Film Reviews by Dax Williams

Welcome to Dax Williams's film reviews page. Dax Williams has written 12 reviews and rated 237 films.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Jojo Rabbit

Low-hanging fruit

(Edit) 14/08/2020

Hey, did you know that the Nazi regime was flawed? And that their ideology lacked sense? Did you know that a generation of young Germans had been brainwashed and used as fodder, especially towards the end of the war? Oh . .you knew all that already? Then don't waste your time watching this stupid movie. Chaplin was mocking Hitler 80 years ago. Even the premise of a family hiding a jew in the attic is old hat now and been done to death.

Jojo Rabbit is not very funny, not very interesting, not telling us anything new and, quite frankly, a bit boring in places.

On the plus side, the performances (from a stellar cast) were all fine and Thomasin McKenzie was particularly good as Elsa - even if she appeared to be acting in a different film to the rest of them. That is the major flaw of this movie, the tone is all over the place. There are events that take place here that in another movie would have been moving and very sad to watch; but it was impossible for me to be emotionally invested in these moments when literally 90 seconds earlier I was watching an imaginary, buffoonish version of Adolf Hitler eating a unicorns head (spoiler, sorry).

Although Jojo Rabbit is mainly considered a comedy; the jokes were, at best, hit and miss. Perhaps Waititi needed an imaginary editor to leave half of it on the cutting room floor. Poor stuff.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Knives Out

This is NOT a whodunnit

(Edit) 16/06/2020

This film gained rave reviews and was billed as a great Agatha Christie style murder mystery 'whodunnit'; so as an AG fan, I went into this with high hopes. Oh dear. On the face of it, yes, all the elements are there - A wealthy patriarch is found dead with a big pool of potential suspects to pick from - both family and non family. So far, so Christie.

However, I was then expecting to have my theory of 'whodunnit' change throughout the story as the writer skilfully moves the finger of suspicion from one character to another until, at the very end, the sleuth will reveal the truth that I didn't spot due to all the red herrings and misdirection. But . . .  that simply did not happen during this movie. At no point did I genuinely suspect any of the so called suspects, mainly because I didn't get a chance to suspect anyone as the truth of how the victim died is explained before the half way mark. I wont spoil it, but the death, and the action in the immediate aftermath of the death, is basically a load of nonsense. Oh, and there is an absolutely ridiculous (yet handy) plot contrivance that a certain character will vomit whenever she tells a lie. Seriously.

Having said that, the movie is not terrible and did keep me intrigued. At over two hours it did actually go by quite fast, and I wasn't bored throughout, just disappointed.

There are plenty of 'twists' in the film, although on reflection the plot has more holes than a block of swiss cheese. The performances are perfectly fine, although I'm not sure why Daniel Craig had to do that weird voice. The jokes rarely worked for me personally, but I expect others will find the film funnier than I did. I would really like to give Knives Out 2.5 stars. I was entertained yet ultimately disappointed. 

0 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Booksmart

Just OK

(Edit) 25/01/2020

This is a teen high school comedy that is just ok. Perhaps as a man hurtling towards 40, I’m not the target audience, but I really don’t understand the critical praise for this movie. The main problem is that the first hour (at least) is a non-stop barrage of whackiness and pratting around and it is all just too much so at no point did I have a chance to feel that any of the characters were real people. It seemed to just be throwing everything at you in the hope that some of it might be funny; and yes, I did laugh a few times, but really I only found about 5% of the ‘jokes’ to be funny. Ok, comedy is subjective, and I’m sure other people would laugh more than I did. Perhaps the lack of engaging storyline was the reason for the over the top nonsense that was constantly occurring – the actual plot of this film could have been told in a 15 minute short.

One real positive is the performances and chemistry of the two leads and I genuinely believed in their friendship. Also I suspect part of the acclaim of Booksmart is due to it’s woke nature (one of the characters is gay, and nobody minds!) and that is genuinely progressive and good to see. But sadly that alone doesn’t make it a classic. Throughout the film Booksmart treads a similar path to a million other teen comedies – the outcast nerds trying to be with the cool crowd, the house party with a swimming pool (where almost nobody appears to be drunk after 4 hours of partying) and there is even a bit in which one person throws up on another! How many times have I seen that scene?! There really wasn’t much here that I found new or exciting.

Like all high school movies it becomes all serious and earnest in the final act, with the graduation speeches of how we had the time of our lives and even though we are different, we’re all friends after all etc. Often times this can have a touching and moving effect, but in this case it just seemed to be going through the motions as I really didn’t know or care about any of the characters – particularly the supporting cast who I found to be a gaggle of clichés and unfunny morons.

If you want to know how to make a high school teen comedy - study Mean Girls. This is the gold standard of the genre (sorry Clueless and Ferris Bueller). That movie too has weird, 'oddball' performances but it also shows people acting relatively normal occasionally, and therefor the viewer can empathise with the character’s story. The comedy is not over the top, but perfectly timed.

