The Limehouse Golem *****​

The Limehouse Golem has a great deal going for it.

Limehouse Golem

It is based on the novel by Peter Ackroyd and then turned into a tight, witty and gripping script by Jane Goldman.

Bill Nighy takes the male lead. He delivers an excellent, gripping performance of a gentle but tortured soul in a harsh world.

Olivia Cooke as the protagonist also gives a fine portrayal, mixing light and dark, truth and lies with a fine touch.

Do not be misled by the Golem in the title. This is neither a horror story nor fantasy. It is a drama based on the reality of Victorian East London just prior to the reign of Jack the Ripper.

Those who have enjoyed the TV series ‘Ripper Street’ will be well satisfied by this tale. Fans of Mr Nighy will be delighted with his return to top form.

One of the best films this summer, well deserving of 5 out of five stars.

Advertisements

Logan Lucky **

This is a comedy crime caper story set around the American motor sports world. Sounds exciting but sadly there is minimal car racing involved.

It draws on the idea that stupid and ignorant people, trying to do something complicated, is a legitimate type of humour. I found is shallow and without merit.

Channing Tatum and Adam Driver play brothers. One is a disabled veteran, the other is down at heel and struggling to maintain access to his child.

Carrying the story is an experienced criminal, almost unidentifiable as Daniel Craig, using a strange Appalachian accent and bleach blond hair.

maxresdefaultThe plot is pleasingly complex and contains some good twists and surprises.

However, the overall experience is not as good as one might have expected from this cast.

As crime thrillers go, this is not The Sting but more like a poor Dukes of Hazzard.

A disappointing 2 out of five stars.

 

American Made ***

American Made takes us on a ride into the CIA created world of Central American Drugs for Guns trade, that lead into the Iran-Contra Scandal of the 1980s.

American MadeThe leading character (Tom Cruise) is not a hero. Much of his motivation is a mixture of greed and cowardice. As such, this makes a nice change from his normal roles.

It also gives him a chance to give us a semi-comic performance that he handles with some limited grace.

Most of the best humour comes from the actions of the surrounding characters and organisations.

So this was, I found, historically interesting but lacking in tension, conviction and drive.

A medium grade of 3 out of five stars so great for fans and wet Saturdays.

 

The Hitman’s Bodyguard *****

Starring Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, The Hitman’s Bodyguard is a rip-roaring high adventure set in the UK and Holland.

It is full of gun fights, explosions and enormous body count, all delivered in the familiar overblown style of such stories and punctuated by the inevitable expletives so associated with Jackson.

MV5BMjQ5NjA2NDg1MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDAzNDc4MjI@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_

It sits happily alongside many other similar films such as London Has Fallen and all the Mission Impossible stories.

What elevates this above the other movies is the performance, humour and chemistry between the two lead actors.

They appear to have had a ball making this film and it comes through the screen to the audience.

A great laughter and destruction festival, not to be taken seriously but enjoyed for what it is.

I left the cinema with a sense of satisfaction and a broad smile on my face.

The full 5 out of five stars for this excellent film.

The Dark Tower **

This film is based on the final book in Stephen King’s ‘The Dark Tower’ series.

We are presented with the good guy Roland (Idris Elba) and the bad guy Walter (Matthew McConaughey) ready-made.  There is no real character building attempted so making it difficult to cheer for the hero or boo the baddie.

Neither appears to be totally good or evil, other than wanting to kill each other and destroy or protect The Dark Tower.

UnknownAll we know of this tower is that it is at the centre of everything.

Into this mix comes a troubled boy who has visions of The Dark Tower etc.

This is then all mixed together in a recipe of Sci-fi, Western and Coming of Age genres to produce a very bland, soggy bottomed, sponge of a film.

With little of Stephen King’s trademark horror or complexity, it has clearly been diluted to get a 12A certificate.

I hope the younger audience members will get more from it than I did, even be inspired to read the original stories.

Could easily have been a lot better. Shame.

Just 2 out of five stars this time.

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.

Valerian