Film Reviews by RhysH

Welcome to RhysH's film reviews page. RhysH has written 67 reviews and rated 116 films.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Classe Tous Risques

Gangster numero un.

(Edit) 14/06/2021

If you wanted to construct the perfect image of a gangster you would end up with Lino Ventura. The stocky build, the chiselled features and the defiant stare. It is the eyes that give Ventura's character, the gangster on the run Abel Davos, the only hint of emotion. He kills with no hint of remorse, it's what gangsters do, but when he looks at his children there is a flicker of humanity.

Jean-Paul Belmondo, as Eric Stark, leaps from delighted young lover to aspiring hardened criminal with one swing of his left hook.

Sandro Milo plays Lillane with the right mixture of naivety and worldliness.

From the robbery in Milan to the blood in Paris this is a French gangster film par excellence.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Fire Will Come

Galicia gallery.

(Edit) 14/05/2021

The opening sequence is as amazing as it is puzzling. The woodland is being destroyed, the trees are falling in waves, there is no obvious visual explanation. Could it be the start of some magical surrealist film? The rather mundane reason at the end of the sequence returns the viewer to reality.

The director Laxe takes time over each shot, a gallery of images with space to contemplate each one.

Amador Arias as Amador doesn't have a lot to say, he just observes the world around him. His face a relief map of the surrounding landscape. A wonderful performance from Benedicta Sanchez as his mother. What a life she lives with her three cows. All five mentioned are non-professional actors!

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Caesar and Cleopatra

What about the eyebrows?

(Edit) 18/01/2021

Shaw said of Pascal that he was "doing for the films what Diaghileff (sic) did for the Russian ballet. Pascal said that Shaw had "the greatest God-given gift of expressing the truth". Such talents should surely produce a great film. There was correspondence between Pascal and Shaw about the colour of Britannus's (Cecil Parker) eyebrows!

The production was beset with problems. Four days after filming started the Germans launched their V2 rockets. Parts of the set and workshops were destroyed. There was a shortage of people to make costumes, a shortage of material for the costumes, a shortage of skilled workers to build the sets. Then there was the weather, days and days were spent waiting for a bit of sunshine.

When shooting moved to Egypt days were lost because of rain! In Egypt 1,200 troops used as soldiers for the film were given papier-mâché shields held together by fish glue. The soldiers found these most edible and new shields had to be made.

The film was made using the new technicolour cameras. The resulting colour is very brash, no subtlety of shades. Stewart Grainger looks as if he has been spray tanned. The cameras were also very heavy and there is little camera movement, acting is done directly to camera in a very staged manner. All the performances, perhaps with the exception of Claude Rains, are very mannered almost hammy.

Pascal wanted the extras in the crown scenes to have individuality. It didn't quite work out for him. The crowd runs one way waving their arms in the air for fear and walk another way shaking their fists for anger. The depiction of the black slaves is embarrassing.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Red Desert

Red Desert Green Coat

(Edit) 05/01/2021

It takes a little while to realise this is Antonioni shooting in colour so bleak is the background, not until Monica Vitti appears in her green coat is the full range of the palette revealed.

Antonioni is obsessed with the industrial landscape which he imbues with an improbable beauty and obsessed with Monica Vitti's hair. I wonder if she had a stylist to give it that dishevelled beauty. Vitti's performance perfectly captures the woman on the edge.

Richard Harris gives a rather wooden performance. Maybe it was something to do with the dubbing into Italian which made him sound like an automaton.

Despite reservations it is an Antonioni masterpiece.

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 Cry

A bleak cry.

(Edit) 05/01/2021

This is not a black and white film it is a grey and grey film. The scenery is unrelentingly bleak but the perfect background to the story that unfolds.

Steve Cochran is excellent as the morose Aldo. the character craves affection but after he is seen hitting the woman he loves you realise that his disdainful attitude to women is not going to get what he desires.

