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Aladdin (2019)
10/10
Much anticipated, did not disappoint
24 June 2019
24 June 2019 First Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight - Aladdin. I've really been looking forward to this film. Lover of Disney I'm enjoying the transition from animation to live action. I read a lot in the press and on social media about the good and bad points of Will Smith playing the Genie. He has in no way spoiled the memory of Robin Williams, instead he has brought his own level of blue to role, giving us the familiar character with the Will Smith twist. Mena Massoud who plays Aladdin could literally be the animated version brought to life, it was so like the original Disney character. The new arrangement of the songs was sympathetic to the originals, Abu and carpet were still a great double act and the opulence of Agraba was grand even in poverty. I loved this film it did not disappoint.
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9/10
Non stop from start to finish
30 May 2019
Second Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight - John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum. Continuing from the final scene of the last episode, Chapter 3 finds John Wick running for his life after killing a member of the International Assassin's Guild. With a huge bounty on his head everywhere he turns he finds someone trying to kill him. This film is high octane and most definitely not for the squeamish. My only criticism would be that some of the fight scenes were a little too long, but that's a small niggle in an otherwise good film. Halle Berry along with her two canine bodyguards was a firecracker who stormed through the story as if the devil himself was after her. Non stop from start to finish, this film kept my interest right until the end credits. A good couple of hours well spent.
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8/10
CGI masterpiece
30 May 2019
30 May 2019 First Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight - Godzilla: King of the Monsters. very much in the genre of Clash of the Titans, we find ourselves watching clash of the monsters. This is very much a film for those who love extreme epic battles fought by the gargantuan. The CGI is something else. Used in most films these days it still has the power to awe. What come from the minds of the writers, directors and producers is brought to life by these keyboard computer magicians. Not the greatest of plots but who needs it when it's visually stimulating. One thing I did love was the use of the Osprey throughout the film, although some of the landing and take off scenes were pretty unbelievable. If you're a monster fan, or more to the point if you are a Godzilla fan you will love this film.
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Long Shot (2019)
8/10
Entertaining, made me chuckle but not laugh out loud funny
13 May 2019
Second Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight - Long Shot. An unlikely pairing of Seth Rogan and Charlize Theron in a romantic comedy that somehow works and keeps you entertained. If a film is billed as a comedy it has to be really well written and executed to have me rolling in the aisles and this film certainly didn't do that, however there were more than a few laugh out loud moments. There was also a good if light hearted plot. Theron plays the lifetime crush of Fred Flarsky (Rogan), having once been his baby sitter she is now the Secretary of State of the United States of America and way out of his league.......or is she??? Hired by Theron as one of her speech writers against the well meaning advice of her closest aides, Rogan turns from an uncouth lout into something more special, yet retains much of his loutishness. This film reminds me very much of Dave starring Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver in so much as it marries up two of the most unlikely people, one practically unattainable and one of the so called common people. I seem drawn to comedies that cock a snook at the American political arena, but they make for some entertaining watching and this one certainly fits the bill. A pleasant way to spend a couple of hours.
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9/10
You need tissues for this one!!!!
13 May 2019
13 May 2019 First Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight - A Dog's Journey. So this is a sequel to A dog's Purpose and if you taken one thing to the cinema with you, make it a box of tissues because unless you have a heart of stone you're jolly well going to need to crack them open. If you don't like showing emotion in public wait for the DVD because I cried like a baby (a very quiet baby). It is the continuing story of Bailey/Molly/Big Dog/Max who remains committed to finding his special human through all his/her reincarnations. Although he had different bodies, different names and even a different gender his memories and his heart remained that of Bailey and this was a touching tale of him keeping his promise to his best friend all those years ago. Some great camera work showing close ups of the amazing language a dog projects with his eyebrows. Lovely film.
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10/10
Amazing
29 April 2019
Second Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight - Avengers: Endgame. For once I am at a loss for words. I have just sat through three hours of an absolute roller coaster of emotions. I laughed, I cried, there was shock, relief, and sorrow and just a little bit of awe. I have an immense amount of praise for the writers being able to draw the threads of the story together to produce such an outcome. For those of us that love the Marvel universe, I say Wow!!!!! I really can't think of anything else to say without a huge bunch of spoilers so I'm just going to say, if this is your thing......it was awesome......please go any watch it.....then go and watch it again!!!!
