Movie: The Founder
Decided to see this knowing precious little about the movie except (broadly) the subject matter, and that it was a Michael Keaton film. It’s a biopic of a man with a lot of drive, and a lot of flaws, and has some scenes (notably the marriage sub-plot) that will stay with me for a long while.
Movie: Doctor Strange
Another visit to the Marvel universe. Visually spectacular, owing much to “inception”. Has a car crash which was a genuine jump moment (even though I knew from a review that it was going to happen). Running time is a bit long, but it creates its own world effectively and has enough laughs to be an entertaining piece.
Hell or High Water – watch it for a Jeff Bridges performance, or a character study, or an indictment against the treatment of the working poor in Texas – it’s a dark, violent-in-places story of an anti-hero and a law-man.
Movie: Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
The opening scene of Jack Reacher 2 – which is in the trailer – pans across the aftermath of a hand-to-hand fight, while the eponymous aggressor Tom Cruise sits in a nearby diner, waiting for law enforcement to arrive. Rather than starting with an action scene, we start after it. This seemed – in the trailer – a clever device, but is more the talisman for an action movie that feels a little phoned-in.
I wanted to enjoy it, but despite moments of cleverness and amusement, it wasn’t stand-out enough for a Tom Cruise movie.
Swiss Army Man tells the story of Hank (Paul Dano) – a man stranded on a desert island, who has given up hope of living, and Manny (Daniel Radcliffe) – a dead body. But it’s not a horror film. It’s oddly dramatic and funny; goes to some strange and dark places, but manages to keep a sense of wonder about life. It’s crass, a lot of the humour is around flatulence and other traditional male body humour, but not in the vein of more mainstream comedy movies.
Thanks to Dendy for the free ticket as part of a twitter competition.
Movie – Star Trek Beyond (pronounced as per the Madness song)
I really wanted to like this one, but there wasn’t too much there. Plenty of visual spectacle, and some laughs, some character interaction, but there were too many scenes where my response was to think “I know who is going to win this conflict: what’s going to happen after that?” rather than be swept along in what was happening.
One for the completists only.
Movie: Batman vs Superman
Not as bad as I thought it would be. Loud, PG-13 in its relationship sensibilities, literate in its vocabulary (but shows a gala event in a library that has no books). Crammed and over-crammed with plot, visually spectacular; but hard to connect with emotionally.
Spotlight is a Tom McCarthy (director of The Station Agent) film with an ensemble cast of seasoned Hollywood actors. Though not passing the Bechdel test, the presence of Rachel McAdams in the reporting team helped balance out what would otherwise be a throughly male-dominated environment.
This movie seems like the logical, fictional successor to the 2006 documentary Deliver Us from Evil. Both look at systemic abuse of children in the Catholic church, but present a different approach and structure. In the case of Spotlight, the subject matter is explored through the actions of a team of investigative reporters from the Boston Globe newspaper.
There are a lot of scenes with members of the reporting team: a group of lapsed Catholics, talking about the challenges of faith when they look at a system of organised religion that let them down. While not showing actual abuse in the film, the ideas of abuse of children are discussed in significant detail – if this is something you find upsetting, you’ll want to skip this one.
Otherwise, it’s a well-made feature with a compelling story, and impressive performances from a range of actors.
Movie: The Big Short
A star-studded take on the Global Financial Crisis that’s part drama, part TED talk, and regularly breaks the fourth wall to help explain advanced financial concepts to the audience. Some needless adult content that seems to be included to push up the rating rather than help serve the plot. Perhaps its biggest risk is making the viewer seem like they’ve accessed an unbiased account of events, rather than a particular, incomplete take, but an enjoyable journey for the most part.
Movie: The Hateful Eight
Tarantino’s latest movie is part mystery, part character study of awful people, part scenes of violence that are in keeping with his usual tradition. The cinematography is strong – especially for a film that’s so often set in enclosed spaces.
There’s so much objectionable content, it’s hard to know where to start. But if you like his work, you’ll like it.