Film Reviews by LC

Welcome to LC's film reviews page. LC has written 62 reviews and rated 324 films.

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The Goose Steps Out

Now uncut

(Edit) 04/03/2021

In light of the previous review, it appears that this film has since been reissued - certainly the blu ray I received appeared to be uncut. The film itself is a solid comedy, with both Will Hay and a young Charles Hawtrey putting in good turns (also keep an eye out for an uncredited cameo from future Dr Who William Hartnell). If there is a criticism, it's that towards the latter half it turns more into slapstick action routines which, whilst still amusing, seem slightly generic, so it loses a bit of the character of being specifically a Will Hay film.

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X-Men: Dark Phoenix

An average X-Men film, nothing more

(Edit) 04/03/2021

Given its reputation as a flop, I was expecting a complete car-crash of a movie, but this simply turns out to be a mediocre X-Men film: it's not terrible, but neither is it going to blow your socks off. The basics of the plot are all there, but nothing quite gels into anything special. It looks nice, and the action scenes are OK, but such CGI superhero fare is ten-a-penny these days. In terms of the emotional journey of the film, the elements are there, but it just doesn't quite work. Sophie Turner doesn't appear to have the charisma to carry the film as the main lead, but almost all the cast seem to struggle with the material, either coming across as wooden or over emoting. Jennifer Lawrence's agent also appears to have struck a deal to give her as little screen and make-up time as possible.

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Brewster's Millions

Charming lead, pedestrian script.

(Edit) 22/02/2021

This is an amiable, easy going slice of 80's nostalgia, but it relies almost entirely on the likeable star power of Richard Pryor. The script is functional, but never really examines in any depth the nature of the lead character's rags to riches journey or his relationship with money (indeed, it ends with such shocking haste there's barely any room for any examination of character development at all). This wouldn't matter if it was laugh-out-loud funny, but as a comedy it's also lacking any particularly witty dialogue or amusing jokes. A functional star vehicle, this ambles along pleasantly enough, and isn't awful by any means, but it does feel like it could have been so much more.

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The Secret of NIMH

Solid animation, with slightly muddled storytelling.

(Edit) 15/02/2021

I had vague memories of watching this at the cinema as a child, so decided to revisit it decades later. The animation has certainly held up well, and is impressive for the time. The storyline however, (which is essentially 'Watership Down', only with mice and rats) does creak a bit at the edges - the basic elements seem fine, but the characters don't all develop in satisfying ways, and the introduction of a magic amulet into what otherwise seems like a more grounded narrative jars. I suspect the target audience of young children will barely notice this stuff at all, but the script certainly feels like it could do with another pass, to bring all the elements together in a more coherent whole.

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The Woman in Black

Traditional ghost story

(Edit) 05/02/2021

The occasional lapse in acting or effects betrays its humble TV origins, but for the most part this is a solidly made movie, and holds up well. A very traditional ghost story, if there is a criticism here it's that the plot beats are all fairly familiar - the biggest dramatic pull for me was simply waiting to find out if this was going to be a truly supernatural occurrence, or one of those 'Scooby-Doo' style bits of trickery. That said, there is one tremendously effective scare around the midway point that is so well done, it's almost worth watching for this moment alone.

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Tenet

Great concept, not-so-great story

(Edit) 30/01/2021

'Tenet' is a rare film that feels both too complex and too dumb at the same time. The concept is great, with the protagonists flipping forward and backwards fighting through time - though you'll need to pay close attention to keep the mindbending plot straight in your head. Unfortunately it's coupled with a storyline that plays out like a particularly dumb James Bond film, only minus the knowing humour that makes such movies fun. It looks great, and the concept alone means this is worth a watch - but by trying to be both a cerebral high concept movie and a dumb action flick, this ends up falling between two stools, and doesn't quite succeed as either.

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Greed

Worthy, but far too preachy

(Edit) 15/12/2020

This film has valid targets in taking a pop at greedy capitalists and poorly paid workers in the fashion industry - unfortunately it fails to really work as a piece of fiction in that the script is so obvious and preachy. There's no subtlety here, or allowance for the audience to discover the themes for themselves, as the viewer is hit around the head with the political arguments with pretty much every scene. It's tough to care, or even be vaguely convinced by the characters or their world, as the whole thing is so clearly staged as a piece of didactic moralising. There are a few mildly amusing scenes featuring Coogan's character's early years in the rag trade, which might have been a more valuable avenue to explore, but as it is, I'm not sure why the maker's didn't just make a documentary tackling this subject instead.

