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Anthropoid [1 October] Earlier this year I read HHhH by Laurent Binet which tells the story of the plot to assassinate Heydrich, and I adored it so much (my review is over on the Book God blog here) I was keen to see the latest film version of this astonishing story. Very well done, I would recommend it to anyone interested in this aspect of WW2 history.

Blade Runner 2049 [8 October] This was such a good film. Having seen Arrival I knew Denis Villeneuve would do a good job but it was just what I hoped it would be, building on the original but not undermining it. Ryan Gosling most excellent, Harrison Ford as grizzled as he has ever been. Lucky enough to see it on an IMAX screen. A Film Club outing, all of us loving the experience and having lots to talk about afterwards. On the To Buy list.

Thor: Ragnarok [25 October] This is IMHO the very best Marvel movie. So much fun, brilliant new characters, good development of existing characters, excellent villainy from La Blanchett and Hiddles, Tessa Thompson is my new hero and it was a super cool evening out. I loved this so much and continue to be Team Thor. Also on the To Buy list. I might review this more full when I watch it again, let us see.

The Death of Stalin [5 November] Based on a graphic novel and (of course) the death of said dictator, this is the darkest of black comedy, giving a real taste of the paranoia and brutality of living under Stalin’s regime. Simon Russell Beale is genuinely frightening as Beria. Really worth watching.

Murder on the Orient Express [8 November] I went into this with high hopes. It’s one of my favourite Christie stories, I was hugely impressed by the 1974 version with Albert Finney, and I have a long-standing crush on Sir Kenneth Branagh.


I found it really disappointing. I wanted to love it but the changes, which I understand were designed to make the story a bit more palatable to modern audiences just didn’t work for me. I get that the Unfeasibly Large Moustache is probably more accurate in bookish terms than the neat little ‘tache a la Suchet, but the action man development of Poirot’s character left me cold. Sigh. If they make a sequel I will almost certainly go to see it, but with an air of melancholy.

Bridge of Spies [19 November] The Book God selected this as a Sunday night watch at home and I thought it was a very old-fashioned (in a good way) traditional drama. Hanks is excellent but Rylance is rightly the stand-out and deserved his Oscar. Most enjoyable.

And that’s it for 2017. Except it isn’t really, because I also saw Star Wars: the Last Jedi but don’t want to right about it until I’ve seen it a second time because there was just so much to take in. But all positive!


The Assassin [13 August] This film gained a lot of critical acclaim when it was released, and before I watched it I was aware that it was not in the vein of Hero or Crouching Tiger. It is undoubtedly a beautiful film, but I found it difficult to follow narratively. I think that if I had knowledge of the historical events on which this was based it would have helped my understanding of the plot developments hugely. Glad I watched it though.

Atomic Blonde [17 August] There should be more films in which Charlize Theron beats up everyone within a five-mile radius of where she happens to be. This was huge fun albeit extremely violent; in fact there is one scene which afterwards the Book God and I felt should definitely have led to this movie being rated 18. I liked the story, I liked the performances, James McAvoy was deeply sleazy and John Goodman continues to delight. All good here.

The Limehouse Golem [3 September] I read the book by Peter Ackroyd on which this was based many years ago and sadly cannot put my hands on it at the moment as I would like to compare the story with the action in the film. Not because there is any problem with the film itself, because it was a gloriously mad gothic confection with heaps of blood and gore and “acting”, and I loved every minute. Bill Nighy continues to be a National Treasure. So good I got the DVD and I expect this to become a regular and firm favourite.

Mother! [19 September] Well. More than three months after seeing it I still don’t know what I think of Mother. parts of it are astonishing, parts of it are horrific, in many ways it’s a complete mess but the performances are remarkable. Images from the film are still popping into my head every couple of days. I have NO idea what it’s actually about, but I’m glad I saw it and surprisingly I want to see it again. Not surprised that Jennifer Lawrence and Darren Aronofsky are no longer a couple.


The Accountant [16 July] Ben Affleck is The Accountant who is also a hitman (this should not be a spoiler, he’s got a gun on the poster). According to IMDb the phrase to be used is “math scant” which I will try to insert into a sentence at some point in 2018. Anyway this was way way better than I thought it was going to be. Affleck is a problematic actor for me but he is ideal here. Enjoyed it and will watch again I’m sure.

