Ready Player One (dir. Steven Spielberg)

May 3, 2018 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

"Somebody stop me!"

For our review of Ernest Cline’s book (and an outline of the story), and our comments on Steven Spielberg’s infantalising influence, please click here. Spielberg started this movie, then left it while he popped out to make Transformers: The Last Knight, The Post and possibly a few others. And it shows. Spielberg’s story-telling is almost always childish, repetitive, and thin*.  It’s even poorer than usual here, as is the over-used, tediously monumental CGI (perhaps Ready Player One is meant to be seen on a 3D or iMax screen?  It looked wobbly round the edges and blurry at our viewing). The film (co-scripted by Ernest Cline,…

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The Party

April 23, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Comedy Film, Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Sally Potter) (2017) Contrivance is self-evident in this short, slight, by-the-numbers retro film, a kind of cross between Albee, O’Neil and The Strange Death of Liberal England, looking almost as if staged during the Thatcher years. Janet (Kristin Scott Thomas) is Labor’s new Shadow Minister for Health, and pads about her inner London kitchen, preparing party snacks and smugly taking celebratory calls. Why this poisoned chalice without power is a cause for celebration is not clear. Certainly Janet’s cynical pal, April (Patricia Clarkson) doesn’t get it, but she keeps busy spraying about witless witticisms that prompt the odd nasty snicker…

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Darkest Hour

April 2, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, HISTORY, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

"I was on the Bond Street line, and you were on the Bakerloo..."

(2017) (Directed by Joe Wright) – For high drama, it would be hard to beat the events of May and June 1940, when Churchill, newly-installed as Prime Minister in charge of a wartime coalition cabinet and facing the rampaging German army just across the English channel, had to confront the possibility of the total defeat of his defences, the scuttling of his navy, and invasion of his sceptered isle.  There was pressure on Winston to sue for peace but he drew on his natural bellicosity, pugnacity and good sense to resist that siren’s lure and declared that England would fight on, “if…

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I, Tonya

March 12, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

It's a match made in Heaven

(Directed by Craig Gillespie) (2017) We laughed more than cried. Low comedy is more the order of the day here, rather than the high drama of the Great American Will to Win. Doubt is cast on Tonya Harding’s complicity in the cynical assault on her skating rival, Nancy Kerrigan, leading-up to the 1994 Olympic Games. Two borderline mental defectives drove to Kerrigan’s training rink, and while one waited with the motor running, the other gained access to Kerrigan and smashed her knee in (an act of bastardy to which these film-makers seem strangely dispassionate).  OK, it wasn’t quite a Texas…

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A Ghost Story (directed by David Lowery)

January 16, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(2017) This is not a film. It isn’t even a good idea for a film. It’s an extended skit, a riff drawing from real ghost movies like The Sixth Sense and Truly, Madly, Deeply. Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara are a happy pair uncoupled by Casey’s car smash with the next door neighbour. He returns home in a Halloween-style ghost sheet with ready-made eye holes, and stands by for the next hour, watching the widow eat a pie, her packing and leaving, the new occupants having dinner, and the place being demolished. The late neighbour is next door with a…

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