Reviews & Rants, Films for You?

  1. Snoopy And Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie
    [13/december/2015]  Score: 7/10
    A sweet story of Charlie Brown, his “pet” the famous author and war hero Snoopy, and all Charlie’s friends as he struggles against the most famous terror of all time – a cute little red-headed girl.
    A wonderful and uplifting story for all ages, it may skip over and around a lot of the characters who may go above and beyond the heads of so many children unless they’ve been brought up on all the jokes, famous sayings and quirky side-characters.
    As an introduction to the world of Peanuts it’s a great fun story and as a reminder for everyone, of all ages, who’ve lived with the Peanuts Gang for years it will be wonderful journey into the world of Charlie Brown and all his friends.
    Verdict: You’re nuts if you miss it.
  2. Star Wars – The Force Awakens
    [19/december/2015] Score: 8/10
    (Spoilers, kind of…)
    More like a soap opera at moments than space opera this almost appears to be a tale of a family at war as one of them (not naming names) fights another over “The Force” and other goodies, while looking for a lost relative and pouting or sulking like spoilt teenage brats.
    Meanwhile another vast megaweapon of Galactic Empire proportions blasts its way briefly into history before another plucky fighter pilot and a few friends find the weak point (note to megaweapon designers: you really ought to think about all those weak points you keep leaving lying around in your blueprints).
    That this comes off with a huge dramatic and uplifting tale of another Journey of Self-Discovery to enliven a new generation is a great achievement for everyone who played a role in bringing this next generation adventure to us; and all the people around the world watching it, applauding it and returning to it tells how well this tale has been crafted.
    It sets the scene for this new operatic trilogy (and likely more to-come) that will hold us in its thrall for another few years.
    Verdict: May the Warring Stars of The Force be with you.
  3. Krampus
    [8/december/2015]  Score: 5/10
    Deep in the bleak suburban winter a small American family struggle with the tradition of hating all your relatives.  Amidst this bitter chill struggle and acidic hatred one child boils over and curses the whole idea of the happy fat red Coca Cola Salesman and unwittingly invokes a more terrible ancient monster from the depths of the snow.
    The Krampus will chill your heart with mild giggles and amusement as this family meet their fate and doom.
    Verdict:  You have been warned, buy Coca Cola or face the wrath of Krampus. Ho Ho Ho.
  4. Victor Frankenstein
    [3/december/2015] Score: 5/10
    Another comicbook retelling of a famous Victorian Gothic horror.  This time it’s the turn of Frankenstein to face his fate at the hands of garish colour and dramatic action sequences as he’s turned into an almost superhero in his early days.  But here too we now see plucky Igor stepping to the fore and taking the brunt of everyone’s lives in his trembling hands.
    Verdict: Give this a hand Igor!
  5. The Dressmaker
    [30/november/2015] Score: 8/10
    Far, far, far, to the West of Americaland there lies that modern and glamorous society of Aussies. The finest and sturdiest descendents of the Realm of Ealing who are able, with wit and a huge cricket bat, to blend and bash comedic talent, wry twisted humour and Shakespearian drama into something magical, something unique and something in a nice frock, and that’s just the men.
    Whether dancing the tango or spinning their jennies the Aussies of Ealing have brought us some of the greatest, wittiest and most dangerous comedy since the Fall of that great British studio on the outskirts of Londinium.
    Here then is another fine example of Aussie Ealingness, where a score or more of genres are ripped apart in the rippling muscles of fine-boned seamstresses, heads held aloft in arrogant contempt at anything less that Great Art, and a nice hemline.
    If you want your scenery blazing in the noonday sun, if you want less of Hollywood glamour and more Grit, True Grit, then you have come to the special circle of friends who share that unique bond of savouring the delights of a richly dug seam of needlepointed iron comedy which has been hammered into a finely crafted tale tall in its majesty.
    Come then my friends, and savour the delight, but don’t take a fright at any who might dissuade you from this outback journey, here there is gold.
    Verdict: Here be comedy.
  6. Bridge Of Spies
    [28/november/2015] Score:8 87/10
    Although we’ve seen this many times in the annals of spy stories here is something based on the true story of Americans negotiating in secret with Russians to free their spies from each others’ clutches.  A delicate balance of courtroom drama and cold war espionage not tainted by cynical fear and dark terror of fiction that casts a new light on true events and the efforts of ordinary good people thrown into circumstances beyond their previous experience.
    Verdict: Spy it out.
  7. Black Mass
    [27/november/2015] Score: 5/10
    We’ve seen it before, the tall tales of mafia gangsters on their rise to power, murdering and betraying their way to success as gang bosses before their arrogance and mistakes pile up on the corpses of their victims to bring it all crashing down around them.
    Once again a good cast are wasted on a story that’s been told before and far better.
    Verdict: Another bunch of average goodfellas.
  8. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2
    [21/november/2015]  Score: 8/10
    We’ve known where this was heading for years so this conclusion to the Hunger Games is an almost foregone one as it winds up all loose ends, settles all old scores and lays the foundation for a more hopeful future beyond this dystopian drama.
    We can’t expect greater dramatic tensions or too many new revelations, here we’re just waiting to see how it all falls into place.  For that the story lacks some of the tension we’ve seen from past efforts, but this final part weaves all the threads of the bigger picture together as Katniss is the eye of a greater storm of politics and intrigue surrounding her achievements.  In this at least is hasn’t shirked from the more adult realism of the practicalities and compromises of a larger world outside one woman’s experience.
    Verdict: Hunger is sated at last.
  9. The Lady In The Van
    [14/november/2015] Score: 9/10
    Those special eccentricities of people living not-quite-here-or-there on the edge of our society, whether of an artistic bent or that unique view of the world that doesn’t fit the opinion of everyone else.  Here are two in collision based on a, somewhat, true story of one of Britain’s greatest playwrights meeting an eccentric of eccentric proportions and their experiences circling each other like mad hatters for years.
    To say that the actors are given a rich meat of words to get their teeth into would be an understatement of gigantic proportions as every drip of juice is wrung and gnawed from the meaty bones of this work of art.
    Verdict: Take a spin on this ride.
  10. Steve Jobs
    [13/november/2015] Score: 6/10
    A theatrical tale of a theatrical entrepreneur as he spins tales of technology and mesmerises a generation of addicts to gobble down his salesman’s spiel.
    Here is the front-end story of Steve Jobs, cofounder of the Apple Computer company and one who took the talents of everyone around him to wrap himself in wealth almost beyond the imagining while throwing off the sparks of genius and tragedy in his wake.
    As with other stories of the computer genius generation of California’s Silicon Valley, the dark underbelly of exploitation and unscrupulous deals is swept away in the glamour of wealth.  Here all is cast through the seminal events in Jobs’s life in the style of grand stage presentations of key products in his life, his achievements, his glory (with no word to be mentioned of all those he trampled on in his path to glory).
