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Showing posts from 2018

A Simple Favour ★★ ½ ☆☆ | Book Review

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Summary
Emily asks for one favour from her friend, Stephanie... Can she pick up her son Nicky from school... and she does, but Emily doesn't come to pick him up. As the search for her continues it becomes evident to Stephanie that her friend wasn't all she appeared to be.

Review
I'm going to make a sincere effort to save movie comparisons for later and just focus on the book for now. I will say that the reason I got the book was because I saw the film and was intrigued to read the source material. I also listened to this with Whispersync.

The story is told from four perspectives in the book: Stephanie, Stephanie's blog, Emily and Sean. The first half being Stephanie, before switching to Emily and finishing with a mix of all of them. I enjoyed the mix of first person narratives and it worked particularly well with the audio version.

As a whole the book was very simple, and by that I mean it was very easy to listen to. Lots of people are comparing the story line idea (a…

The Little Stranger ★★ ½ ☆☆ | Movie Review

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Synopsis
When visiting a patient at the nearby manor Dr Faraday encounters a little piece of his past and something altogether unexplainable.


Review
I can't say that this is a horror. It's a little bit creepy. It's also somehow engaging, despite it not having that horror aspect you're expecting.

Domhnall Gleeson is an interesting leading actor. He plays the roll well and it feels fitting for the period. But for me Will Poulter really was the best performance. Entirely believable and quite possibly the best thing I've seen him do. I can't say that I was particularly excited about anyone else in this.

The music, or the lack thereof, is very atmospheric. It's really noticable and brings that creepy sense just when it's needed. The visuals get the atmosphere just right too. There's a fantastic slightly out of focus (lets call it squiggly feeling) shot that was used when the supernatural was in the air and it worked intriguingly well.

At the time of wri…

A Simple Favour ★★★ ½ ☆ | Movie Review

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Synopsis
Stephanie and Emily become unlikely friends thanks to their sons. But when Emily goes missing Stephanie discovers that she doesn't really know anything about her at all.


Review
Fair warning, if you see this film you will want Blake Lively to be your lover by the end of the it.

There's no denying that this is an entertaining film. There's also no denying that it's predictable. Even without knowing the plot you can basically guess the way it's going to progress.

Blake Lively is amazing though. I honestly thought I'd never seen her in anything, but of course she's been in Green Lantern and Accepted. The latter being a favourite and the former... well, I thought Deadpool had taken care of that one for us... oh well. She does a great job of her role in this one. You can see her devious nature in the way she interacts with everyone and she really does improve the scenes she's in.

I love Anna Kendrick, she's funny and very talented but I wasn'…

The House With A Clock In Its Walls ★★★ ½ ☆ | Movie Review

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Synopsis
Lewis is sent off to live with his Uncle after the tragic death of his parents. The spooky house holds lots of secrets, including a mysterious ticking sound in the walls. The unlikely trio of Lewis, his Uncle Jonathan and their neighbour Mrs Zimmerman, must work out how to stop the hidden clock before it destroys the world.


Review (minor spoiler at the end of the review)
This isn't a bad film all in all, it certainly fills a more traditional (?) magical gap in recent releases.
The best thing about The House With A Clock In Its Walls is definitely Cate Blanchett, she plays eccentric beautifully in this one and I don't think there were any of her scenes that I wasn't fond of. She bounces well with Jack Black, and their little moments of bickering are amusing and express their playful friendship really well.
Jack Black is very, well, Jack Black in this. He's a good comedic actor, but his roles are always quite similar in ways. That's not a negative thing as …

Superfly ★★ ½ ☆☆ | Movie Review

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Synopsis
I had to look this up because for a significant portion of the film I had no idea what was going on.

Priest has his eye on very, very, early retirement from the drug game. He lives his life under the radar and likes his colleagues to do the same. But when he goes for the last big score greed and rivalries come to a head and put everything in jeopardy.


Review
This is a remake of Super Fly from 1972, not one I've seen, after seeing this I don't think I'll bother.

I can't say that any of the acting really stood out over the rest. It's not really my genre/subject matter, but everything did feel rather stereotypical. It was an interesting story, but for me the negatives outweighed the positives.

The style of the first and only real fight scene of the whole film was very good, if a little cheesy. It hit the spot for action but it didn't feel like any of the rest of the movie and stuck out a little for me. Perhaps because it's one of the few times we see…

American Animals ★★★ ½ ☆ | Movie Review

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Synopsis
Life must have more to it than this. Four students pool their talents to steal a collection of rare and expensive books.


