Can someone please contact the Oscars and tell them young talent deserves to be recognised too please, because I simply don't understand how Jacob Tremblay has again been overlooked for this performance. Following on from his quite remarkable display in Room from a couple of years ago, the young actor, still only 11 years old, conjures another impeccable performance as a young disfigured boy and his experience of life as he embarks on public school for the first time. It's a heartfelt and beautiful performance which will lift the spirit despite some tough moments on his journey.
Joined by a great support cast featuring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson as his parents and another superb young actress Izabela Vidovic, herself only 16, as the sister who has to deal with being second attention in the family. This was a mature display from Izabela which, really stood out for me, aside from the main plot of the young boy. In truth though, I was very impressed by all the young actors and actresses who graced the screen as school friends throughout in telling this remarkable story, this one will have the heart strings tugged for sure.
What Happened to Monday - 8 out of 10
I was so so surprised by how good this movie was and how little recognition it was receiving, this felt almost like an old school 80's action film I would have loved growing up. A very modern plot I dare say I hadn't seen before from any other movie. Set in a futuristic world where parents are only allowed one child due to overpopulation, Willem Dafoe plays a father of 7 who tries to keep all his offspring from the authorities. Named after the days of the week , they all grow up assuming the profile of one singular person in the outside world but all have separate identities and personalities in the home, so when Monday goes missing, the others are left in a very awkward situation when trying to figure out where or why she is gone.
It's a simply brilliant little action movie in as they seek the missing sister and Noomi Rapace is amazing performing the roles of 7 different style sisters. This makes paying your Netflix subscription worthwhile!
The Death of Stalin - 7 out of 10
Humorous satirical look at the Soviet dictators last days and the events which follow. This is Armando Iannucci at his best, famed for political comedy such as The Thick of It and also a writer for the legendary I'm Alan Partridge, this will be an acquired taste of satire I'm sure, but for those that get it, this will be a funny chortle at the Russian expense.
Steve Buscemi is his usual marvelous self as Nikita Khruschev. He is the standout comedic performance but there are plenty others who support in this tickle of the sides. You wont view communist Russia quite the same again and the performance of Stalin himself by Adrian McLoughlin I'm sure will never be mirrored.
Black Panther - 6 out of 10
Disappointment of the month for me. That may be harsh and I can almost hear the screams of half of you suggesting I'm out of my mind but I'm sorry. I go to watch Marvel films for good action and good humour and this may have covered one of those but fell so flat in the other. If you are going to take a comic book movie seriously then it has to be a story which can rival the Dark Knight and the comparisons for this and the Lion King leave a lot to be desired for me.
It looked great in moments, the stunning back drops of Wakanda were visually a treat but the pretty over the top CGI scenes, most specifically with regard to the car scene just left me frustrated and underwhelmed. Chadwick Bosemans performance was good in parts, so too the main villain of Killmonger played by Michael B. Jordan. Yet it pains me to say Killmonger was forgettable and actually the villain I longed for more of was the portrayal of Klaue by Andy Serkis. He was far stronger and this led me to feeling flat toward the end. People were calling this movie revolutionary in regards to other Marvel films as the social and political messages were supposed to be a direction shift for the universe but I think it was regression instead.
In truth this was for me quite a poor Marvel movie, perhaps an average DC movie but with the yardstick that Marvel have already set itself down the years I just hope this isn't the turning of the tide for the comic book giants. Who knows maybe DC might sort its act out and overtake it in years to come...what's that? Kristen Wigg is playing Cheetah? Am I the only one who thinks I am psychic right now?
Phantom Thread - 6 out of 10
Ok so it's not quite as bad as 'the Post', but what are the people who run the Oscars actually watching? The most interesting thing about this movie is that nothing fucking happens and the real world got suckered into watching it for two hours. A man makes a dress, a woman wears a dress, a man gets sick, the end. I am not even exaggerating that much, that's basically it, I kind of liked the end and I feel almost bad for making it sound so dull, because in truth, it's shot beautifully but at the same time it's just so drab for most of it and so, so, SO forgettable.
Daniel day Lewis is okay, all the other performances are okay, but that really is it. If you score this any more than a 6 I think you are just snobbing up to it. You think you are supposed to like it more because the Oscars told you to do so and for that you are a total nob who should watch The Shape of Water instead as it is, far and away, a better romantic movie!
Jumanji - 8 out of 10
My favourite film of the week and wouldn't you know it, its a bloody reboot of one of my favourite films from the 90's. For all the complaints about reboots these days, every now and then we should all just shut up and enjoy the ride. This was Jurassic World levels of fun and a modern spin on a cracking old fave. Its funny and action packed and all the characters bring their own fantastic element to this movie. A film featuring Dwane "the Rock" Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan could have been a mess of personality but it actually blends perfectly and what's brilliant about this is how each character is cast as someone they are not.
So the nerd is the ultra strong and ultra brave 'The Rock' and a pretty selfie obsessed teen girl is played by Jack Black, it's a master stroke, which leads to endless laughs and this really is just a very big fun movie. It doesn't pretend to be anything else and that makes it loveable. Forget the old 'Jumanji', this stands completely on its own as a movie to be loved in its own right despite its name share with its 1995 compatriot. I honestly loved it from start to finish and now I will sit waiting longingly for the reboot of Small Soldiers. Who's with me?
