Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker [20/december/2019] Score: 9/10 WITH SPOILERS So what is it about exterminating millions and millions of people that excites people so much? Here is another episode in the saga of planet-killers. The third of the third trilogy (but there is another trilogy due out in a couple of years), in which another plucky, and grubbily-dressed, freedom fighter of The Resistance (why are they always resisting, why can’t they win?) fights against the enormously overwhelming forces of the people with really neat and tidy mega-starships with that factory-new gleam about them. Along with her rowdy gang of plucky freedom fighting friends they embark on a search and destroy-everything mission to save the galaxy far, far away from the neat people who just want to impress their gleaming white plastic boots on everyone’s necks. Fortunately Plucky Girl, all in white (and never a speck of dirt on her), is able to Force her way deep into the very heart of darkness (no lighting around here, what happened, all the lightbulbs went to the big mega-ships??), and confront The Dark (booo, sssith!), and exterminate an entire planet of religious revivalists with the wave of a magic wand. Bit like a Christmas fairytale, this rollicking adventure takes you on a wild ride into mystery and beyond. For everyone who enjoys the thrill of exterminating entire planets full of people and doing it with flair and flashing electric blades of light, this is your thrill of the years. But don’t worry children-at-heart – they’ll be back. Verdict: The Force will never be Terminated.
Jumanji: The Next Level [7/december/2019] Score: 7/10 Switch off your mind, drop a level to your inner child to enjoy another roller coaster ride through the turbulent world of Jumanji. Total escapism and perfect for the season, this adventure takes you deeper into the world you’ve always wanted to launch yourself into, but beware, there are pitfalls, traps, bad guys and other fun challenges for you to overcome. Verdict: Are you ready for the next level? Go!
Knives Out [29/november/2019] Score: 10/10 Deep in the countryside there lies an old house of a wealthy family. Many rooms over many floors, with its family of elder down to young adults attending a celebration. And there, in the master’s private room, lies a corpse, throat ripped open, blood spewed across the floor, knife lying tumbled on the carpet. Whodunnit!? Just in time for Christmas, that season of family murders and mayhem. Here is a family torn apart by the tragedy of who will and who will not inherit the wealth for a new generation, who is that mysterious stranger investigating this puzzling enquiry, who is really innocent and who is really guilty, and will good win over evil? If a traditional Christmas murder mystery fits your bill then this is the one you’ve been waiting for all these months, a deliciously daft delight with tongue stuck firmly in cheek and a knowing wink to anyone who has ever dreamed of detecting and death. Verdict: Cut a slice of this action before it goes off (bang!).
Frozen II [28/november/2019] Score: 8/10 Shall we build a sequel? Shall we make it big, and loud and song? Almost, but not quite, so you won’t have to worry about your mind turning round and round in forever circles with more memorable songs. This is just a good, great, adventure of growing up and sisterhood and other slushy stuff everyone’s come to enjoy in the Frozen North of Somewhere Magical. It’ll still bring a smile to your face and tear to your eye, so that’s all the magic you’ll ever need in this world today. Verdict: Don’t freeze this one from your schedules.
21 Bridges [26/november/2019] Score: 6/10 A solid “traditional” cop movie. When one “rogue” detective has to hunt and stop a gang of cop-killers he begins to uncover a deeper mystery and he only has a few hours to solve it before they escape the city. The deeper he plunges into the crime and all its consequences the less he comes to trust those around him as a vast conspiracy unfolds to surround him. Nothing seriously surprising in this kind of story, which has been told many times, but deserves a run around town with a nice dramatic pace to keep you engaged when played well by this cast. Verdict: Cross the bridge into this world.
Le Mans ’66 [16/november/2019] Score: 8/10 Two mechanical geniuses and their team mates struggle against the odds, the idiots and clock to create a challenger for the Le Mans 24 Hour Race. Despite endless back-stabbling bureaucratic sabotage from the traditional evil corporation they achieved history that year. Verdict: Giddy-up and race to see these super heroes.
