Friday, 17 February 2017

CATCH-UP ONE-LINER REVIEWS

MIDDLE SCHOOL **1/2 - Lots of pranks you hope your kids don’t copy at school.

MANCHESTER BY THE SEA ***1/2 - a moving, well acted drama about grief.

RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER ***1/2 - a satisfying conclusion to this franchise.

GOLD **1/2 - rags to riches story that doesn’t succeed.

xXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE ** - an unintelligent gluttony of over-the-top action.

See you at the movies!

SILENCE

Two Jesuit priests, SebastiĆ£o Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Francis Garrpe (Adam Driver), travel to seventeenth century Japan which has, under the Tokugawa shogunate, banned Catholicism and almost all foreign contact.

SILENCE refers to the experience of committed believers praying to their god and getting no answer. This is the fundamental core of this profound movie that explores colonialism, culture, spirituality, faith, doubt and human nature from Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street), one of the world’s great directors. It’s for thoughtful viewers who don’t mind a slow movie, if it’s a good movie. It’s a demanding and provocative story with powerful performances and evocative cinematography. It has some confronting torture scenes, so be warned. A stunning achievement.


Thursday, 16 February 2017

THE GREAT WALL

European mercenaries searching for black powder become embroiled in the defense of the Great Wall of China against a horde of monstrous creatures.

Well done escapist nonsense. Basically an ancient Chinese version of Godzilla. The cinematography and CGI is impressive; the story is flawed but who cares; the monsters are suitably nasty; there’s lots of action; the sound is big; and the humour is actually amusing. If you go for this sort of thing, see it on a big screen — and don’t think too much about the plot holes — jump over them and go for the ride.


Sunday, 12 February 2017

FENCES

In 1950s Pittsburgh, a frustrated African-American father struggles with the constraints of poverty, racism, and his own inner demons as he tries to raise a family. -- TMDb

FENCES is based on a stage play and the movie suffers from feeling exactly like that. The acting and dialogue sounded like it was done on a stage and it detracted from the feeling of authenticity for me. This is a very dialogue-driven movie — it’s all about the dialogue. And at 2 hours 19 minutes, it’s incredibly long to just be listening to talking — even if it is between a number of interesting characters. There are a few powerful, emotional moments but, overall, doesn’t have the power it should.


Friday, 10 February 2017

FIFTY SHADES DARKER

While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront the anger and envy of the women who came before her. —IMDB

I think FIFTY SHADES DARKER is being misunderstood by most people. For me, it shows how Anastasia begins to assert herself and resist the subservient role that she naively went along with in the first episode. I’ve read one reviewer who was disappointed in the movie because it was bad erotica and complained that it was only rated at MA15+! I completely agree with the criticisms of the Fifty Shades story because it shows abuse of women. It’s one of the worst aspects of the stories. But beneath this, in a completely inadequate way, there is a critique of women being nothing more than sex objects and submissive to men. However, this is not enough to make a good movie. The movie is nice to look at, but the whole thing is pretty boring. There are plot lines that are just dropped into the story without much reason (like a helicopter crash) and characters that are now suddenly introduced that are out to get Ana and Christian with no real development. All very unsatisfying. I was glad the chocolate brownie I had in Gold Class was worth eating.


Wednesday, 8 February 2017

LIVE BY NIGHT

A group of Boston-bred gangsters set up shop in balmy Florida during the Prohibition era, facing off against the competition and the Ku Klux Klan. --IMDB

A bland, by the numbers gangster movie with so many plot lines that nothing really stands out. The production is brilliant with its recreation of the era. It's a pity the script wasn't as good. Disappointing after Ben Affleck's previous movies.


Friday, 3 February 2017

PATRIOTS DAY

The story of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the aftermath, which includes the city-wide manhunt to find the terrorists responsible. —IMDB

An excellent movie by director Peter Berg (Deep Water Horizon). It comes across as authentic, is suspenseful, and celebrates those people who suffered during and after the bombing. While it is an action film, it is executed with respect and without exploitation. It’s a remarkable story of how a city pulled together in the aftermath of a tragedy.