The Death Of Stalin

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‘A Comedy Of Terrors’ goes the tagline for this movie and never more true is that statement. Do you you like your comedy dark? Well this is, about as dark as a starless Siberian night.

This movie is based around a French graphic novel and directed by Armando Iannucci.

Moscow 1953, was not a happy place – Stalin had an iron grip on power and that is an understatement. It was a case if he said jump, you would say how high – this can be seen very clearly in one of the opening scenes.  Stalin wanted a recording of a classical concert that was taking place live in the city. The question goes round the concert venue’ Did we record it? No, well don’t let anyone leave, close the doors, we go again’ – told you this comedy was dark!!

Stalin receives the recording and a note drops out, he reads it and then promptly dies. Panic now ensues, what do we do now and how do we replace him? This is at the heart of the comedy story line in this film. If it wasn’t so serious it would be funny, turns out despite yourself you will probably find yourself laughing even though you know you shouldn’t.

The stellar cast don’t even attempt a Russian accent, in fact Stalin speaks with a north of England accent and equally the American actors don’t change theirs. In a lesser movie that might grate with you, but actually this is quickly forgotten in the absurdity of it all.

While this is a historical comedy, it is more a case of making the history fit the comedy rather sticking strictly to the facts, but a bit like the accents issue I mentioned in the previous paragraph you forget that pretty quickly, if you like your comedy dark then this is the one for you, if not I hear that ‘My Little Pony’ is also out in cinemas this week!!

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Blade Runner 2049

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Blade Runner, a genre defining movie that set the template for how a dystopian future might look with a haunting soundtrack by Vangelis to accompany it, now comes the question did it need a sequel, well in my personal opinion, No.

That is not to say that the current movie Blade Runner 2049 is at fault, visually stunning yes, a great director attached Denis Villeneuve who respected what came before in the original, certainly and an equally haunting soundtrack, but for me at least as I left the cinema I could not shake that feeling – a movie that didn’t need a sequel. P.s The running time of this movie is longer than the original. It could have been shorter and still told it’s story adequately.

I suppose after that personal insight I better get down to telling the basic outline of this tale.Thirty years on and in place of Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), we now follow the path of Officer K (Ryan Gosling), a more modern incarnation of the Blade Runners working for the L.A.P.D. While seeking down replicants to hunt down and destroy, he uncovers a secret from the past that has chance to upset the balance of the society and cause chaos in it’s wake. The more he investigates, he is lead on a quest to find Deckard, who has gone of the grid and unfound for some 30 years.

Well normally I would summarise my opening point but I think that has been said, if there might be a fault in this movie it might be that it speaks more to fans of the original film, but might not appeal enough to the younger movie goers of today and may mean that the movie may not do as well at the box office as first thought when the idea of a sequel to the original Blade Runner was muted. A classic for fans, for modern audiences maybe just their movie of the week till the next one comes out.

 

 

Goodbye Christopher Robin

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There is probably a good chance the image above is the first one that comes
to mind when you say Christopher Robin, that name has become forever
associated with the A.A. Milne story of Winnie The Pooh or the later Disney interpretation of the series of children’s books that he wrote.
Sad to say the real tale is a little less upbeat.

At it’s heart the title of this movie describes the tale quite well, three words
that say quite a lot. This film really examines two things, the ongoing cost
of war and the price of becoming famous, even if you didn’t want it to be that way.

A.A Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) comes back from the war to end all wars, as it was sometimes referred to a somewhat damaged man and even once he re-entered the world he had left he was not quite the same. He longed for peace in every sense of the word and upped sticks from the heady socialite life of London to the quiet idyll of the green and pleasant English countryside.

He started a tale to capture the imaginary life of his growing son Christopher Robin or as this tale tells it, ‘Billy Moon’ and the toys that he played with. After the horrors of war he wanted to bring a bit of happiness back into the world and so these became the Winnie the Pooh stories that we come to know today.

It appears that along with A.A Milne that the rest of the world at this time also longed for peace and a story that would take them away from what had happened during the First World War and the popularity of the books grew.

