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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!

655 Films have been rated or reviewed by Sandy.

Never Look AwayNever Look Away (Werk ohne Autor) (2018)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) Very intelligent film on totalitarian art – Nazi & Stalinist. Based in Dresden. Well–acted, convincing & gruelling. Outstanding structure, history & vision on the nature of creativity. A fascinating story.
DVD $24.95
Professor and the Madman, TheProfessor and the Madman, The (2019)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Informative & interesting Irish film; made in Ireland
ExhibitionExhibition (2013)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) Extremely unusual. Very fine acting by non–professional actors. rnStunning décor. The 'Extras' are rich, and very informative. A very exceptional film.
Queen & SlimQueen & Slim (Queen and Slim) (2019)Recommended
5 stars (Exceptional) A moving story relevant to the BLM movement. Witty & interesting with great songs and atmosphere. Sharp dialogue faintly reminiscent of the classic In the Heat of the Night, but right up to date. Strongly recommended
Secret of the Grain, TheSecret of the Grain, The (Couscous) (2007)
4 stars (Very Good) Outstanding acting & close camera work bring you right into the stormy lives of the Algerian exiles scratching out a living on the south coast of France in the harbour of the growing resort town of Sète. Tight script & nuanced story – watch it twice!
Third Wife, TheThird Wife, The (2018)
1 star (Turkey) Lazy composition suggest that this was made for Western audiences. Tran is older than 14 & v. wealthy. Complete hymen does not indicate virginity. But why use the same sheet twice? Gruelling, but no substance.
DVD $29.95
19171917 (2019)Recommended
1 star (Turkey) Mendes should have researched this fantasy. BEF had 22,000 pigeons in 1917 which would have made this trip in 45 min. Generals don't have war rooms in trenches. Trenches not new in 1917. First tanks 8 months later. Telegraph lines underground.
Fairy, TheFairy, The (La Fée) (2011)
4 stars (Very Good) Classic French farce in the style of Tati, but fully up–to–date. Le Havre port seems to attracts cinematographers and this quirky film helps show why! Very funny, with subtle touches.
BellbirdBellbird (2019)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Quite well–acted, but typically NZ characters have passive/ aggressive characteristics. Unsatisfying.
Little WomenLittle Women (2019)Aro Favourite
5 stars (Exceptional) Very fine acting, photography & composition. Filmed in Alcott's original 17thC home. Terrific extras fit this 1857 classic into a modern context. Brilliant script & direction by Gerwig. Outstanding in every respect.

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