The Neighbor - 6 out of 10 William Fichtner stars in this tame but still quite enjoyable thriller. It's definitely a film you will only watch once, its tone had the right amount of creep to keep you watching, but the downside is it was very predictable. I kind of wanted just something more "Rear Window" out of this, but it just failed to materialise and, though the ending is good, it also felt quite safe, which will ultimately leave this movie in the realms of the forgettable.
It does seem slightly farfetched for some of the key plot points too, certainly regarding Fichtner's character, Mike, and his relationship with his wife. It didn't feel like there was any development within this relationship and I felt things moved far too fast from one extreme to the other without reasonable cause, but what I did feel it got right was Mike's struggle to deal with feelings towards his young neighbor, this was developed well and this to be fair is what saves the movie. To summarise in neighbourly terms, this movie is the person you give a nod to walking down the street but you certainly won't be asking it to come in for a coffee.
Only The Brave - 8 out of 10
Inspired by a true story, this focuses on a group of firefighters called the Granite Mountain Hotshots and their extremely dangerous profession in tackling wildfires. It's incredibly well displayed and that is testament to Joseph Kosinski who really captures the landscape, the devastation and the intensity these fires would cause. You can nearly feel the heat on your face in some scenes and therefore I could feel how incredibly brave these men must have been staring it right in the face.
Josh Brolin is excellent as the leader of the crew and Miles Teller also puts in a great shift as one of the new recruits, a guy from the wrong side of the tracks who recently had a kid and wants to turn his life around. This is why true stories are always superior, the characters are always easy to resonate with because you know they are real people doing real things. The end of this movie though will blow you away, I hadn't before watching this film, read up on the story and to say I was floored was an understatement, it is seriously heartbreaking and delivered in a very gripping but respectful way. We all like watching our superhero movies but this is a film about real life heroes and I would find it hard to believe you come out of this one without feeling a lot of emotion for these brave men, this is simply the must see for this week!
Goodbye Christopher Robin - 7 out of 10
I was never a massive fan of Winnie the Pooh as a kid, so I felt before going in that this could have passed me by, but this is a just a very well made and well scripted film. The story follows A.A. Milne in his creation of the much loved children's bear while playing with his son. There will be plenty for fans of Winnie to get excited about, the toys themselves being revealed and how the names were made for the characters but even for people like myself who would never consider himself to be a big fan, I was sucked right into it too.
I felt the tone was absolutely great, with bits of humour sprinkled through the drama and you really could feel the relationships between the characters. The cast was brilliant, particularly the young actor, Will Tilston, playing the title character. When I was aged 8 I was probably still banging dinosaurs heads together on my play mat but this lad just delivered a superb performance amongst some big names to shine the brightest. Margot Robbie and Kelly Macdonald were both excellent in their roles as Christopher's mother and nanny respectively but I also have to give a tremendous amount of credit to Domhnall Gleeson who was fantastic as writer A.A Milne, the scenes in which he portrays the stress of having served in the great war, particularly gave the character great development. Most of all though, this was as entertaining as it was informative, just a good fun movie with plenty of nods to the creation of one of the worlds most loved children's books and characters.
A Futile And Stupid Gesture - 7 out of 10
Funny biopic of the creation of National Lampoon and in particular the man behind it Doug Kenney. It is shot as a fitting tribute in silly lampoon style with so many jokes that will have the most avid punslingers laughing away. Will Forte is fantastic as the lead role and although I personally am too young to know too much about Doug, as a fan of comedy I understand that it is through National Lampoon that we get the genre of comedy as we know it today. Animal House was the blueprint which the American Pie's followed, a lot of what became SNL was indirectly related to the work on Lampoon's radio show. A great cast of comedy names littered this film playing equally big stars themselves such as Bill Murray, Chevy Chase and John Belushi, it really was a who's who of name dropping for comedy of the 70's and 80's! Another wonderful touch was the use of modern Doug played by Martin Mull, which gave comedic narrative to the movie throughout. It should have had a sad end to Doug's story truth be told but again in sheer Lampoon style, it's never far away from making you chuckle and that's an inspiring message to take out of it. This certainly was a stupid movie, but futile it was not and now it feels only right to go dig out my copy of Caddyshack and laugh along in Doug's honour.
Thor Ragnarok - 8 out of 10
Late to the nerdy party as ever with this one as I know the lads have already done their vlog on this but I thought I would put my two cents in, mainly because after watching their review upon finishing the movie I feel they made a massive omission of perhaps my most favourite MCU character of all time. Let's start by saying if Thor had been considered the duller of all Marvel films so far this one set out to atone. It's far more whacky and far more fun, it comes packed with the action you expect of a superhero film but what was most pleasing to me was the characteristic Marvel humour had been cranked up to an emphatic 11 and I laughed throughout. You had Jeff Goldblum in his usual mad cap deliveries, the scenes between Thor and Banner/Hulk were also great fun, when they were pounding each other in an epic battle it was fantastic to watch but just as enjoyable was their patter between the action, and as for Korg, let's just talk about Korg shall we?
I actually loved this character, the New Zealand accent had me hook line and sinker, it was like The Thing meets Rhys Darby, the man behind the voice was Taika Waititi and he has shot straight into my heart for this character, honestly I haven't enjoyed anyone as much in the Marvel cinematic universe.