Cochran is one of a number of American actors in the film dubbed into Italian.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Winter Sleep

It's cold outside.

(Edit) 27/10/2020

Despite the fact that most of the scenes are in small interior spaces it is the outside landscape that dominates. It is always there, uncompromisingly cold, vast and unyielding. That coldness has seeped into the characters in this intriguing Nuri Bilge Ceylan film. There is little genuine warmth between any of the characters. They talk endlessly about evil, social divisions and religion but the talk never really develops into debate as each pontificates, their ideas well rehearsed. Nobody smiles except the local imam, a great performance by Serhat Mustafa Kiliç, and his smile is pure obsequiousness.

The main character Aydin wears his intellectual arrogance lightly not aware that he always lapses into condescension. A studied and poignant performance by Haluk Bilginer.

Aydin's wife, beautifully played by Melisa Sozen, realises that even so young, her life has not turned out in the idealistic manner she would have liked. And Aydin's sister, a measured performance by Demet Akbag, oozes sarcastic indifference.

One of Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Chekovian masterclasses.

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 Ruling Class

How times change.

(Edit) 01/09/2020

When the Peter Barnes's play "The Ruling Class" was first performed at the Nottingham Playhouse (1969) Harold Hobson writing in The Sunday Times described it as "a scorching and savage tragedy". A tragedy it is but it is played through anarchic humour.

The film follows the play very closely as it would with Barnes having written the screenplay. It is a vituperative satire on a country ruled by incompetent old Etonians!

Peter O'Toole is completely OTT but you couldn't play the part any other way. There is a fine cast of British actors. For me, two stand out performances came from Alistair Sim as the bumbling bishop and James Villiers as the incompetent buffoon soon to be MP.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Life at the Top

Make room at the top

(Edit) 11/06/2020

Laurence Harvey as Joe Lampton continues his morose journey through the miasma of mid twentieth century northern politics and commerce. Harvey's performance is as centred as it was in "Room At The Top" although the character shows no more understanding of the world around him as he did in the previous film ten years ago. His dissatisfaction with everything touches all around him.

Jean Simmons gives a nuanced performance as his wife Susan, although exploited by Joe she retains a love for him.

Again, as in the previous film, Joe is given the opportunity of love and understanding, this time by Norah Huxley played with genuine understated compassion by Honor Blackman. But Joe's only raison d'etre is wealth and power which he achieves but at what cost to himself?

Donald Wolfit plays the irascible Mr Brown with great aplomb.

A fine example of British 1960s cinematography.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Restless

Which side are you on?

(Edit) 11/06/2020

This is a British TV adaptation of William Boyd's espionage novel, presented on the BBC in December 2012. The script by Boyd, as you would expect, is a faithful interpretation of the novel.

Sometimes in a spy film the plot can become a little incoherent, as is the case here. The performances, however make up for any lack of clarity. It is a cast par excellence. Rufus Sewell, Michelle Dockery and Charlotte Rampling are at the top of their game. Hayley Atwell as the young Eva Delectorskaya gives some awkward and hesitant traits to her character not quite in keeping with the highly trained agent she is.

The icing on the cake is the performance by Michael Gambon in the last few scenes.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Non-Fiction

A Gallic talkie

(Edit) 11/06/2020

A film that sums a lot about French cinema. The characters talk, eat, talk, drink, talk, smoke, talk, have sex, talk, meet in bars to talk, got to cafes to talk, have affairs to talk. The main debate is about changes to the publishing industry. The conversations go over and over the same ground. Why can't they change tack and talk about the weather? Of course not this is a French film. Despite all this one gets drawn in to the characters, observing the nuances of their lives.

Some good performances; Juliette Biinoche assured and stylish, Vincent Macaigne slightly over the top comic performance, Guillaume Canet, the epitome of French cool, Christa Theret, a delight and the best from Nora Hamzawi, an honest and compelling performance

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Room at the Top

Is there room at the top?