Review
I'm always a little worried when you get documentary with motion picture, it gives me flashes of terrible Crime Watch style recreations. But watching the blend between the real and the fictional in American Animals was a pleasure. I felt like it drew just the right balance. You got less real life as the film progressed until the conclusion and that then brings back the reality of what happened.

We all know that moment when you tell a story with a friend and there's that pause... wait... that's not how that happened, is it? The film even accounts for that. It deals with the slight uncertainties in a fun way by breaking the... well, I'm not sure what wall it's actually breaking when it's the real person talking to his fictional self.

Each part was played really well, and everyone worked in harmony throughout the whole film. I w…

The Predator ★★★★★ | Movie Review

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Synopsis
When an alien craft falls to Earth Quinn McKenna is the only remaining witness from his team. He's being sold down the river to cover it up. But when the Predator escapes and is on the hunt for it's missing technology he knows where it's going, and he needs to get there before it does.

Review
I went into this expecting some good action and some decent graphics. I did not expect to find so much comedy. This was a real treat to watch.
There's just something about "seeing" The Predator when he's invisible that really hits the spot. It gets you on the edge of the seat and fills you with just the right sort of anxiety. Had someone tapped me on the shoulder during the first time that happened in the film I probably would have swung for them while wailing like a banshee.
Lots of actors that you'd recognise from other things and everyone has their own little quirk that works well together in the scenes. It didn't feel like any of the talent was …

Mile 22 ★★ ½ ☆☆ | *SPOILER FILLED* Movie Review

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Synopsis
Silva's tactical unit are tasked with getting an asset off foreign soil so that they can unlock a hard drive containing information on the location of missing radioactive isotopes.


Review
With a run time of 1 hour 34 minutes, and such a fast flowing story line, you certainly don't feel like you're bored at any point during Mile 22. There were plenty of times where I was confused, and a couple where I was amused, but never bored.

Overall the story is a good one and I felt like the twists and turns come in just the right places. But there's no denying that this could have been a 4/5 star film for me had there been some differences.

The opening titles set about cataloging Silva's (Mark Wahlberg) personal history so that we know what sort of person he is and how he's ended up at the head of this team. While it actually worked well I'm unsure of why it was needed at all. Most of the traits that were being shown are ones that frequently pop up in movies…

Puzzle ★★★★★ | Movie Review

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Synopsis
Agnes has an ordinary life, an unfulfilling life. But she finds a passion for puzzles when she opens a birthday present from her Aunt that leads her on a journey that will change her life.

Review
Goldilocks... It's the only way I can think to describe this film. It's not too short or too long, it's just right. It's a simple tale and yet thought provoking. Everything about it is just right.

A movie review isn't really the right place to go into those thought provoking moments, but everything is done so well that you really do identify with Agnes and what is happening in her life.

The one thing I didn't like about this film was the ending... it's not even really that I didn't like it, it's just not where I wanted the film to go. It was still a perfect conclusion to the film.

Both Kelly Macdonald and Irrfan Khan are excellent in Puzzle. Seeing them develop throughout the film was a pleasure to watch.

I very much enjoyed this film, even though…

Yardie ★★ ½ ☆☆ | Movie Review

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Synopsis
When D's brother is murdered he's taken in by King Fox, a Kingston Don and music producer. Never being able to let his brother go, D has some anger issues that lead him into trouble. To help him lay low for a while King Fox sends him to London with a shipment for London gangster, Rico. With his childhood sweetheart and their daughter living in London, he seeks them out and starts to enjoy the family life. But when he double crosses Rico and then discovered the man who killed his brother he's got some hard choices to make.

Review
This was the first film in quite some time that has had a trailer that accurately portrayed what you ended up viewing. So often I find I'm confused about something or, surprisingly, end up wondering where a clip from the trailer has actually gone during the film.

Yardie was a good watch. But... I don't really know. I honestly wish I knew what I didn't like about it, perhaps it's more accurate to say that I can't actuall…

King Of Thieves - Unlimited Screening ★★☆☆☆* | Movie Review

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Synopsis
Brian has promised his late wife that he'll stay on the straight and narrow, but when his young friend Basil brings him an opportunity it's difficult not to get the band back together.

Review
I'd been on the fence about this one. The trailer King Of Thieves looked both good and bad in equal measures. Some of the clips they used weren't even particularly good when you saw them in the context of the whole films so I have no idea how they made it into such an important cut. Since seeing the Unlimited Screening I've seen the second trailer that is actually much better than the first. It's probably a god send that I didn't see it before the film otherwise I think I'd have been even more disappointed.

