Showing posts from January 28, 2018

Review: Escape From the Planet of the Apes

A spacecraft lands off the coast of California. It’s Col. Taylor’s spaceship, but when opened it’s not Taylor who emerges but three chimpanzees! It’s Dr. Zira (Kim Hunter) and Dr. Cornelius (Roddy McDowell), and their colleague Dr. Milo (Sal Mineo, in his final role). Having boarded the craft just before Taylor blew the planet up in 3955, they have travelled from Earth’s future back to the year 1973 (treated here as present day, of course). Humankind is obviously befuddled, shocked, and more than a little bit alarmed. And that’s before they hear Dr. Zira talk! Whilst Zira and Cornelius fast become curious celebrities, Dr. Otto Hasslein (Eric Braeden), scientific advisor to the President of the U.S. (William Windom) thinks there’s cause for alarm about these new visitors and the fate of humanity they speak of from the future. He’s even more adamant about it once he finds out something surprising about Dr. Zira’s health. Ricardo Montalban plays Armando, a benevolent circus owner, Bra

Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

A wizard named Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) travels to the U.S. in 1926 in order to research all of the magical creatures indigenous to America. After a mishap with one of the magical creatures residing in his suitcase getting loose, Scamander unintentionally allows a muggle (called a ‘no-mag’ in America) to witness the magical creature, an aspiring baker named Jacob (Dan Fogler). Worse, the two men mix suitcases, and Jacob inadvertently lets some of Scamander’s creatures loose. Scamander is eventually grabbed by Tina (Katherine Waterston) an agent Magical Congress of the United States of America, who brings Scamander in to her office for illegal importation of magical creatures. Meanwhile, a Senator is killed by what is believed to be some kind of magical entity. Scamander’s creatures are an obvious target by authorities, but he’s convinced a different, darker magical force is responsible. Colin Farrell plays Percival Graves, Tina’s superior at the Magical Congress, Alison Sudo

Review: The Edge of Seventeen

Hailee Steinfeld is 17 year-old Nadine, who has had to contend with the passing of her father, and the preference of her working mother (Kyra Sedgwick) for her older and more popular brother Darian (Blake Jenner) over her. She forms a tight friendship with Krista (Haley Lu Richardson), but Nadine cuts her off when she learns that Krista is hooking up with Darian. Nadine’s kind of a pain in the arse. Woody Harrelson plays ‘cool’ teacher Mr. Bruner, who meets Nadine’s frequent rants and occasional proclamations of (clearly not seriously intended) suicide with the sarcasm and comedic disinterest that such self-absorbed histrionics deserve. A lot of people seemed to like this 2017 coming-of-age flick from writer-director Kelly Fremon Craig. However, a lot of people liked “Juno” and “Easy A” , and this for me plays like my own personal hell: A combination of “Juno” and “Easy A” . I very much did not take to this film, ladies and gents. I didn’t take to it at all. I knew th

Review: Hidden Figures

A slightly loose retelling of the true story of the United States’ race to put a man in outer space before Russia does. More specifically it tells the story of NASA’s ‘computers’, humans with tremendous mathematical brains, and particularly the African-American trio of brainy Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), the smart-mouthed Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae), and Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer). At this point in time, NASA was very, very white, and mostly male-employed. Whilst Jackson strives to become the first African-American engineer at NASA but apparently doesn’t have the right skin colour, Vaughan’s aspirations of becoming a supervisor for the ‘computers’ is met with not much enthusiasm by humourless supervisor Vivian Michael (Kirsten Dunst), whose refusal to be blatantly blurt out her prejudices ain’t fooling anyone. Most prominently featured is widowed mother Katherine Johnson, who is plucked from the ‘computer’ group to work for humourless but fair Al Harrison (Kevin Co

Review: Patriots Day

A filmed and slightly fictionalised dramatisation of the 2013 bombing during the Boston marathon, Mark Wahlberg plays a Boston cop (not based on any one real-life character) in the thick of the action, whilst his wife (a typecast and underused Michelle Monaghan) worries at home. John Goodman, Kevin Bacon, and J.K. Simmons play the various law enforcers involved, whilst the two bombers (who I won’t give them credit/attention by naming) are also showing preparing for, carrying out, and fleeing from their misdeeds. With the real-life incident still fresh in most peoples’ minds, this 2016 re-enactment from director Peter Berg ( “Very Bad Things” , “Friday Night Lights” ) and his co-writers Matt Cook (the dreary corrupt cop flick “Triple 9” ) and Joshua Zetumer (the so-so remake of “RoboCop” ) needed to make sure nothing failed to convince here. Aside from one moment late in proceedings, one and all have definitely done their jobs here with this really fine film. It’s amazing that

Review: Stardust

Beginning in the mundane village of Wall, near the magical kingdom of Stormhold (a wall separates the two and it is forbidden to climb said wall), young Charlie Cox wants to marry pretty Sienna Miller but she has promised herself to another. She strikes a bargain with him, though. If he can find a shooting star that has fallen to Earth, she’ll drop the plank of wood and choose Cox. Unfortunately, the fallen star proves to be...well, Claire Danes, and she’s none too happy about her descent. But Cox will find her a way home, if only she’ll agree to be taken to Miller first. Throw in a nasty witch (Michelle Pfeiffer) who wants her claws on Danes to gain eternal life, the bickering heirs (Rupert Everett, Jason Flemyng, and Mark Strong) to the throne of Stormhold (if one of them catches the star, they will take the throne), and a cross-dressing pirate Cox meets named Captain Shakespeare (Robert De Niro!), and you’ve got the bare bones of a potentially fun, humorous fantasy flick. Peter