Film Reviews by DB

Welcome to DB's film reviews page. DB has written 13 reviews and rated 44 films.

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Dragged Across Concrete

Trys hard but very slow

(Edit) 14/09/2019

If a movie is going to ask me to hand over 2hrs and 40 minutes of my life to it then it had better be good. Dragged Across Concrete is nowhere near good enough for that scale of transaction. There is a scene in the movie where Vince Vaughn is eating some crunchie thing ( for some inexplicable reason the film company is so proud of it it appears in the trailer - but in much shortened form ) that just goes on and on and then in what is presumably a knowing wink to the audience concludes with Mel Gibson saying 'he has been waiting hours for that to finish' - not only did I feel the same about the scene I felt it all the more about the entire movie. Give it a miss.

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Armstrong

Interesting but not insightful

(Edit) 15/09/2019

It can't be easy making a documentary about a man as emotionally controlled and as taciturn as Neil Armstrong but David Fairhead makes a creditable attempt.

A notable absence from the movie is Buzz Aldrin , the only actual witness to the Armstrongs most famous moment and either he was not asked or chose not to involve himself ? Very odd and a real weakness in the documentary.

The film is mostly made up of interviews with people who knew him personally and professionaly; what film there is of Armstrong talking is composed entirely of non-candid moments speaking to the press etc.

The family movies are mildly intersting , not informative particularly ( they are silent ) and Harrison Ford reads from some of Armstrongs private writings , presumably made available by the family, and they helpful in providing some insight into the man. Insights that he never voiced to camera himself. I did wonder how open the family were at providing access to all his writings however. There is,if not a suggestion of hagiography , then definately a very selective history on display.

No reference at all , for example, is made of the allegation of medical malpractice made by the family against the hospital where Armstrong died .

In the end if you are interested in the man , then you would be better off i.m.o watching Damien Chazelle's movie 'First Man' a completely different genre , drama vs documentary ,but really I think you need the drama to give the guy a, fully deserved, 3rd dimension.

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Mortal Engines

Boring

(Edit) 25/05/2019

I don't know how you can employ this much talent on a movie and spend this much money on it to end up with something so boring and flat - even as metaphor , and as metaphor it is hardly subtle , it is just awful.

If I were to sum it up in a word it would be tedious , after 15 minutes I was looking at my watch - which for a movie that is over 2 hours long is a bad sign. Give it a miss you won't be sorry.

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Annihilation

Very Disappointing

(Edit) 03/05/2019

I tried reading the book but gave up on it. Despite that the premise was sufficiently intriguing I thought I should give it a chance as a film.

I at least managed to make it to the end this time, but take it from me it's not really worth the slog. The film looks great but that is about it , having to come up with a plot yourself because the filmmakers didn't doesn't make a movie profound it just makes it pointless.

It's all long moments of people who don't know anything interspersed with science-babble that makes the nonsense that accompanies cosmetic adverts sound like it deserves a Nobel.

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Aquaman

I enjoyed it

(Edit) 03/05/2019

The adaptation of DC comics to the screen has not been anywhere near as successful as that of Marvel , but I have to say I thought this movie is probably the best yet from the DC catalogue.

The film looks great for the most part , some of the CGI looks a little over-processed but human faces are hard to get right , so I can live with it.

It's not the deepest ( forgive the pun ) movie you will ever see ; at no point are you going to find yourself saying "I didn't see that plot twist coming" but it has a lot of story to tell and despite its length the action keeps coming.

Give it a chance you might enjoy , I know I did.

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Star Trek: Discovery: Series 1

Not great but almost as bad as some say

(Edit) 28/12/2018

First of all the good; the show , imo, looks great - the sets and special effects are top notch. Umm , I cant think of anything else ...

The weaknesses all stem from the writing. Historically, as best as I can recall , you would get a Star Trek series that, if it had 20 episodes , would offer up 21-22 stories ; one or two stories that lasted a season but otherwise one story per episode . Not so in this case, essentially you have one story told over 15 episodes, if I was quicker on the uptake I would have taken that as my first indication that the writing was going to be weak - that was only confirmed by the sudden switch over into the 'alternate universe' trope a desperate writing move that most programs don't reach until they are midway through season 4 or something not halfway through season 1. None of the main characters are particularly engaging , not as appallingly misjudged as some of the characters in Star Wars (Ep 1,2,3) that come to mind but that is hardly a complement. If you are a fan of the genre and a bit of a completest then watch the series and come to your own conclusion but unless they put some serious effort into improving the writing I won't be coming back for seconds.

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The Third Murder

Totally mystified by this

(Edit) 21/08/2018

I usually enjoy Japanese movies but I confess I was releaved when this movie finally finished , it was really hard work. The real problem with it I found was that it was very hard to understand what was going on , I don't usually mind that a filmmaker assumes that his audience is capable of following along but in order for that to happen you do need to have some clues to help in that process I get the feeling that the subtitles were only capturing about 5% of the plot and none of its subtlety . Some of the conversations between lawyer and client ( particularly towards the end were completely mystifying and appeared to be assembled at random ). Did he do it , or didn't he , if he did do it do we know why , was he a good man doing bad things - absolutely no clue. Everyone in this movie - lawyers, defendants and witnesses are lying or concealing their motives

It could be that this movie is a thickly veiled critique of the Japanese judicial system , or maybe just its defence lawyers. Certainly a Japanese courtroom does not come across as a forum for enquiring minds - most of the decisions seem to be agreed in advance in back room deals and defence lawyers seem to get the rough end of it. At the start of the movie the camera is positioned so it is on the same side of the partition as the defence lawyer making the prisoner appear to the one who is incarcerated , mid way through the movie and the camera has switched positions so it appears as if it is the lawyers who are boxed in and by the end the director uses reflections to overlap their faces to suggest that the two are indistinguishable - maybe that is the point ? Who knows ? If you are a native Japanese speaker perhaps you can let the rest of us know.

