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Reviews by diogenes

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345 reviews/ratings - 18 pages (20 reviews/ratings per page)

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Visit to a Chief's Son (1974)

A charming film about the need for boys to be given freedom in order to mature and gain responsibility, and the way in which, in this regard, western societies might learn something from the way things are handled by supposedly more 'primitive' societies such as that of the Masai. John Philip Hogdon is superb and engaging in the lead role. A criminally underrated classic.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
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Voor een verloren soldaat (1992)

My actual favourite film of all time, so no words can adequately express what it means to me. Maarten Smit is just amazing - as is Andrew Kelley.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 10 / 10
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The VVitch: A New-England Folktale (2015)

An intelligent and original horror movie which sets a new standard for the genre. I should just add to what Saga says below that the Extras, including the feature commentary, are only on the Region A/1 discs, for which a multi-region player will be required for those outside the USA/Canada. The UK release has no Extras.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
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Wah-Wah (2005)

A superb movie, that I don't think gets the appreciation it deserves. It portrays the British community in Swaziland at the end of Empire, and records their mannerisms, idiosyncratic vocabulary and (in some cases) their social snobbery, but does this with a great deal of affection for the characters. The narrative is really centred around Ralph's father and paints a portrait of a good man tormented by his own personal demons; it also vividly conveys Ralph's love for his father, despite everything. All the cast are wonderful, but I think Zac Fox is completely marvellous as the younger Ralph. He is very personable, and I found myself rooting for him all the way. His character has an interesting facial 'tick', which seems to be triggered by anxiety. Nicholas Hoult does a fine job as the slightly older Ralph. With such an amazing ensemble of performers, one can't really go wrong! Highly recommended.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 8 / 10
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The War Game (1963)

A remarkably effective short film.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
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War of the Buttons (1994)

I really loved this. The actors were very charismatic. Some scenes would provoke moral spasms now - such has civilisation been sacrificed to hysterics since the early 90s. Am I the only one to see something a little homoerotic in Geronimo's relationship to Fergus? Probably.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
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Was soll bloß aus dir werden (1984)

A wonderful film about a boy (Boris, superbly played by Michael Karnowsky) who would probably end up in prison but for the interest shown in him by a male teacher who takes the trouble to really try to help him, but without doing so in a patronising or overly interventionist way - respecting the boy's autonomy. The teacher faces some difficulty from an educational establishment which insists on rules and discipline, even though the teacher's own more informal approach is clearly working better with the kids he teaches. The ending of the film leaves the outcome a little uncertain, but we know that the boy has finally come to see the man as his helper and protector. A male teacher who evinces such an interest in a boy's welfare would hardly be tolerated now, as a result of which kids like Boris end up on the streets. An incredibly important film, and a testament to a more genuinely liberal and civilised era.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 10 / 10
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The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep (2007)

Utter tripe. The script is incredibly lazy and cliché-ridden - the denoument is lifted out of "Free Willy"; the characters are one-dimensional; the monster is crap CGI (when will directors realise that CGI does NOT look 'realistic'? - it LOOKS like CGI). And of course no film set in Scotland would be complete without a soundtrack comprising faux-Celtic muzak - Lord help us! What a complete waste of 100 odd minutes of my life. If this film was truly faithful to the novel by Dick King-Smith then I can only say that I don't think much of the novel either... And the DVD disc has a 'Featurette' section comprising over 75 minutes! Why on Earth would you need 75 minutes to further explain some of the laziest writing ever? N.B. Most of the footage of the Scottish scenery - including the 'Loch' - was actually shot in New Zealand. Unfortunately, the real Loch Ness, in contrast to this movie version, is not open directly to the sea, being a freshwater Loch; and the River Ness which connects the Loch to the sea is not navigable by submarines, so the whole plot is a nonsense. Furthermore, the "Surgeon's Photograph" of Nessie, which plays a role in the film's narrative, was published in 1934, not during the Second World War. I hate movies that rely on the ignorance of their viewers in order to work. But heck, what do I know? Critics and cinema-goers loved it, apparently.

Don't Bother My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed Star 3 / 10
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Das weiße Band - Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte (2009)

A masterpiece. Leonard Proxauf is brilliant as young Martin

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
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The White King (2016)

There's a certain thinness to this dystopia - we learn nothing about the ideology of the ruling group. The boy's father is taken away for 'speaking out', but we are never told what precisely he spoke out against. The plot doesn't really seem to go anywhere in particular. Furthermore, the film seems to contrast a repressive imagined future with a supposedly 'free' present, despite the fact that ubiquitous CCTV and populations susceptible to mass manipulation on the basis of irrational fears are a characteristic of our own societies.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 4 / 10
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The Wilderness (2010)

There's absolutely no subtlety or nuance in the portrayal of the stepfather (or whomever he's supposed to be) - who is just a grotesque - and thus no real sense of conflict at the denouement - we're just thinking 'For Heaven's sake, get on with it, kid, so this film can end' (which he obligingly does). Lazy, unimaginative story writing. The camerawork and cinematography are good, and Cody is fine as Alex, but this can hardly make up for a narrative that is scarcely worth the telling.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed Star 3 / 10
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Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

For me, this is a classic, and vastly preferable to the 2005 version. Peter Ostrum is so much more natural and real than Freddie Highmore, who is rather wooden by contrast, Gene Wilder is brilliant as always, and infinitely preferable to Johnny Depp, and the whole film is much more bright, colourful and animated than its 21st century successor. The musical numbers are memorable as well. The Region 1 DVD has an informative and entertaining commentary track featuring some of the cast.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
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The Winslow Boy (1999)

For a film ostensibly about the 'Winslow Boy', it is amazing how the story manages to concentrate on his mind-numbingly boring suffragist sister. I have no idea how closely the film follows Terence Rattigan's original play. Nigel Hawthorne is brilliant as the paterfamilias. Guy Edwards is good as Ronnie Winslow in the scenes in which he appears. The scene where Ronnie is grilled by Sir Robert Morton is electric, and Guy Edwards plays it adroitly.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 7 / 10
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The Witches (1990)

Charming and enjoyable. I was quite impressed by how they did the little talking mice. The witches conference scene was very well done as well.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 8 / 10
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De Witte van Sichem (1980)

Taking certain liberties with the source material, director Robbe De Hert still created a great film and a brilliant realisation of Ernest Claes' character of De Witte - and Eric Clerckx is a complete natural in the role, really bringing the character to life. Watch out for the (intentional) anachronisms, such as the karate kick and the sound of a passing jet plane during the battle recreation sequence, designed to suggest that the story could just as well be contemporary.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 10 / 10
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Wolfskinder (2013)

Sensitively acted, especially by Levin Liam. A beautiful film in every respect.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
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Wondrous Oblivion (2003)

Earnest, feelgood and ultimately inconsequential. Sam Smith is fine as the Jewish lad in this modestly entertaining drama set in 1960.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 6 / 10
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Wszystko bedzie dobrze (2007)

A fine coming-of-age movie. Adam Werstak is an astonishingly natural actor and his attractively wiry frame is perfect for the role he plays.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 10 / 10
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Y Adán y (1971)

Philosophical allegory - oh yes!

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
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Young Dracula (2006-2014)

The original two seasons were magnificent, brilliantly funny, witty and amusing, but the later seasons (after the 'hiatus') were not nearly as good, because the programme tried to become a 'serious' drama, and the humour suffered as a consequence. 9/10 for the first two seasons, 6/10 for the remainder of the series.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 8 / 10
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