Film Reviews by SD

Welcome to SD's film reviews page. SD has written 5 reviews and rated 6 films.

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13 Hours

A suspenseful and underrated action spectacle from Michael Bay.

(Edit) 23/11/2020

The much maligned Michael Bay directs with his typical visual panache and explosive dynamics. I found the film surprisingly compelling and suspenseful (I didn't know much about the true event) Michael Bay is clearly passionate about the characters/story and the film shows some surprising restraint at times and largely steers away from the politics of the situation (yes, I am aware of the scene with the Libyan militia machine gunning an American flag in slow motion!) to focus more on a blow by blow account of the events getting out of hand.

The final hour goes full Bayhem, bullets and explosions galore and he certainly knows how to get plenty of bang for his buck. Bay detractors will still not be won over by the bombast, fast cuts etc. But I found it gripping and exciting, and does a very good job of portraying the extreme escalation of what happened, the claustrophobia and the chaos of who is on whose side.

Similar to something like Black Hawk Down (although I actually preferred this, as I found the actors very well cast and seemed believable as a team)

A decent blu ray transfer helps the cool blues of the dusk/dawn sequences and the crushed blacks of night and the bright orange of explosions/gun fire is nicely contrasted. I'm personally a fan of Bay's visual style and this is a good fit for him as a director, and he pulls back from the comedic wackiness of some of his other films and actually generates some decent drama and emotional performances. Even allowing the film to slow down and his characters to show some emotion. Recommended.

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The Public

Okay film, with some decent performances but weak script.

(Edit) 13/11/2020

The film had its heart in the right place, an clearly a passion project for Emilo but it wasn't brilliantly written/directed by him. A lot of broad strokes were given to the 'good' and 'bad' characters. The film presents lots of easy answers to a complicated situation (there was a passing reference to the mental health and drug addiction of the homeless characters, but outside of a seizure one older man has, which may or may not have been drug related, no one inside the library seemed too affected by addiction or mental health issues)

*spoiler*

Emilio being a former rough sleeper/recovered drug addict turned book lover seemed all a bit too pat. I wish there'd been more complexity. Also throwing in comments about fake news and the environment, and so many of the homeless being noble ex-veterans with no former criminal past seemed a bit of a cop out. Decent film, but compared to Dog Day Afternoon or the excellent documentary Dark Days, sadly lacking in research and creditility.

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Embrace of the Serpent

Excellent film.

(Edit) 13/11/2020

Just rewatched this on blu ray (I saw it at the cinema) Excellent film. Engrossing and surreal (definite shades of Werner Herzog and Stanley Kubrick), with a compelling narrative and some incredible imagery. Worth checking out.

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The Protector

Passable action schlock. Worth seeing for a miscast Jackie Chan and a fun blu ray commentary.

(Edit) 13/11/2020

Well filmed action schlock from James Glickenhaus (The Exterminator/Macbain/Blue Jean Cop) and a curio to see the first attempt to make Jackie Chan an American action star in the 80s. He's partnered with Danny Aiello, and they have decent chemistry, but he's cast as an Asian Dirty Harry. Gun toting and sweary. He's not the likable everyman persona he's adopted with more success since, and his English isn't quite there to carry the drama without the stand out action a Jackie audience expects. There's some fun set pieces and production value, and an enjoyable audio commentary from Mike Leeder but it's a curio b-movie.

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Sorcerer

Underrated edge of the seat thriller.

(Edit) 13/11/2020

The film has a slow burn/intro which I slightly struggled with. But once it gets going, it's edge of the seat tension and clear narrative. Two sequences involving bridge crossings in a storm are fantastic and there's strong performances all round. A soundtrack by Tangerine Dream really anchors the film and suspense (fans of John Carpenter scores/The Warriors and Drive should check out the soundtrack) Well worth checking out. One which had gone under my radar from a long time, but glad I was able to see the blu ray. Excellent transfer and a solid film.

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