Kong: Skull Island *****

Something strange has happened with this version of Kong.

MV5BMTUwMzI5ODEwNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjAzNjI2MDI@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_Normally when a remake borrows from other films it becomes an unsatisfying tasteless hodgepodge.

This film borrows heavily from the original 1933 King Kong.

Apocalypse Now inspires some great images almost shot for shot.

As in Star Trek, all the red shirts die, and so on.

But, it is all woven together with love, respect and passion by the filmmakers that it really works.

Add to this a much more 21st century heroic ending for the star of the film, without getting sentimental about it, results in an excellent piece of hokum.

Most of all it reminds us that the biggest monster of all is the one wearing cloth.

How could anybody not like this film?

The full 5 out of five from me.


Logan ****

This is the third of a triptych of Wolverine movies from the Marvel Studios.

It is also a rare event MV5BNmZjODQyZjYtNjA5OC00MTUyLWE1MTItMDQzZjU2YWNiYmQ5XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTkxNjUyNQ@@._V1_UX477_CR0,0,477,268_AL_ that this is better than the first two stories, disproving the normal pattern of diminishing returns.

Logan is a tale of redemption, pathos and hope that takes the viewer on an emotional roller coaster to a very satisfying conclusion.

But don’t worry Marvel fans; there is still comic book violence galore.

Roughly two and a half hours of good value entertainment.
I give it 4 out of five.



Viceroy’s House

04/03/2017 Viceroy’s House  *****

This is a BBC film made to tell the story of India’s Partition from the point of view of Lord Louis Mountbatten. He was sent to oversee the handover of power, which he approached with his famous optimism.

mv5bmtk5odu2nzexmf5bml5banbnxkftztgwoti2odkwmti-_v1_ux67_cr006798_al_Riding on top of the political story is the allegory of two young Indians, united in love but, divided by the turmoil around them.

A beautifully directed story by Gurinder Chadha, one of our very best film makers. All the European characters are played by actors who will be very familiar to most UK audiences such as Gillian Anderson, Michael Gambon, Hugh Bonneville. More exciting are the many Indian and Pakistani actors who bring portray the human stories so well. Special mentions to Manish Dayal and Huma Qureshi who carry most of the story.

I don’t think you will be surprised that this fabulous film gets my full 5 out of five.


05/01/2017 Silence      ****

Thismv5bmjy3otk0nja2nv5bml5banbnxkftztgwntg3mjc2mdi-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_ film is 2:30 hours long which went amazingly fast.

The story of two Jesuit priest trying to find their mentor who disappeared in Japan while spreading the gospels (15
th century).

It is also the battle of theologies, Catholic vs Buddhist. (Thank god we are now free to be atheist.)

Excellent story well told, beautifully photographed and acted. No Ninjas or inappropriate special effects.

I left feeling entertained, better informed and educated about this era in history.

Maybe not to everybody’s taste but I give it 4 out of five.

Collateral Beauty

11/01/2017 Collateral Beauty        *****

Phew!  What a good film.

mv5bmtq5ode4mty2nv5bml5banbnxkftztgwmzm2nzezmdi-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_With a large ensemble cast, all of whom are Stars, give a believable performance to what could be, in other hands, a cloyingly sentimental story.

This is a tale of grief and friendship, loss and regrow the, hopelessness and redemption.

The full five stars to this film but don’t forget the tissues.


La La Land

13/01/2017         La La Land                           **

This is a modern day ‘Hollywood’ musical, much hyped as the successor to the greats like 42ND Street, American in Paris etc.
mv5bmzuzndm2nzm2mv5bml5banbnxkftztgwntm3ntg4ote-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_Sadly I left feeling very disappointed.

Let me brake this down.

  • I did not come away humming any of the music, surly a basic requirement of any musical.
  • The best music were well known hits of the recent past and the incidental Jazz.
  • I did not warm to either of the leading actors.
  • I found the end confusing, was it a happy ending or sad?

However, the story contains some good plot lines, referencing some real great musicals.

There was nothing to actually dislike in it but more importantly, nothing to love.

Many other reviewers have raved about it so I expect many of you will probably enjoy it than I did.

It could have been a lot worse.

So the score I give is a poor 2 out of five.


Live by Night

17/01/2017 Live by Night              *****

Ben Afunknownfleck is starting to grow on me.

This latest outing is a gangster story set between the two world wars. But it is far more than just a shoot’em up thriller.  He follows up The Accountant with Live By Night, both of which I have thoroughly enjoyed.

There is a strong backbone story supporting tales of corruption, greed, power, love and redemption.  The inevitable violence, with rattling Tommie Guns and explosions galore is explicit but doesn’t linger on gore.

People die, that is life. Great supporting cast.  A rattling good yarn.  I give it the full 5 out of five.