But there was a problem – Christopher Robin found that the public struggled to separate the real from the imaginary boy in the story. This is particularly telling in one scene while at London Zoo, the head of the zoo wants a photo op with one of the zoo’s bears and Christopher Robin who is just there on a day out with his father. The father relents to the request, it is obvious that both the boy and the bear feel awkward and uncomfortable being so on show. A little too late his father realises the effect that all this attention is having on his son, but the die has been cast, the genie let out of the bottle and it can’t be put back in.

A touching, sometimes melancholy tale of a growing boy and his father and how sometimes what we read about in children’s storybooks is not always the whole story.

Borg/McEnroe

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There have been many sports related movies made throughout the history of
cinema, but the list of ones dedicated to the sport of tennis is very short.
The only other one that comes to mind is ‘Wimbledon’ and that did not grace
itself on our cinema screens for very long and was weak at best, so that
another one should come along is certainly worthy of note.

Bjorn Borg was the calm reasoned and ice cool Swedish tennis player and John McEnroe was the hot headed bratty and brash New Yorker that struggled to get through a match without loosing his temper at the crowd or the umpire. Well this movie lets us know that this was not always the case. In his youth Borg’s temper more closely resembled McEnroe’s.In this movie Shia LaBeouf portrays McEnroe and Sverrir Gudnason inhabits the part of Bjorn Borg.

Well,if you lived through the 1980’s and even if you were not a tennis fan there is a pretty good chance than this intense rivalry can’t have escaped your notice.
It may have even been the only reason why some people looked at the game me included. You were transfixed, could McEnroe keep his cool?Could Borg make it five Wimbledon wins in a row?

No insult to Shia LaBeouf’s acting talent but similar to the tennis tussle that took place in real life I think that this is really Sverrir Gudnason’s movie, in fact at times you have to remind yourself that we are looking at an actor portraying the part of Borg rather than the man himself he captures him so well. In fact in native Sweden this movie is just called Borg, he’s a Swedish legend. If you are Swedish and talking about the country chances his name will be mentioned along with to what else the country is famous for,
a certain home interiors company.

Is it one of the better sports movies, well it is certainly a strong movie that portrays the sport pretty well. Will it become a classic, maybe less so but compared to what came before and I mentioned earlier it is a worthy one that should be checked out if you are heading to your local multiplex this week. Tennis & sports fan or not, an enjoyable watch.

Confessions Of A Movie Addict

 

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I have a confession to make, I have not been to the movies this week!!
Admit your shocked, ” Now I have no idea what to go and see at the
movies this week”, you say.

I have to say going a week without seeing even one movie at the cinema is seriously messing with my head. So I have another confession to make, I’m a movie addict!!

I know people in my life who can happily go months nay years without seeing a movie,how do they possibly survive!! Me, well I tend to see more movies than I actually write about in this blog. In fact if I were to review every movie I have seen and it was in book form, it would an extremely weighty tone.

Now some people bemoan the end of Summer not me, while I like the Summer blockbusters they do tend to totally dominate the silver screen at that time of the year.

I much prefer this time of year when for movie addicts like me it’s less, I wonder
what movie is on this week, more I wonder how many movies I can fit into one week.

Having to survive a week without seeing a movie, what will I do with all this free time!!
Well that’s me for this week, don’t worry I’m already planning my next trip to the
cinema, so you won’t have to much longer to wait till my next review.

Phew, that’s a relief isn’t it fellow movie addicts!!

 

 

Wind River

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This movie will linger long in the mind even once the end credits have rolled, this is not an easy watch nor should it be considering the subject matter.

We find ourselves on a moonlight, cold and snowy night where a young girl is struggling through the snow barefoot, suddenly she falls into the snow exhausted and there she lies. Now the story asks – how did she find herself there?

The main character in the story is Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) he is a wildlife officer who comes across the body of the young girl while doing his job out in the snowy landscape. This requires further investigation. FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) arrives to investigate to investigate ill prepared but determined to solve the death. Both team up to look deeper.

What they discover that there are worse things that kill you out in that unforgiving landscape that have little to do with the cold or the wildlife and they have been dropped right in the middle of it.

As I mentioned earlier this is not an easy watch, but don’t let that put you off going
to see it. A movie with a strong subject matter, but a movie that deserves to be seen.