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The Binding (2016)
What you make it.
As a film it's O.K. The acting is good even above par for a couple of the cast. This isn't really a horror in the conventional sense. No gore. No jump scares. No demons. No items of cutlery sticking in the ceiling.
It's an exploration into belief, mental illness and how people react to these things. For instance, if someone hears the voice of God, how do we know that God isn't talking to them? It was personal to me. I had a friend who was very religious. He went to church and was part of of that community. He said that he prayed every day and everybody loved him. Until God answered him, then he was considered mental. It wasn't as if God was telling him to do something bad, just good things. This film goes into that in a bit more depth. What happens if someone hears the voice of God and it's telling them to do something bad? What if it isn't God and they aren't insane? If you like delving into these sort of questions, this is a film for you.
It's not fast paced but moves along nicely. It does keep asking those questions.
The King (2019)
Good but historically inaccurate.
I had hoped to write a review without spoilers but can't find a way.
The film as a film is great. Good acting, photography etc.
The historical inaccuracies really spoiled the film for me. In any historical drama, poetic licence is to be expected. This however, is a bit far. Henry V never had any doubt that he was the rightful King of France. He believed it as a divine right and inheritance. The meetings between Henry and the French Dauphin didn't happen. They make a nice story but are false.
The films battle scenes centre around the Men at Arms. They were there and they were important. However, the Battle of Agincourt was all about the English (and Welsh) archers. This was the battle that announced that England had the most destructive weapon on the planet at that time. The English archers, literally, sent down a rain of terror. It's estimated that a thousand arrows a minute were raining down on the French front line. Even the noise from this many arrows was terrifying. Many of the Knights on horseback couldn't control their horses because the horses were terrified by this noise. The film does show the mud that was probably why the English won. It wasn't the Men at Arms that created it fighting the cavalry charge. The French cavalry rode on to stakes that had been put up, over night, in front of the English archers. The French had sent too many mounted knights into the attack. They ran into those in front and fell in the mud that the horses had created. The more men that the French sent, the worse they made the conditions.
Davy Gamm, who saved the Kings life at the battle doesn't get a mention, even though he was very close to the king.
So, historically not very good but as film loosely based in fact it's great!
I hate writing bad reviews. I'm British and like British films. I like low budget films. Jackpot! A low budget British film.
Let me point all the good points about this film first. No, can't think of one. The acting is dire. If any of the actors taking part are thinking they can make a living from acting, sit down, give yourself a good talking to and have a re-think.
The directing is a step above point and click. Just.
So, the story must make up for all the bad stuff, right? No. A couple of thieves get together, with friends, to search for a crock of gold at the end of the rainbow. They're hired by a collector of oddities to find it. He offers them 100k if they find it or 1k if they fail. Any sensible thief would go home, make a cuppa and watch Netflix. Leave it for a week and go and collect the 1k. No, these dummies actually go and look for it. For some reason the end of the rainbow is in a wood, apparently. They lift up a few leaves, nothing. Hang on! It's over here. This is the time that the plot actually gets things right. They decide that the pot of gold is worth more than 100k and split the gold between them. As it turns out the gold belongs to a leprechaun. He's a little miffed at the theft and hunts the thieves down. Now, we all know that a leprechaun is it little guy who's Irish, don't we? Not now. He's now a six foot Jamaican. And who would have guessed that the leprechaun masks that you can buy at Halloween are 100% accurate?
At about the half way mark I was thinking that I might have got things wrong. This is meant to be a comedy but nothing funny had happened. This was reinforced when one of the characters investigates a noise outside. He arms himself with a garden trowel but then decides on a clothes line prop.
I'm at a complete loss by this time. Is this meant to be a comedy/horror or a horror/comedy or just a horror or a comedy. Which ever of these options, it fails miserably. The only redeeming feature is that it's only 80 minutes. I've wasted 80 minutes of my life so you don't have to. Seriously, give this a big miss. Ignore my advice at your peril. Don't say I didn't warn you.
