Film Reviews by AER

Welcome to AER's film reviews page. AER has written 378 reviews and rated 1856 films.

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Hannah and Her Sisters

Enjoyable

(Edit) 18/04/2024

This is the first time I've seen Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters; I recently rewatched Annie Hall and saw 'Melinda and Melinda' too - so I'm going through something of a Woody Allen phase it would seem. The most recent one I've seen of his was Wonder Wheel which seems like a long time ago now...

Anyway, Hannah and Her Sisters benefits from pushing Woody Allen (the actor) into a supporting role rather than have him hogging the limelight. I'm not a fan of his characters (which always seem the same), so this was cool to see Mia Farrow, Dianne Wiest, and Barbara Hershey take centre stage for once - and they embody some interesting roles convincingly. Woody isn't even the best male actor in the film, as Michael Caine and Max Von Sydow have better roles and nail them with aplomb. Hannah and Her Sisters is an entertaining, serio-comedy that adds nothing new to the Woody Allen cycle of films. Like all his movies, you either warm to the story or you don't I enjoyed this as it wasn't as irritating and as dated as some appear to be. Look out for John Turturro in a walk-on role!

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Friday

South Central version of Coronation Street

(Edit) 18/04/2024

This is like an episode of Coronation Street if it was set in South Central Los Angeles! It has some funny moments but in the main it's slow, uncinematic, uneven and not as funny or good as your average Cheech and Chong movie....

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Insidious: Chapter 2

thin sequel

(Edit) 18/04/2024

I remember liking this second chapter to the inventive Insidious - however, this time I noticed that there wasn't much going on or for this sequel. An interesting backstory aside and one creepy scene with a hidden room full of patiently waiting bunch of shrouded corpses, Insidious 2 is a bit of a narrative mess, with a bad script, weird uneven performances, bad overdubbing, and crap facial hair. Worst of all is that hardly any of the scares land, and the story goes in circles, adding nothing fresh to the story. Whilst it doesn't repeat much from part one, it drives to less interesting places. However, it's still better than 3, 4 & 5 which drag the series down and down and down.

Thin.

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Resurrected

Unique look at combat PTSD

(Edit) 16/04/2024

This forgotten Channel Four film offers an insight into a soldier's PTSD. Pvt Deakin (DAVID THEWLIS) goes MIA during the Falklands only to turn up safe and sound seven weeks later. His family had already given him a funeral. At first he is proclaimed a hero but then the UK press turn on him, putting the seed into people's heads that he deserted the battle field. His fellow soldiers welocme him back with suspicion, and he also returns home a changed man. It's an interesting film with committed performances. It's based on a true story and was worth the telling. It's solid and holds no surprises. It's not very cinematic, although it wasn't produced as a TV film. This was director Paul Greengrass' (The Bourne trilogy / Green Zone) debut and he showed a lot of promise. It still stands up to day, even though it's style is of British movies made in the 1980s. Great support from Tom Bell, Rita Tushingham, Christopher Fulford, David Lonsdale, and Rudi Davies (as Deakin's understanding girlfriend). Look out for young Steve Coogan in a background role.

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Powder

Intriguing with huge logic gaps

(Edit) 14/04/2024

Sean Patrick Flanery is superb as a genius/albino/lightning conductor called Powder who gets taken into a state school for troublesome teens when his grandparents die. Having never really encountered ohter humans it's a bit of a rude awakening. Lots of eyebrows and questions are raised as this keeps Powder'mysteries locked away, but still has lots of big plotholes. There are a few great set-pieces like a scene in the dining hall, and another that centres on a dying deer. Bad acting on the sidelines scuppers this film more than you'd think and they can't make their careless characters seem more sympathetic. Jeff Goldblum is simply awful, Mary Steenburgen unmemorable, only Lance Henriksen won me as the town's sherriff. In turn creepy and sentimental, it's all over the place tonally. I saw it back in the 90s and quite liked it, but I am obviously a bi tless accepting now, and more critical. I'm sad that it's not the cool film I remembered.

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After Hours

Essentially a mad cap film reinterpretation of Franz Kafka's The Trial

(Edit) 13/04/2024

Essentially, Martin Scorses's After Hours is a mad cap film reinterpretation of Franz Kafka's The Trial. It's one of those half-remembered 80s films that got broadcast on late-night TV and you ha;f-remember all through your years, then you track it down to reassess it. the Criterion Collection has blew the dust off Scorsese's strangest film , and I'd say its worth a look even though it's light, annoying, infuriating (like the source material), funny, bonkers, and very 80s. The cast are wonderful in the main, and the ending is a doozy. It's fun to see forgotten counter culture heads like Cheech and Chong show up alongside John Heard,, Linda Fiorentino, Rosanna Arquette and Teri Garr. Griffin Dunne is awesome as the Josef K proxy and some of the set-pieces/non-sequiteurs are very funny. It's slight but if you get it, it's yours for life.

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Fortress 2

Re-entry can be painful

(Edit) 10/04/2024

It's very difficult to believe that this craptastic sequel to Fortress was directed by Geoff Murphy who made the New Zealand sci-fi classic The Quiet Earth as well as Goodbye Porkpie and UTU. Even Murphy's Under Siege 2 is a masterpiece compared to this intergalactic alien turd. Nobody makes any effort to elevate this from the z-grade crap it was designed to be. Pity Patrick Malahide and Pam Grier, who rub shoulders with action journeymen like Nick Brimble, Carl Chase and John Sharian. It's hard ot watch in every way. At least Christopher Lambert began to redeem himself by working with the Coen Brothers, Richard Kelly, and Claire Denis more recently in the years since this was made, to show that he can act. But this one is hard to forgive and forget. It even makes the first one look like a lost classic.

