Jeff Bauman (Jake Gyllenhaal) decides to surprise his ex-girlfriend, Erin (Tatiana Maslany), by heading to the finish line of the Boston marathon to see her cross the line. When a terrorist bomb explodes Jeff loses both his legs. Due to horrific photos of him at the bombing which quickly become iconic, he is held up by a hero by some and a prime example of ‘Boston Strong’. However, Jeff initially riles against the idea of himself as a hero, struggling with the fact that a city in need of catharsis desperately wants him to be an inspirational figure. [Read more…]
DVD & BLU-RAY REVIEWS
The latest reviews from the world of home entertainment
God bless young Jacob Tremblay. The Room and Book Of Henry star is impossibly cute, something that comes through even under the large amounts of makeup he has to wear for Wonder. Although it might seem a little creepy to be talking about a young boy’s cuteness, in this case it’s vital to the film, as Tremblay’s talents are so central to the movie. The makeup is potentially a real barrier for an actor though, and a tough one for somebody so young to overcome. Jacob does it though with aplomb.
Tremblay plays August ‘Auggie’ Pullman, who was born with Treacher Collins Syndrome, which has left him with significant facial deformities. He’s been home-schooled by his mother (Julia Roberts), but will be going to mainstream school for the first time when he joins the fifth grade. Auggie is a shy and sensitive child, very aware of how others treat him because he looks different. [Read more…]
Poor old Justice League. It’s a superhero team-up that fans have been waiting for decades for. When it was announced a couple of years ago it immediately sounded like it would be the biggest movie of 2018. However, following the lacklustre reception to the Warner/DC movies that led up to it (Wonder Woman excepted) and production problems including director Zack Snyder leaving due to personal problems and replacement Joss Whedon extensively retooling the movie only months before release, it certainly didn’t bode well. It also felt like Warner Bros. had slightly given up on it, or at least they failed to generate the sort of hype the movie needed, with a weak marketing campaign and little sense that this is what we’d all been waiting for.
As a result, it’s ended up as the lowest grossing of all the DCEU movies, behind even Suicide Squad. [Read more…]
In the late 1940s and 1950s Gloria Grahame was a big name Hollywood actress, known for the likes of The Big Heat (1953) and Oklahoma! (1955), as well as winning an Oscar for The Bad and the Beautiful (1952). However, her star power soon faltered.
Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool picks up her story in the 1970s, by which time Grahame (Annette Bening) is appearing in theatre in Britain. The older star meets the much younger Peter Turner (Jamie Bell), with a May-December romance developing. Grahame is flattered by the attentions of the younger man, while Turner is impressed by his beau’s celebrity – something that’s beguiling and exotic for a working-class Liverpudlian lad. [Read more…]
Enigmatic is an overused word, but it’s one that seems to fit Grace Jones. She’s been famous since the 1970s, but quite what and who she is has always been elusive. She’s a model and a singer, she’s been a Bond girl and co-starred in Conan The Barbarian. Her shows could be viewed as Avant Garde performance art or as a use of striking visuals to cover for middling music. Just visually she is iconic – both an archetype of Amazonian warrior femininity (with the most astonishingly long legs), and yet completely androgynous.
Jones is also impressively ageless, looking pretty much the same now as she did in the 1980s.
She’s someone who seems like we view her through a veil and who isn’t quite on the same planet as the rest of us. To some she is a series of moments – singing while hula-hooping outside Buckingham Palace at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert, infamously slapping guest show host Russell Harty in the 1980s, or base-jumping off the Eiffel Tower in A View To A Kill. [Read more…]
Director Sean Baker had a significant success with Tangerine, which followed two transgender sex workers as one of them looks for the man who broke her heart. With The Florida Project he stays with people living a precarious existence, this time in the shadow of Disney World in Orlando.
The movie is largely set at a budget hotel managed by Bobby (Willem Dafoe), where six-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) lives with her young mother Halley (Bria Vinaite). It’s an insecure, day-to-day existence where there’s no security and where they must move out for a while once a month, as they’re not permitted to officially become residents. [Read more…]
Before the first Paddington movie, a lot of people were convinced Michael Bond’s classic character couldn’t work as a live-action film. Not only was it a major success, but the sequel was even better received, with Paddington 2 becoming the first film ever to get more than 190 ‘Fresh’ reviews on RottenTomatoes, without a single negative notice. That doesn’t mean it’s the best film ever made, but it does mean it’s one that’s very difficult not to be charmed by.
Paddington (Ben Whishaw) is happily living in London with the Brown family. He wants to get his beloved Aunt Lucy a special 90th Birthday present, and sets his sights on a unique pop-up book. Just when he’s nearly got enough cash, the book is stolen and the police think the small bear is the one who took it. As a result, Paddington ends up in prison, at the mercy of a scary brute known as Knuckles (Brendan Gleeson). [Read more…]
Eric Marsh (Josh Brolin) of the Prescott, Arizona Fire Department is an expert at fighting forest fires, but he and his team have to take a backseat when ‘hotshot’ Type 1 front line firefighters, even if they don’t know as much as he does. He plans to become the head of the first municipal firefighting team to achieve Type 1 status.
Marsh’s Granite Mountain Hotshots are amongst the best there is. However, they also have their own issues to deal with, such as Eric’s dedication to fighting fires interfering with his marriage to Amanda (Jennifer Connelly). There’s also Brendan McDonough (Miles Teller), a young wastrel who uses drugs, sleeps around and has been in trouble with the law – but with an accidental child on the way, he decides it’s time to shape up and join the team. [Read more…]
Irrespective of anything else, Loving Vincent is an impressive achievement. It’s the world’s first animated movie that’s ‘fully painted’. In practice that means that the entire thing was filmed with actors and the using that footage it was later animated by a team of over 100 artists using oil paintings for both the characters and the background – and all done in the style of Vincent Van Gogh.
The film is set a year after Van Gogh’s death. Vincent’s friend from Arles, Postman Joseph Roulin (Chris O’Dowd), forces his slacker son, Armand (Douglas Booth), to hand deliver the artist’s final letter to his brother, Theo. After Armand discovers Theo is also dead, he travels on to the place where Vincent spent his final days, Auvers-sur-Oise, to see whether he should give the letter to the man who was supposed to be looking after him at the time, Dr. Gachet (Jerome Flynn). [Read more…]
When it was first announced that a sequel to Blade Runner was in the works, it seemed like a bad idea. Ridley Scott and Harrison Ford are on a bit of a roll revisiting their greatest hits, following Scott’s Alien Prequels and Ford’s return to Indiana Jones and Star Wars. However, Blade Runner was such a singular movie – and one so far removed from the modern blockbuster – that it seemed a wholly bizarre idea to now be making a sequel.
Scott then handed the directing reigns across to Denis Villeneuve, which gave some guarded optimism following Sicario and Arrival, but it still seemed ill judged. [Read more…]