Category: Film Reviews

SHADOW DANCER

Yesterday saw the arrival of Shadow Dancer, a film featuring Domhnall Gleeson.

Shadow Dancer 2

The plot, as taken from the official movie website reads…..

When single mother Collette McVeigh is arrested for her part in an aborted IRA plot in London, an MI5 officer offers her a choice: lose everything and go to prison or return to Belfast to spy on her own family. With her son’s life in her hands, Collette chooses to place her trust in the MI5 and return home. When her brothers’ secret operation is ambushed, suspicions of an informant are raised and Collette finds both herself and her family in grave danger.

Domhnall plays Connor, one of Collette’s brothers.

Shadow Dancer

It’s a hard hitting drama with a few gut wrenching moments, one in particular with Connor!
It brings home the harsh realities of life in Northern Ireland during the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.
It’s bleak and depressing. There’s not a lot to smile about with this film.
The acting is solid all round.
When the plot begins to thicken during the last quarter of the film, you find yourself rooting for people you really shouldn’t be rooting for and then there is ‘the twist’.
The last five minutes of this film has a twist I did not see coming!

Overall, a good film that keeps your attention.
You can’t beat a good plot twist!!

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR

I’ve tried not to be spoilery so it’s up to you if you want to carry on reading.

So, I went to a Captain America movie marathon last night.
I handled it better than I thought I would. I didn’t fall asleep!!
It was good to see the first two on the big screen again and a nice re-cap before the main event at midnight.
Civil War.

Civil War 1

My reaction?

WOW…. Just WOW!!

So, what do I say without giving anything away!!

First of all, the film is bloody brilliant. Just what you’d expect from a Marvel movie.
Comic book fans are literally going to wet themselves.
All those multiple superhero fights that are beautifully illustrated in various comics come to life extremely effectively.

There may be a lot of characters to contend with but they are all given respectable screen time and jobs to do.

The new Spiderman is going to be brilliant!!
He was given more screen time than I thought he’d get and we really get a good feel for how the re-boot is going to be. I think it’s another one to get excited about.

Ant Man was great and had some of the funniest lines in the movie.
He also had one of the biggest surprises!

Black Panther was done extremely well and will be playing a big part in future Avenger movies.
I’m having a little trouble seeing him in a stand alone movie but then again, I’m not a comic book fan and know absolutely nothing about him….. yet!
If his appearance in Civil War is anything to go by, it’s going to be another Marvel winner.

As for the rest of the team…… still looking good.
There’s right and wrong on both sides of the argument throughout the film and poor Bucky just can’t seem to win!!
I did however, see a lovely little bromance brewing between Bucky and Sam! I hope they continue with this in future movies. They were hilarious together.

All in all, if you’re a Captain America/Marvel fan you won’t be disappointed.
I did come out of it feeling like it should have been called Avengers: Civil War but other than that it was amazing!
It kept me awake until gone 2am so it must have been good!!

MIDNIGHT SPECIAL

I finally got to see Midnight Special last night.
There was a lot of expectation and excitement on my part as this was the first film I’ve seen in the cinema with Adam Driver in since falling in love with him in Force Awakens.

Anyway, I was not disappointed.
It’s a nicely paced drama with a little sci-fi thrown in for good measure.
However, don’t let the sci-fi part put you off seeing it if that’s not your thing

Adam’s part was not huge but integral to the story and as expected he was brilliant. He even gets a couple of the lighter moments that lift the film out of the depths of the depressing.
The ending is bitter sweet and not the happy ending you would normally expect which just adds to the films charm.

My husband is usually pretty good at figuring out plots early in a movie, annoyingly so, but even he said that he didn’t have a clue how this film would play out.

It’s not a blockbuster but it makes you think and sometimes that’s just what you need in a movie.

Roll on Paterson and Silence. 2 more of Adam’s movies also due out this year.

BATMAN VS SUPERMAN

I’m going to give this review a spoiler alert.
I don’t go into great detail about things but if you haven’t seen it yet be warned.

I will admit that when I first found out about this film I was disappointed.

I was disappointed that Henry wasn’t getting a chance to individually build on his Superman with another standalone Superman movie.
I was disappointed in the choice of actor to play Batman.
Even though I’m a Ben Affleck fan, I just didn’t see him as Batman material.
I was disappointed about the introduction of Wonder Woman.
I’ve never been a Wonder Woman fan.
I was even more disappointed in the choice of actor to play Lex Luthor.
I’m not a Jesse Eisenberg fan.

However, the more I found out about it and after seeing the trailers, I was seriously warming to the idea of this film.
I made the mistake of reading a few press reviews after it premiered and this made me start to doubt the film all over again, so when I went to see it in the IMAX today I was a little apprehensive.

I needn’t have worried!
I LOVED IT!!

I’m still loving the fact that Lois is the only one who knows who Clark Kent really is and that they are now in a full blown relationship.
Henry is looking better than ever as Superman and is still coming to terms with his reveal to the world and how they are perceiving him.
He’s still doubting that he’s done the right thing.

BVS 1

What can I say about Ben Affleck.
OMG!
He was perfect.
Seriously one of the best takes on Batman yet.
Take Christian Bale’s Batman, put 10 – 15 years on him and you have Ben Affleck’s Batman.
Mean, moody, psychotic and angry.
He is also looking incredibly good and very fit!

BVS 2

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was surprisingly good and my interest has now piqued for the Wonder Woman movie.
She was elegant as Diana Prince and Kick Ass as Wonder Woman.
I just hope they steer clear of the insanely tacky invisible jet and I hope she can carry a movie on her own.

BVS 3

I had no idea the film was just short of 3 hours long and it needed to be.
This is a set up film for a lot of future DC movies. Wonder Woman(2017), Flash(2018), Aqua Man(2018), Cyborg(2020), Justice League(2017+2019) and Suicide Squad(August this year) are all springboarding from this movie.

That said, apart from Wonder Woman featuring quite heavily and helping to save the day, the other characters only get a small introduction via computer files found by Bruce Wayne and then shown to Diana Prince.
The discussion at the end of the movie about finding them and bringing them together is a complete set up for the Justice League movies.

Ben Affleck can be seen again as Batman later this year when he appears in Suicide Squad and he has got a lot of hard work ahead of him to stay in shape as he has signed up for Justice League parts 1 and 2 and so has Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot.

Now, Jesse Eisenberg.
Mmmm, I think he was the only real disappointment for me.
I found him just a bit too manic and crazy.

BVS 4

I always picture him as more controlled, still batshit crazy but controlled.
Jesse didn’t quite cut the mustard for me, not to say that he spoiled the film, far from it.
The rest of the film was so good, I can forgive this one little indiscretion.

I can also forgive the abundant use of CGI.
It worked.
It worked where the Star Wars prequels failed.

Overall, Batman vs Superman was a brilliant addition to the DC collection.
It took it’s time to tell the story and was careful not to overshadow Batman and Superman with future characters.
Even Wonder Woman was well placed and not over powering.
She worked well with Bruce Wayne and will be a great team mate or even partner to Bruce Wayne in the Justice League movies.

I may just have to go and see it again.

Right, now bring on the Suicide Squad!!

Suicide Squad 8

ENDING THE DAY ON A HIGH

Eddie the Eagle did not disappoint!
I found myself smiling the whole way through, chuckling a lot and laughing out loud occasionally.
For anyone who remembers Eddie the Eagle in the 1988 Winter Olympics and just what a character he was on TV afterwards, the film is actually quite poignant.
For everyone else, it’s certainly an eye opener at what one man can achieve with will and determination and complete balls!
Taron Egerton plays Eddie perfectly and Hugh Jackman shows his comical side once again playing Bronson Peary, the man who reluctantly takes on the challenge of training Eddie.

Eddie the Eagle

We came home to a quiet house and decided to book our next cinema trip.
We have been lucky enough to get tickets for the IMAX presentation of Batman vs Superman on Sunday 27th and this time we are taking Marjorie with us.
I can’t wait to see her reaction to what a difference IMAX makes to a film.

ON THE MEND

So the last few days have been spent catching up on some movies I actually missed at the cinema (yes it does happen!!)

Trumbo
A film based on the biography of Dalton Trumbo, a successful screenwriter for Hollywood who was a member of the Communist Party of the USA. This is not taken well by the anti-soviet entertainment industry figures, most notably Hedda Hopper (Hollywood gossip coulmnist) and John Wayne.

To cut a long story short, countless screenwriters end up being blacklisted so their work cannot be recognised, if they even get work!
Trumbo starts to ghost write screenplays and while blacklisted, 2 of his screenplays actually received oscars.
Roman Holiday – 1954 Oscars. He was finally recognised posthumously for this Oscar in 1993
The Brave One – 1957 Oscars. He received recognistion for this Oscar in 1975.

I vaguely knew about the communist witch hunts but until watching this I didn’t truly understand the impact it had on the lives of so many.
This film only tackles Hollywood but it went so much further.
So, freedom of speech and religion? The US certainly doesn’t practice what it preaches!

Spotlight
A film about the ‘Spolight’ team. The oldest continuously operating newspaper investigative journalist unit in the USA.
It’s the true story of how the team uncovers cases of widespread child sex abuse by Roman Catholic priests in the Boston area.
These stories end up earning the ‘Boston Globe’ the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.
The stories also open up a can of worms and evidence is found worldwide of the hidden practice.

A brilliant film with some amazing performances, most noteably Mark Ruffalo and Michael Keaton.

The Big Short
A film that identifies several of the key players in the creation of the credit default swap market that looked to bet against the collateralized debt obligation bubble and ended up profiting from the financial crisis of 2007-08.
As in the book, it also highlights the eccentric nature of the type of person who bets against the market or goes against the grain.

It took me a while to get my head around what was actually happening but when I did I was stunned that corporations are allowed to play with peoples lives in this way.
The end of the movie leaves you with figures that are hard to believe.

When the dust settled from the collapse,
5 trillian dollars in pension money, real estate value, 401k, savings and bonds had disappeared.
8 million people lost their jobs, 6 million lost their homes, and that was just in the USA!

It then leaves you with a chilling warning.

In 2015, several large banks began selling billions in something called a ‘bespoke tranche opportunity’.
Which, according to Bloomsberg News, is just another name for a collateral debt obligation!

Are they actually being allowed to get away with it again?
What will be the consequences if/when the economy callapses again?

Room
A heartbreaking film about a woman who was kidnapped as a teenager and kept locked away for 7 years and abused. While locked away she has a son who is 5 years old by the start of the movie.
The movie concentrates on their astounding relationship, not only with each other but with ‘room’ and their eventual escape and reintroduction to the world outside room.

A beautiful film and little Jacob Tremblay is definately one to watch!

So, lots of rest for the knee.
A visit to the GP and Occupational Health see me returning to work next week!
Reduced hours for the first couple of weeks to see how the knee handles it and then hopefully back to  normal.

Dharma has had a great week at school and her knee is also improving daily.
Hopefully she’ll be more careful from now on. She really needs to improve her attendence record.

Marjorie is still Marjorie. Working hard for her exams. She has been accepted to both Bedford Sixth Form and Bedford College and is having an interview for Mark Rutherford Sixth Form (although why a student already at Mark Rutherford has to interview to stay on in Sixth Form is beyond me!!)
Anyway, I think she’s hoping for the college option but it all depends on her exam grades!

Murron is doing really well.
She is loving college and yesterday she signed a contract on her first official job!!
It’s a job she’s been holding out for for a while. Bartending at Esquires.
It’s a dream job for Murron. She spends her life at Esquires, meets her friends at Esquires, loves the bands at Esquires and now she has an excuse to practically live there!
From my point of view, it takes a bit of pressure off of me and her Dad financially.
No more pocket money and depending on what she’s earning, hopefully she’ll take on the responsibility of her own phone, we’ll see.

