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5/10
Does exactly what it says on the tin. 5/10
26 March 2020
Review: As I'm not a massive racing car fan, I wasn't over-excited about this movie, but the cast was impressive and the story was intriguing. The director portrayed the 60's period well, and the cars were amazing, but the whole racing car theme became a bit tedious after a while. All of the technical jargon went straight over my head, but the attention to detail, in terms of the cars and the tracks, was on point. The acting from Christian Bale (Ken Miles) and Matt Damon (Carroll Shelby) seemed average in my eyes, mainly because I didn't know the real-life characters that they were portraying, so I didn't know how accurate it was. With that aside, the chemistry between the characters was great, and there were some scenes, which didn't have anything to do with racing, which was enjoyable, but the main core of the movie seemed a bit too safe to me. There weren't any standout moments that stood out, and I wasn't left feeling that I wanted to find out more about the characters. I know that the' race is an important part of American history that will always be remembered, but I personally lost interest once Carroll and Ken joined forces. I did feel the intensity during the races, which made me stick with the two and a half hour movie, and I did find the ending quite shocking, but it's not the type of movie that I will be watching again. That's not to say that it's a bad film because it does exactly what it says on the tin, but it's just not my cup of tea. Average!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by James Mangold, who also brought you Heavy in 1995, Copland, Girl Interrupted, Kate & Leopold, Identity, Walk The Line, 3:10 to Yuma, Knight & Day, The Wolverine and Logan. He's due to direct 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea: Captain Nemo and the new Indiana Jones project, but with the Coronavirus in our midst, no one really knows what's going to happen to the upcoming projects that are in pre-production. Judging by his filmography, he has made some impressive movies to date, and with this movie going down well with critics worldwide, the only way is up for this established director. The only reason why I wasn't that impressed with this film was because of the subject matter, but it's well made and the box office takings prove that it was enjoyed by many.

Budget: $97.6million Worldwide Gross: $225.5million

Genre: Action, Biography, Drama, Sport Cast: Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Jon Bernthal, Caitriona Balfe, Josh Lucas, Noah Jupe, Tracy Letts, Remo Girone, Ray McKinnon, JJ Feild and Jack McMullen. 5/10
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Doctor Sleep (2019)
7/10
Brilliant movie, but the ending was a big let down! 7/10
11 March 2020
Review: When I heard that they were making a sequel to the Shining, I knew that it wouldn't be in the same class as Kubrick's classic, especially when I found out that Jack Nicholson wasn't involved in the project. The only saving grace was that it was based on the novel by Stephen King, so I thought that I should give it a chance. I opted to see the directors cut, which was 3 hours long, so I knew that I might be falling asleep at some point. Right from the beginning, I found the plot intriguing, and the different storylines were written to perfection. The 3 main characters, Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor), Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) and Abra Stone (Kyliegh Curran) was excellent, and I loved the way that their individual storylines intertwine, even though they came from completely different backgrounds. The intensity throughout the film was also brilliant, matched together with a great soundtrack that made the thrilling moments pretty scary. The only problem that I had with the film was the ending. As soon as the hotel came into play, the whole film went downhill, which was a shame because I couldn't wait for Dan & Abra to face Rose. Like the Joker, they could have easily made this a standalone movie, with nothing to do with the Shining, which would have made this a 10/10 in my eyes. Getting Henry Thomas (Elliott in E.T.) to play Jack Nicholson was a bad idea, but they did make the hotel look the same as the original, which did send chills down my spine. Although the Shining was an all-time classic, Stephen King wasn't happy with some of Kubrick's adaptations from the novel, like the ending being set in snow, which is why he worked closely with the director to get this movie right. There are a lot of questionable moments that happened in the hotel, which really let the movie down, but if you put the hotel out of your mind, the rest of the film is amazing. Personally, I think they promoted the film wrong, by calling it a sequel to the Shining because a majority of the film has nothing to do with it. Don't get me wrong, the concept is all based on the original, but you could easily watch all of the scenes before they reach the hotel, without seeing it. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed this cleverly written thriller/horror, but the ending could do with a rewrite. Enjoyable!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Mike Flanagan, who also brought you Makebelieve in 2000, Still Life, Ghosts of Hamilton Street, Absentia, Oculus, Hush, Before I Wake, Ouija: Origin of Evil and Gerald's Game. It has been reported that the underperformance of this film was due to the fact that the younger audience wasn't bothered about the Kubrick classic, and the elder audience didn't have high hopes for the film. Most of the people that saw the Shining, didn't leave the film thinking about what happened to the little boy on the bike. He was one of the film's least engaging characters, ranking somewhere between the ghostly twins and the withered hag in the bathtub. Another problem was the length of the movie, but if you watch the director's cut, it really doesn't seem that long while you're watching it. As the Shining was written while Stephen King was an alcoholic, he chose to portray his real-life feelings through Dan's character, of how he redeemed himself and became a better person. Anyway, I hope that more people will give this movie a chance, later on down the line because it's definitely worth a watch, even if you haven't seen the Shining.

Budget: $45million Worldwide Gross: $72million

Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Thriller Cast: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran, Cliff Curtis, Zahn McClarnon, Emily Alyn Lind, Selena Anduze, Robert Longstreet, Carel Struycken, Catherine Parker, James Flanagan, Met Clark, Zackary Momoh, Jocelin Donahue, Carl Lumbly, Henry Thomas, Bruce Greenwood and Sallye Hooks. 7/10
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Midway (2019)
4/10
Pretty basic, with no depth to the characters. 4/10
10 March 2020
Review: With all of the Hollywood buzz around 1917, I was surprised that this movie seemed to come and go out of people's minds so quickly after it's release, and now that I have seen the film, I can understand why. After the first 30mins, I totally got fed up with the movie because it turned out to be your typical American heroic film, about guts and glory, which we have seen time and time again. There really wasn't anything original about the film, and the character-building was awful. It's basically a part of American history, which happened after the terrible Pearl Harbour fiasco during World War II. From an entertainment point of view, it does become slightly repetitive, and corny in parts, and the script wasn't that great. Visually, it isn't that bad, and the epic battle scenes sound great, if you have a heavy sound system, but I struggled to keep my eyes open after a while. The performances were mediocre from the whole cast, mainly because it switches between various characters from scene to scene, so it certainly lacked depth. As this is based on a true story, and the characters are actually based on real people, I was intrigued about how the intelligence agency and battle scenes would pan out, but it just turned out to fit every other American war-movie template. On the plus side, I have to commend the director for the attention to detail, and the scale of the whole project, and it was good to feel the intensity from both sides. At the end of the day, it's just worth a one-watch, and I can't see myself going back to it at a later date. Disappointing!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Roland Emmerich, who also brought you, Joey, in 1985, Hollywood Monster, Moon 44, Universal Soldier, Stargate, Independence Day, Godzilla, The Patriot, The Day After Tomorrow, 10,000 BC, 2012, Anonymous, White House Down, Stonewall and Independence Day: Resurgence, which was awful. Although I wasn't a fan of the film, Emmerich struggled to get funding for the project, so he had to raise the $100million budget himself, which makes it one of the most expensive independent films of all time. That proves how passionate he was about the project, and he was happy that it made a profit, even though it wasn't any way near the profits that the major players in Hollywood make. It also explains why it didn't have a massive distribution budget, and why it wasn't released in many theatres. With that in mind, it's a great achievement by the director, and he was lucky to get a decent cast on board.

Budget: $100million Worldwide Gross: $126million

Genre: Action, Drama, History, War Cast: Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Luke Evans, Mandy Moore, Luke Kleintank, Dennis Quaid, Aaron Eckhart, Keenan Johnson, Nick Jonas, Etsushi Tokokawa, Jake Weber, Darren Criss and Jake Manley. 4/10
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6/10
Worth a one-watch! 6/10
2 March 2020
Review: I must admit, I was expecting this movie to be awful, but it actually turned out to be OK. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't any way near as good as Terminator 2, but it's much better than the rest of the films in this franchise. The sketchy script, and mediocre acting from the slightly annoying Dani Ramos (Natalie Reeves), did let the movie down, but it was good to see Arnie and Linda Hamilton back on the big screen together again, even though Arnie was playing a much tamer Terminator with a conscious. I was impressed with Grace (Mackenzie Davis), who carried the film right from the beginning, and the visual effects were great in parts, but it's a very average film that is only worth a one-watch. In this day and age, we are really spoilt for choice, and it takes something amazing to stand out from the rest of the movies in this genre, which is why there is nothing special about this film. The concept was, more or less, the same as Terminator 2 but it didn't have the originality, or shock factor, that made that the best film in this franchise. For such a big budget, and some epic action scenes, it didn't make much noise on its release, and now that I've seen the film, I can understand why. Although Linda Hamilton and Arnie haven't aged gracefully, the script lacked the magic that James Cameron brought in the original, but there is a sense of intensity that makes you stick with the plot. As the epic scenes towards the end are all set in the dark, and underwater, you don't get to see the attention to detail, and I personally couldn't work out what the hell was going on. The scene's in the plane were cleverly choreographed, and the switching from human to the robot was clean and smooth, but it's nothing that we haven't seen before. At the end of the day, it's a decent film with some epic action scenes, but I personally think that the franchise should have ended after the second film. Average!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Tim Miller, who brought you Deadpool in 2016. He was also the creative supervisor for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World in 2010, which is one of my favourite movies, but with such a small portfolio, I would have given this project to someone who had more experience. Although I wasn't impressed with the script, it was written by James Cameron, along with 8 other writers, but I personally think that he produces his best work when he has full control of a project. There was supposed to be a Terminator: Genisys trilogy, but after it's disappointing box office return, they decided to bin the project. This film is supposed to be the sequel to Terminator 2, which is why it seems so similar. They do plan to make this film into a trilogy, with James Cameron working with the director, but no information has been released yet.

