I have been to see six movies in July, twice as many as June, half as many as May. I have not been distracted from the cinema, there just hasn’t been much to see. The contenders for movie of the month are:
Now You See Me 2: Now you see me came out of nowhere. I saw it as a secret screening not knowing anything about it before going in. It was fun thanks to a sharp script and a charismatic ensemble. Now You See Me 2 is an unnecessary sequel that falls into every sequel trap trying to bigger and better, it is bloated and confused with is story that is overly contrived and unbelievable even within the films fictional setting.
The Neon Demon: Nicolas Winding Refn films always divide opinion, this one more than any other. Existing in an almost dream like trance for most of its running time, it never feels real. As a viewer you never feel like a voyeur looking in on the characters lives, it always feels one step removed, like a dream, or a nightmare. The film oozes with influences of other directors, possibly: Lynch, Jordon, Mann, Schrader and Carpenter. More a work of art than a movie, I can see why many people hate it, I loved it.
Ghostbusters: There has been so much said about this film, mostly before it came out, that it has become nearly impossible to criticise it without being accused of misogyny. In truth, the Ghostbusters being played by woman is irrelevant as they are largely good in their roles. The problem is with the script, it just isn’t funny enough. All the best moments involve nods to the original film (including cameos) or improvisation that stands out from the. An okay but disappointing film that people who didn’t grow up with the original will probably enjoy more than those who did. Worth seeing for Kate McKinnon who has dived opinion but stole the whole movie for me.
The Legend of Tarzan: Not well reviewed by critics but people I have spoken to who have seen it seem to have enjoyed it. I really enjoyed it, more than Ghostbusters. Shot largely on green-screen, the setting looks stunning, but the animals aren’t as effective as in The Jungle Book. Alexander Skarsgård makes a good hero but is totally overshadowed by the brilliant Margot Robbie. Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson play Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson, this is never a bad thing, no one eats or has a pleasant conversation with menace like Waltz! It doesn’t offer anything new to the well told story but is a fun way to spend a couple of hours, and that is significant, it resists the temptation to outstay its welcome with a two hour plus runtime.
Star Trek Beyond: Star Trek Into Darkness was a solid film that everyone seemed to like when it came out but rapidly fell out of love with it. The main problem was twofold, a lack of fun and interaction between the main characters. Like the best of the original films The Wrath of Khan and The Undiscovered Country, Beyond brings back the fun and the banter. The final act is a little Marvel in its execution but it does earn it with what goes before.
Jason Bourne: Nine years after the trilogy seemed to be wrapped up nicely Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon decided it was time to bring him back. As with the earlier films the story is topical and reflects the time. As you would expect from Greengrass the action and fight scenes are fantastically staged. The only criticism, it doesn’t do anything we haven’t already seen in the earlier films.
Movie of the month is: