Wednesday, 30 August 2017

THE LOST CITY OF Z

At the dawn of the 20th century, British explorer Percy Fawcett journeys into the Amazon, where he discovers evidence of a previously unknown, advanced civilisation that may have once inhabited the region. Despite being ridiculed by the scientific establishment, which views indigenous populations as savages, the determined Fawcett, supported by his devoted wife, son, and aide-de-camp, returns to his beloved jungle in an attempt to prove his case.

An interesting story about an interesting man who sacrificed everything for his obsession. The cinematography and acting are good and the indigenous people are excellent. But it is way too long. Rather than feeling exciting and engaging, it feels more like a plodding telling of the facts. It could have been a lot better than it is.


Friday, 25 August 2017

AMERICAN MADE

The true story of pilot Barry Seal, who transported contraband for the CIA and the Medellin cartel in the 1980s.

The fact that this movie is based on a true story makes it intriguing and worth watching even if it might not be completely true to the facts (I’ve no way of telling). Tom Cruise does a very watchable job of the main character, Barry Seal, and there are some pretty incredible moments of high tension. It felt a bit long and there was perhaps a bit too much of Seal flying his plane back and forth. Worth seeing, though.


MADAME

Adding a little spice to a waning marriage, Anne and Bob, a wealthy and well-connected American couple, move into a manor house in romantic Paris. While preparing a particularly luxurious dinner for sophisticated international friends, our hostess discovers there are 13 guests. Panic-stricken, Anne insists her loyal maid Maria disguise herself as a mysterious Spanish noble woman to even out the numbers. But a little too much wine and some playful chat lead Maria to accidentally endear herself to a dandy British art broker. Their budding romance will have Anne chasing her maid around Paris and finally plotting to destroy this most unexpected and joyous love affair.

Enjoyed the first half of this movie — it’s witty and fun. But about two thirds in, it loses its way and is ultimately unsatisfying. Acting is good and the cinematography of Paris is excellent. It is a shame the great script writing of the first half of the movie isn’t sustained all the way through. Overall, it’s ok — but that’s all.


Wednesday, 23 August 2017

THE DARK TOWER

The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain, has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter O'Dim, also known as the Man in Black, determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together. With the fate of the worlds at stake, good and evil will collide in the ultimate battle as only Roland can defend the Tower from the Man in Black.

I didn’t mind this action fantasy based on a series of books by Stephen King (which I haven’t read but understand are much better than this movie). Matthew McConaughey, Idris Alba (who is very cool), and Tom Taylor all put in reasonable performances. There’s some great visual effects but there’s little emotion or substantial character development. It’s pretty clich├ęd stuff but ok for a bit of escapism.


Monday, 21 August 2017

LOGAN LUCKY

Trying to reverse a family curse, brothers Jimmy and Clyde Logan set out to execute an elaborate robbery during the legendary Coca-Cola 600 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Dry humour and a plodding script. I was pretty bored with this until, at the end, I looked back to see how clever the plot actually was. It was hard work getting there, though.


Saturday, 19 August 2017

VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS

In the 28th century, Valerian and Laureline are special operatives charged with keeping order throughout the human territories. On assignment from the Minister of Defence, the two undertake a mission to Alpha, an ever-expanding metropolis where species from across the universe have converged over centuries to share knowledge, intelligence, and cultures. At the centre of Alpha is a mysterious dark force which threatens the peaceful existence of the City of a Thousand Planets, and Valerian and Laureline must race to identify the menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe.

Entertaining enough with plenty of spectacular special effects, extraordinary creatures, and exciting set pieces. Unfortunately,  the plot is pretty thin and it is tonally much the same all the way through. The chemistry between the two leads isn’t there. Cara Delevingne (who plays Laureline) puts in a slightly better performance than Dane DeHaan (who plays Valerian). Overall, beautiful but not completely satisfying.


Sunday, 13 August 2017

WIND RIVER

An FBI agent teams with a town's veteran game tracker to investigate a murder that occurred on a Native American reservation.

I really enjoyed this intelligent, crime mystery. Renner and Olsen make a good partnership as they try to solve the mystery of a young Native American girl who has gone missing, trying to deal with the people living in an isolated, dead end community and the inhospitable landscape. If you like Scandinavian-style crime, you’ll like this one. Chilling.


Saturday, 12 August 2017

THE BIG SICK

Pakistan-born comedian Kumail Nanjiani and grad student Emily Gordon fall in love but struggle as their cultures clash. When Emily contracts a mysterious illness, Kumail finds himself forced to face her feisty parents, his family's expectations, and his true feelings.

One of the better romantic comedies to hit our screens in recent times. Wasn’t has hard-edged as I think it could have been, but it shows that there’s some life left in this genre. Kumail Nanjiani plays himself and Zoe Kazan, who plays Emily Gordon, the love interest, are both great as they navigate their cross-cultural relationship that causes ripples of tension throughout Kumail’s family. Ray Romano brings his brilliant comedic sensibilities as the father of Emily and he and Kumail work well off of each other. This is a charming movie that will have wide appeal and, the fact that it a true story, makes it even more appealing. A much better take on a “meet the parents moment” than that “other” one.


Wednesday, 9 August 2017

ATOMIC BLONDE



An undercover MI6 agent is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents.
James Bond, eat your heart out! Charlize Theron is thoroughly entertaining as Lorraine Broughton, the atomic blonde of the title. Theron has incredible screen presence and is completely believable in a highly physical role fighting baddies. It's a very stylish movie, very violent (think John Wick), superb '80s soundtrack, with top-notch effects and action sequences (Therone does her own stunts, apparently). The fight scenes actually look real! Lorraine is better than Bond - she doesn't need clever gadgets to get by. She's tough and beautiful. David Leitch, who directs ATOMIC BLONDE, was the co-director of the first John Wick movie and it shows here. (It also serves as a warning for those who are averse to violence in their movies.) The spy story is pretty simplistic but with stunning visuals and acting, it is a totally engaging piece of fun entertainment. Let's hope this atomic blonde is back for more soon!




Tuesday, 8 August 2017

A GHOST STORY

Recently deceased, a white-sheeted ghost returns to his suburban home to console his bereft wife, only to find that in his spectral state he has become unstuck in time, forced to watch passively as the life he knew and the woman he loves slowly slip away.

Had potential but too clever for its own good. Very repetitious and having a person walking around with a sheet over their head for the whole movie was a bit tedious. Didn’t do it for me.