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Archive for the ‘Movie Of The Month’ Category

A combination of a Holiday and The Football World cup has resulted in me only seeing three movies this month, they are:

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – Following the events of the previous film, but taking the narrative in a new direction.  The story starts and ends well but has noticeable lull in the middle.   Director J.A. Bayona, working with a blockbuster budget for the first time does a good job bringing so atmosphere and a few scares and a political subtext.  Enjoyable nonsense. Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom

Bobby Robson More Than a Manager – Portrait of the late Sir Bobby Robson, One of the best and most underrated managers in English and European football.  The film is very partisan, this doesn’t distract from the film that is both informative or enjoyable.  A must for football fans. Bobby Robson More Than a Manager

Animal World – A Chinese film based on a Japanese Manga about a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors on a cruise ship with Michael Douglas and a killer clown!  Sounds bonkers, it is. Of all the video games and board games made into terrible movies, who would have thought Rock, Paper, Scissors would be so compelling and so much fun.  It also how a bit of depth by way of social commentary. Animal World

Not much to chose from, my movie of the moth is a film I hadn’t heard of until a couple of hours before seeing it. Animal World

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My worst month ever for blogging with no posts since my April movie of the month. Having only seen eight movies, I can’t claim to have been busy watching films, here are the eight contenders:

Tully – I know it is as fashionable now to dislike Diablo Cody, as it was fashionable to like her a decade ago, but I still like her writing, especially when combined with director Jason Reitman (Juno and Young Adult). Set in the days leading up-to the arrival of her third child, and the weeks following the birth, Charlize Theron plays Marlo. Her rich brother with an annoyingly perfect wife/life hires a night nanny to help her cope. Enter Tully (Mackenzie Davis), a free-spirited 21st century Mary Poppins. From here things go exactly how you would expect for a while. To say any more would be a spoiler, going in with as little knowledge as possible would be best. Another reminder that Charlize Theron is one of the best working actors in Hollywood.Tully

Journeyman – We join World middleweight boxing champion Matty Burton (Paddy Considine) as he is about to defend his title. The Journeyman of the title, Burton appears to have had a long career with lots of fights. We learn little snippets about his back story rather than being given swathes of exposition. What follows is powerful and emotional movie that is about a lot more than boxing. Given this is Paddy Considine’s second films as a director, I should be talking about his directing, however, his fantastic performance is the heart of the film. Jodie Whittaker is also brilliant as Considine’s wife. I am looking forward to whatever Considine decides to do next.Journeyman

Breaking In  – You have seen it all before, a typical home invasion movie that offers nothing new or inventive. This is probably why it is getting sniffy reviews. However, it does offer a little more than that. It is straight home invasion movie that doesn’t rely on a high concept, twist ending or shoehorning a 2nd genre. The plot doesn’t rely too much on characters making stupid choices. It has a perfect B movie 88 minute runtime. And best of all it has Gabrielle Union who is fantastic in the leading role. On the downside; the villains are one dimensional archetypes, and the setup is a little slow.Breaking In

Revenge – You can’t go into a film called Revenge without having an idea of what it is going to be about.  When the cast is made up of an attractive girl and three older men, the rest of the story becomes clear.  But there is another factor, the writer/director is a woman, Coralie Fargeat.  The setup and much of the plot are by the numbers, as is the cameras gaze, but it changes as the film progresses.  The results are violent and bloody, very bloody.  The film doesn’t have anything new or profound to say, buy it also isn’t as empty and shallow as the synopsis suggests.Revenge

Deadpool 2 – If you have seen the first film, you will know what to expect. By definition it lacks the originality, but is as funny as the original. The greatest revelation is Zazie Beetz who is excellent as Domino. I wouldn’t mind seeing a third installment, but also wouldn’t be bothered if this is the last one.Deadpool 2

Filmworker – After appearing in Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon Leon Vitali gave up acting and essential became Kubrick’s assistant.  Filmworker is Vitali’s bizarre, extraordinary story. Essential viewing for fans of Stanley Kubrick, probably of little interest to others.Filmworker