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Ready Player One

Fun but lacking what made the book special

(Edit) 13/08/2018

I remember reading the book and loving it, so I was really looking forward to this. As someone who was around in the 80's the book was full ( and I do mean FULL) of references to music/movies/games that I was familiar with , there were plenty of moments where I laughed after being reminded of some thing I had otherwise forgotten. You won't have any of those moments in the movie , occasionally one of the characters will need to introduce a comment about how '.., this was popular in the 80's .." but in truth it does not dwell or rely on any recollection of the decade.

I'm OK with that , I understand that many of the people who see the movie won't even have been born then so that's OK , in the meantime everyone will likely enjoy the movie on its own terms .Which is a series of chase and fight scenes , highly kinetic , brilliantly graphic and very imaginative - but if you were a teenager in the 80's read the book instead you'll have a lot more fun.

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A Fantastic Woman

Hard to categorise but worth a watch.

(Edit) 14/08/2018

I have to say I enjoyed the movie ( I do hesitate to say this because its a movie that witnesses a a family reeling from the unexpected death of a loved one and whats to enjoy about that ? ) but it is a reminder that movies can be about anything the film makers want and if they do it well then that movie will likely find an audience. This movie is done well and if you make/watch movies then that's not a bad lesson to learn.

The fact that the main subject of the movie is trans does seem to have occupied an enormous amount of attention in the reviews - I don't know why really I never felt it was that important. It provides a useful plot device that makes it easy for the family to exhibit anger, fear and denial ( all stages in grief , which as I have said is what the movie is really all about ) but the film maker could just as easily have chosen some other hook to snag societal intolerance upon ( a more conventional gay relationship perhaps or a mixed race or religion relationship, age , financial status etc ) and the movie could have proceeded on broadly identical lines. It certainly got the movie attention and if you are trying to sell a movie there is nothing wrong with that.

If you are looking for a movie 'about the trans experience' though I have to say I think you are missing the point.

Had a decent soundtrack too , special thanks to re-introducing me to 'Time' by The Alan Parsons Project - a song we don't hear often enough :-)

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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78/52

Runs out of steam

(Edit) 13/07/2018

There is the occasional nugget of something interesting in here , but in truth the premise simply isn't big enough to carry the whole movie. Also I can't begin to understand why some of the talking heads were even there , other than having seen Psycho at some point I'm not sure how they can be thought of as having any great insight to offer.

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The Post

A little dissapointing

(Edit) 07/06/2018

Real life rarely makes for a good movie , mostly things happen too slowly . I found myself reflecting on that as I watched this movie. The performances are great - Streep and Hanks deserve acknowledgement for that.Indeed the whole cast does, there are some notable actors here who don't get to do a great deal.

In short while the movie had great actors and great production values it suffers from a rushed third act , and feels emotionally muted and bloodless.

Given the scale of what was going on politically and socially it is remarkable how little of it seems to get on to the screen. We get some insight into the stresses facing Katherine Graham but these focus more on her struggles to make an impression in the boardroom and in the days following the suicide of her husband ; significant as these are to her it is not what history will remember as the lasting legacy of the publication of the 'Pentagon Papers'.

2 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

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The Grand Budapest Hotel

A lot of fun

(Edit) 04/06/2018

I've followed Wes Anderson's career for a while now. I enjoyed 'Bottle Rocket' but honestly left 'The Royal Tenenbaums' and 'The Life Aquatic' more bemused than amused. As a result I let his subsequent movies pass me buy , but a recent clip from 'Isle of Dogs' got my attention so while coming to CP to reserve it I looked back through Andersons catalogue and saw 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' and decided to take a chance on it. I'm so glad I did.

Anderson is not a conventional storyteller. His is a singular vision and his idiosyncrasies are on show in every way here, from the humour to the dialogue the style and the pacing . If you are willing to go with it then there is a lot of fun to be had here , if not then maybe you should pass on buy.

Unusually when it come to movies I would recommend the trailer - it captures the style of the movie well and doesn't spoil you with all the best bits in the movie. If you 'get' the trailer then there is a good chance you will 'get' the movie.

As other people have mentioned Gustave H delivers his dialogue at some speed , so if you have a home cinema setup with a decent sound setup make use of it; I tried first watching it on my computer but the poor speakers really did not do my experience of the movie any favours.

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Professor Marston and the Wonder Women

Fun film , but awful treatment

(Edit) 22/03/2018

I enjoyed the movie , it gives you a whole new perspective on the comic book character and gives an insight into characters who , while having heir ups and downs were true to themselves. I have no insight to offer on its historical accuracy , I suspect it promotes entertainment over accuracy , it is a movie after all and most peoples lives run to a predictable pattern when viewed from the outside which would make for a pretty dull movie. As a piece of fun though , well worth watching.

A word of warning though , whoever was responsible for the movie transfer to DVD should be ashamed of themselves the bitrate is ludicrously low - and for no good reason that I can think of. There is plenty of space on a DVD after all. As a result the movie looks pretty poor, really along the lines of 8mm , which even your phone can improve on these days.

1 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

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