Overall Booksmart has two good lead performances and a handful of funny gags, but for me there way too much supposed ‘comedy’ and not enough of an interesting story to be considered anything above average.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Hereditary

Chilling nonsense

(Edit) 10/04/2019

I don't often watch horror movies as I'm not into violence/gore or cheap jumpscares; but I gave this one a go due to the critical acclaim. Firstly the positives - Collete's performance is very good and the technical stuff (lighting, music, camerawork) was sound enough that it continually gave me chills (perhaps a more seasoned horror viewer would disagree). The main negative was that I had zero clue as to what was going on. Maybe I didn't pay enough attention to tiny details, maybe I should have been looking out for clues, I dont know. With previous horror films that I enjoyed (Elm Street, Blair Witch) I knew what the storyline was and therefor I knew what is was I was supposed to be afraid of. Here I gave up assuming that the story made any sense (even in a supernatural way) and it became a 2 hour excersize in making the hairs on my neck stand up with 'eerie things' happening - (think ghosts momentarily appearing in half lit rooms to an uber-creepy soundtrack). I have to say that in the main it worked on a technical level and I remained prettty creeped throughout the movie; but also, by the final few scenes I was laughing too as I found it a bit ridiculous and had no idea what was supposed to be happening.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Una

Not bad, not great

(Edit) 23/01/2019

I was not really looking forward to this film after reading the other reviews here, but actually it was better than I thought it would be. I guess it's about expectations. As another person mentioned, it is clearly based on a play, but I thought the flashbacks worked pretty well which is something that always works better in films than in theatre. Mendelsohn and Mara are good actors that give strong enough performances here - RM making a decent fist of a southern English accent too. The script has no award winning emotional speeches of note, but gets the story/atmoshpere across fine and stops short of falling into the cringe territory of many British movies.

Una is by no means a masterpiece and I found the ambient music/noise an unnecessary nuisance - perhaps a bit over-directed (if that's a word) in an attempt to diminish stage-like feel of the piece.

Una deals with a dificult subject matter and the complicated personal issues that arise thereafter, so this isn't a movie for everybody. Riz Ahmed's character didn't really make much sense and was only there as a convenient tool to push the plot along. I would say the film lost it's way a bit in the final 15 minutes, but overall it is a pretty decent watch.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Red Sparrow

Good fun

(Edit) 15/01/2019

I found this film surprisingly enjoyable. Not knowing too much about it, I was expecting more yawn-inducing car chases and fight scenes a la Bourne, or even Atomic Blonde; so I was quite relieved to discover that this movie is more espionage-y and less action-y. There was the obligatory fight scene which follows all the cliches of a Hollywood movie where the 'bad guy' simply forgets that a trained CIA operative is on the floor behind him (kill that guy first you idiot!). Overall Red Sparrow is not exactly La Carre level stuff, but a decent enough spy thriller nontheless.

Ok, yes, the Russians are speaking English with russian accents (check out Charlotte Rampling rolling her Rs like it's going out of style) and, yes, the plot is a bit silly and lightly garnished with lazy cliches; but that is pretty much what I want from a spy movie - and I feel there were just the right amount of twists and turns to satisfy without crossing into the totally absurd. There are enough charasmatic actors in this film to keep one's attention and I thought all the performances were fine for this kind of thing - and J-Law carries the whole film very well indeed. The only annoyance I suppose is that ultimately the americans 'win' ( I always kinda support the Russians for some reason), but that is to be expected to sell a movie to a predominately American audience. Overall, worth a watch if you are in the mood for an enterataining bit of spy fun set accross a handful of european cities.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Scott and Sid

Worth a watch

(Edit) 11/11/2018

A pretty fun little movie that I would recommend watching. It's great to see original, independent films like this being made in the UK - makes a nice change from the genre movies that seem to be the majority of what is produced here (period dramas or cringe inducing cockney gangsters) - so it's worth watching just to support this kind of British filmmaking.

This is by no means a classic film, but it is an enjoyable 90 minutes or so that provides a few good laughs and moments of emotional drama. Tonally its all over the place, regularly switching from a 'quirky indie' to surreal set pieces, to dead serious-kitchen-sink stuff. They seem to have thrown in everything! The performances are fine and I though Mason was particularly good. There is a relatively interesting back story behind the production that is worth looking up too.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

In Between

Strong performances

(Edit) 16/05/2018

This film is about the lives of 3 female flatmates in Tel Aviv. Devout Nour, who is engaged to be married, moves in to the spare room of the appartment occupied by Laila and Salma - who follow a less than traditional lifestyle. Like many movies coming out of the Middle East it deals with the clash between generations as well as issues of gender relations, orientation, identity and tradtional values. It is not a heavily plot driven movie, and wont be to everyone's taste, but the central performances of the three women are superb and I found it to be very confidently made and was impressed throughout.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Blade Runner 2049

Pretty much a waste of time

(Edit) 05/05/2018

Oh no, another piece of fraudulent filmmaking. This one is straight out of the Nicholas Winding Refn playbook! All stylish sets and 'awesome' effects and absolutely ZERO to care about. I have been a fan of Villenueve's previous movies (Incendies and Sicario in particular) but this Bladerunner sequel is a 157 minute snoozefest with a barely understandable storyline.

