Film Reviews by RD

Welcome to RD's film reviews page. RD has written 58 reviews and rated 63 films.

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Joker

Slow and pointless

(Edit) 19/10/2020

Technically the film is very good with excellent cinematography and a stunning 7.1 soundtrack with all actors give fine performances. This could be why it was nominated for the Oscars, but the whole film seems to be so one-dimensional and painfully slow in many places that it never really gets going at all. This is possibly because the storyline is so very simple and the plot is paper thin. It's just never at all that interesting, and so many scenes are long and drawn out when nothing actually happens. I only just avoided the temptation to fast-forward through the film at several places.

It's not a terrible film, just slow and pointless. There's a scene of extreme violence and blood spattering, possibly put in to impress the young section of the audience, but it has no integration in the storyline, it just happens.

Still, if films like this earn enough box-office dollars to finance other, good films, I'm not one to complain.

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'Round Midnight

Dreary but some good bits of music

(Edit) 11/09/2020

This meanders from start to the finish, often with hinted parts of the storyline giving an empty feeling to the film and using musicians who give a very wooden approach to acting. Some of the music scenes are good, although Dexter Gordon's saxophone level could have been lowered to fit the balance of the rest of the band as it did seem a bit too loud. We stuck it to the end but were glad it was over.

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Popeye

Dismal

(Edit) 18/08/2020

Of course it's difficult to turn a cartoon into an acted film, and this one illustrates why. The story is very weak (at least I think there was one anyway) and the soundtrack is a constant babble of voices with incoherent dialogue buried somewhere inside. The musical pieces are painfully poor and sound awful.

The lead characters however are well acted, look good and Robin Williams makes the most of it, but the overall effect is a right old mess of a film.

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Revenge

Tedious gore

(Edit) 27/07/2020

It's a film that contains a lot of blood, internal organs, horrific injuries shown in great detail, knife wounds in close up, and all done with such careful photography the producers must be congratulated on the shock and realism of this aspect of the film.

Unfortunately they must have been so busy planning the almost non-stop gory bits they forgot to add anything else to make it into a story and a worthwhile film. No character depth, no development, no twists of the plot (plot - ha!). It's a non-film, just lots of gore. Girl gets raped, they hunt for her as she hunts for them, lots of injuries in close up and ultimately death. That's about it.

The only plus side I can ascertain is that the photography is excellent, especially showing the Moroccan scenery.

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A Brighter Summer Day

Not much happens

(Edit) 02/07/2020

- at least in the first 90 minutes, which is how long we lasted until we baled out. I had nodded off several times whilst waiting for some sort of storyline or meaning to appear, but apart from a few gang related arguments and a budding romance that never got going, there was nothing detectable as a plot to keep our interest. Nicely shot with some good cinematography, but nothing in the storyline department. Some shouting.

The sleeve says it's 236 minutes long - phew! Maybe something comes along between 90 and 236 minutes I will never know, but if it hasn't got going by 90 minutes then it's back in the envelope and on to more worthwhile pastimes.

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Burning

empty plot

(Edit) 22/06/2020

The plot is more of a mixture of threads, all of which meander very slowly through the film, with very little development or resolution. It becomes a very slow film, with nothing much being attempted, but little starts of what could be intriguing storylines. Well filmed and well acted, but empty in the depth of story department.

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The Judge and the Assassin

Unmissable enjoyable classic

(Edit) 09/01/2020

The story follows the true story of a deranged sergeant who kills and when captured develops a seemingly sympathetic relationship with an ambitious judge.

The charm of this film is in the attention to detail throughout. Michel Galabru gives an electrifying portrayal of the mad sergeant from start to finish, and Philippe Noiret gives a performance that is cool and controlled as the judge.

The story is packed full of accompanying plot features, and all is filmed beautifully with great attention to locations and sets. This is a great film which addresses the problem of madness and responsibility in only the way that a carefully written screenplay can achieve.

The dialogue is well written and important throughout, and if like me you rely on the English subtitles then you really have to concentrate on both the reading of these and taking in the stunning visual aspects of the film.

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Ray Donovan: Series 1

Shallow and tedious

(Edit) 06/01/2020

Ray is the strong silent type. Too silent unfortunately, with very few lines to really get going. All characters are thinly portrayed, and with frequent scenes of slow sentimentality, makes the film hard to get into and tedium reigns.

We made it through episode one, and persisted with episode two in case it developed more. It did, but not nearly enough to involve us.

Overrated and lacking in depth.

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The Tunnel: Series 1

Not too bad

(Edit) 23/11/2019

It's a brave project to clone the stunning Scandinavian series based on the Denmark to Sweden bridge, copied across to the channel tunnel. Some amount of diversion from the original would have stopped direct comparisons, but we have a lead character as a blonde with social problems and a penchant for sudden sex, driving her own Porsche. The male lead is a family man with a recent vasectomy and a dysfunctional home life. All this is identical to The Bridge.

It's actually a half decent thriller series, up to general UK standards and better than some, but after enjoying The Bridge, there's a sad feeling of deja-view throughout this.

The title music is awful and some of the dialogue is undecipherable.