Ian is getting on great with his new position at work.
He’s being challenged again and that was the point of the drastic decision to go ahead with the move even though it meant a temporary drop in wages.

Today, I am doing something a little bit naughty.
I’ve had a bacon and onion roll steaming since 09:30 this morning.
I haven’t made one for years!
They are not the healthiest thing in the world being made of suet pastry and lashings of bacon but they are scrummy!
When my Mum mentioned it yesterday I decided to make one today for a treat.
By 17:00 tonight it would have steamed to perfection!
Can’t wait.

So now that I’ve finished writing this it’s time for a tidy up and then some more movies!!

NOW I’M DEPRESSED

I took some time out this afternoon to go and see The Man From Uncle with Ian.
I’ve been wanting to see this film for weeks and simply haven’t been able to find the right time.
Either I had work commitments, or Ian had work commitments, or there was simply another movie that took priority.
Anyway, today was the day.

I went into it with some trepidation as I was never a huge fan of the original series.
I was, however, a fan of Henry Cavill. I’ve loved him ever since he was King Henry’s right hand man in the Tudors, Charles Brandon and I am so happy he is the new Superman.

Henry Cavill

At 6 foot 1 inches, he is tall and smouldering and has beautiful eyes and a wicked smile and knows how to pile on the muscle when needed.

However, watching The Man From Uncle, I found my attention being pulled away from the smouldering Henry by Armie Hammer.
I’ve never really seen him in anything.
The Lone Ranger just looked so bad I’ve never gone near it.
I may rectify that.
Armie hammer stands a clear 4 inches taller than Superman himself and this kept steeling my attention.
He’s quite a handsome man.

Armie Hammer

On closer inspection of his IMDB profile however, it turns out that I’m old enough to be his mother!!!
HOW DEPRESSING IS THAT!!

I’ll end this blog by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed The Man From Uncle.
I would like to see a sequel but I don’t think it’s been doing very well and may not make it to another outing.
Time will tell.

FANTASTIC 4

This is my quick review of Fantastic 4 and may contain spoilers.
So, if you don’t want to know anything and you carry on reading anyway it’s your own fault.
You have been warned.

We had the afternoon out without the kids today.
We were celebrating our 21st anniversary in the way we both enjoy by seeing a couple of movies and going out for dinner.

Our first film choice was Fantastic Four.

Fantastic Four
I went in with high hopes of another Marvel masterpiece but unfortunately it was far from it.
It lacked everything.
Story, excitement, special effects, the right actors.

I’m afraid that it just did not hit the mark for me.
The characters were simply too young!
They all needed another 5 years minimum to make their characters believable.

The special effects weren’t that special.
A bit of dubious wire work for sue.
Reed’s leaping around using his stretching ability was good but the effect used for him to change his face was exceedingly poor. I’ve seen better in a computer game.
An all CGI Thing wasn’t too bad.
The human torch was done better in the previous two movies.

The story was rushed.
I know it’s a setup movie, but even so, just when we get Doom he’s defeated by the team in record time.
Most of the film is about how the Fantastic 4 become fantastic and how Doom becomes Doom but just as they’re about to get into the swing of things……..BOOM….. Doom is defeated, the world is saved, the team make demands and get a new secret workbase and it’s onto the next movie.
Something else that kind of bugged me too, Reed Richards should be the heart of the team, he never would have run off and left them for a year.

To finish of my disappointment and make it complete, there wasn’t even a clip for anything at the end of the titles!
Very disappointing.

