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What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again - Page 28 EmptyMon Sep 07, 2020 11:57 pm by Gimli The Avenger

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 What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again

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Donald McKinney
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again - Page 28 EmptySat Sep 28, 2019 2:37 pm

Gimli The Avenger wrote:
I was really disappointed by Toy Story 4 and there was much of it I genuinely hated.

WOAH!! What did you hate about it? Shocked
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Donald McKinney
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again - Page 28 EmptySat Sep 28, 2019 3:45 pm

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019), after the release of Spider-Man: Homecoming, it was inevitable that this incarnation of Spider-Man was here to stay, as Sony had got Marvel onside, and a sequel would definitely happen. This one takes Spidey out of America and on a European Vacation, but still facing danger and trouble along the way, the result is breezy, exciting and a lot of fun. A few months later after the events of Avengers: Endgame (2019), Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is going on a 2 week school trip around Europe, and he wants to put Spider-Man behind him for those two weeks, no heroics and no trouble, and he wants to get close to fellow student MJ (Zendaya). However, as soon as he gets to Venice, trouble emerges and an alien lifeforce known as the Elementals attack Venice, but before Spider-Man can swing into action, superhero Quentin Beck AKA Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), who comes from a different reality in the Multiverse, appears and defeats the Elemental. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) briefs Parker on what's going on and why Beck is there to help, before long Elementals soon hit Prague and London. It's a very good superhero sequel, and it makes up for the last few lacklustre Spider-Man sequels from the previous incarnations and this doesn't make the same mistakes those sequels made by shoehorning in villains, this sequel has intrigue, suspense and a few deceptive twists, and it sets the scene for a sequel, which might happen if Marvel and Sony stop arguing. 4/5

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Yesterday (2019), directed by Danny Boyle and written by Richard Curtis, this is a very likeable if particularly silly romantic comedy with a big "what if?" scenario at it's heart. Yesterday might not have the visual flair or flashiness of Bbeoyle's previous films, but this is a more contained and focused film, putting it's performances and characters and music first. In Lowestoft, Jack Malik (Hamish Patel) is a struggling singer-songwriter who wants to hit it big, but can't get a break, despite the support of his manager and childhood friend Ellie Appleton (Lily James), while cycling home after a gig, there's a worldwide global blackout, and Jack is hit by a bus at the moment it happens. He gets out of hospital to find out no-one has heard of The Beatles, and finding out no-one has heard of their songs. Jack begins performing their songs, writing down as many of them he can remember, and passing them off as his own. He gains a lot of local acclaim, and soon gets the attention of Ed Sheeran (as himself) and ruthless record agent Debra Hammer (Kate McKinnon), global fame beckons for Jack, but at a price. It's a very clever concept, one riddled with plot holes, but thanks to some spirited performances and nice covers of The Beatles' songs, you overlook all that. It's a love letter to their music and songs and how they have an enduring popularity. Boyle's tight, focused direction puts the music and performances front and centre, and there's some good laughs in there as well. 4/5
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again - Page 28 EmptySat Sep 28, 2019 5:19 pm

Hell Is A City (1960), written and directed by Val Guest (The Quatermass Xperiment (1955), The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961), Casino Royale (1967)), and made for Hammer Films, this police thriller was based on the 1954 novel by Maurice Procter, it has a brilliant cast in it, and makes good use of locations in and around Manchester, most of which are now long gone. In Manchester, Inspector Harry Martineau (Stanley Baker) is a dutiful but world-weary police inspector who has seen it all before, he has a nagging wife Julia (Maxine Audley) who doesn't understand the seriousness of his job, and their marriage is on the rocks. However, when criminal Don Starling (John Crawford) escapes from prison, he immediately goes back to his criminal ways by robbing a bookies owned by Gus Hawkins (Donald Pleasence), and the robbery ends in murder and Starling ends up on the run, but staying within the Manchester area, at one point hiding in the house belonging to Hawkins, (as Starling knew Hawkins' wife Chloe (Billie Whitelaw), in turn Chloe was once in a relationship with Martineau, and he is suspicious of her behaviour. This is a British film noir, very moody and stark shot in a striking Black and White, and it showcases what a great actor Stanley Baker was, and it shows what a versatile director Val Guest was, he could just about turn his attention to any subject on any scale and deliver the goods. It's got a brilliant who's who of British actors in the film as well, and a great climactic chase. 4/5

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Hell Drivers (1957), directed by Cy Endfield (Zulu (1964) and Universal Soldier (1971)), this is a tense and unnerving thriller about the high stakes world of haulage drivers. That might not sound like much on paper, but this was based on how truck drivers used to do things back then, with tight deadlines to meet, this is also benefitted by a great supporting cast. Ex-convict Joe Yately (Stanley Baker), has just been released from prison, and he wants to start a new life, so he gets a job with haulage company Hawletts, ran by Mr Cartley (William Hartnell), which collects gravel from a nearby quarry. The drivers need to be fast to collect as much gravel as they can, and the company has a bonus system in place for however much gravel they can collect and get it back to Hawletts the quickest, and they have to keep their trucks clean and in working order. Yately befriends the other truckers including Gino (Herbert Lom), Johnny (Sean Connery), Scottie (Gordon Jackson) and Dusty (Sid James), however Yately ends up in a serious rivalry with Red (Patrick McGoohan), who is Hawletts best trucker. It's very well made, with some great performances and good cinematography by Geoffrey Unsworth, it shows what haulage used to be like before health and safety came along, although truckers now still have tight deadlines to meet. But, you get so see so many actors who went on to greater things here, including a pre-Bond Sean Connery, and Sid James before the Carry On films. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again - Page 28 EmptySun Sep 29, 2019 1:52 pm

The Lion King (2019), directed by Jon Favereau (Elf (2003), Iron Man (2008), The Jungle Book (2016)), this is another in Disney's current brief of remaking all their animated films in live action. Well, live action in the sense the scenery is live-action and all the characters are CGI, but this pulls the same trick as Aladdin (2019), it's almost a shot-for-shot remake, with some differences. Young lion cub Simba (JD McCrary/Donald Glover) is crown prince of the Pride Lands of Africa, which is ruled by his father Mustafa (James Earl Jones), however Mustafa's brother Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor) covets the throne and believes he's the rightful heir to the throne. Eventually he leads Simba and Mustafa into a trap by putting them in a gorge where a stampede of wildebeest come towards them, but Scar murders Mustafa, and Scar tells Simba that it's all Simba's fault and he has to run away and never return. Now king, Scar pillages the Pride Lands with the hyenas. However, Simba is saved by meerkat Timon (Billy Eichner) and warthog Pumbaa (Seth Rogen), who help him to live a carefree life, but Simba is encouraged to return by Nala (Beyoncé Knowles-Carter) to defeat Scar. It's well made, and it looks lovely, but that's it, despite a few subtle changes to the beat, this is like Gus Van Sant's Psycho (1998) all over again, as was the case with Aladdin. If Disney want to continue this trend, they'll have to do more than copying the original films, some will be better suited for the screen than others, but this is nothing more than a cynical cash-in, but they do it very well, which is a saving grace at least. 3/5|

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Gunman's Law (1958), directed by Phil Karlson, (The Silencers (1966), Ben (1972) and Walking Tall (1973)), and written by Frank S. Nugent (The Quiet Man (1952) and Mister Roberts (1955)), this is a by the numbers western which gave it's star to show that he was more than just a pretty face and he could do more challenging, meaty roles, and it worked. In Wyoming, Davy Hackett (James Darren) and his hot tempered brother Ed (Tab Hunter) are to help their father Lee (Van Heflin) with a cattle drive across Wyoming. Along the way, they meet Clee Chouard (Kathryn Grant), who is half-French, half-Sioux. Ed takes a liking to her, but Davy scolds him. Clee's brother Paul (Bert Convy) joins them on the cattle drive. While Ed goes after a white mare, Paul competes to catch the mare too, then Ed pushes Paul off a cliff, killing him. The incident is witnessed by two Indians, however, Lee wanting to protect his own son, bribes a man called Sieverts (Ray Teal) to lie in court, ensuring Ed's freedom. However, when Sieverts takes the white mare Ed caught as payment, Ed kills Sieverts, going on a rampage. Tab Hunter was a huge heartthrob of the 1950's and early 60's, and this was his chance to show he could do more serious roles, and it's a shame he didn't hit the heights of say Paul Newman or Marlon Brando, bad luck and the studios attitude to actors like Hunter saw an unfair career decline, but he really puts in a very good performance in this film, showing real grit. 3.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again - Page 28 EmptySun Sep 29, 2019 2:22 pm

Easy Rider (1969), the one little film that did. This was the film, which for a meagre budget of $360,000 which apparantly saw out the old Hollywood regime of dated comedies and big overblown musicals, and the beginning of the well-intended but ultimately ill-fated "New Hollywood" era. It's still a brilliant time piece all these years later, and it sums up the disappointment of the counter-culture generation of that time, like the other productions by BBS showed. This little biker flick is a simple road movie about Wyatt (Peter Fonda) (also known as Captain America) and Billy (Dennis Hopper), who do a spot of drug-smuggling from Mexico, then sell the cocaine to The Connection (Phil Spector). Then, with the money they've earned from the drugs deal, head off across America from California to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Along the way, they pick up a hitchhiker (Luke Askew), who takes them to a hippy commune. Later, after they interrupt a town parade, they're thrown in jail and they encounter and befriend boozy lawyer George Hanson (Jack Nicholson) who, sick of his position in life, comes along with them for the ride. A powerful statement on 60's America, with nice cinematography of the American landscape by László Kovács, with a brilliant soundtrack. Hopper directed and Fonda produced and they both co-wrote with Terry Southern, while Nicholson stole the show with his cameo, and it's still a powerful film now as it was back then. 4/5

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Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (2019), Quentin Tarantino returns, with this very personal and mature comedy-drama set in a Hollywood that was dying out and a new guard coming in. Tarantino calls the film his Roma (2018), he grew up in Hollywood at that time and this is how he allegedly remembers it, although with a lot of artistic licence but great performances. Hollywood 1969, actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) was a successful TV actor on a show called Bounty Law 10 years previously, but he wanted to make it big in films, but the transition to cinema didn't go as planned, now he guests on other people's shows, with his stunt double and good friend Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), who does work for Rick. Meanwhile, Rick has been approached by agent Marvin Schwarzs (Al Pacino), who offers him work in Italy, which Rick dreads, as he see's that as a dead end. Meanwhile, Rick's neighbour Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) is on the rise in Hollywood and married to Roman Polanski (Rafał Zawierucha), plus Cliff spots some shady people hanging around the house and surrounding neighbourhood. It's very well made, and it's an oddly moving film, which has Tarantino being less outrageous and over the top, he dials it back a notch, even if parts of it are overlong, but it's benefitted by brilliant performances by DiCaprio and Pitt, as well as capturing the era with a brilliant soundtrack heard on car radios, but this is one of Tarantino's most grown up films. 4.5/5

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What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again - Page 28 Empty
PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again - Page 28 EmptyMon Sep 30, 2019 2:00 am

Donald McKinney wrote:
Gimli The Avenger wrote:
I was really disappointed by Toy Story 4 and there was much of it I genuinely hated.

WOAH!! What did you hate about it? Shocked


Mainly the ending, because it goes against everything else that the Toy Story films have told us. The Woody from previous films would not have left his mates or his child behind. And then there's Buzz, who went to save Woody in the second film and was willing to die in the third, decides to leave Woody to go back into the antiques shop by himself because his "conscience" tells him to. Crap. Then Rex, Slinky, Hamm, Potato Head, the aliens, Bullseye. They may as well have not been in the film, they added nothing at all. This wasn't Toy Story 4, this was Woody's Solo Movie. And what happened to RC? He and Bo Peep weren't in the third film. Bo Beep was a major part of this and after the opening scene were we see RC I thought we'd find out what happened to him, but nope. He just disappears. Again. There was a section in the middle of the film that seemed to last for about an hour and it was just toys running, escaping and rescuing in an endless loop., And that bloody doll. Worst character in any Pixar film ever.

I didn't have much hope for the film based on the trailer, I kind of figured it would end with the gang splitting up but even I was surprised how much I disliked this. Most disappointing film I've seen in the cinema since probably Attack Of The Clones. Duke Kaboom was the sole saving grace of the film.

_________________
We renounce our Maker.
We cleave to the darkness.
We take unto ourselves the power and glory.
Behold! We are the Nine,
The Lords of Unending Life.


Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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Donald McKinney
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again - Page 28 EmptySat Nov 30, 2019 4:26 pm

Good Boys (2019), the directorial debut of TV writer Gene Stupnitsky, (The Office and Bad Teacher (2011)), and co-written with Lee Eisenberg and produced by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, this is a naughty, daft comedy pitched somewhere between Superbad and Stand By Me, with a heavy dose of the former film's influence, but with all of the heart of the latter film. The film follows 3 friends, Max (Jacob Tremblay), Lucas (Keith L. Williams), and Thor (Brady Noon), who call themselves The Beanbag Boys. Max has a crush on fellow student Brixlee (Millie Davis), but Max doesn't know the first thing about girls, so he ropes in Lucas, (whose parents are divorcing) and Thor (who is being teased for wanting to sing in the school production of Rock of Ages), to find out about how to kiss a girl. Borrowing Max's father's (Will Forte) drone and spy on their teenage neighbour Hannah (Molly Gordon) to find out how to kiss a girl. The plan backfires and Hannah confiscates the drone off them, an attempt to get it back also backfires when it gets destroyed. The boys go on a mission to replace the drone, and it involves selling a realistic sex doll. It doesn't rely on gross out humour and smut as much as you'd think, there's a good little adventure at the heart of this film, and the camaraderie between the boys is what holds the film together, and it puts them up front. Yes, it's a dirty version of coming of age films, and it's pretty much what you'd expect from a film like this, but it's relatively harmless fun, but that's it. 3/5

