Friday, 24 March 2017

LIFE

The six-member crew of the International Space Station is tasked with studying a sample from Mars that may be the first proof of extra-terrestrial life, which proves more intelligent than ever expected.

A solid thriller that is clearly influenced by Ridley Scott’s Alien movie. It’s occasionally a touch cheesy but, overall, is a fast-paced, thrilling, well-acted space sci-fi set in the present day. The characters are all different and the alien makes a welcome change to some we’ve seen already - it’s a nasty little critter that isn’t evil — just trying to survive. So, if you are after a bit of tension, check it out on the biggest screen you can find!


Thursday, 23 March 2017

A CURE FOR WELLNESS

An ambitious young executive is sent to retrieve his company's CEO from an idyllic but mysterious "wellness center" at a remote location in the Swiss Alps but soon suspects that the spa's miraculous treatments are not what they seem.

The only way I can describe this is to call it a contemporary gothic horror. It’s a long movie at around 2hr 26m. It’s superbly photographed with an eerie story that becomes more bizarre as it progresses. Acting is very good. There are some very dark themes and disturbing themes so it’s not for the fainthearted. At the heart of the story is a criticism of how we, in the 21st century, are working ourselves to death, looking for wellness at the same time as we are denying the very thing that is making us “sick”. It’s a good message, although it is overtaken by the horror. There is so much packed into this movie that it needs to be watched without distraction. This is the sort of movie you need to just sit back and go for the ride.


Sunday, 19 March 2017

BEFORE I FALL

Samantha Kingston has everything. Then, everything changes. After one fateful night, she wakes up with no future at all. Trapped into reliving the same day over and over, she begins to question just how perfect her life really was.

Even though the message of this movie is cliched (live in the present and live the best life you can now) I really liked the way it is presented. It’s a “serious” Groundhog Day aimed squarely at the teen market. Zoey Deutch (Why Him?) is excellent as Samantha Kingston — she puts in the best acting with her very expressive face. But the whole cast of young actors come across as very believable. There are some cheesy moments, but they are forgivable. A thought-provoking movie.


Sunday, 12 March 2017

ALONE IN BERLIN

Berlin in June of 1940. While Nazi propaganda celebrates the regime’s victory over France, a kitchen-cum-living room in Prenzlauer Berg is filled with grief. Anna and Otto Quangel’s son has been killed at the front. This working class couple had long believed in the ‘Führer’ and followed him willingly, but now they realise that his promises are nothing but lies and deceit. They begin writing postcards as a form of resistance and in a bid to raise awareness: Stop the war machine! Kill Hitler! Putting their lives at risk, they distribute these cards in the entrances of tenement buildings and in stairwells. But the SS and the Gestapo are soon onto them, and even their neighbours pose a threat. (tMDB)

Emma Thompson and Bendan Gleeson do a good job of playing Anna and Otto Quangel in this suspenseful drama. And Daniel Brühl (Inglorious Bastards) puts in a nuanced, compelling performance as the police detective. I liked ALONE IN BERLIN because it focuses on two ordinary German civilians who carry out such a simple subversive activity. We see so many stories of dramatic heroism — but this one is about people just doing what they can to protest. The story is told in a straightforward way with no sensationalism and very little action — and yet, it communicates the constant anxiety that people must have felt during the Nazi regime when you couldn’t trust anyone — even your closest friends.


KONG: SKULL ISLAND (3D)

A team of scientists explore an uncharted island in the Pacific, venturing into the domain of the mighty Kong, and must fight to escape a primal Eden.

A thoroughly enjoyable revisioning of the King Kong myth. The action sequences are AMAZING — especially at the beginning of the movie when the helicopters are flying into the unchartered island! Kong is awesome as are all the other “monsters”. And the personality of Kong is nuanced. Acting is good and, if you watch this in 3D, you’re in for a real treat! The social commentary made by this movie (about war, the environment) is good, too, although it could have been developed more. The relationship between Kong and the humans, including that between Kong and Mason Weaver, the photographer is beautifully understated. This is a very entertaining, well executed, fast-paced story with some great humour. Don't miss it on the big screen!

 

Saturday, 4 March 2017

LOGAN

In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X in a hide out on the Mexican border. But Logan's attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are up-ended when a young mutant arrives, being pursued by dark forces.

As far as superhero movies go, LOGAN is pretty reasonable. It’s tone is very different to the previous X-Men and Wolverine stories. This one is very dark, very raw, and very violent. It has an MA15+ rating here in Australia (R in the US) and this looks like the direction these movies will head in the future. Hugh Jackman is, of course, very good as Logan and this will be his last movie playing Wolverine — you’ll see why when you watch the movie. And Dafne Keen puts in a great performance as Laura (X-23). It is quite disturbing, though, to see a young kid perpetrating such intense violence. LOGAN is not a great movie (and it is a little long with a less than satisfying last half hour) but it is worth seeing if you’ve been following the franchise. It is certainly a different sort of superhero movie than we’ve been used to.