This is the post excerpt.
Hi, if you haven’t found me from my FaceBook page then I’d like to tell you a little about me and my blog.
I am a retired male living in the UK, with time to spare and a love of cinema.
Recently I started to post short reviews of what I had just seen at the cinema on my FB page and received favourable feedback from my friends. I got a bit carried away so after posting some 40 reviews my page was getting over stuffed, resulting in my other posts disappearing. I have now decided to move these reports to my own dedicated blog.
My idea is simply
- To say what I thought of the film without giving anything away about the story that is not in the trailer already.
- To do so in under 100 words.
I pay for my own tickets and get nothing from anybody except, I hope, your approval.
I also welcome your views on both my posts and your opinions about the same films/movies.
I use a 1 to 5 grade at the end of each review.
1 = Well that was two hours of my life wasted.
2 = Fine for a wet Sunday afternoon on TV with nothing better to do.
3 = A good story worth the price of admission.
4 = A very good example of the genre and not to be missed if this is your type of story.
5 = Even if you would not normally go to a film like this, I think it is too good to miss.
My thanks to IMDB.com for the poster images and where you can find trailers for all the reviewed movies.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and I look forward to reading your feedback.
This is a beautiful little film about how and why our most cherished author, Charles Dickens, came to write A Christmas Carol.
The cast consists of a large ensemble of top British acting talents. The script is sharp, humorous without descending into farce and very entertaining.
It does not take a straight biographical narrative but turns the story into an allegory, in the style of Dickens himself.
The fearful side of early 19th century London life is well represented, while at the same time; the viewers’ sympathetic and nostalgic emotions are gently stirred to a crescendo at the climax of the story.
I predict this film will become a staple television entertainment of Christmases yet to come, just as the Christmas Carol itself has.
First class family entertainment so 5 stars out of five for this seasonal treat.
At its heart, Battle of the Sexes is the story of a publicity stunt that went hideously wrong for its sponsor and in doing so caused a revolution in the world of women’s sport.
In 1973, Bobby Riggs, a former champion tennis player and world-class chauvinist, made a public claim that no woman pro-tennis player could beat any male pro-player.
What develops from this statement by an uncomfortably horrible braggart leads to a match between himself and Miss Billie Jean King.
Ms King was already established in the world of women’s tennis and leading their struggle for equal pay.
What follows is a portrait of institutional sexism at its most patronising insidiousness.
This story is not however crying into its hands.
Humour balances pathos and excitement balances emotion to give a well-rounded story that will educate and delight in equal measure.
Emma Stone portrayal of Billie Jean King is very believable.
Comedic actor Steve Carell gives a very controlled, reined in performance of an overconfident, addictive character as Bobby Riggs, good enough for possible award consideration.
He makes you laugh, loathe and pity this sad man, who is so wrapped up in his past glories, allowing his boasting lead him to an inevitable downfall.
As a sports movie, this is one of the very best I have ever seen.
A sporting 4 out of five stars for this biopic.
Yet another superhero movie, Justice League, hit our cinema this weekend. It follows the standard format of the undefeatable villain of the week threatens the world only to be defeated by one or more heroes. There are all the CGI bangs and whistles to draw in the massive following these films attract and produce huge fortunes for the studios.
Sadly this is not one of the best by quite a margin.
There is too much squeezed into the story.
There are three new characters being introduced into the franchise. They may be long established in comic book lore but they each get the ‘origin story’ treatment, which slows the narrative to a crawl for the first half of the film.
Having done this, these characters are relegated to supporting roles for the more famous and already successful heroes.
The climax of the film is a fairly standard mass destruction of property, with the villain finally but inevitably defeated.
If this genre of film is your thing then this is a definite 2nd choice compared to Thor: Ragnorok, which is still running in cinemas.
I give this a ‘must try harder’ 2 stars out of five.
Since 1974 there has been at least five major productions of Murder on the Orient Express, so how do the makers keep the latest incarnation fresh and appealing?
