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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.

392 Films have been rated or reviewed by Sandy.

Ghost in the ShellGhost in the Shell (2017)
1 star (Turkey) Technically impressive & well–acted by Scarlett & Juliette. Unfortunately the silly plot doesn't match the production. Not recommended.
DVD $39.95 | Blu-Ray $44.95, $49.95
Brief EncounterBrief Encounter (1946)Aro Favourite
4 stars (Very Good) Not dated, thanks to the cracking script full of wit, eg preview of "Flames of Passion" followed by an pram ad! Impressive acting & quality of reprocessed film & sound plus train punctuality before Thatcher's privatisation.
DVD $20
Cranes are Flying, TheCranes are Flying, The (Letyat Zhuravli) (1957)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Beautiful print & fine acting, especially by Veronica, Feodor & Grandma. Complex Soviet anti–war film with amazing hand–held camera–work, never bettered. Slightly stilted plot & fine clothes for USSR in 1945 remind us that this classic is 60 years old
A Decade Under the InfluenceA Decade Under the Influence (2003)Recommended
2 stars (Good Try) Comprehensive, but basically just "talking heads" (directors) interspersed with brief clips. Deals with style rather than substance of Hollywood movies of the era. Credit given to the "60s" avant–garde from France & Italy (but not Germany or Britain).
DVD $29.95
LovingLoving (2016)
5 stars (Exceptional) Low–key, slow–burning drama–doco on race law in US not long ago. Packs a helluva punch because of its gentle style. Bravery of Mrs Loving stays in the heart due to Ruth Negga's gritty performance. A tribute to humble folk facing the hangover of slavery.
DVD $34.95
RoninRonin (1997)
3 stars (Good Enough) Well–plotted action thriller with enough car chases to satisfy the French for the last 20 years! Stars the towns of Nice, Arles & Paris. Most of the sites are fun to visit.
Blu-Ray $29.95
Marie-Jo and her Two LovesMarie-Jo and her Two Loves (2002)
3 stars (Good Enough) A middle–aged woman is equally in love with two similar–aged men. But in real life, love is never quite equal. She leaves her husband for the exotic mariner – then returns. So? Great acting & Mediterranean scenery do not compensate for a weak plot.
Marius et JeannetteMarius et Jeannette (1997)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) What a joy! A subtle & funny plunge into believable working–class lives instead of yet another exploration of the indiscreet charms of the bourgeoisie. Extremely likeable.
ElleElle (2016)Recommended
3 stars (Good Enough) Vicious look at aspects of middle–class French life – apparently the preoccupation of French filmmakers since Godard. Tiresome compared with, say The Separation (Iran). Best part of the DVD are the extras – as always truth outshines fantasy.
Captain PhillipsCaptain Phillips (2013)Recommended
4 stars (Very Good) Surprisingly good & realistic. Even Tom Hanks is excellent. An good adventure movie portrayal close to the truth.
DVD $15, $39.95, $44.95

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