The low points for the movie was another fairly poor villain, Hela just never made me believe she was as scary or powerful as what everyone kept making out, sadly just another in a long line of forgettable MCU villains, but even despite that, I thought on the whole, the film actually looked so boss, so colourful and vibrant when watching and that, along with the great action and hilarious moments, made this a very strong MCU film. I am now psyched and ready for Black Panther.
True story about former olympian Molly Bloom and her unlikely rise to become the organiser of the world's highest stake poker game, all of which led her to become targeted by the FBI who were convinced she had ties to the Russian mob. This was a great little story, plenty of flashy tales on how she sunk deeper into this world from humble beginnings, after an accident and injury brought her Ski jumping career to an abrupt end. Jessica Chastain plays the title role and she looks ravishing on screen while really making Molly's attitude and character stand out, but just like in the Jungle Book, Idris Elba was here to steal the limelight with another great performance as her lawyer and his speech toward the end was absolutely brilliant.
There were some other great moments too and I was particularly intrigued as to who the unnamed people might have been who kept getting teased throughout (famous celebs/lawyers/politicians and sports stars who, sadly, we are never to find out as Molly never gave them up in real life). To have the scruples to keep these identities a secret is testament to her character, especially as she was offered multi million pound book deals to tell all, this above all else really makes you root for her character. I also sort of liked the card playing scenes which revealed all the crazy hands that made and lost so much money, although if you aren't a poker pro, some of the lingo may be a bit lost in translation. If I'm honest, despite my rookie adventures into Texas hold em' when pissed at the casino at 3am, I am certainly no pro, but the good far outweighed the bad here...so to put it in Poker terms, this was more of a good straight than a royal flush, but definitely worth a gamble!
Darkest Hour - 8 out of 10
After slating the "Churchill" movie not so long back, how refreshing it was to find that this portrayal did the man some justice. An absolutely brilliant performance courtesy of Gary Oldman and a quite stunning cosmetic to really allow him to immerse himself completely into the role. Every criticism I had for the ill aforementioned piss shower I watched a few weeks ago was ever more apparent with how much better this film was displayed. It looked far better, the whole cast was far better, the focus of the story was far better and, aside from one particularly obvious made up dramatised event, it felt a lot more honest a story of the man. Even that scene in question was done so in a way to emphasise Winston's affinity with the public opinion regarding going to war and I really can forgive that. The speech scene at the end inspires goosebumps and it's certainly no shock that Oldman is in the nominations for an academy award. For normal movie goers worldwide this is a good historical biography on your screens, for us Brits, pop on the Elgar and enjoy the pomp and circumstance old chaps. Rule Britannia!
Small Town Crime - 6 out of 10
Ok, so this is a good movie, but its not a great movie. Its a good 6, but it will hardly have you clambering for a rewatch. Sometimes you get a movie like this. A film you enjoy as you watch but then afterwards you know...you just KNOW you probably won't be remembering it in a few years. I watched it a few days before writing this and i'm struggling now. What I remember is that John Hawkes plays an alcoholic ex cop who takes it upon himself to try and solve the murder of a young girl he finds the body of and, while there is decent moments sprinkled throughout this tale with an OK story, it's also not the most original. But for a movie not packed with that many huge stars thankfully there is enough to make this at least a worthwhile once over. As thrillers go, it's more sat comfortably with your feet up than edge of your seat, but I can recommend you visit the small town of crime for at least one solo visit!
Borg McEnroe - 7 out of 10
Sports biopic focusing on the rivalry between two tennis players, this film works only because of the two very good lead roles from Shia LaBeouf (McEnroe) and Sverrir Gudnarson (Borg). Both look great as the parts, particularly Gudnarson who really does look the image of the character he was portraying. I should warn that there is a lot of Swedish speaking parts throughout this so if you ain't one for subtitles this might not be for you but for those who can live with that, this is a gripping and dramatic look at one of the best tennis finals of all time. I'm not even remotely interested in the sport of tennis normally but I couldn't help be gripped by this movie as it reaches its climatic end. It reminded me slightly of "Rush" with two titans of a sport giving absolutely everything to better their adversary and though I don't feel this was quite as good as that movie, if your a fan of sports films in general like I am, this will definitely be one you want to watch.
Professor Marston and the Wonder Women - 7 out of 10
A tripod of excellent acting within this great story about the inspiration behind the world's favourite female heroine. Professor Marston (played wonderfully by Luke Evans) who also invented the lie detector, with his wife Elizabeth (also superbly played by Rebecca Hall) both fall in love with an intern called Olive (again lit up on screen by Bella Heathcote) and an unorthodox relationship grows between all 3. You could easily spend the entire time muttering to yourself what a lucky bugger Mr Marston was if you weren't just enjoying a very well written, presented and informative movie. I can't say I knew much about the creation of Wonder Woman, but I certainly had no idea that it stemmed from a good old threesome bonking. Ok, ok, so there was more to it than that, but I get easily distracted by women kissing each other. Seriously though, even if you aren't bothered about Wonder Woman or where she came from this was a good movie nonetheless, riveting in parts and raunchy in others with some real emotion thrown in.
Batman: Gotham By Gaslight - 7 out of 10
Very enjoyable animated movie which looks at a recent adaptation from the comics, that whisks you away to a Victorian Gotham. It's a nice different look at the Dark Knight as he looks to solve the case of Jack the Ripper. Some great voice work by Jennifer Carpenter who plays Selina Kyle and Bruce Greenwood takes on the role of the Bat and I think he delivers a great performance. The story is the real hero of the piece though, it's a really good detective style plot with a nice enough twist toward the end and the animation looks beautiful throughout. They may be getting some pelters for the films at present but thankfully they have not faltered with their animations in the same way, this was far superior to what we have seen from DC on the big screen in the past few years!