Budget: $185million Worldwide Gross: $261million

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Cast: Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, Linda Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gabriel Luna, Diego Boneta, Tristan Ulloa, Tom Hopper, Alicia Borrachero, Enrique Arce, Manuel Pacific and Fraser James. 6/10
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Joker (2019)
8/10
Fantastic performance from Joaquin! 8/10
24 February 2020
Review: This is definitely a character study, more than your average superhero movie, which has superb acting throughout, and an emotional storyline which touched me in many ways. The dark tone is set right from the beginning, were we follow Arthur Fleck, a failed stand-up comedian whose descent into insanity and nihilism inspires a violent counter-cultural revolution against the wealthy in a decaying Gotham City. It did take me some time to get into the film because I didn't realise that the analysation of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) would go so deep, and the many knocks that he took throughout the film, along with his twisted family history, made it an extremely emotional ride. With his psychological problems, and society disregarding him, I couldn't help feeling sorry for Arthur, even though he committed several murders. It did make me think, "What would I do in his situation", and with no one to turn to, it's not a surprise that he turned out the way he did. You usually see concepts like this in documentaries, where they analyse the mind behind murderers, so that's why this movie is totally unique, and one of the best films of 2019. Joaquin Phoenix deserved every award that he received because his acting was out of this world. Most of his scenes were improvised, which meant that the director spent ages editing the final cut, so there are many different versions of the film on the cutting room floor. You definitely have to be in the right frame of mind to watch it because it can take you down avenues that you have never been before. When it had finished, it took me some time to get out of the dark mode, which is very rare, so I knew that the director produced something special. Personally, I think that it should have been released before Christopher Nolan's Batman because it would have fit perfectly together. It could have easily had nothing to do with DC, which I would have preferred in some ways because it touches on many elements that have nothing to do with the superhero universe. Anyway, I think it's a great achievement by everyone involved, and even though it wasn't intended on being a DC blockbuster, it's the second highest-grossing DC film to date, with Aquaman just ahead. That just proves that you don't need to have a massive budget, and a CGI extravaganza, to make a successful comic book movie. Brilliant!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Todd Phillips, who also brought you Frat House in 1998, Bittersweet Motel, Road Trip, Old School, Starsky & Hutch, School for Scoundrels, The Hangover franchise, Due Date and War Dogs. He's due to direct a Hulk Hogan biopic, which is in production, with Chris Hemsworth playing Terry Bollea, but the rest of the cast hasn't been named yet. As for this film, they plastered Robert De Niro's name all of the poster alongside Joaquin Phoenix, but I thought he was irrelevant to the plot. He did play a part in Arthur's complete conversion to the dark side, but I was expecting him to play a major roll in Arthur's life. I must admit, halfway through the film I called all of my friends because I thought that the Joker was Bruce Wayne's brother, which would have been a humongous twist in the franchise, but after watching more of the film, I realised that was a bluff. I'm amazed that it is the first R rated movie to make $1billion dollars, and that the director got his influence for the film from Alan Moore's comic "The Killing Joke", which tells the Joker's origin and descent into insanity, and the Martin Scorsese films Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and the King of Comedy. Sadly, Todd Phillips said he wants comic book movie fans to know that there is no chance of Joaquin Phoenix's villain and Robert Pattinson's Batman ever crossing over on the big screen, so this might be the last movie for this version of the Joker. I just hope that the upcoming DC movies take a leaf out of Joker's book!

Budget: $55million Worldwide Gross: $1.07billion (WOW!)

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Shea Whigham, Bill Camp, Glenn Fleshler, Leigh Gill and Josh Pais. 8/10
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4/10
Mindless zombie killing fun! 4/10
23 February 2020
Review: As I'm not a big fan of zombie movies, and I don't think that Jesse Eisenberg has any screen charisma whatsoever, my expectations for this film wasn't that high. The only reason why I decided to give the movie a chance, was because I enjoy watching Woody Harrelson's movies, and the first film wasn't that bad. This film does take some time to get going, and the comedy element wasn't that great, mainly because Bill Murray wasn't in the majority of the film. All of the actors put in an average performance, especially Jesse Eisenberg who wouldn't stop whining through the whole film, but the bonus material at the end with Murray was brilliant. I'm glad that the director chose to make it more of a road movie, than a "humans killing zombies" film, and the relationships between Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), Wichita (Emma Stone) and Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) gave it a dramatic tone, but the script was more ridiculous than funny. Rosario Dawson (Nevada) was a good addition to the cast, and I liked the scenes with the Columbus and Tallahassee's clones, but a majority of the film was weak and silly. There is some zombie bashing towards the end of the film, which is not for the squeamish, but it's mindless fun if you're not expecting any special. Personally, the Bill Murray scenes during the end-credits were better than the whole movie, and I loved it when he said, "I ain't afraid of no ghost", and I was surprised to see the Columbia sign bashing zombies at the beginning, but the main core of the movie was just worth a one-watch. Average!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Ruben Fleischer, who also brought you Gumball 3000: 6 Days in May in 2005, Zombieland, 30 Minutes or Less, Gangster Squad and Venom. He's due to direct the highly anticipated Uncharted movie, with Tom Holland stepping in as a young Nathan Drake and Mark Wahlberg taking on the role of Sully, Drake's old, crusty pal and sudo mentor. Chris Pratt was offered Nathan Drake, which would have been a better chose in my eyes, but he declined the role. As for this movie, although it didn't smash the box office, I personally don't think that the director was that surprised because it was made for a niche audience who demanded a sequel.

Budget: $42million Worldwide Gross: $123million

Genre: Action, Comedy, Horror Cast: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Zoey Deutch, Avan Jogia, Rosario Dawson, Bill Murray, Luke Wilson, Thomas Middleditch, Victoria Hall, Victor Rivera and Ian Gregg. 4/10
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Gemini Man (2019)
5/10
Great FX but the storyline is poor! 5/10
22 February 2020
Review: When I saw the certification for this movie, I was a bit sceptical about the outcome, and it's not very often that a Will Smith movie, just about makes a profit at the box office. Now that I've seen the film, I understand why I haven't heard a good word about it because it seems like the director concentrated on the visual effects more than the storyline. There are a couple of decent action scenes, like the bike chase and the dramatic ending, but the movie jumps in right at the deep end, so you don't get any type of character building. I was impressed with the look of the younger Will Smith, Junior, and the clever camera work, when they were both on-screen together, was unique but the predictable storyline and extremely average acting, let the movie down. The fact that Will Smith (Harry Brogan) cared more about Danny (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Junior than his long time friend, who put his life on the line for him, Baron (Benedict Wong), made the film unrealistic, and I couldn't understand why Clay Varris (Clive Owen) didn't kill him when he was in jail. There are a lot of sketchy moments in the plot that made it feel an average watch, but there is a sense of intensity which makes you stick with the film to the end. Once you know the outcome, I doubt that you will give it a second watch, and I personally couldn't remember any golden moments that stick out in my mind. In all, it's an average movie with some clever FX, but it has to go down as one of the weakest films starring Will Smith. Average!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Ang Lee, who also brought you Pushing Hands in 1991, The Wedding Banquet, Eat Drink Man Woman, Sense and Sensibility, The Ice Storm, Ride with the Devil, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hulk, Brokeback Mountain, Lust, Caution, Taking Woodstock, Life of Pi and Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk. He won the Best Achievement in Directing Oscar for Life of Pi, which was a visual extravaganza, and he's had quite a versatile career to date, so I doubt that this film will damage his reputation. I do think that the failure at the box office will hurt Will Smith, but with Bad Boys 4 in production, along with Bright 2, King Richard and the Council, he'll have to put this down as a bad day at the office.

Budget: $138million Worldwide Gross: $173million (Terrible!)

Genre: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller Cast: Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, Benedict Wong, Douglas Hodge, Ralph Brown, Linda Emond, llia Volok, E.J. Bonilla, Victor Hugo, David Shae and Theodora Miranne. 5/10
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6/10
An enjoyable movie for all ages! 6/10
21 February 2020
Review: Disney really has a way of pulling their audience into there emotional movies! I didn't think that I would enjoy this film, mainly because it just seemed like every other Disney fairytale, but I actually found it entertaining throughout. The CGI and amazing cinematography are what we have grown to expect from Disney, especially with all of there cash in the bank, but it was the various characters and the "straight to the point" storytelling that I enjoyed. I must admit, Elle Fanning (Aurora) did get on my nerves after a while, but Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) and her newfound fairies are brilliant. I know that a lot of moviegoers are not going to give this film the time of day because of it's "fairytale" type concept, but believe me, it's for all ages, and there is something for everyone. The epic battle scene towards the end was put together well, and the evil Michelle Pfeiffer (Queen Ingrith), was a great choice for her role. Pinto and the little fairy that gets kidnapped, are also a great addition to the cast, and the make-up, especially on Maleficent, and extravagant costumes deserve recognition for designers efforts. The colour palette, of enhanced greens and deep blacks, look great on the big screen, but it's hard to see the attention to detail during some of the battle scenes. At the end of the day, it does follow the typical Disney fairytale template, so we all know what to expect, but there are some unique moments that will make you happy for giving it a chance. Enjoyable!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Joachim Ronning, who also brought you Bandidas starring Salma Hayek & Penelope Cruz, Max Manus: Man of War, Kon-Tiki and Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge. It's been rumoured that he will be directing the next Pirates of the Caribbean film, but I personally think that would be a bad idea because the last one wasn't that great. With such a big budget, and the Disney studio bang on his tail, I'm not surprised that Joachim spent a lot of time perfecting the CGI in this film, and I'm glad that he kept the storyline simple, which included showing were Maleficent originated from.

