Hostiles

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In modern cinema, the amount of Western related movies are few. Pretty much every one too also seeks to look at what happened at this time in America in a new light. The modern Western really doesn’t follow the template of times past.

I think I may have expressed this opinion before, the Western movie genre does not really make me want to rush out and go to the cinema. Well with Hostiles, if your feelings or thoughts are similar, put them to the back of your mind and go and see it.

It is 1892 and Captain Joseph Blocker (Christian Bale ) who has a checkered past when it comes to Native Americans is given a task he really does not want accept. He has to escort a dying Cheyenne war chief and his extended family back to their ancestral lands.
But this journey will be anything but straightforward.

They have hardly started the long trek when they happen upon a young widow Rosamund Pike. She has been recently widowed by a hostile Native American tribe who have attacked the family homestead, so seeing who Captain Blocker is escorting only reinforces her grief – stricken state and provides one of the most arresting scenes of true grief I have seen on screen.

During the journey however as well as facing the long perilous trek across the Western wilderness they are also confronted by their preconceptions about the other people in their company and sets out  portray them in a different light than they may have happened in the Western genre of old.

 

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All The Money In The World

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Ever heard of J.Paul.Getty? Well back in the day he was the richest man in the world. Even today though he is no longer with us, no one has yet managed to surpass his considerable fortune that he created while he was still alive.

While yes, this is partly his story it is not the whole story so to speak. This story actually concerns his grandson namely John Paul Getty III ( Charlie Plummer ), p.s no relation to the actor playing the part of the grandfather, veteran actor Christopher Plummer.

While strolling through Rome, John Paul Getty III is set upon by kidnappers and bundled into a van and sped away to an undisclosed area of the Italian countryside. His mother Gail (Michelle Williams) obviously wants her son back, but there is a catch – Gail does not have access to the large amount of funds that the kidnappers are asking for. Despite tensions in the family, Gail tries to convince the grandfather to pay the required amount.

John Paul Getty however is a strange and aloof man, who seems more consumed with amassing more things than being overly concerned about his grandson’s fate at the hands of his kidnappers, they will not find it as easy to secure the ransom from him as they first believe and so the tale unfolds to try and secure the grandson’s release.

I won’t elaborate about a certain other Hollywood actor who had first inhabited the part of John Paul Getty Sr. but much in the way I am not naming him, the director of this movie Ridley Scott has deftly removed him from this picture. In fact it matters not a jot as Christopher Plummer is more than up to the task, a mesmerising performance in fact.

This movie based on real events does not unfold as might have happened in the fictionalised, ‘Taken’. Those expecting a more action based movie like that might be a little disappointed, this movie is not that. If you like your story to unfold gradually and more slowly then this certainly worth checking out.

At its heart this movie, asks which is more important in having – LOVE or MONEY?

 

Pitch Perfect 3

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We have now reached Number 3 in the trilogy of this tuneful series of movies, so is the the pitch still perfect? Sorry about that musically related pun!!

The high of the world championship has long since faded and the Bellas find
themselves split from each and find out that while they are excellent singers their work lives are not working out quite as well. They all long to capture previous glories. They are given the chance by one of the girls to reunite for an overseas tour to entertain the troops stationed abroad.

It would be nice to say that they are still hitting the high notes and while you will be tapping your feet for the musical numbers, the same can’t quite be said for the storyline.
Its over-the-top at times when it doesn’t need to be, a simpler tying up of the trilogy may have worked better.

This movie is the final outing for the Bellas, ladies I think now is the appropriate time to take the final bow. If you enjoyed seeing the Bellas journey up to now head along.
But if you aren’t then you might be better sticking on La La Land instead at home and singing along instead!!

 

We Need To Talk About Darth!!!

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Now I am sure like me, you were expecting me to read a review for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. But let’s be honest here no matter what I write, if you have not already seen it yet there is a pretty good chance that you will. So I am not even going to go there.

I was musing on this after seeing the current movie and I came to a realisation, it’s all the fault of Darth Vader. No matter of the merits and whether one movie is better than the other, the ones that came before or after and which are better, Darth Vader set the bar so high in the opening scene as he enters the rebel ship in Star Wars: A New Hope that anything comes after that struggles to compete. He didn’t even need to utter a word, we knew straight away this was one guy that you did not want to get the wrong side of.

And there’s the rub, do we really need to see behind the mask. Both Hayden Christensen and Adam Driver are pretty fine actors, but in other movies. Do you struggle to invest in these characters and their descent to the dark side. Maybe it’s just me but at times I certainly do.