Good job we had a Wagamama’s to cheer us up and the chance for another film to redeem the day.
I desperately wanted to go and see Southpaw again and actually talked Ian into agreeing to it.
He begrudgingly took his seat and said ‘wake me up at the end’. I didn’t care.
However, as the film got going, I noticed he was still paying attention and not snoring.
I have to admit it was actually even better the second time around and when it finished Ian was grinning sheepishly.
He finally admitted he enjoyed it and the words ‘OK, it was actually better than Fantastic 4’ escaped his lips!!

So the day wasn’t a total loss.
My only problem now is that I have to take Marjorie to see Fantastic 4 tomorrow.
I hope she’s not too disappointed.

PHENOMENAL!

I’ve just spent a rainy afternoon sat in the cinema all on my own.
I wanted to see ‘Southpaw’ and nobody was interested in seeing it with me.
I ended up being wedged in between two blondes (I hate to use the word dumb) but they had both obviously been dragged along by their boyfriends and didn’t really want to be there.
I very nearly planted my face in my palm when I heard one of them say ‘how did they come up with the title for this film anyway, it makes no sense!!’
The other one very nearly got her bag of popcorn stuffed over her head as she persisted in shaking it to ‘get the coating all over it’.
But even these two were on the edge of their seats by the end and I think they really enjoyed it.

I felt like Billy no mates, much like Jake Gyllenhaal in this movie as he played Billy Hope, a world champion boxer who loses everything… literally…. and fights to get it all back in more ways than one.

Southpaw 6

Southpaw 5

Apart from being one of the most predictable storylines in history, it was actually a lot better than I expected it to be.
Jake Gyllenhaal transforms himself completely yet again and pulls off an astounding performance.

Southpaw 7
Oona Laurence, who plays Billy’s daughter Hope, gives a heart wrenching performance and was perfectly cast to play opposite Jake as together they have an amazing on screen chemistry.

Southpaw 1

The film itself takes the audience through a barrage of emotions from extreme highs of happiness to rock bottom, gut wrenching sadness.
At one point, shortly after Billy’s daughter slaps him repeated and screams ‘I hate you’ at him while being dragged out of the room, I actually just wanted to give Billy the biggest hug.
There are also moments of humour, most notably with Forest Whitaker who plays ‘Tick’, a boxing trainer who helps Billy get back on top again.

Southpaw 8

Basically, if you like roller coasters, you’ll love Southpaw.

THAT’S BETTER

Well after a rough day yesterday, I woke up this morning feeling like I’d turned the corner.
This cold is finally on it’s way out and I actually feel a little more human again!

So, I decided to make the most of the day and do absolutely nothing except put my feet up and watch films.
It’s seems to have worked so far and as my house is being taken over by Dharma and her friends from tomorrow lunchtime for Dharma’s birthday, I thought I had better make the most of having the living room to myself before being banished to the bedroom.

I’ve been in a bit of Zac Efron mood the last couple of days after catching Charlie St Cloud, so I decided to catch a couple of his other movies on Amazon Prime that I hadn’t seen before.
The first one was ‘That Awkward Moment’

awkward 1
Not the best film ever made but I must admit it had a scene that made me laugh like I haven’t laughed in a long time.
It involved viagra and the need to pee horizontally!!
Long story, you have to see it to appreciate it.
Needless to say if you Google ‘Zac Efron peeing horizontally’ you’ll get the idea!!
Posting the image here will just need too much explaining!!!

The second one was ‘The Lucky One’

the lucky one 2
This was a much better film.
Zac plays a marine who travels to Louisiana after serving three tours in Iraq to search for the unknown woman he believes was his good luck charm during the war.

the lucky one

Basically he finds a photo of her after a raid one morning and as he goes to pick it up a missile strikes where he had been sitting.
He tries to find the owner of the photo with no luck so he carries it and he continues to survive in situations he really shouldn’t.
He makes it his mission to find ‘his guardian angel’ when he gets home to thank her but ends up falling in love with her!!
There’s more to the story but that’s the gist of it.
It’s a lovely film and I think I will be adding it to my DVD collection ASAP.

Right, another movie before bed or do I take a look at the new Netflix exclusive Sense8 that was released today?