Film Reviews by RC

Welcome to RC's film reviews page. RC has written 23 reviews and rated 62 films.

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2040

Is it possible in 19 years?

(Edit) 22/02/2021

Firstly this is a really well made film - the creative use of visual effects to inform and underline what is being said is the best I have seen on this subject. The lead character/director is engaging and seeks out some interesting possibilities using only what is already available today.

It avoids the pitfall of so many 'eco' films of being preachy and scary, he doesn't downplay the difficulties but makes an honest attempt to find solutions that could work for his daughter's future.

There is a slight whiff of eco-technic porn about some of the ideas - high-tech mass transport, the continuing prevalence of an internet and some shiny new fun gizmos without considering the resource cost implications, but on the whole he digs up some good ideas - micro-grids transforming the domestic energy landscape, communally owned personal transport, greening (plants) of cities by freeing the space taken by private cars, changes to diet, plus the education of women and their equality as a major driver for reducing resource use.

Overall much better than many attempts at this and probably achievable if it was not for the structural obstacles. System change requires more than simply sharing your energy with your neighbours (try that in the UK and you'll get a ton of regulation and law down on your head unless you also change the system that governs us).

Is it possible in 19 years? Only with revolutionary social changes worldwide. The film illustrates what might be possible if that were to happen - and as such is a useful vision of what could lie beyond a system change. But without system change no hope.

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The Shout

Its Not (quite) Cricket

(Edit) 24/12/2020

I remember seeing this when it first came out (1978) and thinking it a bit overblown. Just watched it again (2020) after it was featured in a list of films containing an English cricket match (a short list; The Go Between from the same period is another one, also with Alan Bates in a similar role)

It now seems a bit better than I remembered despite some inconsistencies and plot holes. Alan Bates, for all his brooding lumbering around, never quite pulls off the surreal menace that the role of Crossley, the man with The Shout That Can Kill, demands.

John Hurt as Anthony the philandering cuckold composer, seems unbelievably weak in the face of Crossley's invasion of his life, but that's what the role as written demands. Tim Curry as Robert Graves (yes the real one, he really did write the story the film is based on) listens to Crossley's tale with suitable wide-eyed innocence in the hut as they are scoring the locals versus loonies cricket match at the asylum.

The cast features many well known English actors of the period, including Susannah York getting her nipples out as usual and a young Jim Broadbent ripping his kit off to prance about in his pants in the thunderstorm that terminates the match, and the film. The Devon locations are an added bonus.

All in all an entertaining 90 minutes although not a great film by any means. (and there isn't that much cricket!). Worth 3/5 or 4/7 if you prefer a finer grained rating system)

Incidentally the synopsis here on Paridiso is incorrect in moment (Dec 2020) - its got the story the wrong way around.

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Green Book

Classic Road Trip Movie

(Edit) 02/11/2019

A really good film telling its story in an engaging way and getting you involved with both the leading characters who emerge as considerably more than their archetypes.

Excellent performances from both Mortensen and Ali carry the narrative forward.

A classic road trip movie. It is a mainstream Hollywood movie so expect some sentimentality and a happy ending (as maybe it happened for real!).

The background story/mileu is interesting as well, although not important unless you are hung up on the story of race relations in the USA - in which case I guess you'll either love it or hate it according to your preconceptions and prejudices and miss the opportunity to enjoy it as a good piece of movie making. Life is not black and white.

3 out of 4 members found this review helpful.

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Faces Places

Beautifull, Compelling, Varda at her best

(Edit) 02/11/2019

Visages Villages (the title in French) sees 89 year old artist/film maker Agnes Varda collaborate with 34 year old photo-muralist JR.

Together they embark on a voyage around France creating stunning works/installations as they go and cross fertilising both ways between the generations of artists as they go.

This is their story, and a delight filled one it is.

Agnes died aged 90 in March 2019 and this film together with "The Beaches of Agnes" 2008 makes a fitting legacy for someone at the heart of the post WWII French New Wave Cinema in the 60s (and incidentally, as a friend, one of only 6 people to attend Jim Morrison's funeral). A life well lived, for sure the new generation epitomised by JR will carry the baton forward.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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The Happy Prince

Fabulous

(Edit) 03/08/2019

A wonderful of telling the story of Oscar Wilde through the lens of his last days in Paris. Excellent acting throughout and very convincing relationships. Fascinating insight into his last years and days after his release from Reading jail. Told largely in flashbacks so be prepared to do a bit of work to understand the chronological sequence of events if you do not already know his story. A tale of love, redemption, celebrity and decline.

2 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

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Shoplifters

A slice of life with a narrative twist

(Edit) 03/08/2019

I've not seen any of this director's work before - it reminded me very much of Mike Leigh using observational narrative to tell a story whilst painting a picture of real life, warts and all.

Very engaging, generates a lot of sympathy for the characters in the 'family' with all their difficulties and creative responses to those problems. I imagine it might be a fair depiction of less-privileged life in a modern Japanese city, it certainly came across that these were real people. And then there is the increasing undercurrent of uncertainty about what exactly is going on here as the narrative elements develop which provides a dramatic tension that keeps you engaged.

In the end (trying to write this without making a spoiler) we are confronted with a deep question about what exactly a family is. Well worth watching, I can imagine a very similar story being told in a more familiar (English) milieu which makes this a truly great international film.