Midway [9/november/2019] Score: 8/10 A good attempt to respect both sides in the Second World War in the Pacific, with both American and Japanese views expressed in a critical moment in history as, a few months after the attack on Pearl Harbour the US Navy have a chance to turn the tide and defeat a major Japanese fleet. The story has already been told in one previous film, but this focuses more on the events leading up to and throughout the war and battle of Midway, with far less of the soap opera and more dramatic action, albeit with a thick coating of special effects that are difficult to ignore. Despite this the story remains a dramatic moment in history, a thrilling film, if you overlook a LOT of overly-active heroics, and respects all the key characters leading both sides in this heroically mad moment in world history. Verdict: Go all the way.
The Aeronauts [6/november/2019] Score: 7/10 A romantic adventure with no serious bloodshed, battles or spandex, without ray-guns. So those are the good points and the rest is a simple adventure, inspired by real events, of science, with a touch of feminism, touching the void of our world. The challenge of challenging science and ones ow boundaries in life while dangling in the empty space far above the earth. There is no great drama here, just a journey that changed the world and how we look on it, but what a beautiful journey, and a beautiful world. Verdict: Let your dreams take flight.
Zombieland: Double Tap [4/november/2019] Score: 7/10 At last! Justice for Bill Murray! After being unjustly murdered in the first film we see his heroism in tackling and surviving the initial onslaught of the zombie apocalypse of Americaland. But first a recap, there is a land, America, where Zombies Rule! In this land a few struggle for survival and the desperate need to go shopping and have a wild time killing stuff. Welcome to Zombieland. Here’s another adventure across this desolate landscape (Zombieland, not America, of course) and the evolving nature of the Zombie apocalypse, where survival of the fittest applies at all levels, the fittest people, the fittest girls, the fittest zombies, all vying for food and a fun time. The only bug in this utopia is Peaceniks! But if you know The Rules you’re bound to have fun in this utopia of babes, blood and bullets. Verdict: Zombies, The American Way!
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil [29/october/2019] Score: 6/10 There is always a tremendous difficulty in taking a successful story that wraps itself up neatly at the end and then trying to extend it with the same drama and thrills for a second run. Only a few good films achieve this and there is a temptation amongst writers to build on and elaborate the story, the characters and more. This can lead to distractions as the lean efficiency of a well-focussed fairytale ends up becoming a soap opera. To some extent that problem appears in this story. While it is a good tale it is bloated with more adult and less fairy themes and style. The core focus has become an elaborate complex conspiracy tale of evil-doings and multiple sub-plots to wring every possible idea out until the rag is dry. Taking this alone isn’t enough though and there is, just, sufficient drama and happy endings, lots of endings, for everyone’s inner child to enjoy the occasion, until next time..? Verdict: And they all, mostly, lived happy ever after The End, for now.
Terminator: Dark Fate [26/october/2019] Score 6/10 In a sense a great reboot of the original T1/T2 series of films, an another something was lacking in the tonal quality of the soundtrack that has always captured my attention. Whereas the original two films had an edgy quality this one has a more polished and softer soundtrack that doesn’t add to the tension and future-horror of the world apocalypse at the hands of mad robots. If you aren’t paying too much attention to the soundtrack then this is a good reboot compared to the last couple of films in the series, and plenty of action, and robot humour, to keep you grinning. It makes the usual sense as all of them but if successful this time around they promise more adventures in the future. The only provision may be that this could be seen as a handing over of the baton from the plucky Sarah Conner to a new girl to take up the battle for the future of all mankind of America. Verdict: Not a terminal experience.
Shaun The Sheep: Farmageddon [24/october/2019] Score: 8/10 If you need something that will bring happy cheer to your life then there is nothing better than taking a trip to the countryside. Down on the farm Shaun and his friends are busy enjoying summertime fun and frolics when something lands in their lap and they are faced with the challenge of rescuing a lost soul from a completely other world. For references to scores of other First Contact adventures this is another wonderful adventure to lift your spirits. Verdict: Baaa-my.
