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jboothmillard

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Moana (2016/I)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Moana, 9 December 2016
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I heard about this latest computer animated offering from Walt Disney Studios a few times, long before its release, I was unsure what to make of it at first, but trailer and highly positive critic reviews convinced me to go with it. Basically teenager Moana Waialiki (Auli'i Cravalho) is the only daughter of Chief Tui (Temuera Morrison) on the small Polynesian island of Motunui, as a young girl she was chosen by the ocean to receive the heart of island goddess Te Fiti, a small pounamu stone. For years Moana has been fascinated by the sea and longs to escape her island to discover new things, her over protective father Tui and mother Sina (Nicole Scherzinger) insist the island has everything they ever need, including fish, coconuts and vegetation. However fish become scarce, the coconut growth is spoiled, and vegetables are dying, Moana proposes that the people go beyond the island reef to find new resources, Tui angrily rejects her request, sailing beyond the reef is forbidden, Sina explains that Tui fears the ocean because he lost his best friend who attempted to sail beyond the reef. Moana's grandmother Gramma Tala (Rachel House) has told Moana the story of goddess Te Fiti, in the last millennium her heart was stolen by the demigod Maui (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson), who was planning to give it to humanity as a gift, but lava demon Te Kā confronted him, the heart was lost to the ocean, found by Moana a century later, and Maui disappeared. Moana makes a failed attempt, going against her father, to sail away from the reef, then she finds Tala has fallen ill, in her dying breath she tells Moana to set sail, she departs and is on a mission to find Maui, so that he can restore the heart back to Te Fiti, dumb pet rooster Heihei (A Knight's Tale's Alan Tudyk) is her stowaway companion, while a manta ray, implied to be Tala's reincarnation, follows Moana. Moana follows a constellation that looks like Maui's fishhook, but she is knocked unconscious by a typhoon, she wakes next morning on a small island, inhabited by Maui, he is not interested in returning to Motunui, he distracts her boasting about his exploits, trapping her in a cave and stealing her sailboat, but she escapes and returns to him. Moana tries to convince Maui to help her restore her island to its former glory, but he fears that other dark creatures will be attracted by its power, but following an attack by pygmy pirates called Kakamora, he agrees to bring the heart back, but he needs his powerful hook in order to do so. They travel to the Realm of Monsters, Maui believes the hook is being held in the treasure cave of the giant coconut crab named Tamatoa (Jemaine Clement), they manage to retrieve the hook by tricking Tamatoa into singing of his glamour. Back on the sailboat, Maui teaches Moana how to sail and navigate using the stars, and with Moana's encouragement Maui reacquaints with the power of his hook, including transformation into animals, she learns that he is not a god, he was a human raised by gods after being abandoned by his parents. They arrive at Te Fiti, where Te Kā appears and tries to destroy them, the monster is too strong, Moana ignores Maui's instruction to turn back, believing she can use Te Kā's aversion to water to their advantage, but the island is damaged and Maui's hook is severely damaged, angered and fearing his hook will be destroyed Maui abandons Moana, before he leaves he tells her the ocean chose the wrong person to save her people. Moana is distraught by her failure and begs the ocean to take the heart and choose someone else to return it, the spirit of Tala encourages her not to give up and find strength within herself, Moana's hope is restored, she swims down to retrieve the heart and starts to sail back. Moana is able to pass Te Kā, and Maui returns, having had a change of heart, his hook is destroyed in battle with the monster, but Moana realises that Te Kā is in fact Te Fiti, angered and without her heart, the ocean parts so she can approach her. Moana restores the heart, and Te Fiti returns, the island blossoms and resources are restored, and in gratitude Moana receives a new canoe and Maui a new hook, before slumbering in peace. Moana and Maui bid a fond farewell, Moana returns to her parents and the people, and the villagers are encouraged to set sail in search of new islands, Maui accompanies them in his hawk form. Cravalho has a beautiful singing voice and voices the title character very well, Johnson is splendid as the wise-cracking legendary shape-shifting demigod, and surprisingly good at singing as well. The animation is fantastic, it is good to have another female leading character (like Brave and Frozen), especially one not looking for or finding love, it a sweet and charming tale with themes of tribal tradition and culture, with exciting, funny and heart-warming scenes, and terrific songs, especially "You're Welcome" and "How Far I'll Go", a highly entertaining animated musical fantasy adventure. Very good!