    You may also want to see the complimentary story: Steve Jobs The Man In The Machine for deeper look into the life of this man.
    Verdict: It’s a job to rip off so many for so long.
  11. Burnt
    [12/november/2015] Score: 5/10
    Food Porn.  In the grand traditions of so many films of chefs this is a well-balanced pick-and-mix of visual food pornography as the camera lingers with drooling delight over every angle of plate after plate, while, deep in the steaming heart of the furnace that is the kitchen, the home of the gods of food, The Chef throws tantrums like a 5-year old child.
    Here then we have our latest entry in the Grande Menu of Cuisine of the Cinema. A simple tale of one man struggling against his own demons and past mistakes to try rebuilding his life, his art, his reputation, and throwing stuff around.
    Verdict: Two stars?
  12. Scout’s Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse
    [12/november/2015] Score: 8/10
    A surprisingly inventive little delight of a zombie guide as we follow the traditional and well-trod path of a viral outbreak that turns ordinary small town folk into raging bite-monsters.  Blending teen coming-of-age story, with American High School nonsense and the ever lurking and lurching zombies, three best friends find themselves in the forefront of the battle to save their community.
    Verdict: Pay attention to this valuable guide.
  13. The Last Witch Hunter
    [27/october/2015]   Score: 5/10
    Another attempt to create a fantasy franchise with an overly-elaborate back story involving silly interpretations of myths about witches and witch hunters, the evil, aloof priests using one lone (they are always alone) hunter to fight for the forces of goodness by using big weapons and secret conspiracies that have lasted for hundreds of years, until now.
    So, no change in the mind-spinning stories that try to cram a huge amount of spectacle into a short time and leave you wondering if there was really something substantial there or an attempt to mask a shallow story with lost of special effects.
    The cast try their best but this was a story written too short.
    Verdict: Hunt for something else?
  14. Spectre
    [27/october/2015] Score: 10/10
    With a huge build-up of public enthusiast this Bond adventure had a lot to do to meet expectations.  And it succeeds.  From the first spectacular bold opening scenes on the Day of The Dead this slams you through a real spy story that carefully ties together all the loose ends and clues of the previous three films in this reboot Bond series.
    With a mix of typical Bond brutality and sly humour there is less of the spectacle than you might want but far more of intelligent and sensitive character development to create a solid foundation for the action and unfolding events.
    While the producers have taken a few liberties(?) with the back story of Bond versus his nemesis, the slightly mad pussy cat loving head of the mysterious organisation Spectre, this creates a stronger sense of connection and hatred that motivates the sadistic lunacy in their interaction.  this is complimented by a stronger Bond girl who can stand equal to 007 in their mutual pursuit of the truth.
    Verdict: A Spectre to haunt your delights.
  15. Crimson Peak
    [16/october/2015] Score: 5/10
    It was a dark night on the bleak moors when I stole my way into the cinema to watch this Gothic thriller of Victorian horror, and giggled.  Although cast out to the world as a horror story, this had none of the grey shadow of doom and gloom hanging over the Crimson Peak.  Here was more melodrama and fantasy dressed up in the trappings and style of “there’s nowt good up on t’peak” as eager romantic young innocent from the Big City of New York is swept up and away on a fraught journey of worrying things that aren’t all that scary for one who has “been seeing dead people” since a child.
    For something to pass the time this was a nice Gothic romantic fantasy, but if you expect a darker twisted horror then it’s somewhere else, round the bend, down in the darker mists below Crimson Peak.
    Verdict: A small Peak of interest.
  16. Suffragette
    [15/october/2015] Score: 8/10
    One brief story in a vast and often tragic history of the Suffragette movement for women’s equality, which is still ongoing in its many forms around the world, to free women from stone age repressions. Through the eyes and experience of one woman we visit many of the highlights of the movement in Britain just before the outbreak of World War One and the key turning points in her life and that of the movement which saw it recognised around the world to inspire the continuing fight for all liberties against those who would repress the human spirit.
    Verdict: March off to see this and free your own soul.
  17. The Intern
    [13/october/2015] Score: 7/10
    Candyfloss fluff to give you relief from all the hard-hitting or outright silly superhero films.   A kind of romantic comedy or outright fantasy as we follow two distinctly different generations meeting and become mates as one wise old man helps one frantic young woman through her troubled times, in the sweetest possible way.
    Verdict: Intern yourself to savour this sweetness.
  18. Sicario
    [13/october/2015] Score: 8/10
    The harsh, cold, brutal truth of the American Global War of America against the drugs they love to consume as one tough female FBI agent is thrown like an innocent into the wolf’s den and a world she struggles to understand and master, or at least survive.
    The question raised is can she uphold her high ideals or face the dark reality of compromise to get the job done, and is it she doing right job?
    Verdict: Addictive drama which might draw you in and hook you deeply.
  19. The Martian
    [3/october/2015] Score: 9/10
    A great study of the real practical work of science, scientists and engineers, not the silly comicbook superheroes who can solve a problem overnight without breaking out in a sweat flying around in tin suits or waving magic hammers, but the long hard slog of hours, days and weeks as brilliant men and women struggle to save one of their own by out-thinking the problem.
    If you want anything to inspire people about the real value and wild potential of science and engineering free of silly politics or religion then this is a great example. Not perfect, some of the Mars elements are inaccurate but acceptable for dramatic purposes. From the boyish playfulness of one man stranded alone on Mars through to the herculean efforts of entire organisations back home to rescue him we see how the world can solve the biggest problems when we put our minds to it.
    Verdict: Very worth stranding yourself for a few hours on this world.
  20. A Walk In The Woods
    [23/september/2015] Score: 7/10
    Two old blokes go for a long camping/trekking walk, lasting nearly three months, through the woodland beauty of America, playful banter and light-hearted adventures ensue.
    That’s it.
    Verdict: Scenic.
  21. Bill
    [23/september/2015]  Score: 9/10
    Before he was Shakespeare he was Bill. Much put-upon husband of Ann Hathaway and father to a multitude of children.  Bill wanted to be a great writer, or something like that, and set off on foot padding his way to Olde London Town to make his fortune.  Or so he thought.
    But in this hidden “true” story Bill stumbled upon a great conspiracy against our Beloved Elizabeth I (Hurrah!!!) by the wickedly evil Catholic Spaniards (Booo! Hissss!) out to do her a Nasty (Arrrrgh noooo!!!!). And so Bill, wrapped in the Black Cloak of Conspiracy, did many deeds to unfurl the flag of truth, justice and the English Way (Rejoice!!!).
    At least if you believe this bunch of talented thespians telling the hidden story behind the Rise of little boy Bill to become the Legend of S. that we now know.
    Verdict: Forsooth, it’s t’truth, an all that.
