Film Reviews by None

Welcome to None's film reviews page. None has written 13 reviews and rated 2315 films.

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The Counsellor

Icky and confusing

(Edit) 11/01/2015

About half way through this film, I was completely confused as to what was going on. No idea as to which way was up or who was doing what to whom and who was paying. This is probably why I wasn't so bothered by the violent content as I might have been, right up until the discussions of the snuff movies and the decapitation of Brad Pitt. Anton Chekhov wrote about the pistol rule; that if you mention a pistol, or just show one knocking about in the first act, it has to be used by the third. Javier Bardem describes the mechanism, a sort of automatic bola that cuts through the neck and cannot be stopped, to Fassbender in the first act, and sure enough, that's what does for Mr Pitt, and the tips of his fingers. Then Mr Fassbener has to contemplate the snuff movie of his lover which is sent to him

This film, although slickly and coolly produced, and if you will excuse the expression, executed, didn't cut it (tee hee again) enough to justify the grisly parts. I actually went to IMDB to check out the synopsis but this didn't make the experience any better, and I would now like to forget the whole thing.

3 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

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Entourage: Series 1

This should have a warning FOR ADOLESCENTS ONLY

(Edit) 19/07/2014

Having trawled the CP lists for TV series that might carry us over the summer cinematic and televisual desert for those of us who hate sport (way more than half the population, incidentally), I lighted upon this series. It would have helped enormously if the strap lines and blurb had pointed out that this series is STRICTLY FOR PRE-PUBESCENT and ADOLESCENT BOYS, who have very, very little going on between the ears. I have to admit I only watched the first 10 minutes, but that was e-fucking-nuff!

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

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Luck: Series 1

Animal deaths too much to take

(Edit) 26/06/2014

Despite being beautifully shot and played, I could hardly understand what was going on in this HBO series. I had a slight problem with the early Wire episodes, but soon got into the demotic, and became enslaved. This was so gnomic as to be incomprehensible, so I looked up the plot summaries to get a handle on the thing. This is when I discovered that THREE horses were killed during shooting, so for an animal lover like me, that was the finish. Also that HBO cancelled it after only one series on account of the animals' deaths. It might have been a help for CP to let the subscribers know this before we hired the discs.

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The Wolf of Wall Street

Men behaving badly

(Edit) 23/06/2014

Martin Scorsese is here in his familiar comfort zone, which he has revisited with varying success, ever since the coup de cinema that was the opening scene of Mean Streets.

This time it’s a group of upstart boiler room scammers, flogging pump and dump stock to the poor, a group which burgeons and swells to some hundred salespeople, red in tooth and phone manner, and awash with illegal substances.

They make shed loads of money of course, and it all goes into the toilet of course, their greed and excess ensuring that there could be no other outcome. There’s lots and lots and lots of hysterical sex, and slightly less drug use, and what little rock and roll appears is provided by Robbie Robertson doing the sound track. The Quaaludes overdose scene is the funniest in the film, with DiCaprio proving that he can do physical comedy, and indeed, all the playing is exemplary.

The film is way too long at three hours- what was Ms Schoonmaker thinking? The sex scenes become a ludicrous parody of mainstream porn with unlovely boiler room sex addicts conducting orgy after orgy, and there were several points at which I almost lost interest but I stuck with it to the finish, partly through horrified fascination.

The film is based on a true story, so it had all the themes of the little guy bucking the system that Scorsese has returned to so often. But the thing is, the real wolves of Wall Street, and Main Street, and the high streets and village streets across the world are not cocky little bastards like Jordan Belfort. They’re the big guys and corporations who still rule the universe, however many financial crashes there may be, and they've not been reduced to touring New Zealand with a tacky sales success course. Did Marty miss a trick in not including them?