Klute (1971)
Klute, 9 December 2016
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I knew this film appeared in the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, and I knew the leading actor and actress, and it was rated five out of five by critics, so I hoped something good, directed by Alan J. Pakula (All the President's Men, Sophie's Choice, The Devil's Own). Basically Pennsylvania executive Tom Gruneman (Robert Milli) has disappeared, an obscene letter was found in his office, addressed to New York prostitute Bree Daniels (Oscar and Golden Globe winning, and BAFTA nominated Jane Fonda), who had received several similar letters from him. Six months of fruitless police work pass, an executive at Gruneman's company, Peter Cable (Charles Cioffi), hires family friend and detective John Klute (Donald Sutherland) to investigate Gruneman's disappearance. Klute rents an apartment in the basement of Daniels' building, taps her phone, and follows her as she visits clients, she appears liberated by the freedom, working as a freelance call girl, but she often visits her Psychiatrist (Vivian Nathan), to talk of the emptiness of her life and that she wants to quit prostitution. Daniels refuses to answer questions that Klute has, he approaches again, revealing that he has been watching her, she does not recall Gruneman, she tells that two years ago one of her clients beat her, she cannot say for sure after seeing a photo of Gruneman. Daniels takes Klute to meet her former pimp, Frank Ligourin (Roy Scheider), he reveals that prostitute Jane McKenna passed the abusive client onto Bree, and also to prostitute Arlyn Page (Dorothy Tristan), McKenna committed suicide and Page turned to drugs and disappeared. Klute and Bree develop a romantic relationship, but she tells her psychiatrist she fears her feelings and wishes would mean her returning to "just feeling numb", she admits to Klute that being watched makes her deeply paranoid. They find Page, she tells that the abusive client was not Gruneman, but an older man, later Page is found dead in the water, Klute deduces the prostitute suicide and Gruneman's disappearance are connected, the abusive client will likely come for Bree next. Klute revisits Gruneman's contacts to find connections with the case, comparing the writing, the obscene letters are traced to Cable, who Klute has been meeting to report on his investigation, Klute asks Cable for $500 to buy the "black book" of the first suicidal prostitute, he is certain the book will reveal the identity of the abusive client. Cable corners Bree, revealing he sent her the letters, explaining that Gruneman interrupted him while he was attacking a prostitute, he attempted to frame Gruneman, and Cable admits to the killings, he also plays an audiotape he made while murdering Page. Cable attacks Bree, Klute rushes in, but it is unclear whether Cable jumped or was pushed out of the window, to his death, in the end, with Klute's help, Bree moves out of her apartment, but a voice-over with her psychiatrist reveals Bree fears domestic life, and it is likely she will return to talk again. Also starring Nathan George as Lieutenant Trask, Rita Gam as Trina, Morris Strassberg as Mr. Goldfarb, Anthony Holland as Actor's Agent, Richard B. Shull as Sugarman, Jean Stapleton as Goldfarb's Secretary and Shirley Stoler as Momma Reese. Sutherland is well suited to playing the gentle small-town detective, but Fonda is indeed the big draw of the film, and deserved her Oscar for the role of the call girl being stalked and unsure what direction to go in, it is a simple story, a hooker who is unsure of the difference between love and sex, she has a connection to a missing man and a homicidal maniac is on the loose, it has a suspenseful atmosphere almost all the way through, it is an interesting crime thriller. It was nominated the Oscar for Best Writing, Story and Screenplay Based on Factual Material or Material Not Previously Published or Produced, and it was nominated the Golden Globe for Best Screenplay. Very good!