Heh heh heh, indeed Monsieur Lambert...

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The First Omen

Unadventurous prequel

(Edit) 10/04/2024

The inventive teaser trailer drew me in, but there's not much to recommend to this prequel to the 70s-80s Horror sequence of films begun by The Omen. One or two set-pieces aside this is too drab and slow to muster much interest. The ending is preposterous and the fiery SFX sub-par. A committed performance from Nell Tiger Free makes this more watchable than it might've been and she is given superb support from Brazilian powerhouse Sonja Braga - otherwise the support is distracting with weird accents and performance choices: hello Ralph Ineson and Bill Nighy. There's a nice cameo by Charles Dance. The pregnancy scene at the halfway mark hits the mark but it's stranded inside a boring and unadventurous film. Coming a week or two behind IMMACULATE with its similar plot, the First Omen has been robbed of some of its purpose. Immaculate was crap too though imo.

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Sin Nombre

Good thriller set in Mexico

(Edit) 05/04/2024

Cary Joji Fukunaga's debut is worth a look. Telling a straightforward story about a group of young people trying to escape poverty and gang-life in Central America. Willy is trying to escape his street gang and goes on the run with some Guatemalan refugees who are riding on top of trains to get to the border of the USA. It's very gripping but the plot is very predictable and some turns of the tale are unconvincing. Very watchable however, and you can see that this director was talented from the beginning - Beasts of No Nation and True Detective (S1) being the standouts of his later career - he even directed a James Bond movie (NO TIME TO DIE)!

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The Curse of La Llorona

Good legend - standard approach

(Edit) 04/04/2024

Like many a horror film, there is a good hook but beyond that the ideas run out. The Curse of La Llorona has an interesting idea of a spectre looking to replace the children she murdered 300 years earlier. Not much makes sense after that - why is it set in 1973 other than to set it alongside other films in the CONJURING universe. Its full of tired jump scares, rote performances, cack CGI, lame acting, and redundant scenes of hide and seek in gloomy rooms. There's nothing new or innovative beyond the backstory in this factory line ghost flick.

Not scary.

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Ferrari

Flat tyres

(Edit) 20/01/2024

Sorry this was a bit flat. I don't think I like Adam Driver as an actor. Most of the time he delivers really boring perfomances and this is another one, slightly compacted by a faintly ridiculous accent. Lines are mumbled too here - however I could hear most of the other performers just fine. Penelope Cruz was excellent but most of the time she was locked away in a parallel part of the film - interacting all too rarely with Enzo Ferrari (Driver). The rest of the supporting cast never really gets a look in: characterisation is as follows: Jack O'Connell as Peter Collins wears funny hats and has a realm of 'jolly hockey-sticks'-type expressions, and Patrick Dempsey's Piero Teruffi likes to smoke cigarettes. The life story itself is quite compelling but this one suffers from a miscast leading man and unclear plotting. I had the same problems with Michael Mann's Miami Vice film - muddy and mumbled. I loved Mann's films like Collateral, Ali, The Insider, Heat, and The Last of the Mohicans... Where is that guy I wonder>?

Flat tyres - 3.5 out of 10

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Dirty

Training Day wannabe

(Edit) 18/12/2023

Cuba Gooding jr should have his Oscar confiscated. For his part in this and The Devil's Tomb, he owes me a lot of good will. Hahaha. Backed up by the usually excellent Cliton Collins (who's been left stranded with an appalling script) there is nothing here but warmed up scenes that could've been deleted from Training Day or End of Watch. It's pretty unwatchable as this badly made dirty LA cops movie squanders good actors, a decent score and OK plot. Fans of director David Ayer (Fury / Dark Blue / Sabotage / End of Watch / Training Day (Script)) would do best to avoid this DTV rip-off which centres around an awful central role (how many times can CBjr say Mo Fo in one minute? I counted 41 at one point).

This sh*t is wack. Avoid.

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Wake in Fright

Bladdy raff mate

(Edit) 03/04/2024

An interesting Australian film about male behaviour and macho lunacy. Donald Pleasance is in a supporting lead and has an interesting line that addresses the main character's initial resistance to the lack of culture. 'What do expect from them, opera?" It's a thrilling, lively, and sometimes shocking film (the kangaroos). One of Ted Kotcheff's very best films and I'm glad it's been restored and made available for us all to watch. Tough going at times, but from my time in Australia, still realistic and relevant as far as behaviour and male toxicity is concerned. Great movie for fans of 70s Australian cinema.

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Late Night with the Devil

exceptional taut horror

(Edit) 02/04/2024

the difference between Late Night With The Devil and your hordes of other horrors are the performances. Presented as a missing episode of a late night variety show on TV that goes tragically awry this brings horror to viewers in a new respect. The acting is typical of a horror film but a live TV event, so how it manages to be terrifying is something short of a miracle. However, when the veil is lifted in the last 10 minutes, it loses it's stragnelhold. However, you won't have seen another horror flick like this. It's very entertaining and an all-too-rare treat that brings innovation and scares. Do not miss.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem

Great fun

(Edit) 23/03/2024

Eye-popping illustration and colours set this apart from the other TMNT reboots. The voice cast are lively and funny - it was the best we could;ve hoped for from the land of the reboot. Holreboot! Cowabunga dood.

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