at the flicks - it's a filmy thing

Eye in the Sky

by pj 0 Comments
Eye in the Sky
© 2016 Moonlighting Films − All right reserved.

Eye in the Sky

Welcome to the new front line

20161 h 42 min
Overview

A military officer in command of a drone operation to capture terrorists in Kenya sees her mission escalate from “capture” to “kill” just as a nine-year old girl enters the kill zone.

Metadata
Director Gavin Hood
Runtime 1 h 42 min
Release Date 11 March 2016
Details
Movie Status
Movie Rating Excellent
Images

helenmirren

It’s been a while since I went to see this film but I’m still thinking about it.

A modern morality tale, I was initially drawn to the spectacle of awesome technology. Wow, a drone in an artificial flying beetle that could spy in the most inhospitable places, all controlled by a smartphone with an attached joystick. My inner geek started dancing!

However, this intense and thoughtful film quickly shifted the focus to the ethics of modern drone warfare with the attendant impossible questions. The ability to kill people from a cosy office complete with tea and biscuits was fully explored with cowardly politicians desperate to climb aboard the McPasstheBuckyface.

Excellent performances from Helen Mirren as the hard bitten colonel in charge of the operation to capture a group of terrorists in Nairobi and the late Alan Rickman as lieutenant general leading the deliberations in a cosy government office in London.

Call me cynical but I was slightly unconvinced by the emotion of the drone ‘pilot’ (Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul). Was this a device to make the Americans appear more sympathetic? I also felt there was an attempt at manipulation when the little girl at the centre of the story was shown to belong to a family that was more ‘western’ than her peers. I felt uncomfortable and insulted. Can we really only feel sympathy if the victim is more like us?

Overall a brilliant, thought-provoking film that worked in the ‘action-adventure’ genre, nail-bitingly tense but also a haunting examination of modern warfare.

2 views

The Huntsman – Winter’s War

by pj 0 Comments
The Huntsman – Winter’s War
© 2016 Universal Pictures − All right reserved.

The Huntsman Winter's War

20161 h 54 min
Overview

As two evil sisters prepare to conquer the land, two renegades - Eric the Huntsman - who previously aided Snow White in defeating Ravenna, and his forbidden lover, Sara, set out to stop them.

Metadata
Runtime 1 h 54 min
Release Date 6 April 2016
Details
Movie Status
Movie Rating Not bad
Images

Let’s get the accents out of the way.   One of my filmic pet hates is dodgy accents.   I’m thinking Tom Cruise in Far and Away and Julia Roberts in Mary Reilly.  I’m surprised that with all the expertise employed to create some of the most technologically advanced films ever we still struggle to either get the actor some dedicated voice coaching or if that’s not successful maybe employ someone who has the ability to do the accent for real, you know, like a native of England, Scotland or Ireland.  I wonder if film producers/directors believe that their star has an authentic accent or they decide it’s not that important.  It really IS important because it can become completely distracting and ruin a film for many of us.  Back to The Huntsman and I have to admit I didn’t see the first film in this franchise so Chris Hemsworth’s wandering accent came as a surprise. Scottish by way of Ireland and Northern England..just weird!

Accents to one side I did enjoy the spectacle of this film (I splashed out the £1.60 over and above my unlimited ticket to watch it in 3D) – the effects were stunning as were the costumes and makeup.  Casting Sheridan Smith and Rob Brydon as dwarves seems crazy and controversial, visually it worked really well and their humour and obvious chemistry added a light touch, but ethically I’m not so sure.  Did they really paste their heads on to actors with dwarfism?  Hmm. .  The storyline itself left me confused – there were obvious nods to the earlier movie so maybe it’s my fault for not watching the films in order.  Overall it was like a mash up of The Snow Queen, Frozen, Game of Thrones and a touch of Lord of the Rings but none the worse for that.  Fantasy eye candy.

 

 

Charlize Theron as The Evil Queen, Ravenna

1 view

Eddie the Eagle

by pj 0 Comments
Eddie the Eagle
© − All right reserved.

Eddie the Eagle

Win or lose, always aim high

20161 h 45 min
Overview

Inspired by true events, Eddie the Eagle is a feel-good story about Michael "Eddie" Edwards (Taron Egerton), an unlikely but courageous British ski-jumper who never stopped believing in himself - even as an entire nation was counting him out. With the help of a rebellious and charismatic coach (played by Hugh Jackman), Eddie takes on the establishment and wins the hearts of sports fans around the world by making an improbable and historic showing at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.