  22. Everest
    [19/september/2015] Score: 8/10
    Based on the true and tragic story of mountaineers aiming to reach the summit of Mount Everest in one hectic year, a traffic jam of too many pursuing the same dream on the same day and the consequences when poor planning combined with horrific weather.
    Especially in 3D this attempts very well to convey the immense majesty of the mountainscape and the challenges of pushing yourself to the very edge of human endurance and beyond.
    Although the story leaves much out of traditional character development, sketching as broad a field of so many who experienced that terrible year, there is enough to give you a strong flavour of this driving ambition to the edge of the world and the price to be paid if you push too far.
    Verdict: Worth mounting this experience.
  23. No Escape
    [15/september/2-15] Score: 5/10
    There should be an escape from this, which ought to have been straight to video, but there isn’t. It has just enough tense action to keep you interested and not enough to make sense when one American family have to flee a military coup/rebellion in some distant far eastern country a bit like Cambodia-but-not.
    It has a good feel for some of the desperate measures a man has to take to keep his family alive, but some of the action and characters stick out like a sore thumb making for ridiculous moments of rescue you could only see in an action-adventure movie and not the real world with those special moments of coincidental meetings that set the family to safety or danger.
    It’s the silliness of these moments, including those with Pierce Brosnan making sudden appearances, which reduce what could have been a far more realistic drama.
    Verdict: No escape from the silliness.
  1. Legend
    [14/september/2015] Score: 8/10
    Oh look, another trip down memory lane, (mind the bodies) and into the gutters of London (don’t slip in the blood) as we revisit those gay and happy times of the Kray brothers (nice boys) and their gang of little scamps as they enter the butchery business, open a nice slaughterhouse and process the meat to bring in a nice little earner or three for their mums.
    Here we are again with the special grit that can only come for a well-honed knife stabbed in your guts by excellent acting and lots of true story-telling about those special times when all the rules were being overturned in the Swinging (from a noose) Sixties.  While the hippies were dancing around the pole of Love the gangsters and politicians were out in force dancing around each others’ poles with blood-dripped grins of pleasure and pain.
    Verdict: The long shadows of legends cast over us all.
  2. Irrational Man
    [12/september/2015] Score: 9/10
    It’s a good Woody Allen film, a wry, subtle exposure of the pretension of the intellectual class in the tradition of thinking they’re so superior as to be above the law and taking the thrill of murder to heart.
    It won’t suit the bulk of a popular audience, but anyone wanting a witty character study with blackly-comic murder will enjoy this.
    Verdict: It’ll murder you.
  3. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
    [12/september/2015]  Score: 5/10
    I gave up wanting to enjoy this at the point when the zombies appeared.  Then I had to assume this was some kind of weird comedy of stupidity to warn children what not to do in the big bad world.
    In the recent tradition of teenagers fighting for survival in yet another post-apocalypse world this one features a return of the previous film’s plucky band of very lucky teenagers who always, just in time, stumble on the solution to escaping one situation, only to stumble idiotically into another terrifyingly silly one and die, kill others or fight their way out, to the next turn in the maze.
    Verdict: a-Mazingly silly.
  4. The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
    [15/august/2015] Score: 8/10
    A wry low-played humour that reverts to the days of Cold War spies played out in the Swinging Sixties to perfection with over-the-top baddies out to threaten the world and suave sophisticated spies swooping around the world of glamour and style to stop them.
    This will not amount to a great summer film, but makes a satisfying change from the other style of comicbook superheroes in spandex fighting ridiculous mutant/alien monsters.  Here it is silk suits, sipping drinks on balconies overlooking exotic European locations in the heat of beautiful sun rises and sunsets, while beautiful women in miniskirts draw elegantly on stiletto knives.
    Verdict: The Man.
  5. Fantastic Four
    [8/august/2015] Score: 7/10
    Not as bad as foretold by the “Critics Of Doom” on the internet and elsewhere but not as great, as witty and mature as it could have been as we resort once again to an origin story in which a bunch of teenage superbrains come to save the world, because grown-ups can’t do it, or are all evil, again.
    As this story sweeps through the origins of the key character of Reed Richards from childhood we have plenty of exploration of his early life through to young adulthood, little about the other characters and no real sense of how a “Fantastic Four” can come to evolve into a group of heroes intent on saving the world, other than being turned into “monsters”.  there is no sense here of how they can come into a mature adult sense of their destiny or their scientific talent, like most comicbook heroes they find the path to scientific achievement and mastery of their new-found “powers” a relatively short leap and bound from school to superherodom.
    This also leave open a few glaring errors and questions, like how Reed Richards and Sue Storm will come to marry, or will that be left to another “freak mutation”? As for the new colour scheme between Sue and brother Johnny, that is thrown away as “I’m adopted”, which is the easiest, dumbest and most lazy way to answer the question of how ones black and one’s blonde (what about saying mum’s a blonde and dad was black so the children inherited different genes, which CAN happen in the real world)?
    Overall not as great a disappointment, except for all the bits left out from the series of trailers over the last few months. Looks like a lot of edits between trailers and destination and more glaring holes?
    Verdict: Not Fantastic, just Freakish?
  6. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
    [31/july/2015] Score: 7/10
    Once again the Mission Impossible Team of Tom, and a few friends, get up to lots of dynamic stunts and other fun stuff as they race around the world in the shadow of 007, to find the bad guys. Once again they are betrayed by a friendly enemy. Once again they have to go into “deep cover” (deeper than under the bedsheets even) to uncover the mysterious enemy who seems to be running convoluted rings around them.  Once again a feisty girl spy comes to their rescue with more balls than a football team. So, another fun filled afternoon well spent if you enjoy the amazing go-anywhere, do-anything antics of MIT and Tom.
    Verdict: Once again with spunk.
  7. Inside Out
    [29/july/2015] Score: 10/10
    I think this wonderful story of what goes on in all our heads may be far over the heads of many children; but the smart animation and bright and breezy characterization should be enough to hold the attention of most of them (though a few in the surprisingly large afternoon audience I attended did wander occasionally) and give them plenty to talk about afterwards when they want to understand what it was all about.
    What this is also is a beautiful, emotional, tearful farewell to childhood that all adults know full well and still yearn back to and could easily bring many a tear to your eye as you feel all that angst once again, which is probably why it’s gathered so much well-deserved enthusiasm from adults around the world.
    Verdict: Let it all out.
  8. Ant-Man
    [18/july/2015] Score: 8/10
    We’ve got used to wise-cracking characters peeled off comicbook pages with a witty line in chat for every occasion. Here’s some more about the incredibly shrinking crook who becomes a hero because he’s expendable in an experiment to revive a long suppressed super science that makes one lone man-hero the size of, guess, an ant.