The Post - 5 out of 10
Around the time of the Oscars there always seems to be movies like this which get nominations that I just can't for the life of me understand why. This year its "The Post" which underwhelmed me completely! It's not a terrible movie at all. I was ok. Sauntering my way through it, but that's all it was to me, "ok".
It focuses on journalists at the Washington Post uncovering lies made by US governments during the Vietnam war and the coverage leading up to 'Watergate'. It sounds dull reading that back and unfortunately I think that's part of the problem. 'Watergate' for me is one of the most frustratingly boring pieces of history, I get why it was a big deal, but at the same time it just doesn't personally interest me like something (such as the Churchill movie "Darkest Hour" as mentioned above), it also failed to inspire me to want to be interested in it, such as the subject matter covered in the film "Spotlight" from not too long ago, a similar type movie regarding journalists uncovering the truth.
Meryl Streep somehow manages to get a best actress nomination out of this when in truth I don't think she has come close to deserving it in comparison to some of the other names mentioned, perhaps they can't bare to leave such a massive name off their list for once and somehow, for reasons I really don't understand, this movie managed to be nominated for Best Picture. Again, sorry, but for me it is by far and away the worst movie on the nominations list and perhaps only considered because of the inclusion of Streep/Hanks, and the fact it's directed by Spielberg. This is very much Oscars by numbers, serious subject matter + big time director + two big name actors = Oscar nominations. "Ok", but should never be considered great and it wouldn't even be close to winning best movie out of the movies I have listed for this week, let alone for the whole of a year!
Mudbound - 7 out of 10
Racially stirred story about two men who return home from WW2 and try to pick up things where they left off in their home in rural Mississippi. Mississippi of course was ruled by segregation, and bigotry was widely accepted, so for Ronsel Jackson, an African American, he arrives back from Europe finding it particularly difficult to deal with. Through it all he bonds with Jamie McAllan who also served in the war, he too won't accept the racist attitudes of his fellow white people and strikes a friendship with Ronsel displeasing his father.
Jason Mitchell is phenomenal as Ronsel, who has to suffer tremendous ordeals whilst he portrays every emotion from disillusion, heartbreak, terror, and also, love. There is also great support from Garrett Hedlund (Jamie), as well as a great cast all round featuring superb performances from Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Rob Morgan, Mary J Blige and Jonathan Banks. It starts a little slow in pace initially but it really does build to an outstanding second half and though the climax toward the end is difficult to watch, it is breathtaking cinema. This unlike the last movie I mentioned above is every bit worth a nomination, which makes its omission far more baffling to me. In fact the only person to be nominated for their part (Mary J Blige for supporting actress) had the least impact out of any of the other names mentioned above. Go figure! But aside from Oscar politics Mudbound delivers a great film with more than a meaningful reminder and message and that deserves everyone's attention.
Steve Carrell, Bryan Cranston and Laurence Fishburne star in a comedy drama that follows Larry "Doc" Sheppard (Carrell) as he visits some old Vietnam war buddies with the sole purpose of getting them to come to his son's funeral, who also died in the military service.
It's sprinkled with good comedy around the drama and this film is made by the great chemistry between all 3 lead actors. You see the affection grow and blossom between these men as they eventually end up on a road trip trying to get the son back home. I especially loved the ongoing friction between converted pastor Mueller (Fishburne), who was apparently a bad boy when in the army, and Sal (Cranston) who tries to get him to loosen up again. Carrell is also excellent as the grieving father but it was a very well balanced film between the funny and the emotional making it a very pleasant watch albeit with certain moments where the pace drops a bit, but overall push through those bits and you're rewarded with a decent movie, though probably not the most memorable.
I, Tonya - 7 out of 10
Biographical film which tells the story of ex Olympic figure skater, Tonya Harding. Now I am certainly not a figure skating fan and if I'm being honest, though I had heard the name before, I wasn't all that sure of what trials and tribulations might be on show in this woman's story. I can tell you now, I was surprised with what I watched. This is shot really well, between little interview moments with Tonya (played by Margot Robbie) and certain others characters whom affected her life.
Along with the actual moments of her life being played out, especially the unbelievable account of what happened to unravel her figure skating career, it also shows the struggle she had just breaking into the sport due to her background and appearance despite her obvious talents. Margot Robbie is absolutely fantastic in the role and Allison Janney is perfect in the role of her hard-ass mother. It was definitely an interesting watch and I'm sure if you do, like myself, you'll be reaching for wikipedia to learn a bit more.
Coco - 8 out of 10
The hype certainly was high for this one, "the best Pixar movie to come since Toy Story" people were reporting. Could it possibly live up to the hype? Spoiler alert.... It definitely does.
This is a beautiful story with really beautiful music to guide you through and I can see kids and adults alike falling head over heels for this amazing movie. The songs are great, the humour is wonderful and you will be as happy as anyone to sit through this with the whole family, no matter your age, all laughing together. The story is fantastic too with plenty of emotion and it really is heartfelt toward the end with some beautiful messages that all kids should be privy to as they will eventually learn about life, death and the importance of family.
