imagesI have been thinking about my blog(s) a great deal over the past wee while and have decided to start afresh.

Please come and join me on my new blog Bride of the Book God Two here where I’ll be bringing together all of my interests into one handy place. Hope to see you there!

Yes, despite my best intentions I am once again writing mini-reviews of recent films and forcing them together in one post even if they are wildly different, which they almost always are 🙂

So, here goes:

The Post

My love for All the President’s Men is well known I think, so I was very excited to see The Post. We sadly missed it in the cinema but were rescued by the DVD which the Book God received as a birthday present. This tells the story of the battle to publish the Pentagon Papers and the Nixon administrations attempts to shut it down. I really liked this; it’s an old-fashioned film in the very best sense – well-made, excellent cast, brilliant performances, looks great and most of all tells an important story, which resonates today int he current incumbents of the White House’s reaction to the press and reporting that doesn’t suit him. A couple of observations from other reviewers which I totally agree with, relating to Katherine Graham:

  • it’s the story of someone finding their voice
  • she is often surrounded by men and is the only woman in sight

There’s a lovely nod to Watergate at the end, and of course for me the benefit of the presence of Bradley Whitford whom I love unreservedly. Highly recommended.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

I actually dated whether to go and see this but in the end I couldn’t resist, especially with the promise of the presence of Jeff Goldblum (though his appearance is nothing more than a cameo, effective though as he always is). A mission to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from an erupting volcano is mounted, funded by the former partner of Richard Attenborough’s character, played by James Cromwell. So our gang (Owen and Claire and a couple of sidekicks) go off with the inevitable big game hunter, because of course, to rescue Blue and her compadres, but obviously things are not what they seem, and obviously there is double-crossing and a nefarious plot to be uncovered. I liked the film while I was watching it, but it was too long and didn’t really add anything to the franchise as far as I could see. It’s possibly suffering from Middle Film in a Trilogy syndrome, but certainly ups the ante in terms of the horrendousness of the new dinosaur, because there is always a new dinosaur. Ralph Spall and Toby Jones were excellent villains (this is not a spoiler, if you didn’t spot them as villains as soon as they appeared then you just weren’t paying attention) and the wee girl who played Maisie was really very good indeed. The bits where a dinosaur is stalking Maisie through the enormous mansion were very effective but the rest of it was very much the same as before, just bigger and louder. I described it to a friend as “meh with moments” and I stick by that view.

Incredibles 2

Long-awaited, the movie starts immediately at the end of the first film and deals with the stuff that used to be rarely seen in a superhero film – what happens when the dust settles and everybody sees the destruction created by dealing with the bad guys. So, Bob and Helen and the kids are back where they were, illegal and homeless and clueless to the fact that baby Jack-Jack has powers. Along come a wealthy brother and sister duo who want to rehabilitate supers, but want Elastigirl to be the face of their campaign, and so Mr Incredible has to stay at home with the kids. Once again things are not what they seem (otherwise there wouldn’t be a movie) but the baddies get their comeuppance and all is well at the end. This film looks fabulous, with a lovely retro feel, the Incredible family are just wonderful characters and the story has an internal logic which I love, even though i was only 50% correct in spotting who the villain was. Jack-Jack is hilarious, and the scenes with Edna Mode were amongst my favourite, though obviously I would have loved to see more of her, she is awesome. It was very, very funny and I enjoyed every second. Go watch.

MV5BOTM2NTI3NTc3Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzM1OTQyNTM@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,674,1000_AL_What’s it all about?

During an adventure into a dark criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his future co-pilot Chewbacca and encounters Lando Calrissian years before joining the rebellion

So yes, it’s an origin story, and none the worse for that.

Why did I want to see it?

Good question. It’s a Star Wars story, so that’s good enough for me, and I really liked Alden Ehrenreich in Hail Caesar! and was interested to see what he would do with such a famous character.

What did I think of it?

I liked it. I know it’s had a bad press, what with a troubled production and a certain area of fandom muttering (well, shouting) about how their childhood was once again being sullied, and a view that Disney is milking the franchise for all that it’s worth, but I liked it. It was good fun, a caper movie in space, and had some nice jokes and references for those who cared (especially L3-37 and the Millennium Falcon).

