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The Good Liar (2019)
A dish best served kalt
If you like your thrillers with all the usual ingredients that keep you guessing this is the one for you
Great acting , great plot , brilliant script , twists , keeps you guessing , hustle , hustled and hustler , dirty rotten scoundrel , great location and drone shots and recreation of war torn and post war Europe
A film that keeps your interest right through to the end
Last Christmas (2019)
Tribute to Richard Curtis
16 years after the Christmas masterpiece LOVE ACTUALLY the directorial debut of Richard Curtis comes an equally exceptional film.
I really hope no one gives out any spoilers here as this film blew me away .
Take tissues you'll need them .
There are so many positives but honestly if you like ROMCOMS you'll love this - think Four Weddings , Notting Hill etc - Emma Thompson , star or Love Actually wrote and directed this but you'll honestly believe it was Richard Curtis - it's got his style all over it .
The locations chosen were amazing and the back story of Brexit and immigration were on point with the current politics . Emilia even looked like Rita Ora so the back story in some ways was uncanny with the former Yugoslavia playing a part . The use of London the integration , the beauty of us all sharing this earth together , looking after one another - people getting on regardless of class creed or colour all gave a positive feel about a film set at this time of year around family and acceptance of change .
I don't want to say too much or any thing about the plot itself as it will spoil the film except to say I was blown away .
See it before someone else does and spoils it for you
Great action shots marred by poor script
Let's start with the good stuff - the cgi and POV action shots were amazing .
The bad stuff - the script was awful :( the main protagonist was a stereotypical American hero but it was an annoying characterisation and rather being drawn to the character you end up disliking the character altogether.
For a chinese financed film there was little mention of the shocking 11 million deaths as a result of WW2 at the hands of the Japanese. It did mention the 250,000 killed for helping the American army pilots escape .
Was it better than the most recent Pearl Harbour film ? Yes
What was enlightening was that the film was dedicated to both sides who fought at midway both the Americans and Japanese and like Tora! Tora! It attempted to show both sides . It gave sympathy to those who die for ones country whether that country acts right or wrong .
Is it worth watching ? - Yes
Don't expect too much
Sorry We Missed You (2019)
Gritty kitchen sink drama
If you watched i Daniel Blake and cried you'll cry twice as much at this .
Welcome to Brexit Britain - Boris and Rees Mogg need to see this film and adjust their policies because it sells only Corbyn is in touch with the stress of real every day life - this hard hitting kitchen sink drama tells the story of the reality of trying to work at the bottom of the pile while doing everything possible to support your family with the whole system stacked against you .
All subjects are covered love , drugs , truancy , poverty , debt , despair , exploitation and the trials and desperation of trying to survive in an unstable employment structure when the gig economy is designed to give workers no rights and make employers exploit all the wrongs
The mis en scene , make up , lighting and wardrobe were excellent - you cannot help but to sucked in and feel sympathy for the protagonist and his family as they try their best against everything that's designed to make them fail .
Will it make you cry ? - yes
Will it make you sad ? - no
Although the ending might seem abrupt you feel uplifted that the family are a stronger unit as a result of their trial .
British films are rarely more perfect than this - great acting , great characterisation- what cinema should be
This film could swing an election - love is the key not hate and community is the answer
It might make you think twice about ordering a parcel or two online and get out to the real shops and speak to real people
Go see it
The Aeronauts (2019)
As long you nothing about the real story you'll enjoy this and see it for what it is - a visual masterpiece which would be amazing in IMAX .
History was made by Glaisher and his male co pilot reaching roughly the height of Everest - the achievements of Victorians in their primitive pioneering equipment has to be admired
For drama and film fans the fictional female co pilot works really well and adds to the story who cares if it's not accurate - is Shakespeare historical ? Not it's drama based on history .
Felicity Jones is the star of the show both in her acting and the character she plays .
Greenwich looks great as the obvious location to base most of the film in and the drama in the basket could easily transfer to stage .
The film deserves credit for costume , setting and make up .
It's a film like a piece of classical music it takes a while to get into but builds up to a great crescendo always backed up by a great script
Doctor Sleep (2019)
Shining part 2
I came away from this feeling that Stanley Kubrick was a true genius - although also based on a Stephen King book it's the recreation of the Shining scenes right down to direction , the tracking shots the similar looking actors , the sound , mostly the sound that stood out
I found the rest kind of confusing at times but perhaps I need to watch it more than one and it really makes me want to see the Shining again - that was pure cinematic genius - this isn't bad , it's just not on par .
Great acting in particular Rebecca Fergusson who steals the show
Good but not brilliant
Deserves a second watch
Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)
A worthy addition
The first half was by far the best part - strong female roles - Mackenzie Davis stole the show , Linda Hamilton by comparison was looking out of her depth and too aged for such a role .