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Infernal Affairs 1

Average cop thriller

(Edit) 23/11/2019

I can't really decide what was wrong with this film, it was quite well done but after falling asleep twice in it I would just class it as uninspiring.

What is good about it however is the soundtrack (although the music is a little odd), there is an uncompressed PCM 5.1 option which is stunning and ranks amongst the best I've heard.

Turn it on and listen loud, it may keep you awake!

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The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe

Simple amateur theatricals

(Edit) 21/10/2019

Oh dear, I like French films, even French humour, but this was taking it too far. It all seemed very simple but the bits that were meant to be funny were very lame indeed. Each joke took some lengthy setting up and made it all the more predictable. This film is very dated and we found it quite tedious although we stuck it through to the bitter end.

0 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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True Detective: Series 2

Disappointingly weak after series 1

(Edit) 10/10/2019

The first series had Woody Harrelson & Matthew McConnaughy playing two very strong but different detectives, and played very well. Great music by T Bone Burnett, all in all a notable and enjoyable series.

This series ( we managed to watch the first 5 episodes) has, by contrast two fairly weak main characters who don't seem to develop, or show any depth of character throughout the story. the other characters are either weak or not on screen enough to make an impact.

The plot is rather moth-eaten with so many short and unexplained scenes giving the result that we couldn't understand quite what was happening much of the time, and had to work hard to piece the plot together in later scenes to make some sense.

All in all, a bit shallow and confusing but we stuck with it and managed to get to episode 5 before giving up out of sheer indifference.

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Gold

Uninvolving flawed adventure flick

(Edit) 29/09/2019

This is a story of Kenny Wells, ably played by the excellent Matthew McConaughey, who is a drunken gold prospector that teams up with a colleague to discover gold in Indonesia. It is based on a true story and as such could be the basis of a really good film. But it isn't.

Kenny shouts a lot, sometimes in passion for his work and sometimes in fits of bad temper. Glasses are smashed and walls are punched. This brings in the first problem in that we the viewer are often not let in on the issue causing the outbursts, so we see the outrage and fights but don't really know what's going on. It's frustrating for the viewer.

There is a board meeting of the New York company that is trying to merge with Kenny's firm, a piece of paper is brandished and all hell breaks loose with a long monologue (violently shouted again) by our hero Kenny. We've no idea until much later what the subject of the letter is, so we're standing on the sidelines watching a seemingly important scene but not actually knowing what all the fuss is about. This sums up the film throughout, however if you stick with it the plot opens up towards the end, and many of the puzzling scenes can be worked out later as the film develops, but it's not great film making and has the effect of constant un-involvement and working out for the poor viewer.

The second great problem is the modern plague of muttered and mumbled dialogue that is incoherent. It's beautifully recorded with a close mic and certainly loud enough in the soundtrack but it's often colloquial american breathy and muttered gibberish that cannot be understood and the story is lost.

If you're not too fussy about plots and film making then this might pass a wet afternoon for you with some fun, but it could be substantially better if the producer had done his work.

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The Favourite

Paper thin superficial plot but very modern

(Edit) 06/07/2019

Can't understand why this won so many awards.

The cinematography is poor, with soft focus and an over-use of extreme wide angle lenses than make everything curved and distorted. The shooting in low light gave the interior shots a natural balance, but unfortunately the daylight through windows produced so much flare they obliterated anything nearby in the shot.

The sound is good although there's not much use of the surround channels, and the music is painfully odd often with the same note squeaked out every few seconds, repetitively ad nauseam. It didn't add to any on-screen action.

The settings were fabulous, Hampton Court and Hatfield House looked magnificent, and the interior furnishings likewise. The acting also was good all round.

The real weak point was the screenplay. Very 21st century and streetwise, complete with break dancing (20th century) and some daft scenes that just appear to pad out the film and give some blood cells to the anaemic story.

The story? Whacky queen has ambitious and bossy aide, another aide appears and wins queens favour. Jealousy consumes aide number one. Film ends.

And - the film ends without any apparent resolution or development, it just looked like they ran out of money at that point, so they decided to suddenly knock it all on the head and get on with the post-production.

Prizes should be awarded to anyone who can read the credits. They have been designed by an intern in his school holidays, all geometric with capital letters everywhere so the spacing is extreme, resembling the alphabet available in the search function for the BBC iPlayer. Completely unreadable without going cross-eyed. Can you can make up other words diagonally if you pause the titles?

Maybe we have been spoilt - we watched Barry Lyndon a few weeks ago and perhaps it's raised our standards too high.

1 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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Orange Is the New Black: Series 1

brave but feeble

(Edit) 05/05/2019

Quite a different flavour of a story which might have worked, but slowly paced and with a poor screenplay containing very feeble attempts at humour. It has the sort of jokes that may appeal to the very young, but mixed with quite gross shock moments as if to inject some life into the plot, it is a very clumsy drama. With some talented writing this could be good but unfortunately it looks as though it has been hastily dashed off by an inexperienced youth as a school drama project. We stayed with episode 1 until the end but were glad to finish it there.

0 out of 1 members found this review helpful.
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