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Archive for February 1st, 2018

2018 has started well, as you would expect for awards season we are getting some of the big hitters that came out in the back end of last year in America.  Here are the movies I have seen in January, I expect one or two of them to be in contention for my top ten come year end: 

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – A mother personally hires three billboards to challenge a local sheriff to catch the person who raped and murdered her daughter.  So much more than its synopsis.  The cast are all fantastic particularly Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell.  Dark and devastatingly funny in equal measure.Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri - Copy

Hostiles – Revisionist western; in his last mission before retiring, an army captain reluctantly agrees to escort a Cheyenne chief (a former adversary) and his family home. Brutally violent but compelling drama.  Christian Bale is at his intense best.Hostiles

All the Money in the World – True story of the kidnapping of the grandson of the richest man in the world J. Paul Getty.  Overshadowed by the recasting (after the film had wrapped) replacing Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer.  As it turns out, Plummer is the best thing about the film.  Good, but not great.All the Money in the World

Happy End – Michael Haneke’s family drama set in Calais against the backdrop of Europe’s refugee crisis.  I don’t think anyone is expecting a happy end from a Haneke film called Happy, this isn’t as bleak as you may expect!  Intelligently shot and always interesting, Isabelle Huppert is as brilliant as ever.Happy End

Darkest Hour – During his first month in office, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, is under tremendous pressure to make peace with Hitler.  His only hope, bringing the British troops, stranded at Dunkirk home.   The film is good, Gary Oldman’s performance is outstanding. The film is best summed up by a line of dialogue, spoken by Viscount Halifax “He mobilized the English language and sent it into battle” (I believe broadcaster Edward Murrow said it in real life).Darkest Hour

The Commuter – Liam Neeson, plays the commuter of the title.  A contrived plot forces him to do things he doesn’t want to do in order to keep the story flowing and the action moving.  A by the numbers thriller with all the clichés and telegraphed plot twists you would expect.  Vera Farmiga is wasted in a confused supporting role.  Generally entertaining with an excellent opening sequence.The Commuter

The Post – Spielberg, Streep, Hanks; Three names that come with an expectation of a classy movie, it doesn’t disappoint. Streep and Hanks play the owner and editor of The Washington Post during the time of the publication of The Pentagon Papers.  Clearly made as reaction to the world today, and as such sadly relevant.The Post

Coco – Set on Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead), a twelve year old boy is transported to the Land Of The Dead and must seek the help of his ancestors to return home  before dawn.  Pixar’s best movie since Inside Out.Coco - Copy

Downsizing – High concept satirical Sci-Fi about shrinking people to about five inches tall to solve the worlds overcrowding problems.  The ideas are better than the execution resulting in a film that is always interesting but rarely thrilling.

DOWNSIZING

12 Strong – True story of the first Special Forces team deployed to Afghanistan after 9/11.  Having more in common with a classic western than a war movie.  Entertaining, informative, well made with a great cast but too gung-ho for its own good.12 Strong

Early Man – The latest from Aardman Animations is advertised as a Bronze Age comedy history, it is actually a football comedy.  A little lightweight but amusing movie.Early Man

The Shape of Water – A mute woman working as a janitor at government facility forms a bond with a captured amphibious creature.  Another dark fairytale from Guillermo del Toro full of the themes you would expect, a beautiful and moving movie, his best since Pan’s Labyrinth.The Shape of Water

Maze Runner: The Death Cure – After losing its way in the second movie the YA adaptation finds its way in a the final instalment. Retaining the action throughout, it doesn’t offer anything new but is enjoyable and exciting film, the opening sequence is particularly good.Maze Runner The Death Cure

Easy choice, my movie of the month is: The Shape of Water Poster

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