Perhaps it doesn't have quite the same impact and array of characters that Toy Story did, but this is still a brilliant watch that might just get your tears falling too.
The Voyeur - 6 out of 10
This documentary tells the rather odd story of Gerald Foos, a motel owner who made his hotel into his own voyeuristic paradise, building a platform above all the rooms and fitting carefully placed openings so that he could spy on his guests. Gerald proceeded to invite a famous writer called Gay Talese in on his little private world as he invaded everyone else's and sent him reports and letters documenting his life as a voyeur. Talese would then go on to write this in a book called "The Voyeurs Motel" which shows how Gerald had apparently witnessed all sorts of carry on, detailing the intimate moments between people and even at one point highlight how he viewed a murder.
Very interesting albeit rather creepy and very entertaining to watch how Gerald rationalised his actions. I thought it was especially interesting when we meet Gerald in later life as his personality really comes to the forefront as the documentary team are established in his home with his wife before the release of the book, and after too. It's entertaining for sure but you can't help but feel a bit cheated after watching this, as many of the incidents can't be validated as some people state he didn't even own the motel in some of the years he had documented. This even led Talese to disavow his own book, so although this is an entertaining watch, it leaves you to wonder how much of this was actually true ? Was this a documentary purely made to make something out of a failed book? Possibly, but its an intriguing watch nevertheless!
The Shape Of Water - 9 out of 10
Mesmerising and picturesque, this dark fairytale simply blew me away.
Del Toro has always delivered on the look of a picture and this is no different. The gorgeous design of the set is something to behold and it really makes this one an easy watch. Though the story is nothing too clever, you can forgive its simplicity. Yes, this is nothing new but it's delivered in such a fantastic way. You can feel the romance surround you as if the amphibian beast has your body in its big strong arms and that is down to the outstanding performance of Sally Hawkins, who plays mute cleaner, Elisa.
Only able to communicate via sign language she befriends an amphibian being held in the research facility she works in. She simply lit up the screen every time she appeared on it which is an enormous achievement given the character can't even speak. Michael Shannon is the man in charge of research on the "asset" and he certainly plays his part, delivering a fearful and villainous character to bring balance to the story, but it was love that was the strongest message throughout, and a simply beautiful poem read at the end of the movie whose words have really struck with me. Perhaps it was me who was humbled most by this movie as its presence definitely filled my eyes with love. This is one of the most dark and different romantic films you'll feast your eyes on!
The Disaster Artist - 7 out of 10
Funny interpretation of the making of cult classic, worst-movie-ever-made, 'THE ROOM'.
James Franco nails his portrayal as the mysterious and bizarre Tommy Wiseau who directed and starred in everyone's favourite bad movie. The original has become a late night roar of laughter for many due to the frankly absurd over acting and lunatic sub plots which went nowhere but this film will have many fans in its own right as it cleverly tells the story with good humour of its own. Many of the scenes were given a fantastic tribute and were shot so close to the original you could be forgiven for wanting to see the whole movie played out again, but it's the scenes behind the original that showcase how utterly bizarre Tommy was as he created, attempted to 'direct' and star in the film whilst falling out with everyone around him.
For fans of the original this will be a must see that will have you laughing out loud, and if you have never seen 'THE ROOM', this will almost certainly get you scrambling to see what all the fuss was about with the original. I rated the original a 2 out of 10, which is one of my lowest ever scores, but it's utterly a strange sensation that despite how bad it was, you can't help but want to watch it again. Because it really is the movie that's so bad, it's genius!
Call Me By Your Name - 8 out of 10
Set in stunning Northern Italy, I nearly had my bags packed and fucked off half way through this movie but thankfully I managed to hesitate and stick around for a gorgeous story of a first love and special friendship between 17 year old Elio and 24 year old Oliver.
Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer are excellent as the lead pair who aren't quite sure what to do with their feelings as they grow and bond, and I thought Chalamet was particularly great in his role as the innocent teenager dealing with the awakening desire inside him. Showing love in its truest form and also that you can't help who you fall in love with, this film really tugs at the heartstrings. Perhaps my only negative is this did feel like a long movie, but an emotional moment toward the end of the film more than deserves your patience, as Elio's father expresses his feelings towards the pairs relationship. The music plays its part too and the balance between some classical music and 80's songs such as "Love My Way" by 'The Psychedelic Furs' really work majestically in putting you in 1983 when it was set. Luca Guadagnino offers a sensual, gorgeous and inspired piece based on the story by Andre Aciman and it was both beautiful inside and out. This movie is set in a truly picturesque place but the story too was one of unquestionable beauty.
Lord of the rings meets Bad Boys in this buddy cop fantasy saga. Netflix have been pretty damn good lately with regards to their originals and I have to say I loved the idea of this new blended universe. Will Smith in a familiar sort of role, harking back to the likes of Independence Day and the aforementioned Bad Boys, plays LA cop Daryl Ward and brings the right sort of balance between action and humour with his Orc partner Nick Jakoby (Joel Edgerton). I have to say I really enjoyed the chemistry between the pair and felt critics may have been a little overly harsh on this one.
I loved how this movie played on the racial tensions between Orcs, Elves and Humans living together in a very real LA setting, allowing it to put real racial messages subtly through this movie, but overall it was just a lot of dumb fun alongside that. Perhaps the story was a little less inspiring than some would prefer but certainly no worse than many of the superhero films we are served up almost bi-monthly at the current rate and I feel this could potentially be a really good franchise as the universe it sits in is so damn interesting. Don't write this one off at all folks, it's better than some would have you believe.
