valleyjohn

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Der Himmel über Berlin
(1987)

Looks can be deceiving
Wings of Desire is a delightfully ascetic film . Who'd have thought 1980's Berlin could look so beautiful.

This is a love story like no other .

An Angel called Damiel decides he's had enough of being an angel and he wants to become human , to feel the love for a trapeze artist called Marion.

The dialogue is like poetry . Sadly poetry is not my thing so I struggled at times to keep up or even understand but the visuals were so good that really didn't matter as much as it should have .

The problem I have with the film is the whole Peter Falk/Columbo thing .

It feels like a distraction and completely out of place . Perhaps there is a significance to him being in the film that I just didn't understand?

Bruno Ganz is a fascinating actor . His face is perfect for cinema , especially in black and white . It's an arty film , too arty for my tastes at times but I can totally see how it was adored at the Cannes film festival .

Wings of Desire is a fascinating film that washed over me at times but I certainly had an appreciation for the art .

Nightmare Alley
(2021)

Give me more of the carnival
Guillermo del Toro Is one of those directors that can do no wrong in the eyes of most critics . I'm not buying that.

While I really liked some of his early stuff such as Blade ll and Hellboy , I thought Pans Labyrinth was overrated and The Shape Of Water and Pacific Ring were poor films.

Nightmare Alley is a partial return to form and probably the best thing he's done since Hellboy but it's still not without it's faults .

Bradley Cooper plays a man who joins the carnival and learns to manipulate people through mind reading deception . He later hooks up with a female psychiatrist played by Cate Blanchett who seems even more dangerous than he is.

Unsurprisingly for a Del Toro movie , this looks fantastic . The first half of the film which is set in the carnival is superb . You really do feel you have been transported into a world of freak shows and snake oil salesmen .

The second half , when Stanton ups his game and to tries to fleece the upper class , has the look and feel of The Great Gatsby and I didn't like it as much .

The story is a good one and I love the way it exposes that mind readers and mediums are frauds .

It cleverly shows you how these people prey on the emotions of vulnerable people .

Bradley Cooper is great and puts in the standout performance but Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette and Willem Defoe are really good too . The latter seemingly perfect for that carnival vibe .

My only real disappointment was the ending and that's probably more down to expectation.

I was lead to believe it had a bleak and shocking ending and while it's not a fairytale finish it wasn't half as grim as I hoped for .

I pondered on giving this 3.5 stars but settled on 4 . When I have more time to digest the film , that may change back .

Mass
(2021)

Fantastic acting
This is a deeply moving film that follows the lives of two sets of parents who meet up to discuss a tragedy that happened in the past that resulted in the death of both their son's.

What a brilliant film this is . Four great performances from actors who are that the top of their game.

The subject matter is painful. One set of parents son was shot dead in a school shooting and the other are the parents of the shooter .

They discuss with each other whether they could have prevented what happened and even if they are at fault .

The tension is obviously high and the emotions range from guilt to blame to forgiveness.

This definitely has the feel of a stage play as it's four people set in one location but that's definitely not a criticism.

I love the way the parents try their very best , after the small talk , to be civil under very extreme circumstances and obvious tensions boil over at times .

There are two scenes that I absolutely love . One is after all the discussion and emotion the four of them go back to small talk after obvious relief that the meeting is over and the other is when Linda comes back into the hall at the end to tell one last story .

That performance alone , from Ann Dowd deserves an award .

Absolutely stunning .

The sad conclusion I came to after watching Mass is that there are teenagers all over the world that have the same mental health issues as highlighted here but it's only in America that they have access to guns and until that's addressed ( which it never will be) there will continue to be these awful meetings .

Buffalo Bill and the Indians or Sitting Bull's History Lesson
(1976)

Another mess from Altman
I am nearly at the end of my goal to watch every Paul Newman film . I'm down to some of his obscure films and this is one of them .

The worst film that Newman has ever appeared in , is called Quintet from 1979 . An awful mess directed by Robert Altman . This film is also directed by Altman and I don't think it's any coincidence that it's nearly as bad .

The official synopsis for this film is - Buffalo Bill plans to put on his own Wild West sideshow, and Chief Sitting Bull has agreed to appear in it. However, Sitting Bull has his own hidden agenda, involving the President and General Custer.