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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Good Vibrations

Belfast Kicks

(Edit) 12/04/2014

This is the first movie about Punk that I've really enjoyed. Partly because of the general chutzpah that ensures the film never lets up for a minute; partly for the skillful and intelligent use of news footage to illustrate the Troubles for those who may know nothing about them. Mainly, though, it shows Punk in a setting which makes sense for the whole aesthetic. Terri Hooley says during the last scene where he's addressing 2000 punks during a concert at the Royal Ulster Hall that New York Punks have the haircuts, London has the trousers, but Belfast has the reason for the existence of Punk itself, In a city where over 3000 people were shot, blown up, beaten and burned to death over 30 years, the pure and elemental joy of Punk seems like the only answer possible, leaving the cynical money-making machine of McLaren and Westwood in the dark. After all, John Peel said that the Undertones' Teenage Kicks gave him the best 2 1/2 minutes of his life.

4 out of 4 members found this review helpful.

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The Master

One for the grownups

(Edit) 03/04/2014

Having lately sat through a series of thrillers and the occasional rom-com that were essentially made for children, or at least teens, it was good to encounter a film made with adults in mind.

Everything is unsettling about this film, from the semi-classical score to many of the camera angles that look up from the floor, placing the viewer in the position of a lowly acolyte in Philip Seymour Hoffman's cult. There's a ravishing shot of a lighted pleasure boat steaming under what might be the Golden Gate Bridge into the last of a sunset, but otherwise the camera work is fairly static.

The two leads are terrific. Phoenix holds himself like a gorilla that's learning to be a man, his arms stiff and his shoulders forward- (I bet they had a chiropractor on the set), and Hoffman morphs from genial father figure to snarling tyrant in nano seconds. Phoenix sometimes sounds like Brando, while Hoffman seems to be channelling Orson Welles, but there's nothing wrong with that. There are a couple of other nods to Citizen Kane, when the Hoffman character addresses his faithful, and later when Phoenix visits him in the English school he sets up.

I disliked There will be Blood intensely, finding it pretentious and shallow, but I loved Magnolia, so for me, this is a return to form for P.T.Anderson. Like most artists and fine craftspeople, he doesn't churn 'em out, so I'll have to wait patiently, but eagerly, for his next film

6 out of 7 members found this review helpful.

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The Woman in Black

Gothic Harry Potter

(Edit) 30/01/2014

This ticks all the boxes for the old fashioned ghost shocker; decaying dark house, the death of children, the mad woman (women?) in the attic. It's quite well written and very well played, D Radcliffe doing his best, which is jolly good in the circs, and all other participants handing in a workmanlike performance.

Trouble is, for me it was simply an extended ghost train ride, scary but almost predictable. I can well imagine all the HP fans squealing and clutching each other as their darling struggles with a combination of the mother from hell and the original castrating woman. If you like this kind of thing, this is the sort of thing you will like

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

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A Cat in Paris

A disappointment

(Edit) 09/11/2012

Having greatly enjoyed Bellville Rendezvous, and having previously read good reviews of this film, we were disappointed. The Picasso look-a-like animation didn't help the flow, and we were at a loss to understand what the vertical black marks on each human face were supposed to represent- stubble? On a little girl? The plot was almost insultingly clunky, not assisted by hammy voicing. Even the behemoth Disney comes up with better characterisations than this, and their plots, although hackneyed, are more sophisticated than this one. The makers of this film could do with taking a look at the work of Studio Ghibli of Japan.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

A disappointment

(Edit) 25/02/2012

Perhaps if I didn't know the novel, or the late 70's TV production of Tinker Tailor, I might have thought this ok. Even so, its sepulchral gloom made me think more of a cut price Blade Runner than Le Carre's miserable mandarin. Oldman did a fine job, all the actors did a fine job with a script that became more attenuated as the film progressed. Why needlessly conflate characters' names, and why make Ann Smiley, an integral part of George's malaise, an off screen signifier? I'd been really looking forward to seeing what a contemporary director and cast made of what is now almost an English classic, but found myself deeply disappointed

0 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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Tamara Drewe

The Archers with sex and swearing

(Edit) 08/02/2012

A considerable disappointment from the usually excellent Stephen Frears. This worked as Posy Simmonds' comic strip, as her illustrations were able to convey her mordant satire, but as a film it's just another not very well constructed melodrama. The two feral school girls were the best characterisations, and although everything was well played, it seemed like a waste of talent all round.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

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The Wire: Series 5

The best drama series ever made, and I'll fight anyone who says otherwise!