Budget: $185million Worldwide Gross: $492million

Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy Cast: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Harris Dickinson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sam Riley, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ed Skrein, Robert Lindsay, David Gyasi, Jenn Murray, Juno Temple, Lesley Manville, Imelda Staunton, Judith Shekoni, Miyavi, Kae Alexander and Warwick Davis. 6/10
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4/10
The plot let the movie down! 4/10
20 February 2020
Review: As this movie isn't based on true events, and none of the storylines actually lead to anything, I really couldn't see the point of this film. I have to commend the cinematography, costumes and props for portraying the period immaculately, and the terrific acting from Brad Pitt (Cliff Booth), and Leonardo DiCaprio (Rick Dalton) made the film watchable, but after sticking with the movie for so long, hoping that something would happen, I ended up feeling really disappointed. It's very rare that you see two A-List stars of this calibre joining forces, so I was expecting something special, especially after all of the award buzz surrounding it, but it turned out to be Hollywood love letter from Tarantino, which I didn't find that interesting. There are so many irrelevant scenes, and half of the characters, like Margot Robbie (Sharon Tate), Al Pacino (Marvin Schwartz) and Bruce Dern (George Spahn) were totally wasted. The saving grace of the whole film had to be the gruesome action scenes towards the end, but it was too little too late. When you usually spend nearly 3 hours watching a film, you hope to find a moral to a story, but in this case, there really wasn't one. The only thing that I'm left with, is that Brad Pitt has a huge range, in terms of his acting skills and his ability not to age, but I personally think that DiCaprio looks, and acts the same in all of his movies. That's not to say that he is not a good actor, but I would like to see him play a role which is out of his comfort zone. Anyway, as Tarantino takes so long to release his films, I have to say that it feels like he has lost his spark of late. Like Guy Ritchie, he hasn't hit the form of his first couple of movies, so maybe it's time for him to go back to the drawing board because he's slowly becoming a distant memory. Disappointing!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Quentin Tarantino, who also brought you Reservoir Dogs in 1992, Pulp Fiction, Four Rooms, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill: Vol.1 & 2, Sin City, Grindhouse, Death Proof, Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained and The Hateful Eight. After the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations, Tarantino cut ties with Weinstein and sought a new distributor for this film, after having worked with Weinstein for his entire career. Sony Pictures agreed to take on the project, and they agreed on the $90million budget, including final cut privilege, 25% of first-dollar gross, and stipulation that the rights revert to him after 10 to 20 years. As the movie was successful, and he earned high praise for the look and cast, I can't see Tarantino thinking that it was a failure, but I personally think that it could have been much better. He did all of the hard work, in terms of portraying the 1960s, but he should have paid more attention to the plot, which really let the movie down.

Budget: $90million Worldwide Gross: $375million

Genre: Comedy, Drama Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Emile Hirsch, Margaret Qualley, Timothy Olyphant, Julia Butters, Austin Butler, Dakota Fanning, Bruce Dern, Mike Moh, Luke Perry, Damian Lewis, Al Pacino, Nicholas Hammond, Samantha Robinson, Rafal Zawierucha, Lorenza Izzo, Costa Ronin, Scoot McNairy, Clifton Collins Jr., Kurt Russell, Zoe Bell, Michael Madsen, Tim Roth, James Remar, Damon Herriman and Lena Dunham. 4/10
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3/10
Awful humour and the action was way over the top! 3/10
18 February 2020
Review: I really didn't find watching 2 grown men bickering, whilst trying to save the world from a virus, entertaining. On top of that, the script was awful and the action was WAY too over the top. The acting was also a big let-down, and it seemed like Jason Statham didn't know if he was English or American half of the time. The music throughout the film made it feel cheap, and the so-called wit in the script was terrible. I liked the scenes in Samoa until the ridiculous car chase took place, and the whole "Robotic" Idris Elba (Brixton) concept, was just too weird. With such a massive budget, and a great cast, including the cameo's, I personally think that they made a right mess of this film, even though it made a decent profit at the box office. I don't know if the director was trying to make the most unrealistic film ever made, or if he was just being flash by coming up with the most outrageous stunts, but I really was disappointed with the outcome. I enjoyed the banter between Hobbs and Shaw in the previous Fast & Furious movies, but I just wanted them to shut-up in this film. Ryan Reynolds was a good touch, and Kevin Hart made me laugh, but I can't see myself watching it again in a hurry. On the plus side, I did like Brixton's motorbike, and Hattie (Vanessa Kirby), who was Statham's sister, put in a decent performance, but it was Helen Mirren (Queenie) who really stood out from the rest. I know that there is going to be a lot of people who disagree with this review, but I just find it hard to say anything positive about this film. I usually enjoy Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham movies, basically because they are what they say on the tin, but this film was a total waste of time and money in my eyes. Disappointing!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by David Leitch, who also brought you John Wick, Atomic Blonde and Deadpool 2, which wasn't as good as the first movie. This is yet another movie that makes me wonder if they actually watch these films all the way through before releasing it. I just hope that the next movie in the Fast & Furious franchise is taken more seriously, without all of the silly humour, and some decent action.

Budget: $200million Worldwide Gross: $759million

Genre: Action, Adventure Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby, Helen Mirren, Eiza Gonzalez, Eddie Marsan, Eliana Sua, Cliff Curtis, Lori Pelenise Tuisano, John Tui, Joshua Mauga, Joe Anoa'i, Rob Delaney, Tom Wu, Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Hart and John Macdonald. 3/10
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7/10
Loads and loads of action! 7/10
17 February 2020
Review: After enjoying the first 2 movies in this franchise, I really didn't expect to see anything new in this film. How wrong was I! From Kung-Fu horses to angry fighting dogs, the director really pushed the bar with this third instalment, and he actually gave us an insight into the High Table, who put out a $14 million bounty on John Wick's head. There does become a point where the action feels a bit repetitive, but once the Adjudicator lays down the law, it becomes more interesting. Keanu Reeves puts in his usual, unemotional performance, which was perfect for this role, and the additional casting of Halle Berry, Ian McShane and Laurence Fishburne was a great touch, even though they weren't in the film for that long. In true Liam Neeson form, Keanu is proving that he can still kick butt at the age of 55, against the young assassins that attack him throughout the film, but the dodging of bullets and numerous stab wounds made it seem unrealistic. For such a low budget, I was amazed by the attention to detail, especially in the glass room which they built from scratch, and the dark and moody tone worked perfectly, in terms of the intensity throughout. The ending left the franchise open for numerous avenues for John Wick to take, now that he has joined forces with Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne), so I can't wait to see the 4th instalment. I also want to see if they bring back Halle Berry (Sofia), with her killer dogs, and I was left a bit confused about Winston (Ian McShane) who switched at the last moment. Anyway, I quite enjoyed this movie, even though the action did go a bit overboard in places, but it's what we have grown to expect from the lethal hitman, who just won't die. Enjoyable!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Chad Stahelski, who also brought you the previous movies in this franchise. It's rumoured that he will be directing the new Highlander, but the storyline hasn't been announced yet. I just hope they don't make a mess of it! With Chad doing most of the fight scenes in this movie, and Halle Berry breaking 3 ribs in rehearsal, the movie took longer to release, but the studio must be happy with the profit it made at the box office. A fourth instalment has been announced to be released in May 2021, even though it was only supposed to be a trilogy, but after it's success, the filmmakers wanted to continue to expand the universe in which the films take place.

Budget: $75million Worldwide Gross: $327million

Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller Cast: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Ian McShane, Laurence Fishburne, Mark Dacascos, Asia Kate Dillon, Lance Reddick, Tobias Segal, Anjelica Huston, Said Taghmaoui, Jerome Flynn, Randall Duk Kim, Margaret Daly, Robin Lord Taylor, Susan Blommaert, Jason Mantzoukas, Andrea Sooch and Sergio Delavicci. 7/10
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4/10
Same as the rest of the films in this franchise! 4/10
16 February 2020
Review: Well, I got exactly what I expected from this film! Loads of military action, corruption, and of course, Gerard Butler (Mike Banning) saving the day. They did try to make the storyline complex, by adding a bit of drama and various twists, but the outcome was inevitable. As soon as the film started I worked out the whole plot, especially when I saw Danny Huston (Wade Jennings), who always plays the baddie. The action wasn't too bad, and there is a sense of intensity throughout the film, but once you've seen one of the films in this franchise, you've seen them all. Butler put's in his usual "one-man army" performance, and Morgan Freeman (President Trumbull) didn't do anything special, and I found Jada Pinkett Smith a weird casting as Agent Thompson because it was such a small role. Nick Nolte put in an emotional performance as Clay Banning, but apart from that, it's exactly what it says on the tin. The far-fetched action scenes kept the movie slightly interesting, along with the fact the Mike Banning became "America's Most Wanted", so if you want some mindless action, then this is the movie for you. Personally, it's the type of film that you have on in the background when you have visitors around, so I won't be watching again in a hurry. Average!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Ric Roman Waugh, who brought you Exit in 1996, In The Shadows, Felon, Snitch starring Dwayne Johnson, That Which I Love Destroys Me and Shot Caller starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau from the Game Of Thrones. After watching the bonus material, they did dig deep to make the military action look authentic, and they tried there utmost to make the plot seem realistic, but I don't think that they brought anything new to the franchise. As Gerard Butler produced the movie, and he worked closely with the director to perfect the film, it's obvious that they need fresh eyes to come up with something original because the "saving the president" concept has run dry.

