Film Reviews by LC

Welcome to LC's film reviews page. LC has written 25 reviews and rated 189 films.

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Mary Poppins Returns

Practically pointless in every way

(Edit) 01/07/2019

This is well-shot, and looks good, but the storyline sticks so close to the original film that by the end you are wondering why they didn't just do a straight remake. Another tale of childhood wonder vs. the stifling evil bank; Cockney chimneysweep replaced by a lamplighter (complete with group dance routine); a trip to cartoon-land; a visit to a relative who floats on the ceiling replaced by a scene with a relative whose house turns upside down, etc etc. None of this would matter so much if these scenes were an improvement on the originals, but they just feel like hollow repetitions. This film is so busy trying to be a homage to the first film, it forgets to bring anything new to the table, which makes the whole thing feel like a pointless exercise. Like watching colourful but ultimately boring wallpaper. 2.5 out of 5

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The Possessed

Great atmospheric thriller

(Edit) 17/06/2019

Not expecting much, I was pretty blown away by this film. Give another treatment, this could have been a fairly standard thriller/murder mystery, but the direction and black and white cinematography is gorgeous, and the whole thing is dripping in atmosphere. The plot doesn't so much progress from standard investigative procedure, as by a series of intuitive flashbacks and hallucinatory fever-dreams, which gives everything a strange dreamlike feel. The only reason I'm not giving this the full 5 out of 5, is that when the final explanation comes it is perhaps not quite as fulfilling as the lead up has been, but this is still a hugely impressive work. If you like 'Psycho', or the better Dario Argento films, this is definately one to watch.

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Mortal Engines

Great visuals, shame about everything else

(Edit) 13/06/2019

This film looks a million dollars (well, several million), and on high-definition format on a big TV it's just about worth watching for the visuals alone. Unfortunately, despite the interesting concept of mobile cities preying on each other, the characters and and storyline here are nothing but obvious genre cliché and the dialogue is frequently ripe with cheese. Would recommend for children, who are too young or innocent to spot the clichés piling up (and apparently this is based on a Young Adult novel, so maybe a 'kids' film' is all it was ever intended to be) - anyone else, and you're just going to have to try to switch your brain off and enjoy the pretty pictures.

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Girls' Last Tour

A sedate post-apocalytic road trip

(Edit) 31/05/2019

Two girls travel through a post-apocalyptic city, occasionally encountering other survivors, robots or life-forms, and uncovering scraps of information about how their world became this way. In terms of pacing, this is very sedate, with little in the way of action or even incident for large sections, but it does have a certain hypnotic appeal. Ultimately, equally charming and boring, but if you are looking for something a bit different and more relaxed, this is not without appeal.

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This Time

Good, but not great

(Edit) 02/05/2019

For me, Alan peaked with 'I'm Alan Partridge' - particularly the first season, where every character was amazing and pretty much every line was a quotable classic. This latest outing is pretty much in line with every Partridge-related outing since then - it's decent, and there are enough great moments to make it worthwhile (Alan practicing corporal punishment on a model schoolboy is a particular standout), but as a whole it's just too patchy and uneven to stand up to that all-time classic. Still, some decent laughs, so it's definitely good - it's just not great.

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Human Desire

Decent

(Edit) 17/04/2019

A solid film noir thriller, though the resolution feels very rushed and not particularly satisfying.

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Climax

A film of two halves

(Edit) 17/04/2019

This is a difficult film to rate - I found the first half pretty enjoyable viewing, but the second half mostly lost me. Nothing much happens in the first half (other than some wild dancing), but there are lots of inventive camera moves, long takes, colour and sound, and I found it interesting in an 'arty' way. For the second half of the film, things shift more into horror mode as the spiked drink kicks in, but I couldn't really buy into the reality of the situation, and endless scenes of people wandering around screaming hysterically ultimately felt slightly boring. Despite that, there's enough visual invention here that I'd say this is still worth a watch if you appreciate more off-beat and arty films, it's just a shame the largely improvised narrative isn't stronger. (3.5 out of 5)

1 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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Mandy

All style, little substance

(Edit) 13/04/2019

Whilst clearly low-budget, 'Mandy' is rich with style - dripping with psychedelic colours and a deliberately retro 80s feel that extends to the soundtrack. However, whilst Initially seeming to take inspiration from a bunch of Charles Manson-like crazies, it soon becomes clear that in terms of storyline this is a completely generic revenge thriller, with nothing original to say. Think 'Kill Bill' (and yes, this has cartoon interludes as well), only without either the budget or Tarantino's snappy dialogue. There is still enough visual colour and whacky performances for this to be an enjoyably off-beat watch, but by the end it's hard not to feel that it's all slightly empty spectacle. Still, fun in a knowingly retro 'Hobo With a Shotgun' kinda way.

