Sunday, 31 July 2016

JASON BOURNE

The most dangerous former operative of the CIA is drawn out of hiding to uncover hidden truths about his past. --IMDB

Matt Damon is very good as Jason Bourne and those trying to "bring him in" are good antagonists. Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl) makes a strong new agent on Bourne's tail. The references to contemporary issues around government surveillance and wanting backdoor entry into certain smartphones adds an interesting layer to the story. But those themes are not really explored I in depth. JASON BOURNE is pretty much full on, non-stop action which the director, Paul Greengrass, does really well. For thrilling entertainment, you can't go past Bourne. I liked it.



Saturday, 30 July 2016

YOUR GUIDE TO THIS WEEK'S NEW CINEMA RELEASES

The week goes fast and here we are with new movies to see!

TOP PICK


JASON BOURNE, the most dangerous former operative of the CIA, is drawn out of hiding to uncover hidden truths about his past in this new, fast-paced, action thriller. Mixed reviews from critics. CineVue’s Ben Nicholson does, however, make the point that ‘The political commentary feels far more explicitly pointed and widely integral than in previous incarnations which adds a bold new dynamic where perhaps the same re-inventive verve is lacking in the film's formulaic story. Fortunately, Greengrass and Damon are so in command of this material it's rarely too much of a concern. Even when little of substance seems to be happening, the narrative feels propulsive.’ I liked it — my review soon. People ***1/2 ◉ Critics *** ◉ Me ****

MAYBE/MAYBE NOT


A HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING. An interesting title! It stars Tom Hanks as Alan, a failed American businessman who looks to recoup his losses by traveling to Saudi Arabia and selling his idea to a wealthy monarch. The Hollywood Reporter’s Sheri Linden says that, ‘When it isn't trying too hard to be instructive or jokey, Tykwer's film fluently conveys the hard truth of diminished relevance, geopolitical as well as personal. Hanks' portrayal of a man caught between utter defeat and a yearning to begin again is pitch-perfect.’ People *** ◉ Critics ***

The comedy drama DOUGH doesn’t look great given the plot that sounds predictable. An old Jewish baker struggles to keep his business afloat until his young Muslim apprentice drops cannabis in the dough and sends sales sky high. San Francisco Chronicle’s David Lewis reckons ‘It's competently made but boring - and desperate.’ People *** ◉ Critics **1/2

That's it for this week. See you at the movies!

<NOTE> Movie summaries are adaptations of movie summary on IMDB. Opinions are mine unless credited. People and critics scores are a rough idea of how movies are currently being rated on the “average”. These updates are written from an Australian perspective so openings of the movies in cinemas may vary in other parts of the world.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

3D STAR TREK BEYOND

The USS Enterprise crew explores the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a new ruthless enemy who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test. —IMDB

Visuals are stunning and the action is excellent — but the script is superficial and doesn’t have the same philosophical or scientific conundrums or paradoxes that made Star Trek great. As a piece of escapism, it’s ok.


Sunday, 24 July 2016

NEW RELEASE DVD RECOMMENDATION - THE DAUGHTER

SUMMARY: The story follows a man who returns home to discover a long-buried family secret, and whose attempts to put things right threaten the lives of those he left home years before. —IMDB

MY REVIEW: THE DAUGHTER is an excellent Australian movie starring some great actors — Geoffrey Rush, Anna Torv, and Miranda Otto. Odessa Young puts in an excellent turn as Hedvig. And it’s great to see Sam Neill pop up in an Australian movie again. The story develops slowly, effectively builds unease, twists and turns in subtle ways, and climaxes with a powerful ending. The acting is very good with natural performances. It’s based on a novel by Ibsen called The Wild Duck. The characters are superbly developed throughout the story along with a soundtrack that is sparsely used and melancholy. The cinematography that makes use of the Australian bush complements the story. A very satisfying movie with a powerful message that all of us are profoundly impacted by our pasts.


