John Lynch

John Lynch

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Private Peaceful Review


OK

The filmmakers tell this World War I story beautifully, but they never quite bring it to life as a proper movie. By taking a gently simplistic approach, it never feels like anything new as it deals with the usual topics of battlefield camaraderie, lost innocence and families torn apart by war.

It's set in early 1900s rural Devon, as the Peaceful family's idyllic life comes to an abrupt end when Dad dies. Now Hazel (Peake) and her three sons, Tommo, Charlie and simple-minded Joe (MacKay, O'Connell and Summercorn), must struggle to find enough work to survive. And when the war breaks out, Tommo lies about his age to go off to fight, partly because the girl he loves, Molly (Roach), turns out to be in love with Charlie. So out of guilt, Charlie joins him in the trenches. Which makes both Molly and Hazel worry if either of them will return home.

Based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo (War Horse), the film is packed with serious themes that contrast life on a Devon farm with the horrors of battle. The story is framed with scenes of Tommo in a military prison cell, and we have to wait until the end to find out what that's all about, which kind of waters down the impact of the harrowing scenes that come next. This is probably because everything that happens in the meantime reiterates the fact that fate goes where it will, and both good and bad people die in wartime.

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Ghosted Review


Weak
This dark British prison drama is a bit too overwrought to keep us engaged right to the end. Without much subtlety, it tells an inflammatory, somewhat contrived story of guilt and redemption. But the actors make it worth seeing.

After four years in prison, on the anniversary of his young son's death, Jack (Lynch) finds out that his wife is leaving him. Meanwhile, new young inmate Paul (Compston) is quickly taken under the wing of tough-guy Clay (Parkinson).

Seeing this, Jack and his friend Ahmed (Malik) start to worry about Paul's safety. Sure enough, things turn violent, so Jack arranges to help Paul cope with the situation and becomes his mentor-protector. But there are more tensions brewing between various factions of inmates, and clearly things are going to get much worse.

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Black Death Review


Good
This medieval thriller is cleverly shot and edited to crank up quite a bit of tension, even as the over-the-top grisliness and wacky religious overtones make it nothing much more than a cheap thrill.

Osmund (Redmayne) is a young monk in 1384 England just as the plague is breaking out. The question is whether it's a curse from God or caused by evil in the world. Then the Bishop's envoy Ulric (Bean) arrives with news that an isolated village is somehow pestilence free. Drafting Osmund as a guide, the team heads off to confront what is no doubt pure evil, and indeed when they arrive they meet the village leader Langiva (van Houten), who has turned her back on the Church and created a creepy idyll.

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Black Death Trailer


In 1348 the many people of England were struck down by the plague that swept the length and breadth of the island. Knight Ulrich was one of the greatest fighters of the time and when he learnt of a small village untouched by the deadly illness, he tasked himself, a band of soldiers and a young monk to discover their secret and hunt down a powerful sorcerer thought to be able to bring the dead back to life.

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Holy Water Trailer


Watch the trailer for Holy Water

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Moll Flanders Review


Grim
Potential taglines for this movie... Moll Flanders: Less than just a bad title. Moll Flanders: Not a shopping center in Belgium. Moll Flanders: Total waste of time.

The last one is the most appropriate for this: a picture which wastes a lot of raw acting talent and pretty photography on a boring, groaning-in-your-seat story which hinges on every cliché in the book.

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This Is the Sea Review


Weak
Irish Republican Army/Love Story movies have been popular since Michael Collins, and none of them have been any good. Still they keep cranking them out, but I think we've gone to this well about twelve too many times, haven't we? As one reviewer on Amazon.com puts it: "This is the Cheese."

Sliding Doors Review


Good
What would have happened if Gwynny caught the train? Her hair wouldn't have been brown, for starters! Sliding Doors is an unabashed, melancholic Gwynny vehicle, which isn't such a bad thing since she's so darn cute. The story, about a hapless Brit who we follow during two alternate realities -- one stuck in a loveless relationship, one striking out on her own, is fairly fun but wholly improbable. Which is why this is a romantic comedy-drama and not a flat-out drama (which would have just been depressing). The ending is not altogether satisfying, but it's certainly an original (though widely copied since).

Evelyn Review


Weak

The most celebrated child custody battle in Irish history is the subject of "Evelyn," a moving but uninspired feel-good drama in which Pierce Brosnan stretches his anti-Bond acting muscles as a struggling carpenter and painter desperately fighting church and state to get his three button-cute kids out of foster care.

It seems that when the wife of Brosnan's real-life character Desmond Doyle swiped their bankbook from the coffee tin in their row-house kitchen in 1953 then disappeared with another man, the enforcers of family law ("a cozy conspiracy between the Catholic church and the Irish state") decided a single father without steady work made an unfit parent.

As the opening act of the movie unfolds, Doyle's beloved young children -- two boys and a sweet little girl whose name begot the film's title -- are dragged off to strict orphanage schools run by tyrannical nuns. Meanwhile, Brosnan kicks his character's tires, struggling for several scenes to get a bead on the guy as he looks for work, resolves to stay sober and takes on the Goliath system.

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John Lynch

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