Tuesday, 15 May 2018

CATCH-UP RATINGS

|Every so often, I get a bit behind in reviewing movies I’ve seen. So, here are my star ratings for a few recent movies.|

THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY - A writer forms an unexpected bond with the residents of Guernsey Island in the aftermath of World War II, when she decides to write a book about their experiences during the war. ****

LOVELESS (Nelyubov) - Zhenya and Boris are going through a vicious divorce marked by resentment, frustration and recriminations. Already embarking on new lives, each with a new partner, they are impatient to start again, to turn the page – even if it means threatening to abandon their 12-year-old son Alyosha. Until, after witnessing one of their fights, Alyosha disappears... ***

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR - As the Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, a new danger has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos. A despot of intergalactic infamy, his goal is to collect all six Infinity Stones, artefacts of unimaginable power, and use them to inflict his twisted will on all of reality. Everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment - the fate of Earth and existence itself has never been more uncertain. ****

LAST FLAG FLYING - Thirty years after serving together in the Vietnam War, Larry "Doc" Shepherd, Sal Nealon and the Rev. Richard Mueller reunite for a different type of mission: to bury Doc's son, a young Marine killed in Iraq. Forgoing burial at Arlington National Cemetery, Doc and his old buddies take the casket on a bittersweet trip up the coast to New Hampshire. Along the way, the three men find themselves reminiscing and coming to terms with the shared memories of a war that continues to shape their lives. ***½

UNSANE - A young woman is involuntarily committed to a mental institution, where she is confronted by her greatest fear--but is it real or a product of her delusion? ***½

See you at the movies!

Movie descriptions are from IMDB or TMDB unless otherwise stated.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

TULLY

Marlo, a mother of three including a newborn, is gifted a night nanny by her brother. Hesitant to the extravagance at first, Marlo comes to form a bond with the thoughtful, surprising, and sometimes challenging nanny named Tully.

Excellent movie. Charlize Theron is superb as the mum. She enters so fully into her roles that she is a pleasure to watch. The story is humorous and serious and, as far as I can tell, a pretty realistic representation of the frantic and exhausting experience of mothering. The script is intelligent, honest, and raw. Try to avoid anyone telling you about the ending — go into this knowing as little as possible. An enjoyable movie.


Monday, 7 May 2018

BROKEN

Logan, an ex-gang leader, has left the gang life to raise his daughter Tori. But when Tori is murdered by an opposing gang in town, Logan must choose forgiveness or revenge.

There's probably a good story here about forgiveness. But the movie is heavy-handed, preachy, cliched, and poorly acted. The score is overly heavy. The dialogue is terrible. The whole thing feels completely inauthentic. After a while, it becomes obvious that this is a Christian film made for evangelical believers that has hidden its agenda in its slick marketing campaign. The best thing about the movie is the beautiful landscapes of New Zealand. It's a sanitised movie clearly made for believers who want a "nice" movie that doesn't confront or provoke deep thinking. Give it a miss.


Monday, 30 April 2018

LOVELESS (Nelyubov)

Zhenya and Boris are going through a vicious divorce marked by resentment, frustration and recriminations. Already embarking on new lives, each with a new partner, they are impatient to start again, to turn the page – even if it means threatening to abandon their 12-year-old son Alyosha. Until, after witnessing one of their fights, Alyosha disappears...
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This Russian movie had a great premise. The actors are good. It’s a well-made movie. There’s a very interesting soundtrack. The problem is that it’ so slow and didn’t have the emotional tension I was expecting.


Thursday, 19 April 2018

THE PARTY

Various individuals think they’re coming together for a party in a private home, but a series of revelations results in a huge crisis that throws their belief systems – and their values – into total disarray.

A tightly written chamber piece that unfolds with unexpected revelations with an old-fashioned feel about it. The cast obviously enjoyed making this but the whole thing comes across like a stage production and felt a bit artificial. Scathingly satirical commentary on the middle class traversing a wide range of topics but, overall, doesn’t rise above average.


Sunday, 15 April 2018

CATCH-UP RATINGS

Every so often, I get a bit behind in reviewing movies I’ve seen. So, here are my star ratings for a few recent movies.

THE OTHER SIDE OF HOPE - A poker-playing restaurateur and former traveling salesman befriends a group of refugees newly arrived to Finland. ***½

PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING - Jake Pentecost, son of Stacker Pentecost, reunites with Mako Mori to lead a new generation of Jaeger pilots, including rival Lambert and 15-year-old hacker Amara, against a new Kaiju threat. **½

THE DEATH OF STALIN - Follows the Soviet dictator's last days and depicts the chaos of the regime after his death. ***½

EARLY MAN - Set at the dawn of time, when prehistoric creatures and woolly mammoths roamed the earth, Early Man tells the story of Dug, along with sidekick Hognob as they unite his tribe against a mighty enemy Lord Nooth and his Bronze Age City to save their home. ***½

PETER RABBIT - Feature adaptation of Beatrix Potter's classic tale of a rebellious rabbit trying to sneak into a farmer's vegetable garden. ***½

See you at the movies!

Movie descriptions are from IMDB or TMDB unless otherwise stated.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

BLOCKERS

When three parents discover their daughters’ pact to lose their virginity at prom, they launch a covert one-night operation to stop the teens from sealing the deal.

It’s fun. One of the better teen-oriented comedies around. And the message that women can make decisions about sex themselves without being over-parented, and can be empowered to do so, is a good one. Acting is strong and the script is funny. Be prepared for a few gross bodily fluid jokes, though. All in all, an enjoyable romp.