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The Girl on the Train

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The Girl on the Train

What you see can hurt you.

20161 h 52 min
Overview

Rachel Watson, an alcoholic who divorced her husband Tom after she caught him cheating on her, takes the train to work daily. She fantasises about the relationship of her neighbours, Scott and Megan Hipwell, during her commute. That all changes when she witnesses something from the train window and Megan is missing, presumed dead.

Metadata
Director Tate Taylor
Runtime 1 h 52 min
Release Date 6 October 2016
Details
Movie Status
Movie Rating Very good
Images

I had listened to the audio book several months before going to see this at the cinema and was anticipating it in that way you do when you have really enjoyed a book and are wondering how many ways the film can butcher it.  In this case there was also the concern that the British location of the original had been transferred to the USA.

Of course, in a film there is never the luxury of time that a book can give to a story as it meanders through the inner lives of characters, so it’s unfair to judge like for like.  However in this case I was happily surprised, although some parts seemed skimmed (Megan’s backstory, for example) for the most part this was an excellent interpretation.  Emily Blunt did a great job as the alcoholic Rachel and even though the ending wasn’t a surprise this was a much more positive experience than I had anticipated.

 

Now You See Me 2

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Now You See Me 2

You Haven't Seen Anything Yet

20161 h 55 min
Overview

One year after outwitting the FBI and winning the public’s adulation with their mind-bending spectacles, the Four Horsemen resurface in Now You See Me: The Second Act only to find themselves face to face with a new enemy who enlists them to pull off their most dangerous heist yet.

Metadata
Director Jon M. Chu
Runtime 1 h 55 min
Release Date 9 June 2016
Details
Movie Status
Movie Rating Not rated
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No images were imported for this movie.

Oh dear, I should really stop going to see sequels.  I may even have fallen asleep at some point as I lost the plot quite early.  What a pity that Daniel Radcliffe looks like he’s going to feature highly in the worst movies of my year.  Pointless and boring.

Eye in the Sky

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Poster for the movie "Eye in the Sky"

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
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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.

10 Cloverfield Lane

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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!

Spotlight

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Poster for the movie "Spotlight"

Spotlight

Break the story. Break the silence.

20152 h 08 min
Overview

The true story of how The Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core.

Metadata
Director Tom McCarthy
Runtime 2 h 08 min
Release Date 6 November 2015
Details
Movie Status
Movie Rating Good
Images
No images were imported for this movie.

To say I really wanted to like this film doesn’t sound quite right but an investigative journalism film that involves the Catholic Church and a cover up is of particular interest.  I couldn’t fault the acting, Mark Ruffalo was particularly excellent, and I’m sure the storyline was accurate as befits a piece of recent and shocking history.  I was also relieved it didn’t sensationalise the persistent clerical abuse of children.  In all those respects it ticked boxes but I felt it was too little, too late.   We know what happened, sadly and at the beginning of the film when the team at The Boston Globe believe that 13 priests are involved we know that the investigation would go on to reveal that this was just the tip of a Titanicesque iceberg.  I wasn’t surprised at the all pervading nature of the church, its ability to cover up and inveigle itself around the great and the good to gloss over its shortcomings.  I lived in rural Ireland during the 80’s and saw first hand how this can work.  Spotlight was a competent, well acted, respectful movie but, for me, there was something missing and it felt about half an hour too long.