Solo: A Star Wars Story – Like many, I didn’t want this movie to be made. Han Solo works better as a character with a shady back-story, there is no millage in exploring it.  Having said that, taken on its own merits the film is good.  It works as a space action adventure that George Lucas intended with the first film, and uniquely in the franchise (except the original film) it stands on its own and can be enjoyed without any other prior knowledge of the series.  Alden Ehrenreich is really good in the lead and the rest of the cast are also strong.  You can’t see the joins between the original and replacement directors.  However, I have to go back to my original problem, why make this film, why not make new film about a new character in the universe?Solo A Star Wars Story

On Chesil Beach – I love Ian McEwan’s novel On Chesil Beach.  Told in flashback using two first person narratives and containing a lot of inner monologue, it was always going to be a tough film to adapt.  In some ways McEwan is the worst person to adapt the story, in other, he is the worst person to do it.  The result is largely faithful to the story and the themes of the novel, it loos sensational and is really well acted, but just lacks the emotional weight of the novel. ON CHESIL BEACH.JPG

We have to go back to the start of the month for my winner, edging out Revenge by a whisker, my Movie of the Month is Tully.Tully movie poster

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Avengers: Infinity is going to be the biggest movie of the year so there is no competition for the movie of the month.  Things aren’t that simple.  Here are the movies seen this month:

A Quiet Place – A family try to survive in dystopian near future by avoiding monsters who hunt by sound. Instead of the usual walls we see people hiding behind in other movies, the family live in a fortress of silence. What’s the point of walls and locked doors when the monsters can rip through them! Comprising of essentially just two acts, built on tension rather than horror. The slow build-up is perfectly paced to setup the excellent finalé. The ideas aren’t necessarily new or original, but they are used well; the simplest of building materials as Chekhov’s gun! The cast are all excellent from John Krasinski (who also directs and co writes – very much against type) and Emily Blunt to the kids who include Millicent Simmonds who we will be seeing later this month in Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck. Keeping explanation and exposition to a minimum works in the movies favour to create a very satisfying horror thriller.A Quiet Place

Thoroughbreds – I went into this movie knowing virtually nothing about it. I hadn’t read a review or synopsis and hadn’t seen a trailer. I am really glad I saw it this way and for that reason I advise the same of anyone wishing to see it and will not give a synopsis myself. Billed as a drama/thriller, it is also darkly funny. Anya Taylor-Joy and Olivia Cooke have proven to be two of the most exciting young actresses in their short careers to date. Here they are perfectly cast and give stunning performances. Utilising a small cast, mainly focussing on its two leads it’s no surprise that writer-director Cory Finley conceived it as a play. Shot with confidence and visual flair, it is amazingly Finley’s first movie in any capacity. Surly a film to divide opinion, I loved it.Thoroughbreds

Ghost Stories – Professor Goodman (Andy Nyman) works as a debunker of the supernatural. Things start to get a bit weird when he is asked by a fellow sceptic to investigate three cases he believes to be real. The structure makes it feel like the portmanteau horror’s that Hammer used to make, and like those movies it isn’t as satisfying as regular narrative. The overall tone is of quirky weirdness rather than horror. One of the three stories creates a real sense of dread, but the film is never scary, in fact a lot of the tension is undercut by comedy. Written and directed by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman who originally produced it as a stage play, I understand this is more successful than the film version.Ghost Stories

Death Wish – The 1974 Michael Winner/Charles Bronson movie has a poor reputation; although I haven’t seen the film for over 20 years, I remember it being good and think its reputation is based more on the increasingly poor sequels. Horror director Eli Roth’s remake moves the action from New York to Chicago; Bronson’s architect becomes Bruce Willis, trauma surgeon. The characters new profession is well used within the plot. The script by Joe Carnahan really isn’t bad, its derivative and predictable but it holds up as a narrative. Willis does a good job playing Bruce Willis and the action is understated and gritty. The film fails to say anything important or original about crime, justice or, vigilantism but as a disposable genre movie it works well.Death Wish