CITY OF GHOSTS - 8 out of 10
Stunning documentary about a group of journalists called "Raqqa is being slaughtered silently" who film the rise of ISIS within their home country of Syria. Risking their lives every day they bring the coverage of this evil terror group to the mass Western media and highlight the devastation it is causing throughout the region. It is particularly striking to hear the harrowing personal loss each member has either suffered or fears and their continuing bravery despite what has been thrown at them. They carry on with a sense of duty to try and rid the world of this evil and though this can be a tough, sad and at times frightening glimpse into this part of the world, it can be uplifting to see that their are real people trying to attack ISIS by the means they can afford to and without picking up a gun. A must see for anyone who ever might utter any bad words toward Islam just because of the extremist group carrying out awful atrocities in the religion's name.
BLADE RUNNER 2049 - 9 out of 10
Wow, just wow, stunning to both watch and listen to this, I honestly loved the original Blade Runner and had no hopes this would emulate it but I actually preferred it. I know that's a bold statement but this just looks phenomenal and the score is bliss from Hans Zimmer. Denis Villeneuve has nailed this sequel completely with the right tone and direction, unlike other sequels there was no need to crowbar in the former hero, but instead Harrison Ford's inclusion is cleverly worked within the script and then Ryan Gosling nails our new hero "K".
The story is fantastic and I really may run out of superlatives for this one. Some might say it could be considered a little slow in parts but I actually think you could overlook some of those moments and just take in the scenery around it. This belongs all day long in the "Best film of the year" argument and could easily win it.
LADY BIRD - 8 out of 10
Fantastic coming of age movie which follows the life of teen girl Christine McPherson who adopts the name Lady Bird for herself. All the usual teen troubles are on display here like wanting to be popular, liking guys and being careful to choose who your real friends and of course the big one, losing your virginity. But they are done in a very witty and beautifully rewarding way to leave you pleased you followed Lady Bird with her experiences. Christine is played by the superb Saoirse Ronan but I think Laurie Metcalf who plays her mum is the real star of this show with her very direct and tough love approach. The chemistry between the characters is brilliant throughout and there are some standout lines too which will make you actually laugh out loud. Greta Gerwig sits comfortably in that directors chair and, if this is a sign of things to come from someone we have seen much more of in front of the camera, then the future behind it could be very bright indeed. This is another one which easily could be in contention for a few peoples film's of the year.
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI - 9 out of 10
It seems you can wait ages for a film you love and then suddenly three come along at once. Here is another absolutely brilliant film to feast your hungry eyes on. Frances McDormand plays the brilliant Mildred in another contender for film of the year. She plays a mother distraught that the police had not yet found a lead for her daughter's killer and rapist, so she takes matters into her own hands by demanding the attention of the police and media by hiring the use of three gigantic billboards to advertise her case. Another film which marvellously blends those touching moments with the hilarious this is just scriptwriting at its best and it truly has some great points in the story which really make the characters light up. It's just so easy to fall in love with them and this film. Great casting again including Woody Harrelson as the chief of police, this darkly comic drama certainly delivers and will I'm sure be taking many awards. But it really is the performance of Frances that shines best and, with a stunning dialogue to go with it, this is one not to miss.
MARSHALL - 7 out of 10
Chadwick Boseman takes centre stage as Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court Justice. Focusing on one of his career defining cases this is a really good dramatised version of a real event. Chadwick is very likeable in his role and Josh Gad is equally as impressive as Sam Friedman, the lawyer who takes the case, a case of racial stereotype and fairness in the justice system. Based heavily in the courtroom this reveals a great story which is well worth listening too and has the obvious messages alongside this kind of movie. A decent watch though it probably won't thrill or stay with you as much as some of the ones just mentioned above, but definitely a good watch regardless.
JUSTICE LEAGUE - 5 out of 10
I might be late to the nerdy party with my thoughts on this one, but I have to say I think DC have made a tit out of themselves again here. What on earth was Steppenwolf meant to be exactly? That is perhaps the worst CGI character I have seen in some time. 300 million they spent on this movie and I thought it looked like a straight to DVD Megashark vs Tyranosaurusoctopus type affair (Someone get Spielberg on the phone so I can make that movie). Add to that a fairly piss poor, hardly inspiring storyline and add to that some horrendous dialogue between characters and it (once again) leaves DC trailing in Marvel's wake when it comes to the cinematic universe. Was it the worst film I have ever watched, no it wasn't, but for a $300 million investment I don't think it gives anyone value for money. DC need to go away and really rethink what they are doing at present because the whole thing is getting embarrassing now. The humour often fell flat, there were moments in it I laughed when I knew I probably wasn't meant to and most unforgivable of all, I fucking hated Batman. They made Batman into a bit of a gimp, that's not Batman, Batman doesn't act like this. FUCK YOU! AVOID!