Z (1969)
z, 9 December 2016
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I found this Algerian-French film in the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, from the single one word title I had no idea what it would involve, but with a good rating by critics I hoped it would be worthy of its placement. Basically it begins a rather dull government lecture and slide show on agricultural policy has just ended, after which The General (Pierre Dux), leader of the security police of a right-wing military-dominated government, takes over the podium for an impassioned speech about the program by the government to combat leftism, using metaphors. Then it moves to preparations for an opposition rally, with pacifist The Deputy (Yves Montand) giving a speech advocating nuclear disarmament, it is obvious the government has been attempting to prevent the delivery of the speech. The speech venue has changed to a smaller hall, and logistical problems have come out of nowhere, right-wing anticommunist bullies (some sponsored by the government) hit the Deputy on the head, but he continues to make his sharp speech. Following the Deputy's speech, he crosses the road, a delivery truck speeds past him, with a man striking him with a club, this injury proves fatal, but it is obvious that the police have manipulated witnesses to force a conclusion that the victim was run over by a drunk driver. However the police has no control with the hospital reports, the autopsy disapprove of this interpretation, the Examining Magistrate (Jean-Louis Trintignant), and assistance from Photojournalist (Jacques Perrin), conclude that sufficient evidence proves two right-wing militants committed the murder, as well as four high-ranking military police officers, the distressed Deputy's widow Hélène (Irene Papas) gives her incites as well. The court case has many unexpected turn of events, including the prosecutor mysteriously removed, several key witnesses die in suspicious circumstances, the assassins receive fairly short sentences, the officers are only reprimanded, the Deputy's close associates die or are deported, and the Photojournalist is imprisoned for disclosing official documents. In the end, the government heads resign following public disapproval, but before elections are carried out there is a coup and the military seize power, there is a ban on modern and popular art, including in popular music and avant-garde novelists, modern mathematics, classic and modern philosophers, and the use of the term "Z", which is a popular Greek protest slogan, it means "he lives". Also starring Charles Denner as Manuel, Georges Géret as Nick and François Périer as Attorney. I was just about able to follow what was going on, with dodgy government and military officials and officers getting caught up in a murder conspiracy that becomes a big courtroom inquiry, with themes of betrayal and corruption, an interesting political drama. It won the Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Film Editing, and it was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director for Costa-Gavras and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, it won the BAFTA for the Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music for Mikis Theodorakis, and it was nominated for Best Film, Best Film Editing, Best Screenplay and the UN Award, and it won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign-Language Foreign Film. Good!

Annie Get Your Gun, 4 December 2016
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I had seen the DVD cover for this western themed musical movie so many times, and it was annoying me that I still hadn't watched it, so I'm glad I finally got the opportunity to do so, directed by George Sidney (Anchors Aweigh, Show Boat, Kiss Me Kate). Based on the stage musical of the same name, with the story being loosely based on the true story of famous American sharpshooter Annie Oakley. Basically Annie Oakley (Betty Hutton) started out as a trapper, with no school education and unable to read, then her talent for shooting is spotted. A bet is put on that Annie can beat marksman Frank Butler (Calamity Jane's Howard Keel, in his first film) in a shooting match, and she succeeds. Colonel William 'Buffalo Bill' Cody (Louis Calhern) believes that Annie and Frank working together could create a buzz of business for his travelling circus, and rival travelling circus businessman