Beast – A troubled (they always are in a film like this) young woman lives with her overpowering mother, and farther who appears to be suffering from dementia. In the shadow of the perfect life of her sister and out of step with the world, until she meets an equally troubled young man. As the “us against the world” romance blossoms the subplot of a murder mystery comes to the fore making the viewer wonder who the beast of the title actually is. First time director Michael Pearce fills the movie with metaphor, and keeps just enough mystery and ambiguity to keep the story compelling. The cast are all excellent from the young leads to the more recognisable supporting players. The setting, the Channel Island of Jersey is used to full effect creating an environment that is sometimes inviting, at others hostile, the skill that the changes are traversed belies the directors lack of experience.Beast - Still 1

Funny Cow – Told with a very effective nonlinear narrative, Maxine Peake plays a female stand up comedian in 70/80’s Northern England. Unnamed throughout the film, Peake’s character is credited as Funny Cow, a honour placed upon her by a fellow comedian. Don’t be fooled by the synopsis or title, this is far from a comedy. Dealing with abusive fathers and husbands, depression and alcoholism it is a far darker film than you would ever expect. It is however, filed with fantastic performances, particularly from Maxine Peake. There are also enough moments of brevity and levity to keep the viewer engaged. A hard film to love but a compelling one you can’t turn away from.Funny Cow

Every Day – Don’t be put off by the lukewarm reviews, there is more going on here than many are giving it credit for. A teenager wakes up in a different body every morning. He/she spends a day borrowing someone else’s form, and tries not to impact too much on the hosts life; until he starts to form a relationship with a girl. Comparisons have been made to the TV show Quantum Leap, but this character has no mission, and no self to return to giving freedom to explore many things including identity and morality. The film also has great fun playing with the tropes of teen and high-school movies. The high high-concept is let down by inconsistent pacing and a lack of focus, it is still an enjoyable watch.Every Day

Wildling – A young girl is raised by her father in isolation before being exposed to the outside world. Billed as a horror, this movie is more of an adult fairytale, but these genres are so closely linked, it really doesn’t matter. The concept is good, and the conclusion is satisfying if a little predicable. Bel Powley is excellent and perfectly cast in the lead, but Liv Tyler is given nothing to do and is totally wasted.Wildling

Avengers: Infinity – Ten years of Marvel movies have been leading up to this point, the arrival of Thanos, the franchises chosen big, bad. The series so far has introduced so many characters, it would be impossible to service them all. Amazingly the film manages to give everyone (except a few characters left on the sidelines for future use) reasonable screen time without slowing the narrative. The action scenes are fantastic and the character interactions are often devastatingly funny. The problems are with the narrative; I can’t expand on this and keep this spoiler free, beyond saying that it is most likely part of the setup for the next film, a setup that could be satisfying or infuriating.Avengers Infinity

Battle Royale & Audition – I also went to a double bill screening of these two Japanese modern classics; both are just as brilliant and messed up as I remember.Battle Royale and Audition

The obvious choice is the brilliant horror, A Quiet Place.  Beast came totally out of leftfield and has really stayed with me, on reflection, my letterboxed score was a little low.  But none of these is movie of the month, that honour goes to: Thoroughbreds. Thoroughbreds poster

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A busy month of cinema going.  In addition to the films listed below I also saw a ten year anniversary screening of the brilliant but controversial Martyrs.  The contenders for movie of the month are:

Red Sparrow – If you have seen the trailer you would be forgiven for thinking that Marvel had re-cast Black Widow and made an origin movie. This couldn’t be further from the truth, more George Smiley or Harry Palmer than James Bond. Jennifer Lawrence reteams with her Hunger Games director Francis (no relation) Lawrence for an old school spy thriller. Lawrence is convincing as a ballerina forced into a new career. The action is more verbal than physical, but the visuals are often brutal and unflinching. The supporting cast are also excellent, particularly Matthias Schoenaerts as Lawrence’s creepy spymaster uncle. The plot is full of twists and turns but not so much that you can’t follow the story leading to a satisfying conclusion. It is not a film I expect to go down well with audiences, which is a shame, I loved it.Red Sparrow

Wonder Wheel – Woody Allen movies can be a bit hit and miss, this one is certainly more in the miss camp. Ginny (Kate Winslet) is unhappily married to Humpty (Jim Belushi), deluding herself that her affair with pseudo-intellectual flake Mickey (Justin Timberlake) is more than just a fling. Things are shaken up by the arrival of Humpty’ s daughter Carolina (Juno Temple), on the run from her mobster husband. Temple is excellent, Belushi is terrible, he wants to be Brando in a Tennessee Williams play. Shot by three time Oscar winner Vittorio Storaro, the film looks great, it is just really dull and plodding.Wonder Wheel