    It’s the humour which carries the absurdity of this Marvel story and will have you smiling at him, his silly name, not his choice, his side-kicks and his situation as yet another magical super-hero is added to the pantheon being erected by Marvel-Disney for our entertainment in the decades to-come.
    Once more a “billionaire genius” is involved in creating something marvellous that could then be twisted if it gets into the wrong hands. As usual this tale is about “great power and great responsibility” and the desire to suppress knowledge that might, possibly find its way into the hands of bad people for bad deed.  There is no mention of the potential of placing it in the hands of great people for great things. As usual the party line is that Most People Cannot Be Trusted, except a Chose Few, which is probably reasonable in our greed-obsessed, fundamentalist world of political and religious fanatics.
    Verdict: Bring on the clowns, oh look, they’re here.
  9. Love & Mercy
    [14/july]2015]  Score: 8/10
    1This is a true story about obsessive love, love of music, love for each other, love of power at all costs. It’s a story about recovery and justice, how life can seek to crush your soul, but a single moment can turn your life around and redeem it.  This is about hope and justice and should be enjoyed by everyone who believes the world can and should be a better place for love, for justice and for great music to life your soul.
    Verdict: Love it.
  10. Ted 2
    [14/july]2015]  Score: 8/10
    This is not as great as the first “Ted” film, but in some ways it’s a lot better, funnier, wittier and as adventurous and certainly not as bad as some critics would have you believe as the, literally, animated teddy bear discovers the downside of being alive and has to grow up with the challenges of being a person.
    Verdict: Cuddly, and much more than a toy.
  11. Terminator: Genisys
    [2/july/2015] Score: 5/10
    It takes a while, and reading a few explanatory articles online, to understand what’s going on in this mishmash of a story, and the audience unfamiliar with all things Terminator may be as befuddled as I was on first screening.  That is going to be a big hurdle for the film’s broader acceptance if the producers want everyone to return for two more sequels they’ve planned (but may never produce if there is not the demand for them).
    Here we have a new Terminator time sequence, a new loop in time in which everything is up for grabs again as the history of the future-unwritten is rewritten in a new history (yes, you try getting your head around it).
    In brief “something” happened in the future and “they”, whoever they are, sent another Arninator back to save our heroine Sarah Conner as a child.  This is not her story.
    This story begins in the known future of the war against the machines and the success of the resistance as told in the original “Terminator” film.  We begin with Kyle Reece being rescued, raised and recruited to take that fateful journey back in time to save Sarah Conner in the 1980s and father the future saviour of mankind, John Conner.  Unfortunately things don’t go according to plan and the resulting chaos of a storyline would send anyone’s mind spinning.
    This is the key problem with the story. It focuses more on Kyle Reece than our heroine Sarah and tries to cram a huge amount of seemingly disjointed narrative into a single film.  It might have been better to take inspiration from the original and pare the story down to a cleaner, sharper line and leave any additional plotlines for one, two, three or more sequels, to explore each theme in greater depth.  By laying so much on the audience’s lap Genisys may be expecting too much and be overloading them to breaking point.  This bodes ill for future sequels to explain all this.
    Continuing the disruptive Kyle-focussed narrative it’s he who ends the film with a thoughtful voice-over about an unknown road into the future and not Sarah as per “Judgment Day”.
    This final point highlights how much is taken away from Sarah and how much, amongst many points is taken from the other films. Although the story may have some original ideas it may be lost in a lot of repetition from the earlier films, perhaps too much for people to grasp without crib sheets to refer to.
    (Footnote: Nice to see Sarah heeded my lessons in how to kill a T-1000 – Killing_Terminators.)
    Verdict: The future is yet to be written, perhaps, or perhaps not.
  12. Mr Holmes
    [30/june/2015] Score: 7/10
    A Study In Grey, or perhaps The Mystery Of The Forgotten Woman?
    Here is Mr Homes in his twilight years, struggling with one case that has befuddled him and struggling with loss of memory and so much more.  A slow, delicate, ebb and flow of recollection and struggle to recall the truth from decades earlier.  Mr Holmes is not for those seeking a race and a chase, no game is a foot here only the game of life, the struggle to recall, the struggle of the mystery of the bees and the struggle for dignity and redemption in old age as one man tries to make final sense of one long lost mystery.
    You will need the patience of a true detective to follow the unravelling of the cobwebs around this mystery as the clues are slowly, carefully strung together to reveal the truth, but with patience you too may be rewarded with a satisfying conclusion.
    Verdict: A worthwhile struggle to win and savour victory.
  13. Minions
    [26/june/2015]  Score: 8/10
    BE WARNED, there are millions and millions of little minions around the world about to embark on a world-wide campaign of destruction of adult minds when they giggle, scream and cry “Stuart”, “Bob” and “Kevin!” in front of their parents for years to-come before rampaging destruction and other stuff around homes on every continent in the world. Blame this evil film created by a criminal gang for all they are doing to undo your sanity in the name of SuperVillians everywhere. The only way for you to succeed against this despicable crime network is to ensure that your little minions see you, and only you at their BOSS.
    An inspired mass if gigglesomeness as the evil sidekicks finally get their day, but not yet their day in court.
    Verdict: Bananas!  A rallying call: Arise BOSSES everywhere, your minions need you!
  14. Jurassic World
    [11/june/2015] Score: 6/10
    Not just a Park, here’s a whole world of Jurassics!
    If there is one lesson to learn from Jurassic World and the previous episodes of “Jurassic” it’s that this is NOT how to run a business.
    Employ vacuous idiots, supervise them with over-enthusiastic amateurs, keep the lower ranks stocked with teenage interns, then throw in a couple of over-excitable children to save the day and you have a recipe for catastrophic dinosaur disaster.  All it takes is one small spark to ignite the fire and fury.
    After twenty years in abeyance they’ve not yet learned how to handle good, intelligent humans let alone hundreds of tons of fanged monsters on the loose amidst screaming hordes, and that’s just the grown-ups.
    As an exercise in poor management skills, double-dealing, back-stabbing greed and other great iconic themes of The American Way, Jurassic World is a prime example in how not to manage anything.
    As usual it’s all not-quite saved by a small band of plucky professionals struggling against the tide of stupidity. Until next time.
    Verdict: Jurassic by nature, prehistorically managed.
  15. Survivor
    [9/june/2015]  Score: 2/10
    Walked out of this half-way through due to the utter stupidity of this script, which I assume was written in crayon by a child after watching too many pre-1990s exploitation movies, for it’s dumb idiocy.
    Perhaps this should have gone straight to DVD, into a discount basket at the supermarket then to the rubbish for all the intelligence that’s hinted at and discarded in favour of nonsense.
    Here we have a supposed highly skilled, qualified, trained and experienced “intelligence chief” at the US Embassy acting like a dumbstruck girlie on her first night date with her favourite pop star for all the brains she uses in progressing from an assassins bomb through to mincing around London like a little lost lamb for the slaughter ignoring every sensible opportunity to take a hold of the situation, warn people and solve the threat, or whatever was supposed to be happening.
