Film Reviews by JS

Welcome to JS's film reviews page. JS has written 18 reviews and rated 33 films.

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Vendredi Soir

ABSOLUTE DROSS

(Edit) 07/02/2021

Unless you are one of those who believes that French Cinema must be held beyond criticism or have a fetish for traffic jams, then steer clear of this rubbish.

There is a story, of course, but even when you think you have a vague idea as to what is happening it drifts off into blurred cinematography.

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Kalinka

Fact better than fiction

(Edit) 10/01/2021

Always a treat to watch Daniel Auteuil films. He is a much underrated actor outside France.

The facts held the film together and there was never a moment when the drama didn't hold ones attention

Highly recommended.

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Les Misérables

All action stereotypes

(Edit) 10/01/2021

Firstly let me note that there are no subtitles to this film unless you choose to watch it with the audio commentary on. Really odd, but eventually listening to the French for emphasis, the English for detail and the subtitles for a translation becomes a non issue.

It is all action and engaging but, the French police are brutal, the inhabitants of the banlieue are black criminals so you enjoy the film but with some degree of being uncomfortable.

Worth watching for the young actors/extras and would certainly have got 4* if it wasn't for the adherence to classic French cop films.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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Camino Skies

Didn't appreciate this was a documentary

(Edit) 15/11/2020

The blurb doesn't explain that this is a documentary and the film doesn't explain how this disparate group was formed - was it a "tour" as the group seemed strangers to each other. No sign of any support vehicle/staff other than the film crew.

So, it didn't have the drama or impact of The Way but rolled along at a reasonably comfortable pace. Not every member of the group gets equal air time but we do glean some personal suffering but not why walking the Camino was thought helpful. Not even sure if there were any Catholics in the group.

Tremendous personal effort but ..............

3 out of 4 members found this review helpful.

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Lady J

Delightful period drama

(Edit) 15/06/2020

This was available on Netflix so we watched it there rather than waiting for a DVD.

Superb period drama with a twist or two.

Highly recommended.

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The Farewell

Oh for standardised subtitles

(Edit) 30/05/2020

We had really looked forward to this much hyped film.

An interesting story juxtaposed with the dichotomy of West meets East.

But, and there is always a but, and iñ this case a huge BUT how can one follow a foreign film if the subtitles are unreadable.

Was the bride pregnant? Couldn't tell because the white subtitles were masked by revolving white plates. Many other examples while the subtitles for the hard of hearing were exemplary. Big and bold!

Perhaps your in-house critic understood Chinese or watched in a cinema but, why oh why, isn't there an international standard on subtitles?

They need to be in a bold font, of a certain size and preferably white on a black background.

Spoiled my evening hence the two stars

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Fat Girl

French film at cutting edge or at its worst?

(Edit) 14/05/2020
Spoiler Alert

Thankfully a short film by French cinema standards but still too long

Girl meets boy - 15 minutes

Seduction/rape - 30 minutes

Family discussion - 10 minutes

Further rape - 10 minutes

Poor acting by his mother - 10 minutes

Motorway driving with limited speech - 10 minutes

Unconvincing murder - 10 minutes

No psychology, just brutalism and neopornography?

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Welcome to Dongmakgol

Brigadoon updated

(Edit) 07/03/2020

It must be more than 60 years since I saw Brigadoon but there were plenty of resonances here.

The village isolated from the world running a peaceful society rudely interrupted by a war.

There are messages in this film not spoiled by some tolerable silliness as it was described as having a comedic thread.

An enjoyable way to pass a rainy afternoon.

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Custody

Don't forget the "prequel"

(Edit) 22/12/2019

Enjoyed this film although in classic French style it dragged in parts eg the party scene.

You mustn't ignore the short film in the Extras as it is actually a prequel to the main offering.

Should you watch this first? Not sure. Certainly it fills in the gaps but equally it detracts from the perception of one of the main characters and might just modify your views on the denouement.

It's your choice!

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Happy End

Hamstericide, murder, suicide and Isabelle Huppert- A comedy???????

(Edit) 09/03/2019

Have to agree with most other reviewers that Happy End is a potentially good story spoilt by self indulgent directing.

Had to stop film after 30 mins and look it up on Wikipedia to find out what was happening. Like so many modern French films we have the entrails of family life dissected a storyline nothing like the French we know.

PS if you watch the extras you can see Isabelle Huppert smile at least twice.

0 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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Orchestra Seats

Slick, funny and well worth the watch

(Edit) 24/12/2018

Couldn't believe I'd watched the same film as the other reviews when I read them later.

Yes it was light but with moments of depth that one only gets in French films. Made me laugh at times and the editing was amazing as we were switched seamlessly between the 3 scenarios

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In Between

Expected more - particularly the subtitles

(Edit) 20/10/2018

The problem with film is that it is supposed to transport one beyond the stereotype and engage with the story.

Here, the nuances were often lost in the subtitles.

WHITE ON WHITE SUBTITLES DON'T WORK!! IS ANYONE LISTENING?

The first half floundered without firming up the character relationship.

The second half was much better and the director delivered the expected patriachy, a little bit of the inter-communal tensions but do liberated Palestinian "girls" really behave so outlandishly even in a cosmopolitan city like Tel Aviv?

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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Pretty Village, Pretty Flame

Certainly watchable

(Edit) 25/02/2018

I had been waiting for this film for a while as I searched for something that related to what was termed "the war in yugoslavia".

A really complex film to watch with 4 time periods used in rapid flash back/forward in the early stages making it difficult to relate eg boy to man.

At times played out as a comedy or was it irony?

Unbalanced perhaps in that the Serbs seemed to dominate the actors and perhaps because of that we never really get under the skin of WHY?

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White Bird in a Blizzard

Poor

(Edit) 20/02/2018

I never read reviews before ordering as so many reviewers feel the needto use all the available characters to summarise the plot and include the spoilers.

Had to refer to these however as we could only last for half an hour of this wooden acting and the lack of subtitles. I agree with BE (above) somehow young American actresses are murdering the English language. Perhaps it is our age.

However, I found a spoiler on the internet and disvovered what had happened to the mother. Trite solution I'm sure we have seen before.

A trivial film, poorly produced and only worthy of a wet afternoon's watching on TV when the alternative is snooker.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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Angel of Mine

Just another stolen baby film?

(Edit) 01/02/2018

No, not really.

Yes, it's a bit slow (after all it is a French film) but the attention was held for the full 90 minutes.

A bit predictable inevitably but with a bit of a twist making it thoroughly enjoyable.

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