1 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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The Measure of a Man

A French Daniel Blake? - not really.

(Edit) 04/06/2019

A bit the same territory as Daniel Blake in the first third, but without the edge, and then going on to follow him into rubbish work. Excellent sparse performance by the lead (Vincent Lindon) but in the end curiously unsatisfying. The underlying desperation of all the characters in Daniel Blake was missing, somehow you felt that they would all be ok despite everything. This was certainly not the outcome of Loach's masterpiece. Stephaie Brize has made a good observational film but failed to use drama get to grips with the underlying issues. Worth watching though to help realise that the situation in France (and elsewhere) under neo-liberal capitalism is the same as in the UK.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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A Very English Scandal

Ambition as a Cancer Eating the Establishment

(Edit) 04/06/2019

Excellent performances by both Grant (Thorpe) and Whishaw (Scott/Josiffe) and the supporting cast. Nice period touches by Frears. On the one hand a reminder of how far we have come as a society in 50 years on homosexuality. On the other hand a depressing reminder of how little has changed about the way the English establishment closes ranks and protects its own, even after finally being forced to take action against immorality and cancerous ambition in its midst.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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Arcadia

Some interesting content in an incoherent framework

(Edit) 04/06/2019

Despite containing much fascinating footage it is difficult to discern a pattern or intention, let alone meaning, in the montage.

It is claimed by some to be about our relationship with nature and the land (or something) - but I don't see that reflected here. There is a good non-documentary film to be made about this subject, but this isn't it. Frankly it is a bit incoherent.

Three stars solely because some of the archive clips are interesting in themselves, not for the whole as a movie which would get one star.

1 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

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Loveless

Very "Russian" but also very resonant to our own situation.

(Edit) 04/06/2019

Another slice of modern Russian middle-class life from Zvyagintsev (Elena, Banishment, Leviathan) reminding us how similar our societies now are.

The lovelessness of the title is the characters' lives; their empty mediated life produces tragic consequences in their reality.

Slow paced, sometimes satirical, a portrait of the alienation produced by the modern world. Zvyagintsev works in the tradition of great Russian film making, now totally accessible and comprehensible to an English audience.

The consequences of modern life laid bare.

3 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

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The Nile Hilton Incident

A real story about a real incident

(Edit) 28/01/2019

Cairo, 2011, cusp of a revolution, routinely corrupt system including police, a girl gets murdered in the Nile Hilton, a Somali maid (illegal immigrant) sees the killer leaving, the detective assigned proceeds to disentangle things uncovering a deeper plot...

Very well made, subtitled, based on a true story. The detective is very well acted and the character is complex with flaws and virtues and believable, the backdrop doesn't intrude. Like any 'noir-ish' film the plot sometimes seems tangled and you can loose track of who is working for who but in the end truth will out and out hero gains wisdom if not success.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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I, Daniel Blake

If it makes you ashamed to live in this society...

(Edit) 14/12/2018

....(and it should), then you need to do something about it.

I am furious that we treat well meaning people in this way. It is shameful that we have so lost touch with human values that workers can put up with dishing out this inhuman treatment to those who find themselves in difficulties.

Where there is a direct human connection - as shown between Daniel and Katie and the others who he lives around there is mutual support and care. Where "The System" intervenes between human relationships as shown between Daniel and the staff who are supposed to support him it is totally broken.

Possibly the only way to fix it is to burn down all social insecurity and nojob centres and start again. Those jobs (the benefits staff) should not exist in that form - lets do away with them and replace them with a system that actually works for people.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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The Unknown Girl

A Slice of Life Character Film

(Edit) 14/12/2018

The Dardennes brothers (who directed) are a bit like a French (or Belgian) Mike Leigh with a touch of the unexpected. Films that observe their characters and let us feel with them in the situation shown. The Unknown Girl is a fine example as the doctor mixes her feelings about leaving her socially responsible post as doctor in a poor area for a flash new clinic with her feelings about an unknown girl who gets murdered more or less on her surgery doorstep. Guilt drives her to investigate and we are taken along for the ride.

Finely acted, especially by Adèle Haenel as the young doctor and Louka Minnella as the boy Bryan who may or may not have something to tell.

It was good enough that we felt the need to watch it twice to pick up on some of the nuances.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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The Return

A fabulous modern Russian mood film

(Edit) 22/10/2018

Director Andrey Zvyagintsev went on to make Elena (2011) and Leviathan (2014). This, his first feature from 2003, clearly sets out his themes.

Reflective in pace, giving the cast a chance to fully inhabit the characters and reveal the narrative. Excellent cinematography, a simple story explored in depth, posing questions that extend you beyond the narrative.

In this one the two young actors playing the boys are outstanding - possibly the best child acting you will ever see. Tragically Vladimir Garin who plays the older brother died during post-production before the premiere. He was swimming in the same lake where the film was shot when he drowned.

This is modern Russian film making at its best.

4 out of 4 members found this review helpful.

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A Town Called Panic

A surreal gem

(Edit) 22/10/2018

A masterpiece of the surreal. Silly, crazy, unlikely, logical in its own world (and more or less in ours), escapist, surprising, cheap and cheerful, obviously a labour of love and obsession to make, hugely entertaining. A child's toy-box world complete and entire within itself.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.
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