Budget: $40million Worldwide Gross: $147.5million

Genre: Action, Thriller Cast: Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Frederick Schmidt, Nick Nolte, Danny Huston, Rocci Williams, Jada Pinkett Smith, Michael Landes, Tim Blake Nelson, Mark Arnold, Piper Perabo, Harry Ditson, Lance Reddick, Ori Pfeffer, Jasmine Hyde, Ian Porter and Laurel Lefkow. 4/10
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4/10
Fed up with watching an immature Spider-Man. 4/10
15 February 2020
Review: Will they ever get this franchise right? I really wasn't a fan of this film because the whole "teenager on a school trip" concept was ridiculous, and the script was awful. They tried there utmost to make it funny, but it just didn't work, and Tom Holland's constant whining about how much he wanted to be with his school friends, and trying to get the girl, became tedious after a while. I can't believe that Spider-man went through the whole of Infinity War and Endgame, saving the world with the Avengers, and ended up dodging Nick Fury's calls because he wanted to be with his friends. On top of that, the humongous creatures that were attacking Europe weren't enough for the school to cancel the trip, which was totally unrealistic. The major twist in the film was also written badly, which was a shame because I actually liked Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) before he turned dark. On the plus side, I did like seeing the aftermath of Tony Stark death, and how the so-called "blip" affected the world, but with all that in mind, Spider-man still was acting like an immature teenager, even though he was heavily involved in the battle against Thanos. The whole drone concept was also completely ridiculous, and the fact that no one realised that it was all an illusion, blew my mind. Although I found the film disappointing, Tom Holland is a good Spider-man, in terms of his movements and action scenes, but I think it's about time that he took his role as a super-hero seriously. I don't know how close the character is to the comics, so I can't totally blame the director for his vision but I'm really getting fed up with his boyish behaviour, especially after Tony Stark took him under his wing. The action scenes made the film watchable, even though they were extremely far-fetched, and the ending left the franchise open for many possibilities, but I still expected more after Endgame. Disappointing!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Jon Watts, who also brought you Cop Car, starring Kevin Bacon, and Spider-Man: Homecoming, which was also disappointing. He's returning to direct another Spider-Man movie, which is due out in July 2021, after Tom Holland saved the film from cancellation by forcing renegotiations with Sony and Disney. It's the 28th film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and with other movies being released from the MCU franchise beforehand, the plot of the next Spider-Man is unknown. I hope they show a different side to this character because the gullible Spider-Man concept has been done to death.

Budget: $160million Worldwide Gross: $1.13billion

Genre: Action, Adventure. Sci-Fi Cast: Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Tony Revolori, J.K. Simmons, Angourie Rice, Martin Starr, J.B. Smoove, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Cobie Smulders and Numan Acar. 4/10
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8/10
An amazing achievement in cinematic history! 8/10
15 February 2020
Review: After watching Infinity War in the cinema, I was pumped to see Endgame, so I avoided the rumours, even though I knew that the Ant-man's "so-called" time machine would play a big part in the final showdown, and I rushed to the cinema when it was released. I must admit, I did fall asleep through the whole beginning of Endgame because I found it boring, and the constant chatting got on my nerves, so I wasn't really interested in the ending. Now that I have watched it in the comfort of my own home, in other words, I can pause and rewind it when I want, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The beginning was basically the build-up to an epic ending, which was put together extremely well. I couldn't work out how they were going to cover so much ground, especially as there was a lot of characters with there own personal reasons to take down Thanos, but now that I have watched the whole film through properly, I can totally understand why the writers and directors made this 3hr extravaganza the way that they did. There were some sketchy parts in the storyline, like what actually happened to Gomorrah, were the hell was Nick Fury and why didn't they revive Vision, but the epic action scenes towards the end made up for it. The cleverly written script brought humour and intensity to an, somewhat, impossible situation, and the various twists made it a joy to watch. It didn't actually seem like it was 3hours long, which is a good thing, and it was brilliant to see all of the superheroes battling together to the very end. The visual effects were second to none, and the sad ending was unpredictable, but I hope that we will get to see some of the MCU again soon. I know that the die-hard fans were questioning the ending, especially when Captain America gave Falcon the shield, but we are yet to see the true meaning of that decision. Anyway, it's definitely a film that you can watch time and time again, especially back to back with Infinity War, so it has to get the thumbs up from me. Brilliant!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Anthony & Joe Russo, who also brought you Pieces in 1997, Welcome to Collinwood, starring George Clooney and Sam Rockwell, You, Me and Dupree, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. As one of the most expensive movies ever made, with the largest Marvel marketing campaign, Disney knew that they had something special, but I doubt that they ever anticipated it's success. The film received praise for its direction, acting, musical score, action sequences, visual effects, and emotional weight, with critics lauding its culmination of the 22-film story. It grossed nearly $2.8 billion worldwide, surpassing Infinity War's entire theatrical run in just eleven days and breaking numerous box office records, including becoming the highest-grossing film of all time. As they filmed the last 2 movies back to back, I can't see another movie of this magnitude ever being made again, especially with so many A-list stars. In Phase Four we will be seeing the Black Widow in May 2020, the Falcon and the Winter Soldier coming in August 2020, a Loki movie in Spring 2021, Spider-Man 3 in Summer 2021, Hawkeye 2021 and Thor: Love & Thunder coming in the fall of 2021. In Phase Five, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther, Ant-Man, Captain Marvel and Blade will be returning to the big screen, so there is a lot to look forward to. DC better pull there finger out!

Budget: $356million Worldwide Gross: $2.8billion (WOW!)

Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Benedict Cumberbatch, Brie Larson, Tom Holland, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt, Samuel L. Jackson, Karen Gillan, Zoe Saldana, Evangeline Lilly, Tessa Thompson, Rene Russo, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Tom Hiddleston, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Robert Redford, Danai Gurira, Benedict Wong, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Letitia Wright, John Slattery, Tilda Swinton, Jon Favreau, Hayley Atwell, Natalie Portman, Marisa Tomei, Taika Waititi, Angela Bassett, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, William Hurt, Cobie Smulders and Sean Gunn. 8/10
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7/10
Entertaining! 7/10
13 February 2020
Review: After reading a lot of negative comments about this film, I was expecting it to be awful, but I actually enjoyed it. I did find the storyline a bit sketchy, and extremely far-fetched, but as I haven't read the comics, I don't know how accurate the concept was. I enjoyed the banter between Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), but it amazed me how he wasn't shocked about Captain Marvel's powers and the whole "outer space" experience. Like most of the Marvel movies, the visual effects were on point, and the humour in the script made me giggle in parts. The various characters all brought something fresh to the film, like Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) and Yon-Rogg (Jude Law), but I'm used to seeing Law play the goodie and Ben playing the baddie. Goose, the cat, was also a great addition to the cast, along with Maria (Lashana Lynch), who was Carol's best friend, so I'm surprised that there were so many people disappointed with the film. Don't get me wrong, it doesn't touch Infinity War or Ragnarok, but it isn't the worst film in the MCU series. Brie Larson was a decent choice for the film, and after watching the bonus material, she did push herself to the limit, to make her role seem realistic. Samuel L. Jackson actually showed the humorous side of Nick Fury, compared to the secretive commander in the previous movies, so it was good to see why he is the way he is now. Captain Marvel does put the Avengers to shame, in terms of her powers, so I find it puzzling that she hasn't popped up before. Anyway, I found the movie entertaining, but it feels like it came a bit late, in terms of the Avengers storyline. I don't know what is planned for the future for Marvel, but I hope that they involve Captain Marvel because she has a lot to offer. Enjoyable!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. Anna Boden brought you Sugar in 2008, It's Kind of a Funny Story and Mississippi Grind. Ryan Fleck brought you Half Nelson, which I thoroughly enjoyed, Sugar, It's Kind of a Funny Story and Mississippi Grind. For there first major release, it certainly made a hefty profit at the box office, even though it didn't go down to well with critics. Compared to previous comic-book movies, they didn't have a huge budget to play with, but they managed to produce a decent movie, which certainly didn't look cheap.

Budget: $175million Worldwide Gross: $1.13billion

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Cast: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law, Annette Bening, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Clark Gregg, Rune Temte, Matthew Maher and Algenis Perez Soto. 7/10
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4/10
Decent action scenes but poor entertainment! 4/10
12 February 2020
Review: Were do I start with this film! The first major problem is that they chose the most uninteresting character to make a movie about. Don't get me wrong, she does have some amazing powers, and she proved, on many occasions, that she was untouchable, but from an entertainment point of view, the character was dull, with no sense of emotions. On top of that, Sophie Turner's (Jean Grey), acting wasn't that great and the storyline seemed a bit pointless when it got to the end. The evil albino looking Vuk (Jessica Chastain) was a total waste of time, and Jennifer Lawrence's (Raven) brief appearance was badly written. The only saving grace was the other X-Men, especially Michael Fassbender (Magneto), who has been great in all of the movies. Quicksilver (Evan Peters) was also great in his brief appearance, and I liked when they were fighting together on the train, but apart from that, the sketchy script really let the movie down. I got fed up with trying to piece the whole timeline together, in terms of connecting the previous movies because it totally didn't make sense to me. Anyway, it's hard to say anything positive about the film because I was left feeling empty, and pretty disappointed. After the sad departure of Logan, who has been the best thing to come out of this franchise, it's hard to see where they can go with the X-Men, even though they have so many characters. Maybe it's time to put it to bed! Disappointing!

Round-Up: This is the first film directed by Simon Kinberg, which was a big project to take on as his debut. He has written xXx 2: The Next Level in 2005, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, X-Men: The Last Stand, Jumper, Sherlock Holmes, This Means War, X-Men: Days of Future Past, the awful Fantastic Four reboot and X-Men: Apocalypse. With over 50 movies under his belt as a producer, he's obviously got an impressive portfolio, so he should have used this opportunity to make something special. Instead, he produced something that disappointed a lot of moviegoers, especially those die-hard X-Men fans who said it was just an average superhero film, with a lot of missed opportunities. I totally agree!