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Pain and Glory (2019), written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar, whose career started with outrageous camp comedies before maturing into more serious and focused work, this one is his most self-reflective work almost semi-autobiographical as well, and a moving piece too which looks at filmmaking. It shows how far Almodóvar has come and has evolved as a director. Salvador Mallo (Antonio Banderas) was a once successful director whose career has fallen into a decline, and Mallo himself is going through a creative crisis and is suffering a lot of physical and mental ailments. His biggest film, Sabor, is getting re-released all remastered, and Mallo is invited to take part in a retrospective of it and his career. This involves Mallo having to get in touch with Alberto Crespo (Asier Etxeandia), Sabor's star who had a falling out with Mallo during the production, and they haven't spoken in 30 years. They reconcile and Crespo introduces Mallo to heroin. The trips on heroin cause Mallo to think back to the past, and his childhood growing up in a whitewashed cave house with mother Jacinta (Penelope Cruz). It's a very moving and engaging film, buoyed by an excellent lead performance by Banderas, and there's more than a touch of Federico Fellini's 8½ (1963) and Woody Allen's Stardust Memories (1980) about Pain and Glory, but it's a lot more serious, and less surreal than those other two films, it's got it's heart on it's sleeve and it's very emotionally engaging too. 4/5

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Donald McKinney
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again - Page 28 EmptySat Nov 30, 2019 5:53 pm

Brannigan (1975), directed by Douglas Hickox (Theatre of Blood (1973) and Zulu Dawn (1979)), this is a tough British thriller which put John Wayne as a fish-out-of-water cop in London, that's the novelty about it. It was the second of only 2 cop films Wayne did, the other one being McQ (1974), but there is quite a bit to admire about this film, it has a great cast, although it does owe alot to Coogan's Bluff (1968), only set in London, but it does work. Chicago cop Jim Brannigan (Wayne) is sent to London to extradite American gangster Ben Larkin (John Vernon). Brannigan is aided by local policewoman Jennifer (Judy Geeson), and Brannigan reports to Commander Swann (Richard Attenborough), who runs the Metropolitan Police, and doesn't like that Brannigan carries a gun to sort out matters. But when Larkin is kidnapped by Mel Fields (Mel Ferrer), Brannigan goes on a manhunt across London looking for him, but a contract has been put out on Brannigan's life to prevent him sending Larkin back to America, with hitman Gorman (Daniel Pilon) sent to London to stop Brannigan, but Brannigan won't be stopped at doing his job. It's a routine action thriller, but it's very light hearted, with Wayne playing it up, and causing a bar-room brawl as he would have in one of his westerns, but it has some amusing sights like Wayne fighting Brian Glover and Wayne throwing Tony Robinson into the Thames. Razz 4/5

What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again - Page 28 Robert+Mc+Ginnis+-+Movie+Poster+-+Divers+(12)

Chisum (1970), directed by Andrew V. McLaglen (The Wild Geese (1978),North Sea Hijack (1979) and The Sea Wolves (1980)), this is an old fashioned Western made when Hollywood when held to ransom by the upcoming New American Wave. It's loosely based on events of the Lincoln County War of 1878., it takes liberties but that's Hollywood for you. Set in the New Mexico Territory in 1878, (before it became a state), John Chisum (John Wayne) is a land baron who clashes with crooked businessman Lawrence Murphy (Forrest Tucker) who wants control of Lincoln County, it's trade and it's law, but Chisum cares about the territory, and it's people. After seeing off some of Murphy's men who a trying to steal Chisum's horses, Chisum takes in young killer William H. Bonney (Geoffrey Deuel), AKA Billy The Kid, who helped stand up to Murphy's men, and Chisum wants to give William a chance to reform and do good with his life. However, Murphy plans to fight back with more men, and after they murder Chisum's British neighbour Henry Tunstall (Patric Knowles), it breaks into all out war. It's well filmed, and it makes the most of picturesque locations in Durango, Mexico, but most of the events depicted in the film never happened, but it's got a good cast, especially with Wayne front and centre. He'd just enjoyed a career revival thanks to True Grit (1969), but Westerns like this were on borrowed time, but they kept getting made until Heaven's Gate came along. 3/5

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In The Heat Of The Night (1967), directed by Norman Jewison, (The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) and Fiddler on the Roof (1971)), and based on John Ball's 1965 novel of the same name, this is a hard hitting film on racial tension and attitudes in America at the time, which was in the grip of the civil rights movement. It was the right film in the right place at exactly the right time. In the sleepy Southern town of Sparta, Mississippi, wealthy industrialist Philip Colbert (Jack Teter) is found brutally murdered, the town's police chief Gillespie (Rod Steiger) is put in charge of the case. They immediately pick up a black man called Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) at the railway station, on prejudiced grounds. However, Gillespie is soon embarrassed when he soon finds out that Tibbs is a top homicide detective from Philadelphia, and Philadelphia want Tibbs to assist with the case. Gillespie is horrified by this, as is Tibbs, who was only passing through Sparta to get to Atlanta, but both agree. But, it's not just the police who are nonplussed at Tibbs assisting, but the town of Sparta aren't happy at Tibbs' presence too, even though he gets the job done. It's a film which tackles big issues like racial bigotry, and that people can change their attitudes and minds. Poitier and Steiger work well together, and the latter won a Best Actor Oscar too, while Poitier returned as Tibbs in two more films and a TV series, but this helped brush in the New Hollywood movement, proving that attitudes and times were changing for the better. 4/5

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Downton Abbey (2019), well, it was bound to happen. After the global success of Julian Fellowes' period ITV drama, which ran from 2010 until 2015. It made stars out of it's cast, and audiences wanted more, and Fellowes was determined to give audiences more. While it does feel like a feature length episode of the TV show, but it's good to see the characters again. 1927, and Robert and Cora Crawley (Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern) receive news from Buckingham Palace that King George V (Simon Jones) and Queen Mary (Geraldine James) are coming to visit Downton Abbey as part of a Royal Tour through the country, while the upstairs prepare for the arrival of the Royals, there's something of a commotion downstairs. While Crawley's retired butler Mr. Carson (Jim Carter) returns to help out, the household staff are immediately displaced by members of the Royal household, including the Royal Page of the Backstairs, Mr. Wilson (David Haig), who insist on doing it to the highest standard, Downton's household staff fight back, and come up with a plan to drive the Royal staff away. It's basically a soap opera on film, and you don't get many of them, and there's other little strands to the plot that aren't as interesting as the main one, but it means that certain characters you're used to in the series either get sidelined or are shoehorned in hastily or not used at all. It's good, but it helps if you have a knowledge of the series before you see this. 3/5
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Ad Astra (2019), directed by James Gray (The Yards (2000) and We Own The Night (2007)), this is a thinking man's sci-fi film, heavily influenced by Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. It was a tough film to make, filmed back in 2017, but it's taken 2 years to shape it right and get the visual effects right. But, for all it's deep space cosmos, it's got a lot of heart. In the not so distant future, Major Roy McBride (Brad Pitt), son of famed astronaut H. Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones) is nearly killed after a mysterious surge. While recovering, he's told by his bosses at SpaceCom that the surges have been traced to a top secret mission known as the "Lima Project", where 26 years prior, Roy's father travelled as far as Neptune, and he hasn't been heard from in 16 years, but they think he might still be alive. Roy accepts a mission to Mars to try and establish communications with his father, he brings his father's old associate Colonel Pruitt (Donald Sutherland) along with him. It seems like an easy mission, but fate has other ideas, and emotion and irrational feelings cloud Roy's judgement, and people get hurt along the way. It's got a father-son relationship at it's heart, but it takes a while to get there, but there's a lot of action along the way, and there's some good performances and some brilliant visuals along the way. It's half Gravity and half Interstellar, as there's a lot of space bound action, but it's got the philosophical thoughtfulness of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Solaris, it's definitely not for everyone. 4/5