You Were Never Really Here – A welcome return from Lynne Ramsay. The plot of a hired killer/enforcer sent to rescue a Senator’s daughter sounds like something we have seen many times before, most notably David Mamet’s underrated Spartan (2004). But this is so much more nuanced than that. Existing in a dream like state reminiscent of Ramsay’s earlier Morvern Callar (2002), the film has little interest in plot, instead, it concentrates on the fractured mind of its protagonist Joe (Joaquin Phoenix). All this is aided by another great score by Jonny Greenwood. Not one for the multiplex masses, but a fantastic film for those who like this sort of thing, like me!You Were Never Really Here

Gringo – A first feature for director Nash (brother of Joel) Edgerton. A south of the border comedy crime drama about corrupt corporations and a hapless everyman. Charlize Theron and David Oyelowo relish their comedy roles, Joel Edgerton once again proves his versatility. Amanda Seyfried isn’t given much to do. Even Sharlto Copley isn’t bad. A fun movie but not as funny as it should be. And for those, who have seen the film, and are wondering, the answer to the question is Revolver!Gringo

Mom and Dad – The concept of this movie is totally bonkers, the execution is total B movie schlock, but it actually works thanks to some great style touches, and Nicolas Cage going totally Nicolas Cage! For reasons that are never really explained suburban parents go berserk and try and kill their own offspring. The film could be taken as a straight tongue in cheek comedy horror, or as a satire on the relationship between teenagers and parents. With themes of mothers being jealous of their daughters and fathers resenting the loss of their youth, the latter reading is certainly topical. Don’t expect a masterpiece or anything particularly memorable but as disposable fun, it isn’t bad.mom and dad

Love, Simon – Taken on its own merits, Love, Simon is a coming age, high-school drama, a genre that is two a penny. On this basis it doesn’t come close to other recent films of the genre, the highlights being Lady Bird and Edge of Seventeen. However, it is hard to take on its own merits for a simple difference in the plot. Simon, the main character is gay, and the obligatory teenage crisis of the movie is his coming out. This is the first overtly mainstream YA movie I have seen with such a storyline making it potentially a watershed movie. In one way it’s hard to believe it hasn’t been done before as the story fits the genre really well, it follows all the usual beats of a person whose seemingly perfect life comes crashing down because of bad decisions, he then spends the final act trying to put them right. The film is enjoyable and entertaining largely thanks to a likeable cast and the right amount of humour.love simon

Tomb Raider – Reboot of the successful but rubbish Angelina Jolie vehicle. Telling an origin story, Alicia Vikander (who is actually older than Jolie was when she took the part) plays a young Lara Croft raiding her first tomb. A more serious, and slightly more grounded take on the character it is notably better than the original two movies. However the story is very derivative, some of the set pieces are borrowed directly Indiana Jones, some of the CGI is poor and Walton Goggins is wasted playing a one dimensional character. Alicia Vikander makes a likeable charismatic lead, if there is a sequel, it will hopefully have a better script.Tomb Raider

Ready Player One – There was a time when blockbusters were fun, it was called the 80’s! If anyone can recapture that its Steven Spielberg, he hasn’t disappointed. Largely existing within a virtual reality world where anything goes, the movie is filled with pop culture references; not being a gamer I didn’t get a lot of the game references, but the film ones are nothing short of joyous. There is a whole scene and extended set-piece involving a Stanley Kubrick movie that only Spielberg could have pulled off. At its heart the story is a quest, the subject of many games, but also one of the oldest basis’ for a story going back at least as far as Homer. It is a little sentimental and clichéd in its message, but that isn’t actually a bad thing especially when it’s done style, and without cynicism. More fun than anything Spielberg has made for nearly thirty years, and like some of his earlier films, one that will be enjoyed for years to come.Ready Player One

