King Arthur *

king ArthurThis King Arthur is not my King Arthur. Mixing themes from multiple genres, cultures and traditions, throw in a ridiculous script, edit the film with a shredder rather than scissors, and directing the whole mix by throwing the parts into the air and picking up at random. Do you get the impression that I did not like this movie?

There has been talk that football legend David Becham is not a convincing actor. He is not the worse in this production.

Ardent fans of the director or some of the stars may get something from this film, my good wishes to them.

It could have been worse. It could have been longer.

Thankfully there are plenty of much better films on release currently.

Sadly, just a generous 1 star this time.

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Unlocked ****

This is one of the best spy thrillers for a long time. The plot is somewhat familiar, being similar to ‘London Has Fallen’ from last summer, but it benefits from a much better storyline, actors and director.

The tension comes from multiple factions on both sides of the underlying threat to the UK. Who to trust?

I was struck by the reality of the organisations and politics between and driving them. This is real world counter-terrorism with just enough improbable but not impossible twists to drive the story.

Tunlockedhe action sequences are balanced, realistic and proportionate. You don’t get scenes of car chases through the streets, crashing large numbers of cars and destroying buildings. That is a good as it would have destroyed the integrity that runs through this film.

The only truly unrealistic thing is the ability of the heroine to continue after injuries that would be life threatening in a normal person, but we need our heroes.

I am very happy to give 4 out of five stars.

Going in Style ****

There is something warm and reassuring about this well crafted crime-caper.

To start with you have Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin working together in humorous unity.Going in style

The story is light weight but very believable, set in the post bank crash era.

The direction is tight and uses the stars to great effect. There is just enough sentimentality to make you care about the characters without ladling it on.

There are no special effects, explosions and loud noises that fill most of the films I have seen in the last year.

There is a very funny ‘car chase’.

I really enjoyed the film and I expect it will become a regular family TV schedule filler in years to come.

A very comfortable 4 out of five stars from me.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 *****

The second volume of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise continues and grows from the original with style and great humour.

Our heroes are joined by familiar and new foes as they battle, as always, each other and the evildoers.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2I thoroughly enjoyed the story action and, above all, the humour. This is both verbal and slapstick in nature with the best lines delivered by a baby tree?

Lets not forget the music, which pays such a key roll, far more than in almost any film I can think of. Many aging artists can expect a jump in their residual payments.

I laughed out loud many times and left feeling excited at the prospect of Volume 3.

Even a non-Sci-Fi fan would get something positive from this film.

A well earned 5 out of five stars.

Lady Macbeth ***

First let me explain that this is not Shakespeare but an adaptation of a novel ‘Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk’ in which the author, Nikolai Leskov, likens his central character to the Scottish Queen.

This is a BBC Films produced period drama set in the 19th century in an unspecified location. Northumberland lends its desolate coastline and countryside to the movie. This creates a feel of isolation, menace and loneliness that is fundamental to the story’s mood.

Lady MacbethThe actress, Florence Pugh, conveys these emotions vividly while remaining appearing calm and scheming. A great cast of largely unknown actors surrounds Pugh. They portray very unpleasant men and non-supportive women drawing out our sympathy for the Pugh character.
However this is not a film I fell in love with. Its long periods of silence left me confused at time. I am sure this is a great piece of story telling but not my cup of tea.

NB.   Warnings for language, rough sex and violence are attached by the BBFC.

I give this 3 out of five.
On limited release at some cinemas.

Their Finest ***

This film fits nicely into the uniquely British domestic light weigh rom-com that we make so well but never achieve greatness. The sort of film that will become a staple of wet Sunday afternoons. A familiar friend that does not offend, threaten or disappoint.

It is sTheir finestet in the early years of WW2 and centred on the Government Film Unit. A haphazard group of characters sharing their ups & downs, tragedy & success.

The familiar cast of British talent is lead by Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin and Bill Nighy give convincing performances but not their finest. Bill Nighy does his excellent Bill Nighy performance.

A rather disappointed 3 out of five stars.

Denial ****

Denial is another excellent BBC Films offering, following on from The Viceroys House earlier this year.

Denial.jpg

This is a classic legal drama set in the London High Court just a few years ago. Rachel Weisz leads the excellent British cast with Timothy Spall as the cultured, suave but evil villain.

The trial centres on the Holocaust and the abuse free speech to challenge the truth. It explores our legal system with its idiosyncrasies. I didn’t know, for example, that in libel cases you are ‘guilty till proved innocent’, unlike the law in the US. I hope I have understood this correctly.

I found this to be a real treat for the brain being entertaining, informative and moving film.

I give Denial 4 stars out of five.