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The Games (1970), directed by Michael Winner, but wait! It's actually a very good film by Winner, one of his most polished and engaging too, and proof that he could do good films with the right material. The material being provided by screenwriter Erich Segal (Yellow Submarine (1968) and Love Story (1970)), and based on Hugh Atkinson's novel of the same name. The film follows 4 different marathon runners from around the world in the run-up to an Olympic marathon in Rome, in England there's Harry Hayes (Michael Crawford), who wants to be a runner, and even convinces coach Bill Oliver (Stanley Baker) to train him up, but Oliver is demanding and strict. In America, Scott Reynolds (Ryan O'Neal) runs with friend Richie Robinson (Sam Elliott). In Prague, there's the aspiring Pavel Vendek (Charles Aznavour) who wants to run the race for his country. While in Australia, coach Gilmour (Reg Lye) finds a brilliant runner in Sunny Pintubi (Athol Compton), and is able to get him to run. They all train and push themselves to the limit. However on race day in Rome, temperatures hit a record high. It's a very good film, unthinkable that Michael Winner would make a film this good and with a great international cast too, Winner's career could have gone in a completely different direction, but he got bogged down doing seedy violent thrillers and unfunny comedies, he should have stuck at making films like this, with a bit of practice Winner could have been a great director. 4/5

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The Andromeda Strain (1970), directed by Robert Wise (West Side Story (1961) and The Sound of Music (1965)), and based on Michael Crichton's 1969 novel. Wise wasn't keen on doing a film like this, but his career was in the doldrums after Star! (1968) was a massive flop, so Wise took it, and it was a small success. It's a good film, and put it's author Crichton on the map in Hollywood. After a government satellite codenamed Scoop, crashes to Earth in the town of Piedmont, New Mexico, and something kills all of the town's inhabitants. A team led by Dr. Mark Hall (James Olsen), and with a team consisting of Dr. Jeremy Stone (Arthur Hill), Dr. Charles Dutton (David Wayne) and Dr. Ruth Leavitt (Kate Reid) go to Piedmont to find out what really happened. But, they soon find that not all of the townspeople are dead, they find 2 survivors, a a 69-year-old alcoholic called Peter Jackson (George Mitchell) and a 6-month-old infant. They're taken to a top secret facility in Nevada and placed into quarantine, where they're tested up. The scientists soon discover Piedmont was infected by an alien contaminant. It's a good film, the technology is all dated but the effects by 2001's effects maestro Douglas Trumbull still look great to this day. But, there was better stories to come from Crichton, some worked and some didn't, for every Westworld or Jurassic Park, there was a 13th Warrior or a Timeline. however, this gave director Wise's career a much needed boost into the 1970's 3.5/5

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Ready or Not (2019), directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (V/H/S (2012) and Southbound (2016)), and written by Guy Busick and R. Christopher Murphy (TV's Castle Rock) this is a comedy horror with a lot of twists and twisted characters, it's very well made even though it was done on a shoestring, but it's deliriously fun and outrageously funny in equal measure. The Le Domas family have made their wealth in board games for all the family, so when Alex Le Domas (Mark O'Brien) marries Grace (Samara Weaving), she's invited by the rest of the family, including patriarch Tony (Henry Czerny), mother Becky (Andie MacDowell) and older son Daniel (Adam Brody), that they have a tradition to play a game whenever one of the Le Domas family gets married. Samara picks out Hide and Seek as the game to play, but what she doesn't know is that is Hide and Seek with a deadly twist. Alex tells Samara the truth about the families version of Hide and Seek, she has to stay hidden until dawn, if she's found, she'll be killed. Although Samara ends up well hidden, the body count rises. There hasn't been anything like this for years, a comedy-horror that manages to have the right amount of scares and laughs and there's a lot of WTF?!?! twists, and we haven't seen the last of directors Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett on the basis of this, and there's a very catchy Hide and Seek song as well, that'll stay in your heads for ages after you've seen this film. 4.5/5

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Joker (2019), directed by Todd Phillips, who after years of giving us bad taste comedies like Road Trip (2000), Old School (2003) and The Hangover (2009) finally puts away the comedy to give us a bad taste psychological thriller, which has already made history for being dangerously provocative and very unsettling. It's well made with a brilliant lead performance up front. In Gotham City in 1981, mentally unstable aspiring stand-up comedian Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) lives with his mother Penny (Frances Conroy) in a run-down apartment block. Gotham City is rife with crime and unemployment while the rich elitist running the city are doing nothing about it, but Arthur wants to be a successful comedian and wants to appear on Gotham's nightly talkshow hosted by Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro). However, after getting sacked from his job as a clown entertaining the children, Arthur is beaten up 3 Wayne Enterprises employees on the train, Arthur shoots them, killing one of them. This act of violence is seized upon by protestors, and Arthur's clown faces appears all over Gotham City, while Arthur descends into madness. It's a very dark film, but it says a lot about the world now, and it's a good origin story of the Joker, and Phoenix is unbelievable as Arthur, his physical transformation is scary, and it's very believable too. This film was a massive gamble, and Warner Bros. didn't have much faith in it, but the marketing and advance word made it a massive hit, plus brilliant use of Gary Glitter too!! 5/5