In particular:

  • Alden Ehrenreich does a very good job I think, not trying to impersonate Harrison Ford but giving (me at any rate) the impression that with only minor squinting on the audience’s part you could see him growing into the adult Han
  • L3-37, as mentioned above, her relationship with Lando and her prickly personality; I am here for droids with attitude
  • Paul Bettany was an excellent villain, and is rapidly becoming one of my favourite actors (as you can see from my header)
  • Woody Harrelson & co – what a gang. Wouldn’t trust them as far as I could throw them.

Not so much:

  • Insufficient Thandie Newton; she is awesome and I would like to have seen more/better use of her
  • Insufficient Lando, because Lando, and his capes

But those are pretty small quibbles really, in what was an enjoyable adventure movie ideal for an afternoon at the cinema. Will happily watch again.

Dazzling details: watched in a recliner showing at our local multiplex, Solo is 135 minutes long, directed (eventually) by Ron Howard and rated 12A for moderate violence.

MV5BMjI3Njg3MzAxNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjI2OTY0NTM@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,674,1000_AL_What’s it all about?

Foul-mouthed mutant mercenary Wade Wilson (AKA. Deadpool), brings together a team of fellow mutant rogues to protect a young boy with supernatural abilities from the brutal, time-traveling cyborg, Cable.

There is of course an evil headmaster too, given that a young person is involved.

Why did I want to see it?

I loved the first Deadpool movie which kind of came in above most people’s expectations, so was interested in seeing what they would do with the sequel given the original’s success.

What did I think of it?

I really enjoyed this film, and laughed as much, if not more than, I did watching the first one. Ryan Reynolds is very funny in the role, and as well as bringing back most of the characters from the first film, it introduced a number of new characters that were both effective and funny. Cable in particular is very well done, though I am beginning to wonder if film makers now have a contractual clause that requires them to at least consider casting Josh Brolin in any film been made.

I think my favourite character is Domino, luck being a superpower and all that; Zazie Beets was excellent in the role and I’m looking forward to seeing more of her in the X-Force movie. When I re-watch this (and I will, you can count on it) I’ll pay better attention to the various cameos which I always enjoy but are a bit blink and you’ll miss them. And Julian Dennison is really really good, reminding me that I must watch Hunt for the Wilderpeople (I know).

Is it more mainstream than the first movie? Of course.

Am I mildly disappointed that they did that thing at the beginning? Yes, but they put it right so I can live with it

Do I enjoy seeing Ryan Reynolds take the mickey out of himself? Oh yes.

Looking forward to what the mere with the mouth does next.

Dazzling details: Directed by David Leitch, D2 is 119 minutes long and rated 15 for strong bloody violence, sex references, very strong language. Which is what we all wanted to see it for anyway 😉



The rest of my mini-reviews for April 🙂


Alien: Covenant

I had originally been determined not to watch this because of how disappointed I expected to feel after Prometheus (I still can’t get over the allegedly experienced biologist who took his helmet off and all that followed), but it was on TV and I succumbed. It was pompous and over-explained everything. Despite a good cast I really didn’t feel there was anything new here so I should have gone with my first instinct. Mr Fassbender’s career choices have been a bit flaky recently…..

A Cure for Wellness

This was a weird one and almost certainly far too long but I kind of enjoyed it. Dane DeHaan is sent to bring his errant boss back from a sanitarium in Europe but after a car crash finds himself a patient in said asylum, and then it all kicks off. There are creepy villagers who fall silent when anyone walks into the pub. There is a weird floaty girl wandering about barefoot. There are dark corridors and lots of tanks filled with water used for nefarious purposes. There is the legend of an evil Baron. There is Jason Isaacs as the head doctor with a cool accent and a big sign above his head with the word baddie flashing on and off. Evil Jason is the best Jason IMHO. It’s beautifully Gothic and fairly intense but not at all scary.

Avengers: Infinity War

I’m not going to say too much about this because reams have been written already. I loved it. It was amazingly well-balanced considering the number of major superhero types involved; the best bits for me involved interactions between characters who are not normally in the same movies, especially Thor and Peter Quill, and Iron Man and Doctor Strange. Also worth noting that everything in it is huge, and that it works because Thanos is a properly rounded character; his plan may be evil, but it is logically evil (from a  certain point of view). Shout out to bits of Edinburgh actually playing themselves rather than pretending to be Moscow or whatever. Can’t wait for the sequel.