Gemini Man [12/october/2019] Score: 5/10 There is this super-secret American intelligence which has to cover up a deep, dark secret for the political ambitions of its chiefs. So, nothing new there. And they have to cover up their wrong-doings by killing off all the super-talented super-secret super agents who used to work for them. So, nothing new there. And one of their super-duper agents manages to survive the “hit” on his life and goes on the run. So, nothing new there. And he managed to find a few old and new friends to help him uncover the super-secret super-agency conspiracy before everyone dies. Yep, seen this one. But this one has Clones! Ah, not seen that one, so that was worth a pop around to the big screen for a yummy, playful daft, action fun of an afternoon. If you enjoy a bit of wild-firing playful action and lots of pretend spy-type chasing around the world then this will amuse you for an hour or two. Verdict: Another fun run and romp around the block we’ve visited many times before.
Joker [5/october/2019] Score: 7/10 Not for the faint-hearted looking for a comicbook fantasia of colourful violence, this is a deep serious study in character and the twisted creation of one of the most famous idiots in the black universe of the Bat Man. Twisted by a corrupt and cruel world, perverted by the insanity burning within and blazing in the world around him, poor little Arthur is doomed to a fate worse than death – fame and glory in the gory brutality of unremitting doom of the gothic city of Gotham. This tale demands attention and patience as the slow inexorable transformation and revelation takes place, when a minor clown become a major Joker. Verdict: Ha-ha-haaaaaa-ha! No Joke in this one.
Ready Or Not [28/september/2019] Score: 7/10 Never have board games been this exciting as a simple game of Hide & Seek one night turns into something you might want to hide from behind the sofa. In a bloody and batty battle for survival one sweet little bride has to take a chance, spin the wheel of fate and find a way to escape from the nightmare castle of “the in-laws”. If you’re expecting a pure horror then this isn’t for those without a funny bone, as may will end up busting a gut as the cards are played out to the very end. Verdict: Seek it out if you have the strength to win through this one.
The Kitchen [24/september/2019] Score: 5/10 In the tradition of many comic-book and stylized gangster and crime stories, this is a bloody trail of the “tough” awakening of three women to their empowerment and brutal fight for survival in a brutal world of crime, gangsters, bad husbands and big guns. Hard-hitting and dramatic action around their standard in-fighting as they each find their own place in this brutal world. If you like your women strong and bitter, with a touch of lemon, then this confection will suit you perfectly as an antidote to the more glamorous antics of superheroes. Verdict: Cooking up something bloody in this kitchen.
Hustlers [23/september/2019] Score: 6/10 Supposedly based on true events just around the time of and after the last financial crisis in America in 2008, this follows the gritty and grimy story of several “entertainment” girls who have to struggle for survival after the brutal recession of that Wall Street crash, and they do so by taking their own kind of revenge on the rich New York bankers who brought their world crashing down. Well-played in some sympathy without too much of the happy ending glamour you might want to see. Verdict: Hustle over to nestle in the arms of these girls and their own empowerment.
Rambo: Last Blood [23/september/2019] Score: 4/10 A big strong man with survival skills born in the brutal battlefields of the past has to make “one last journey” to save an innocent in that big bad world outside. And in the fine traditions of Rambo’s world this is no fairy tale for the snwoflake generation as the hard and harsh reality burns away any innocence in this terrible tale or torment and revenge. Keeping a firm grip on a deeper kind of realism this doesn’t spoil you with any sweet fantasy and deals with the harsh truths in their own harsh ways. Verdict: There will be blood, there will be one last justice.
Ad Astra [20/september/2019] Score: 4/1 This is a story, a science fiction adventure to “the very edge” of mankind’s world in the future of an expanding universe, where the demands of science and technology dehumanize those who have to live in this new cosmos. And all that twaddle. If you want good technology, with occasional brief moments of high action, and a faint last vestige of the greater accuracy of “2001: A Space Odyssey”, then this might, just about satisfy you; but if you want something realistic you need to look far, far away. As for the miserable total lack of cheeriness and general mental health of the leading character embarking on this mind-numbing and soul-destroying journey, I’d advise him to stay home and cook a nice meal for his wife. The great, really great, problem with many of these Hollywood interpretations of “the vast remoteness of the universe out there” in deep space is that fact that you are usually only a few hours away from a good phone call with home, so this whole idea of complete isolation is only a dramatist’s delusion. Verdict: If you need cheering up, go watch Solaris.
