Film Reviews by MB

Welcome to MB's film reviews page. MB has written 7 reviews and rated 11 films.

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A Cure for Wellness

Get on with it!

(Edit) 26/09/2017

An absolutely gorgeously filmed piece of work from Verbinski, and a definite atmosphere of unease built, but on the downside it's around an hour too long. The climax, which should draw everything that's happened together instead drops some carefully developed plot points, doesn't make complete sense and turns many of the previous events into an elaborate red herring. More skilled directors might have kept it taut, cut away some of the fat and focused on that impending sense of dread, but this is Verbinski, lord of the overlong epic, and you could very easily argue that the end does not come anywhere close to justifying the commitment made by you, the viewer, in getting to that stage. it isn't without interest, though, and it's a decent vehicle for Dane DeHaan, who looks far more at home here than he did in VALERIAN.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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Matinee

Nostalgia

(Edit) 26/09/2017

A very nicely worked slice of Cold War nostalgia from Joe Dante, who grafts US paranoia at the time of the Cuban missile crisis on to the gimmicks of pulp, science fiction-horror cinema of the era. John Goodman is excellent as the film producer who turns up in a small town on the eastern seaboard to exhibit his new offering, MANT, the lurid tale of a half-man, half-ant hybrid, while all around him teenage hormones run riot. Some lovely mocked up footage from MANT showcases the skill and range of Cathy Moriarty as Goodman's long suffering, cynical muse and squeeze. It would be lazy to describe MATINEE as Spielbergian, but it's unavoidable thanks to the warmth, optimism and glowing view of American life that insists on enduring, warts and all, just as the world teeters on the potential brink of nuclear disaster.

1 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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John Wick 2

Fun but nonsensical

(Edit) 17/09/2017

This is a great vehicle for Keanu, who's always at his best when he doesn't really need to act but gets to move. I love his habit during the film's (many) gunfights of holding one enemy down while killing others before slaying the one he's got a grip of. The plot makes absolutely no sense, but I guess the point is to get John as quickly as possible from tranquility to acts of killing, and in that sense it works well enough.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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Denial

Good subject, unamazing drama

(Edit) 27/08/2017

This should have been really good - a fine cast, a controversial real-life story to draw upon and of course the weight of the subject matter behind it. But it isn't, and DENIAL falls into the same bracket as SCHINDLER'S LIST as praised for being about the Holocaust than being a riveting drama. It establishes David Irving as the 'villain' quite early and then never adds any nuance to his character, albeit he's a good grandfather. It then proceeds to break him down over the course of the film, deservedly so no doubt and yet just inviting the audience to boo and hiss alongside the virtuous legal team assembled on the side of Deborah Lipstadt. The overriding sense is one of laziness, coasting, trading on the fact it's a Holocaust drama, and that's it. The talent involved deserved a lot better. Still, Tom Wilkinson is good and Timothy Spall can do this stuff in his sleep and still be compelling.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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Lady Macbeth

A quiet whirlwind

(Edit) 26/08/2017

This is a quiet and unhurried film, but the important thing is the mood it sets, the weight of oppression, and the emotional impact into this cossetted world made by Katherine, which is like a whirlwind. There's no Lady Macbeth as Shakespeare wrote her, but imagine that character with all her desire and amorality dumped into a young nineteenth century girl who's sold into a loveless marriage - what would she do? Accept her unhappy lot and play the part of a dutiful wife, willingly confining herself inside the mausoleum of a house and waiting for.... something? Not likely, right, and that's exactly where this story goes.

It's very compelling and as Katherine becomes more soaked in Macbethian blood increasingly grotesque. It's also shot rather beautifully, and in Florence Pugh it appears to know that it's found a future star.

6 out of 7 members found this review helpful.

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Goodbye, Mr. Chips

Beautiful Whimsy

(Edit) 22/08/2017

This is nothing more or less than the BBC2 Sunday matinee movie that all BBC2 Sunday matinee movies aspire to be - shamelessly warm hearted, wearing its sentimentality with pride, nostalgic (albeit for a time that never existed for 99.5% of us), it's an absolute delight and highly recommended. Robert Donat absolutely deserved his Academy Award, ageing visibly and not just thanks to make-up but also his nuanced performance. Donat suffered from acute asthma and sadly limited his screen appearances, but those we have are always wholehearted and this is his best one, possibly only matched by his Hannay in THE 39 STEPS. Watch with hankies.

0 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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Come and See

Surprisingly bloodless but no less brutal

(Edit) 22/08/2017

Mel Gibson take note, this is how you make a visceral war movie. You don't need copious amounts of gore, dismembered limbs, and the like. What you should have are (i) a foreign land the Nazis treated like a plaything, its people considered less than human (ii) a ragtag bunch of resistance fighters that makes up for its lack of effectiveness with blind enthusiasm and machismo (iii) a family that exists to show the bleak cheapness of life during wartime (iv) the perspective of an adolescent, who over the course of the film and things he sees becomes a jaded and mentally shattered old man by its close. This is how you do it. The violence is more implied than explicit, but it's there, all seen from the point of view of Aleksey Kravchenko's young protagonist and his disbelieving glares straight into the camera lens.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.