LOVE & FRIENDSHIP

Lady Susan Vernon takes up temporary residence at her in-laws' estate and, while there, is determined to be a matchmaker for her daughter Frederica -- and herself too, naturally. —IMDB

Based on an early novella by Jane Austen. It was mildly entertaining but I didn’t think it was as good as other Jane Austen adaptations I’ve seen. There didn’t seem to be enough tonal variation — the whole thing felt pretty much the same all the way through. There are some very witty one-liners and one character (the name of which I can’t remember) was very funny. But, overall, pretty average and lacked emotional engagement.


Friday, 22 July 2016

YOUR GUIDE TO THIS WEEK'S NEW CINEMA RELEASES

Here in my home city it’s cold and wet — good weather for a movie!

TOP PICK


Top of the list this week is LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP. It’s an adaptation of a Jane Austen novella in which Lady Susan Vernon takes up temporary residence at her in-laws' estate and, while there, is determined to be a matchmaker for her daughter Frederica -- and herself too, naturally. For Variety’s Justin Chang, ‘Stallman takes the inherent sophistication of Austen's worldview and introduces just the right note of sly, self-deflating mockery.’ My review soon. People ***1/2 ◉ Critics **** ◉ Me ***

OTHERS TO SEE


After a long wait, the Enterprise and crew are back in STAR TREK BEYOND. The USS Enterprise crew explores the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a new ruthless enemy who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test. Variety’s Owen Gleiberman describes it as ‘… a sturdily built movie that gets the job done, and it's got a likable retro vibe.’ Not one of the best, in my opinion. My review is coming. People **** ◉ Critics ***1/2 ◉ Me ***1/2

MAYBE/MAYBE NOT


When her little brother, Martin, experiences the same events that once tested her sanity, Rebecca works to unlock the truth behind the terror, which brings her face to face with an entity that has an attachment to their mother, Sophie. That’s the story  of the new horror movie, LIGHTS OUT. TheWrap’s Robert Abele thinks ‘That the film occasionally succumbs to certain rudimentary hallmarks of industrial studio horror is regrettable, but for the most part it's agreeably suspenseful, date-night arm-squeezing genre fare.’ If you see it, let us know what you think. People ***1/2 ◉ Critics **1/2

That's it for this week. See you at the movies!

<NOTE> Movie summaries are adaptations of movie summary on IMDB. Opinions are mine unless credited. People and critics scores are a rough idea of how movies are currently being rated on the “average”. These updates are written from an Australian perspective so openings of the movies in cinemas may vary in other parts of the world.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

SING STREET

A boy growing up in Dublin during the 1980s escapes his strained family life by starting a band to impress the mysterious girl he likes. —IMDB

An absolute gem. This a wonderful, moving story that is more about two brothers than it is about a romance between boy and girl. It’s pretty deep but never loses its optimism. It’s about finding happiness in sadness (in the words of one of the characters). The acting by these young people is excellent and a feel-good soundtrack will have you tapping along.


Monday, 18 July 2016

OUR KIND OF TRAITOR

A couple finds themselves lured into a Russian oligarch's plans to defect, and are soon positioned between the Russian Mafia and the British Secret Service, neither of whom they can trust. —IMDB

I love a good spy story and the one did not disappoint. It’s intriguing, with some good plot twists, and interesting characters. It’s easy to follow (if not alway believable) but travels along at a good pace. It’s a solid script and relies more on the story than action — which is a refreshing change. Ewan McGregor is very good. A top-notch, contemporary spy thriller.


Saturday, 16 July 2016

ONE-LINER REVIEWS

Every so often, I’ve seen more movies than I have time to review. So I’m introducing a new “feature” to On the Run Movies - one-liner reviews - my opinion in one line for movies I haven’t been able to review. It will only happen occasionally :-)

ME BEFORE YOU *** - sweetly entertaining romance.

THE  MEASURE OF A MAN *** - slow, depressing, but important slice of life.

THE BFT **1/2 - Visually stunning but too long - got boring after a while.

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE *** - Better than I expected. Good fun with a good message.

MAGGIE’S PLAN *** - Very Woody Allen-like with serious comedy.

See you at the movies!

Friday, 15 July 2016

YOUR GUIDE TO THIS WEEK'S NEW CINEMA RELEASES

The weekend is here ... time to catch a movie!