(I need to calm down now before speaking to Spielberg)
THE FLORIDA PROJECT - 7 out of 10
This will definitely be for anyone who enjoyed director Sean Baker's last work Tangerine. It follows a very similar look and feel in cutting out a real slice of life for people living in a budget motel near Disney World in Florida. Focusing on 6 year old wild child Moonee and her brimming full of attitude mother, this film really shows the playful and free nature Moonee has been raised toward, albeit she takes it too far sometimes and can be seen crossing the line between what's right or wrong. This causes constant strain on manager Bobby, wonderfully played by Willem Dafoe, who clearly cares for his residents and tries to help them on their own moral paths while trying to control the raging behaviours on display. It is almost shot like it could be a documentary and that gives a great realism to the characters and grips you in, that being said this sort of film could be construed as almost aimless in parts, but as a whole it focuses on the beauty of young friendship and the brutal reality of needing to be tough in a hard life. I don't think this will be for everyone but could be a beautiful slice of real life to some.
LUCKY - 7 out of 10
Harry Dean Stanton delivers his eerily poignant farewell performance in this story of a 90 year old's spiritual journey as he nears the end. Thought provoking and can be unsettling to remember that this particular art was imitating life as Harry was nearing his own end during filming. It also features the weird and wonderful David Lynch who's meaningful comparisons for life, whilst also telling the story of his tortoise, are fantastic additions to the film but really this is just a magnificent swan song from Stanton.
There were definitely slow moments in this movie which won't stick out but really all you can do is give a tip of your cap to a fantastic end to an illustrious career for the main man playing Lucky.
This is a weird watch for sure, it has a creepy atmosphere throughout and it can almost seem unsettling to watch. The plot fixes on a young boy called Martin (Barry Keoghan) and his rather unorthodox companionship with an older doctor Steven (Colin Farrell). Though we aren’t sure how or why this apparent “friendship” started, from the early meeting you kind of know that something very weird is at hand. Steven’s family face torture throughout and it becomes an intense watch toward the end. I loved the idea of this storyline and though this movie looked visually very good, I felt the early parts were far too slow and this could lead to a few less patient of us to switch off before it gets to the remarkably intense later parts. The second half of this film is gripping however and it reaches an unbelievable climax when Stephen has to make a decision that is simply unthinkable. I think this is a decent watch though and certainly if you push past the slow start you will be rewarded in the end.
Columbus - 5 out of 10 The plus point is that this film looks incredible, the architecture on show is beautiful and it really does make me want to one day go and visit this place. Most of the 5 marks out of 10 just goes to how this movie looked because I’m sad to say I really found it quite dull. A film heavily based on two people talking about architecture was never going to be too action packed and riveting and I know that’s not what this film was about, but a film has to have something, the whole plot just seemed to meander through and I just wasn’t hooked. I think it’s a shame because I do feel John Cho and Haley Lu Richardson did their best with the lead parts yet I really just didn’t feel too much for this movie, perhaps I have missed something but this will go down as one of the slowest and less loved films I have seen this year.
Get Out - 8 out of 10 This is a cracker from the horror and mystery department, a fresh story for this genre and it really delivers. It is gripping and the plot is so great that you will forgive its slight predictability. It follows a young African American going to meet his girlfriends white parents, he has reservations about how they will treat him but she insists on their liberal natures and off they go to the family home where things just aren’t as they seem. Daniel Kaluuya is excellent as Chris Washington who is plunged into a nightmare at the Armitage family home and I have to give a special mention to Chris’ friend Rod Williams who, despite having little air time, when on screen was absolutely hilarious. However, ‘funny’ was not what this film set out to deliver and thankfully the action doesn’t disappoint either. You will be left thrilled.
I Called Him Morgan - 8 out of 10 A great documentary about the life and death of a Jazz musician called Lee Morgan, told from the perspective of his wife who recorded tapes documenting her connection with him shortly before her death. Sound normal right? Well, I failed to mention that his wife actually shot him at a performance at Slugs Saloon in New York and she then served time for the murder, a little more interested now aren’t you? This is put together so well and other interviews with Morgans band mates, friends and family help to put this picture into perspective and if you thought a documentary film which follows a Jazz musician would feature some sublime music you would be absolutely correct too. It’s a really interesting watch and it will also be a treat for the ears.
I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore - 7 out of 10
Loved the story in this one, it follows a depressed woman who has her home robbed, frustrated by the lack of enthusiasm from the police to do anything about it, she sets off to try and reclaim her items herself enlisting the help of a strange neighbour along the way. They delve deeper into a criminal gang than is comfortable and find themselves in a lot of danger. Melanie Lynskey and Elijah Wood are fantastic in the leads Ruth and Tony and I really enjoyed watching their chemistry develop as the film moves on. It’s heartfelt but actually quite gory in parts too, which I wasn’t expecting at all and it delivers some great black comedy throughout as well. It may have started a little pedestrian but it really is worth the watch.
Okja - 8 out of 10 This almost felt like a live action studio Ghibli film to me, I can’t explain why but I loved it. It borders on the fantasy but set in a very lifelike setting too and follows the progress of a new breed of Super pig which is bred by the very loveable Mija. After her pig is kidnapped by a major corporation it follows her battle to reclaim her beloved friend. The messages are clear to see throughout this film and it would be easy to see this film turning some of the most ardent meat eaters away from livestock and though it really does have a big message throughout it delivers a very enjoyable movie too. Its full of drama, action and packed to the rafters with emotion and a scene with a farm toward the end is utterly devastating and will almost definitely make you think a little harder about putting that next pork chop down your gobs, but ultimately it’s just a brilliant film as well. Perhaps the only downside was a fairly irritating portrayal of Dr Johnny by Jake Gyllenhaal, forgivingly it wasn’t enough to put me off completely and makes this one of my most essential watches this week.
