Film Reviews by PB

Welcome to PB's film reviews page. PB has written 18 reviews and rated 20 films.

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Leave No Trace

Sensitive portrait of a Vietnam Veteran with PTSD

(Edit) 19/05/2020

I loved this film despite the sad context of a Viet Veteran living in the wild with his teenage daughter. Acting is brilliant and completely convincing. More american soldiers committed suicide after their experiences in Vietnam than actually died in the war itself. The average age of amerian soldiers was 19 and they spent 12 months in hot, humid and hostile conditions where at any moment they could be ambushed or blown up by booby traps. Over half of american forces towards the end of the war resorted to heavy use of marijuana or alcohol to deal with the stress and 22% used heroin. These are the realities behind the two best VIetnam war films...The Deerhunter and Apocalypse Now. Leave No Trace does the same of highlighting the ravages of PTSD amongst the survivors and is a great and moving film. Youtube has some great documentaries on Viet Vets living wild.

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Yesterday

Warm and Fun

(Edit) 17/05/2020

Fun idea of a singer who wakes up after an accident to find that no-one in the world has any memory of the Beatles or their music. Harmless fun.

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Never Look Away

Beautiful and thought provoking film about a young artist in Germany joining the avant-garde

(Edit) 16/05/2020

Loved this film. A modern german masterpiece IMHO. Real insights into developing as an artist and finding your own individual voice. The acting is superb and it covers an important era in Germany coming to terms, or not, with the crimes against humanity in the second world war. As a doctor I found the ex-SS gynaecologist totally believable, a ruthless psychopath flourishing under both nazi and communist regimes.

The central love story holds the film together. Beautiful and intense film.

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True Detective: Series 3

Complex and dark marathon about human nature

(Edit) 29/04/2020

This is the most intense of the True Detective series with piercing and convincing focus on some complex personalities. As a UK citizen I needed english subtitles to understand the dialogue. Mahershala Ali gives a riveting if moody performance but his speech was the most difficult to understand. Presume this is local dialect.

The film takes place in three eras, 1980, 1990 and 2015 and the programme flits endlessly between these three time periods. The plot is complex and the characters are generally damaged goods. The central love story between Mahershala Ali and Carmen Ejogo is convincing and as complicated as most marriages are. Ejogo is cute and smart in her role. The friendship between the two investigating detectives has many ups and downs but is a subtle study of good buddies separated by race.

The plot is clever and suitably labyrinthine for a near 8 hour series. You get the impression that the whole creative effort must have been pretty draining, you cannot fault their work ethic. It certainly catches the baffling complexity of human nature and the massive ramifications a crime can have on a tight-knit rural community. Collateral damage is far more intense than the original crime.

Overall True Detective has been a compulsive and original take on the detective genre and generates a spooky and ominous milieu. Hard to forget and sometimes hard to watch.

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Cameraperson

Weird

(Edit) 20/04/2020

As a pro photographer I was interested to see this film. After 10 minutes I couldn't watch any more. Never seen such drivel in my life.

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I Am Not Your Negro

A moving and shocking documentary of american racism

(Edit) 21/01/2020

Well made documentary based on an unfinished book by James Baldwin who subsequently died of stomach cancer. Gives a good account of the similarities and different viewpoints of the leading black activists of the 1960's and 1970's, most of whom were murdered by white supremacists. Baldwin moved to Paris, as a black homosexual activist he would have been particularly vulnerable. My visit to the USA 2 years ago suggest they still have a long way to go but attitudes are slowly changing, I believe a recent poll showed 80% of americans are now supportive of inter-racial marriage. As a teenager some american friends tried to show me a Klu Klux Klan meeting. Each junction on the country roads had a man with a shotgun. By the time we found the meeting, there was only a burning cross remaining.

Shocking footage of the hate that some white people had for black americans. Bobby Kennedy appears weak-willed and short of compassion.

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The Florida Project

A film as shallow and rubbish as Disneyworld

(Edit) 26/02/2019

Two dimensional characters engendering no real empathy with the emotionally hostile backgrounds that most people of this underclass have suffered. Bratty mother, bratty daughter and hours and hours of nothing of any credible interest. The acting was good, the script is dire. My experience of working with people of this ilk is that their upbringing and lives have been universally dreadful.

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I Am Not a Witch

Interesting Fable about Witchcraft in Africa

(Edit) 23/10/2018

Really enjoyed this film. A lot of thought had gone into the set and logistics. Authentic Africa and locals employed as actors. The central performance from the little girl was outstanding. Memorable music and photography. Interesting insights into how outsiders and misfits can be ostracized in society into formal roles.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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Broken Wings

Beautiful and great characters

(Edit) 22/10/2018

Loved this film. The characters were suitably wacky for teenagers and the mother's performance of a bereaved and stressed widow was superb, very moving. The ending felt realistic and is was a great portrayal of grief.

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Ida

Beautiful and original black and white film

(Edit) 12/07/2018

I loved this movie about a novice nun discovering from her only living relative that she is Jewish and her parents and brother were murdered in World War 2 by local poles who then took over their home and farm. Agata Trzebuchowska was hypnotic on camera and i found the plot quite believable having listened to many polish people over the years. Much of the film is silent so when music appears it has a magical effect. Brilliant photography. Altogether beautiful and profound.

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Gifted

Great Film though a tad schmaltzy

(Edit) 15/06/2018

Interesting film about balancing ambition and freedom for those fortunate to have a gifted child in their midst. Mckenna Grace was absolutely brilliant and convincing, reminded me of my 9 year old grand-daughter and surprised she didn't win the Oscar for this performance. Lots of laughs and some sadness, Chris Evans was great and seemed to have genuine affection for Grace, Lindsay Duncan was less convincing as a tiger grandmother.

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The Farthest

History of the Voyager Mission

(Edit) 13/06/2018

I really enjoyed this film and found it very interesting. Something I recall vaguely as a teenager but clarified exactly the excitement and sense of discovery of this unique mission which was only possible because of the particular alignment of our planets at that period of time.

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The White Princess

One too many liberties?

(Edit) 21/05/2018

Quite a well made series but the plot strays so far from recorded history that it ends up becoming rather naff.

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Sully

Well made and faithful to the story.

(Edit) 26/03/2018

Interesting account of a miraculous escape with plane manufacturer trying to pin the blame on Human i.e. pilot error.

Tom Hanks is very convincing

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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Medici: Masters of Florence: Series 1

Reasonable historical drama

(Edit) 26/02/2018

Dustin Hoffman looks a bit out of place but otherwise the ensemble cast gives a reasonable stab at Florence in the Middle Ages. Historically it seems fairly accurate and they have done a good job in representing medieval Florence, the Duomo without the dome etc. Also interesting to see the nobles looking down their noses at the nouveau riche Medici clan.

3 out of 3 members found this review helpful.
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