TOP PICK


SING STREET is the top pick for this week. In this story, a boy growing up in Dublin during the 1980s escapes his strained family life by starting a band to impress the mysterious girl he likes. The trailers look delightful. Variety's Guy Lodge says, surprisingly, that 'The truest and most tearduct-tugging relationship here is that between Conor and his lank-haired college-dropout brother, played with spaced-out warmth and wistful good humor by the ever-likeable Reynor.' I'm rushing to see this one. People **** ◉ Critics ****

OTHERS TO SEE


OUR LITTLE SISTER (Umimachi Diary) is a Japanese comedy drama that revolves around three sisters who live in their grandmother's home and the arrival of their thirteen-year-old half sister. That's all I know about this one. But it is getting good ratings. The A.V. Club's Mike D'Angelo says that '... the movie version feels a tad weightless, especially relative to its hefty running time. Anyone in the mood for two hours (and change) of sheer, unadulterated loveliness, however, will be amply rewarded.' People ***1/2 ◉ Critics ***1/2

Here's an interesting one... A hopeless man stranded in the wilderness befriends a dead body and together they go on a surreal journey to get home. That's the storyline of SWISS ARMY MAN. For Screen International's Tim Grierson, 'Swiss Army Man is a powerfully audacious and wilfully odd odyssey that is too nervy and strangely emotional to dismiss outright but, ultimately, isn't satisfying enough to provoke a full-throated defence, either.' People **** ◉ Critics ***

MAYBE/MAYBE NOT


Yes, GHOSTBUSTERS has been remade with a cast of interesting comediennes. Following a ghost invasion of Manhattan, paranormal enthusiasts Erin Gilbert and Abby Yates, nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann, and subway worker Patty Tolan band together to stop the otherworldly threat. But is it any good? ScreenCrush's Matt Singer says, 'Warts and all, the new Ghostbusters is still one of the best tentpoles of the summer (admittedly, that's not saying much). It doesn't tarnish the legacy of the original movie, and its own legacy might have been even stronger if it hadn't worried about paying homage to the old Ghostbusters quite so intensely.' Unusually, the people like it less than the critics. People ** ◉ Critics ***

OUR KIND OF TRAITOR

Based on a John Le Carré novel, OUR KIND OF TRAITOR is about a couple who find themselves lured into a Russian oligarch's plans to defect, and are soon positioned between the Russian Mafia and the British Secret Service, neither of whom they can trust. I love a good spy story and enjoyed this one. Full review coming soon. In the meantime, CineVue’s Jamie Neish describes it as ‘… a finely made thriller that's a little bit more contemporary than other le Carré adaptations before it, and allows the central trio a chance to shine and Lewis to do some weird things with his accent and mouth as a weirdly laid back and unconcerned British agent.’ People *** ◉ Critics *** ◉ Me ****

Finally, Jake Gyllenhaal and Naomi Watts star in DEMOLITION in which a successful investment banker struggles after losing his wife in a tragic car crash. With the help of a customer service rep and her young son, he starts to rebuild, beginning with the demolition of the life he once knew. Slant Magazine’s Christopher Gray says ‘It takes its literalism to such an extreme that, at points, it's difficult to determine whether or not the film is operating with a semblance of irony.’ People ***1/2 ◉ Critics **1/2

That's it for this week. See you at the movies!

<NOTE> Movie summaries are adaptations of movie summary on IMDB. Opinions are mine unless credited. People and critics scores are a rough idea of how movies are currently being rated on the “average”. These updates are written from an Australian perspective so openings of the movies in cinemas may vary in other parts of the world.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

THE LEGEND OF TARZAN

Tarzan, having acclimated to life in London, is called back to his former home in the jungle to investigate the activities at a mining encampment. —IMDB

The premise of the story is reasonable. But the focus is very much on the visuals which are stunning, although at times, look a bit too CGI-ish. Margot Robbie (as Jane) provides the best performance. Alexander Skarsgård (as Tarzan) had the same look on his face throughout the whole movie. Christoph Waltz, who plays the baddie, was pretty good. It does have the feel of an old-style adventure movie which is likeable. Most stunning are the animals, especially the silverback gorillas who absolutely steal the scenes they’re in. They were made especially for this movie. Overall, it’s a pretty bland and predictable story. Given that the visuals are so central to the movie, worth a look in 3D.


