Film Reviews by AR

Welcome to AR's film reviews page. AR has written 14 reviews and rated 19 films.

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Alpha

Not quite bad enough to be funny

(Edit) 21/05/2019

Well, the title says it all. Essentially a very thin story, no more than adequately acted, with less than state-of-the-art computerised action. A feature, though, was the (presumably made up) Palaeolithic language rendered intelligible with sub-titles. But since no-one nowadays speaks Palaeolithic, whom does it serve?

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Six Degrees of Separation

A comedy with depth

(Edit) 19/11/2017

Don't be fooled by the genre. This is a 'comedy' with definite depth. Solid, competent acting combined with an intelligent story give a film to remember.

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Tony Benn: Will and Testament

A genuine and inspiring biography

(Edit) 24/02/2017

Whatever your political persuasion, I would hope you can see in this frank and open biography of one of the most controversial figures in recent British politics a man who is not afraid to speak his truth, and to speak genuinely from the heart. The first time I watched this film I was inspired, and that inspiration was still there when I watched it a third time. Tony Benn was, and remains after his death, a breath of fresh air in the mirk of half-truths.

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American Hustle

The Sting redivivus

(Edit) 24/02/2017

Take the dark, cynical humour of The Sting and re-set it in the shady world of '70s East Coast. Mix in some superb acting and spice it with oh-so-sexy Amy Adams, and add a twist in the tail just for fun, and you get this gem of a film. Watch it at least twice to get the nuances of the story - it fully bears it.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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Das Boot

The human face, and cost, of submarine warfare

(Edit) 01/09/2016

A superbly crafted film which takes you right in to the human side of the U-boat crew. Even if they are on the 'wrong side,' you side with them, thrill with them, are terrified with them, and finally maybe even cry for them. The English language version still seems utterly authentic. If I have only given this four stars, it's because I almost never award five: 4.98!

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Magic in the Moonlight

Watchable, but shallow

(Edit) 19/07/2016

Despite big names like Colin Firth (lead) and Woody Allen (director), a quite unsatisfying film. Characters were shallow and the plot contrived. Nice old cars though - watch it if you've nothing better to do!

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The Lady in the Van

A beautiful portrayal

(Edit) 19/07/2016

A most unusual story of utter simplicity, telling us that Alan Bennett's a man of real heart, and realised with consulate expertise and great sensitivity. And a lovely revisiting of gentler times in the still-recent past. And the Pythonesque end? A fitting culmination for someone who was living all her life in a cloud!

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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East of Eden

Not up to Steinbeck

(Edit) 21/03/2016

When you're making a film on a book by a great author, you need to be up to the job. We sense that the director just was not of sufficient calibre to do justice to such a story. Add in wooden acting and a shaky camera, and the result is deeply disappointing. Disc 2? No thanks!

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Keep the memory - don't go back!

(Edit) 07/12/2015

Is it me getting older, or has this film that had us on the edge of our seats in the '70s begun to be dated? Or does it rely too heavily on special effects that we now see through? Characters are looking a little threadbare now, and the scene changes take us away from the human interest. Still a great film, but maybe I would have been better off just bathing in the memory...

3 out of 6 members found this review helpful.

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For Ellen

How to make a film without a story

(Edit) 14/07/2015

If the nub of a story is transformation - the lovers find each other, the hero wins through, the poor boy makes good - then this film quite lacks a story. And the director's attempt to 'artify' his creation with long, lingering shots of dreary snow scenes with the occasional car crossing the screen doesn't work for me. Try it if you like, but I'm not going to bother again!

1 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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I Wish

Long-winded and no story

(Edit) 01/06/2015

Perhaps someone conversant with Japanese culture would understand this film better, but the absence of a story - at least in the first hour: we didn't wait any longer - tried my patience.

2 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

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The Book Thief

Great book - great film

(Edit) 01/06/2015

Don't be put off by the cover - there are no dumb blondes in this film! A moving story, movingly portrayed. A first-class adaptation of the book which (necessarily) left out one or two episodes. Why didn't I give it five stars? Only a film which is mind-blowingly brilliant gets that. It's not that, but it's very, very good.

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Red Dog

Animals, Community, Love and Death

(Edit) 02/04/2015

Delightful tale of animals, community, love and death, told in a leisurely, laid-back way with plenty of passages that raised a smile, and a few moments of pathos that touched our hearts. A film about people, a dog and a cat in a hard environment in the Australian outback, where friendship is what makes life worth living and homesickness, whether for a village in Italy or a lost loved one shows where roots run deep. But even when there's no going back, eventually the characters find a way for life to go on. Well-acted, well directed, and based on a true tale. We found this a film to relax and de-stress with.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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Of Mice and Men

Gripping, moving, impeccable

(Edit) 23/10/2014

We were gripped from the outset by the unusual tension of this superbly-crafted film, and by the end we were moved to the depths. Malkovitch and Sinise are impeccable, with a great supporting cast - watch Ray Walston. This is an actor-director film that succeeds - and how!

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