The reason I copied and pasted this synopsis is I couldn't possibly write one myself because I really didn't have a clue what was happening in this awful film .

This is a total mess . So much so , it gave me a head ache trying to understand what the hell was going on . I think it's meant to be a comedy but not one second of it was funny .

Even the greatest actor of all time can pick a terrible film to appear in . I presume he chose to do this as a favour to Altman because he couldn't have read the script!

Quite possibly the worst western themed film I have ever seen and I love westerns .

Avoid !

Ghahreman
(2021)

Cheer up mate
The two other films I have seen from writer and director Asghar Farhadi are The Salesmen and A Separation . Both really good films and both winners of Best Foreign Language film at The Oscars . There were some eyebrows raises when A Hero didnt even receive an Academy nomination when they were announced this week but have to say I'm not completely surprised.

This is the story of Rahim , who is in prison because of a debt he was unable to repay. During a two-day leave, he tries to convince his creditor to withdraw his complaint against the payment of part of the sum. But things don't go as planned.

Not unlike Farhadi's previous films , this is a film about reputation and avoiding shame in a close knit community .

What I like about his films are his insight into the Iranian way of life .

The western view of Iran is very different to what it's actually like and it's great to see a window into this world .

This isn't as good as Farhadi's previous big hitters .

It feels like a farce at times . There are twists and turns and multiple solutions to Rahim's problems but we barely get a smile from him and that's the problem I have with the film .

Rahim is onscreen for nearly every scene and all we see is him looking forlorn .

I can't remember a film where the main character has his head down as much as this one and after a while it gets a little annoying .

You feel like shaking him out of his depression.

The only two times he gets really animated, he gets physical and it feels out of character.

Don't get me wrong , I did like the film but It's probably twenty minutes too long .

Although this missed out on an Oscar Nomination it did win the best film at Cannes last year .

I look forward to Asghar Farhadi's next project and another foray into everyday Iranian life .

Pixie
(2020)

too far fetched and silly
The best way to describe Pixie is it's an Irish comedy western .

It stars Olivia Cooke ( Pixie) ,who to avenge her mother's death , masterminds a heist with two lads , they flee across Ireland from gangsters, take on her father and nasty step brother and confront a bunch of psychopathic priests .

I have to say I was really disappointed with this . Considering it has Alec Baldwin , Ned Dennehy and Colm Meaney in it , I was expecting something with far more substance but instead , all I got was a ridiculously over the top , not very funny , comedy.

The best thing about the film is Olivia Cooke . Her character is clever and she users her charm to manipulate the two boys well but even that charm wears off after a a while for the viewer .

The climax of the film , in the church is utterly ridiculous . Director Barnaby Thompson tries to nurture his inner Tarantino but fails miserably I'm afraid , although it is interesting to see Alec Baldwin with a gun in his hand !

If you are considering watching this - Stop . Go find a film called Calm With Horses instead - Also set in Ireland but one hundred times better than this caper .

Spider-Man: Far from Home
(2019)

Nothing special
Spider-Man, Spider-Man Does whatever a spider can Spins a web, any size Catches thieves just like flies Look out Here comes the Spider-Man

When I think of Spider-Man , these are the words that come into my head . It's the theme tune to the 1960/70's animated TV show that I used to adore . As for the films , to be honest I can't remember which ones I've seen or which ones I've avoided . They all seem like much of a muchness and honestly, this film is no different.

Following the events of Avengers: Endgame , Spider-Man must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever.

The best think I can see about this film is I didn't dislike it. It had fun elements and for the most part I enjoyed it.

The story is ridiculously silly and childish at times and if feels like this is Spider-Man on tour and was made to please Marvel's European fans.

I know this is probably not politically correct to say but i think Peter Parker's love interest MJ played by Zendaya doesn't feel right . She's not classically pretty and you just can't help but think that he can do so much better

I'll be honest , I only watched this because I've heard so many good things about Spider-Man: No Way Home and i didn't want to miss out on any parts of plot that might be important to know.

As it tuned out , I probably needn't have bothered !

Malcolm X
(1992)

One of Denzel's best
What an actor Denzel Washington is . It's very rare that he makes a bad film . I'm not sure why it's took me so long to get around to seeing Malcolm X . Perhaps the Three Hours , Twenty Two minutes running time put me off in the past but there is no doubt , this is one of the best performance the great man has ever put in .