Pawnee Bill (Edward Arnold), in the process Annie sheds her original dirty image and becomes a beauty. Annie and Frank bring success to the circus business, and they become very close to each other, although they also have an awkward relationship, trying to outdo each other, to the point when Frank leaves for some time. Annie continues her success, and also forms a friendship with Chief Sitting Bull (J. Carrol Naish), adopting her as part of his tribe, as an Indian, he becomes an ally to Buffalo Bill when going against Pawnee Bill as well. Annie discovers Frank is coming back to an area that her act is touring, they are pleased to see each other, but the awkwardness between reignites as well, to the point when they want to have another shooting match. In the end, Annie decides that the only way to win Frank back, and for the two circus businesses to merge, is to let him win, but Frank realises her feelings for her, and that they will be successful together, so everyone joins forces and everyone gets a happy ending. Also starring Keenan Wynn as Charlie Davenport, Benay Venuta as Dolly Tate and Clinton Sundberg as Foster Wilson. Originally the leading role was intended for Judy Garland, but due to illness she pulled out (she probably wouldn't have suited anyway), Hutton is perfectly cast as Annie Oakley, who turns from dirty backwoods bird into glamorous shooting star, and Keel is equally fantastic as the fellow gunman who falls for her rough charms, they make a perfect duo, both bickering and falling for each other. This film has a fantastically funny and adorable script, great characters, colourful costumes, and brilliantly catchy songs you can sing along to, including "Doin' What Comes Naturally", "You Can't Get a Man with a Gun", the most recognised "There's No Business Like Show Business" and the hilarious "Anything You Can Do", I highly recommend this brilliant musical Western comedy. It won the Oscar for Best Music for Adolph Deutsch and Roger Edens, and it was nominated for Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration and Best Film Editing. Outstanding!

Carriers (2009)
Carriers, 4 December 2016
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I knew this was some kind scary movie, and I may have seen the poster once before, from the title I had my guesses what the concept would involve, as for what I would make of it, I had my expectations, but I did watch it. Basically the world has been devastated by an infectious virus outbreak that has spread across the world, killing almost the entire population, the virus is spread by breath, anyone carrying the disease is virtually doomed. Brian Green (Star Trek's Chris Pine), his girlfriend Bobby (Coyote Ugly's Piper Perabo), his brother Daniel "Danny" (Evil Dead's Lou Taylor Pucci) and their friend Kate (Emily VanCamp) are heading to Turtle Beach in the Southwestern United States, in the hope of finding somewhere to settle until the virus dies out. They follow a strict set of rules they believe will keep them alive and stop them becoming infected, but when their car breaks down on the road they are forced to go against these somewhat, they negotiate with a man called Frank (Bound's Christopher Meloni). He is also stranded without gas and trying to get his daughter Jodie (Kiernan Shipka) to the hospital, she is infected with a disease of some kind, it is unclear if it is the same virus they are trying to avoid, they travel together, with the back area of the car sealed by a plastic cover to stop potential infection. During the journey the group are given many moral dilemmas to contend with, including Bobby accidentally infected trying to help Jodie, and in kissing Brian passing infection onto him, and in the end events take a downward spiral until only Danny and Kate are left, they reach Turtle Beach, it is unclear whether they find salvation. Also starring Ron McClary as Preacher, Dylan Kenin as Tom, LeAnne Lynch as Rose, Mary Peterson as Laura Merkin and Mark Moses as Doctor. The cast all do their parts fine, the story is nothing new, a deadly pandemic wiping out most of humanity and a band of survivors travelling and fighting to survive, this does not spend a lot of time with gruesome bloody sequences, it is more about the paranoia, so it does have a bleak atmosphere, I will admit I did not concentrate fully, as it was predictable, but I can see it as a reasonable post-apocalyptic horror. Worth watching!

