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Sandy’s Film Reviews

About me: John OShea at the Onslow College Film Club helped open my eyes to quality movies in the early 60s. Since then I was a regular at the Auckland Film Festival and later the Wellington Film Festival from 1983. My taste is very wide; currently documentaries (truth is very edgy), including blues music & other popular genres. Great films seen include the Iranian film The Separation and Marcel Ophuls Memory of Justice...and many more!
My website: Takaro.

584 Films have been rated or reviewed by Sandy.

Love Witch, TheLove Witch, The (2016)Recommended
1 star (Turkey) Without believable characters or any plot this is very boring, B–movie nostalgia notwithstanding. It's very silly – basically a 2 hour cosmetics ad with off–scene sex thrown in for the punters. Avoid at all costs!
Quincy JonesQuincy Jones (The 75th Birthday Celebration) (2009)
5 stars (Exceptional) Sublime top recording gear & fine filming of famous vocalists backed by a terrific band. Splendid sound & video. Stunning musicianship. If you can't watch both discs (178 mins + extra), start with Disc 2,Track 2. Don't miss the "Thank Q" extra.
Cold WarCold War (2018)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Not like 'Ida'. Story follows a more conventional path, but worth watching. Starts in bleak post–war Poland in 1949 and moves to 1964 Paris. A different, earthy romance, likeable well–acted characters. Look up 'Lemkos' on Wikipedia to discover key inf
DVD $29.95 | Blu-Ray $34.95
Piano Teacher, ThePiano Teacher, The (2001)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Sexual vs. romantic love – as felt by Erika. Overall structure masterful, but left me wanting a Pt.2 where the effects are explored on her life, self–regard and music. Needs editing. Austria is in fact awash with porn. No psychoses are involved here.
DVD $24.95
Lightning in a BottleLightning in a Bottle (2004)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) Terrific sound & picture quality & great music! We owe such a debt to Scorcese for capturing the 20thC surge of American creativity forever. Wonderful selections, arrangements, & interpretations – the best. Insightful exchanges between the musicians
Blue VelvetBlue Velvet (1986)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) Very high quality blu ray images combined with 50s US small–town life in a typical creepy Lynch style. Haunting, disturbing, incoherent, dream–like, brilliant. May be Lynch's best. Cruel & thuggish, but Rosselini is a hypnotic character.
DVD $19.95
Belle De JourBelle De Jour (Beauty of the Day) (1967)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) 1967 c.f. today, seems dated & prudish. Failure to get past "meaningful glances" forces the viewer to create her fantasy without really getting into her character. "A Clockwork Orange" (1971) & other films from this era have more depth.
DVD $39.95
One Against the WindOne Against the Wind (1991)
3 stars (Good Enough) Well–made, acted & realistic: seemed slightly dated in style c. f. more recent films. Sam Neill was good in his lead role. Unmentioned is that most RAF pilots were killed from crashes or caught. It's about individual heroism, not of one of near–defeat.
DVD $24.95
DestroyerDestroyer (2018)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) US crime; surreal plot; super–tough characters led by a very convincing Nicole Kidman in her greatest role ever. Terrific acting and plot so never a dull moment. complex time shifts are well–done. Check for wrinkles! Good background music.
DVD $29.95
Sex and LuciaSex and Lucia (2001)Recommended
1 star (Turkey) Beautiful & amusing. Well–produced in France, it lacks sophistication & the fun that it should have because it's overwhelmed by a dense & creaky plot. Had a look at Mendem's other movies and they are the same or worse. Love without a plot is dull.
DVD $20 $15

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