This is a biographical epic of the controversial and influential black nationalist leader, from his early life and career as a small-time gangster, to his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam.

Despite it's length , I never felt this film outstayed it's welcome.

It's a well paced movie and I have to say it's much farer than I was expecting .

It highlights the good and the bad of Malcolm X and isn't just a vehicle to batter the non black population of America .

Denzel is fantastic. Not only do you feel this IS Malcolm X ( especially in the latter part of film ) you absolutely buy into his performance.

It's not his greatest ever role , I think that will always be as Alonzo in Training Day , but it's very close second .

If I had to be critical I would say it's a little self indulgent on Spike Lee's part . He casts himself as Shorty and has quite a few scenes . He , himself will admit ( I hope) that he's not a great actor and it does show at times.

The rest of the cast are superb . Angela Bassett and Delroy Lindo are always fantastic to watch and it's interesting to see early performances from Wendell Pierce and Giancarlo Esposito who both went on to star in The Wire and Breaking Bad respectively .

If you want an in-depth look at Malcolm X then this is the perfect film .

Highly recommended.

Spencer
(2021)

A stunning performance
Most people of a certain age in the UK will remember exactly what they were doing when they heard that Princess Diana had died .

I do .

I've never known a death affect a country so much as this did and I doubt it ever will again.

What we didn't fully realise was the misery that Diana had gone through being a royal and Spencer takes us into that world , all be at for just a few days , to see what it might have been like .

This took me a while to get into . At first I wasn't convinced that Kristen Stewart was a good Diana but the longer this went on the more convincing she became and by the end I was thinking that this must be a performance that will attract award attention.

It's a claustrophobic film . It has a grey pallet that is accompanied by a haunting score and it takes you into Diana's world of being trapped into the royal family.

It looks stunning without being beautiful Director Pablo Larrain has made a film that grabs you by the throat and won't let go .

Not until the final scene where you see Diana and the children driving away , do you feel the release but knowing what happens only a year or two later , it's only fleeting .

There are some great performances from Timothy Spall and Sean Harris but this is all about Kristen Stewart .

She embodies the spirit of Diana and opens her heart to the audience .

A stunning display and I hope it gets the awards it obviously deserves .

Highly Recommended.

Dangerous
(2021)

Rubbish
It's hard to know where to start with this film .

It's so bad on so many levels .

The worst thing about this mess is not that Mel Gibson is just picking up a pay check and is as bad as I've ever seen him .

It's not that the script and dialogue and acting are all shockingly bad .

It's not because Scott Eastwood is just doing an impression of his old man most of the time and is going through the motions .

The worst thing about this film is it's bloody dull and as I've alway said , that's unforgivable in a movie .

Scott Eastwood plays a reformed sociopath who journeys to a remote island to investigate the mystery behind his brother's demise, but soon ends up facing off with more than he bargained for.

This movie is so bad that they even changed the name to Wake ( what a terrible title!) to try to get more people to watch it . I don't think it worked .

One other thing. What has Famke Janssen done to her face ? She used to be stunningly pretty but she has messed herself up with plastic surgery. What a shame .

Lapsis
(2020)

This went downhill rapidly
My heart sinks when I read that a film is dystopian. That usually means that not a lot makes sense and the dystopian tag is the excuse for that . Sadly that's definitely the case with Lapsis.

Struggling to support himself and his ailing younger brother, delivery man Ray takes a strange job in a strange new realm of the gig economy.

The first hour of this film , while weird , wasn't bad . I enjoyed the performance of Dean Imperial who played Ray and his journey into cabelling . The whole concept was wacky and really didn't make a lot of sense but I went along with it . It's only in the last third when they tried to dig deeper into the company that I started to drift off and get bored .

In fact I was that bored that I only watched it last night and I can't remember the ending already!!

If you want an interesting dystopian movie then I suggest you go and watch Blade Runner again and give this film a wide birth .

The Last Duel
(2021)

Ridley's still got it!
Ridley Scott is without doubt one of the greatest directors off all time . Just look at his back catalogue to see what fantastic films he's made and whilst The Last Duel won't be seen as one of his greatest films it does still go to show that the great man has still got it .