    If this was a low budget piece of nonsense it might have been acceptable for what it is, but bringing in a presentable cast, budget, locations then throwing them through the grinder to churn out this stream of unintended laughter is a gross disrespect to everyone, cast, crew and audience.
    As I said, I didn’t wait for the ending of my surviving brain cells and managed a safe escape to a better life. A few people will enjoy this for mindless time-wasting on a dull afternoon when there is absolutely nothing, really nothing, on anywhere and you’re desperate for distraction, maybe.
    Verdict:  You might survive better than me, by avoiding it.
  16. Spy
    [6/june/2015]   Score: 9/10
    Totally unrealistic celebration of the unending campaign by the CIA to send drones out to save the world and blow away all the bad guys. In this case a heavily-loaded office drone is turned into an elite stealth weapon disguised as a cat lady* to join Team America (hurrah!) and save the world from a new WMD threat from Eastern Europe (hisss, booo!).
    Gut-bursting giggles galore turn this idea into a great send up of many “Bondish” movies with totally over-the-top mania for “real men” fighting the good fight.
    (*Note to all cat ladies – it’s not healthy for cats to have more than one, cat, in a home/village, it stresses them out and can cause an early death for both cats and cat ladies.)
    Verdict: Go spy out this.
  17. Man Up
    [30/may/2015]  Score: 8/10
    Witty little one-night stand, blind date, rom-com that breezes along through one day and sweeps you to the oft-welcome conclusion when all is settled happily and the party swings on for all generations.  A great antidote for all the infantile star-spangled spandex that normally suffocates the screens for months.
    Verdict: Sit in on this one for a fun upbeat night out.
  18. The Connection
    [30/may/2015]  Score: 5/10
    The story of “The French Connection” from a French point of view as an ambitions and idealistic French official/investigator (can never understand how the French bureaucratic system of “justice” works) struggles to lead, motivate, drive le cops to uncover and bring down the drug cartels.
    Not as dramatic or scenic as the American version from oh-so many years ago so it won’t appeal to everyone, but provides an alternative view of the same core story of the illegal drug explosions of the 1970s.
    Verdict: Very “French”.
  19. San Andreas
    [30/may/2015]  Score: 3/10
    Frantically idiotic from start to finish beginning with the ubiquitous dumb blonde.
    A skilled professional abandons his team, his duty and his work to take a rescue helicopter on an odyssey to save his daughter in a city a long way from his base. This founders and he subsequently steals a pick-up truck, an aircraft and a boat to struggle through the ruins of another typical Californian catastrophe of special effects (after they rebuilt the city following Godzilla’s visit) to survive a tsunami, obviously, and have a group hug session at the end.
    This man should be sacked from his job for abandoning his post, then imprisoned for all the Grand Theft Hollywood and made to serve a million hours of community service cleaning up the mess he left behind.
    The only thing worthwhile that came from this was the inspiration to create something far, far better, so I’ll get down to writing it, oh and the scientists in this one came out better than the rest.
    Verdict: Cataclysmically idiotic.
  20. Tomorrowland – A World Beyond
    [23/may/2015] Score: 8/10
    “Can we fix it?” That’s the spirit of this film. Can we fix the world before it fall apart and goes down Fury Road? Can we fix all the problems?
    Well according to this poem of love for all things optimistic, yes we can and all it takes is a mad old inventor and a sweet, nagging little girl to get the ball rolling on saving the little blue planet of the stupid people.
    So, if you’re looking for a dystopian horror of boys and girls forced to butcher each other for “fun” then you’re in for a disappointment, because here is an answer to all the nightmares of politics, mad religions, crazy fundamentalists and bad banks.
    Verdict: Yes, we can save the world.
  21. Mad Max: Fury Road
    [16/may/2015] Score: 7/10
    Gruff, grizzled and grouchy, here’s Max after a bad several thousand nights out on the road and worn out like an old tyre.   All he cares about is getting away form it all, all of it, forever, but today’s the day he’s dragged back into the real world and has to face the consequences, their rip new ones out of all those asses.
    Like those many times before he just can’t leave little girls alone and is forced down a road he’d rather not travel; but a man must do what a man must do when strapped to the front of a screaming mad machine.  It’s time to let rip and save those girlies from the bad boys back in the big old town.
    Verdict: Hot, mad, machines, mindless.
  22. Pitch Perfect 2
    [15/5/2015] Score: 6/10
    The fat pitch is back, fat with filthy humour and fat sounds, and other fun stuff as the girls of, someplace in American, sing their tiny, petite, cute, little hearts out against the best of the rest and show that it’s all about real girl humour and harmony.
    Verdict: Pitch in for a good sing-song.
  23. The Age Of Adeline
    [12/may/2015] Score: 5/10
    This would have been a wonderful, optimistic fantasy and romance offering a unique hope for the future, but all hope was ruined in a monstrous Hollywood convention that forbids anyone from transcending “normal” life.
    Here is Adeline, a women who has struggled to keep her gift of eternal youth hidden from everyone only to fall in love and loose it all to find true love in a “normal” mortal life.
    I won’t go into the depth of this hopelessness.  Read the Adeline Article for more.
    Verdict: Hope dashed.
  24. Big Game
    [9/may/2015] Score: 5/10
    Playful fantasy that, with a bigger budget and sharper script might easily have stood on par with any silly comicbook fantasy Avenger for its nonsense and fun.   Let down perhaps by the lack of Hollywood experience and attention to detail in some of the Pentagon side plot (it’s not called the Pentagon Headquarters, for example) but not let down in the stronger sense of authenticity with the Finnish side of the story about a coming-of-age ceremonial hunt by one lone boy confronting a much bigger hunting game involving international politics and other silliness.
    Verdict: Great game.
  25. Far From The Madding Crowd
    [6/may/2015] Score: 7/10
    Popular romantic slush turned into another movie as headstrong girl ruins the lives of three men, one handsome, one honest, one hopeful.
    This will do great wonders for the English tourist board in summer as everyone will flock like flocks of tour-sheep to savour the delights of perfectly composed scenes.
    Verdict: Plucky and pretty.
  26. Avengers: Age Of Ultron
    [2/may/2015] Score: 8/10
    Oh look, big robots trying to destroy the world, will our plucky squad of super heroes, god, and assorted side-kicks be able to save the world?
    Of course they will, but it’s how they do it and the adventure of their effort which fills our day with giggles as one well-meaning but perverted ideal is turned against them and the world they’re trying to SHIELD.
    Verdict: It never ages.
  27. The Salvation
    [20/april/2015] Score: 4/10
    By-the-numbers Olde Western that begins with the butchery of a sweet innocent and beautiful woman and goes down hill from there in a unremitting journey of slaughter and savagery in the Old West.