Budget: $200million Worldwide Gross: $253million

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Cast: Sophie Turner, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Evan Peters, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Jessica Chastain, Scott Shepherd, Ato Essandoh, Brian d'Arcy James, Halston Sage and Lamar John. 4/10
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4/10
Poor script but decent visual effects! 4/10
11 February 2020
Review: Visually, this film wasn't that bad, but the script was awful and the acting didn't suit the concept. The silly jokes got on my nerves after a while, and I got a bit fed up with Chris Hemsworth (Agent H), acting the fool. The fact that Tessa Thompson (Agent M) wasn't shocked about the whole "alien world on earth" concept, made the film extremely far fetched and ridiculous in places. On the plus side, Pawny, voiced by Kumail Nanjiani, made me laugh, and Emma Thompson was great as Agent O but she wasn't in the movie that much. The reason why the first movie worked so well, was because we had the seriousness from Tommy Lee Jones (Kay) and the jokes from Will Smith (Jay), but in this film, the two main characters are spilling out these one-liners that were just not that funny. I didn't hear anything positive about the film, so I wasn't expecting something close to the first movie, but with a great cast, and the fantastic chemistry between Hemsworth and Thompson in Ragnarok, I thought there would have been a couple of memorable moments, which there wasn't. The whole Neeson (Agent High T) concept was predictable, and Rebecca Ferguson was wasted as Riza, so the director and the writers are totally to blame for this failure. In terms of the visual effects, it did look amazing in parts, and I liked the various aliens who made the film watchable, but apart from that, I was left feeling pretty disappointed. Although the movie made a profit at the box office, there aren't any rumours about another MIB movie, so it's obvious that they are listening to the critics, who were also disappointed with the outcome. Disappointing!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by F. Gary Gray, who also brought you Friday, Set It Off, The Negotiator, A Man Apart, The Italian Job, Be Cool, Law Aboding Citizen, Straight Outta Compton and Fast & Furious 8. He's also made various music video's for artist like Cypress Hill, Coolio, TLC, Dr. Dre, R. Kelly and Will Smith, so he has had a versatile career to date. Personally, he wouldn't have been the perfect candidate to direct this film, mainly because he hasn't had any experience in this field, and judging by the outcome, I can't see him returning for a 5th MIB any time soon. I've always wondered what will happen to some of the Avengers cast, once the franchise had come to a halt, and I do worry for Chris Hemsworth, who hasn't shown much range since he departed as Thor. There are rumours of another Thor movie, called Thor: Love & Thunder, which is supposed to be a sequel to Ragnarok, but it's not in development as of yet. Taika Waititi is rumoured to be in the director's chair again, so I'm really looking forward to it, but we have to wait until 2021 if it sees the light of day.

Budget: $110million Worldwide Gross: $254million

Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Rebecca Ferguson, Rafe Spall, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Laurent Bourgeois, Larry Bourgeois, Spencer Wilding, Kayvan Novak, Marcy Harriell and Inny Clemons. 4/10
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4/10
Another bad interpretation of a Japanese classic! 4/10
5 February 2020
Review: Before I start, I have been told that my movies reviews are too long and that I put in too many spoilers, so I am going to stick to my opinions and leave out the deep analysis about the plot. After many years of Godzilla movies, they still haven't been able to get them right, and this movie doesn't help! The lack of character building, and over-exaggerated action scenes, which were hard to watch because of the dark colour palette, made this movie another bad interpretation of Godzilla. The acting wasn't that great, especially from the leading actor, Kyle Chandler (Dr. Mark Russell), who seemed to be over-acting most of the time, and the technical jargon got on my nerves after a while. I know that the storyline was close to the books, but from an entertainment point of view, I thought it was a right mess. None of the characters was interesting, and I'm getting a bit fed up with watching soldiers firing guns at massive monsters, even though they can't harm them. On the plus side, the attention to detail of the monsters was OK, when you were able to see them, but I still think that it was extremely far-fetched and slightly ridiculous in places. I do commend the sound department, who managed to bring some intensity to the film, but they went a bit far with the CGI. In a weird type of way, I thought the whole story about Mothra was sweet, especially when she battled with Godzilla, and the 3-headed titan was a bit nuts, but I just wished that it was shot with a brighter palette, so we could actually see the battle scenes properly. Anyway, it's a watchable movie, but I personally think that it could have been much shorter if they cut out all of the unnecessary technical jargon, and actually gave the characters some depth. Watchable! Please tell me if you prefer my previous movie review template, or if you prefer them with just my opinions!

Round-Up: This movie was written and directed by Michael Dougherty, who also brought you Trick 'r Treat in 2008, and Krampus in 2015. Now, I always feel bad about putting a film down after watching the bonus material on the Blu-ray because you really get to see how far they go to produce a film. In this case, Michael is a true die-hard fan of the Godzilla franchise, so he really wanted to stay true to the books, but as I don't know that much about the Japanese classic, I had to take this film from a standalone point of view. As I wasn't a fan of the previous movies, I didn't have high expectations for this film, so I wasn't that disappointed, but there is obviously a big market for this franchise, judging by the box office takings. If they do decide to make another Godzilla film, I hope it has some decent characters, so they don't have to totally rely on CGI.

Budget: $170million Worldwide Gross: $386million

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi Cast: Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Ken Watanabe, Ziyi Zhang, Bradley Whitford, Sally Hawkins, Charles Dance, Thomas Middleditch, Aisha Hinds, O'Shea Jackson Jr., David Strathaim, Anthony Ramos, Jonathan Howard, CCH Pounder and Joe Morton. 4/10
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Hellboy (2019)
3/10
Can touch Ron Perlman as Hellboy! 3/10
4 February 2020
Review: Whoever did the make-up for this Hellboy should get the sack because he looked more like the zombie version of Michael Jackson in Thriller. On top of that, the storyline wasn't that great, and I missed the screen charisma from Ron Perlman, who was fantastic as the original Hellboy. Although this is a reboot and not the 3rd movie in the franchise, I'm not impressed with the direction that they have taken Hellboy. The brilliant wit, and great characters in the first two movies, made them a joy to watch, but this film was a full-out horror, which was a bad decision in my opinion. I know that the director was trying to stay true to the comic books, but you can't expect the audience to change their perception of Hellboy after watching Guillermo del Toro's interpretation, which went down well at the box office. The annoying soundtrack and over-exaggerated bloody scenes went from bad to worse, and the whole "devil woman taking over the world" theme was a bit ridiculous. There are some decent action scenes, like the fight between the giants and Hellboy, but apart from that, I was pretty disappointed. Anyway, the film kicks off in 517 A.D., where the evil Blood Queen Vivienne Nimue (Milla Jovovich), unleashes a plague on England until King Arthur thwarts her with the aid of Ganeida, a member of her coven. Arthur uses Excalibur to dismember Nimue and hides her remains across England. In present-day Tijuana, Mexico, paranormal investigator Hellboy (David Harbour) accidentally kills missing agent Esteban Ruiz, who has been transformed into a vampire, during a wrestling match. After hearing Ruiz's dying words, prophesying that the end is coming, Hellboy is brought back to the B.P.R.D. in Colorado. He is assigned by B.P.R.D. leader Trevor Bruttenholm (Ian McShane), his adoptive human father, to assist the Osiris Club in hunting three giants in Great Britain. The club's seer, Lady Hatton (Sophie Okonedo), reveals Bruttenholm was meant to kill Hellboy when he came into the human world as a result of the Nazis Project Ragna Rok, but instead raised him. Meanwhile, a pig-like fairy known as Gruagach is advised by the witch Baba Yaga to retrieve Nimue's limbs, so she may grant his wish for revenge against Hellboy. During the hunt, Hellboy is betrayed and nearly killed by the hunters before they are ambushed by the giants. Hellboy fights and kills the giants until he collapses from exhaustion, only to be rescued by a young woman. He awakens in her flat, recognising her as Alice Monaghan (Sasha Lane), a medium he once rescued from fairies as a baby. Sending an SO19 team to retrieve Hellboy, Bruttenholm relays that Nimue's remains have been taken and the last piece is at the Osiris Club. They are introduced to M11 agent Ben Daimio (Daniel Dae Kim), as Hellboy and Alice join the team and head to the club. Finding the club slain, Alice channels Hatton's spirit, who reveals that Nimue seeks Hellboy in order to cause the apocalypse. Nimue's arm is stolen by Gruagach, and Nimue distracts Hellboy by appealing to his frustrations, allowing Gruagach to escape. Hellboy reveals that Gruagach is a changeling who took baby Alice's place before Hellboy branded him with iron and forced him to return Alice, which led to Gruagach hating Hellboy for taking his chance to be human. Daimio takes them to M11 headquarters before secretly acquiring a special bullet to kill Hellboy. After an argument with Bruttenholm about his adoption, Hellboy angrily storms off until he is magically transported to Baba Yaga's house. Having shot out Baba Yaga's eye, Hellboy is talked into giving up one of his eyes for Nimue's location. Hellboy reneges on the deal and is cursed to lose a loved one. On the way to Nimue's location at Pendleton, Diamo reveals to Alice that he was the sole survivor of a demonic jaguar attack. The trio arrives at Nimue's full resurrection, as she kills her coven with the exception of Ganeida, while Hellboy stops her, but is overwhelmed by her powers. Nimue poisons Alice and flees, as Ganeida directs Hellboy to the resting place of Merlin to save Alice. After Merlin cures Alice and puts her and Daimio to sleep, he reveals Hellboy is Anung un Rama, heir of Arthur through his mother, who was spirited to Hell by his father. When offered Excalibur, Hellboy refuses after seeing a vision of himself causing the apocalypse, while Merlin, having exhausted his magic, disintegrates. Meanwhile, Nimue attacks M11 and abducts Bruttenholm as the group follow her to St. Paul's Cathedral. There, Hellboy battles an empowered Gruagach aided by Daimio in his jaguar form. However, Nimue kills Gruagach and propels Hellboy into Arthur's hidden tomb that holds Excalibur. Enraged, Hellboy pulls out the sword after Nimue kills Bruttenholm, allowing demons to emerge from Hell. Will Hellboy turn to the darkside and join forces with Nimue, or will he come to his senses and kill the evil witch? You have to watch the film to find out! As a lot of the plot was taken from the comics, I can't really blame the filmmakers for producing such a poor script, but they really didn't do it any justice. On the plus side, it is non-stop from the beginning to the end, and you will end up seeing it through because you want to know how it all pans out, but once it's all over, I doubt that you will be watching it again. The first two movies had memorable moments, and I have personally watched the first movie many times, but this film was a complete let-down. Disappointing!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Neil Marshall, who also brought you Dog Soldiers in 2002, The Descent, Doomsday, Centurion, a couple of episodes of Game of Thrones and Tales of Halloween. Judging by his previous work, he is obviously known for his horror movies, so it's not surprising that this movie turned out as it did. The previous Hellboy movies have all made a profit at the box office, but this movie failed to make any money, so I can't see there being a sequel, even though the ending was left open. Once Guillermo del Toro and Ron Perlman said that they wouldn't return for the 3rd movie, they should have left this project alone because it was there brilliant vision and great wit that made Hellboy a household name.