Unsane – A young woman looking for a support group following an incident with a stalker accidently commits herself to a mental institution. Steven Soderbergh’s second feature since coming out of “retirement” is tonally similar to his earlier film Side Effects. Shot using iPhones giving some unusual and sometime unnerving visuals. Depending on your point of view the film either perfectly balances multiple ideas, or is a confused by having too many ideas, I am leaning towards the former. It certainly holds a mirror up to some topical issues, as well as been a straight horror tinged thriller. By far the best thing about the film is Claire Foy who is excellent, I am now suddenly intrigued and excited to see what she does as Lisbeth Salander.

unsane

Pacific Rim: Uprising – After moderate success and five years, no one expected a Pacific Rim sequel to ever happen. With Guillermo del Toro busy making the Oscar winning The Shape of Water, directing duties passed to Steven S. DeKnight who has a solid pedigree in television. The film offers absolutely nothing new or original but is great dumb fun.Pacific Rim Uprising

Isle of Dogs – Following 2009’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, Wes Anderson returns to the world of stop motion animation. Set in Japan, a corrupt dog hating mayor exiles the canine population to a trash island under the guise of quarantine. A young boy travels to the Island to rescue his beloved pet. Charming, funny and touching helped out by an amazing voice-cast and a fantastic soundtrack.isle of dogs

A Wrinkle in Time – Based on book of the same name by Madeleine L’Engle’s that has been a children’s staple since its first publication in 1962, or so I am told. I had never heard of it! Directed by Ava DuVernay with a solid cast it was sure to be good. Sadly it isn’t. It is well made, visually spectacular, and largely well acted, but that’s about all it has going for it. The story is dull and the plot wafer thin at best, the good v evil / light v dark story lacks any subtlety.A Wrinkle in Time

Never has a movie of the month come with so many caveats; firstly had Annihilation been screened at a cinema it would almost certainly been movie of the month.  I tend not to count reissues towards movie of the month, again Martyrs would have been a strong contender if I did.  I considered giving it to Red Sparrow just to be contrary as everyone seems to hate it.  Finally, You Were Never Really Here is probably the best movie this month, but I’m not sure how many times I will want to re-watch it, however, my chosen movie I have already seen twice.  I saw a preview about a week and half before release, went a away, read the book on which it is based, and watched it again (in IMAX), my movie of the month is: Ready Player OneReady Player One Movie of the Month.jpg

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Of the nine movies I have seen this month five are eligible for this year’s Oscars , all five are nominated.  Fifty Shades Freed is eligible for next year’s Oscars, it is unlikely to feature, but it does have eight Razzie nominations.  None of this matters, what really matters is the winner of my my movie of the month, here are the contenders: 

Phantom Thread – I have a strange relationship with the films of  Paul Thomas Anderson, I like most of them but don’t love any of them.  I have seen all of his films, but have only seen one or two of them for a second time.  Phantom Thread is one of his most restrained and constrained movies, that is what is so great about it.  Daniel Day-Lewis is as brilliant as you would expect, he is however totally overshadowed by Lesley Manville and Vicky Krieps.  The best thing about it: Jonny Greenwood’s score. Phantom Thread

Roman J Israel, Esq – A strange film about the inadequacies of the overburdened American legal system.   The film is good, Denzel Washington’s Oscar nominated performance is outstanding.Roman J Israel Esq

I, Tonya – The title card tells us “based on irony-free, wildly contradictory, totally true interviews with Tonya Harding and Jeff Gillooly”.  This tells you as much as you need to know about the movie.  The story is so bonkers, if it weren’t a true story you would dismiss it as unbelievable! Margot Robbie is amazing, Allison Janney is even better, but the real star is the editing, both in the format of the film, and its composition.I Tonya

Loveless – On the surface, this is film about a young boy, unwanted by his parents who goes missing. This all happens in the first couple of scenes, most of the film deals with the parents search, but there is far more going on. Reminiscent of Michael Haneke in both it’s Stark depiction, and it’s stunning but measured photography. The full metaphor is probably lost on me as an outsider but I certainly got a sense of a society whose glossy veneer is collapsing or rotting from within, it is after all set in Putin’s Russia! Hopelessly bleak and full of despair, I loved it but don’t know many people I would recommend it to.Loveless