Allied (2016)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Allied, 4 December 2016
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw the trailer for this film, it looked like it would have some exciting scenes, I liked the sound of the concept, and of course the leading actors got my attention as well, directed by Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Forrest Gump, Cast Away, Flight). Basically set in 1942, during World War II, Canadian intelligence officer Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) travels to Casablanca in French Morocco, his mission is to assassinate the German Ambassador (Anton Blake). He is partnered with French Resistance fighter Marianne Beauséjour (Marion Cotillard), who escaped France after resistance group was compromised and killed, they pose as a married couple, in doing so they get closer. Marianne is trusted by the Germans and gets Max an invitation to the party where they plan to conduct the assassination, knowing they may not survive, Max and Marianne make love on the day. The mission however goes well, they survive Germans attempting to kill them, and as they make their escape Max asks Marianne to come with him to London, and to marry him, they do so, settling in Hampstead, and having a baby daughter named Anna. A year later, Max has a meeting with the Official of the Special Operations Executive (The Last King of Scotland's Simon McBurney), they tell him Marianne is suspected of being a German spy, who adopted her identity, the real Marianne was killed in France. To test their suspicions, Max is ordered to write down a piece of false intelligence for Marianne to find, if the information is picked up by German transmissions Max must execute Marianne, or he will be hanged for treason, otherwise Max must act normally. Max is ordered not to investigate the matter himself, but he defies this and visits former colleague Guy Sangster (Matthew Goode), who knew Marianne, but he has been blinded by a wartime injury, so cannot identify her, but he tells that resistance fighter Paul Delamare (Thierry Frémont) who worked with Marianne would be able to identify her. Max meets young pilot George Kavanagh (Daniel Betts) and gives him the picture of his wife, he instructs him to ask Delamare whether she really is Marianne, however the following night Kavanagh is reported as being killed, Max also hears the whole operation may be testing him before D-Day. The following night Max takes the place of a Lysander pilot to fly to France and meet with Delamare, who it turns out is being held at the police station, Max and the resistance break in and confront Delamare, who is drunk, but remembers Marianne is a beautiful pianist. Back in England, Max takes Marianne to a pub and demands she play the piano, she admits she cannot play and that she is indeed a German spy, she claims her feelings for Max are genuine, and confesses that she and her child were being threatened by German spies in London, including the woman across the road who often babysits. Max is unwilling to kill Marianne, he tells her they need to leave before the SOE catch them, they make it to the airfield, but are intercepted before they can board a plane, Marianne tells Max she loves him and to look after Anna, then shoots herself. In the end the commanding officer orders that soldiers report that Max executed Marianne as per his orders, so he will not be punished, after the war Max has the ranch he always wanted in Canada, and raises Anna, and there is a letter waiting for Anna when she is older, from Marianne. Also starring Pompeii's Jared Harris as Frank Heslop, Cloverfield's Lizzy Caplan as Bridget Vatan, Downton Abbey's Matthew Goode as Guy Sangster, Marion Bailey as Mrs. Sinclair, Game of Thrones' Anton Lesser as Emmanuel Lombard, Josh Dylan as Captain Adam Hunter and August Diehl as Hobar. Pitt is well cast as the intelligence officer torn between his feelings and his orders and duty, Cottilard is a good choice as the beautiful woman who may or not be co-operating with the enemy, the chemistry is just about there, there are indeed some exciting and memorable scenes, especially the assassination and the birth during the Blitz, you really follow the mystery element, and there is a constant feeling of claustrophobia and iciness, all in all it is a worthwhile Second World War romantic thriller. Very good!

