Film Reviews by JE

Welcome to JE's film reviews page. JE has written 5 reviews and rated 376 films.

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Dennis Potter: Blue Remembered Hills

Shocking and honest

(Edit) 03/03/2021

Dennis Potter has an ability to close a subject. Our parents were children during WWII and this expresses their experience and is more direct and horrifying than any conventional war movie could ever be. The final word on the home front. 

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Jellyfish

One girl stands up against it all

(Edit) 23/10/2020

This film is important and deserves to be more widely known. Liv Hill plays a 15-year-old who keeps her family together, in the face of the hostility of our country toward the poor, she fights to keep her brother and sister above the situation we placed them in. This is not a dark and hard-edged portrait but an honest and open one. It is not a film about a girl discovering a talent for stand-up comedy, more it is a film about the life that drives her into despair and her outlet from it. Liv Hill is brilliant beyond words. This is peerless acting in the most difficult material any young actress could openly express. The saddest part is that this film doesn’t exaggerate. Life is like this in the UK, cut off at the bottom and vilified for being poor, this film captures society’s contempt for its victims. If you are put off by this review, watch it anyway, you’ll find warmth and humanity where you don’t expect and recognise the dignity of the individual amidst the poverty that the British state forces on people.  

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Big Kill

Wow, but this is bad..

(Edit) 10/10/2019

Cheaply made films are often loveable but this effort is the poorest piece of cinema I have seen since the Ghosts of Mars. To be fair the sets and costumes are the best bits, even if the sets have a museum freshness to them and the costumes come out of the western dressing-up box. The acting, script, characterisation, story arc all fail in woeful ways. Even the foley work is attrocious - horses clop toward the camera out of sync with their hoof beats. From the shoddy opening shots - we literally gun down some Mexican Keystone Cops - to the poorly shot trail footage, but what am I saying, the whole movie is poorly shot, "stick the camera there, it'll do..." The acting comes off as if they'd done no rehearsals, or as if we are watching the first read through. The plot sags as unlovable misfits stumble from place to place looking for the town of Big Kill, getting into scrapes along the way.

When we get to Big Kill not everything is as it seems...  oh, no, actually Lou Diamond Phillips plays exactly the character you'd expect. He phones in an awful, gurning performance as a homicidal lawman who kills anyone and virtually everyone in town. US film and television seems to be in thrall to the idea that psychopaths rule any society where law and order has broken down. And yet anthropologists will tell you that communities round on violent individuals to control or expel them. They don't rise to the top of even the simplest social structures. But they dominate in American movies... The Walking Dead became increasingly absurd as psychopath after maniac, after violent weirdo ruled each and every settlement encountered. Almost as if the writers had an uncontrolled fetish for bad guys.

Big Kill tries hard to meet plastic western expectations - a man is thrown the length of a bar counter top, although we are on such a low budget he is actually pushed... the strawberry jam blood make a laughable scene of a cruel and unnecessary murder. Women are an afterthought; either whores or virgins. The only interesting thing about the movie is the condensing clouds of breath of the characters in the bar at night.

The 1970s gave us mud and blood westerns that strove for off-the-wall stories told with a dignity and dirty realism that made them compelling. What we have now, in an era of film schools, cheap video shooting, oodles of special effects, are poorly constructed, badly made b-movies. If you want a good western rent Lonely are the Brave... But no, they spent a lot of money making this poorly imagined and executed, weak movie. They had to cake the ageing stars in pan stick to get them through the shooting... the movie contains not a single interesting or original idea... this is lazy rubbish.

Oh, a my disc had no subtitles. Excluding two members of my family from the chance to share in the wooden dialogue. 

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The Mummy

Good pilot for a TV series

(Edit) 08/02/2018

This really came across as a pilot for a new TV series, Tom Cruise: Mummy Hunter, in which he and his buddy travel the world bouncing around in glittering CGI special effects and lifting curses from pretty maidens. Without that follow up I am afraid this movie stinks.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde with Russel Crowe could have been a good movie on its own but here seems to have crashed into a hybrid Mummy/zombie film that ultimately it is waste of everyone's talent and your time.

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Alien: Covenant

Will there really be Christians in 2104?

(Edit) 12/12/2017

The depressing storyline of people of faith crusading to the stars in a little over a hundred years from now is the most fabulously unbelievable plot in recent movie history.

Some of these 'Christians' are genetic scientists and yet the movie posits a creator for the human race, one we must search for in the stars.

The simple truth is that scientists in the future might look wistfully at the claims of the Abrahamic religions but nobody is actually going to believe them. The dwindling band of the credulous who cling to religion at the moment are losing to the tide of reason that has washed away the foundations of faith.

The DNA the characters in the Alien movies so blithely manipulate proves one thing - we evolved on this planet. We were not created, not designed and not descended from grey space apes. We share a percentage of our DNA with the begonia so unless Ridley Scott has evil space plants to start the development life on our planet I am afraid the franchise has wandered away in the wrong direction.

Science fiction used to dream on the possibilities thrown up by mans potential future. Given the technology of their age great writers have imagined futures both brilliant and terrifying. What Scott gives us is a future imagined from our unenlightened past. A direction from which no comfort or understanding can be drawn, just misery.

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