Budget: $50million Worldwide Gross: $44.6million (Flop!)

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi Cast: David Harbour, Ian McShane, Mark Stanley, Brian Gleeson, Anna Tabakova, Milla Jovovich, Penelope Mitchell, Mario de la Rosa, Atanas Srebrev, Rick Warden, Nitin Ganatra, Sophie Okonedo, Michael Heath, Alistair Petrie and Thomas Haden Church. 3/10
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3/10
A poor ending to the franchise! 3/10
3 February 2020
Review: I'm glad to hear that Sylvester Stallone (John Rambo), has finally put this franchise to bed because the franchise was drastically going downhill. Personally, I love First Blood but the rest of the films became a joke after a while. This movie doesn't even feel like it should be in the franchise because Rambo is really old and slow, and there is way too much dialogue, compared to the other movies. On top of that, the overdramatic music, terrible action scenes, and stiff acting proved that they should have left this franchise alone after the 3rd movie. There are some emotional scenes, which brought through the intensity element, but I'm not used to seeing Rambo getting his butt kicked. I know that it is set later on in his life and that he is battling with his demons, whilst trying to live humbly with new-found family, but that's why it didn't really seem like a Rambo film. It seemed more like a cheap TV movie, which won't be remembered, so they really should have put it to bed years ago. Anyway, the movie is set eleven years after the events in Burma, where Vietnam War veteran John Rambo lives in Bowie, Arizona in his deceased father's ranch, which he manages with his old friend, Maria Beltran (Adriana Berraza) and her granddaughter, Gabriella (Yvette Monreal). Gabriella reveals to Rambo that a friend of hers, Gizelle (Fenessa Pineda) has found Gabriella's biological father, Miguel, in Mexico. Against Rambo and Maria's wishes, Gabriella secretly drives to Mexico to ask why Miguel had abandoned her years ago. Gizelle leads Gabriella to Miguel's apartment, where he reveals that he never really cared for her, or her mother. Gizelle takes a heartbroken Gabriella to a local club, where Gabriella is drugged and kidnapped by enforcers of a Mexican cartel. Meanwhile, Maria informs Rambo of Gabriella's disappearance in Mexico. Rambo travels to Mexico and interrogates both Miguel and Gizelle about Gabriella's whereabouts. Gizelle reluctantly leads Rambo to the club where Gabriella was last seen and confronts El Flaco, the man who last spoke with Gabriella. A mysterious woman, Carmen Delgado (Paz Vega) tails Rambo as El Flaco leads him to Gabriella's location. Rambo is immediately confronted, beaten, and marked by the cartel, led by brothers Hugo (Sergio Peris-Mancheta) and Victor Martinez (Oscar Jaenada). They take his driver's license, revealing the ranch's location, and a photo of Gabriella, whom Victor recognises. The cartel vow to mistreat Gabriella further due to Rambo's actions. Carmen takes Rambo back to her home where she cares for him until he fully recovers. While Rambo is being cared for by Carmen, Gabriella is stripped and consistently dosed with heroin and sold to be raped repeatedly. Carmen reveals herself to be an independent journalist who has been investigating the Martinez brothers, the kidnappers and murderers of her sister. Rambo later raids one of the brothels, killing several men until he finds a drugged Gabriella. On the way back home, Rambo thanks Gabriella for giving him hope for ten years before she dies from the forced overdose. Enraged, Rambo sends Maria away and rigs the ranch with traps for a confrontation, and later returns to Mexico to ask Carmen's help in finding Victor. Carmen initially refuses, believing that it will solve nothing, but is convinced after Rambo appeals to her grief and frustrations. Rambo raids Victor's home, killing several guards and decapitating Victor. In retaliation, Hugo leads a group of hitmen to Rambo's ranch, where each falls victim to the rigged traps. Will Rambo get vengeance for Gabriella, and kill the evil Hugo? You have to watch the film to find out! As soon as the film started, I knew who was going to live and die, and I knew that Gabriella was going to cause trouble for Rambo. Personally, I can't remember the last decent Sylvester Stallone movie I've seen, so my expectations weren't that high, and it was sad to see Rambo go out like that. Although I grew up with his movies, I can't see a place for Sylvester Stallone movies anymore, which is sad because the Rocky movies, up the 4th, and First Blood are all-time classics. Maybe it's time to call it a day! Anyway, I was really disappointed with this film, and I think that you will find it cheap at your local petrol station soon. Disappointing!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Adrian Grunberg, who also brought you How I Spent My Summer Vacation starring Mel Gibson. I'm surprised that he was chosen to direct the final Rambo because he lacks experience behind the camera. He didn't bring anything new to the project, but I liked the little montage at the end, which went through all of the Rambo movies. You get to see how much Sylvester Stallone has changed over the years, and it did make me want to watch First Blood again, but I won't be giving this movie a second watch.

Budget: $50million Worldwide Gross: $92million

Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Paz Vega, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Adriana Barraza, Yvette Monreal, Joaquin Cosio, Oscar Jaenada, Aaron Cohen and Nick Wittman. 3/10
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Cold Pursuit (2019)
5/10
Another typical Neeson movie! 5/10
2 February 2020
Review: Whenever you see that Liam Neeson is playing the lead in a movie, you know exactly what to expect! You know that your going to get revenge and action, with Neeson kicking butt, and that he will eventually save the day, which is exactly what happens in this movie. The director chose to make a black comedy, which was a weird chose because the subject matter is quite serious. I know that the movie was a remake and that the director wanted to stay true to the original, but I think the mixture of genres didn't work with Neeson in the lead. With all of the controversy surrounding the film, after Neeson spoke out about personal issues that were close to his heart, I was expecting something special, but it turned out to be pretty mediocre. I found the baddie, Trevor "Viking" Calcote (Tom Bateman) annoying, but Laura Dern (Grace Coxman) put in a good performance, even though she wasn't in the film for long. Neeson (Nels Coxman) puts in his usual "action hero" performance, but we get to see another side to his persona when he spent some time with the little boy. Anyway, after snowplough driver, Nels Coxman's has been awarded "Citizen of the Year" by the fictional ski resort of Kehoe, Colorado, his quiet life is disrupted when his son dies from a forced heroin overdose. Nels wife Grace leaves her husband in grief. He is about to commit suicide when he learns that his son was murdered by a Denver drug cartel. He decides to seek vigilante justice, makes a sawed-off rifle, and kills three members of the cartel, dumping their bodies in a nearby river. The cartel's psychopathic leader, drug lord Trevor "Viking" Calcote, first suspects that these deaths are the work of his rival White Bull, a Ute with whom he has so far avoided conflict. Viking has one of Bull's gangsters murdered, not knowing it is White Bull's only son. This drives White Bull to seek "a son for a son", and he orders his men to kidnap Viking's young son. Nels seeks advice from his brother Brock (William Forsyth), once a mob enforcer known as "Wingman", and learns about Viking. Brock tells Nels that killing Viking requires a hired assassin, and he recommends a transplanted African American hitman known as "The Eskimo". The Eskimo agrees to kill Viking for $90,000 but decides he can get another $90,000 from Viking by informing him that "Coxman" has hired him for the hit. Viking doesn't appreciate the Eskimo's "lack of professional ethics" and kills him. He thinks the Eskimo meant Brock Coxman, and he takes Brock for his "last ride". Since Brock is dying of rectal cancer, he claims responsibility for the hits to protect his brother. Viking tries in vain to stop the gang war by using one of his own men as a scapegoat and sends White Bull the man's head. This is insufficient to placate White Bull, who shoots the messenger. Meanwhile, Nels kidnaps Viking's son from his prep school before White Bull's men can, in order to draw Viking into an ambush. Nels treats the boy well and protects him from the violence to come. Nels identity is revealed to Viking by the prep school's janitor. Though promised $10,000 for the tip, he too is killed after his disclosure. Will Nels survive and get revenge from his son? Will Viking get his boy back and kill Nels? Will White Bull get revenge for his son, by killing Viking? You have to watch the film to find out! I didn't really see the point of the cops, who added more confusion to the plot, and I couldn't see why Grace (Laura Dern) was so upset with her husband, but apart from that, I did find the movie to be quite unique. Personally, I wouldn't have chosen Liam Neeson to play the lead because he has done this concept to death, but with that aside, it's still a watchable movie, even though we all know what to expect. Average!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Hans Petter Moland, who also brought you Aberdeen, United We Stand, The Beautiful Country, Pedersen: High School Teacher, A Somewhat Gentle Man, When Bubbles Burst, In Order of Disappearance, A Conspiracy of Faith and Out Stealing Horses. Personally, I haven't heard of any of his previous movies, so I can't say if he is a good director or not. If I was to judge his work by this movie, I would say that he certainly has a warped sense of humour and that I appreciate how hard it must have been to produce because of the horrendous weather. In terms of the plot, he could have taken the easier root, by streaming down the script and the characters, but he chose to ram everything together, which made it feel a bit messy at times.

