweaving style.

Too many people in the UK have held snobbish attitudes to Country music. Let's hope that this brilliant documentary helps to break that down even more.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.
1234567891015

Help & support

Find answers to frequently asked questions and contact us should you need to

How It Works

See prices and levels and find out how Cinema Paradiso service works

Friends for Films

Invite your friends to join and get free subscription each month