    Verdict: It’s so Olde.
  28. John Wick
    [20/april/2015] Score: 7/10
    Swift and brutal revenge from a former assassin (they’re always former assassins, or whatever) unhinged and dragged unwillingly back into his old work because of one stupid mistake by a young gangster.
    The result is a typical Hollywood “Russian” bloodbath as bodies are flung aside with gay abandon for the next battle in the next scene.  It has a certain “art” about itself with its suggestion of a refined sophisticated sub-culture that’s another stage prop of such stories with its “discreet” hotel that caters of “unique” clients, and all that.
    Verdict: The Art of butchery.
  29. Child 44
    [19/april/2015] Score: 9/10
    In the perfect world there is no murder. In the perfect communist world there is another word for it. But that world is slowly creaking apart at the seams as bloodshed seeps through the cracks of all the cover-ups and one investigator can no longer turn a blind obedient eye to the tainted utopia where the murder of children is a small horror amongst so many others.
    In interesting alternative to many run-of-the-mill tales this offers one, slightly romanticised, insight into a particular time and place in history as the horrors of Stalinism finally fall.
    Verdict: There were far, far more than 44.
  30. A Little Chaos
    [18/april/2015] Score: 5/10
    A delicate and gentle bit of gardening.
    That’s about it, as the poise and delicacy, the rituals and pretences of the French court are explored in this garden setting.
    With very little action and dramatic quality other than the slow elegant progress of the court to its pretty new home at Versailles.
    Verdict: A delicate flower that blossoms slowly.
  31. Woman In Gold
    [14 /april/2015]  Score: 8/10
    So many stories from World War Two, so many tragedies and so much pain what can one small one tell?  That perhaps there is hope of recovery, that perhaps some of the damage can be undone and a little justice obtained along the way.
    Based on the true story of one woman who’s fortitude and determination for justice finally won a little liberation for her family’s artworks which had been stolen during the war and then “liberated” into a different kind of captivity by one government afterwards.
    Verdict: Golden.
  32. Fast & Furious 7
    [3/april/2015]  Score: 7/10
    Virtually nonstop action as “The Fast Family” race, chase and blast their way through and around and leap over, and through, a score of stunts that make you want to laugh at the audacity and imagination, and utter daftness at it all.
    Serious drama this is NOT, with the one proviso of the tragic loss of Paul Walker during production that left everyone in tears, and that is how this ends, with a thoughtful, uplifting journey into the sunset.
    The story is simple really, there’s a special forces assassin out for revenge following the events in Fast 6 and he’s gunning, racing, chasing and fighting for the Family in a wild revenge plot that bounces around the world as they try to recover a lost super computer technology that might enable them to turn the tables on him.  So a simple race really with a handful of fights, flights and chases, as usual.
    Don’t worry they’ll be back soon.
    Verdict: Furiously Fun.
  33. Seventh Son
    [27/march/2015] Score: 4/10
    This might entertain some, those who haven’t seen enough sword-and-dragon youth quest stories to fill a shelf (don’t mention elf).  However, for those who have an Elf Shelf this is a plodding, uninspired retread of many other tale tales of wizardry and hate-the-witch campaigns as one young man discovers he has “magical” powers and only five days, or whatever, to save the world.
    Meanwhile a grumpy old man, from the stock cupboard of grumpy old men, mutters and mumbles endlessly that he’s the sole survivor of a Great Tradition of Warriors.  The rest of them, every single one of a thousand, appear to have gone the way of all warriors when they’ve had too much to drink and their recruitment process appears to have seriously broken down, so there’s only him left. As usual then with such a great saga.
    I don’t know where to find someone who can learn the mysteries and powers and skills of a sage, a wizard, whatever, in just a week, they must be a special brand from Hollywood, but this one also lacks any sense of his own character other than to look bemused a lot.
    Verdict: Seventh time we’ve seen this one?
  34. Wild Card
    [20/march/2015]  Score: 4/10
    An opportunity for Jason Statham to show more of his acting skills than you’ll find in many of his other films, with plenty of action along the way, but somehow the overall story, of down at heel private detective/security man and other street life in Las Vegas, lacks a sparkle and turns out to be a regular by-the-numbers story of gangsters, gambling and girls.
    For that it’s worth the attention, but somehow lacks an edge that might cut deeper into your enjoyment.
    Verdict: Not that wild.
  35. The Gunman
    [20/march/2015] Score: 4/10
    There’s this conspiracy and they’re killing all the witnesses and participants to protect someone in power, all except one lone ex-special forces killer who knows “The Truth”.
    So we’ve visited this arena many times before and apart from a few character quirks to keep it all rolling along we appear to be in the same place, going round in circles of betrayal and combat we’ve seen often enough to just sit back, relax and let your mind go numb, or wander off in its own direction if you can keep awake.
    Verdict: Not gunning for this one.
  36. Insurgent, The Divergence Series
    [19/march/2015] Score: 5/10
    Midway between the beginning and the conclusion of a trilogy (which will be split into more parts to squeeze the audience) we have the middle part. And that means introducing more characters, killing a few off and moving along a path already described in the first part.
    Which is all this amounts to. Even a few moments where dramatic action could have been created appear to have been swept aside for the need to get the story skipping along to its conclusion.
    This feels like no one has really thought about creating a dramatic story arc and just wanted to move on to the next episode. While there a few fight scenes to show our characters struggling with their new-found world of conspiracy there are plenty of moments where friends suddenly appear to save the day with little introduction or tension leading to their arrival, they just appear.
    It’s as if a huge chunk of the original story has been lost from the book but they wanted to keep as much as possible, then forgot to join points together.
    Verdict: Move along there, conclusion coming soon?
  37. X+Y
    [14/march/2015] Score: 8/10
    This won’t appeal to the majority audience if my experience of the screening is anything to go by, but it deserves a much, much wider one, both young and old, for it’s intelligent and mature approach to the oddities of humanity and relationships with those who cannot conform to the normality of our democratised world of the mundane.
    Here is someone who cannot be understood and cannot communicate with the majority of the world but who, nevertheless, has all the emotions and instincts of any of us, locked down tight through the most narrow of focus.
    Verdict: Adds up to a great experience.
  38. Run All Night
    [13/march/2015]   Score: 5/10
    Liam Neeson, runs amok and kills lots of gangsters.
    I think I’ve seen this one before.
    And there’s a bit of “drama” and acting stuff as well, when old-time gangsters are dragged back into the murderous gutter from which they’d crawled decades ago.
    And I think I’ve seen that before as well.
    So if you enjoy Liam doing a bit of the dramatic stuff, then going off and offing a lot of old duffers then here’s your fix for the season.
    Verdict: It’ll run, and run, and run, and run through this and many more films to-come.
