Film Reviews by FM

Welcome to FM's film reviews page. FM has written 3 reviews and rated 138 films.

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The Barber of Siberia

A strangely affecting but infuriating admixture of humour, melodrama and tedium

(Edit) 16/06/2020

This film was apparently panned on release due to its excessive length and it is certainly true that some scenes and the script should have been attacked with a scalpel. The framing round the memories of an American woman gives the unfortunate first-impression that this will be some kind of US mini-series. But this story of the chocolate-box soldier-cadets of 1880s Tsarist Russia is strangely affecting when dealing with what it knows about - the idiosyncrasies and silliness of pre-communist Russia, and there is a memorable performance by Oleg Menshikov as a theatrically excitable cadet swept up in a passionate coup de foudre with a mysterious American woman. He has the most naturally expressive very Russian sad-clown face, and he uses it to such great effect. Some elements of the plot jar: Julia Ormonde's back story is introduced in a barely understandable or credible fashion, and Richard Harris used in a way that is merely irritating. The ending is hard to believe given what has gone before. One gets the feeling of a great missed opportunity, spoiled by the need for international cooperation and funding. If you read the whole thing as a metaphor for modern Russia - American culture is alluring and tempting, but don't get involved as it will destroy your innocence and mess up your life!

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Hail, Caesar!

Hilarious pastiche from the Cohen Brothers

(Edit) 08/02/2018

This had received so-so reviews so I wasn't expecting much, but found it to be a hilarious pastiche of the absurdities of 1940s/1950s movie making - I particular enjoyed the boardroom scene with the rabbi, priest and minister arguing over the Trinity, the audience over-reaction to the blonde Jesus, the send-up of Esther Williams movies and nautical musicals: Channing Tatum was the deal person to invoke memories of Gene Kelly. Definitely channelling a bit of Wes Anderson here. If you are in need of cheering up (and I was) give it a go.

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Frantz

Moving film but frustrating ending

(Edit) 13/01/2018

A moving, slow-burning romance cum-meditation on war, but to drag us to the point of a happy

ending through twists and turns and then frustrate it at the last, was annoying and not particularly credible.

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