What Happened, Miss Simone?, 27 November 2016
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I make it my mission every year to try and watch as many, if not all, of the films nominated in all categories at the Oscars, so it was no surprise that I would watch this documentary film nominated, and the subject of it was going to be interesting as well. Nina Simone, real name Eunice Kathleen Waymon, was born 21 February 1933, this film depicts the life of the American singer-songwriter and civil rights activist, charting her rise to fame, and her hardships during her stardom. During her childhood Nina became a classically trained pianist, and eventually got her break, using a new name, to disguise her identity from her family. Nina made an early appearance alongside Hugh Hefner for a Playboy television show, and rose to fame with her various stage and television appearances, with a broad range of music styles, including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel and pop. During the 1960s however, black people faced prejudice, Nina was a great supporter of the work of activist Martin Luther King, until he was murdered. Nina incorporated her own messages for civil rights into the lyrics of her songs, but this meant many were not played on radio, but she picked herself back up. Nina was known for her temper and frequent outbursts, sometimes occurring during her performances, and she had to struggle not just with racism, but domestic abuse and political turmoil. Eventually, at the height of her fame, Nina decided to walk away from her family, country, career and fans, to move to Liberia and give up performing, she did however return for one last performance many years later. Nina Simone published her autobiography, I Put a Spell on You, in 1992, recorded her last album the same year, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in the late 1980s, but died in her sleep on 21 April 2003, after suffering from breast cancer. With contributions by Lisa Simone Kelly, Nina's daughter; civil rights activist and comedian Dick Gregory, Stanley Crouch, Al Schackman, Ambassador Attallah Shabazz and Ilyasah Shabazz. Featuring her most famous songs, including "I Loves You, Porgy", "I Put a Spell on You", "Ain't Got No, I Got Life" (from the Muller advert) and "My Baby Just Cares for Me". Made up of autobiographical tapes, archive footage of news with Walter Cronkite, references to Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, and interviews by those who knew her best, this is a fascinating (in both good and bad ways) story of one of the most famous African-American singers, it makes you realise she was not just a great artist but a troubled soul, a most watchable biographical music documentary. It was nominated the Oscar for Best Documentary. Very good!

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, 27 November 2016
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I heard about this for the first time when I saw the trailer, and then I realised it was a new prequel series to the wizarding world of Harry Potter, I looked forward to it, screenplay by creator J.K. Rowling, directed by David Yates (Harry Potter: Order of the Pheoneix, Half-Blood Prince, Deathly Hallows Parts 1 & 2; The Legend of Tarzan). Basically set in 1926, wizard Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) is visiting New York, en route to Arizona, he carries a magically- expanded suitcase that houses multiple magical creatures. While exploring Newt encounters and listens to No-Maj (non-magical human, the equivalent term for Muggle), and the head of the New Salem Philanthropic Society, Mary Lou Barebone (Minority Report's Samantha Morton), claiming that witches and wizards are real and dangerous. A Niffler escapes from Newt's suitcase, he tries to capture it, in the process No-Maj cannery worker Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) mistakenly carries away Newt's suitcase. Demoted Ministry of Magic Auror Porpentina "Tina" Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) arrests Newt for being an unregistered wizard, taking him to the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) headquarters, President Seraphina Picquery (Selma's Carmen Ejogo) and Auror Percival Graves (Colin Farrell) dismiss the case. While Jacon opens the suitcase and unintentionally allows several creatures to escape, a dark, destructive force called the Obscurus has caused several mysterious destructive incidents around the city, the force is inadvertently manifested by young magical children forced to conceal their powers, unleashed during periods of anger and stress. Graves approaches Credence Barebone (We Need to Talk about Kevin's Ezra Miller), Mary Lou's adopted son, offering to free him from his abusive mother, to help him find the host. Tina and Newt manage to find Jacob and the suitcase, Tina takes them to her apartment, with her sister Queenie (Alison Sudol) who is a Legilimens, who can see and extract people's feelings and memories, Queenie and Jacob are mutually attracted, but American wizards are forbidden to marry or interact with No-Majs. Newt takes Jacob inside his magical suitcase, where Jacob encounters many compartments containing various creatures, there is also a contained Obscurus that Newt extracted from a girl in the past, he convinces Jacob to help him find and capture the missing creatures. They manage to recapture the Niffler, and an Erumpent, they re-enter the suitcase, which Tina takes to MACUSA, officials believe Newt's Obscurus is responsible