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Dumbo (2019)
9/10
A new telling of an old favourite
29 April 2019
29 April 2019 First Film of Choice at The Plaza Tonight Dumbo. The live action (and CGI) version of one of Disney's much loved animations has hit our screens with all the pomp and circumstance of one of the grand old circuses. You all know the original story as told by Disney in 1942 but this new version highlights the greed and indifference that can be shown to animals by some humans, and how they can treat their fellow humans. However Karma is out to get you and without giving anything away, those people that deserve it certainly get their comeuppance. The CGI is amazing and the emotion shown in the elephants eyes is quite superb. I really did find myself believing an elephant can fly. Danny DeVito is in his element in a part like this and it is a joy to see him on the screen again. An exciting film for adults and children alike.
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Vice (I) (2018)
9/10
Interesting
12 February 2019
11 February 2019 Second Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight - Vice. Films about history and especially political history are by very definition part fact, part fiction. Nobody can know what goes on in a person's head, and very few people reveal what is said behind closed doors. The public is told only the facts they want you to know and yet films of this ilk are regularly produced and we go and sit through them. As a film this offering was ok. It was compelling to watch and the cast, especially Christian Bale took on the persona of their characters extremely well. I took a look at a Dick Cheney interview and think he must have spent a lot of hours studying his mannerisms because to me they seemed spot on. This film is the story of Dick Cheney's rise to the position of Vice President of the United States of America and how he gathered a team around him to be the kind of man he was. A superb performance from Amy Adams as his wife Lynne, and Steve Carell playing Donald Rumsfeld, but my hat goes off to Sam Rockwell for his portrayal of George W Bush. He nailed it 100%. If you like films about the political history of the USA this is an interesting watch. I thoroughly recommend you give it a go.
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10/10
Animated perfection
12 February 2019
11 February 2019 First Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight - How To Train Your Dragon - The Hidden World. Another outing in the extremely successful franchise finds Toothless and Hiccup trying to save the people and the dragons from a ruthless Grimmel who is out to destroy or control all dragons, throw in a dragon shaped love interest for Toothless and there is a lot to fight for. It is amazing the passion and emotion you can get from an animated character, especially one that cannot speak. The amount of communication derived from the eyes of a dragon alone is outstanding, combine that with noises, music and movement and you have a whole range of character that bring a story to life. The Viking characters we have known and loved from before return and bring with them a whole range of endearing and extremes of themselves, annoying is very annoying, stupid is vastly stupid and large is excessively large but you love them all, and the dragons too. Once again we have an animated film that has such emotional moments that it can make you shed a tear.
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10/10
Animated perfection
12 February 2019
4 January 2019 Second Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight - Green Book. I thought it was a strange title for a film then I realised as the film progressed that the Green Book was a thing, and as I sat captivated throughout this entire film I found that it never ceases to amaze and sadden me how humans treat fellow humans based on colour alone. This is a story inspired by the true friendship that developed between Tony Lip, a working-class American Italian from New York and Dr Don Shirley, a black pianist who employs Tony to be his driver for a tour of the Deep South where racial prejudice is right at the forefront of their whole existence. This film was exquisite, a tale of two men who are as far apart as can possibly be, one street smart, rough and ready, the other a highly educated and cultured person. They began as boss and employee and slowly formed a true and lasting friendship. Viggo Mortensen played Tony Lip and delivered a quite amazing performance. He combined the brash Italian character, with someone who had strong family values and a deep sense of good about him, even though he took the job just for the money he developed as a character as the film went along. Mahershala Ali, who played Dr Shirley was elegant and dignified throughout. This is a film I would happily watch again and again.

