Category Archives: Movies

Atom Blonde

Atomic Blonde is a 2017 American action spy thriller film directed by David Leitch, in his first solo directorial credit, and written by Kurt Johnstad. It is based on Antony Johnston and Sam Hart’s 2012 graphic novel The Coldest City, published by Oni Press, which revolves around a spy who has to find a list of double agents who are being smuggled into the West on the eve of the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The film stars Charlize Theron and James McAvoy, with John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella and Toby Jones in supporting roles.

Budget $30 Million
Box Office $28.9 Million (so far)


This R13 movie has enough bad language, blood and breasts to achieve it’s rating.

Therion gets to do a lot of great fight scenes and walks away from all of them. Which is the first problem.

There is plenty of 1980’s music, but it doesn’t get in the way of the action. The second problem is that songs are repeated, I lived through the 1980’s and there is a lot more music that could have been used.

But the third (and main problem) is the tone of the movie. It’s not an extravagant wink-wink Bond style action romp. It’s not a down and gritty blood and guts action film as the hero is almost invincible. And it’s not a tense, edge of the seat thriller. It just sits between them all and in the ends becomes just average.

 

Princess Kaguya

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya is a 2013 Japanese animated fantasy drama film produced by Studio Ghibli and is based on the folktale The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. It is Takahata’s fifth film for Studio Ghibli, and his first since 1999’s My Neighbors the Yamadas. It was released on 23 November 2013. The film received critical acclaim and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 87th Academy Awards.


The tale is simple, but the execution flawless. Beautifully drawn backgrounds with dynamic character movements. The English dubbing is excellent and clear. There is a bit of a deus ex-machina at the end, but it doesn’t seem to matter.

 

Magorium

Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium is a 2007 Canadian–American family/children’s fantasy comedy film written and directed by Zach Helm. Music was composed by Alexandre Desplat and Aaron Zigman.

The film stars Dustin Hoffman as the owner of a magical toy store, and Natalie Portman as his store employee. Also starring Jason Bateman as the mutant accountant and Zach Mills as the hat
collector and his store volunteer.

The film grossed $69.5 million worldwide from a $65 million budget. It received a Young Artist Award nomination for Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actor. The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on March 4, 2008 by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

This got a Rotten Tomatoes score of 37%, but it’s better than that. The critics consensus was that “colorful visuals and talented players can’t make up for a bland story.”

It’s the story that is the problem. Portman, Hoffman & Bateman are fine as the characters. But more needed to happen to them during the story to make it interesting. There was a point about 3/4 of the way through were it was possible that the Bateman character could have changed to take on the role of store proprietor and Portman finally completes her piano composition. But it just doesn’t happen, instead everyone does what was predicted at the start.

Writer-director Zach Helm later admitted his film was “a trainwreck”, after the film was referenced on an episode of the AMC drama Breaking Bad.

Baby Driver

 

Baby Driver is a 2017 action film written and directed by Edgar Wright. It stars Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Eiza González, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, and Jon Bernthal. The plot follows Baby, a young getaway driver, who is coerced into working for a kingpin.


The director really knows what he wants here. It’s a merging of music, action and some fantastic car driving. Jon Hamm & Jamie Foxx really seem to be having fun, with their characters almost caricatures of their previous roles.

This has received critical acclaim and has grossed $123 million worldwide from a $34 million dollar budget. A have to agree, one of the best of the year (so far).

 

Dunkirk

Dunkirk is a 2017 war film written, co-produced and directed by Christopher Nolan. The film stars Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, and Tom Hardy. Set during the Second World War, it concerns the Dunkirk evacuation.

 


This movie is LOUD. Hans Zimmer is back with the church organ he used in Interstellar. If half a movie experience is sound then in this movie it’s three quarters. So many times the emotional content is transmitted by the sound, rather than the visuals.

As for the acting, the only actor I knew was Kenneth Branagh. He spent most of his time standing on a pier explaining the plot. The best character was Mark Rylance, who was really good in Bridge of Spies and here is a boat Captain.

 

Marnie

When Marnie Was There

When Marnie Was There is a 2014 Japanese anime drama film written and directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, produced by Studio Ghibli and based on Joan G. Robinson’s novel of the same name, although it transposes the setting from Norfolk, England from the original novel to Sapporo.