(Edit) 10/05/2020

Sometime in the fifties John Braine in hospital being treated for tuberculosis gave birth to his novel "Room At The Top" and at its publication in 1957 Braine was placed in that very loose grouping of "angry young men".

This film made in 1959 is an accurate rendition of the novel. Although the novel was set just after the second world war the film is placed firmly in the 1950s. The clothes, the cars, even the office furniture are fascinatingly evocative of the time.

The look may have changed considerably but have attitudes? Wealth breeds wealth, success is achieved by the exploitation of others. Men gawp at women lustfully provided they conform to certain stereotypes. Joe Lampton (Laurence Harvey) has a degrading grading system.

Harvey's performance is spot on, you can see the avarice in his face in the opening shots on the train. The film belongs, however, to Oscar winning Simone Signoret, she doesn't conform to the stereotype, her beauty comes from within and the way she portrays Alice's love for Joe is movingly sincere.

Most of the other performances are caricature , the boozy mates, the self made man of brass, the upper class twits. Some actors don't get a mention on the cast list. It's good to spot Richard Caldicot, Wendy Craig, Miriam Karlin, Wilfrid Lawson and Prunella Scales

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 Seventh Veil

Music maestro

(Edit) 10/05/2020

The opening crashing chords of Benjamin Frankel's score sets the tone for this film, a deliciously over the top psychological drama from 1945.

The seventh veil is the last vestige of privacy to a woman, it needs to be removed to reveal the inner workings of a woman's mind. Or so it is according to Dr Larsen (Herbert Lom) determined to identify why concert pianist Francesca Cunningham (Ann Todd) attempted suicide. To emphasise the validity of his theory Lom places on or removes his pince nez at appropriate moments.

Ann Todd shows two emotions, over excited happiness and utter despair. She does both with aplomb.

James Mason playing her guardian and Svengali like mentor plays his part with studied menace.

The "happy" ending is futile and unconvincing.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

My Name is Joe

My name is Hope

(Edit) 12/03/2020

Ken Loach points his camera at the lower depths and records it with integrity. Despite the despair that runs through this film, there is a genuine and moving love affair and some wonderful touches of humour. The humour is in the two football matches, shades of Loach's 1969 film Kes.

The performances are compelling, Peter Mullan as Joe, Louise Goodall as Sarah and, in particular, a moving performance by David McKay as Liam.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

Happy as Lazzaro

Lazzaro rises above.

(Edit) 18/02/2020

This is a beautifully shot, enigmatic film, the simplicity of the story underscored by a complex social narrative, a discourse on wealth and poverty.

The first half conjures up images of Ermanno Olmi's "The Tree of Wooden Clogs".

Adriano Tardiolo plays Lazzaro with studied ease, his face gives nothing away but it is not the face of a simpleton, as everyone around him implies, it is the face of a young man who observes the world around him and transcends its awfulness.

4 out of 4 members found this review helpful.

Write your review

100 characters remaining
4000 characters remaining

See our review guidelines and terms.

The Happy Family

Box set.

(Edit) Updated 30/11/2019

Muriel Box who died in 1991 at the age of 86 remains Britain's most prolific female director. She overcame a number of problems, financial, health and, of course, the institutional prejudice that decreed that women were not capable of directing.

"The Happy Family" was her first solo film which she made at the age of 47. It's a feelgood film set against the background of the Festival of Britain.

As a snapshot of 1950s Britain it is a delight, with lovely performances from Kathleen Harrison and Stanley Holloway, with a delightful cameo from Dandy Nichols and George Cole giving us a glimpse of the type of role he will play for decades. All the figures of the establishment are bumbling buffoons as epitomised by Mr Filch, an excellent caricature from Naunton Wayne.

The vocal delivery lends itself more to the radio, or should that be wireless? It's a one camera film so each shot that has more than two people in it is arranged rather like a group photo.

As it states in the credits, the part of Winston the rabbit is "played by himself".

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.
12345