Fast & Furious: Hobbs and Shaw [16/august/2019] Score: 5/10 While you’re waiting for the next true FF film you can play around with the antics and silly-stupid behaviour of these two “boys” as they bicker and quarrel around a mystery about a mysterious mcguffin that has to be found and retrieved for the “good guys” before the “bad guys” find it and rule the world. Good for a giggle with no serious message to worry you little head about. Verdict: It’s fast and you might get furious?
Anna [10/july/2019] Score: 6/10 Remember that lovely but distraught Parisian girl, Nikita? This is her Russian cousin, with the added Russian flavour of ultraviolence and angst. Verdict: Don’t mess with this Russian doll.
Spider-Man Far From Home [6/july/2019] Score: 10/10 In the daunting aftermath of Avengers Endgame a new game begins with a focus on the Spider-Man inheriting the mantle of the Iron Man as leader of the Avengers, of whom he appears to be the lone sole surviving member. In this it’s the coming-of-age hero’s journey, and a whacky one at that as the Spider-Man is taken on and for a ride around Europe to fight new threats to Earth, if he can survive teenage love cravings and monsters from alternate universes as his own universe is expanded from being just a “friendly neighbourhood” Spider-Man to something and someone for everyone, everywhere. Overall a good transition that closes off the old phase of Marvel films and lays the foundations, and challenges, for a new one. this is just the beginning. Verdict: Take it for a swing.
The Hummingbird Project [18/june/2019] Score: 6/10 A drama of enterprise, work, innovation and greed as two men try to win a race to build a link between two stock exchanges for enormous profit. Following the traditions of American cinema this is another story that raised the question of whether the pursuit of material greed is better than the values of being true to yourself, your family and a better community. Verdict: Hums along.
MIB International [15/june/2019] Score: 6/10 Once again the world is in terrible danger for “Them” the aliens, and will be defended by “Them, the men, and women, in black”, as yet another horrifying weapon of doom suddenly lands on Earth and has to be handled with care, if anyone can figure out who the bad guys, or girls, are. A fun romp if you just enjoy the ride. Verdict: “Just look into this little light.”
Late Night [12/june/2019] Score: 7/10 A traditional American cinema genre is the journey behind the scenes of American entertainment. This time the setting is the late night TV show and the stresses and twisted humour it can throw up as it tries to reflect the world and stay in turn with the times. A fun mature comedy with a brisk pace and plenty of gags along the way if you want your humour with more than a childish slapstick. Verdict: Go see the show before it’s too late.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix [8/june/2019] Score: 6/10 This is your monthly fix of superheroes and heroines in clever costumes and up to their necks in evil forces threatening the world. So no change there. This one is all about mutants and evolution, about change and growth into “something else”. So no change there. And it’s about big strong men flexing their muscles even though it’s mostly the women who save the day. So no change there. And like a lot of X-Men stories this falls just a tragically few steps short of being awesome. This is about evolution and the struggle to adapt to, master and accept change and all the consequences for those involved and for the world at large, so it’s taking on a very broad range of themes wrapped up in just two hours. A noble effort but one that cannot embrace the deepest sense of evolution’s effect on the main subject – the deep inner pain and anguish of the Phoenix as the fires of change burn through her and take her to heights we cannot imagine. Perhaps this is why it cannot rise to the pinnacle of its aim and why, like many similar Hollywood films, it dodges the issue at the end to slip back into the comfort of what is “normal”. The is supposed to be the concluding film in the X-Men saga. After many year’s we’ve seen it jumping around from time to time, character to character, with a few hopeful heights of excellence thwarted by the more mundane obsession with dramatic, sparkling battles. Opportunities to dig deep into the essence of mutation and evolution were discarded in favour of comicbook action and adventure, and so no change there. whether this will really be the end will have to wait on times to come, especially if all the Marvel comic book film sagas are finally united under one banner with a touch of Disney fairy magic. Verdict: Burn, baby, burn with glory.