Metadata
Director Dexter Fletcher
Runtime 1 h 45 min
Release Date 26 February 2016
Details
Movie Status
Movie Rating Good
Images

This film is about as British as they come, celebrating our love for the underdog in every shape and form.  The unexpected hero of the real-life story is Michael Edwards (played by Taron Egerton), a determined ski-jumper with little chance of succeeding in his dream of winning a gold medal at the Olympics.  However his courage at having a go, even though he was dismissed and criticised by many of those around him is as heart warming as it is inspirational.  Keep trying even if you’re mocked, is the message that comes through loud and clear.   With his unconventional training methods and coach (played by Hugh Jackman) redefining how we measure success this is the embodiment of a ‘feel good’ movie.  There’s even a little cameo from Christopher Walken (in a winter wonderland!).  What’s not to love?

People who loved this movie also loved – Billy Elliot.

Hugh Jackman as Bronson Peary

1 view

Batman vs Superman

by pj 0 Comments
Batman vs Superman
© 2016 Warner Bros. Pictures − All right reserved.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

20162 h 31 min
Overview

Fearing the actions of a god-like Super Hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.

Metadata
Director Zack Snyder
Runtime 2 h 31 min
Release Date 23 March 2016
Details
Movie Status
Movie Rating Average
Images
No images were imported for this movie.

I thought I must have missed some of the plot lines – did I momentarily fall asleep or were they so vague and contrived the story just seemed a mess?  And I was confused – I thought Superman and Batman were both the good guys.  I did enjoy the brooding intensity of Ben Affleck’s Batman, compared to the rather stilted  performance by Henry Cavill as Superman but this bloated film had me checking my watch at regular intervals and I did consider walking out at one point, I was bored!  More positively the last 30 minutes were lively and enjoyable and it was refreshing to see the lovely Holly Hunter not botox’d up to the eyeballs, but overall poor script and way too long!

0 views

10 Cloverfield Lane

by pj 2 Comments
10 Cloverfield Lane
© − All right reserved.

10 Cloverfield Lane

Monsters come in many forms.

20161 h 45 min
Overview

Waking up from a car accident, a young woman finds herself in the basement of a man who says he's saved her life from a chemical attack that has left the outside uninhabitable.

Metadata
Director Dan Trachtenberg
Runtime 1 h 45 min
Release Date 9 March 2016
Details
Movie Status
Movie Rating Very good
Images

I somehow missed the original, ‘found footage’ film, Cloverfield and I hadn’t read any reviews at all before I went to see 10 Cloverfield Lane so had no idea what to expect. The story revolves around Howard (the fabulous John Goodman), an American prepper who has been getting ready for any and all doomsday scenarios for years. His well stocked underground bunker is decorated like a bizarre ‘Happy Days’ set complete with 50s style juke box. He’s not alone down there.  There is also the girl he seemingly rescued from a car accident, Michelle and Emmett, a neighbour who asked to be let in when the ‘incident’ began.   We are led a merry dance as we try to decide between truth and lies and Goodman is excellently menacing and avuncular in equal measure. The claustrophobia and tension is ramped to  fever pitch and the ending is stunning. I only had a couple of reservations, first that ending for me was unexpected and disappointing..it wasn’t the ending I wanted!! Not sure that’s a legitimate reason to pout but I did!  Secondly, and this is huge (SPOILER ALERT) ….the shower curtain, the damn shower curtain, surely Howard would have missed it???

 

Don't mess with Howard!

Don’t mess with Howard!

4 views

Hail Caesar

by pj 0 Comments
Hail Caesar
© 2016 Universal Pictures − All right reserved.

Hail, Caesar!

Lights. Camera. Abduction.

20161 h 46 min
Overview

Tells the comedic tale of Eddie Mannix, a fixer who worked for the Hollywood studios in the 1950s. The story finds him at work when a star mysteriously disappears in the middle of filming.

Metadata
Director Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Runtime 1 h 46 min
Release Date 5 February 2016
Details
Movie Status
Movie Rating Average
Images

‘Would that it were so simple’ a line the young heartthrob Hobie Doyle is forced to repeat in the Coen brothers comedic homage to Hollywood.  I could empathise.  I came away wondering if there was a hidden storyline that was so complex it went completely over my head.  On the plus side it was beautifully stylish, sumptuous even and every actor surpassed in their portrayal of the world of movies in the 1950s.  However each role seemed like a cameo that really had little connection to the whole.  It was more pretty than plot.   There were a few funny lines but, on the whole, I came away bemused.