(Edit) 24/10/2008

What to say about The Wire that hasn't been already said? To mention the Shakespearean sweep of the plotting, the wonderfully intimate detail of the characterisation, the political content that never preaches or tells the usual lies?

Having recently seen the last episode, I want to say how I will miss all the characters, how small details of previous story arcs keep returning to me like a friend's life story. The drama is so very gripping that you hardly notice how well it is shot, and the fact that it has taken four years for Simon and Burns to win an Emmy at least for the writing, is a testament to the paucity of critical judgement of those who run the tv awards.

If you've never seen it, do yourself a favour and start with the first episode. You will find it concerns a group of small, almost closed worlds, set in Baltimore Maryland. The police, the gangs, the docks and fading labour unions, the politicians at City Hall, the schools, and finally the media through an examination of how the news is made at the Baltimore Sun. I envy those who have never seen it and have this treat to come, but we've bought the lot and will be starting from series 1 again soon.

Enjoy!

3 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

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Treme: Series 1

Thought I'd died and gone to Wild Magnolia heaven...

(Edit) 03/09/2011

The only folk who won't like Treme are those with

a) cloth ears

b) an objection to sex and profanity

c) no interest in New Orleans culture, or in any other culture but their own.

So if you don't fall into the above categories, may I recommened this absolutely wonderful series, (pronounced Tre-may). David Simon, a flaming genius in my grumble opinion, has applied the same production, writing, directing and acting values as he did with The Wire to this story of the Crescent City after hurricane Katrina (August 2005). Only this time you have WONDERFUL music as well. Assorted luminaries including Elvis Costello, Dr John, Alain Toussaint, Steve Earle (who has a big-ish part) and heaps of jazzers and blues artists pop up playing and singing. The playing is superb, once you get used to the vernacular, with so many stand out actors that it's impossible to choose one over another. My one complaint is that it's not long enough, and we'll have to wait months for season 2. A companion piece would be Spike Lee's When the Levees Broke, one of the best documentaries I've ever seen, and I've seen tons of them.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

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Tell Them Who You Are

Killing Dad

(Edit) 02/06/2008

The biography of a great cinematographer, you would assume, is not the appropriate place for parricidal impulses, however justified by an absent, neglecting or rejecting parent. Mark Hexler’s documentary about his father, Haskell, exposes his desperate need for revenge against his more famous, more politically radical and obviously far more talented Dad.

No one could claim that Hexler senior is a dear old sweetie; he’s a difficult, demanding and probably infuriatingly egotistical person, but great artists frequently are. Which is where I came in; if you want to get down to brass tacks with your parents, the parental home, the first novel or fiction film, or the psychiatrist’s couch is the proper place to do it, not a documentary.

I have checked on IMDB and whilst the list of films shot by Haskell is long, and wonderful, all I can find for Mark, apart from this documentary and a film about a matchmaker is a documentary about Air Force One. This is clearly something of which Mark is very proud, as he gives a picture of himself with George Dubya, to his still Radical Dad, and there are plenty of other shots of Mark with the American Great and the Good.

The bitchiness of his taking the trouble to point out his Pa’s failures, (Blaze) as well as his shortcomings becomes really unpleasant when he rows in his Alzheimer’s affected Mother, to be wept over by Wexler Senior. I feel the old gentleman was ill advised to sign the release form at the close of the film, or to have anything to do with it at all.

0 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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