All caught up now, and hoping to have a more stable posting pattern soon.

I didn’t get around to reviewing these movies properly but had Thoughts so felt the need to share 🙂

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Yes, I know this was actually released last year and I did see it at the time but felt that there was so much noise on the interwebs that I would keep my own counsel for a while. Since then I have seen it a further two times and on every viewing it just gets better. I love the new characters, especially Rose though I may also have a serious girl crush on Vice Admiral Holdo. The only quibble I really had on first viewing was the storyline involving Poe & Holdo, but I’ve come to the conclusion that he would definitely have behaved in the same way if Holdo had been a man so in establishing his character development from hothead to leader I think it worked well. Can’t wait for Episode 9!

Isle of Dogs

I have a mixed response to Wes Anderson (admittedly based on a small number of his films that I have seen), veering from absolutely adoring The Grand Budapest Hotel to loathing Fantastic Mister Fox with a passion. Pleased to say that Isle of Dogs is very much in the Grand Budapest tradition. This is such a good film, with a quirky stop-motion animation style and a story that has real heart to it and can be interpreted in a number of different ways, always the mark of a goodie as far as I’m concerned. The voice cast is brilliant and distinctive and there is so much going on visual that it begs to be seen more than once. Loved loved loved it.

Free Fire

I really didn’t get this film at all. I think I could see what director Ben Wheatley was trying to do with Free Fire, set in Boston in 1978 where a gun deal goes wrong, but I couldn’t connect with it at all. And it’s such a shame, because it is so well made, and has such a brilliant cast, and has an intriguing premise but I couldn’t engage with the humour. I just felt that there was something missing. But 10/10 for the accurate facial hair.

Gotham by Gaslight

Gaslight was one of the first Batman graphic novels I ever bought (what can I say, I was a very late adopter in the world of comics) so I was very interested to see what director Sam Liu (he of The Killing Joke which I talked about here) would make of the story. Annoyingly, there are some major changes in this adaptation which I don’t really understand, but all in all it was an enjoyable take on Jack the Ripper.



imagesWhat’s Cronos all about?

A mysterious device designed to provide its owner with eternal life resurfaces after four hundred years, leaving a trail of destruction in its path.

Of course, it has help……

Why did I want to watch it?

This was a re-watch for me, having seen the film way back when. I decided to watch it again having recently seen The Shape of Water and feeling the need to get into Guillermo del Toro’s back catalogue.

What did I think of it?

I love a non-conventional vampire movie which is exactly what we get with Cronos.

Jesus Gris is an old man with an antique shop who comes across the Cronos device and uses it to postpone his death. Of course, this is never going to be straightforward because fo course there’s a dying rich man who wants it for himself, and of course he has a brutish nephew under his thumb who is trying to hunt it down for him ( a fabulous turn from the great Ron Perlman).

There are some touching relationships in the film, particularly between Jesus and his little grand-daughter who turns out to be wiser than her years. There are some shudder-making scenes (eg when Jesus is licking blood from a bathroom floor, yuck) but particularly gruesome, and the bad guys get there comeuppance so all is well. Mostly. The effects are admittedly a bit dated but the central core of the film is still solid and you could see what a talent del Toro would become.

This is up there with Near Dark in my list of favourites. Worth watching.

Dazzling details: del Toro’s first feature comes in at 94 minutes, and was rated 18 for strong language, violence and horror (though notable now for the DVD being rated 15)

MV5BMjI3Nzg0MTM5NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTE2MTgwNTM@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_What’s it all about?

Jake Pentecost, son of Stacker Pentecost, reunites with Mako Mori to lead a new generation of Jaeger pilots, including rival Lambert and 15-year-old hacker Amara, against a new Kaiju threat.

Why did I want to see it?

I loved the first one so much, and there was no way that I would miss John Boyega continuing to be awesome but in a different franchise.

What did I think about it?

This is a film that isn’t getting a lot of love, either because people don’t think it should have been made at all (did Pacific Rim really need a sequel given that the apocalypse was, indeed, cancelled?) and as one reviewer put it “did it lose its heart” (early exit of a popular character). But I thought it was huge fun and so much better than any Transformers movie I have ever seen.

