Atomic Blonde ***

A film for adults during the school holidays is always welcome and this one does not by-and-large disappoint.

A spy thriller set at the end of the cold war makes a rich environment for fast paced violent action, peppered with some bare flesh and ‘adult cuddles’ that will sit well with Bond fans. Atomic Blonde There are also enough twists and turns in the plot to keep Le Carré readers happy.

But that is also where the problem lays.

The first hour and thirty minutes give a really good film worth 4 stars if not five.

However, as we reach the climax, it all gets so confusing.

I lost the plot completely.  Call me Confused of Guildford.

It must have taken me a good couple of hours of replaying the scenes in my head to work out who was as the good, the bad and the ugly.  I think I understand now, but I could still be wrong.

If you do see this film, I suspect you may get the ending far sooner than your humble writer.

For that reason alone I give this film 3 out of five stars.


Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets ****

This is a grand scale Sci-Fi movie based on the French graphic novels “Valerian and Laureline“ and it reflects its origins very well.

The reviews for this film in the USA have not done it justice. However that is not surprising. With no American accents or big names and a complex, somewhat anti establishment story, it was probably too complex.

For a European audience, steeped in literature and especially rich Sci-Fi story telling, this is a very satisfying tale of high jinx and treachery.

It is not perfect by any means.

The Gallic humour is almost completely lost, with most of the humour coming from the comic appearance of most of the alien races (Is this racist if the race is imaginary?).

The two leading actors are somewhat young in appearance for the roles, as I had imagined them. Even so, they give lively and compelling performances.

The love story between them is a slow burn rather than hot affair, but doesn’t it make a nice change from having the characters immediately falling in love as in most films.

So I would recommend this for anybody who loves Science Fiction, enjoys complex story lines and interesting ideas. I award it 4 out of five stars.


Spider-Man:Home Coming ***

Spider-Man has a long cinema history as well as TV and comics so the basic premise of the character is well known to many, including Homer Simpsons Spider-Pig song.

This time, with a new actor in the title role, the makers have avoided the temptation to just remake the origin story and give us a new web of intrigue.

Sadly they have still used one aspect of the earlier films concerning the secret identity of the villain.

So I have to say this is just another run of the mill superhero tale from the Marvel Studios.


The special effects are spectacular as in all these genre of films with nothing really new.   The plot is predicta

ble and characterisations two-dimensional. There is some humour, mainly sardonic and weak.

However, if I were a pre-teen child seeing their first Spider-Man film, I would be over the moon with excitement at the antics of their hero.

Thankfully they are the target audience for this film and not grumpy old film nuts like me. It will be a great hit because of that.

So its 3 stars out of five for adult audiences and 5 Stars for their children.


Dunkirk *****

Dunkirk will surely stand alongside other legendary British War Films such as The Longest Day, The Dam Busters and Battle of Britain in years to come.

The form used by the director is to tell the story by using a small number of separate stories, intertwined and intercut with each other. This allows the viewer to see the grand overview and the personal sacrifices without losing either in detail.

The cast comes from a wide range of talents, with well-known actors at the height of their powers to newcomers who by-and-large play the ordinary soldiers caught up in history.


It was quite apparent that a large proportion of the audience had simply come to see Harry Styles in his first acting role.  He did a good job but more importantly, he brought in a young audience who were then exposed to a great lesson in our history.

This film was shot in both normal 65mm format and also 70mm IMAX.

This is one occasion I hope to see this film again at an IMAX cinema as I suspect our aging Guildford Odeon did not do it full justice.  (Odeon Wimbledon or Kingston are shown on the Odeon website).

The full 5 out of five stars for this Tour de Force of a film.

Despicable Me 3

Despicable Me 3The makers of the Minions franchise are to be congratulated on the forth film which has maintained the incredible standards set in the earlier films.

The now familiar Gru household faces a number of domestic and financial changes that drive the various plots with speed, excitement and great humour

The inevitable fart jokes are still funny and the ‘for the parents’ jokes are subtle and witty.

Plenty of fun for the whole family.

I rather hope the series is rested now for a few years to give room for growth and reinvigoration of the series. It would be fascinating to see the cute little girls as rebellious teenagers and Gru’s reaction.

I therefore award it a very well earned 4 stars out of five

Baby Driver *****

Sometimes the experience of sitting in a cinema can make you feel really old.  Today I was is a near capacity audience and I think if you took the combined age of any three, I would still have been older.

This is because Baby Driver is squarely aimed at the current Grand Theft Auto generation.  For these millennials, raised on the criminal as hero, driving to kill, all while isolated in a Baby Driverbubble of noise from their surgically attached ear buds, this film was heaven.

But that isn’t to say I did not like it, far from it. This is a well-written, directed and acted crime caper in the long tradition of The Italian Job and Bonny & Clyde.

The music forms the controlling heartbeat of the action, raising your blood pressure with the craft of Hitchcock.  The choice of music is eclectic and appropriate.  I felt very at home with many of the choices and enjoyed the newer pieces so much; I am considering buying the sound track.

This film deserves a much broader audience than saw it with me today. For that reason I award it 5 out of five stars.  Give it a go.