11 February 2019 First Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight - How To Train Your Dragon - The Hidden World. Another outing in the extremely successful franchise finds Toothless and Hiccup trying to save the people and the dragons from a ruthless Grimmel who is out to destroy or control all dragons, throw in a dragon shaped love interest for Toothless and there is a lot to fight for. It is amazing the passion and emotion you can get from an animated character, especially one that cannot speak. The amount of communication derived from the eyes of a dragon alone is outstanding, combine that with noises, music and movement and you have a whole range of character that bring a story to life. The Viking characters we have known and loved from before return and bring with them a whole range of endearing and extremes of themselves, annoying is very annoying, stupid is vastly stupid and large is excessively large but you love them all, and the dragons too. Once again we have an animated film that has such emotional moments that it can make you shed a tear.
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Green Book (2018)
10/10
A wonderful film
5 February 2019
4 January 2019 Second Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight - Green Book. I thought it was a strange title for a film then I realised as the film progressed that the Green Book was a thing, and as I sat captivated throughout this entire film I found that it never ceases to amaze and sadden me how humans treat fellow humans based on colour alone. This is a story inspired by the true friendship that developed between Tony Lip, a working-class American Italian from New York and Dr Don Shirley, a black pianist who employs Tony to be his driver for a tour of the Deep South where racial prejudice is right at the forefront of their whole existence. This film was exquisite, a tale of two men who are as far apart as can possibly be, one street smart, rough and ready, the other a highly educated and cultured person. They began as boss and employee and slowly formed a true and lasting friendship. Viggo Mortensen played Tony Lip and delivered a quite amazing performance. He combined the brash Italian character, with someone who had strong family values and a deep sense of good about him, even though he took the job just for the money he developed as a character as the film went along. Mahershala Ali, who played Dr Shirley was elegant and dignified throughout. This is a film I would happily watch again and again.
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The Favourite (2018)
8/10
Well that was weird
4 February 2019
4 January 2019 First Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight - The Favourite. Watching The Favourite was like reading a book of short stories, you just find yourself absorbed in one scene and then it ends. I think that was possibly the weirdest film I've ever seen and I have no idea if it bore any resemblance to true historical facts, but I found it strangely compelling. Olivia Coleman is a supreme actress and played the part of Queen Anne with a flair that was quite remarkable. I'm not sure if I would watch it again but with a distinct air of disbelief I found myself completely entranced by the shenanigans taking place in the screen. Rachel Weiss was stunning as Lady Sarah and Nicholas Hoult was quite dashing as the foppish Harley, who grew more ridiculous as the film progressed. One thing to note, there were a vast number of wigs in this film, quite large and quite ridiculous, and it makes you wonder how many wigmakers went out of business as fashions changed back in the day. An interesting outing and an odd way to spend a couple of hours.
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The Mule (2018)
10/10
A directorial masterpiece from Clint Eastwood
31 January 2019
31 January 2019 Film of Choice at The Plaza this afternoon - The Mule. Clint Eastwood stars as Earl, veteran, lover of his award winning lilies, divorced, broke and estranged from all of his family except his granddaughter. Picked on by an opportunist at a party he finds himself with a new job, a Mule for a Mexican drug Cartel. At first he is unaware of the cargo he is carrying in his old truck but as the film progresses events unfold to put him in danger for his life. This film was an excellent vehicle for Eastwood, he plays a guy who is at rock bottom but still very much a feisty old codger not willing to give up. We have three threads running throughout the film, Earl's story, his family, and thirdly Bradley Cooper's character Colin Bates, a DEA agent who wants to bring down the Cartel. We didn't have to sit through high contain car chases, and big gunfights, this film was a lot gentler than that, and even those necessary antagonistic scenes that come in all drug cartel movies were handled almost sympathetically. A great performance by Eastwood, and a great bit of directing by him too. Incidentally, keep an ear out for the soundtrack, a good selection of country music including the beautiful Don't Let The Old Man In, by Toby Keith. A great watch.