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When the Wind Blows

A snapshot of its time

(Edit) 14/11/2020

I expect this film had much more impact on release, when people were living under the daily threat of nuclear holocaust. Watching it for the first time now, I'm not entirely sure how well it holds up. It's nicely made, and obviously well-meaning, but the actual storyline is so thin it's barely there, with this clearly being more of a political warning of the time than a rounded drama.

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The Garden of Words

On the cheesy side...

(Edit) 14/11/2020

This very short animated feature starts off as a nicely understated romance, but unfortunately climaxes with some fairly ripe melodrama. Some solid themes, but ultimately it's all a bit heavy-handed (possibly the fault of the English dub?), and in the end comes across as a fairly cheesy romance. Still, some pleasant animation, and with a running time of only 45 minutes it's unlikely to outstay it's welcome by too much.

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Prince of Darkness

A near-total misfire

(Edit) 29/10/2020

Stylistically, this is recognisably a John Carpenter movie, with another group of isolated characters battling for survival, set against a moody synth soundtrack - unfortunately however, it falls flat on pretty much every level. Where the mix of SF and horror worked brilliantly in 'The Thing', here the attempt to merge supernatural horror with scientific theory just feels messy, whilst the threat element is too nebulous ( we have an eerie glowing container, murderous tramps, zombies who shoot water from their mouths, people who turn into bugs, and a demon from a mirror dimension) to act as a strong hook. Worst of all, the characters are all flat and uninteresting, so it's hard to care when they die anyway - even Donald Pleasance can't save this script.

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I Confess

Staying silent

(Edit) 28/10/2020

A reasonably solid Hitchcock thriller, though the ending veers towards rather extreme melodrama. Ultimately this film will succeed or not depending on how much sympathy you have for the central character's dilemma. Presumably at the time this film was made, there was considered to be something vaguely noble in a priest keeping a criminal's confidence - following numerous real-life scandals regarding church cover-ups, I'm not sure how much of this will hold much water for a modern audience. A more in depth exploration of the moral aspect might have been nice, but as it is, this film is more concerned with the nuts and bolts of the plot.

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Dark Passage

Refreshingly odd

(Edit) 23/10/2020

The plot of this film noir thriller is quite hard to take at times, with a few wildly unlikely moments and coincidences. However, it's redeemed by some inventive direction - particularly the first half, where everything is either shot from the point of view of Bogart's character, or so that his face isn't shown (he does eventually appear on camera, but it takes so long, I was beginning to wonder if the producers had decided to save money by just hiring Bogart for a voice-over and getting a stand-in for the physical scenes). The hero's quest to clear his name also doesn't play out in quite the way you might expect, leaving this a slightly odd but interestingly different film.

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A Rainy Day in New York

Glossy rich kids romcom

(Edit) 23/10/2020

An amiable and watchable romantic comedy, with some decent performances (particularly from Elle Fanning), though occasionally the dialogue creaks a bit, as all the young leads seem to have cultural references of people at least twice their age. The colourful cinematography and opulent locations make everything look gorgeous, though there is a slight flip-side to this: everyone involved is sickeningly, hideously rich - and ultimately it can become quite hard to care for the emotional struggles of these privileged elites who one suspects will never know a day's real hardship in their lives. Still - it's nice to look at, and plays out entertainingly enough. (3.5 out of 5)

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The Invisible Man

A new angle, but an average film.

(Edit) 15/10/2020

This very loose updating of HG Welles classic does at least have the benefit of some novelty on its side, which is no bad thing (does anyone really need another straight re-telling of the original story?), but it's only partially successful as a movie in its own right. There are some good conceptual ideas here - primarily the notion of the heroine being gaslighted by the title character, but once the invisible action kicks in it all becomes very silly. Leaning much more heavily in the direction of SF than horror (there are no real scares to be found here at all), ultimately this felt like some half-baked urban remake of 'Predator'.

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1917

Looks great...but it has some issues

(Edit) 05/10/2020

Visually this film is stunning, and worth a watch just on that level, with amazing sets, camerawork and cinematography. However, the flipside is that everything is so artfully composed that it ends up losing any sense of reality, with the constant smooth gliding of the camera giving the feel of either a computer game, or a sanitised, glossy Hollywood production, rather than more gritty war films of the past. The script also tends towards Hollywood sentimentality at times, whilst both the lead characters make baffling decisions when confronted with the enemy, on multiple occasions putting their lives in danger, rather than actually do the obvious thing of raising their guns and immediately shooting their opponents. Still - worth watching just for the eye candy. (3.5 out of 5)

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