Hampstead **

With the talents of Diane Keaton and Brendon Gleeson, this should have been a delightful Autumn Rom-Com.

However the director, Joel Hopkins, gives us a dull and sadly unfunny tale of stock characters in the bubble community of Hampstead.

EvHampsteadery plot point is highlighted, every character an eccentric.

When the hero meets the heroine there is almost an announcement proclaiming, “here are our lovers” (I exaggerate to get my point home, as does the film).

Sorry but this is probably destined for the daytime television movie slot.

On the plus side, Hampstead Heath and its environs are filmed beautifully. There is not one drop of litter, splash of graffiti, unattractive native or ugly building in the whole 102 minutes.

This will delight Middle America by pandering to their image of London.

Just 2 out of five for this disappointment.

Gifted *****

This story is a mix of family trauma, duck out of water and rom-com.

Gifted

It so easily could have fallen into the pit of TV Movie but is lifted by very high quality actors and crew including Captain America’s Chris Evans. However the true star is a Mckenna Grace, an amazingly talented 10yr old actor.

The performances are totally believable so that you feel their pain and joy.

This is a genuine Family Film for all ages.

I freely admit loosing control of my tears a couple of times and laughing out loud at others.

I left feeling much happier than when I arrived. So here we have a really good film without explosions’, guns, monsters, cops and robbers or CGI. What a relief that it can still be done. The full 5 out of five stars from me.

Churchill ****

TOdeon Churchillhis is a biopic looking at a four day period in the life of Winston Churchill.

We see him haunted by the demons of the first World War and how these raised doubt in his mind at a critical stage of World War 2. These spill out into his professional and personal support network.

Brian Cox who does an excellent visual and audible representation plays Churchill.

Miranda Richardson plays Churchill’s wife, the hard-pressed Clementine, equally well.

I found this to be a fascinating tale, which I hope was historically as accurate as possible. I had no idea that General Jan Smuts was so close to Churchill, having been on opposite sides in the Boar War. Something learned means the day has not been wasted.

I give this film 4 out of five.

The Mummy **.5

The Mummy is the latest outing both for Tom Cruise and one of the earliest franchised stories in Hollywood.

Tom Cruise gives a typical performance, cruising through the story without effort.

The story is also typical of the modern CGI enhanced, formulaic action thriller that we have grown used to in recent years.

My problem is that The Mummy is supposed to be a horror story but this just does not deliver.  The ‘horrific’ content is a rehash of the many Zombie films that have been fashionable.

the mummyThe only ‘shock’ in the whole film is already given away be being the centrepiece of the trailer which has been shown in cinemas, on TV adverts and chat shows for the last month. What we are left with is a humourless, non-scary, bland vision of what could have been.

The teen and 20’s audiance will probably love it, knowing no better.

I recommend the 1999 Brendon Fraser version for its humour and ground braking special effects.

If you want a real scare, the 1932 B&W Boris Karloff version is still the best version.

So for this run of the mill action adventure, 2.5 stars out of five.

Wonder Woman ****

This is the first solo cinema outing ever for the Detective Comics favourite female character, Wonder Woman (WW).

It has been worth the wait, for this is a well-crafted retelling of the WW backstory set during the early years of the 20th Century.

DC films have always tended to have darker and edgier stories than those from Marvel and this film follows the trend.

There is only a light smattering of humour, adding milWonder Womand spice to a very satisfying mix of pathos, adventure and coming of age saga.

Parents need not worry about the violence, as it is not graphic or gory.

On the contrary, those seeking a suitable roll model for their daughter could do no better than this Amazon Hero.

I award it 4 out of five stars

 

Baywatch ****

This is a very funny homage to the original TV Baywatchseries, with cameos from two of the stars.

I found myself laughing out loud with the large audience of an early afternoon screening.

The humour is lowbrow and liberally peppered with innuendo and expletives but of very good quality and portions.

The original series put the characters into ridicules situations and the film builds on that tradition, with a beautiful evil villain, off the shelf henchmen and improbable heroes.

Fans of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson will not be disappointed by the stunt work. It is not on the sane scale as his other recent films but fits this story very appropriately.

All said, a very satisfying 4 out of five stars from me.

Miss Sloane *****

This is a really good political thriller with more twists and turns than Hampton Court Maze.

We are rapidly swept up into the corrupt world of Washington DC. There we are faced with the battlMiss Sloanee between good and evil for influence over the government. But who are the good and bad guys? Depends on your personal point of view.

There are no true heroes, only the slightly less evil or those too cowardly to stand up and be counted.
By the end has justice been served on the core villains or just those caught up in the failing system.

This film will leave you breathless.

Worthy of nominations for direction, writing and cast.

A visit to the cinema well spent. A well deserved 5 stars.