The film runs at a surprisingly short 1 hour 48 minutes, but don't worry, it feels like a lot longer than that. At one point I checked my phone for the time and nearly audibly swore (which probably would have been drowned out by the swearing of the…

Movies Of 2018 - August Recapped!

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This month started with the promise of 23 new films, but you know how that goes! I did manage to get 16 new releases in this month though, as well as 6 re-watches and another film at the place that must not be named.

I'm over on Letterboxd as well now where you can see my reviews as they happen, but if you come for my awesome waffling banter then this is definitely the place to catch that still! (Please stay for the waffling!)
Ant-Man And The Wasp 3D ★★★★★
Scott, Ant-Man, is under house arrest after breaking the accords and running amok in Germany. He's three days shy of getting his ankle monitor taken off and going out into the big wide world again when, while soaking in the tub, he has a vision. He's back floating through the Quantum Realm again, and suddenly he's Janet Van Dyne circa her disappearance.

Retrieving a mobile phone he's hidden in the wall he calls Hank Pym and leaves him a message. Soon our housebound hero is waking up in a car after being tranquil…

Upgrade ★★★★ ½ | Movie Review

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Synopsis
After an unexpected and surprising crash when their self-driving car goes rogue, Grey is left a paraplegic after seeing his wife murdered. He's almost given up on everything, until a once in a lifetime opportunity comes knocking on his door.

Review
I'd go classifying Upgrade as sci-fi action... for some reason it also has a genre of horror on IMDb. Sure it's a bit gory, but with everything that happens in it I wouldn't have lumped it in there as well. It briefly gave me pause to ponder where the lines of classification are... but that way madness lies!

This one isn't for the faint hearted. There's quite a lot of violence in it. There was only one bit that I thought "that was a bit much", but even then it was more that I reacted to it with an intake of breath and a slight wince before laughing... because it was a tad ridiculous. The guy in the row behind me did the same, but his girlfriend wasn't overly impressed.

I actually found Grey…

Crazy Rich Asians ★★★★ ½ | Movie Review

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Synopsis
Rachel and her boyfriend are getting quite serious, so when Nick invites her to come home with him for a wedding, it's a big deal... especially considering they're some of these Crazy Rich Asians you keep hearing about.


Review
I was treated to this as an Unlimited Screening at Cineworld, mixing it up with a Saturday night viewing. Just a pre-warning, there is a very minor spoiler below, it's really more of a notice to watch out for something in the film, but if you want to avoid it then you can go over to Letterboxd (link can be found in the left hand menu) and read the review with that omitted.

We have been needing this film for quite some time. It is everything a classic rom-com should be and it feels like we haven't had one of this caliber in quite a while. It has all the ups and downs you want, the emotion and the humour, the serious and the down right ridiculous.

I did wonder if I would feel slightly more disconnected from the film because of the cultura…

A Grand Day Out At The Cinema

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Last week Twitter was awash with debate about what would make more people go to the cinemas over staying home. For a while I had been pondering a post about similar things so I went back to it and did a little mash-up of the two.

I don't know anyone that's perfectly happy with anything, so when asked the question there were a lot of different suggestions, some that clearly showed that people don't understand the differences between cinemas and movie studios, but some showed some promise.

Photo by Karen Zhao on Unsplash
What the community wants
There were some definite points of agreement:
Prices
A ticket to the movies is not cheap. Prices have gone up since I moved here, and are significantly higher than the £2.70 I remember paying when I was going in my youth. (Jeez how old am I, right?!)
I had a look around. Everyman £13.80Showcase £11.30Cineworld £10.90 (£17.90 per month Unlimited membership, 12 months)Watershed £10Odeon £5.75 (£17.99 per month Limitless membership, 12 mon…

Movies Of 2018 - July Recapped!

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July, the month of heatwaves and extortionately high electricity bills that we thought we were over now the heating was off. But on the plus side... those cinema screens are air conditioned! The listings felt a little light this month but I still managed to get more than my fair share of films in.

The First Purge ★★★★☆
After the rise of a third political party, the New Founding Fathers of America, an experiment is conducted, no laws for 12 hours on Staten Island. No one must stay during the experiment yet there is $5,000 for anyone who does.

Colour me pleasantly surprised by this one. I'd never really fancied the others, and honestly, still not bothered with them. But I wouldn't mind seeing this one again. I think it's mainly the idea of the origin story that interested me more, and it doesn't disappoint on that for me.

It showed something more than just a horror action flick. There were moments of community and loyalty, and it showed that even a bad guy can see the d…