If you like your horror with lots of blood, splatter. and quick cut frights, this film is not for you.
This is a real slow burner. Within the first ten minutes you know there's something burning underneath. Clues are added in flash backs. Sometimes in conversations between the two protagonists. There it is, simmering away. You really want to find out. Annoyed because you want it to move on more quickly. In a nice way.
It's a very well acted film. There are only three characters that are worthy of mention, Ellie, (Emma Draper/Gina Laverty), Ivy (Julia Ormond0 and Cara (Ava Keane). The two senior actors put in fine performances. Their shattered mother, daughter, relationship is built through out the film. Terminating in a final scene that sums up their relationship. The two young actors play their role more than competently and are worth keeping an eye open for in the future.
The supporting actors are just that. They carry their small parts with aplomb but because of the shortness of the roles they don't have time to shine.
The film is set in a mansion that appears to be in the countryside of New Zealand. There's plenty of light for the outdoor scenes. The indoor scenes are all dark. Not so dark that you don't know what's happening. Dark to make the place oppressive. It's nicely shot and manages to keep the gloom, conspiracy and feel of threat.
This has made my list to watch again. If you want to spend 95 minutes working your brain and have pieces of horror thrown in. This is the film for you.
Bright Hill Road (2020)
A great understanding of alcoholism.
Firstly, Siobhan Williams is outstanding. Her portrayal of an alcoholic is brilliant. Anyone who has had a close relationship with someone who is addicted to alcohol will recognise the denial. I can guarantee that if an alcoholic and the person they lived with saw this film together they would all be split 50/50. The alcoholic would say 'That's not me', the non-alcoholic would say 'That's you'.
If you haven't experienced alcoholism this film would give you a great insight into the problem.
The story line is good. Enough twists to keep you well entertained. The acting brilliant and the photography and direction well above par.
If you're looking for something to entertain and inform you, this is a great film. If your're looking for some laughs and giggles, steer clear.
The Shape of Water (2017)
DEL TORO'S FINEST
You can't watch this film and not draw parallels to Mary Shelley's, Frankenstein. There's a monsters in the film, a few. Only one appears as a monster. This film asks many questions. The main one, like Frankenstein, is who and what are monsters? It's a film about love, friendship, loyalty, in fact the whole gamut.
It's hard to find fault with the film. Everything is top class. Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon and Richard Jenkins play their roles to perfection. Doug Jones plays the creature with the right amount of wildness and humanity. The direction, photography and the atmosphere created are perfect.
Ignore the bad reviews. If you want something to stimulate the mind this is it. If you want a love story, although unusual, this is it. If you're looking for a creature feature, perhaps, but it's so much more. A truly wonderful, beautiful, thought provoking film. Treat yourself and watch it.
In case you didn't get it. I loved this film!
Big Fat Gypsy Gangster (2011)
Laugh Out Loud
I think you have to have the British sense of humour to enjoy this film. It is star studded if you're into British film and TV. The film is about Bulla (Rick Groves) who is released from prison and wants to re-establish his criminal empire. Along the way we meet his eccentric friends and enemies as well as wrestling and criminal dwarves. Ricky Groves (Bulla) is one of those faces you recognise but don't know the name of. Other stars will be well known to British soap viewers. This film is full of laughs. I don't think there's a serious line in it. Groves is brilliant and stands out as an actor who has been very much overlooked. He's a brilliant comic actor. He manages the most outrageously funny lines with a straight face and aplomb. The scene where he describes he dwarf ancestors is a stand out moment. (You have to bear in mind that Ricky is a BIG lad).
Laila Morse as Aunt Queenie also deserves a special mention. The 'Jack and Danny' line was brilliant.
If you're feeling a bit down, stick this on. If you don't get a laugh out of it you need your Uncle Ned looking at.
Oh yes. A haunted pub is also included.