Budget: $60million Worldwide Gross: $76.5million

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller Cast: Liam Neeson, Laura Dern, Michael Eklund, Bradley Stryker, Wesley MacInnes, Tom Bateman, Domenick Lombardozzi, Jim Shield, Aleks Paunovic, Emmy Rossum, Glenn Ennis, Julia Jones, William Forsythe, Benjamin Hollingsworth and John Doman. 5/10
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Anna (II) (2019)
5/10
Average Nikita type movie! 5/10
1 February 2020
Review: I'm usually a big fan of Luc Besson's work, but this film just seemed like a Nikita, Leon and Lucy mash-up. The action scenes were far-fetched but well choreographed and the storyline had enough twists to keep the audience intrigued throughout, but my main problem was Sasha Luss (Anna), who showed little emotion from the beginning of the film. I know that she went through a lot as a child, and with her boyfriend but I just couldn't warm to her. With other TV series and movies in this genre, like Killing Eve and Leon, the main character is what made them special, but in this film, it's really Helen Mirren (Olga) who completely stole the limelight. Luke Evans (Alex) and Cillian Murphy (Lenny) also put in decent performances, and the cinematography went will with the plot, but I was really disappointed with the ending and I lost sympathy for the main character, after watching her murder everyone that came in her path. Anyway, Anna, a young Russian beauty who has been the victim of domestic abuse, will do anything to escape the life she is trapped in. In a twist of fate, she reluctantly accepts an offer by KGB affixed Alex. After a year of training, which is not shown in the movie, she is to work as a KGB assassin for five years under a handler named Olga, after which she will be free to continue her life as she pleases. KGB head Vassiliev is not willing to honour this agreement, implying that the only way out of the KGB is death. She goes undercover as a fashion model and is hired to work in Paris. At the same time, she completes various missions and assassinations. When she is found out by the CIA, she agrees to work for them as a double agent with Agent Miller as her handler, in exchange for the promise of immediate retirement and protected life in Hawaii. Miller later tasks her with assassinating Vassiliev, with the CIA hoping that his absence would lead to smoother relations with the KGB. Anna kills Vassiliev and fights her way out of the KGB. She later arranges a meet with Alex and Miller, bartering information she stole from the two agencies in exchange for a six-month reprieve. As she is leaving, she is ambushed by Olga and fatally shot for betrayal. But all is not what it seems! There are so many twists in the film, you really don't know what is true or not. The only problem is that the director shows the outcome before you see what really happens, which was a mistake in my opinion. I would have preferred for the outcome to be a surprise, not the plan beforehand. Anyway, it really didn't do that well at the box office, due to a poor advertising campaign and the fact that it wasn't that great, so it has to go down as a bad day at the office for Luc Besson. It's still a watchable film, but once you know the outcome, and the twists throughout, I can't see it being worth a second watch. Average!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Luc Besson, who also brought you The Last Battle in 1983, Subway, The Big Blue, Nikita in 1990, Atlantis, Leon in 1994, The Fifth Element, Joan of Arc, Angel-A, Arthur and the Invisibles, Arthur and the Great Adventure, The Extraordinary Adventured of Adele Blanc-Sec, Arthur 3: The War of the Two Worlds, The Lady, The Family, Lucy and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Although he has produced some great movies, most of them have been flops, which is a shame because he has a unique style of directing and storytelling. As he is highly respected in the movie world, it's not hard for him to get established actors to star in his projects, which he should have done for the lead in this film, but I doubt that the poor box office takings will tarnish his reputation.

Budget: 30million Euro Worldwide Gross: $31million

Genre: Action, Thriller Cast: Sasha Luss, Helen Mirren, Luke Evans, Cillian Murphy, Lera Abova, Alexander Petrov, Anna Krippa, Eric Godon, Ivan Franek, Jean-Baptisite Puech, Adrian Can and Andrew Howard. 5/10
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The Mule (2018)
7/10
A Great Watch! 7/10
31 January 2020
Review: Clint Eastwood's movie's always have a way of drawing the audience into the storyline, and his complex characters and straight forward, but effective directing style, make his films unique and a joy to watch. This film is yet another great achievement by the 89-year-old filmmaker/actor, who puts in a great performance as Earl Stone. Although there are other established actors in the film, it's really Eastwood who brought the intensity and emotion to the screen, and the fact that he also directed and produced the movie, really makes him an extraordinary individual, who gives his all to every project. As I hadn't heard anything about The Mule before I saw it, I was really surprised to see what the concept was actually about, even though I should have worked it out by the title. I was also shocked to hear that it was based on a true story, about a World World II veteran called Leo Sharp, who became a drug courier for the Sinaloa Cartel in his 80's, so Clint Eastwood was the perfect choice for the leading role. Anyway, the film kicks off with Earl Stone in his 80's, who is an award-winning horticulturist and Korean War veteran in Peoria, Illinois. He is facing financial ruin and is estranged from his ex-wife Mary (Dianne Wiest), and his daughter Iris, played by his real-life daughter Alison Eastwood, for always putting work before family. He is still on friendly terms with his granddaughter Ginny (Taissa Farmiga) and attends her wedding rehearsal. Desperate for money, he takes up an offer from the friend of one of Ginny's bridesmaids and becomes a "mule" transporting cocaine through Illinois for a Mexican drug cartel. Facing little suspicion due to his age, race, spotless criminal history, and strict adherence to driving laws, Earl is soon trusted with huge amounts of drugs and is paid large amounts of cash. With the money, he buys a new truck, settles his financial problems, and pays for renovations of the local VFW Post, as well as his granddaughter's wedding and education. He becomes friendly with the cartel members, who call him "Tata" (grandfather). Meanwhile, with details from an informant, a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) task force Is narrowing in on the cartel's deliveries to Chicago. Tensions within the cartel erupt when Gustavo (Clifton Collins Jr.), a power-hungry cartel lieutenant, assassinates cartel boss Laton (Andy Garcia) and subsequently demands Earl be kept under tighter control. In the middle of a $12million cocaine shipment, Earl learns that Mary is gravely ill. After Ginny talks some sense into him, he postpones the drug delivery to make peace with Mary and stays by her side until she dies peacefully days later. After the funeral and after finally reconciling with his family, Earl resumes the delivery as both DEA and the cartel close in on him. The cartel's enforcers catch him and, upon discovering he was away to attend his wife's death and funeral (which they respect), call the cartel leader to request leniency. The cartel underboss allows him to continue, with the instructions that if anything went wrong it would be on the enforcer's head. Next, we see Earl driving with a head injury and blood on his face. As he makes his way towards the drop point, almost resignedly as a helicopter is circling overhead, he slows to a halt to allow the DEA agents to arrest him. In court, disregarding his age as an excuse and guilt-ridden over his crimes and for failing his family, Earl pleads guilty to all charges and is sent to federal prison with his family showing him their support. In prison, he returns to horticulture. It's not everyday that you see Clint Eastwood play a baddie, but I kind off understand why he did what he did. I know that he took it a bit far, in a Robin Hood type of way, but I was glad to see him take his punishment like a man. On the downside, there are a few gaps in the storyline and it seems to jump in a few places, but he did have a lot of ground to cover. In all, I was happy with the film, and I was thoroughly entertained, so it gets a thumbs up from me. Great Watch!

Round-Up: This movie was produced and directed by Clint Eastwood, who also brought you Play Misty For Me in 1971, High Plains Drifter, Breezy, The Eiger Sanction, The Outlaw Jose Wales, The Gauntlet, Bronco Billy, Firefox, Honytonk Man, Sudden Impact, Pale Rider, Heartbreak Ridge, Bird, White Hunter Black Heart, The Rookie, Unforgiven, A Perfect World, The Bridges of Madison County, Absolute Power, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, True Crime, Space Cowboys, Blood Work, Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Flags of Our Fathers, Letter from Iwo Jima, Changeling, Gran Torino, Invictus, Hereafter, J. Edgar, Jersey Boys, American Sniper, Sully and the 15:17 to Paris. He also directed Richard Jewell, which is about an American security guard who saves thousands of lives from an exploding bomb at the 1996 Olympics, but it's yet to be released. Although his movies don't smash the box office, he's still a highly respected actor/director, who doesn't seem to be slowing down, even though he will be 90 this year.