Black Panther – So much has been said about Black Panther, possibly the most significant is the quality of the villains, Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klae, the over the top moustache twirling comic villain and Michael B. Jordan as the more interesting and nuanced Erik Killmonger (with a name like that, he was never going to be a hero!).  The supporting cast is fantastic, all the characters played by Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, and Daniel Kaluuya were interesting enough that they could have had their own movie. Angela Bassett is sadly underused. Not as original or as fun as Thor Ragnarok, but it certainly has enough going on to please Marvel fans and for those who are new to the series. Importantly, It also works as a standalone film.Black Panther

Fifty Shades Freed – On a positive note, the film is competently made. The acting isn’t as wooden as the previous film. Dakota Johnson isn’t terrible in the lead. That is about all I can say on a positive note! The downside; to call the plot wafer thin would be an understatement. The story is poorly told at best. The most damming thing about the film is how dull and boring it is. For a film that markets itself as a kinky BDSM movie, the only pornographic thing about it is the gratuitous displays of wealth.Fifty Shades Freed

Lady Bird – Writer, actress and darling of the indie scene Greta Gerwig turns her hand to directing; she is clearly a natural. Coming of age drama told with an easy and style that elevates it above its genre. Saoirse Ronan is brilliant in the lead as are Tracy Letts and Laurie Metcalf as her parents, that latter picking up a well deserved Oscar nomination. The brilliance of the storytelling is that most viewers will see something of themselves in at least one of the characters. I look forward to what Greta Gerwig does next whichever side of the camera she decides to work on.Lady Bird

Dark River – A woman returns home to the family farm for the first time in fifteen years following the death of her farther. All the bleakness and despair of God’s Own Country without the hope. Ruth Wilson is brilliant as you would expect.

Dark River

Game Night – Surprisingly good comedy: The trailer for Game Night is terrible, on the strength, or weakness to be precise, I nearly didn’t bother watching the movie. The movie however is extremely funny and well worth a look. Its greatest strength is the combination of the script and the performances. No matter how absurd the story gets Rachel McAdams, Jason Bateman and especially Jesse Plemons play it straight and deadpan. Like all the best comedies, it doesn’t hide from the aforementioned absurdity, it embraces it.Game Night

I, Tonya, Loveless, Lady Bird, Dark River and Black Panther are all brilliant, and could have been winners in previous months.  Game Night was the most presently surprising movies this month, Other movies have won for less.  The clear winner of movie of the month is: Phantom ThreadPhantom-thread-poster

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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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Happy New Year.  As always, my first post of the month is the movie of the month for the previous month, here are the contenders:

Good Time: Robert Pattinson continues to take interesting roles.  This time working with the Safdie Brothers after approaching the pair.  Shot on a low budget in New York, many of the street scenes were shot guerrilla style.  A gritty and visceral character driven story. Good Time

The Man Who Invented Christmas: The story of Charles Dickens struggling with writer’s block following a series of flops.  He comes up with the idea for a Christmas story but only has three weeks to finish it.  Lightweight but enjoyable. The Man Who Invented Christmas

Blade of the Immortal: Takashi Miike’s 100th film is a stylish ultra-violent action samurai movie.  Samurai in the 70’s B movie sense, not the Kurosawa.  Fantastic violent fun as you would expect from Miike.Blade of the Immortal

Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Rian Johnson picks up the rein on the Star Wars juggernaut and makes some bold choices that are dividing opinions.  I loved it.Star Wars The Last Jedi

The Disaster Artist: James Franco’s passion project tells the true story of Tommy Wiseau and the making of “the worst film ever made”, The Room. You don’t need to have seen The Room to enjoy it.The Disaster Artist

Pitch Perfect 3: The characters are still likeable and there are a few funny moments, but they have really run out of ideas, the story is terrible.Pitch Perfect 3

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle: Follow-up to the 1995 Robin Williams movie.  Amazingly it really works and is tremendous fun.Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle

The Greatest Showman: I am not much of a fan of musicals so only went to see this because there wasn’t anything else left to see.  It actually wasn’t bad.  The songs were inoffensive and the cast is good.The Greatest Showman

Movie of the month is:Star Wars The Last Jedi poster

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