Film Reviews by JH

Welcome to JH's film reviews page. JH has written 21 reviews and rated 398 films.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Thor: Ragnarok

Entertaining

(Edit) 02/04/2018

An entertaining adventure featuring the typical slick Marvel action, more in the Guardians style this time than the rather dire bleakness of the dull Thor 2.

The script here features a considerably higher gag count than is usual for Marvel, some of which actually works (the drunk Valkyrie, anything with Jeff Goldblum) and some that doesn't but spare enough that I was able to ignore (Waititi's fondness for dull-witted character rambling 'humour', see Korg)

One of the more interesting entries in the Marvel back-catalogue.

1 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Marjorie Prime

Thoughtful

(Edit) 01/04/2018

I found this a quiet and thoughtful play on memories, how they differ between people and form an identity.

This is Sci-Fi, given the AI hologram 'primes' the feature throughout -- an entirely believable technology -- however the tech here really just kick starts the discussion of memories between the cast of characters and how they differ in interacting with tech.

A very dialogue heavy film and quite the slow burner, but nevertheless I found myself quite engaged and the taught string-led score created a bit of hypnotic atmosphere.

You don't see a lot of films like this being made and as such I really enjoyed the refreshing take on the theme of human vs machine.

3 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

The Age of Shadows

Bland

(Edit) 01/04/2018

Undoubtedly a film with impressive technical credentials, it looks fantastic and the action sequences are slick.

However I failed to find a coherent plot that was remotely captivating.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Detroit

Brutal

(Edit) 15/02/2018

A film with clear merit and craft, but which I felt had little new to add to the discussion of its subject.

For someone usually so desensitized to violence on film it's mark of how engaging this film is, and how good Will Poulter is in it, that I was quite affected by the story of abject injustice told on screen.

It is however still rolling along a well worn area, however timely, of police over-reach and racism in the US. And it's quite long in doing that.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Solid if slight

(Edit) 15/02/2018

A perfectly OK Marvel outing, that manages not to re-tread the 'Uncle Ben' beginnings of Spidey once again.

It also manages the rare feat of a villain, played ably by Michael Keaton, that isn't a two-dimensional thug whom likes killing things. It is however a pity that isn't expounded upon properly until a post-credits scene.

Otherwise young Holland does a reasonable enough job, and the film is quite funny at times, but the whole concept of him needing to learn "it's not about the suit" is a bit flimsy and obvious.

0 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Atomic Blonde

Forgettable bore

(Edit) 05/02/2018

A vehicle to prove, as if it needed proving, that Charlize Theron can play the gun-toting high-kicking action star with style.

Set in trashy near-wall-ending 80s Berlin, all neon and euro-pop, mixed with a running thread of an ongoing smoky MI6 interrogation.

The plot is a nonsensical mess and as such it's very hard to become engaged with any of it. The film feels long even though the running time is well under 2 hours.

If you want to see Charlize get the snot beaten out of her before she slams a guy's head with a fridge door or stabs him in the face with keys, then this will have something to offer you — one sequence during a street protest is very well choreographed — but otherwise this is a forgettable bore.

1 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Scribe

Befuddling plot, solid cast

(Edit) 29/01/2018

A film with an intriguing first half hour and set-up, a 70s-style spy thriller with mysterious shadow figures, typewriters and cassette recordings, that loses its way as it dives down into an incomprehensible labyrinthine political head-scratcher.

The muted, stripped down palette and sets and the very intentional non-digital central setup of an accountant transcribing cassette taps does remind of past films like The Conversation.

As it moves on however the initial setup does largely seem like a gimmick to have a base to move off from.

The main reason to keep watching for me is the always-engaging Cluzet.

Often called upon to play the 'everyman' in his films (e.g. Tell No One), here he plays Duval very downtrodden — unhappy with his working life, attending AA meetings and living a seemingly very solitary, structured life.

And yet when he's embroiled into criminality, he's always believable. He struggles, a fish out of water, usually to be beaten back and really gave me my only reason to keep watching: I wanted to see what would happen to Duval.

A pity given the main parlour games between shadow operatives seeking for 'the notebooks' had lost my interest well before the 87mins were done but there's also nothing especially off-putting going on either.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Baby Driver

All Style

(Edit) 29/01/2018

Very much an Edgar Wright film - blazing eclectic soundtrack, wham-bam zippy high-def superhero-style cartoon action scenes and yet zero substance with the predilections of a bored teenager.

The introduction, with their shticky choreographed-to-the-music with CGI overlays fascination, and Baby's ultra slick driving getaway for a bank heist, is entertaining enough as a distraction but not something that especially engaged me.

And this remains it's problem as it attempt to deliver some kind of build up to the expectedly hyper 3rd act.

The music-sync thing rather forgotten and Baby, whom it is implied is happy to drive getaway and has been for a while before the start of the film, moves on his conscious.

The reasonable cast of actors have little to work with however when they are called upon. Space is vaguely threatening in his few scenes, Hamm a psycho in love (a la Clyde), Foxx annoying and Gonzalez a gun-toting Bonnie for a couple of scenes - in all, a set of barely two-dimensional characters.

The denouement, where Baby forgets the cars and suddenly opts for the gun, a little bit the desperado (but hey, he's a good kid), is utterly ludicrous and like something out of a DC film.

Stylish yes but utterly forgettable and not remotely engaging or well written.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Miss Sloane

Grandstanding

(Edit) 22/01/2018

Sharp-tongued political thriller, that's not quite as sharp or thrilling as it thinks, and very baggy around the edges.

The focus of the plot is Washington lobbying, gun control and the general moral bankruptcy surround lobbying in general. The latter played up somewhere between a barking, permanently angry Sam Waterson (is there any other kind) and the ever-brilliant steel-faced Jessica Chastain.