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10/10
A joy to watch
23 December 2018
Sunday 23 December 2018 Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight - Mary Poppins Returns. This is just what Christmas needs, a well made, well written and well timed sequel to a decades old family favourite. Mary Poppins Returns was a joy to watch in every way. Emily Blunt brought a lot of herself to the title role but also sympathetically recreated Julie Andrews' originally portrayal. There was no attempt to reuse the old classic songs yet the score incorporated many bars of familiar music. The new songs were all pleasant to listen to and the words and melodies lingered after hearing them just once. The character of Jack was a recreation of Burt but in no way trying to be the same character. Look out for some famous names like Colin Firth, Angela Lansbury, Meryl Streep and even Dick Van Dyke. This sequel was like watching a new film in your old pyjamas, and should be watched many times. Treat yourself to a present and enjoy a fanciful couple of hours with the Banks Family and Mary Poppins this Christmas, you won't regret it.
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Robin Hood (2018)
10/10
A different view of a folklore hero
5 December 2018
Second Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight - Robin Hood. I'm sure he would hate me for saying this but Taron Egerton is turning into a nice little actor. He was good in Kingsman, he was excellent as Eddie the Eagle, and he now stars in the latest version of Robin Hood. This version comes at the much loved and much represented folklore character from an alternative direction. Watching this film I felt I was part in history and part in current times. The costumes would not have been out of place on the High Street, and the set although very Hollywood, was gritty and well suited to the plot. This latest episode of the popular story tackled things from a different angle. Robin does not have a 'band of merry outlaws' and we get an explanation of the history of Robin's time in the crusades. Each individual character is shown very differently from the usual stereotypical image that we are used to. The Sheriff of Nottingham would not have been out of place in The Matrix, and although very much made to find its niche on the silver screen, this latest version of one of my favourite film characters is refreshing and quite exciting to watch. With Jamie Foxx as his trusted ally of course Robin manages to outwit all he comes up against, but beware this film does not always go in the direction you expect. It is very watchable, very compelling and I thoroughly recommend it.
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3/10
Outing number four is just not up to scratch
4 December 2018
4 December 2018 First Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight - Nativity Rocks. This is outing number four in the Nativity genre and in this instalment we are introduced to Mr Poppy's brother, Mr Poppy! This time round the city of Coventry is competing to be the city of Christmas by staging a rock opera which is to be directed by Emmanuel Cavendish, played by Craig Revel Horwood, who is overacting his socks off. Stick to the stage darling it's much more your scene. Introduce a large collection of small children singing and dancing, combine it with a group of adults who really shouldn't be in charge of the small children, and you find that slapstick and nonsense abound making this film weaker than its previous instalments. However even though the scenes are all a little tired it is good to have a family film at Christmas that doesn't take too much effort to watch, I'm sure the children will love it. Bring back Mr Poppy, because Mr Poppy really doesn't cut it. I think it may be time to put this particular baby back in its manger.
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First Man (2018)
10/10
Bold and brave portrayal of a history known by all
22 October 2018
22 October 2018 Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight - First Man. This Biopic, which explores the life and the mind of one of history's most famous explorers, namely Neil Armstrong, first man to set foot on the moon, is one of the most intrepid and valiant films I have seen for some time. I have, for many years, had a fascination with space and the race to do everything first and have eagerly devoured any new film which covers the events of those exciting, nerve wracking, explorative times. Hollywood in true fashion either sensationalises, or dumbs down the actual events and although that doesn't necessarily make for a bad film, I'm always left with a feeling of unreality. First Man outshines all of those. This film delves into the depths of the men who had the courage and insanity to make those first forays into space, especially after setbacks which saw their fellow astronauts lose their lives, and the general public beginning to question whether their tax dollar might be better spent on something else. It seems only the determination to beat the Russians to the moon kept the space program alive, and to be honest I'm glad it did. This film was unusual in its portrayal of events, we were given gritty, shaky footage from inside the capsule, none of the grand scenes of the surrounding countryside with the camera swooping into a shot of a pristine rocket sitting on a launch pad. We were shown close ups of astronauts scared for their lives, sweat dripping down their faces, incapable of speaking and the relief they must have felt when each part of the mission succeeded. We also got a glimpse of the pressure felt by the families, and especially the children who even at their young ages must have feared for the return of their fathers. I loved this film and although there were many parts where there was no dialogue, no sound and sometimes no picture as we travelled through the depths of space, it spoke volumes to the audience. I hope we get more of this style of film in the future.
