Film Reviews by CS

Welcome to CS's film reviews page. CS has written 42 reviews and rated 269 films.

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Queen and Slim

Opportunity lost

(Edit) 08/09/2020

It is understandable that this excellently cast and well-acted film should receive a lot of attention in the wake of the BLM movement but its important subject matter should not disguise the benefits that would have been gained by shortening its length and tightening up the narrative development. There are too many detours and the tension is allowed to dissipate accordingly too frequently in the run up to the dramatic ending. High expectations, but disappointing. 

0 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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Bacurau

Yawn

(Edit) 07/07/2020

Given the number of good reviews written about this film, I need to start by saying neither my wife nor myself suffer from attention deficit problems. We're just as happy as the next to enjoy foreign dialogue,  lingering sunsets, great cinematography,  the slow-burn build of developing characters and genre blending. These need to be part of a compelling narrative, however, and this film took an awful long time to reprise a plot that mashed up ethnographic detail and full on violence; a combination that has been done before. I could have happily toddled off, made a two course meal, come back, sat down and still feel time was dragging. There are some good performances (hence the star) and the kernel of a good idea that, better executed, would have produced a compelling film. Kernel got trodden on.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

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Why Don't You Just Die!

Blood splattered curio

(Edit) 12/07/2020

This blood splattered gore fest is for the strong of stomach. Based on a simple premise, the extreme violence has a cartoonish quality about it, is superbly filmed and choreographed, and is combined with a neat revenge/betrayal tale. At times it looked and sounded like the product of a deviant coupling between reservoir dogs and a classic spaghetti western, and if that sounds bizarre then it captures the impression we were left with having viewed this film. Different, engaging and definitely n to for the squeamish. 

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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Parasite

Excellently crafted, highly engaging film

(Edit) 31/05/2020

Focusing on the interweaving of two families - one rich and one poor - this is a superbly shot and acted film which manages to be dramatic, funny and occasionally violent without in any way compromising the strong and coherent storyline which makes it such a good view. Definitely deserved the awards it has received.  

8 out of 11 members found this review helpful.

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Bait

An exercise in art house cinema

(Edit) 19/04/2020

Exceptionally well acted and evoking a dramatic sense of the difference between locals and city tourists (which you can really feel, through the lingering shots of net mending and knot tying fishermen, on the one hand, and wine swilling second home occupants on the other), this film nevertheless came across as a triumph of style over substance. The grainy black and white film and overdubbing certainly made it distinctive but reinforced the feeling this was made for an art house audience. No film can appeal to everyone, of course, but the 89 mins running time felt longer...

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

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Knives Out

Superb Whodunnit

(Edit) Updated 17/04/2020

A superb cast delivers this complex whodunnit in a light, entertaining and even amusing way. Never taking itself too seriously,  'Knives Out' serves up a highly engaging take on a good, old fashion murder mystery. A must see. 

8 out of 8 members found this review helpful.

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Pond Life

Unexpected Gem

(Edit) 22/03/2020

Set in an ex mining community this is a gem of a film about growing up in the mid-1990s. The acting is superb and the story is caring and compassionate to its characters. Don't miss it!

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

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Juliet, Naked

A Charming British Film

(Edit) 20/03/2020

Adapted from a Nick Horny book, this is the sort of film the British do well - well drawn characters, good acting, amusing script and some great locations along the Kent coast. Nothing too consequential but a feel good movie in which Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids), Chris O'Dowd (ditto and the fabulous Calvary), and Ethan Hawke (lots!) relax themselves into their roles and carry you along on an armchair of cotton wool in a thoroughly satisfying and well told story. Just the sort of gentle escapism that is needed in these times. 

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

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Joker

Superb

(Edit) 12/02/2020

Controversial, entertaining and also a social commentary on society's treatment of the marginalised, you don't need to be a fan of DC comics to enjoy this superb film. It works as a stand alone, best actor Oscar winning, work of great entertainment. 

4 out of 6 members found this review helpful.

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Traffik

Formulaic nonsense

(Edit) 14/10/2019

There are serious, quality movies about human trafficking out there but this is not one of them. Poorly acted in general, with plot devices notable for their lack of  originality, you can see what is coming a mile off. Don't waste your time. Life is too short. 

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

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Us

One of the very best

(Edit) 09/08/2019

Get Out was excellent but this follow up is even better. One of the best 'cross over' horrors ever and should appeal to mainstream audiences.

Instead of relying on blood and gore (though there's enough of that), the suspense builds within a narrative that explores the threat posed by the 'return of the repressed'. If Get Out was a commentary on American race relations, this is a far wider exploration of the role of 'others' within and outside the self. Excellently acted, taut in plot and well placed occasional humour to lighten the suspense, this is a must see that will probably reward repeat viewings. 

8 out of 14 members found this review helpful.

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The Mule

Eastwood makes this a good watch

(Edit) 23/06/2019

Based on the true story of aged drug courier Leo Sharp (a World War II veteran who became a drug courier for the Sinaloa Cartel in his 80s), Clint Eastwood gives an excellent performance in the lead role. The story is simple and effective but while Eastwood is excellent, the back story involving a mostly alienated family is scripted and acted in a way that seems somewhat contrived. Still well worth a watch - and there won't be many more films with Eastwood as a star.

7 out of 7 members found this review helpful.

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Utøya: July 22

Excellent - Dramatic and disturbing

(Edit) 09/05/2019

A sensitive, dramatic and disturbing portrait of the events of the Utøya terrorist shooting filmed from the perspective of a single young woman caught up in the tragedy. Excellently acted by the young cast, the film generates a surprising amount of tension from this single-person focus. Sensitively put together, this is a powerful piece of movie making.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

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Creed II

Predictable, by the numbers.

(Edit) 14/04/2019

We rented this because of its good reviews but while the fight scenes have clearly been choreographed with care the narrative arc of crisis to success has been overdone in this franchise. For fans of Rocky and the Creed reboot it may be enough to see the same story played out with variations in pitch, tone and character, but for anyone wanting something fresh which promised new directions to traditional scenarios this was disappointing.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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Kaiser!

Story of a con man

(Edit) 07/04/2019

I remember being at the Southampton match when Ali Dia was brought on by the then manager Graham Souness, and then substituted shortly afterwards having run around like what Matthew Le Tissier later described as 'Bambi on ice'. Dia was given a month's contract on the basis of a phone call to Souness from someone who claimed to be George Weah. The whole thing was a scam, and a hilarious one too. Well, that's got nothing on this tale of a footballing con man who talked his way into being signed for numerous clubs yet managed to avoid for years the fate of Dia by hardly ever venturing onto the pitch to actually play. An interesting tale that would have made for a belting 30 minute documentary. Stretched out to around 90 minutes, this gets a little repetitive but it's still an interesting and at times sad tale of an individual who played to his strengths by contributing far more off the pitch than he ever did on it.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.
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