Godzilla: King Of The Monsters [1/june/2019] Score: 5/10 BIG MONSTER with humans scrabbling in the dark gloom of their shadows. More BIG MONSTERS and choking clouds of dust to suffocate any human speech as they stare up in horrified amazement as the HUGE BIG MONSTERS who are scrapping for world dominance of the world, of America, and stomping their BIG MONSTER FEET all over the silly little human cities. And some dialogue you can barely keep from choking on as the humans race through the ruins towards the BIG MONSTERS, which is a pretty stupid thing to do at the best of times. And that’s it. A BIG MONSTER movie with tiny little people in the gloom (they still can’t afford good lighting in American monster movies). Don’t fall asleep, you might miss yet another BIG MONSTER stomping around in the clouds of dust and dirt of former American cities. This film with go down well all over the world where the thought of BIG MONSTERS stomping American cities to dust will be enjoyed by millions. Verdict: Monstrous entertainment.
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum [17/may/2019] Score: 10/10 For almost non-stop mayhem there is nothing and no one currently around to beat John Wick in his mindless insanity of artistic combat dance as he poises and prances around the screen guns blazing, snapping and popping, while bones crunch under his punches. Yes, some Avengers might have beaten the world into submission with mass mobs of superheroes but here is over two hours of battle ballet, with guns, knives, horses and cute doggies swirling around the vortex of Wick to mesmerise you and kick-sweep you away to a totally different bonkers mad world. Verdict: Dip your wick into this and savour the smell.
Long Shot [10/may/2019] Score: 7/10 Nice to have a break from the monsters movie devouring the cinemas at the moment (Avengers) and enjoy something with a dirty laugh and keen eye on American politics to remind us how bad things could get in the slightly-more-real world as ideals are threatened by pragmatic reality unless Love wins out. Plays out well while keeping up the fine traditions of more adult humour than for a family audience while playing to the standards and expectations of a good, dirty, sexy, romantic comedy with plenty of jokes along the way to hit almost everyone with a gag or two. Verdict: A shot, or two, worth taking a long afternoon to enjoy.
Avengers Endgame [25/april/2019] Score: 8/10 WARNING: SPOILERS And this is the end, of Phase 1. The end of characters, heroes, heroines and plotlines that have built up over the last decade. And the end of my patience with all the enthusiasm and intense anticipation for this film, then they blew it. I won’t spoil everyone’s fun just say that from the trailers we all know that Ant-Man is the true hero here and time travel is a key feature down in the Quantum Realm. And that’s where the writing talent of the Marvel staff seem to have got lost. Early in the film there is a lighthearted wry reference to other Hollywood time travel films all being utter nonsense, and Endgame promptly reinforces this by becoming involved in an increasingly daft elaboration of What Not To Do When Travelling In Time. As a result the story becomes involved in contortions of reality that weren’t never really necessary except for the establishment of a plot that leads to the Big Confrontation that is never really necessary and deaths of Key Characters that could be resolved by the brisk application of time travel, and time crystals, to reverse everything surrounding their demises. But no, we need tragic endings, complete with heroic funerals and mournful endings to wrap up all the loose ends while preparing us all for the forthcoming Phase 2. So in conclusion, a quite presentable pile of heroic nonsense in the Grand Traditions of Space Opera, but if you were looking for some serious science fiction (the hard stuff) then you’ll have to move on somewhere else. Verdict: End of a silly Game.