The Foreigner - 7 out of 10
I haven’t watched a Jackie Chan movie in a long, long time. As expected the film is primarily packed full of action scenes but it’s actually got a decent enough story alongside it to keep it interesting. Jackie plays a father who is devastated after a terror attack kills his daughter and goes on a solo rampage to Ireland seeking the men who planted the bomb. Action films can be a little predictable of course and this is no different really but I still enjoyed it and this is possibly the best Jackie Chan movie for some time.
Churchill - 4 out of 10
This was not what I expected at all. It focuses on Winston Churchill in the hours leading up to D-Day and you would expect that would portray this great man in a heroic light. Wrong! It’s factually bullshit and dramatised untruthfully and I have to say frankly that it is unforgivable. But even more unforgivable than the historic inaccuracies which plague this one throughout is the fact that it is so boring and lacks any sort of action. Aside from the one scene where he makes a famous speech, its pretty horrendous viewing I have to say. Avoid!
Jim & Andy - The Great Beyond - 8 out of 10
Remember when Jim Carrey played strange comedian Andy Kaufman in the 1999 movie “Man on the Moon”. Well, did you know Jim was so involved with playing this character that he actually became Andy Kaufman throughout filming, even going to the extreme of meeting his family and behaving as the not so loved Tony Clifton. Thankfully Jim had the foresight to record the behind the scenes footage of his life in this period and this is just a fantastic display of these tapes, laced in with Jim telling us the philosophies of his career and what he has learnt from his time in show business. With more than a few loveable clips of Jim’s fantastic roles over the years this is brilliant watching for anyone who loves this man. It may just make you love him even more!
Without going into too much depth (as that will be covered by our new video review coming soon), all I will say is I was much happier with this than I was with ‘The Force Awakens’. With some great comedy moments, it looked fantastic, gripping in some of the action moments and I have to say the best thing about it was its originality, this was a Star Wars film I could get on board with. Yes, there were nods to the previous movies but if ‘The Force Awakens’ played a little too close to home with ‘A New Hope’ this for me stood on its own. At least asking for viewers to judge it as its own movie. Plenty of questions arose throughout the story, which really keeps you guessing and we probably still will be guessing right up until the third movie hits. A good solid Star Wars movie, perhaps still living in the shadow of those well loved originals but an enjoyable film that will sit nicely in the franchise.
The Pirates Of Somalia - 7 out of 10
This tells the story of a young journalist trying to get his big break. He decides to go where no western reporter was daring to go. He goes to try and find out more about the so called “pirates” which were hijacking ships across the Somalian coastline. Based on a true story, this is a solid watch highlighting the issues and struggles this Canadian man has trying to report within this volatile place. Some great moments and a great connection between the two lead roles (Jay Bahadur and Abdi) and it actually boasts a pretty good cast overall with the legendary Al Pacino also included. Overall it’s a good dramatised account of the Jay Bahadur story and well worth a watch.
Mother! - 8 out of 10
This will simply be the marmite of films. Those who go in with an open mind and “get it” will probably fall in love and many, I suspect, will loathe it without truly understanding what they have just seen. I couldn’t help but love it, it is just so brilliantly bat shit crazy and I quite like movies that make me think I may have accidentally dropped acid in my cup of tea. To list how this film develops would be a disservice to anyone interested in watching it. You will just be baffled at how it does. It just gets stranger and stranger until your mind will probably be asking for mercy. Director Darren Aronofsky has created a quite baffling but undisputedly beautiful looking movie, the Javier Bardem & Jennifer Lawrence combo absolutely nail their part in this strange affair and I implore all of you to watch it just for a sheer experience. Even if you hate this bonkers movie you’ll certainly remember it, that’s for sure!
Kingsman: The Golden Circle - 7 out of 10
It was never going to be a sequel for a thinking man, this is just a big dumb action movie but for what it is, it does a pretty good job of distracting someone’s mind for a couple of hours and sometimes we all need that. The action is over the top, the humour is over the top and the overall plot, which includes an Elton John hostage situation, is clearly also over the top but that kind of works in a strange way. Eggsy is back from a good first outing and this is more of the same and is well played by Taron Egerton who has a decent support from Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges playing Kingsman’s American cousins, ‘the Statesmen’. So If you just want a film to switch off to and have a bit of fun, this will go down a treat.
Stronger - 8 out of 10
Based on the true story of a victim of the Boston Marathon bombing this is a quite emotional look at the struggle of Jeff Bauman, who is immaculately played by Jake Gyllenhaal. Jeff, who lost both his legs while cheering on the girl he likes at the finish line, was actually the man who identified the bombers and it is both heart aching and heart warming to see how he deals with such a devastating and life changing moment. There will be plenty of tears shed by many for this movie I expect, I certainly was moved in a scene which focused on his experience at a Red Sox game and there were plenty of other scenes, which would get people reaching for the tissues.
Detroit - 8 out of 10
Fantastic movie which looks at the quite remarkable accounts of some young black men who find themselves in a quite horrific scene during the 1967 riots in Detroit. It’s quite frankly disturbing to think of the racism that many suffered back then and this particular story of police brutality is nothing short of shocking. The cast all do a magnificent job in playing this difficult story out with truly great immensity in parts and it will frighten the life out of any normal minded person to think this could actually take place. Not an easy watch but an essential one!