Film Reviews by TD

Welcome to TD's film reviews page. TD has written 13 reviews and rated 12 films.

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The Idol

Incredibly moving but let down by incongruity

(Edit) 17/09/2017

This film, based on the real life Palestinian pop singer Muhammad Assaf, begins by observing the lives of four extremely cute and equally streetwise kids in the townscapes of Gaza, as they attempt to make a living - however small - as musicians. As one might expect, given the history of Palestine, they overcome numerous obstacles in pursuit of their dreams, and the movie punctuates their story with disarmingly haunting Arab melodies.

The actor playing the young Muhammad is convincingly like his real-life counterpart, and appears to be singing for real. The older player, on the other hand, is radically different in features from his younger self. Given that the older character's singing seems to be dubbed (though I'm not a great judge of this), I think a closer resemblance could have been found. Nevertheless, there are interesting scenes from both stages of Muhammad's life, where his self-pity is challenged by his sight of disfigured people moving about the streets and even by free-runners exhilarating through the bombed reckage that sadly is much of Gaza.

I found that I wanted to watch this movie two or three times in quick succession, which for me is always a sign of a good one. Despite the unconvincing young / older character change, the film promotes great messages about the value of music in bringing people together, releasing their grief and overcoming adversity. Definitely worth a look.

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Departure

Full of depth and intimacy

(Edit) 18/04/2017

This is one of the best films I've seen in a while. The imagery with its sense of place, pastel shades, reflections and views through glass are faultless. The characters are fascinating: the none-too-likeable Elliot (up himself in so many ways!) who is utterly convincing; the uber-cool yet enigmatic Clement; the tortured mother Beatrice, and not least a superb bit-part performance from Patrice Juiff as the barman near the beginning. As a whole it's deep, intimate and not a little funny, especially as the two boys struggle with each other's first language.

If you're open to exploring LGBT issues in a movie, I think you'd enjoy this.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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The Kings of Summer

Forgive the fake bumfluff if you can ...

(Edit) 10/04/2016

... because, whilst not a showstopper, I reckon this film has a lot to offer on a Saturday night. Nick Robinson (who plays Joe) has an amusingly mobile face that he uses to good effect to express his anguish when enduring his father's masterful, deadpan put-downs. The filming is rather like "Hide your smiling faces" in its use of close-ups of some of the local wildlife, yet in other respects is much lighter and none the worse for that.

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Swallows and Amazons

Delightful in its innocence

(Edit) 08/03/2016

Those who are familiar with the books of Arthur Ransome will not be surprised by my title. This film, whilst now quite old, is an authentic and charming portrayal of a lost way of life and adventurous play for children. The young actors playing the four children are genuine and honest as first-timers of their age should be - think of the boys who played in "Stand by me". The music I found rather intrusive by modern standards, and I felt that Ronald Fraser over-acted in his role as "Captain Flint". Virginia McKenna is her usual gorgeous self as the mother.

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The Lives of Others

A masterpiece

(Edit) 08/03/2016

A superb study of the repressive regime of the Stasi in pre-eighties East Germany. Ulrich Mùhe excels as the softening Stasi agent, his performance made all the more convincing by his own real experience of being the subject of surveillance. I found great optimism in this film.

4 out of 4 members found this review helpful.

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The Stag

Stick with it

(Edit) 03/01/2016

I found this film quite irritating for the first 20 minutes or so (think perhaps John Cleese in Clockwise), but something told me to keep watching, and I'm glad I did. I'm told the humour is Irish, but as an Englishman I found a lot of it pretty funny, and there's some good role reversal work in the story.

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The Book Thief

Every bit as good as the book - and that's saying something!

(Edit) 03/01/2016

The book is one of my favourites of all time, and I was prepared to be disappointed by this film. I wasn't. It was incredibly moving and I wept uncontrollably near the end - but then I'm a soft touch ;-)

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Hide Your Smiling Faces

Atmospheric but a bit too minimalist

(Edit) 01/05/2015

The photography was superb in this film. The teenage characters highly believable in their very rural setting. I just found that there was too little dialogue - perhaps reflecting the reality of what boys of this age say (or don't say) to one another, but it was all a bit too subtle for me. My problem, perhaps?

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

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Northern Soul

A great period piece

(Edit) 01/05/2015

I respect the opinions of the previous reviewer, but totally disagree! I thought the acting was great, and feel that it is very much to Elliot James Langridge's credit that he left a "safe" job in Hollyoaks to work on this low budget movie that took such a long time to get off the ground. I can remember the fashions of that time (though I didn't partake!) and know that this was what much of the north of England was like in the seventies.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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The Cave of the Yellow Dog

Unique and wonderful

(Edit) 14/01/2015

Unique because almost entirely without script. The scenes of the children playing, in particular, are delightfully natural. The simplicity of the story and the pace are entirely suited to the ambience and landscapes of the film.

3 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

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The Lunchbox

A masterpiece

(Edit) 19/12/2014

The rather unlikely theme of two ordinary Mumbai people being brought together through a lunch pack comes superbly to life in this film, depicting the interplay between, in the main, two very real yet distant characters. I was fascinated too by the insight into the efficiency of the working lunch delivery service in Mumbai.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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Café de Flore

Touching but disjointed

(Edit) 19/12/2014

This film, to my mind, attempts to pull two apparently separate threads together to some sort of resolution, but I felt that the way this was done was too laboured. There is too much rapid flicking between scenes and contexts, and this spoiled for me what could have been a very touching story.

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The Triplets of Belleville

Rather weird and not as good as The Illusionist

(Edit) 16/09/2014

Sylvain Chomet's talent in producing animated films is beyond dispute, and the characters are very well drawn in this film, but I found the plot rather strange and disjointed. If you're going to watch one of Chomet's films - and he is good - then I would recommend "The Illusionist" as being much better.

0 out of 1 members found this review helpful.