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Judy (2019), directed by Rupert Goold (True Story (2015)), and based on Peter Quilter's 2005 play End of the Rainbow, this is the tragic story of how a true Hollywood great came to an undignified end after years of drug abuse and no help from anyone. But, this is buoyed by a brilliant lead performance, which is something of a comeback for it's lead actress. Judy Garland (Renée Zellweger) has had a hard life, and she was forced into fame at a very young age, and not allowed to have the sort of life other girls her age had, she lived in the spotlight and struggled to cope with fame. Now, it's 1968, she has no money and is living in hotels with her children, her ex-husband Sidney Luft (Rufus Sewell) looks after her children. However, she's given an offer by talent agent Bernard Delfont (Michael Gambon) to do a residency at the Talk of the Town in London, which will guarantee income and a home for her children. However, she's usually late to taking to the stage and is addicted to amphetamines, which she has been since she was a teenager. However, when she goes on stage, she's unbelievable. It's a very sad story, and Garland should have got help and she could have been saved, it wasn't entirely her fault she ended up the way she did, her teenage upbringing in Hollywood was partially to blame. But, Zellweger is unbelievable, and does Garland justice, especially on stage when she's singing The Trolley Song or Get Happy, the film is otherwise cliched. 3.5/5
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A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (2019), well, it was bound to happen. After the success of Shaun the Sheep: The Movie (2015)), a sequel was all but inevitable, and it manages to retain all the wit and charm of the original film and the animated series that preceded it, although they manage to take Shaun and the gang into outer space, and it's still very funny to watch. On Mossy Bottom Farm, there's been a lot of unexplained things going on, while Shaun and his friends want to do dangerous stuff, but Bitzer won't let them. They order pizza's using the farmer's computer, but the pizza's arrive and there's nothing there. Shaun discovers the pizza's came with an unexpected extra, a impish alien called Lu-La from the planet To-Pa, and she has extraterrestrial powers, and she ends up causing trouble with the gang, including creating crop circles with the Farmer's Combine Harvester, then the Farmer takes it to his advantage by creating a theme park out of it. But, Lu-La really wants to get home back to her parents on To-Pa, so Shaun and the gang decide to help, but there's government agents after them. It's very daft, but in a way only Aardman could get away with, very British and with a lot of slight gags and jokes along the way, and next to no dialogue, but like the first film, it works a treat. It's good to see Shaun and the gang get another adventure after the first film, and they're a likeable bunch, and you could probably get another film out of their antics and you can take them anywhere. 4/5

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Zombieland: Double Tap (2019), directed by Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland (2009) and Gangster Squad (2013)), and written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. (Zombieland (2009) and Deadpool (2016)), they finally made the long awaited and long promised sequel that's languished in development hell for years, but better late than never. It's not perfect, but what is? 10 years after Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) have become expert zombie hunters, and have taken up residence in the White House. Columbus wants to propose to Wichita, but both she and Little Rock leave, feeling like they're too constricted by this lifestyle. In a rut, Columbus goes out and meets fellow human Madison (Zoey Deutch) who isn't very bright. However, they end up on the run again, after a new deadlier strain of zombies heads for Washington. They team up with a returning Wichita, and they end up trying to find Little Rock who's teamed up with pacifist Berkeley (Avan Jogia), and have headed for Graceland, so the team set off to save her. It's very daft, but like many other sequels out in 2019, it doesn't add anything new to the mix, but it's good to see these characters again, and there are some cleverly staged sequences, like a zombie fight in an Elvis themed motel, and there are a few clever little twists along the way, but as likeable as the main characters are, they could have done a lot more with the story. 3/5

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The Deep (1977), directed by Peter Yates (Robbery (1967) and Bullitt (1968)), and based on Peter Benchley's 1976 novel of the same name, this was rushed into production to capitalise on the success of Jaws (1975), another Benchley adaptation, they even got one of Jaws' stars roped in here, but while there's no shark action this time around, it's still a very exciting adventure. Set in Bermuda, treasure hunting couple David Sanders (Nick Nolte) and Gail Berke (Jacqueline Bisset) are scuba-diving around a shipwreck, and they find loads of vial's of a brown liquid, they also find an old Spanish medallion from the 18th century. They take their finds to lighthouse-keeper and treasure-hunter Romer Treece (Robert Shaw), who agrees to help. The vails they found were full of morphine, on board a ship wreck called the Goliath, a WW2 ship that sank has uncovered an older wreck filled with Spanish treasure. They get help from alcoholic Adam Coffin (Eli Wallach) who was on board the Goliath. All this recent activity grabs the attention of drug kingpin Henri 'Cloche' Bondurant (Louis Gossett Jr.), who wants the morphine. It's very well filmed, with a lot of underwater action going on, and it's quite suspenseful. Although Columbia Pictures alienated a lot of people by trying to market it the same way Jaws was, even there's little shark action here, but it's just as good as Jaws, and it did big business as well. It's a bit forgotten now, and it definitely deserves to be seen. 4/5

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The Irishman (2019), directed by Martin Scorsese, the most eagerly awaited film of the decade, reuniting him with a lot of old friends and new faces, and one so big, Hollywood turned their noses up at it. Enter Netflix, who funded it's massive budget and ground breaking de-aging technology. Scorsese has made it worth the damn wait, it's an excellent American epic. Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) was a war veteran and truck driver, who managed to become mixed up with organised crime, in particular Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci), who is head of the Northeastern Pennsylvania crime family. Sheeran does jobs for Bufalino, but then he ends up associated with Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino), the head of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which has financial links with Bufalino. But, Hoffa is volatile and stuggles dealing with the government and rival teamster Anthony "Tony Pro" Provenzano (Stephen Graham). After a spell in prison, Hoffa wants to become head of the Teamsters again, but he's forbidden from doing so, and eventually Bufalino makes a tough call, and it's one Sheeran has to carry out. There hasn't been a gangster epic like this since Once Upon A Time In America (1984), and even though it's 3 and a half hours long, it's truly engaging and electrifying for all that time, it's got some brilliant performances and Scorsese keeps the mood and tension tight. Try and see this one in a cinema if you can. Best film of 2019, and indeed the whole decade! 5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again - Page 28 EmptyWed Jan 08, 2020 5:42 am

Loved The Irishman and especially Shaun The Sheep

_________________
We renounce our Maker.
We cleave to the darkness.
We take unto ourselves the power and glory.
Behold! We are the Nine,
The Lords of Unending Life.


Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again - Page 28 EmptyFri Jan 10, 2020 11:49 pm

Gimli The Avenger wrote:
Loved The Irishman and especially Shaun The Sheep

I was lucky enough to see The Irishman in a cinema. I had to go out of town to see it, as our Vue flatly refused to show it all because Netflix made it, and they wouldn't adhere to Vue's strict 90 day window between cinema and streaming. Talk about snobbish xenophobia, regardless of who made it and who's in it... Rolling Eyes Evil or Very Mad
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Le Mans '66 (2019), also known as Ford Vs. Ferrari, directed by James Mangold, (Walk The Line (2005) and Logan (2017)), this is a true life sports drama about two race car drivers who put a companies reputation on the line to prove they were the best. It's quite taut and suspenseful when it comes to the racing scenes, and it's also a compelling and engaging drama. In 1963, Ford Motor Company CEO Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) and Vice President Lee Iacocca (Jon Bernthal) try to buy the ailing Ferrari Motor Company to boost their profile, but Ferrari reject Ford's offer in favour of one by Fiat. Furious, Ford and Iacocca want to beat them at the 24 Hour Le Mans race, to build a car capable of this, they turn to American former race driver and mechanic Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and hot-headed British driver and financially strapped mechanic Ken Miles (Christian Bale), the inclusion of the latter makes the Ford board worried, but both Shelby and Miles are determined to make a car that will beat Ferrari, and Miles wants to personally be the man to do it, despite Ford's protests, Shelby wagers his company that Miles is the man. It's brilliantly made, and they did all of the racing scenes for real with little to no CGI, but it also shows a battle of wills, those who care about motorsport and what they're doing against the soulless members of the Ford board who have probably never driven a car in their lives. But, it's worth it for Bale and Damon's performances, making it an unlikely buddy movie. 4/5

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Knives Out (2019), after venturing into deep space with Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017), where does writer/director Rian Johnson go from there? The answer proved to be very simple, he must come back down to Earth, and nothing says down to earth like a good old fashioned whodunnit, one blessed a brilliant script, tight direction and one unbelievable cast. In Massachusetts, wealthy crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead one morning by his nurse and caretaker Marta Cabrera (Ana de Armas), there had been a party the night before celebrating Harlan's 85th Birthday, and he had some news for certain members of the family. Private Investigator Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) has been anonymously hired as he suspects someone murdered Harlan, and they all have a motive. Harlan's daughter Linda (Jamie Lee Curtis) has a cheating, racist husband Richard (Don Johnson), while son Walt (Michael Shannon) has been embezzling money from Harlan's publishing company, and grandson Hugh (Chris Evans) is a spoilt brat who is being cut out of Harlan's will and company. There's a lot of twists and surprises here, so many that it's almost impossible not to give any of them away, it's like a minefield, but the main crux is it could have been any of them, and nothing is what it seems, and it's done with a clever, modern twist. But, it's fun seeing Craig playing against type as the Southern Dandy detective, Craig now has something to fall back upon after Bond. 5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again - Page 28 EmptyWed Feb 19, 2020 12:30 am

Donald McKinney wrote:
Gimli The Avenger wrote:
Loved The Irishman and especially Shaun The Sheep

I was lucky enough to see The Irishman in a cinema. I had to go out of town to see it, as our Vue flatly refused to show it all because Netflix made it, and they wouldn't adhere to Vue's strict 90 day window between cinema and streaming. Talk about snobbish xenophobia, regardless of who made it and who's in it... Rolling Eyes Evil or Very Mad


I also saw it at the cinema. Given the chance, I'd always watch at the cinema, especially a film like this. Also, I've cancelled my netflix account so I had no other way Laughing

_________________
We renounce our Maker.
We cleave to the darkness.
We take unto ourselves the power and glory.
Behold! We are the Nine,
The Lords of Unending Life.


Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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Frozen 2 (2019), it was inevitable, after Frozen (2013) came out and made history and became a cultural trend-setter, fans demanded a sequel to Frozen. It took nearly 6 years to find a good plot they could use, ideas came and went, including some truly daring ones that Disney rejected. While it is a good film, it's definitely not as good as the first film despite some good set pieces. 3 years after the first film, sisters Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) live happy lives in Arendelle, until Elsa hears a voice calling out to her. She follows it and ends up awaking the elemental spirits of Earth, Fire, Water, and Air, which cause Arendelle to evacuate. It turns out years ago, Elsa and Anna's grandfather King Runeard (Jeremy Sisto) had tried to make peace with the neighbouring kingdom of Northuldra, but a fight ensued and Northuldra is now protected by a thick mist. So Anna, Elsa along with Kristoff (Jonathan Kroff), snowman Olaf (Josh Gad) and reindeer Sven in order to find the source of the voice and what it could all mean. When they get to Northuldra, they find out the truth about what really happened, and how it has something to do with Elsa. While still perfectly OK. and definitely better than a lot of animated films, this is basically Disney treading water, and they rejected a lot of potentially better ideas for a sequel on the grounds that "audiences wouldn't accept them". While there is a lot to admire, and visually it's stunning, you come away thinking the makers could have done something a lot more daring. 3/5

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Jumanji: The Next Level (2019), after the belated sequel Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) came out and became a massive box-office hit, a sequel was ordered immediately. The result is both more of the same, but not QUITE the same as last time, as there's a few twists in store, but the cast work brilliantly together, but with different personalities too. 2 years after the events of the first film, Spencer Gilpin (Alex Wolff), Anthony "Fridge" Johnson (Ser'Darius Blain), Martha Kaply (Morgan Turner), and Bethany Walker (Madison Iseman) plan a reunion brunch in Brantford, New Hampshire. Spencer is apprehensive but has got the Jumanji game working. At home, Spencer's grandad Eddie (Danny DeVito) is staying over. Spencer vanishes, and the friends come over to find it, but the game takes Fridge and Martha as well as Eddie and his old friend Milo (Danny Glover). In the game, Dr. Xander Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson) is Eddie, Professor Sheldon Oberon (Jack Black) is Fridge, Franklin Finbar (Kevin Hart) is Milo while Martha is Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan). It's a daft adventure, but seeing the characters from last time with different personalities is great fun. and they're able to open the Jumanji universe up a bit wider, and there's some very good and amusing set pieces in this film. It's left the door open for more films, and it'll be interesting to see where they take it, as long as it doesn't repeat itself too much.

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Cats (2019), directed by Tom Hooper (The King's Speech (2010)and Les Misérables (2012)), and based on the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical that was based on T.S. Eliot's poetry collection Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats (1939). This film is a well documented disaster and cautionary tale on how NOT to make a musical, but it's actually pretty enjoyable and mad!! When young white cat Victoria (Francesca Hayward) is abandoned on the streets of London, she's taken in by a bunch of alley cats known as Jellicle's, where she's introduced to Mr. Mistoffelees (Laurie Davidson), Rum Tum Tugger (Jason Derulo), Jennyanydots (Rebel Wilson), Bustopher Jones (James Corden), Grizabella (Jennifer Hudson), Bombalurina (Taylor Swift) and Gus the Theatre Cat (Ian McKellen). They're all going to the Jellicle Ball, where one of them will be chosen to go to the Heaviside Layer and be granted a new life. But, there are dark forces afoot, with the villainous Macavity (Idris Elba) on the prowl, spiriting favourite cats away so he can be chosen for a new life by Jellicle leader Old Deuteronomy (Judi Dench), but the cats put up a fight. It's absolutely insane, and you can see why many critics hate this film with a passion, some are probably attacking it to spite Lloyd Webber, while the CGI takes some getting used to. It's a very entertaining and visually stunning musical, and it doesn't deserve all of the hate it's getting, there's been nothing like this in cinemas since the days when Ken Russell was allowed to make films. 4/5