The film follows Anna Sasaki living with her relatives in the seaside town. Anna comes across a nearby abandoned mansion, where she meets Marnie, a mysterious girl who asks her to promise to keep their secrets from everyone. As the summer progresses, Anna spends more time with Marnie, and eventually Anna learns the truth about her family and foster care.


A strange and sensitive tale of a 12 year old girl coming to terms with growing up and relating to others. It soon becomes apparent that Marnie is not real, but what is she; a memory, imagination or a ghost. In the end it doesn’t really matter, as it’s more about the emotional journey Anna takes over the summer.

A very emotional film that everyone should enjoy.

 

 

Ape’s War

War for the Planet of the Apes is a 2017 American science fiction film directed by Matt Reeves and written by Mark Bomback and Reeves. A sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014), it is the third installment in the Planet of the Apes reboot series. The film stars Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Amiah Miller, Karin Konoval, Judy Greer and Terry Notary, and follows the confrontation between the apes, led by Caesar, and the humans for control of Earth.


Firstly, this isn’t a “war” movie. Instead it concentrates on Ceasar and his journey. Visual effects are top notch and the action scenes (when they finally turn up) are good. But it is  2:20 hours and at times it feels just too slow. It could have been edited to 2 hours.

We know where the movie must end at the 1968 original movie. And it does provide some interesting unexpected turns. Unfortunately it just isn’t as good as the previous movies.

Ape’s Dawn

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a 2014 American science fiction film directed by Matt Reeves and written by Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver. It stars Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell and Kodi Smit-McPhee. It is the sequel to the 2011 film Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which began 20th Century Fox’s reboot of the original Planet of the Apes series. Dawn is set ten years after the events of Rise, and follows a group of people in San Francisco who struggle to stay alive in the aftermath of a plague that is wiping out humanity, while Caesar tries to maintain dominance over his community of intelligent apes.


It’s not surprising this movie got great reviews. It depicts two sides of a conflict where neither side is shown as good or evil. These exist on both sides and the way in which the narrative draws out the story is Shakespearean in it’s grandeur.

 

Tomorrowland

 

 

Tomorrowland (subtitled A World Beyond in some regions) is a 2015 American science-fiction mystery adventure film .

The film stars George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, Britt Robertson, Raffey Cassidy, Tim McGraw, Kathryn Hahn and Keegan-Michael Key.

In the film, a disillusioned genius inventor and a teenage science enthusiast embark to an ambiguous alternate dimension known as “Tomorrowland” where their actions directly affect the world and themselves.


This $190 million dollar budget film made a box office of $209 million. But not enough to recoup it’s total  costs of $330, suggesting $140 was spent on marketing.

It deserves better. The film was written and directed by Brad Bird, responsible for ‘The Iron Giant”, Incredibles, Ratatouille and the upcoming Incredibles 2.

The visual effects are spectacular, great action scenes and George Clooney playing a grumpy old man. And it’s a REAL science fiction story, with proper Sci-Fi themes and ideas.

The only real problem is Hugh Laurie’s character, is he a villain, leader, architect ? It’s not until the end that his real motives are revealed.

Spy

Spy is a 2015 American action comedy spy film written and directed by Paul Feig. Starring Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Miranda Hart, Bobby Cannavale, Allison Janney, and Jude Law, the film follows the transformation of desk-bound CIA analyst Susan Cooper (McCarthy) into a field agent who attempts to foil the black market sale of a suitcase nuke.

Produced by Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping, Feig and Jessie Henderson, the film was theatrically released on June 5, 2015. It received praise from critics and was a box office success. It was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards: Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for McCarthy.


This is a comedy movie that doesn’t resort to toilet humour for laughs. It’s got a good script and action pieces, including a few surprisingly good fights featuring McCarthy. Miranda Hart is good, playing herself (as seen on her TV series). Allison Janney also does a great job in a more dramatic role (I have only seen her on the comedy Mom). Jude Law is suitably smarmy as the top CIA agent. But it’s Jason Statham that almost steals the show with his foul-mouth, hard as nuts agent. He really knows how comedy works.

So overall a rare thing… a good comedy.