Monday, 11 July 2016

EVERYBODY WANTS SOME

A group of college baseball players navigate their way through the freedoms and responsibilities of unsupervised adulthood. —IMDB

After seeing the brilliant Linklater directed movie, Boyhood, I was looking forward to his EVERYBODY WANTS SOME. But I hated it. Why would I want to spend a couple of hours watching a group of college teenagers engaging in days of bad behaviour? There is no reason. A complete waste of time despite its almost universal acclaim from the critics. Give it a miss.


Sunday, 10 July 2016

GOLDSTONE

Indigenous Detective Jay Swan arrives in the frontier town of Goldstone on a missing persons enquiry. What seems like a simple light duties investigation opens a web of crime and corruption. Jay must pull his life together and bury his differences with young local cop Josh, so together they can bring justice to Goldstone. — Written by David Jowsey (IMDB)

Brilliant follow up to 2013’s Mystery Road. Aaron Pederson is excellent as Jay Swan. The story is intriguing, acting superb all round, and the cinematography of the Australian landscape is stunning. It’s a slow-burn, beautifully nuanced, raw crime drama thriller. Don’t miss it.


NEW RELEASE DVD RECOMMENDATION - 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE

SUMMARY: After getting in a car accident, a woman is held in a shelter with two men, who claim the outside world is affected by a widespread chemical attack. —IMDB

MY REVIEW: 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE is a brilliant, edge of the seat drama/mystery/sci-fi movie. The acting is great with John Goodman putting in one of the best performances I have seen from him ever. The story is very clever with lots of twists. It is tense and unpredictable with the suspense coming from what is going on psychologically rather than from special effects or cliched tricks - this is an original, intelligent, smart movie. There are touches of humour here and there but it is mostly an intense piece of psychodrama. The soundtrack is spot on and sparingly complements the story. The action is believable and avoids sensationalist CGI. The special effects and cinematography are great and the suspense is situational rather than contrived. This is a deeply satisfying movie - I loved it!


Friday, 8 July 2016

YOUR GUIDE TO THIS WEEK'S NEW CINEMA RELEASES

Only a couple of movies worth catching up with this week...

TOP PICK
The must see movie this week is GOLDSTONE. In this follow-on from the excellent Mystery Road, 'Indigenous Detective Jay Swan arrives in the frontier town of Goldstone on a missing persons enquiry. What seems like a simple light duties investigation opens a web of crime and corruption. Jay must pull his life together and bury his differences with young local cop Josh, so together they can bring justice to Goldstone.' (Written by David Jowsey) I saw GOLDSTONE last night and was very impressed. My review coming shortly. People **** ◉ Me ****1/2

OTHERS TO SEE
MAGGIE'S PLAN to have a baby on her own is derailed when she falls in love with John, a married man, destroying his volatile marriage to the brilliant Georgette. According to Screen International's Tim Grierson, 'All three leads [in this romantic comedy drama] get stronger as the movie goes along, in part because Miller's full intention isn't clear until about halfway through. These characters are foolish without being idiots, which produces a more sophisticated type of comedy.' People ***1/2 ◉ Critics ****

MAYBE/MAYBE NOT
There seem to be lots of comedies on offer at the moment. In MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES two brothers place an online ad to find dates for a wedding and the ad goes viral. Can't say the premise sounds very exciting. Don't expect much from this one if you decide to see it. The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy says that 'Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates rates medium on the grossness scale (an all-body, pre-marital naked-Indian-guru-administered massage for the bride with a happy ending, anyone?), and pretty high in crude talk. But it's kind of a dud when it comes to endurance and imaginative moves.' People ***1/2 ◉ Critics **1/2

THE LEGEND OF TARZAN is retold again on our screens this week. Tarzan, having acclimated to life in London, is called back to his former home in the jungle to investigate the activities at a mining encampment. This movie has received mixed reviews from critics. But, overall, they don't rate it very highly. New York Daily News's Stephen Whitty warns us that 'Alexander Skarsgard is more abs than actor as the ape man, and Margot Robbie's Jane looks about as 19th-Century as an Aussie surfer girl. Together, they produce all the real-life passion of an Abercrombie & Fitch ad.' People ***1/2 ◉ Critics **