  39. Kill the Messenger
    [10/march/2015]   Score: 8/10
    Based on the true story of one talented journalist uncovering a US government scheme to support terrorist war in Central America (and that’s not Kansas) by turning a blind eye to drug dealers in American cities, causing tremendous pain, suffering, poverty and death.
    Remarkable for both the way one man uncovers such a dreadful conspiracy and the way his life is ruined when he takes on Big Government.
    So not a Hollywood fantasy of the plucky hero defeating the Goliath of Government. Here he’s crushed flat under the weight of a Gangster Government out for its own greed, gain and incompetence.
    (Special note:  According to a recent BBC news report the US gangster government is still at it, turning a blind eye to drug cartels in Mexico buying arms from America to kill each other and thousands of innocents in Mexico.)
    Verdict: Worthy lessons worth your time and attention. The tragedy continues.
  40. Chappie
    [7/march/2015]   Score: 7/10
    Cute robot attains self-awareness and sets a challenge for everyone around “him” as he struggles to learn humanity, or intelligence, or self-determination, depending on your point of view.
    We’ve seen a few such films before, this is a good addition to that list, with its use of South African as an alternative background adding a richly gritty landscape for the story’s portrayal and a richer humour and humanity we’d see from traditional sources.
    Verdict: Intelligence, not by the numbers.
  41. Focus
    [3/march/2015]   Score: 6/10
    A crime caper of the usual elaborate proportions as confidence tricksters try to out do each other and the audience in their tricky living off the hard work and income of good honest people.  Add the glamour and excitement of first class scams and frauds and you might think that being a crook is a wonderful occupation in the modern world.
    And no one gets caught and thrown into jail for a few years of raping.
    Verdict: Escapism, from the real world.  Mind your pocket and wallet on the way out of the cinema.
  42. Blackhat
    [23/february/2015]   Score: 6/10
    Here we go again with the wonderful adventures of fictional cyber criminals and the a threat to the world.  Will it be a terrorist threat to destroy a city or something mundane like money, or revenge, or sex?
    While there’s an attempt to illustrate and give more glamour to the inner workings of data hacking and Trojan worms wriggling through the innards of a computer to blow a factory apart there is a sense of grit and drive lacking, people might talk about their motivations but it doesn’t appear to easily onscreen in their actions or emotions.
    And how can they afford a private business jet to fly to the heart of the conspiracy but not have enough buy a bulletproof vest?
    Verdict: Hold on to your hats, in case you want to walk out later.
  43. Project Almanac
    [21/february/2015]   Score: 7/10
    With strong shades of “Chronicle” hanging over this time travel adventure we have a similar group of stereotypical suburban American high school teenagers who discover daddy’s missing science experiment that grants them the ability to do what all suburban American high school teenagers are renown for – totally screwing up all their lives for their own selfish thrills before discovering a slightly more mature wisdom.
    A nice fun pace keeps the story ticking along with many wonderful opportunities to scream at the screen “don’t do it you idiots!!”.  But they do.
    Verdict: Put it in your diary.
  44. Shaun The Sheep
    14/february/2015]  Score 10/10
    In effect this is a silent movie in the old school tradition where every nuance of the action and scenery conveys the story, leaving the key leading cast, a flock of sheep, to tell you everything through their intrepid actions as they set out for the big city to rescue a lost farmer.
    For humour and those amazing Aardman Animation jokes in every scene, around every corner you can’t do much better.
    Verdict: Baaaaad Sheep!
  45. Selma
    [7/february/2015] 8/10
    Another of those key turning points in American social justice confronting the terrible legacy of racism in the States. This conveys the experiences of those times and how a handful of people worked to motivate thousands and turn the hearts of millions through their efforts.
    A tale that leaves its imprint on the lives of everyone there and all they did for justice in the decades that followed.
    Verdict: Monumental achievements.
  46. Jupiter Ascending
    [7/february/2015]  Score: 6/10
    Badly underrated piece of popcorn candyfloss space opera on the grandest of stages writ across the universe as one little Cinderella discovers she’s the inheritor of an Empire and there are an awful lot of people who want it for themselves.
    Silly, imaginative, bold and meagre in comparable measures this lifts you up and out of this world then tosses you around like a dust mote in the wind.  At one moment your gasping at the tremendous special effects imagery, then another your squirming in your seat at the plain daft silliness of a little girl who decides to get married to a vampiric Prince in a handful of heartbeats.
    This could have been done better, although the bureaucracy joke was straight out of “Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy”, and does have the potential to give birth to a series of operatic adventures if the producers are up for the challenge and they can raise the funds.  For the moment it’s a blip on the landscape of many SF adventures, whether it’ll become a sunburst remains to be seen.
    Verdict: Ascending to where?
  47. Trash
    [4/february/2015] Score: 5/10
    There’s a disconnection here, mixing Portuguese dialogue with subtitles and English, a minor few phrases and words skipped here and there which made up for a frustrating experience while trying to enjoy this; but another problem was the sense that this was an inevitable fantasy version of life in the trash dumps of Rio, below, it appears, even the status of the flavellas.  It was inevitable the kids would be discovered, inevitable we’d meet corrupt cops and politicians, and so much more it felt more like a road trip through the gutters of Rio society than any meaningful statement or plain adventure/thriller.
    Perhaps it was trying too hard to make a message that the story got lost in the protest noise?
    Verdict: Not too trashy, but not gold enough?
  48. Kingsman
    [31/january/2015] Score: 9/10
    Once upon a time men were real men and knew how to dress snappily and snap out a snappy line or two to confront, confound and kill the baddies, preventing the baddies’ evil plans to dominate the world with their equally evil-but-stunningly-beautiful assistants.
    Then came the times of gritty realism where every punch of a flashy fist ended in an “outch!”.
    Now we see a return of the old school days of smart attire and smart gadgets versus smart evil geniuses bent on world domination if not stopped by plucky Brits doing what they do best, in the finest of fine gentleman’s tailoring.
    You can take this seriously if you want, but for a comicbook adaption that took seriously out for a drink and left it rolling in the bar this is perfect for an afternoon break from the gritty real world, or to help you dream of a better class of world.
    Verdict: Kings of class.
  49. Inherent Vice
    [30/january/2015] Score: 8/10
    A trip through the stoned out days of the stoned hippy Californian era long long ago that takes you on a surreal far out and disconnected dream to uncover the truths of the cosmos, or at least a major drug cartel, disappearing millionaires and beautiful but oh so sweetly vulnerable young women.
    If your eyes glaze over and your mind gets that special buzz then this is your perfect hit.
    Verdict: Hit me.
  50. Mortdecai
    [26/january/2015]   Score: 8/10
    A flirtatious, playful and, dare I say it, gay romp of comedic fun and games, with a few adult twists that stand out (literally) from the run-of-the-mill tallest of tall tales in the world of fine art.