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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019), so this is it, Episode IX. After The Last Jedi alienated fans, and writer/director Colin Trevorrow bailed out due to creative differences, Lucasfilm got J.J. Abrams back to direct it, even though he had no time and would have to go like the clappers to get it made. The final film is OK, and a bit of a mess as well, which is a shame. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) goes to the hidden planet Exegol, and finds who has really been controlling the First Order, and it's a revived Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), who has a dark secret of his own. Meanwhile Rey (Daisy Ridley) has been receiving training from General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), and Rey goes on a mission to Pasaana with Finn (John Boyega), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and C3PO (Anthony Daniels) to find the Wayfinder which gives the location of where Palpatine is hiding. Along the way they meet Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) who gives them the location of where the Wayfinder is, but they end up being captured by the First Order, now with Allegiant General Pryde (Richard E. Grant) in charge. It's a shame the Star Wars films are ending with not quite a whimper, but hardly a bang. It makes you wonder what they would have been like had George Lucas been hands on in the production, it hasn't helped that like The Last Jedi, it was rushed through production at breakneck speed. Some of it was very good, but it could have been so much more. 3/5

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Spies in Disguise (2019), from Blue Sky Studios (Ice Age (2002), Robots (2005) and Rio (2012)), and loosely based on the 2009 animated short Pigeon: Impossible by Lucas Martell, this is a daft adventure that combines spy caper antics with buddy movie clichés, and it's actually good fun adventure buoyed by a good vocal cast with some good set pieces along the way. Cocky spy Lance Sterling (Will Smith) works for H.T.U.V. and tends to showboat his way through dangerous missions, much to the annoyance of his superiors. But, Sterling is less than impressed by his gadgets, provided by the socially inept scientist Walter Beckett (Tom Holland), who Sterling has fired. But, Sterling ends up being framed by terrorist Killian (Ben Mendelsohn) to make it look like Sterling stole a deadly drone, Sterling ends up on the run, and with nowhere to go, he turns to Walter, who has been working on an invention called "biodynamic concealment", which is a liquid that Sterling unknowingly drinks, and it turns Sterling into a pigeon. With agents on their tail, Sterling and Walter need to work together to stop Killian from destroying the world. It's a lot more daft than a lot of Blue Sky's previous work, but it shows there's more to them than the Ice Age films, (which has truly run it's course), but now that Disney own Blue Sky, (through them buying 20th Century Fox), their future is anyone's guess, but on the strength of this film, there's still life in Blue Sky yet that makes them stand out from Pixar or other studios. 4/5

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Jojo Rabbit (2019), written and directed by Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) and Thor: Ragnarok (2017)) and adapted from the 2008 novel Caging Skies by Christine Leunens, this is a dark comedy-drama that shows another side to World War II, and it's like the satirical, absurdist version of The Book Thief (2013), but it's great fun and very engaging. In the final stages of World War 2, Johannes "Jojo" Betzler (Roman Griffin Davis) is a 10 year old boy who has just joined the Deutsches Jungvolk, ran by Wehrmacht Captain Klenzendorf (Sam Rockwell) and assisted by Fräulein Rahm (Rebel Wilson). After an injury with a grenade, Jojo is sent home to recover, where he talks with his imaginary friend Adolf (Waititi), but they soon discover a dark secret. Jojo's mother Rosie (Scarlett Johansson) has been hiding a Jewish girl Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) in the attic of their home. After being told by the Nazi's that the Jews have powers, Jojo is fearful of Elsa, and she plays along with his fearful and nonsense beliefs, but the two come to trust each other, and look out for one another. It's a very powerful and emotionally engaging film, and it's definitely not the knockabout comedy the trailers would have you believe, while it is funny with some good characters around, it's closer in it's dark, surrealist tone to Richard Lester's How I Won The War (1967), but it shows what a great director Waititi is, and there'll be more great work to come from him. 4/5

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The Gentlemen (2019), while Aladdin (2019) was in post-production for ages doing all the visual effects, writer/director Guy Ritchie found a gap and an opportunity to go back to his roots and do an old fashioned gangster film like he used to. Although with a big all star cast, all working for next to nothing, and it's a good gangster caper, complex, daft but also entertaining. American drugs kingpin Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) snubbed Big Dave (Eddie Marsan), tabloid editor of the Daily Print, at a party, so Big Dave sends private investigator Fletcher (Hugh Grant) to find out more about Pearson and his rise through the ranks, and his connections to a minor Royal. Pearson plans on retiring and selling his business to Matthew Berger (Jeremy Strong) for $400 million, Pearson has cannabis farms under the estates of old Lords, who get a cut for the upkeep of their homes. It's not long before Chinese gangster Dry Eye (Henry Golding) appears, also wanting to buy Pearson's business, but Pearson refuses. After one of the cannabis farms is robbed by a bunch of MMA fighters, then Pearson's empire is in trouble. There's so much going on, that it's almost hard to keep track of what's going on and it might benefit from a second viewing, but it's good that Ritchie has brought together a lot of talent, and after dabbling in big budget Hollywood epics for the past decade, it's good to see him go back to this, if only to see McConaughey go into a Shepherd's Bush pub and ask for a "pint and a pickled egg." Razz 3.5/5

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1917 (2019), written and directed by Sam Mendes, and based on stories that his grandad Alfred Mendes told him as a boy, this was going to be a very difficult and very personal film for Mendes, and made even more difficult by the fact it's told all mostly in real time, and was filmed to look like one continuous take, which is staggering and amazing to watch. April 1917, and two Lance Corporals William Schofield (George MacKay) and Tom Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) are assigned with a dangerous mission by General Erinmore (Colin Firth), aerial reconnaissance has discovered that the German's are planning to ambush a scheduled attack the next day, that would cost the lives of 1,600 British troops, amongst them are Blake's brother Joseph (Richard Madden). Schofield and Blake have to get the message to Colonel Mackenzie (Benedict Cumberbatch) before the next day's attack, so Mackenzie can call it off. But, it means having to go through the horrors of No Man's Land, and through a booby trapped German trench and a town under siege, the mission soon turns into a nightmarish ordeal. It's brilliantly made, and much praise deserves to go to cinematographer Roger Deakins, who helped pull off the impossible by going from crane shots to Steadicam shots and back again, usually all in the same take. It's a very simplistic story, but it's the way the story is told, like The Wages of Fear in a war zone, but it has to be seen on a big screen for the experience. 4/5

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Being There (1979), directed by Hal Ashby (Harold and Maude (1971), The Last Detail (1973) and Shampoo (1975)), and adapted from Jerzy Kosiński's 1970 novel. This gentle but dark satire on politics is held together by a brilliant lead performance, and it says a lot about how anyone can rise to power, although this is more innocent and benign in it's approach and execution. Chance (Peter Sellers) is a simple-minded gardener who has spent his life tending to a garden that belongs to his benefactor. When his benefactor dies, Chance is cast out into the real world, having never ventured outside and he only knows about outside from he's seen on television, outside is Washington D.C. After accidentally getting hit by a car belonging to Eve Rand (Shirley MacLaine) wife of rich business mogul and political advisor Ben Rand (Melvyn Douglas). Eve brings Chance to recover at their house, mistakenly hearing his name as Chauncey Gardiner, and believing he's a businessman who's fallen on hard times, Ben takes an instant shine to him, and introduces Chance to the President (Jack Warden), and Chance becomes a celebrity. It's a very telling satire on how people, especially people of power who should know better, usually take information at face value. Chance just accepts everything as it comes, he doesn't question it. Sellers doesn't go for the usual mugging you'd expect from him, this is a very stripped back performance, it should have been the beginning of a new phase in his career, fate had other ideas. 4/5

