Friday, 16 March 2018


|Every so often, I get a bit behind in reviewing movies I’ve seen. So, here are my star ratings for a few recent movies.|

12 STRONG - 12 Strong tells the story of the first Special Forces team deployed to Afghanistan after 9/11; under the leadership of a new captain, the team must work with an Afghan warlord to take down for the Taliban. ***½

THE MERCY - Yachtsman Donald Crowhurst's disastrous attempt to win the 1968 Golden Globe Race ends up with him creating an outrageous account of travelling the world alone by sea. ***

THE SQUARE - A satirical drama reflecting our times — about the sense of community, moral courage and the affluent person’s need for egocentricity in an increasingly uncertain world. ****

DEN OF THIEVES - A gritty crime saga which follows the lives of an elite unit of the LA County Sheriff's Dept. and the state's most successful bank robbery crew as the outlaws plan a seemingly impossible heist on the Federal Reserve Bank. ***½

MOLLY’S GAME - Molly Bloom, a young skier and former Olympic hopeful becomes a successful entrepreneur (and a target of an FBI investigation) when she establishes a high-stakes, international poker game. ***

PHANTOM THREAD - In the glamour of 1950s post-war London, renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock and his sister Cyril are at the centre of British fashion. Women come and go through Woodcock’s life, providing the confirmed bachelor with inspiration and companionship, until he comes across a young, strong-willed woman, Alma, who soon becomes a fixture in his life as his muse and lover. Once controlled and planned, he finds his carefully tailored life disrupted by love. ****

See you at the movies!

Movie descriptions are from IMDB or TMDB unless otherwise stated.


Lara Croft, the fiercely independent daughter of a missing adventurer, must push herself beyond her limits when she finds herself on the island where her father disappeared.

An excellent piece of entertainment! I really enjoyed this remake. It’s fast-paced, great action sequences, and Alicia Vikander, who plays Lara Croft, is outstanding. Vikander is one of my favourite actors and she brings a believability to her performance and makes the story more grounded than the originals. Norwegian Roar Uthaug direction is spot on. I’ve taken ½ a star off for the inevitable plot holes. But who really cares when it’s such a joy to watch. Check it out on the big screen. Can’t wait for the next one.

Thursday, 15 March 2018


Dr Paul Kersey is an experienced trauma surgeon, a man who has spent his life saving lives. After an attack on his family, Paul embarks on his own mission for justice.

Bruce Willis is tired and his acting is terrible — almost cringe-worthy at times — in this remake. The plot is predictable and clichéd. And the worst thing about the movie is its promotion of vigilantism — something we don’t need with the ongoing mass shootings in America. At times, it feels as though the NRA in the US has backed the movie with its focus on guns and getting vengeance because the police don’t do a good enough job. There’s one scene in a gun store that comes across as satirical. It’s hard to know whether it was intended that way because nothing else in the movie has the same feel. If the movie had been directed as a satire, it may have had some redeeming quality. As it is, it is not worth watching.

Friday, 9 March 2018


Everyone deserves a great love story. But for seventeen-year-old Simon Spier it’s a little more complicated: he’s yet to tell his family or friends he’s gay and he doesn’t actually know the identity of the anonymous classmate he’s fallen for online.

It’s good to see stories being made about the experiences of gay teens. But this one is typical Hollywood — superficial, clichéd, stereotyped, and saccharine. The cast does a good job of acting their parts, but the script is predictable and superficial. It does make some good points about cyber-bullying. There’s a warmth that is endearing but it’s clearly made for an American teen demographic. Jon Frosch, of The Hollywood Reporter, describes it as ‘… an expertly carved chunk of cheese.’ Pretty accurate.

Thursday, 8 March 2018


On the eve of retirement a middle class, judgmental snob discovers her husband has been having an affair with her best friend and is forced into exile with her bohemian sister who lives on an impoverished inner-city council estate.

Despite exploring some timely themes about ageing, grief, and relationships, FINDING YOUR FEET is clichéd, predictable, and “nice”. It’s typical British comedy drama which is ok — but that’s all. Same actors that seem to be in everything British who do an adequate job. Sweetly undemanding.

Sunday, 4 March 2018


Prima ballerina Dominika Egorova faces a bleak and uncertain future after she suffers an injury that ends her career. She soon turns to Sparrow School, a secret intelligence service that trains exceptional young people to use their minds and bodies as weapons. Egorova emerges as the most dangerous Sparrow after completing the sadistic training process. As she comes to terms with her new abilities, Dominika meets a CIA agent who tries to convince her that he is the only person she can trust.

The best spy thriller in ages! Jennifer Lawrence is mesmerising (as usual) and Joel Edgerton is a worthy support actor. The plot is complex and intelligent and directed with subtlety — this is a clever movie and avoids all of the clichés of the big, brash, modern spy thrillers like Atomic Blond. There is more talk than action — which is a refreshing change. And what action there is, is believable. The book, on which the film is based, was written by a former CIA operative. There’s a great twist at the end. A slow-burn, satisfying movie.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

A FANTASTIC WOMAN (Chile, English subtitles)

Marina, a transsexual woman who works as a waitress and moonlights as a nightclub singer, is bowled over by the death of her older boyfriend.

Nominated for Best Foreign Picture at the Oscars. A very interesting portrait of a transgender woman who experiences social challenges and prejudice as she navigates the events following the sudden death of her much older partner. Played by Daniela Vega, who is an actual transgender woman and is excellent in the role with a very engaging onscreen presence. The story provides insight into what transgendered people often have to experience from society’s responses. Unfortunately, the movie doesn’t spend enough time helping us to get to know the protagonist as a person — who she is, her history, her as an individual. It is mostly focused on people’s reactions to her. Directed with subtlety and tenderness, this is an important movie definitely worth seeing.