    This will not appeal for those who don’t appreciate that very uniquely British sense of humour but could, if it wins everyone else, have a good run of sequels if the producers have the pluck and grit to chance their arms on another.
    This is bold and brash colourful comedy in the old school. Forget a handful of drunks visiting Las Vegas or other tatty colonial locales, here we have only the finest of tastes to entertain the folk swirling around crimes of passion for the pleasures of Great Art and assorted other camp capers.
    Verdict: Camp out with this gay romp.
  51. The Gambler
    [25/january/2015]   Score: 5/10
    In the fine traditions of Hollywood fantasy here we have that old, tried and true dream tale of a gambler down on his luck, ruining his life in a near-suicidal race to the edge of doom through personal despair being “saved” by the love of one true woman, but having only a few days to save his world.
    So there we are then, a romantic nonsense that treats gambling addiction as a brief curable sickness amongst the rich and spoilt class.
    Good performances but perhaps wasted on this .
    Verdict: Don’t bet on this.
  52. Ex Machina
    [24/january/2015] Score: 7/10
    Geeks find the ultimate play toy in a female robot. Now where did we see that one?  Many times from Metropolis onwards and back to Greek tragedies as life is cast from stone but shows it remains heartless.
    Trying to create new artificial life they discover the result of perfecting their craft, and demonstrate that as they strive to create artificial intelligence they demonstrate the dumbing down of their own minds and souls. .
    Verdict:  Geeks go all Greek with tragic consequences.
  53. A Most Violent Year
    [23/january/2015]   Score: 8/10
    A slow, careful, tense and desperate time as one man struggles to keep his business alive and growing amidst violence.  A rare chance to see an alternative character in a real man who doesn’t resort to violent gunplay like most films nowadays to solve his problems.
    While struggling to keep his business and family safe he has to resort to desperate measures and make the compromises we all face in our lives, but always trying to do the best he can.
    Verdict: The best way to live in violent times.
  54. Foxcatcher
    [22/january/2015]   Score: 6/10
    Based on a true story of the weirdest and most eccentric people amongst the wealthy class where dangerous eccentricities can be hidden under the veneer of gloss and glamour, money hiding madness until it can no longer stay in the shadows.
    This is so slow it almost sends you to sleep but that sense of dread and coldness holds you in the carefully played characters as they slowly fall apart.
    There is very little to tell you why the real event happened, only subtle hints and suggestions of so many years for the final events to explode, so you’ll have to watch and read carefully between the lines.
    Verdict:
  55. Whiplash
    [22/january/2015]   Score: 8/10
    The madness of obsession to achieve and to drive others to achieve as substitute for your own failure push the two leads in a destructive master-pupil relationship until it explodes with immense energy in the final act and tears all the masks away.  Mesmerising in the intensity of the two characters as they drive themselves and their ambitions forward to the end.
    Verdict: Powerful passions for art.
  56. Wild
    [18/january/2015]   Score: 8/10
    A lone woman’s journey of self-discovery and adventure alone in the wilderness of American along one of its magnificent walking trails as she seeks escape from personal pain and year’s of anguish following her mother’s death.
    Such stories (also see American Sniper, yesterday) cannot begin to describe what people go through to make such a journey of escape from a past life into a new one, whether they succeed or fail, but it does convey beautifully one person’s resolute determination to complete such a journey whether as sheer stubborn stupidity or a gritty demand for some answer to all the loss and pain of the past.
    Verdict: Take a walk this way and discover it for yourself.
  57. American Sniper
    [17/january/2015]   Score: 6/10
    Another of those special bleak tours of duty as we follow American civilians being turned into soldiers, loosing connection with their families and homes as they fight for Democracy, Justice and The American Way of Life, only to discover the penalties and pain on return to their old civilian world which either fears or fails to understand the suffering they are going through.
    We’ve seen enough of these over the years to reduce the impact of another such film; but repeating the story occasionally reminds everyone of the anguish faced by those who choose to serve their nations, ideologies and religions and allows their voice to be heard in the silence.
    Verdict: Target this if you need a reminder of the price for your lives.
  58. Taken 3
    [10/january/2015]   Score: 5/10
    If there is one thing I hate about Hollywood movies it’s the “kill a woman” misogyny. As this is a Luc Besson – based project I have to assume he’s taking the piss, having a joke on everyone who enjoys this kind of nonsense. Killing off a key character for entertainment then having the hero race around town while dumb cops stumble over clues with large arrows (marked “CLUE”) pointing at them appears to be the norm and as this is set in LA I have to assume the pretty girls, heat and sunshine fried the brains of the writer and producers for this series.
    What was once a great couple of little European films about a man successfully saving his daughter then ex-family has turned into a dumbed-down, by-the-numbers plot that verges on the ridiculous.
    If this is to be the “final” part of the Taken series it ends on a sad and bad note for our epic hero, with his “special skills”.
    Verdict: Taken the piss one step too far.
  59. Into The Woods
    [9/january/2015] Score: 9/10
    Not original, but a very original story-telling. Taking the original stories of the Brothers Grimm and twisting them around into a single entanglement deep in those magical woods that equally haunt and harbour the dreams of all children here is a new tale of quests, of princess, princesses, of witches, stolen life and great monsters and magic, there is always magic.
    This is not a Disney tale, of cute little fairies and fluffy princesses, this has that age-old edge of dark sharpness to slice through your gentle sleep and wake you up wishing and crying in equal measure.
    A beautiful composition of songs many will have seen and enjoyed from the stage show this adds all the depth of cinematic magic to take you deeper into the woods.
    If you dare?
    Verdict: A path everyone ought to take and enjoy.
  60. Big Hero 6
    [4/january/2015] Score: 8/10
    A wonderfully funny gag as one small very inventive and imaginative boy inherits one very big, cuddly robot that just wants to give him bit hugs but ends up inspiring big heroic deeds. I’m not sure if this would inspire lots of other young boys, and girls, to be great inventors, it’s so easy for him but in the real world so difficult.  But then this is a story and that’s okay.
    Verdict: Heroic invention.
  61. Birdman
    [2/january/2015]  Score: 8/10
    Is this a superhero movie or a drama about a burnt out actor trying to establish his credibility in his own Broadway drama?
    Is this a man on the edge of madness struggling against his past life of Hollywood glamour and haunted/stalked by the dream of past glory?
    Is this a tremendous tour of acting talent shot with such a smooth cameraflow and editing it almost appears as a single endless tracking shot while the cast blow you away with the most powerful intimate, natural close-up dramatic roles they’ve been given a chance to get their teeth in and chew down hard?
    Or all of the above with a witty fantastical twist along the way?
    This won’t suit everyone wanting straight drama and will have a limited appeal to comicbook purists, but I’d say that in one sense with was the most honest and purest superhero movie of the year.
    Verdict: Dramatically flying high.
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