Based on the true story of France's last trial by combat in the Middle Ages. Knight Jean de Carrouges challenges his former friend Jacques Le Gris to a duel after Jean's wife Marguerite accuses Le Gris of rape.

I've heard criticism that this is a hard film to watch . Because the story is told in a Rashomon style , we get to see a rape told from different points of view . I didn't find it difficult. It's not particularly graphic but I can see why some people might have felt uncomfortable.

The three big stars in this are Matt Damon , Adam Driver and Ben Affleck but all three are in the shadow of Jodie Comer who is absolutely fantastic.

She is the driving force of this film and if she doesn't pick up award nominations , it will be a travesty.

I really liked The Last Duel . I'm not sure enjoyment is the right description because of its difficult story but the two and a half hours never dragged and I bought into this film all the way.

The Paper Tigers
(2020)

Harmless fun but nothing really new
We all get old eventually. God knows I am! Even Kung Fu students eventually start to feel their age and this is the story of three such men who have grown into washed-up, middle-aged old farts , now one kick away from pulling their hamstrings. But when their master is murdered, they must juggle their dead-end jobs, dad duties, and old grudges to avenge his death.

Imagine The Karate Kid but with old men , then You've pretty much got the idea of what The Paper Tigers is all about .

It's a film that lacks originality apart from the men's ages but is surprisingly fun .

We go through the usual set pieces you would see in a martial arts movie . The men fight a group of wannabe Tigers , then the guy who they used to beat as kids and ultimately the man who killed their master .

What makes this film fun is not the action or the storyline, it's the characters on show . The tigers have charisma and are funny and you can't help but cheer for them despite their obvious weaknesses.

This is nothing groundbreaking but let me tell you , I've see a lot worse than The Paper Tigers .

It does have the feel of a film that will only be seen on an obscure cable channel or found in the DVD bargain bin but quite honestly it deserves better than that .

Last Night in Soho
(2021)

The final act is a total mess
Edgar Wright has made some of my favourite films of all time . I can sit and watch The Cornetto Trilogy over and and over again , they are so good .During Lockdown the trailer for Last Night In Soho was banded around what seems like forever and now it has been eventually released , my overriding emotion is disappointment.

This tells the story of an aspiring fashion designer from Cornwall who is mysteriously able to enter the 1960s where she encounters a dazzling wannabe singer. But the glamour is not all it appears to be and the dreams of the past start to crack and splinter into something darker.

Firstly let me say this film looks and sounds amazing . The Soho setting ( a place I know well ) never looked so enticing , especially the 1960's version .

The music is fantastic too . From Dusty Springfield to Cilla Black . Not my thing normally but it suits this setting perfectly.

Now to the problem . The first hour of the story is pretty good . You are lead to believe that Eloise is having dreams or visions brought on by trauma of past events and if that was the case I would have bought into it , even though it was a bit trippy , but no.

Instead in the final third , we find out that it's not in her head , it's actually happening and it turns into a full blown horror film and it's an absolute cop out.

It's as if Edgar Wright couldn't put a credible story to his beautiful cinematography .

The last third is an absolute mess and it doesn't do credit to Thomasin McKenzie or Anya Taylor-Joy who are great .

I give this a 3.5 out of 5 because it's still delicious to watch for an hour but it could have had a much better rating if the storyline wasn't so ridiculous.

RIP Diana Rigg.

Pawn Sacrifice
(2014)

I've seen better chess movies
Considering how chess can be such a solitary sport ( is it sport?) it's slow pace and the fact that most of what happens goes on in the players head , it's surprisingly how riveting films about this board game can be , especially for someone like me who's never played a game of chess in his life .

The film is set during the Cold War where American chess prodigy Bobby Fischer finds himself caught between two superpowers and his own struggles as he challenges the Soviet Empire.

I've not long finished watching Netflix's The Queens Gambit . A really good show that features around the chess world . While Pawn Sacrifice doesn't have the same production quality or a Anya Taylor-Joy , it's still a good watch .

If I had to be critical I'd say that they got the casting wrong . I wasn't convinced that Tobey Maguire or Liv Schreiber we're world chess champions . Especially Schreiber who I really like in Ray Donovan.

There isn't much board play at all and that helps people like me . This is more about how the players suffered from paranoia, not helped by the Cold War .