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Halloween

A missed opportunity

(Edit) 25/03/2019

I wanted to like this film more - the idea of a traumatised survivor fully prepared for Michael's inevitable return is a good one, but sadly it's not really explored in any great depth, with far too much time given over to the latest batch of disposable teens rather than Jamie Lee Curtis' character. The film also feels far too predictable and formulaic - rather than giving a breath of fresh-air to the franchise, this feels like any number of previous forgettable sequels. A shame. Works just about as a passable entertainment, but not a film I'll ever need to watch again.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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Hereditary

A film of two halves

(Edit) 03/03/2019

This first half of this film, where we follow a family struck by tragedy, is pretty well done, with the supernatural elements being subtle enough that you are not sure whether they are real or just a manifestation of the lead character being overwhelmed by grief and mental illness. Unfortunately however the film plays it's hand way too early, and any sense of realism is lost as the second half descends into a cartoonish mass of horror film clichés. The underlying story is pretty solid, and there are some decent bits, but I can't help but feel that a little restraint would have gone a long way here.

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Ready Player One

Not suitable for adults

(Edit) 20/02/2019

Was terribly disappointed by this, and only ended up sitting through the final hour as I'd already wasted the first hour on it. Full of frantic but meaningless CGI action scenes, Spielberg at his most saccharine and schmaltzy, cheesy cliché-spouting characters, and a film who's ultimate message is 'nothing is as real as reality' - well, duh, thanks for that revelation! Younger children will find enough cartoonish spectacle and comfort to enjoy this as a mindless action romp, but confusingly it also seems to be stuffed full of 80's nostalgia aimed at 40-somethings, with a completely out of place detour into the world of Kubrick's 'The Shining', of all things? If you are older than about 14, avoid this.

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Wonder Wheel

A flop that turns out to be pretty good

(Edit) 30/01/2019

It seems a real shame for all involved that the real-life controversy surrounding Woody Allen ended up making this a box-office bomb, with not even a UK blu ray release available, as I found it a surprisingly solid drama. It's not perfect - it's a little on the melodramatic side, and it feels quite 'stagey', but the central human drama is very engaging with a real mess of tangled love lives, and the acting is solid. I'm not a huge Woody Allen fan, so haven't seen huge swathes of his work, but I found this an interesting and worthwhile watch - even on slightly fuzzy low-definition DVD.

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Doctor Who: New Series 11

Dull, boring, misfire - the worst new Who series yet

(Edit) 14/01/2019

I was completely fine with the idea of casting a female Doctor, but sadly this series is a crushing disappointment. The source of the problem is new lead writer Chris Chibnall's scripts. Gone is the wit, invention and fun of previous series, replaced by a series of dull scenarios and dull dialogue. The Doctor shows none of the depth of previous incarnations, but seems to be stuck in 'cheerful mum' mode throughout, and the stories never examine the consequences of her pacifist philosophy (some of the ramifications of which are huge, and seemingly ripe for dramatic exploration). The crowded TARDIS doesn't work - of the three companions only Graham (a nice performance by Bradley Walsh) gets any emotional development, with Ryan (wooden, suffers from dyspraxia for a couple of scripts before this is forgotten about) and particularly Yaz (supposedly a policewoman, but essentially invisible for most of the series) barely making any impact. The cinematography looks nice, as the production team have splashed out on new lenses, but otherwise the sets feel mostly large and empty, making everything look a bit cheap and underpopulated (have there been budget cuts again?). Even the new TARDIS interior looks like cheap plastic.

Things do improve slightly in the middle the season, when we get a few episodes by other writers - Alan Cumming in particular is a hoot as King James in 'The Witchfinders', and 'Demons of the Punjab' is a sensitive take on the partition of India - but then Chibnall returns for the most underwhelming series finale ever, and puts the final nail in the coffin. What a shame.

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Mountains May Depart

Potentially great film crashes and burns in the final third

(Edit) 24/10/2018

I found this a frustrating experience. Divided into three clear sections, this film follows the effects of a love triangle throughout the years. The first two parts set in China are wonderful - moving, subtle human drama, well acted and with gorgeous cinematography. Sadly however, the final segment sees a switch to English language as we jump to near-future Australia, and suddenly it's all awkward, stilted dialogue, bad acting and unconvincing aging makeup. What a shame.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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The Post

Dull, talky and cliched

(Edit) 23/10/2018

Doubtless the real life historical story is an important one, but sadly that doesn't mean it's going to make a great film. The first half is worthy but ultimately a talky and rather dull cinematic experience. However things actually get worse in the second half, with some hideously scripted moments of mawkish 'underdog makes good' and 'female empowerment' - neither of which are inherently bad things, but are handled so obviously they just seem like Hollywood clichés. Not entirely awful, but a disappointment.

3 out of 3 members found this review helpful.
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