What I thought of… The Greatest Showman #movie #review

Back when I was a wee lad, my parents took me to see the stage show Barnham. I can’t remember much about it to be honest. Other than barely being tall enough to see over the seat in front of me, let alone the person sitting in it! However, the fact that my parents thought I might enjoy it, and took me “all the way to London” (we only lived in Chelmsford) left its mark on me. Ever since then I’ve always been curious about both the show, and the story, of Barnham.

So a few weeks back, I like many many other people before me, went off to the local pictures to see The Greatest Showman, starring Hugh Jackman etc, and… well.. I was disappointed.

I wanted to like it, really I did. I really thought it would be my kind of thing. Just as I also thought it wasn’t a musical. Am I the only one who was surprised by that? When I saw the trailer a few months back, I could have sworn there wasn’t any music in it!

Not that I have a problem with musicals, oh no; Dream Girls for instance, is a very good film. Moulin Rouge, also good. Heck, even The Sound Of Music would be considered by many many people as an all time classic! However, in this case, the music – which wasn’t bad – just seemed to get in the way of what could have been, and should have been, a really excellent film. Each and every time we the audience should have been learning more about a character – their background, their motivations – along would come yet another dance routine, to stomp all over the opportunity. It was tiresome. Irritating even.

In the end I stopped paying attention (because there really wasn’t much to pay attention to) and my mind started to wander, and ponder, and do all those things that it does when faced with something that clearly isn’t working. The conclusion I came to was that the film might work better on stage. In fact, the more I thought about it the more I began to suspect that this movie might just be the beginnings of a larger strategy, to syndicate a long running show here in the West End and/or on Broadway?

By the time the film came to an end the whole thing felt like unsatisfying froth.

But that’s just me.

What did you think of it? Tell me in the comments below.

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What I thought of… Money Monster #movie #review

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You know when you add something to your Love Film list and then it arrives and you’re all like, ‘why did I order this?’, and the DVD kind of sits in your living room for days and days, sometimes weeks, until eventually you force yourself to give it ten minutes!? No? Just me then?

Anyway, that’s what happened with MONEY MONSTER. Despite having George Clooney in it, I had zero desire to watch the film and almost put it back in the post unwatched.

There were two things putting me off.

Firstly it has Julia Roberts in it. Now don’t get me wrong, Julia Roberts is a very accomplished actress. Every film I have ever seen her in was, I admit, good. Sometimes it was very good. But there’s something about the woman I find off putting. There’s a part of my psyche that says she’s a wrong-un, and this is despite having seen her in interview several times where I have been shocked to notice how nice she seems.

The second off putting thing about this film is the poster. What does this say to you? To me it says this is a film that’s gritty, hard hitting, devoid of humour, and probably difficult to get your head around – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because The Big Short is really hard to get your head around, but totally worth the effort, whereas this looks like it might be 90 minutes of your life that you’ll never get back.

How wrong I was.

It’s marvellous. Just marvellous. Directed by Jodie Foster (I wish I’d realised that whilst i was agonising over whether to watch it), it tells the story of what happens when a disgruntled amateur share dealer decides to storm onto the set of a popular money-markets TV show and wielding a pistol, and a vest lined with explosives, demands ‘justice’ for losing his life savings on the stock market due to the poor advice offered by the show’s host, Lee Gates (George Clooney). The NYPD hostage guy turns out to be completely incompetent, and it’s down to TV Producer Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts) to direct the show of her career.

It’s gripping, funny, believeable, thought provoking, and above all hugely enjoyable. And as Jodie Foster says in the DVD extras, it’s the sort of film that has you talking long after the final credits roll.

Have you seen it? Feel free to let me know what you thought in the comments below.

What I thought of… SPECTRE #movie #review

 

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Just got back from seeing SPECTRE, and… I liked it. I’d go as far to say it was the best Bond movie since Tomorrow Never Dies (everything after that was pretty much ‘meh’ apart from The World Is Not Enough which was just diabolical).

Anyway, back to SPECTRE; it’s not going to be a Bond movie that you look back in years to come with fond recollections, but, hey, those days are probably long gone because

  1. we’re older and
  2. the world has changed.