Bobby Fischer comes across as a not very nice person and I'm presuming that was true .

I've seen better chess films . In fact if you really wanted to learn about what happened watch - Searching for Bobby Fischer - instead , it's a superior film but if you can't get hold of it , the this isn't a bad replacement .

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
(1976)

Watch the shorter version
I have a watchlist of film as long as your arm . Some are on there because I read a review and others are recommendations. I cannot for the life of me remember why this strange film was on my watchlist but I pretty glad I watched it despite its many faults.

This is about Cosmo , who is a strip club owner who is forced to come to terms with himself as a man when his gambling addiction gets him in hot water with the mob, who offer him only one alternative.

To say this film is raw is an understatement. It's as 1970's as a film can get.

It's extremely dated but in a good way. I love that 70's era and the carbon dating of this film is it's biggest appeal.

I watched the original cut which is 139 minutes long but I I wish I'd seen the Directors cut which is 27 minutes shorter.

This version is baggy. It's unnecessarily long because of the many shots of what was going on , on stage in Cosmo's club .

At times it feels like an amateur dramatics society for strippers. The women can't act and the stage scenes are just weird and not erotic in and way . Why anyone would pay to watch it is a mystery but heh , it was 1976.

The whole story about paying off the gambling debt is a good one but gets mobbed down by the club nonsense.

Ben Gazzara and Seymour Cassel are good , even though they do look like they are improvising at times and when they do eventually get around to actual plot , it's a pretty decent watch .

This film reminds me a lot of a substandard - Mean Streets - and I wasn't surprised to hear that Scorsese was involved in the original idea for this film.

John Cassavetes made some good films in his time . This isn't one of the better ones but it's an interesting piece of work none the less.

Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
(2020)

Please no more!
Having watched both Suicide Squad movies recently and now this , I can now say I've had enough of Harley Quinn and her antics .

As good as Margot Robbie is , this film took me over the edge and I really struggled to get through it .

After splitting with the Joker, Harley Quinn joins superheroines Black Canary, Huntress and Renee Montoya to save a young girl from an evil crime lord.

The best thing about this film is the choreography of the fight scenes . They are incredibly well done but there is only so much of watching men being spun in the air or being kicked in the balls , I can take in one movie . It's absolutely relentless.

This is obviously a film that champions the female as all the main characters are women and all the bad guys are men.

That's fair enough but I do feel , because of this , it alienates half the population .

The only real male character is Roman Sionis who is played by Ewan McGregor, who can't act for love nor money .

If there is to be another film that solely relies on Harley Quinn then I won't be watching it.

I've had enough .

Boycie in Belgrade
(2020)

A Holiday Video
I don't normally feel guilty when I give a bad rating or review but I absolutely do here . I love Only Fools And Horses and the late , great John Challis but this is a stinker of a documentary.

We follow Challis doing a tour tour of Belgrade where he was much loved but it feels like a home video of an old man visiting Belgrade tourists spots including all the tour guide talk of palaces , distilleries and churches and it's history .

When he does meet the Serbian public the conversations are awkward and quite frankly dull and it's such a shame .

This documentary doesn't do the man or the TV show any justice . It might have been nice to have some Only Fools And Horses clips to relieve the tedium but I expect that would have cost too much money .

Even the most ardent Fools fan would struggle to get through this and it's not even that long.

"Get your coat Marlene, we're leaving "

Doraibu mai kâ
(2021)

Slightly baggy but good none the less
Every now and then there is a film that gets very little publicity in the main press but causes a stir amongst film goers , generally after it's been played at festivals. Drive My Car is one such movie .

This was Adapted from a short story in Murakami Haruki's "Men Without Women". Its initially about a director's wife , a playwright , and a great storyteller who then dies of a brain aneurism . Her husband is invited to direct a play at a festival in Hiroshima and is told he has to have a driver . He then finds his female chauffeur to be much more than he was expecting . The two become closer and as they eventually talk, secrets and confessions are exchanged.

I can see why people really loved this film. I've heard it described as a true masterpiece and the best film of the decade and while I really liked it , I can't really agree with those sentiments , as there are definitely things wrong with it.