This however is not unique to this movie franchise, I think also that another movie franchise namely – James Bond that also has this issue. The current crop of baddies just don’t to quite measure up to what came before and I don’t think it’s just nostalgia talking.

So if we are going to look critically at Star Wars, we really need to talk about Darth!!

We are going to step away from the dark side, in our next review – Pitch Perfect 3 will be the movie of choice next time around.

Battle Of The Sexes

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As I had mentioned before in a previous review for Borg v McEnroe, tennis related sports movies are not at all common, but for some reason this year we are getting two movies in one year which is even more unusual.

This time we go back a little further than the previous one to 1973 and the hype around this one rivaled the publicity that you would normally associate with two prize fighters in a boxing match. It started out in a quiet way Billie Jean King, the female player was fighting to be paid the same prize money as her male counterparts. Enter Bobby Riggs into the mix, in his private life he gambled and would bet on pretty much anything. He also sought to capture past glories on the tennis court.

Bobby Riggs couldn’t help him himself and believed that men were the stronger players on the court and despite initially saying no, Billie Jean King found herself agreeing to the challenge.

Man against Woman on the tennis court – who would be the ultimate victor?
Along with these challenges on the court, both of them also faced internal
battles as well in their personal lives. To tell you any more would spoil the ending, but if you were not around to watch in 1973 or have caught it online somewhere, who do you think won?

Emma Stone portrays Billie Jean King and very well too I might add and Steve Carrell is ideally suited for the portrayal of Bobby Riggs. Do you have to be fan of tennis? No, it is what happens off the court and before the match that is as equally engaging compared to what happens on it. Might it be a contender for Oscars early next year? Well even it doesn’t end up in the final race for those golden statuettes it’s certainly a great watch.

Ingrid Goes West

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There is probably a good chance that if you have not already seen a caped crusader and his pals new outing that you will pencil it in for your movie choice of the week.

Although we don’t see the man who hangs round with bats a lot in this movie he does get quite a few honourable mentions in this movie. Might make for slightly weird movie double bill!! Well, Ingrid is seeking a new #BFF after the last one didn’t quite work out and while scrolling through Instagram she spies a hip Californian girl with a life that seems to be what’s cool, hip and happening right now – she seems to have captured the zeitgeist of the moment. I SO want be HER right now!!

Ingrid upends her life and decides that she must get to know THIS GIRL a little better and heads west. But what starts out as seeking to manufacture a random meeting with this girl and a new #BFF and also a  need to be liked, very quickly morphs into #Stalker.

Aubrey Plaza perfectly inhabits the social media following and obsessive – Ingrid and equally Elizabeth Olsen does just a good job of capturing the essence of Taylor, that girl we would SO like to follow.

At times both darkly comic and also facing up to some hard facts about how we live now in equal measure, this movie may not be everybody’s choice for a trip to the movies, but don’t let that put you off, this one is worth seeking out.

(Insert your #hashtag or emoji of choice here)

 

Paddington 2

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Did you like the first movie? Well if you did, you are sure to enjoy this one too.

There are many movies that claim to be a family friendly film, but they tend to stick in a few references that only the adults will get. This one actually is – from the youngest to the oldest, it’s the type of movie that we tend to remember from our childhood.

After the surprise success of the first one it would have been easy for the filmmakers to just make a by-the-numbers sequel to cash in on the audience that frequented the first one, thankfully they haven’t and it is the better for it, I might even go so far to say that even though I liked the first one, I prefer this one. It feels more like the tales from the books written by Michael Bond, rather than a cobbled together story. Though the author is no longer with us, I am sure that he would be more than happy with this film and how it sticks to why we love Paddington Bear, a bit clumsy sure but a bear that would melt the hardest of hearts.

Paddington is now not only part of the Brown family but most people in his neighbourhood now like this bear too. During a stop-off in a local antique shop, he spies a pop-up book and thinks Aunt Lucy would like it, he saves up money from odd jobs that he is doing in his local area, but before he has a chance to buy it a thief steals the book. This thief knows that this is no ordinary children’s book and there are hidden clues contained within the book and he is not allowing anyone including Paddington get his hands on the book.

Along with Paddington Bear who is voiced by Ben Whishaw, the stand out performances here are Hugh Grant(Phoenix Buchanan) and Brendan Gleeson(Knuckles McGinty), they really add to the fun of the crime caper in this movie and make sure not to get up when the credits start to role, it’s worth sticking around just for that.

This movie is sure to fill you up with more sweety goodness than a marmalade sandwich and that saying something.