The subject of gun lobbying and the US 2nd Amendment is something so mired in unsolvable rhetoric I'll admit it gave the script a dull edge for me from the outset.

The script allows for a lot of grand-standing and melodrama around every corner, the lobbying-team band-and-forth know-it-all banter a little old-hat at this point and very much sub-Sorkin. It's also not particularly believable.

The only really interesting part of the film for me was Chastain, sticking to her steely resolve while finding new moral depths -- but a few times in the (rather lengthy) running time reveals that she might be human after all, in some well-played scenes in the latter third of the film.

The denouement is so ridiculously over-the-top, in pure Hollywood style, that it did bring a measure of humour for me to a film otherwise lacking any.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

The Man from Earth

Pseudo-intellectual

(Edit) 22/01/2018

An academic named John 'Oldman' (clever stuff) about to leave town, gather his closest 'friends' to his cabin and tells them he's a 14,000 year old Cro-magnon man.

Nothing in the way of a cinematic experience here, it's staged more like a play around (mostly) one single location, it's focus is on a script aiming roughly in the direction of philosophy -- covering a bit of religion, human impact on environments and the 'goodness inside' -- and the 7 characters that debate their way around their friends' rather ludicrous spur-of-the-moment announcement.

While it's understandable each character takes such a different stance on John's story, it's also here that the story becomes so unstuck for me: even if you can ignore the occasionally ropey acting, the reactions to the various things John states during the evening are so unbelievable and extreme it's farcical.

And they play to stereotypes, Ellen Crawford's 'Edith', a character so spectacularly annoying even in the presence of the ever-delightful John Billingsley, is a devout Christian and is so easily upset she has to announce she can't listen anymore at several points.

It's a pity as there are some few tidbits of interesting points covered here, but not enough to even cover it's slim 87min running time and the way it's acted out is so distractingly irritating it's a wonder I finished it.

0 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Toni Erdmann

Off beat

(Edit) 16/01/2018

A near-three hour German comedy that was always destined for some critical attention, given how unusual the setup and how good the performances.

Sandra Huller, so good in her role as the business-like emotionally-detached daughter, anxiously reacting to the sudden unannounced appearance of her father into her life, following the death of his beloved dog at the start of the film, seeking to restore their bond gone adrift - both characters actually seem rather lonely in themselves.

Simonischeck's father figure, and his alter-ego (the titular Toni) is quite the weapons-grade buffoon (thanks for that phrase, Empire), yet errs on the hilarious over irritating and never strays into the implausible.

There are a couple of scenes so awkward it's hard to watch (one of those does end on an emotional punch at least), but in general the script balances itself well between awkwardness, laugh-out-loud funny and genuine sadness without being mawkish or folding into cliche.

Definitely a slow burner, got to have some patience for the running time, and a bit of a mood piece but I found this surprisingly affecting and recalled several moments in the film days after seeing it. Recommended for those willing to look outside the box a bit.

3 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Your Name

Eye-catcher

(Edit) 16/01/2018

Japanese hand-drawn anime featuring a slightly unusual take on the freaky-friday-esque body swapping trope.

In a continuous string of well-drawn dualities on one hand you have Mitsuha, a girl from a small town engrossed in a traditional Shinto upbringing; on the other you have Taki a boy from ultra-modern Tokyo working part-time as a waiter.

The small town is realised with a soft, dreamy sunshine-streaked palette; Tokyo as near photo-realist and futuristic — in both cases, the visuals are handled with real care & attention and quite noticeable: it's a visual treat.

The plot follows 3 main stages, of the 2 main characters realising their predicament, developing each others lives in some way and eventually Taki's efforts to find Mitsuha in the 'real' world. (they can't remember each other's names, hence the title)

Some unexpected turns are found and it really ramps up the tension for a thriller of a denouement.

The voice work here (dubbed into English) is standard fare, and the sound track super poppy which for whatever reason I found faintly amusing.

Very engaging overall and a nice compact running time, recommended.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

You Can Count on Me

A fine character drama

(Edit) 16/01/2018

A couple die in a car crash and leave 2 kids to fend for themselves - fast-forward many years and you have the reliable, still-at-home, mum of one Sammy (the ever-excellent Linney) and the emotionally-tipsy drifter brother Terry (Ruffalo).

The film takes place over a short period during which Terry comes to town after a long time away, and Sammy goes through some rather hilarious & fraught personal entanglements.

Pleasant, yet in danger of feeling very slight overall without being in tune with at least one of the main characters, a bit of a mood piece too. Very nicely written and paced, and a bit forgettable.

0 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

The Cabin in the Woods

Comedy not horror

(Edit) 16/01/2018

A cliche-twisting more-comedy-than-horror take on the stock 'teens got to the woods and die' horror trope.

Stellar cast all around, I particularly enjoy Whitford and Jenkins' double act, and wit-laden dialogue abounds: no surprise anything this smart would involve the ever-flourishing Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon.

Just a pleasure to watch.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Inglourious Basterds

Very Tarantino

(Edit) 16/01/2018

Tarantino has always been a bit of an indulgent filmmaker to me. Script full of lengthy scenes filled with at least one 'speech-ifying', righteous characters that sound all a bit similar; sumptuous visuals; classic score; lengthy running times and at least a touch of unnecessary violence.

This film isn't a new take on things. It does look good, and sound great too -- the man certainly knows the craft. Most of the dialogue-heavy 'someone's going to be found out' scenes are at least led by a delightfully bonkers Christoph Waltz,

An OK effort, 30mins too long and still manages a rather pointless (if loud) denouement.

He's done better, and worse.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.
12

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