What I really liked about this film is the pace of the dialogue ( outside of the rehearsal scenes ) . The way the characters told their stories , especially the one about the girl who visits a boys house and leaves tokens , was fascinating. I loved the interactions and relationship building .

In fact it's a film about relationships and how these deal with their own personal grief.

The one problem I have with the film is that it's set around a Chekhov play called Uncle Vanya and we sit through the constant auditions . I understand the scenes are their to introduce us to the characters but there is way too much of it and it makes the film feel weighty and baggy at times . Unless you are a Chekhov fan that is !

I watched this in a BFI screening in London and despite how much I enjoyed the movie , I found sitting there for over three hours , really hard work .

This may just be a film that is better suited to home viewing .

I think this is one of those films that will stick in my mind for some time and maybe I will adjust my rating because of that .

Don't Look Up
(2021)

A film that outstays it's welcome
The synopsis for Don't Look Up on IMDB reads like this - Two low-level astronomers must go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth.

If you didn't know anything about this film you might be mistaken for thinking it's a disaster action movie but it's definitely not .

This is a look , or should I say a swipe , at contemporary America . It's politics , it's obsession with fame , fortune and its inability to concentrate on anything for more than a few minutes.

It's definitely funny but outstays it's welcome by at least half an hour as the novelty wears off . There are some very good performances. Mark Rylance as the Elon Musk like character is the stand out for me . Meryl Streep plays President Orlean really well . Although it doesn't say what party she represents, it's obviously a dig at The awful Trump administration.

Cate Blanchett is great as the trash news presenter who will sleep with anyone connected with fame.

Incidentally all three of these are adorned with ridiculous teeth only again to represent the superficialness of America .

I don't like the fact that they shoe horned Timothy Chalamet into this film . His character was completely unnecessary and it felt like he was in it just to add another famous face . There's irony for you !

I really liked the ending scene but it's impossible to say anything about it without giving away spoilers .

All in all , I enjoyed this but as I said, it was too long , but it's a comedy that does make you think and ponder on how depressing modern day life is , with the terrible politicians we have , the awful role models in the entertainment business who are only interested in how many followers they have on Social media .

Sadly , despite it being a satire , it's actually uncomfortably true to life .

Two for the Money
(2005)

Put that body away Mathew
When it comes to sport , America is weird . They have a game they call football in which they barely use their feet . They play Baseball in a World Series which which the rest of the world doesn't take part in and they call real football a childish name like soccer !

Thankfully, despite my initial worries , this was more about sports betting rather than the sports and that's a subject I know a lot about .

After suffering a career-ending knee injury, a former college football star aligns himself with one of the most renowned touts in the sports-gambling business.

There is only one winner when it comes to betting and that's the bookie .

This film demonstrates that you may have a winning streak and you may have all the facts and figures but inevitably you will lose .

I found this really entertaining. It does feel a little dated with the technology they used back in 2005 but that didn't distract from what was a fun film.

The interaction between Pacino and McConaughey was really good although I could have done without the latter keep stripping off to show his ripped body. Totally unnecessary.

It is far fetched. There is no way that people would spend millions on someone tipping results of every game for an entire weekend - that would be madness but I suppose the film wouldn't have the tension if it was small money .

This isn't up there with Pacino's or McConaughey's best films but it killed two hours nicely and I was never bored .

Belfast
(2021)

A Masterpiece
The word masterpiece is banded around too often when it comes to movies . Not by me .

But this IS a masterpiece and it's film's like Belfast that are the reason I love this medium.

This is Kenneth Branagh's semi autobiographical film about a young boy and his working-class Belfast family , who experience the tumultuous late 1960s through good and bad in Northern Ireland.

There is so much I want to say about this film.

Firstly , if it doesn't win best picture this year I will never watch The Oscars again . It's a marvel of a film without it being anything like a Marvel film , thank god.

The cinematography is just amazing. It's predominantly set in black and white but there are little glimpses of colour that are just wonderful. One scene in particular where granny ( Judi Dench) is watching A Christmas Carol at the theatre with Buddy and the warm reflection of the colour from the stage is reflected in her glasses. Glorious.

Despite it being set during the troubles in Belfast , this is not the topic of the film . It's about a family seen through the eyes of a child ( presumably Branagh?) and it's delightful. It's funny , it's heartbreaking , it's life and despite never setting foot in Belfast myself , It felt like I was Buddy .