ONE TO AVOID
Prior to the Iranian revolution it was a place where people of all religions were allowed to flourish. SEPTEMBERS OF SHIRAZ is the story of a prosperous Jewish family who abandon everything before they are consumed by the passions of revolutionaries. Sounds like this could have been a good story. But, according to The Guardian's Jordan Hoffman, 'This lifeless, by-the-numbers production is an excruciating exercise in cliche and tedium. Its sole joy is in trying to figure out which of its leads is overacting most.' Give it a miss. People **1/2 ◉ Critics *

That's it for this week. See you at the movies!

Movie summaries are adaptations of movie summary on IMDB. Opinions are mine unless credited. People and critics scores are a rough idea of how movies are currently being rated on the “average”. These updates are written from an Australian perspective so openings of the movies in cinemas may vary in other parts of the world.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

YOUR GUIDE TO THIS WEEK'S NEW CINEMA RELEASES

Sorry for the delay in getting this update to you this week… it’s been hectic.

TOP PICK


THE MEASURE OF A MAN (La loi du marché) is the story of an unemployed factory worker trying to make ends meet in working-class France. It doesn’t sound much, but according to Variety’s Scott Foundas, ‘Brize [director and co-writer] … makes compelling drama out of the most ordinary of circumstances, and draws a lead performance from frequent collaborator Vincent Lindon that is a veritable master class in understated humanism.’ People ***1/2 ◉ Critics ***1/2

OTHERS TO SEE


One for the family, BFG is a fantasy adventure about a girl named Sophie who encounters the Big Friendly Giant who, despite his intimidating appearance, turns out to be a kindhearted soul who is considered an outcast by the other giants because, unlike them, he refuses to eat children. The director is Steven Spielberg — and we know he can make a good movie! indieWIRE’s Eric Kohn describes it as ‘An eager crowdpleaser from one of the world's greatest crowdpleasers, it gets the job done and nothing more. It’s available in 3D and it should be good in that medium.  Suitable for ages 7+. People ***1/2 ◉ Critics ***

MAYBE/MAYBE NOT


The Italian/French movie, THE WAIT (L'attesa) is about a mother who unexpectedly meets her son's fiancée at a villa in Sicily and gets to know her as she waits for her son to arrive. This one has mixed reviews from the critics. The Film Stage says that, ‘In the end, like a breath of stylized, impassioned hot air, L'attesa evokes feelings associated with bereavement effectively but has nothing substantial to add to the whole psychology of loss.’ The general public are a bit more positive about it: People *** ◉ Critics **1/2

Dwayne Johnson (San Andreas) and Kevin Hart (Get Hard) are back with CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE. After he reconnects with an awkward pal from high school through Facebook, a mild-mannered accountant is lured into the world of international espionage. Variety’s Owen Gleiberman says that ‘It delivers - on some basic, giddy, turn-off-your-frontal-lobes level. It's an action-comedy utensil, like “Rush Hour” crossed with an old Arnold Schwarzenegger shoot-'em-up, with a few goofy added sprinkles of “Romy and Michele's High School Reunion.”’ Keep your expectations low if you decide to see this one! People ***1/2 ◉ Critics **1/2

Do you remember the cute film, Belle & Sebastion? The sequel is here in BELLE & SEBASTIAN: THE ADVENTURE CONTINUES (Belle et Sébastien, l'aventure continue). It’s September, 1945. Sebastian impatiently waits for the return of his friend Angelina, whom he has not seen for two years. When the plane carrying the young woman to her small village in the Alps is reported to have crashed in the mountains, Sebastian is convinced that Angelina is still alive. Along with his faithful dog Belle, Sebastian embarks on the most dangerous adventure of his life. I thought the first movie was ok. This looks like it might be much the same. People ***

That's it for this week. See you at the movies!

<NOTE> Movie summaries are adaptations of movie summary on IMDB. Opinions are mine unless credited. People and critics scores are a rough idea of how movies are currently being rated on the “average”. These updates are written from an Australian perspective so openings of the movies in cinemas may vary in other parts of the world.