DC finally get it right, oh so very right!


Aquaman splashed onto our screens a while back, but I have just had the chance to go see it myself…and I am glad I did.

DC has struggled recently. Batman vs Superman was laughable in places, Wonder Woman was a shining light, Justice League was shite. So how was Jason Momoa going to fare in his second outing as the land-dwelling, water-dipping, ripped-torso’d Arthur.

Well I am pleased to say that this film is absolutely everything I wanted it to be. Big, bold and beautiful. You have Momoa glistening and smouldering in equal measures, Amber Heard channelling her inner-Ariel, and Patrick Wilson Conjuring up a tidal wave of hatred…see what I did there?

The film had everything, enough back-story that it didnt feel drawn out, some phenomenal set pieces, and plenty of Screen X footage to make that extra £3 worth every single penny.

Willem Dafoe, Dolph Lundgren and Nicole Kidman are thrown into the mix too to bring everything together wonderfully…even if I was expecting Nicole Kidman to be named “Martha”….

If you haven’t seen this film yet, get yourself to the cinema. IMAX, Screen X, whatever you need to see it in…it’s well worth the effort and hopefully you won’t be disappointed either.

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Welcome To Marwen

Steve Carell goes serious (kinda!)

Welcome to the wonderful world of Marwen, a doll town set up in the back garden of Mark Hogencamp (Carell), a man who was horrifically beaten by a group of men for being different. He was beaten that bad, that he lost all memory of everything from before that night.

Based on a true story, I am not entirely sure how much realism is lent to the story of the troubled soul that is Mark Hogencamp. The true story goes that Mark used to be an illustrator, but the only way to get his art across when he couldn’t draw anymore was to turn his hand to photography, using dolls and his World War 2 minature backdrop. And this is where Director Robert Zemeckis takes the biggest leap. We get to see the dolls like they were real life action heroes. We see motion-captured versions of Steve Carell’s Mark (known as Cap’n Hogie) and all of his Marwen’s girls.

Its a very difficult film to explain. It’s ultimately Steve Carell playing with dolls, which come to life and the lives of the dolls mirror that of Mark and his surroundings, expanding on the real life world to show emotions and story between the lines of what we are shown.

Just go watch it…I loved it. There’s some nice little nods to Back To The Future in there too, which is always more than welcome!

Overall : 7/10

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The Favourite

Fresh out of last night’s Golden Globes and a win for Olivia Colman in the “Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical Or Comedy” category (catch that ain’t it?), I went to see The Favourite in the cinema this evening.
Now…I haven’t really followed anything much about this film from the off, so I was going into it fairly blind and fresh…which I think was absolutely the best way to approach what can only be described as a strange film.
First and foremost, Olivia Colman absolutely deserved to pick up the Globe for Best Performance in…(see above). She has been one of my favourite actresses for a while, having never actually seen her in that much. From Broadchurch to Murder on the Orient Express, we find Colman here as Queen Anne, a frail and gravely ill queen in 18th century England, a time when the country was at war with France and political interest was high.
In her frailty, Anne’s friend and lover Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) governs the kingdom when she cannot. But when new servant Abigail (Emma Stone) comes onto the scene, and threatens to steal the attention of the Queen, a game of one-up-manship begins between the two suitors.
Having gone into this fairly blind and not knowing what to expect, the style of the film instantly grabbed my attention. From sweeping camera shots, to a wicked sense of humour which is often funny and sometimes tragic, there’s a real sense of unease about the whole production.
The casting is spot on, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz are believable yet daunting as the ones aiming for the Queen’s affections.
There’s a big sense of realism about the film with the location shooting, adding a proper sense of prestige to the proceedings. You genuinely believe you are seeing a gout-ridden Queen laid on a bed surrounded by gold and elaborate wall tapestries and suchlike.
At the same time however, I found myself unsure whether I was watching something brilliant or massively flawed. There’s a very fine line and I feel some will walk out of it utterly repulsed at wasting 2 hours of their life, where others will come out singing it’s praises.
I really enjoyed it, but it’s not without it’s flaws, which are just too much to lurch this into true Oscar territory for me.
Some great performances, and a half-decent story, but ultimately let down by some of the shooting style and storytelling.
Overall – 6/10
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Bumblebee – Film #110

Transforming greatness, or buzz off?


The Transformers films have been a bit of a guilty pleasure since they first launched in 2007 (yeah I know there was previous OLD films but I wasn’t a massive fan of the cartoon).

Dumb action, massive robots fighting on earth…what’s not to like. They also always included some of the best special effects around…the amount of work it must take to get all the moving parts into position is crazy!

