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What I thought of…. Passengers #movie #review

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So I finally got to see Passengers.

I originally wanted to see this movie at the cinema because, from the trailer at least, it looked like my kind of flick combining two of my favourite subjects in fiction; science & technology, and romantic relationships.

But then the reviews started rolling in and every one I dared to glance at suggested that the film, whilst good, was also a disappointment – specifically ‘the ending’. And the last thing you want to feel as you walk out of the cinema is ‘disappointed’.

So I bumped Passengers to my ‘when it comes out on DVD’ list, and yesterday, finally, it made it to the the top. And can I just say… what film were those reviewers watching!??

Firstly, it’s not quite the lovey-dovey, explodey-wodey, romance-in-space slash adventure-popcorn-fest that I thought it would be. It’s quite a lot smarter than that. It starts funny, moves to heartwarming, but half way through the film I found myself nervously biting my nails and genuinely wondering if the so-called unsatisfactory ending was going to be a lot darker and more sinister than I would have liked. It’s a movie that doesn’t want to fit comfortably in one genre.

I won’t spoil it for you, but here’s the back-of-the-box blurb (or at least, how I would have written it) because the trailer, whilst good, is REALLY misleading: Jim Preston (played by Chris Pratt) is one of 5000 passengers on a 120 year one-way trip to Earth’s newest, and most distant, colony. But when the ship (on auto pilot) encounters unexpected problems, a computer malfunction results in Jim – and just Jim – being brought out of hyper sleep 90 years too early. After a year of going steadily out of his mind trying everything he can to either wake the crew, or figure out how to get back in his pod, he comes to the conclusion that there are only two remaining options: Jettison himself out of the airlock without a spacesuit, or wake someone to be his companion, thereby condemning someone else to a similar fate.

It’s brilliant: Cracking performances throughout, fabulous special effects, completely believable and most importantly of all… a fantastic plot. INCLUDING the ending, which in my mind was just perfect. Honestly, I don’t see how it could have been better.

But maybe you disagree. Post your thoughts in the comments below – including perhaps the ending you would have liked to have seen.


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What I thought of… Money Monster #movie #review

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money_monster_ver2_xxlg

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… Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them #movie #review

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FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

It’s been a while since I did a ‘what I thought of’ blog post, so yesterday – as part of a Boxing Day – I toddled off to the cinema to see JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Now, I probably ought to mention at this point that I’m not a huge fan of the Harry Potter films (though I read the first three books before they started making the movies). The films are okay. I mean, I’d happily watch two and three again anytime, the others… well they were a bit of a yawn fest. Especially the last one. IMHO. Sorry about that.

*This* on the other hand was an absolutely delight, and if it had been twice as long I’d have sat there as happy as a pig in muck.

Interestingly, as I left the cinema, I came to the conclusion that although it doesn’t seem like it at the beginning, the whole film is a little light on plot. Sure, there’s a big swirly thing tearing up New York, there are magical monsters running amok, there’s a small group of stern looking people who’ve just about had it up to here with the Witch/Wizarding community, and there’s a non–magical person caught up in the middle of it all… but… well… it’s not quite as involved as it may appear. There’s the odd *twist* but you can see them coming a mile off (and I speak as someone who was genuinely surprised by the ending of Sixth Sense when everybody else I know seemed to think that was obvious from the beginning). But it doesn’t really matter; the characters are lovely, the dialogue is tight, the effects are amazing, and the magical creatures are fabulous – it’s all good. I look forward to the next one.

But what did you think? Have your say 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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kingsman

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… X-Men: Days of Future Past #movie #review

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wolverine

Another film I’ve seen this week is X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Here’s a picture of Wolverine watching the same film. How do I know? Because he’s wearing an expression that clearly says “are we ever going to find out how Professor Xavier came back from the dead?”

The answer Wolverine, me ol’ mate, is no. You’ll sit there for two hours, like I did, wondering why the writers seem to have ignored the inconvenient fact that they killed off one of the characters in a previous movie, rather than coming up with some sort of story line to explain it. Grrrr.

I’m really going off these superhero movies.

Incase I haven’t put you off and you want a superhero fix the trailer it is below or here.