Well they have done a number of things, first and foremost, put a great director in the chair with a great actor in the lead. In this case both are the same person, Kenneth Branagh, who dominates this film with a far richer, multi faceted Poirot than any I have seen on screen, big or small. His Hercule Poirot is an eccentric, sentimental, razor sharp detective. He also gives time to generating an in-depth portrait of why Poirot is the self proclaimed ‘Great Detective’ By doing this, new audiences will have some understanding of Agatha Christies hero.
The second step is to populate the Orient Express with a full cast of A-list actors. All deliver first class performances, including the younger stars who really impress next to their noble elders.
Third, you create an atmosphere of claustrophobia mystery and fear. This is achieved by making the sets so tight that, for several scenes, the only place to put the camera is in the ceiling.
Finally, you place the train in a totally realistic setting, both historically (by referencing actual events with just the names changed) and visually (with restrained by convincing use of CGI to convince you they are in the mountains).
I think we are guaranteed another outing for the ‘Great Detective’ fairly soon.
I left the cinema feeling very satisfied by a great story well told.
The full 5 out of five stars for Mr Branagh and company.
The latest offering from the Marvel universe, Thor Ragnarok, sees the return of Thor, as brought to life by Chris Hemsworth.
Aimed at the 12-year-old audience, the violence is almost bloodless and profanities are kept to the mild end of the spectrum. Layered on top of this is a plethora of adult targeted jokes and characterisations that should keep most grownups laughing.
In this story Thor faces two different baddies. The first is Cate Blanchett as Thor’s very bad, big sister Hela. The second is Jeff Goldblum as possibly the funniest and campest dictator in cinema history.
I felt rather sorry for Ms Blanchett, great actor as she is, because Goldblum dominates the story with a far richer and funnier part.
The action sequences are very impressive as is normal now, but for once, the script is equally good, blending the various story lines smoothly, while keeping the plot moving and maintaining the very funny humour.
I laughed out loud frequently and left the cinema feeling refreshed and happy.
I can’t expect much more than that from any film.
The result is therefore 5 out of five stars for this outstanding superhero tale.
The Death of Stalin has bee created by Armando Iannucci and David Schneider. You can expect the foul language and biting dark humour of Iannucci’s various television projects for which he is famous.
A large cast of recognisable actors inhabit the characters at the top of Russians political and military hierarchy. These include Jason Isaacs, Andrea Riseborough, Steve Buscemi, Jeffrey Tambour, Michael Palin and Paul Whitehouse.
The events before and after the death of Stalin are treated as a pantomime of opposing ambitions, jealousy and incompetence. However, custard pies are replaced by copious numbers of executions. Running in parallel are stories of families torn open by divisions, massacres and exploitation.
On top of this is the paranoid fear of Stalin that is ingrained into the population, from politicians to musicians and housekeepers who looked after him. This is made believable by not making the actors adopt stereotypical Russian accents. Their natural voices are used to great effect to portray the mix of regions they came from within Russia. It also makes the cacophony of arguing voices easier to follow.
In our age of less than conventional politicians, it is only too easy to suspect the events as shown in this film, may be underplaying the reality of what really happened when Stalin died.
This is a well made political satire. Four out of five stars awarded.
This autumn sees the welcome return of the Spiegeltent, venue for GSC’s new production of The Legend of King Arthur.
This brand new play has been written by Caroline Devlin, who has given us a delightful, action packed, humorous and family friendly tale, just right for this time of year.
More than that, she has produced a script befitting the multitalented company, taking and using recognisably Shakespearean plot devises to great effect.
We have the Fool as narrator, babies separated at birth, family treachery, songs, and so forth.
For children, it is a great introduction to the wider world of live drama.
The players are very few in number but, by incredible costume and lighting changes, plus our willing suspension logic, the stage is filled with a massive menage of characters.
A young girl changes to aged monk to soldier in moments and we applaud in delight.
The founders of GSC, Sarah Gobran and Matt Pinches, can be very proud of what they have achieved yet again.
I fully recommend this delightful play to anybody who can get to Guildford before it ends on 5th November.
Truly a 5 star production.