It's hard to pick out anyone in particular for their performances because everyone is amazing . From Jude Hill who plays Buddy to Judi Dench who plays Granny . The black and white makes all of her look her age and it's so beautiful. Even Jamie Dornan is great and I'm not usually convinced of his acting ability .

To top this all off there is a fantastic soundtrack featuring mainly the brilliant Van Morrison .

There are lots of references to films of the era .

One scene that will stay with me for a very long time is when the family go to see Chitty Chitty bang bang and we see their reaction to the car going over the cliff and their body movements as if they are in the car themselves . Genius

Kenneth Branagh has had a mixed past when it comes to directing films but he's made a movie here , that has blown me out of the water .

As I said - A Genuine Masterpiece.

Exodus
(1960)

Turgid drudgery
This story revolves around a ship filled with Jewish immigrants bound for Israel who are being off loaded on Cyprus. An Intelligence officer succeeds in getting them back on board their ship only to have the harbor blocked by the British with whom they must negotiate. The second part of the film is about the situation in Israel as independence is declared and most of their neighbors attack them.

The fifties and sixties were the era of epic movies . Long , large scale , mostly historical films that garnered awards by the bucket load .

Exodus is one such epic film but there are good reasons why this didn't get nominated for awards .

I'm not sure what Director Otto Preminger was thinking when he decided to make this film three and a half hours long .

Quite frankly it's near impossible to get through . It's turgid and dull and is confused as to what story it's trying to tell .

I only watched this because I'm going through Paul Newman's back catalogue but I have to say that he's pretty poor in this .

It's very early in his movie career so I'll excuse him for his wooden performance and I have to admit , he probably wasn't ready to star in a film of this magnitude.

I've not seen many Otto Preminger films and on this showing , I'm not likely to either .

Watching Exodus was like pulling teeth .

Titane
(2021)

Dissapointing
I first came across Director Julia Ducournau when I saw her film Raw a few years ago . Despite its problems, I enjoyed it , so my expectations were raised for Titane. Sadly those expectations were never met .

The story follows Alexia who suffers a terrible skull injury and has a titanium plate fitted into her head. When she gets out of the hospital, she rejects her parents and embraces passionately the car that almost killed her. The coming years she has problems with her sexuality and meets Vincent. Vincent is a tortured man who tries to preserve his strength by injecting steroids into his aging body. Their relationship should never be but it suits them both .

There was a good film fighting to get out here .

The problem is , that it's trying to be too many thing and failing to be any .

It could be classed as a horror, Sci-Fi or even a romance but it never managed to nail any of them .

I've heard it called a modern day Frankenstein but Mary Shelley would turn in her grave if she heard that.

I like the premise of the beneficial relationship between Alexia and Vincent . I just wish they had concentrated on that instead this whole film revolves around Alexia getting pregnant by having sex with a car .

Her sexual fascination with cars because of her accident is fine but the pregnancy makes a mockery of that and it's a distraction.

The performances from Agathe Rousselle and Vincent Linden are impressive , it's just a shame I couldn't buy into the titanium part of the storyline.

Disappointing.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage
(2021)

Mercifully short
I didn't realise that Venom : Let there be carnage was such a British influenced film .

Directed by Andy Serkis and starring Tom Hardy , Stephen Graham , Naomie Harris , Little Simz and Reece Shearsmith . It's great to see actors from this side of the pond but did it help to make a great film?

Sadly not.

Eddie Brock attempts to reignite his career by interviewing serial killer Cletus Kasady, who becomes the host of the symbiote Carnage and escapes prison after a failed execution.

Firstly I have to thank the Marvel for one very good thing . The 97 minute runtime . If only they would make all their films this length I might enjoy them much more than I do.

This isn't a great film . The story is unimaginative and the action and CGI is pretty dull which is really surprising considering it's directed by the master of CGI , Andy Serkis.

Incidentally some of this film was made down the road from where I live in Bedfordshire, England .

Without a doubt the best thing about this movie is the humour. The banter between Venom and his Host , Eddie Brock , is really funny . The latter being the straight man for most of the time.

I'm not sure the world needs a third instalment of Venom . I certainly don't want one but for the hour and a half this film ran , I was mildly entertained.

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