It is however a good story, and for once the action sequences are more than just a tiresome excuse to spend a gizzillion dollars.

Two things particularly struck me;

  1. the relentless number of cheeky references to famous scenes from all the other bond movies (it really is like every time they needed some action they just dug out a few pages from an old script – but I’m not complaining – it works) and
  2. Monica Bellucci’s magical basque which she definitely isn’t wearing under her dress, but then somehow mysteriously acquires by the very next shot! That did seem odd. But maybe I’m the only one who notices when an attractive woman is laying on her bed in expensive lingerie.

What did you lot think?

What I thought of… Man of Steel #movie #review

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Finally got around to watching Man of Steel​ last night. To be honest I’d been warned that it was a bit of a damp squib, and consequently I spent the first twenty minutes with my finger poised over the EJECT button on the remote control. But you know what, it wasn’t bad.

Helped significantly by a really strong cast (there are famous faces popping up every five minutes – and Henry Cavill is absolutely perfect in the lead role) it’s basically an interesting re-telling of the origin story we’re already familiar with – and in some ways it’s a remake of Superman I & II (back when Christopher Reeve​ was in the role)… with one notable absence. There’s no Lex Luthor​. Just a fleeting mention to Lexcor on the side of a truck!

That said, it starts well, and the story is pretty strong… until, that is, the bad guys rock up in earnest. At this point the film nose dives into one tediously long special effects fight sequence after another – and they go on, and on, and on, and on!

I could have forgiven it for this if the ultimate conclusion of all this fighting, loss of life and destruction had been some clever plot twist where Clark saves the day because of his superior morality, or because of his human upbringing, or because of a flaw in the villan’s logic, or because of his love for Lois, or something other than just finally managing to get the Emperor Zog (or whatever his name is) in a head lock. But no. That’s it! You’ve just watched an hour of computerised wrestling. Tedious!

A little more witty banter wouldn’t have gone amiss either.

Where’s the EJECT button?

Despite these failings I made it to the end, and it was ‘ok’. And if there’s a sequel it might be worth a look. Let’s just hope they get a better writer for the screenplay.

What I thought of… Kingsman The Secret Service #movie #review

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A while back I was having a chat with me ol’ pal Chris​ about what makes a good Bond Movie. In my mind the ingredients are: humour, suaveness, Britishness, gadgets, girls, & world domination. But over the past decade (pretty much since Daniel Craig stepped into the role), Bond movies seem to have sacrificed some of those elements in favour of ‘realism’, and in so doing they’ve become somewhat ‘meh’  – they’ve actually lost their quintessential Bondness.

As if to prove my point, ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service​’ has all of those Bond-essentials in spades and as such feels more like a Bond movie than anything else I may have seen in the past ten years. I actually sat in the cinema and felt somewhat nostalgic.

That said it’s definitely a film for a modern audience: It has the same sort of gloss that you expect from a superhero movie – rather than ‘grit & shadows’ that you’d assume a spy movie should have – but unlike a superhero movie it’s extremely violent. And somewhat gory. Maybe too gory. In that respect it appears to borrow from some of the more ridiculous horror movies – and I’m not a huge fan of horror movies. But that’s just me.

It’s interesting to see Colin Firth playing the action hero though, which he pulls off with considerable ease.

Anyway, I enjoyed it, I’d watch it again in a heart beat and I hope there’ll be a sequel (though without giving too much away I can’t see how they’d be able to do that) – but it’s definitely one for your Potential Boxing Day list.

 

What I thought of… Before I Go To Sleep #movie #review

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Last night finally got around to seeing Before I Go To Sleep​.

It’s ‘ok‘.

Imagine the plot of Fifty First Dates​ …but sent in an entirely different direction, as if Alfred Hitchcock​ had been at the reigns.

Would I watch it again? Probably not. It was a good story, lots of twists and turns, solid performances from a strong cast, but… well… it felt like there was something missing. In the closing minutes I found myself waiting for a REALLY big twist… one that that would knock me off my chair and reward me for my investment… but… nothing. Which was a shame. Maybe I’m just hard to please.

What did you guys think?