Once Arnie entered to foray the film actually went downhill rather than uphill .
Overall it was entertaining and enjoyable and had exactly the right ingredients for a Terminator film -only the Christian Bale reboot stands out as below par .
As long as they don't bring out a Terminator vs Robocop film the franchise should end here on a relative high but where's there money to be made Hollywood will probably squeeze another sequel/ prequel / reboot in somehow
Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)
Meandering but had its moments
Woody Harelson is a superb character actor - he animated every character he plays with a unique combination of passion and fear , without him there wouldn't be a film .
The Jesse Eisenberg / Emma Stone pairing was too odd to find it believable . It's easy to see the influence of Shaun of the dead - if you want to make a parody zombie flick there's no better place to start right down to the facsimile zombie killers .
There were some laughable moments and it was easy to see where the budget had been spent - this was no low budget horror flick .
Lots of comic song references including the comic use of the David Gray song in their sanctuary
It was enjoyable enough overall - it didn't start well but it got better - the use of the fourth wall and constant memes were annoying though .
If you're a fan and enjoyed the first Zombieland you'll probably get more out of this than someone new to the franchise .
Ok you know what you're in for before you see it - so it'll no surprise from start to finish
It's passable and there will be a Countdown 2.0 next year - they're probably filming it now if they haven't already then they'll be the Netflix series
If you don't see it don't worry you haven't missed anything as you've seen it before just in various other guises
The positives from it were the love between the sisters apart from that you won't take much away
Gemini Man (2019)
It started ok then went downhill sadly
A kind of face off update that didn't work , not believable - a lot of wasted money but an effective marketing campaign that's sure to get bums on seats
Official Secrets (2019)
I advise you to see this without reading up on the true story .
I have to admit I didn't know the full story and I'm glad I didn't .
Superbly written , superbly acted , great cast , full of suspense and emotion
Great story telling about a true event , lies deceit , love and loss - they're all there
Drama / Thrillers don't get much better than this
With so much at stake - you have nothing but admiration for her bravery .
There are two sides to the Joker and one side you have sympathy for and the other side is a deranged psychotic killer
This film takes you on a journey and delves into the creation of a monster and his troubled upbringing - you feel sympathy for his mental state but once the monster is unleashed you cannot hold any sympathy
As a stand-alone movie it works well and takes away nothing from Heath Ledgers superb performance - Phoenix's performance is superb and has rightly come in for huge accolades
For me it wasn't the knock out 10/10 that everyone's giving it but it's not my genre - but it's definitely worth seeing whether you're a fab or not or just a fan of anarchy in the purge / v for vendetta tradition
Sensitive portrayal almost perfect
When you're young everyone seems old when you realise how young she died you realise how much she accomplished in such a short life span
Your heart isn't measured by how much you love but by how much people love you
Mental Illness is so much better understood now , her demons were with her everyday but she battled hard to keep them at bay
Great script , great cast , simple location this will transfer to the stage perfectly - superb performance by Renee Z it's the wrong time of year to release an oscar film but her performance is worthy of one - great supporting cast
Once upon a star
The Goldfinch (2019)
Definitely worth seeing
This is a rare film - an intellectual film that'll draw you in and you'll want to see again
You feel like a detective piecing all the parts together to establish what actually happened .
The acting was superb not least from the younger version of his multilingual Ukrainian mysterious friend
The story is told for the most part in retrospective and it's a story of love and loss throughout but it's the mystery that keeps you going
A truly great film a rare gem
Ready or Not (2019)
Not sure what genre this wanted to be
It certainly wasn't horror and it wasn't comedy either but it tried unsuccessfully to marry the two
Some films can do that eg Shaun of the dead & Scream but this one just didn't .
It was just pure evil and a lot of gore thrown in for the sake of it .
Will you feel like you've just seen the best film ever ?
Rambo: Last Blood (2019)
Nowhere near as bad as you'd expect
Last blood was probably the best film in the series since first blood in terms of story .
This one took its time to introduce you to the characters and Stallone's acting was top notch . You really develop a love for the characters and you're sympathies are drawn into the story .
Once we get to Mexico and back to USA the violence comes out and you can see how well this will translate to a shoot em up first person game in the wolfenstein 3D format .
The ingredients were there to make die hard fans and newbies equally happy with a well spent ticket .
This could teach Tarantino how to shoot violence without making it unpalatable to watch
Downton Abbey (2019)
It's not perfect
But it's pretty close and I wouldn't be surprised if there's another film script ready to be made .
On the whole it enjoyable and gives you that proud to be British feeling in a time of uncertainty in the world.