John Boyega is just such a charming presence and works well with both Scott Eastwood (looking more and more like his Dad very single day) and Cailee Spaeny as the young girl brought into the world of Jaeger pilots, so I was very happy to spend an hour or so watching this. The only disappointment was the insufficient presence of Rinko Kikuchi

Did it get a bit silly towards the end? Of course it did. Are there plot holes the size of Mount Fuji itself? Of course there are. Did I care about any of this? Not a jot.

Lots of popcorn adjacent fun, would watch again.

Dazzling details: Directed by Stephen S DeKnight, Pacific Rim is 111 minutes long and is rated 12A for moderate violence, threat, injury detail, rude gesture. The BBFC does like protecting us all from rude gestures 🙂

Batman-The_Killing_Joke_(film)What’s it all about?

As Batman hunts for the escaped Joker, the Clown Prince of Crime attacks the Gordon family to prove a diabolical point mirroring his own fall into madness.

Why did I want to see it?

Well, I read the graphic novel lo these many years ago and remember it being fairly iconic though not without its problems; as one critic put it (and sorry I have lost the reference for this) The Killing Joke is “an important comic book for many reasons, not all of them worth celebrating”. Even Alan Moore, who was the writer of the prigging ha effectively washed his hands of it.

I thought it would be interesting to see what they did with the animation for adults version, especially as the Book God had asked for it on DVD as a Christmas gift, so it really was time we got around to watching it.

What did I think about it?

So it’s well done in respect of the animation and especially the voice acting – Mark Hamill is and always will be the very best interpreter of the Joker, and Kevin Conroy’s Batman is equally iconic. The origin of the Joker is also very well done.

But the problems with the story are magnified in the film version, largely by the way the expanded story of Barbara Gordon/Batgirl is handled.

You are probably aware that there is has been a standard plot device in comics for some considerable time (which passed into mainstream movies a while back) that in order to give the male hero a justification for revenge a female character close to him is injured, killed or otherwise traumatised, often gratuitously. If you want to read more about this then Google “Women in Refrigerators” which tells you a lot more.

Some spoilers follow…..

So, in the original comic Batgirl is shot by the Joker and her father kidnapped in order to be driven mad a la the Joker himself, and Batman delivers the requisite avenging activity. In the movie, Batgirl’s backstory diminishes her autonomy and has her briefly intimate with the Dark Knight, therefore underlining the whole revenge thing.

And this is a shame because if they had to expand her story to beef out the plot then it was an opportunity to at least show her as capable and resourceful, caught unawares by the villain. Instead, she just falls into a trope which has been sadly overused.

Dazzling details: Directed by Sam Lui, this lasts 76 minutes and is rated 15 for strong violence

Gangster SquadWhat’s it all about?

It’s 1949 Los Angeles, the city is run by gangsters and a malicious mobster, Mickey Cohen. Determined to end the corruption, John O’Mara assembles a team of cops, ready to take down the ruthless leader and restore peace to the city.

Why did I want to see it?

It was less that I wanted to see it and more that the Book God wanted to see it, and had asked for the DVD as a gift for a birthday or Christmas (can’t remember which) and so I obliged and watched it with him.

What did I think of it?

Oh dear goodness, this was a missed opportunity. I thought it was very flashy and attempted a lot of style but had no heart or warmth to it. In fact, the most decent character (I won’t say whom) is dealt with very harshly and although everyone else does end up bearing some scars I found it telling that the one person who questions the methods used to bring down Mickey Cohen and whether its worth it gets bumped off for his pains.

And then there’s Mickey Cohen. if you know anything about him at all you will know that although this film is allegedly “inspired” by true events the way he gets dealt with is nonsense. Sean Penn is awful in the role, overacting as if his life depended on it. I said to someone else that Penn had left no scenery unthawed and I think that was an understatement.

Also Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone deserve better. Most of the cast is wasted to be honest.

Take my advice and watch Mob City; it does the whole thing so much better.

Dazzling details: directed by Ruben Fleischer, this is 113 minutes long (and I felt every single one) and rated 15 for strong bloody violence and very strong language (and a lack of moral compass)