0 views

Hangmen

by pj 0 Comments
Hangmen

Overview

Metadata
Director
Runtime
Release Date
Details
Movie Status
Movie Rating Excellent
Images
No images were imported for this movie.
Actors
Starring: —

Okay this wasn’t a film but the National Theatre production of Hangmen, the Martin McDonagh play beamed live to Cineworld theatres.  This was the first time I’d ever been to see a play at the cinema and I wasn’t disappointed.  The gruesome opening hanging scene had me worried for the actor as he disappeared through the trap door but I soon became immersed in the story.  Set for most part in a smoky Oldham pub on the day that hanging was abolished in 1965, we find the landlord is Britain’s ‘2nd best hangman’ Harry Wade, played by the excellent David Morrissey.  We were steeped in an atmosphere of casual racism, sexism and everything ism accurately depicting 1960’s Britain.   Almost everyone smoked, alcoholism wasn’t really a ‘thing’ and ‘simpletons’ were to be mocked – it wasn’t pretty era despite the rose coloured, backward glancing at Beatlemania and Twiggy.  In the midst of the bar room banter an interloper from the south arrives, the menacing Mooney, played adeptly by Johnny Flynn and things begin to get nasty.  There were some great one-liners and the competitive relationship between the more famous hangman, Albert Pierrepoint and Wade was unexpected and hilarious.  Bronwyn James was fabulous as Wade’s 15 year old daughter, Shirley, both vulnerable and fiesty.  Her relationship with her parents was a demonstration of last century parenting strategies with teenagers in trouble for being ‘moody’.    Sharp, intelligent writing which is sadly absent from some of the films I’ve seen recently.

0 views

Grimsby

by pj 0 Comments
Grimsby
© − All right reserved.

Grimsby

Behind every hero is an embarrassing sibling

20161 h 22 min
Overview

Wrongfully accused and on the run, a top MI6 assassin joins forces with his long-lost, football hooligan brother to save the world from a sinister plot.

Metadata
Director Louis Leterrier
Runtime 1 h 22 min
Release Date 24 February 2016
Details
Movie Status
Movie Rating Very bad
Images
No images were imported for this movie.

OMG!  No seriously I’ve always liked Sacha Baron Cohen, but really?  This has to win the prize for the grossest cinema moment EVER.  I began to feel physically uncomfortable at one point and realised I was cringing so hard my body was instictively trying to assume the foetal position in my cinema seat.   There were some funny lines, crazy action sequences and a pop at Donald Trump but even these and the motivational left wing speech near the end couldn’t compensate for the ridiculous story line and the horrible, horrible vision that is now burned on my brain forever.

0 views

How To Be Single

by pj 0 Comments
How To Be Single
© − All right reserved.

How to Be Single

Welcome to the party

20161 h 35 min
Overview

New York City is full of lonely hearts seeking the right match, and what Alice, Robin, Lucy, Meg, Tom and David all have in common is the need to learn how to be single in a world filled with ever-evolving definitions of love.

Metadata
Director Christian Ditter
Runtime 1 h 35 min
Release Date 10 February 2016
Details
Movie Status
Movie Rating Average
Images
No images were imported for this movie.

Trying very hard to be the all new and feminist version of Sex and the City, (complete with voice over) this rom-com about how to find a man in New York attempts to subvert the genre but falls quite a bit short of the mark.  Despite there being a few laughs it felt pointless and devoid of any real feeling, as empty as a really bad one night stand.  I can’t fault the cast, they did what they could with questionable material but in the end it didn’t deliver the goods.  It was neither a shining light of feminism or so funny it didn’t matter.

0 views

Dad’s Army

by pj 0 Comments
Dad’s Army
© 2016 − All right reserved.

Dad's Army

2016Duration unknown
Overview

A cinema remake of the classic sitcom Dad's Army (1968). The Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard platoon deal with a visiting female journalist and a German spy as World War II draws to its conclusion.

Metadata
Director Oliver Parker
Runtime Duration unknown
Release Date 5 February 2016
Details
Movie Status
Movie Rating Not bad
Images

Which star will I draw for this film?  I’m totally spoilt for choice, I just hope these actors travelled separately when they made this because if there had been a terrible bus crash we would have lost half the great and the good of British acting.  Michael Gambon, Tom Courtney, Bill Nighy, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Sarah Lancashire, Alison Steadman, Bill Paterson, Annette Crosby, Julia Foster and more

Okay, it was a silly predictable story but it was warm and funny in a nostalgic and bare bum sort of way.  I was hoping that there would be cameos from some of the original cast and it made me smile to see Ian Lavender in a role far removed from the original (stupid boy) Pike.  I rushed to Google after the movie to see if I had spotted correctly that the original vicar, Frank Williams was also included (in the parade scene right at the end).  Apparently they are the only two surviving cast members.

Definitely worth a watch if you can remember the original and are willing to get into the spirit of a 1970s sitcom.

3 views