Film Reviews by CD

Welcome to CD's film reviews page. CD has written 54 reviews and rated 58 films.

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Sulphur and White

Hard hitting film

(Edit) 16/04/2021

This is a difficult and unsettling film showing the destructive impact of abuse as a child on the main character’s life.  It is hard to see where it is going for the first 30 mins and the flashbacks only become meaningful later in the film.  There is little on the trading floors, a bit more about wild lifestyles - but the strength of the film is in the quality of the acting leads, the father-mother-son relationships,  and the way the film shows the impact of the abuse on the main character’s behaviour as an adult. 

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Us

Well acted horror thriller

(Edit) 03/04/2021

This film is very different from “Get Out” but is impressive and enjoyable.  The cast and acting are great and there is a decent twist to it.  There is also some clever humour - I particularly enjoyed the use of a discordant version of Henry Mancini’s Lujon in the soundtrack towards the end of the film.  The film can be enjoyed at several levels and for me really sparked off after about 20 mins.

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Ride with the Devil

Mixed reviews but plenty of good bits

(Edit) 03/04/2021

I quite enjoyed this film and would rate it between a 3 and 4 star.  The dialogue is a bit awkward but forgivable given the assumed intention to recreate some of the more formal speech patterns in the 19th century.  The acting is generally good and the scenery is a definite positive.  The plot is the main weakness and the action sequences seem rather thrown together, but this is compensated by the second half of the film where the pace slows a bit and the personalities are brought out more.  It is a bit frustrating that the lead characters never really question the wrong they are doing under the cover of war.  Definitely worth a watch, especially if you enjoyed the director’s Jane Austen work by way of comparison.

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The Hunt

Hard hitting action thriller

(Edit) 03/04/2021

In its own way, this film is impressive and hard hitting.  The lead actor Betty Gilpin is very good and the tempo is kept at a high level.  It is all rather gory but there is some dark humour as well.  Well worth a watch but don’t expect a sophisticated plot!

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The Getaway

Steady Action Thriller

(Edit) 03/04/2021

I was a bit disappointed given the calibre and credentials of the actors and director.  I was also expecting a lot from the 1970s soundtrack but the music seemed to detract at times from the action.  It is all very gory and the baddies are certainly unpleasant, but the lead characters are not very likeable either and the conclusion is not very satisfying.  I prefer other Steve McQueen movies but this is still worth a watch.

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Back Roads

Hard hitting and well acted family drama

(Edit) 05/03/2021

This is a tough film to watch but is well worth it for the quality of the acting and the sensitive handling of the break up of a family.  The way that the background to the sexual tensions comes out is remarkably well handled.  The scenes in the prison when the lead character visits his Mother are very moving.  All in all, a high class movie.

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Mississippi Grind

Quirky, Good Acting, Meandering Storyline

(Edit) 04/03/2021

This film has some real positives: the two lead actors and the chemistry between them, the mix of characters that drift in and out of the scenes, the soundtrack, some of the script. However, I found the overall film frustrating to watch, as there is a lack of continuity and flow, and the gambling scenes seem fairly mundane. A number of the scenes seem to introduce unnecessary violence that leads nowhere and means nothing to the plot. Overall worth a watch but prepare to be tempted to use the fast forward at times.

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After the Storm

Great Acting but Slow Moving

(Edit) 19/02/2021

I expected quite a lot from this film, but was a little disappointed.  The actors and the script are very good, and there is plenty of light humour, but it ambles along rather slowly.  The typhoon does nothing to change the tempo and the film moves to a rather flat and unresolved conclusion.  On the plus side it is great to see a bit more of day to day family life in Japan.  The theme track may appeal to some as well.

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Don't Let Go

Worthy film with some twists

(Edit) 19/02/2021

This film is well worth a watch if you like an offbeat police movie with a time traveller type twist.  The acting is solid and the scenes towards the end build to a decent climax with some interesting scenarios on how changes in the future could change a past crime.  The context, plot and dialogue are otherwise quite limited despite the worthy efforts of the main characters to inject realism and impact.

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Army of Shadows

Gritty and Powerful Resistance Drama

(Edit) 02/02/2021

This is a totally absorbing film entirely justifying the great reviews it seems to get from most critics. The portrayal of the singlemindedness, courage and frailties of the active resistance members and the moral dilemmas and risks they face day-to-day is well told. The acting is great and there are some good quite unexpected action sequences. The locations and weather are grim and a lot of the filming is in twilight or at night. The film really asks the audience what they would do - go on with life as normal, or take the dangerous path of resistance and potential betrayal.

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Honeyland

A rare insight into Macedonian rural life

(Edit) 02/02/2021

This is a real triumph of capturing what must be a fast disappearing world in Macedonia and the Balkans. Ironically The challenge to Hatidze and her bees is less modernism than the movement of a large and rather chaotic family and their cattle who take up residence nearby. The treatment by the film of the family is compassionate, but steadily Hatidze's life with her bees is eroded, although there is hope of a return to normality by the end. The film is quite raw and unsentimental at times, but brings out the humanity of all those involved. The relationship between Hatidze and her ageing mother is beatifully told. It must have been tricky to get the bees to follow the script, but generally they seem to behave quite well!

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Never Look Away

Arty and Rich Drama from Germany

(Edit) 02/02/2021

This is a classy film which combines some really tough World War 2 civilian drama with art, romance and some real villainy from Professor Seeband (Sebastian Koch), as the Doctor/Father in Law. The film is rather long, but it never drags as the film moves effectively from East Germany to West Germany which allows a new cast of characters and the artistic influences to be brought out. The art is really interesting and the characters and acting are of a very high standard.

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Monos

Hard Hitting and Off-beat

(Edit) 02/02/2021

This a brutal and at times quite disturbing film which reminded me of Lord of the Flies. The interest is really in the tensions between individual wills and the values of the group, and how individuals are controlled by the discipline of the older leader and the rules within the the organisation. The move from the hills to the jungle makes the locale a lot more interesting and the film gets steadily more violent as the stakes are raised. A good film of this genre but a bit too dystopian for my personal taste.

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Loveless

Powerful and uncompromising film

(Edit) 05/01/2021

The Russian middle class context adds an interesting extra dimension to this sad story of a boy suffering and running away as a result of a marriage break up.  There is a contrast between the relatively supportive institutions and the selfishness of the two main characters.  The tragedy is that one can see the problem start to repeat itself in their subsequent relationships.  The director manages somehow to elicit sympathy for the husband and wife, which is quite an achievement given how the film progresses. Strongly recommended.

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Carry on Abroad

Par for the Course

(Edit) 05/01/2021

A fairly typical outing for the Carry On Team with all the familiar characters and nudge and wink jokes, mainly of low quality!  I watched this as a reminder of Barbara Windsor who sadly passed away in 2020.  It’s much more however a film for Kenneth Williams, Peter Butterworth, Kenneth Connor and Charles Hawtrey to shine a little although in my view this is a lesser film than other Carry ons.  The best bits are the 1970s context (clothes, class mores, accents, sensitivities, complete lack of technology, insecurity over going abroad) and the upbeat end. There are some funny moments in the hotel as well particularly in the meal scenes. 

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