So here’s the first Transformers Origin story, starring the real hero of all the films…Bumblebee.

As the one who can’t talk who communicates only using music and speech from the radio, Bumblebee was always going to be a fun character to visit and here’s where it culminates. Early doors we are shocked to hear Bumblebee’s ACTUAL VOICE…before he suffers in battle and loses that as well as his memories.

He crashes on earth and transforms into a VW Beetle before eventually being found by 18 year old Charlie played by Hailee Steinfeld. She fixes him up and befriends him, whilst the military and some Decepticon bounty hunters come looking for him in order to find out where Optimus Prime is heading.

This film is really well done. The way that portions of the film are filmed with Bumblebee not being able to communicate other than using physical movement is brilliant as you can still fully read his emotions. It also explores enough of the relationship between girl and car to make it believable.

John Cena is basically playing John Cena….so he is more than acceptable here without having to stretch himself too much. He will never make it as big as The Rock but he is alright trying.

Its a great addition into the series and one of the better films amongst some duds.


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Mary Poppins Returns – Film #109

Practically Perfect in every way, or a nanny too far?


Mary Poppins is back. The classic from 1964 has been watched time and time again by this film fan and the songs are as much in my musical vocabulary as many of my other favourite songs.

So when I heard that there was a new Poppins film coming out, the worry was real. How could they take one of the most beloved childrens films ever and remake it? Well thankfully they didn’t do a remake…they made a sequel with Emily Blunt stepping into the role of the magical nanny.

Faith was restored…but I couldn’t help stepping into the cinema on Sunday with trepidation. Was the ethos of everything Poppins about to be ruined.

This film is pure magic!

What they have done is taken characters that we all know and love and moved them forward a few years. Jane and Michael are grown up. Michael has three kids and a dead wife. He’s struggling to make ends meet and is about to lose the Banks house that everyone in the family grew up in. And in comes Mary Poppins to help out in the way that she can do best, by whisking the kids away on a fantastical adventure of wonder whilst teaching them life lessons along the way.

I found myself smiling almost immediately as the film started and the only time I wasn’t smiling was when I was crying. Yeah I cried at Mary Poppins Returns. It’s sentimental and lovely all at the same time. There’s some amazing cameos too, which are just phenomenal to see.

Then there’s the songs…done so well and fitting into the Mary Poppins world perfectly. There was only one song I wasn’t a massive fan of where Mary went all Cockney, but the story of the song was very fitting…it just felt a little strange to have Mary acting like a cross between a Pearly Queen and Catherine Zeta-Jones in Chicago.

Lin-Manuel Miranda was fantastic as Jack, the lamplighter, effectively taking up the Bert role from the original. His story is that he was actually an apprentice of Bert when he was younger.

I keep using the word magical but there’s really no other way to describe this.


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It’s a Wonderful Life – Film #108

Angel wings or olden days nonsense?


This film is now 72 years old. I am 37 years old. This film is almost twice as old as I am….and this is the first time I have ever watched this absolute delight!

I don’t need to tell you all what its about or what happens, most of you know this already…in fact I knew bits and I kinda already knew the ending…but wow….let me confess this now…there were tears of joy at the end.

James Stewart is absolute perfection on screen. His voice, his look, his overall presence was just something magical and appealing, even when he’s being a bit of a dick at times…there’s certainly a few things through the film that make you think he isn’t worth saving, but hey, it’s Christmas!

This is easily in my top 5 Christmas films of all time…I am just annoyed that it’s taken this long to finally enjoy it.


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Stan and Ollie – Film #107

Comedy Gold, or another fine mess?


Laurel and Hardy are before my time…long before my time, and unfortunately I have never actually watched anything that they have done on film.

So I wasn’t sure what to expect going into it.

Steve Coogan and John C Reilly are the main men and really look and act the part. From the bits I have seen, they absolutely nail them both.

The problem I have with the film is that the film itself just isn’t that great.

It starts with the comedy duo in their prime, but swiftly jumps forward 16 years to them embarking upon their final tour, a tour of the UK starting in Newcastle then working its way across the country. They have only just got back together after a rift and there’s tension between the two of them, but hey, the show must go on yeah?

And on it does go.

I felt like we’re not seeing enough of what Laurel and Hardy were all about. We are watching the demise of one of the greatest comedy acts ever…and it all feels like I am very much late to a party that’s being thrown for someone else.

But, the highlights for me were high indeed. You have Coogan and Reilly absolutely on point and in their elements. They perform famous routines amazingly…and as someone who was seeing the Double Door act and the Hospital Bed act for the very first time, I genuinely found it funny…it just wasn’t enough for me.


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