Greta [19/april/2019] Score: 2/10 This is the film you show your teenage daughter and tell her “Don’t Do Any Of That”. This is the one where the ever-so-stupid girl leaves the bustling night club to escape the stalker by walking, slowly, down a long dark alley (Don’t Do Any Of That). This is the film where they don’t seem to know how to track someone’s location through their mobile phone so the kidnapped girl is saves in the first hour. This is the film where the detective turns his back on the weird reclusive woman you should never approach on a good day. This is the film you want to see how NOT to do it. This is film where you MIGHT, possibly, watch for the performances of great actresses and actors, then write and tell them how you still support them in their careers when they get back on track. Verdict: Don’t Do This.
Hellboy [17/april/2019] Score: 3/10 Someone, somewhere loves Hellboy, no matter how much the story is trashed by so much petulant SHOUTING and BIG NOISY BATTLES, often in near darkness that you can’t see or hear or understand what’s happening. Recycling Arthurian legends, again, and unnecessarily revising the Hellboy Origin Story with a different version than the earlier Hellboy film shows complete lack of creative integrity and originality that deserves more of a Razzie than Oscar. If you are patient you will win the award for Sticking It Out Until The End, and congratulations if you felt it was all worth the effort. I walked out after I nearly fell asleep. Verdict, Hellish, boy, this was hellish.
Wild Rose 12/april/2019] Score:5/10 There’s a long lonely Country Road, that leads to self-discovery and the prospect of stardom at its end. Not a Great Drama, just a girl who dreams of a better future in the Country music scene in Glasgow. Following the traditional Country path of struggle, home, family, work, responsibility and Talent as she finds Her Way into fulfilling Her Dreams, with some belting song performances along the way. Verdict: In this Country, Sing your Soul.
Shazam! [5/april/2019] Score: 9/10 Furious fun and frolics in this new addition to the universe of superheroes as yet another orphaned a teenage boy (Batman, Superman, Spider-man, Aquaman, etc.) struggles through inner angst and is then granted every boys dream – his very own superpowered Secret Identity. Complete with magical powers granted by “The Ancients”, cape, shining emblem and an over-enthusiastic Sidekick he is now on top of the world. But dark forces will challenge this ignorance adolescent in the first step of discovering that With Great Power Comes Great Fun. All in all a great time out for everyone who enjoys the lighter side of battling dark forces. Verdict: Magic.
Fisherman’s Friends [18/march/2019] Score: 8/10 Based on the amazingly true story, with not a superhero in sight, of a gang of fishermen in a small village on the south coast of Cornwall who find national fame for their singing of old sea shanties, how they were discovered and how it changed all their lives. Wrapped up with a fictional romance the story warms the hearth of anyone with a sense of the beauty of life and song. No serious message, just getting on with it, against all kinds of weather. Verdict: Rough and smooth seas.
Fighting With My Family [11/march/2019] Score: 8/10 True story of family of wrestlers in England and one daughter who finds world fame in America’s World Wrestling Entertainment as the youngest fighter in their history. Another great success story to encourage the rest of the world to strive more. Take a bit of time to get into the story but deserves the attention from more people than just the wrestling community and the girl’s fans. Verdict: Rewarding Struggle.
Captain Marvel [9/march/2019] Score: 9/10 For entertainment value no one beats a pussycat. But if you want a few additional heroics thrown in while the pussy lounges around in the background then there are plenty of the standard bantering quips and laughs along the way of “Captain Marvel’s” coming-of-superhero-age as the lady in question discovers herself and the power of Wo-man, etc. A good light-hearted entertaining set-up for the forthcoming Infinity War conclusion and linking in to the entire Marvel Universe stories as a prequel to Guardians of the Galaxy the tale takes you through history in this universe and beyond to a fateful conclusion. A nice wrap-up for the climax to-come, and a lighter tone than the first Infinity War’s pessimistic ending. Verdict: A pussycat of a story, with claws and fists, and tentacles.
Cold Pursuit [8/march/2019] Score: 3/10 This has a dry humour that’s best suited to something Nordic and noirish, and it was only at the very end of the film that I noticed the credits reference to something of that ilk. So this appears an American translation of an original film, and, as usual with such translations, a bit damp and mangled. There is still a dry humour, but not the kind you’d normally expect from an American product, which leaves you wondering where the story is going as it brutally murders it way to the dreamy conclusion. Verdict: Probably better to pursue it in the original.