All the cast are there with the wonderful addition of Tuppence Middleton being the new love interest with an interesting past in town
Great acting , great script great story , great costume , with a good sprinkle of cloak and dagger - something for everyone of all sexuality .
Go see it :) it's worthy of the big screen
Ad Astra (2019)
Give this a miss
It had all the charm of Solaris with George Clooney and was equally as tedious .
Without a star or two in the cast I doubt if this film would have ever been released in the cinema , the script wasn't believable the story was poor and the acting was mostly monologue with the somnambulist effect .
For the most part it's quite sad
Once upon a time there was a film called Showgirls - this wasn't it and that's a good thing .
That film killed the star's career and didn't save her bell at all - what the main difference between the two ? Nudity - audiences aren't comfortable seeing stars naked it just doesn't feel right - you don't need nudity to tell the story .
Given that a film about strippers in a strip club without nudity !? The producers and director told the story with sensitivity - undoubtedly JLo's sexy performance has come in for praise but it didn't need the nudity of the film striptease to get the pint across and that's where it wins - you were able to concentrate on the story - those who titillation just look for what's going on in the background .
It's a film about female empowerment in a world run by men - it's based on a true story - it's about friendship somewhat similar to beaches - it's about love it about trust it's about knowing and not knowing who has your back .
It's about ambition .
Ultimately it's a great story , not perfectly executed but definitely worth seeing .
An education in Polish history
Poland has for years sat at the fault line between the east and west , between communism and capitalism, between Russia and Germany , between catholic and orthodox . Most of my fellow English countrymen probably know little more than it being the country that Nazi Germany invaded on 1/9/39 thus precipitating WW2.
I like to think I know more but I didn't know about Pilsudski
His rise to power was not unlike that of Ataturk or Castro.
An agitator , a terrorist , a hero , a liberator , a rebel , a survivor , a conundrum .
The biopic was a sensitive portrayal and showed the good and the bad , the affairs , the killings , the hared of an occupying foreign power , the patriotism and the political battles fought along side the physical battles .
In my experience 90% of Polish films far surpass that churned out by Hollywood , long may they continue , don't be frightened of subtitles 10 minutes you'll be reading subconsciously
Well worth seeing , you're feel educated :)
The Informer (2019)
Great thriller - back on form
From the team that brought you Sicario comes another drug fuelled thriller with an amazing cast although set in the USA was filmed on location in the UK And is a UK production .
Rosamund Pike plays 'Emily Blunt' who was missing from Sicario 2 hence why that was so poor in comparison to the first .
This one is based on the Polish mafia operating in NYC .
Good tension , good story , great acting , stand out performance for me was the rapper Common as the NYPD detective with the street cred and look to make him a star in his own right .
Central to the theme was family and the love of man for his wife and daughter and vice versa caught up in a web of crime he never deserved to be in .
It's one those films where the natural good guys and bad guys were twisted to make it more interesting
An enjoyable film with a little bit of violence but appropriate to the plot .
Worth seeing .
Sleepy and Hollow
Missing the vital ingredients of a horror flick , namely it's meant to make you so frightened you can't sleep . This one just made you want to sleep .
It tried , it really did but sadly it failed and was flat .
Probably didn't help I saw it straight after the brilliant 10/10 Crawl .
Somehow I feel it might just get a cult following and have a sequel
Claustrophobic classic chiller
Perfect scare feast - wrapped up in a father / daughter lobe story
Will do for alligators what Jaws did for sharks .
Really wasn't expecting much - thought it would be a 6/10 teen horror flick - instead it was a grown up believable disaster movie without all the cgi and special effects needed to draw people into a Dwayne Johnson film
Go see it
Angel Has Fallen (2019)
It's not good but you weren't expecting it to be were you !?
It's not bad either - it's average
If you want a film with action where you can leave your brain at home this is for you .
The formula for the series is already there - assassination attempt who's the good guys who the bad guys
Enemy of the state and Fugitive type conspiracy theory stories where lots of people get killed all because one man is far more important than other men #alllivesmatter doesn't exist in Hollywood only stars matter - minor parts are cannon fodder .
If you don't get to see it you haven't missed anything - if you're a huge Gerald Butler fan you won't be disappointed - one for the dedicated fans not for the casual fans .
Mrs Lowry & Son (2019)
Superb bio pic oscar material
Drama at its best .
Almost a single set throughout the whole film. The relationship between an overpowering mother and a son in desperate need for acceptance by the one person who refused to acknowledge his talents was the central theme .
Absolutely top class acting by Spall and Redgrave .
The sad thing is that more people will probably go and see the latest Fast and Furious franchise than this and they'll never know what they missed .
Stay for the end for the documentary in the Lowry museum with Timothy Spall and the museum curator .