for the destruction, and for killing Senator Henry Shaw Jr. (Josh Cowdery), the decision is that Newt's suitcase should be destroyed, and Jacob's memory to be obliviated. Graves interrogates Newt and Tina, Newt is accused of conspiring with the infamous dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp), Newt and Tina are sentenced to death, but they escape with Queenie and Jacob, the foursome, with a tip from goblin gangster Gnarlack (Ron Perlman), then recapture the last of the creatures. Credence finds a wand, Mary Lou assumes the wand is his, but his adoptive sister Modesty (Faith Wood-Blagrove) claims it is hers, then the Obscurus is unleashed, everyone is killed, except Modesty and Credence. Graves arrives and dismisses Credence as being a Squib (a non-magical person of wizard ancestry), refusing to tutor him in magic, then Credence reveals himself as the host of the Obscurus, who killed Shaw, and in rage it unleashes upon the city. In the underground tunnel Newt tries to calm Credence down, but is attacked by Graves, Tina knows Credence, she arrives and attempts to calm him, Graves tries to convince him to listen to him, Credence eventually settles into human form. Picquery arrives with Aurors, it is decided Credence's life must be forfeited to keep magic hidden, he is apparently disintegrated, but Newt notices a tiny Obscurus shred fleeing, Graves admits to unleashing the Obscurus to expose the magical community to the No-Majs, he lashes out, but is subdued by Newt, Graves himself to be Gellert Grindelwald in disguise, he is taken into custody. MACUSA fears it is too late to protect the wizarding world, but Newt releases his Thunderbird to disperse a potion, via a downpour, over the city and erase New Yorkers' recent memories, while wizards repair all city damage. In the end Jacob reluctantly agrees to be obliviated, Queenie kisses him as the rain erases his memory, Newt leaves to head for Europe, but assures Tina he will return when his book is finished, he also anonymously leaves Jacob a suitcase of valuable Occamy eggshells, made of silver, allowing Jacob to fulfil his dream of opening his own bakery, his breads and pastries unknowingly inspired by Newt's creatures, and a visit by Queenie seems to spark his erased memories. Also starring Jon Voight as Henry Shaw Sr., Ronan Raftery as Langdon Shaw, Jenn Murray as Chastity Barebone, Zoë Kravitz as Lestrange, Dan Hedaya as Red and Humans' Gemma Chan as Madam Ya Zhou. Redmayne is suitably eccentric as the magizoologist; Fogler is really likable as the innocent, perplexed and good-natured Muggle, and there is great support from Waterston, Farrell and others, it is a fairly simple story, a bunch of magical creatures escaping a suitcase that's bigger on the inside, characters try to recapture them, and there's also something nasty destroying the city, you are engaged by the massive spectacle scenes filled with brilliant special effects, but there are also slower scenes of just seeing the weird and wonderful beings that work really well, this is Harry Potter franchise, but it can almost be recognised as a new franchise in its own right, definitely one for all the family, a great fantasy adventure. Very good!

Dazed and Confused, 20 November 2016
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Following his debut with independent teen movie Slacker, the second film from director Richard Linklater (Before Sunrise, School of Rock, Boyhood) was another teen movie, I was especially attracted to watch when I read more about the cast. Basically it is May 28th 1976 in a small town in the suburbs of Austin, Texas, the last day of the academic year at Lee High School, many of the kids are skipping classes, smoking weed and ready to celebrate the summer vacation, with a big keg party at Kevin Pickford's house. The Seniors are excited to chase the newbie Freshmans for hazing and no-nonsense spankings, while the girls face verbal abuse and humiliation. There is no plot as such, it is mainly a series of conversations while characters walk and drive to the party, and of course when they are there the many groups of greasers, nerds, stoners and athletes indulge in boozing and drugs to their heart's content, but they do change perspectives through their actions. Starring Jason London as Randall "Pink" Floyd, Rory Cochrane as Slater, Waking Life's Wiley Wiggins as Mitch Kramer, Sasha Jenson as Don Dawson, Michelle Burke as Jodi Kramer, Shawn Andrews as Pickford, Road Trip's Anthony Rapp as Tony Olson, Christin Hinojosa as Sabrina Davis, Big Daddy's Joey Lauren Adams as Simone Kerr, Marissa Ribisi (Giovanni's twin sister) as Cynthia Dunn, Cole Hauser as Benny and Nicky Katt as Clint, and featuring up-and-coming young talents Adam Goldberg as Mike Newhouse, Milla Jovovich as Michelle Burroughs, Matthew McConaughey as David Wooderson, Ben Affleck as Fred O'Bannion and Parker Posey as Darla Marks, and look out for Renée Zellweger as the Girl in blue pickup truck. Seeing the young big-name actors is the highlight of the film, it has a pseudo-documentary style, and it has similarities to Fast Times at Ridgemont High and American Graffiti, it is not like American Pie, full of sex, crudeness and over-the-top jokes, it is a simple but effective look at the interactions, attraction and distractions by teenagers killing time, with a terrific soundtrack, including songs by Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Bob Dylan, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Kiss, a most watchable comedy drama. Good!