Budget: $50million Worldwide Gross: $175million

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller Cast: Clint Eastwood, Patrick L. Reyes, Cesar De Leon, Gustavo Munoz, Jackie Prucha, Richard Herd, Adam Drescher, Christi McClintock, Keith Flippen, Dianne Wiest, Alison Eastwood, Victor Rasuk, Laurence Fishburne, Bradley Cooper, Michael Pena, Andy Garcia, Clifton Collins Jr. and Noel Gugliemi. 7/10
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Rocketman (I) (2019)
4/10
Expected a deeper insight into Elton John's life! 4/10
30 January 2020
Review: When I heard that they were making an Elton John biopic, I thought that they were going to give the audience a deep insight into his flamboyant life, but we ended up with a weak musical, which didn't really tell us anything new. As soon as the "Guys & Dolls" type musical numbers began, I cringed in disbelief, and the way that the director only touched on the interesting things about his life, was disappointing. As Elton John is still alive, and he was the executive producer of the film, I thought that we were going to get a really deep movie that will make us want to go out and find out more about the musical genius like I did when I first watched the Doors, but I was left feeling empty and uneducated. Also, if I want to hear a classic Elton John song, I wouldn't want to hear a Taron Egerton version, so I found all of the musical numbers a bit pointless. That's not to say that he didn't put in an excellent performance, which he will be remembered for, but I was more interested in the drama than the music. Anyway, the movie kicks off with Elton John (Taron Egerton) dressed in a flamboyant devil's outfit, as he enters an addiction rehabilitation session, recounting his life in a flashback. Young Reginald Dwight grows up in 1950's Britain, raised by his unaffectionate mother, Sheila (Bryce Dallas Howard), and more loving grandmother Ivy (Gemma Jones). Reginald is interested in music and hopes to perform for his father, Stanley (Steven Mackintosh), who takes no interest in his son nor his talent. Reginald begins piano lessons, making his way into the Royal Academy of Music. Stanley abandons his family after Sheila has an affair. Reginald develops an interest in rock music and begins performing in local pubs. As an adult, Reginald joins the band Bluesology, which is hired to play backup for touring American soul bands, The Isley Brothers and Patti LaBelle and the Blue Belles. Isley Brothers lead singer Ronald Isley recommends that Reginald writes songs and puts his old life behind him if he wants to become a famous artist. This inspires Reginald to change his name to Elton John. Elton is the name of the saxophonist of Bluesology and John being adapted from the Beatle's John Lennon. Elton begins writing music and tries finding success with Dick James label, DJM Records under the management of Ray Williams. Williams introduces Elton to lyricist Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell), and they form a friendship and move into a flat together to work on their songs. When Elton admits he is homosexual, he ends his romantic relationship with their landlady, and he and Bernie are evicted. Elton and Bernie move in with Elton's grandmother, his mother and her significant other where they continue writing and create "Your Song". James sets up a performance for them at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. Elton is nervous before his Troubadour debut, but the audience eagerly embraces his performance. Elton is overjoyed by his success but feels abandoned when Bernie leaves him at a party to spend time with a woman. He is approached by John Reid (Richard Madden), a music manager. They sleep together and reunite later. Reid's influence over Elton launches a downward spiral into a life of debauchery even as his career rises to high heights. Elton develops a flamboyant, over-the-top stage persona and becomes one of the most successful artists of the 1970s. Reid's manipulation increases into outright abuse after becoming Elton's manager. Reid insists that Elton come out to his parents as gay, so Elton reconnects with his father, who has a new family but still displays no interest in Elton. Unhappy and hurt, Elton calls his mother and tells her he is gay. She informs him that she already knew, but tells Elton he will be forever unloved. Struggling with parental issues as well as Reid's increasing physical and emotional abuse, Elton becomes addicted to alcohol, cocaine, cannabis, shopping and sex. His mood swings and short temper alienate his friends, and he catches Reid cheating on him with another man and breaks off their relationship. During a party, Elton binges on drugs and alcohol and attempts suicide by jumping into his pool. He is rushed to the hospital, then thrust on stage at Dodger Stadium to perform. Elton descends further into a life of drugs, alcohol and loneliness. He has a short-lived marriage with a close female friend, Renate, but his homosexuality dooms his relationship. He falls out with his mother and Bernie. Elton's dependence on prescription pills and alcohol result in a heart attack. Realising his life is out of control, Elton seeks help. He enters rehabilitation and realises he no longer needs support from his parents or Reid. Elton rekindles his friendship with Bernie, who brings him new lyrics. Elton is worried that he cannot perform or compose without alcohol or drugs but writes "I'm Still Standing" and returns to a successful career. After the success of Bohemian Rhapsody, which was a proper biopic without the pathetic singing and dancing numbers, I thought the director would have taken a leaf out of Bryan Singer's book, but he chose to concentrate on matters that are well known. In terms of entertainment, it wasn't a bad watch because it showed what he was going through whilst releasing some of his most popular work, but I can't help thinking that it was way too safe. Oliver Stone pushed the boundaries with the Doors, even though Jim Morrison isn't alive, so he used his imagination to come up with his interpretation of how Jim was feeling while he was intoxicated on drugs and alcohol. This director didn't even try to show Elton's point of view when he was totally out of it, so I felt a bit cheated. Anyway, it's worth a watch for Taron's performance but I think another director needs to tell Elton's true-life story, from a deeper point of view. Average!

Round-Up: This movie was directed by Dexter Fletcher, who brought you Wild Bill in 2011, Sunshine on Leith and Eddie the Eagle, which also starred Taron Egerton. He's due to direct the next Sherlock Holmes movie, taking over from Guy Ritchie, which I personally don't think is a good idea. I haven't been that impressed with his movies so far, so he wouldn't have been my first choice to make a biopic about such an iconic genius. He's not totally to blame for this film because Elton John didn't want a "full-out" biopic about his life. He wanted people to see a lighter version of his life story, so I can't wait to see a deeper version. As long as Dexter Fletcher doesn't return as the director.

Budget: $40million Worldwide Gross: $195million

Genre: Biography, Drama, Music, Musical Cast: Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden, Bryce Dallas Howard, Gemma Jones, Steven Mackintosh, Tom Bennett, Charlie Rowe, Tate Donovan, Harriet Walter and Stephen Graham. 4/10
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Ad Astra (2019)
5/10
Worth a one-watch! 5/10
29 January 2020
Review: I didn't have high hopes for this movie because I hadn't heard anything good about it, but it actually turned out to be OK. Don't get me wrong, the whole dark and moody tone, which doesn't change through the whole film, did get to me after a while but the various twists made it watchable. Brad Pitt played Roy McBride well, even though his persona is extremely downbeat, and he was able to draw you in, through emotions more than words. The huge sets were put together well, and it really looked like Roy McBride was in space but you have to be in the right mood to watch it. There are some intense scenes, like when Roy meets his father H. Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones), and when they were being chased by bandits, but I still struggled to keep my eyes open in parts. Anyway, in the near future, the Solar System is struck by mysterious power surges, threatening all human life. After nearly dying from an incident caused by a surge, Major Roy McBride, is informed by U.S. Space Command (SpaceCom) that the surges have been traced to the "Lime Project", created 29 years earlier to search the limits of the Solar System for intelligent life, under Clifford's leadership, from which nothing has been heard for 16 years after reaching Neptune. Told that Clifford may still be alive, Roy accepts a mission to travel to Mars to try to establish communication with him, joined by his father's old associate Colonel Pruitt (Donald Sutherland). Roy, famed among his fellow astronauts for keeping calm under pressure, shows little emotional reaction to the news that his father may be alive. After taking a commercial flight to the Moon, Roy and Pruitt are escorted by US military personnel to the SpaceCom base, located in a disputed war zone on the far side of the moon. En route in lunar rovers, they are ambushed by scavenging pirates, who kill their entire escort and severely wound Pruitt. Upon arrival at the base, a dying Pruitt is placed into intensive care. Roy transfers to the ship Cepheus, bound for Mars. The ship receives a distress signal from a Norwegian biomedical research space station. Captain Tanner has the Cepheus stop to investigate despite Roy's protests, and Roy and Tanner make their way to the station. It appears abandoned and the two split up, but Roy soon discovers an escaped baboon test subject feeding on Tanner, who is severely injured. It attacks Roy when it notices his presence, but he manages to kill it along with another escaped baboon that attacks him shortly thereafter. Despite Roy's attempts to save him, Tanner dies from his injuries, and a brief service is held where Tanner's body is ejected into space. Again, Roy shows little reaction to Tanner's death, but in a psychological evaluation, he admits that he experiences rage and recalls his father expressing his own rage. Another surge hits as the Cepheus lands on Mars, requiring manual piloting to complete the landing. The interim captain freezes in fear, while Roy using his vast experience as a space pilot remains calm and takes command of the ship, landing it safely. Roy is led to the underground SpaceCom base, where he meets facility director Helen Lantos (Ruth Negga) and is tasked with recording voice messages to send to the Lima Project in hopes that Clifford will respond. Roy goes off-script with an emotional appeal to his father and is abruptly removed from the mission on the grounds of his personal connection posing a risk to himself and the mission's success. From the reaction of the observation team to his emotional recording, he assumes correctly that immediate response from his father had been received and demands to hear it. After being sent to the "comfort room", he is visited by Lantos, who reveals that she was born on Mars and was the daughter of Lima Project crew members. She shows Roy classified footage revealing that Clifford's crew had mutinied and tried to return to Earth, causing him to turn off their life-support systems, and her parents were among those killed by Clifford. She tells Roy that the crew that brought him to Mars is leaving on the Cepheus to destroy the Lima project station with a nuclear payload. The two decide that Roy should confront Clifford himself, and Helen leads Roy to an underground lake beneath the rocket launch site. Roy clandestinely climbs aboard as the rocket takes off and is subsequently discovered by the crew, who are instructed to neutralise him. The entire crew is inadvertently killed in the ensuing confrontation. During the long journey to Neptune, a solitary Roy reflects on his relationships with his father and Eve (Liv Tyler), his estranged wife. The isolation and stress of the mission take a mental toll, but after a couple of months, he arrives at the Lima Project. While approaching the station in a shuttle attached to the Cepheus, the shuttle is damaged in a collision with objects in Neptune's rings and from another surge, preventing it from docking with the station. Roy enters the station via a space-walk while the shuttle drifts away. Will Roy finally unite with his Father and get a full explanation about his intentions? You have to watch the film to see the outcome if you haven't already! Personally, I wouldn't watch the movie twice because I was left feeling glum and depressed by the end of it. There are many hidden messages which people can relate to, and there are some emotional moments that are pretty deep but I just found it hard to "stay in the moment". It was a great achievement by the director, in terms of the look and performances but it needed some upbeat moments to make it a unique piece. Average!

Round-Up: This movie was written and directed by James Gray, who also brought you Little Odessa in 1994, The Yards, We Own The Night, Two Lovers, The Immigrant and the Lost City of Z which starred Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller and Tom Holland. He hasn't become a household name as of yet, and this movie won't push him up the scale, but I don't think that he was looking to produce a blockbuster because this project was close to his heart. He had a personal connection to the storyline, after losing a family member, so I think that he was mostly concerned about getting the "father/son" message across, in an emotional way. I'm glad that he didn't smother the script with loads of technical jargon, and I was impressed with the attention to detail, so it wasn't a total let down.

Budget: $87.5million Worldwide Gross: $133million

Genre: Adventure, Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller Cast: Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga, Donald Sutherland, Kimberly Elise, Loren Dean, Donnie Keshawarz, Sean Blakemore, Bobby Nish, LisaGay Hamilton, John Finn, John Ortiz and Liv Tyler. 5/10
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