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7/10
Would have made a great Carry on Film
17 September 2018
17 September 2018 Second Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight - King of Thieves. This is the film based on the true events of the Hatton Garden Robbery over the Easter weekend of 2015. A group of men, in the autumn years of their lives get together to pull of a spectacular heist. The story is pretty newsworthy and worth telling but this film did not really do it much justice. Don't get me wrong, there was nothing particularly wrong with the film it's just I felt it could have come under the 'Carry On' umbrella and been received much better. The script was ok, and I liked the interaction between the characters as they realised their gang was falling apart after the event. A more seasoned group of actors you could not wish for but it was a little uncomfortable seeing these old guys (and Ray Winston) trying to act hard, in fact I think Winstone is the only one who really pulled it off. There were a few moments of mirth but on the whole I think this film didn't really hit the mark. It is worth a watch but not an addition to your DVD collection.
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8/10
Fun to watch, makes me want to revisit Singapore
17 September 2018
17 September 2018 First Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight - Crazy Rich Asians. This is one of those classic tales of a boy and a girl who fall in love, boy takes girl to meet his family, family disapprove of girl. Nothing new there!! In this case boy is from a rich Singapore family and the girl is a nobody immigrant from New York, however this film is fun, I didn't know any of the cast but they were all likeable and watching it you seem to get that air of one of those American college films-except it's set in Singapore. I was lucky enough to be there two years ago and watching this film was a bit like looking through my holiday photos. I remember the sights and sounds, and all the food. If nothing else this film is a spectacle of colour and a riot on the senses, a little clichéd but great fun nevertheless.
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Mission of Honor (II) (2018)
10/10
Good solid film
13 September 2018
13 September 2018 Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight - Hurricane. A long overdue piece of film bringing not only the Hurricane to the forefront but also the part a great number of Polish pilots played in keeping the Germans out of England. Historically many pilots preferred the Hurricane to the Spitfire, with its better engines, providing superior speed and manoeuvrability and superior handling in the air, yet it's the Spitfire that people bring to mind first. It's refreshing to sit and watch a film about a couple of underdogs, the Hurricane and the Polish pilots who flew them. It is also refreshing to watch a film just about the day to day life, the triumphs and the tragedies felt by everyone involved during what must have been the most horrific times. There was no reference to D-Day, The Battle of Britain or any other specific events during the war, this film concentrated on individual battles between nationalities, sexes, ranks, and even friends. Films like this portraying squadrons of planes fighting it out in the skies over ordinary people's heads, whether in England, France or even Germany make me realise how lucky we are not to have lived through that. I don't know how our Grandparents survived. I must say it wasn't the best film of flying sequences I've ever seen but somehow it didn't matter, as I found myself willing all these young men to get home safe. Interesting to see Milo Gibson playing the Canadian Officer, looks just like his Dad but maybe a bit better looking.
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Final Score (2018)
8/10
Not bad, not good, but watchable
10 September 2018
10 September 2018 Second Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight - Final Score. This is a cliched one man against the terrorists film which we have all seen before, but here's a different twist, it's almost completely set in a football stadium, one where everyone has been locked in and the bad guys are searching for someone. Enter our hero, Uncle Mike, played by Dave Bautista ex WWE star, who takes his 'niece' to the very stadium about to taken over by terrorists. It sounds like you've heard all this before, and you probably have, but this film was a little different. This film, whilst being somewhat ridiculous (a prerequisite for the genre) was also quite watchable. There must be only a certain number of ways you can disarm, dismember, hide and outrun someone who is after you, but the chase scene especially, in this film, kept me interested. The beginning middle and end were all exactly what I thought they would be, and the characters, from the bad guys, the hero and even an endearing geek were played well and I suggest you give this film a chance, I liked it immensely.