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The Stone Killer (1973), directed by Michael Winner, whose career was kept busy with various films in different genres during the 1970's. This one is an adaptation of John Gardner's 1969 novel A Complete State of Death, transplanted from England to New York and Los Angeles. The result is one of Winner's better films, still gratuitous with the violence though. New York cop Lou Torrey (Charles Bronson) is transferred to Los Angeles after causing too much damage during one case, with his "shoot first, ask questions later" attitude being called into question after he shot dead a teenager who was running away from Torrey. After a couple of years in Los Angeles, Torrey discovers a plot by Sicilian Mafia boss Al Vescari (Martin Balsam) to use recently demobbed but mentally unstable Vietnam veterans, including Lawrence (Stuart Margolin) and Langley (Paul Koslo) to murder all his enemies in order to avenge the killings of a group of Mafia dons back in 1931. After Torrey brings Langley back to New York to face justice, Torrey finds himself deep in this plot, and now has to put a stop to it. It's nowhere near as gratuitous or in poor taste as Winner would later do with the Death Wish films, but it's still violent and gritty enough, capturing the era well. It comes across more like a Dirty Harry film. But, it's fast, and not shoddily made like a lot of Winner's other films. Although it would have been interesting to have seen what it would have been like if it had kept the books setting. 3.5/5

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Billy Liar (1963), directed by John Schlesinger, who had just come off making his feature debut A Kind of Loving (1962), and for his next film, he chose this adaptation of Keith Waterhouse's 1959 novel, which had also been turned into a play by Waterhouse and Willis Hall. This has the look and feel of a kitchen sink drama, but there's more humour and fantasy throughout. Billy Fisher (Tom Courtenay) lives in a Yorkshire town with his parents (Wilfred Pickles and Mona Washbourne) and grandmother (Ethel Griffies), and works as an undertakers' clerk ran by the strict Mr. Shadrack (Leonard Rossiter). But, Billy has dreams and fantasies where he's the leader and hero of an imaginary country called Ambrosia. In the real world, Billy also has two girlfriends, the timid Barbara (Helen Fraser) and the outspoken Rita (Gwendolyn Watts). Meanwhile, one of Billy's old girlfriends Liz (Julie Christie) comes back to town after being away living in London. Unlike everyone else in town, she accepts Billy for who he is and understands his imagination, and she wants him to go to London with her, but will he accept it? It's something of a coming of age story, as Billy still longs to be a boy again, where you had no social responsibilities and can use your imagination to escape the nightmare of reality, but the harsh reality is that doesn't work when you're grown up, you have to get your head down and fall in with the rest of the rat race. It's got some brilliant performances and moments of good fantasy. 4/5

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Triple Cross (1966), directed by Terence Young (Dr. No (1962), From Russia With Love (1963) and Thunderball (1965)), this is a different kind of spy film from the Bond films Young was making, this one was a true story based on the life of criminal and wartime spy Eddie Chapman who wrote about his exploits in a 1953 book, this is a good thriller with an amazing cast. Eddie Chapman (Christopher Plummer) is a safecracker who ends up being imprisoned after one robbery on Jersey, but when war breaks out, Jersey is invaded by the Nazi's. Chapman offers to work as a spy for the Germans, who are initially sceptical, but take him on. Chapman is smuggled into France working under Col. Baron von Grunen (Yul Brynner) and Col. Steinhager (Gert Fröbe). Chapman is parachuted into England as a spy, but he goes straight to the police and British Intelligence, and convinces them of who he is, and Chapman gets a pardon for his past crimes and is now working for the British as a double agent, and Chapman is now able to use information to warn the British of when the Germans are planning attacks. It's a good thriller with some good set pieces, and it's unbelievable that this was a true story, even if the film version has juiced up most events for the sake of cinema, but it's a more realistic spy film than others out there, it's pace is slower but Young gets the best out of his international cast, especially Plummer as the suave Chapman, in reality, Chapman was working class and from County Durham. Razz 3.5/5

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48 Hrs. (1982), co-written and directed by Walter Hill, who had just had a run of 5 successful films, from Hard Times (1975) up to Southern Comfort (1981), this one started out life as very gritty cop action-thriller, however things changed when a relative newcomer joined the cast, adding a big element of comedy, which eventually started the whole buddy cop genre. In San Francisco, hardened Inspector Jack Cates (Nick Nolte) is on the hunt for escaped criminal Albert Ganz (James Remar) who was freed from a chain-gang by fellow criminal Billy Bear (Sonny Landham). When two of Cates' partners end up dead in a hotel shootout. Cates learns that Ganz's former partner in crime Reggie Hammond (Eddie Murphy) has information on Ganz and is willing to help Cates in order to bring Ganz down, as Ganz betrayed Hammond years earlier in a drugs deal that went awry. As a result, Hammond is in jail serving a three year sentence for that crime. Hammond is allowed out of prison for 48 hours to help Cates bring Ganz down, but Hammond has other ideas and wants to enjoy his brief freedom. It's a good film, and Nolte and Murphy work well together, and there's some good set pieces throughout, and this set the template for more films like this to come like Lethal Weapon, Red Heat and Rush Hour, this helped make Murphy an instant star and films like Trading Places and Beverly Hills Cop soon followed, Hill's career went downhill after this, which is a shame. 4/5

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Nightbreed (1990), after the success of Hellraiser (1987), Hollywood came calling to Clive Barker. He decided he would adapt his own novella Cabal for Morgan Creek. This is the film that should have put him on the map as a brilliant filmmaker, it had a great concept, however studio interference would put the kibosh on that, which is a great shame, as this is a brilliantly cheesy but effective and scary horror film, and there is a hint of what could have been. It has Aaron Boone (Craig Sheffer), a disturbed young man plagued by dreams of a city called Midian, which is located underground and has allsorts of weird creatures and the like, which are known as the Nightbreed. However, Aaron is framed for murder by his psychiatrist, Decker (David Cronenberg), Aaron ends up being killed by the police and resurrected by the magic of Midian. He has become one of them, and along with the other creatures decide to battle humans, who want to bring them down. It's a silly but entertaining monster feature, Barker is certainly imaginative, and there's some good moments in the film, and it has a black sense of humour running through it's veins. The score by Danny Elfman is very good, and it's well designed. The recently restored director's cut brings Barker's true intended vision back to the screen as it should have been. 4/5

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