I quite liked the original Bladerunner (not as much as some people) because it has memorable moments, quotes, themes and characters. The pacing was pretty slow, but it kept my attention and paid off beautifully in the end. This follow up,however, forgot to include anything interesting!

Admittedly, it does look impressive, and the special effects people have earned the film it's 2nd star for this review, but for me stylish effects alone don't make a good movie. Here the director is more concerned with copying the tone of the original he forgot to give us interesting or sympathetic characters and make us give a toss in any way about what we are watching. The aforementioned Mr Refn is regularly guilty of this approach to filmmaking and I've lost all hope in his films, but hopefully Denis Villenueve will return to form in his coming movies.....

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

The Florida Project

Good film

(Edit) 14/04/2018

This film was worshipped by the pro critics, and for this I feel it is a touch overrated. But it is still pretty good. This is a cinematic portayal of everyday life in a motel-style housing project not far from Disneyworld in Florida. The kids in it are pretty annoying - actually really annoying - but I think that is supposed to the point of it. In the final scene it kind of pays off with the main child actor doing some good acting. The colours in this movie are quite striking, which is something the critics love I guess.

Willem Defoe is the likeable guy doing his best to run the housing project, but I'm not sure how much he was acting as everyone around him seemed to be a pain in the ass. The only real problem I had was with the lead female who was so annoying and has a terrible attitude. Some may say that her situation justifies her behaviour, but I think manners are free (!) and there are many people much worse off who are much nicer than she is - so I struggled to sympathise too much. Overall I enjoyed this movie - I don't think it is a masterpiece (or even as good as his first film) but it's very much worth a watch for those who have an interest in cinema existing outside of comic book movies

3 out of 4 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Berlin Syndrome

Lovely Job

(Edit) 21/03/2018

This was a bit of an un-expected gem. An Australian tourist (Clare) in Berlin hooks up with a local teacher (Andi) and ends up being kept permanently against her will in his apartment. I really liked the tone and pacing of this movie and although there are a few moments to make you wince, it doesn't descend to over-the-top violence and gore. Rather, it focuses on the pyschological effects of Clare adapting to her situation and over time she does begin to exhibit small signs of Stockholm syndrome, but not to the extent that she is content with the set-up and she always desires to be free. The lead performances were very strong and I found myself captivated and really rooting for Clare.

The are a handful of well trodden cliches of the thriller/horror genre thrown into this film; and at least two events occur here that also take place in Misery (a movie this reminded me of in places). There are one or two moments where you may roll your eyes in a 'yeah, right' kind of way, but by and large Berlin Syndrome steers clear of stupidity and remains relatively realistic the whole way through. A very impressive movie.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Baby Driver

Hugely disappointing

(Edit) 26/02/2018

The only reason this got 2 stars instead of 1 is that I have to admit the film looks good and there are well choreographed scenes. The car chases are well done; they are wildly unrealistic, but then so are most movie car chases. That is the problem with the movie - its all style. Especially annoying is that the film was written and direct by Edgar Wright, a massively talented filmmaker. Yes, Baby Driver has a cool soundtrack, but that alone is not good filmmaking.

I'm a fan of Wright (Hot Fuzz in particular) but he really dropped the ball with this one. The storyline is both wildly unbelievable and yet not remotely interesting and features a cast of cartoon-like characters that lack any kind of depth or intrigue. Spacey is some kind of criminal kingpin but there is no explanation of who he is, why he is powerful and why we should care. He organises robberies of banks/post offices by armed 4 person units (seriously, in 2017); one of these robberies involves a Mike Myers joke that should have been deleted as soon as the scriptwriter sobered up. A massively under written romantic plot features the beautiful Lily James playing an apparently lonesome waitress who falls for our bore of a 'hero' for no reason. She works in an almost empty cafe in a built up urban area that I'm sure would be full of leering men in real life. Oh and James is doing an accent, I think she was going for 'American' but I can't be sure. The other crew members are buffoonish idiots/thugs (Gonzalez seems to be there just to look hot) and Foxx has way too many 'slick' on liners that sound like they were written by a 14 year old who has just seen Pulp Fiction for the first time. Why would Spacey's character pick these nobs to carry out his oh-so-clever robberies? Also the police appear to give up solving these crimes after 10 minutes of a car chase.

I have seen worse movies but not more annoying movies. The 'Baby' character was not sympathetic despite his laughable sob story - the film is far too smug with it's coolness for me to give a toss about any of it. This is also not helped by the fact that lots of the movie just doesn't make any sense. Without going into spoilers, there is a scene in a multi-storey car park towards the end that left me open-jawed and not in a good way. It was plain ridiculous. Over all, a big shame.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

Help & support

Find answers to frequently asked questions and contact us should you need to

How It Works

See prices and levels and find out how Cinema Paradiso service works

Friends for Films

Invite your friends to join and get free subscription each month