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10/10
A rare 10 stars from me
10 September 2018
10 September 2018 First Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight - BlacKkKlansman. Based on the book by Ron Stallworth, the first African-American police officer in the Colorado Springs Police Department, this is a story of his early life. Spike Lee has tackled this subject full on, not really grabbing the bull by its horns but climbing onto its back and galloping right down the street - metaphorically speaking. This is the tale of a man who had always dreamed of becoming a cop. However his career is not as exciting as he thinks it should be and he finds himself stuck in the filing department. He gets an undercover assignment as a detective and manages to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan. For this he needs the help of a white colleague who acts as the face to his voice. Ron is played by John David Washington, son of actor Denzel Washington, and he is certainly carrying on the family tradition with his considered style of acting, lots of emotion and plenty of thoughtful looks and body language rather than a lot of dialogue, a style that certainly wins us over. A solid performance from Adam Driver too, I look forward to seeing more of his work. This film gives us an insight into the world of the Klan, or the Organisation as they prefer to be known - and it's a scary world. This is a brave subject to tackle and Spike Lee has done it with a frankness that is extraordinary. It's a film with depth of emotion and frightening reality especially the scenes just before the end credits. How can you not be moved by this subject in all the scenes portrayed. Some excellent acting and very thought-provoking, and the script provides us with a reminder of how our language has changed and what has become unacceptable. Not the type of film I expected but extremely gripping.
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10/10
Always good to see Denzel on the screen
6 September 2018
6 September 2018 Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight - The Equalizer 2. So we're in that sequel territory. It's an area beset with pitfalls and black holes into which some films deserve to fall, never to be seen again. Not this one. Denzel Washington revives his role as Robert McCall, a man retired from black Ops who now acts as a vigilante looking out for those who are downtrodden and oppressed. I didn't remember much from the first film and I can honestly say that is not a problem. This is a stand alone film and I can honestly say I have never sat through a film that is so slow yet so gripping. It took a long time to bring all the pieces of the puzzle together to give us the whole picture. The scenes seemed to jump back and forth between different plot lines but eventually it all came together and you come to the realisation of how everything is linked to create the overall story. Superb performance from Denzel, that guy is ageing like a fine wine and long may he produce acting like this. I like how so much was said on the screen without masses of dialogue, and the relationships McCall built up with his neighbours gives you a look into the sort of man he could be without all the baggage. If you want to see a film that keeps you rooted to your seat, this is it!!!
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8/10
A little slow but worth watching
3 September 2018
3 September 2018 Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight - The Children Act. Emma Thompson plays Fiona Maye, a High Court Judge who advocates on behalf of children. An intense workaholic, and all consumed by her cases, she neglects her husband Jack, played by the lovely Stanley Tucci. All seems to be going off the rails when Adam comes into her life, a desperately ill boy whose religious beliefs are at odds with those of the medical team caring for him. Emma Thompson plays her part with extreme sensitivity as she combines coping with the breakdown of her marriage and dealing with the contentious issue of the sick boy and all the ramifications that brings. A supreme actress in every way, she plays woebegone to the full as she is mourning the various points of her life. A little slow at times but still compulsively watchable as the script (adapted from a book) wrestles with some very difficult subjects. Not a light hearted watch but a good solid film that I don't regret a couple of hours watching.
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10/10
Just Beautiful
20 August 2018
20 August 2018 Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight - Christopher Robin. This is a beautiful film. It's gentle, and moving and care has been taken not to change the essence of those much loved characters we remember from our childhood. The animation of Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet, Rabbit, Kanga, Roo and Owl is exquisite but I have to say Tigger was my absolute favourite. Having said that, I must applaud the work that has gone into the facial expressions of these character, especially Pooh. A tiny mouth, unblinking eyes and a forehead that barely moves somehow gives us a full range of expressions and you can tell exactly what is going through that little furry head at all times. Ewan McGregor was perfect for the part of the grown up Christopher Robin. He portrays a man who has lost his direction and is gradually pushing away that which he loves most in the world, and his interaction with his old friends from 100 acre wood was spot-on, it was like they were really there. This is not an action film, this is not a romance, nor horror, merely a great family film which I recommend everyone to take time out and watch.
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