Arrival (2016/II)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Arrival, 20 November 2016
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw the trailer for this film, I was excited by both the concept and the impressive cast, and then Film 2016 recommended it as Film of the Week, so I was definitely going to see it, directed by Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Sicario). Basically twelve mysterious extra- terrestrial spacecraft, nicknamed "shells" by the U.S. military, have touched down in locations across the globe. One of these locations is Montana, linguist Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is approached by U.S. Army Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker), due to her skills in translation and her existing high level security clearance, to join a special team created to analyse the alien species. The team includes theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner), their mission is to enter the shell, to make contact with the cephalopod-like aliens, called 'heptapods' because of their seven limbs, and uncover the reason for their arrival, the two creatures are nicknamed Abbott and Costello. Louise decides two- way communication is impossible, however she discovers the creatures can communicate using written language, through a series of complicated circular symbols with inter-related components. With Ian's help, Louise wants to determine the aliens can understand thought and reason, she learns that the symbols correspond to a basic English vocabulary, she hopes to build an understanding and eventually ask their reason for being on Earth, while doing all this work Louise is having visions of her daughter. Louise feels proficient to ask the beings, using the language, what they want, they answer, and the reply contains the words "offer weapon", other nations translate their versions of what this message means, fearing this is a threat and with friction caused communications between nations are closed down. While Louise questions if the aliens actually mean a weapon as a "tool", rogue soldiers take matters into their own hands and plant C4 within the shell, the scientists are unaware of the explosive device, it is detonated during a communication, Costello leaves before it blows, while Abbott saves Louise and Ian from harm. After recovering, and the shells moving higher into the sky, Ian determines that their messages relate to the concept of time, meanwhile the Chinese military are preparing to attack their shell, followed by those in Russia, Pakistan and Sudan, General Shang (Tzi Ma) of China has threatened the shell will be destroyed in 24 hours if it does not leave. Louise returns to the Montana shell, and is taken aboard by a small shuttle, Costello tells that Abbott is dying, and Louise is told that her visions of her daughter are from the future, these are flash-forwards not flashbacks. Costello tells that their purpose on Earth is to "help humanity" by sharing their language and its power to change the perception of time, the "weapon" or "tool" they were offering, and the aliens have foreseen they will need humanity's help in 3000 years in exchange. Louise returns to camp and has a new vision of an event in the aftermath of the alien visit, where she meets with General Shang and they talk about communicating and what she did to convince to stop the attack, back in the present day she steals a satellite phone to call the General, the words she speaks are that of the flash-forward, repeating his dying wife's last words. In the end the shells dematerialize into thin air, the nations restore communication and share information they have learned with each other, and Ian admits to Louise he has fallen in love with her, he is in fact the father to her future daughter, Louise knows that their child will eventually suffer an incurable disease, but she does not want prevent her from existing. Also starring A Serious Man's Michael Stuhlbarg as Agent Halpern and Mark O'Brien as Captain Marks. Renner and Whitaker are good in their parts, but this film definitely belongs to Adams, who is great as the linguistics professor with an emotional background (more accurately future), this is no Independence Day, no huge spectacle of an alien movie, it is is unhurried story of deciphering an alien language and finding out what they want, the small amounts of special effects are well done, I will honest and say that it went a little over my head towards the end, and it is close to Contact with its themes, but overall it is a worthwhile science-fiction drama. Good!


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