The Kid Who Would Be King [21/february/2019] Score: 6/10 Another telling of the sword-pulling Arthurian legend, this time set in a a typical British secondary school, with a mix of battles with other children, and the rise of evil forces afoot. Good bit of fun for younger children over the mid-term holiday season, with plenty of adventures and coming-of-age lessons of respect and responsibility to be learnt by all involved. Verdict: A little glittler of magic and steel.
Alita: Battle Angel [9/february/2019] Score: 7/10 A better attempt to turn good manga comic into great film. This one has a lot of that special sense of playful innocence and a soft questing soul struggling amidst huge battle armour that enthusiasts can love with a good manga and while it’s not in the highest ranks it does hold a lot good value compared to some idiocy that’s been around (yes, I’m talking about the live action “Ghost In The Shell”). So if you are looking for good translation manga into live action then this is the best one so far, bouncing with energy and uncovering the dark side of technology in the wrong hands. And of course nowadays it leaves the door wide open for a sequel, if enough people enjoy this first flowering of the Angel that is Alita. Verdict: Spunky.
The LEGO Movie 2 [8/february/2019] Score: 10/10 For heartfelt fun, combined with brain-washing addictiveness there’s nothing so awesome as the awesome cast of brickheads that are in Legoland. Bring out your inner kiddie and let a million little plastic bricks wash over you in a wave of candyfloss sticky sweetness of LOVE for all things childish, silly and beautiful. Verdict: Together, we click.
The Mule [31/january/2019] Score: 6/10 Cranky old man pulls the heartstrings as a drug runner for the drug cartels in America and enjoys the ride of notoriety. Clint Eastwood pulls off another old man fading in life but fighting to the end in this simple drama. No big heights just a straight human story, no vast confrontations, just real life. Verdict: Ride with this mule on more time.
Vice [26/january/2019] Score: 5/10 Giving itself a smug grin at the insanity of American politics and playing with the audience might be one way of showing the anger hidden below the surface but the humour and broken style makes for an uneasy jokey ride that does disservice to the horror inflected on hundreds of thousands of humans around the world by a few score of manipulative fools in one small town in one country, where great power attracts enormous and bloody irresponsibility. It’s the style of the telling that ruins what might have been a much better warning to the world, you might mistake this for a comedy rather then the horror of power abused to the nightmares of many. Having said that the performances are engrossing and the twisted talent of the production can work in some settings like the director’s earlier work with “The Big Short”. Verdict: a Warning to everyone, that might be mistaken for something on the side of a cereal packet.
Colette [23/january/2019] Score: 6/10 No great drama here, just a wonderfully real exploration of one woman’s talent as she blossoms in the shadow of a man who uses her for their mutual gain before she flowers in the light of her own wonder. This is a true story of one woman in French history who is not glossed over or given the fairy tale glamour. Verdict: Well-written life.
Glass [19/january/2019] Verdict: 7/10 Are comicbook superheroes just the reflections of real men and women who have turned on the peak of their natural power. Nothing magical, just human beings given the opportunity to go to the edge of what’s possible, rather then living the dull dreamstate of the masses? That’s the basis of Glass, taking up from “Unbreakable” many years’ ago as three “characters” are brought together in an insane asylum for a psychiatrist to explore and unravel their insanity, or is it just part of an even deeper game? Taking cues from all the common themes of American comicbooks, men struggling with their powers and “with great power comes… something or other”, the myths of the super genius and the raging fury of the insane but deeply misunderstood “monster”, plus the traditional twists that undo the schemes of Great Powers. Verdict: Playfully and insanely shattering the windows on the world.
The Favourite [1/january/2019] Score: 8/10 Girl power gets a modern and ancient make-over in this visit to the Court of England in the early 18th Century as two women vie and manoeuvre for power and influence in the country’s destiny through the cranky queen’s favour. Full-tilt performances ignore the men and focus totally on the peak power of women. Verdict: Game of Queens.