Despicable Me 3 [18 July] Just as funny as the previous two outings. Minions are still hilarious to me and Agnes is still my favourite character and I still want a fluffy unicorn. I am 55 years 11 months old.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children [21 July] I have been a fan of Tim Burton for a really long time but for some reason it took me a long time to actually get around to watching Miss P. It’s really good stuff, benefitting greatly from the presence of Eva Green (I love her so) and the lack of any Johnny Depp. Lovely story, wonderful imagery, worth watching.

Spiderman: Homecoming [23 July] Spiderman has never been my favourite Marvel character and yet I cannot keep away from movie versions. I have seen two of the three Maguire ones (totally fine), both Garfield ones (I liked him a lot, excellent hair) but Tom Holland is the best incarnation of the character I have seen. Right age for a start. Love his appearances in the wider MCU also. Excellent villain in Michael Keaton of course. Love Zendaya. All good.

The Magnificent Seven [28 July] Wasn’t sure about this as I grew up with the 1960 version and worshipped Steve McQueen and Robert Vaughn. This re-make isn’t at all bad, with some good performances and the bitter-sweet feel of the original.

Moana [30 July] Very enjoyable indeed. Don’t know why I took ages to watch this, but glad I did. Lovely story, excellent music and Jemaine Clement as a giant singing lobster-thing.

Dunkirk [31 July] This was an amazing experience, intellectually and physically. It is SO LOUD that I felt very single explosion in the centre of my chest. The performances were excellent and it was truly epic in scale.I was very moved by the whole thing, especially talking to the Book God afterwards; his father was evacuated from (probably) La Rochelle at the same time so for him this gave a sense of what his Dad must have gone through. Reminds us all that war is hell (if we needed reminding, that is).


The Mummy [11 June] If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time you will know that I have a Thing for Tom Cruise (as an actor – don’t judge me), so there was no way that I wasn’t going to see his version of The Mummy. It is a deeply silly film which I enjoyed with reservations, namely:

  1. Mr Cruise is my age and therefore too old for this nonsense
  2. Given this is called The Mummy there was insufficient Sofia Boutella as said Mummy (though when she was onscreen she was awesome); I would happily watch a version of this movie entirely from her point of view
  3. Russell Crowe might just have got away with being Dr Jekyll but good lord his Cockney (presumably) accent as Mr Hyde was genuinely appalling

I think it’s probably a good think that the Monster Universe this was going to kick off is not now happening. Still love the Cruiser though 🙂

Wonder Woman [15 June] – there are no words to describe how much I adored this film; it’s exactly what I had hoped it would be – bright and colourful and full of amazing female characters and a decent man who doesn’t push the heroine out of the way so that he can take centre stage. I have a girl-crush on Antiope. I like Chris Pine in a beard. I think Gal Gadot is luminous. This gives me hope.

John Wick: Chapter Two [18 June] I watched the first John Wick last year (I think) and I reviewed it here; thought it was great. The second instalment is just as good and equally if not more violent and it’s so so good. I’ve never been a huge Keanu fan but he is at his best here. Looking forward to the third instalment.

The Wind Rises [25 June] This was the Book God’s choice and the (at the time) final directorial outing by Hiyao Miyazaki. On paper it looks to be an acquired taste – the life of the man who designed Japanese fighter planes during the Second World War, but it’s a beautifully told story of love and friendship and personal achievement. Well worth watching if you enjoy animation.

I’m really keen to start 2018 with a clean slate but don’t want to ignore (almost) all of the films I’ve watched since the end of April (I have reviewed a two or three). So between now and the end of the year I’ll be posting my thoughts, however brief!

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 [30 April] – I totally loved this movie, and was really pleased that it was as funny (if not funnier) than the original film. Some excellent new characters, some astonishing cameos, the development of Peter’s story, and Groot being awesome. Did the stuff on Ego the Living Planet’s planet seem to be a little too long? Sure but hey, it is Kurt Russell so I can cope. All this and we saw it as a recliner screening so all very enjoyable. Enjoyed it so much that I’ve already got the DVD and watched it again. Won’t be the last time 😀

Jason Bourne [7 May] Matt Damon (for it is he) comes out of hiding (again) to confront stuff from his past (again) with no guarantee that this will be the last time he has to do this. It was aggressively fine. Given how much I disliked the very first film I have been pleasantly surprised by how much better the later films have been. Prefer John Wick though (more of that in another post).

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword [18 May] Couldn’t resist this, though I probably should have! Actually, there was a lot to enjoy; after the Lost City of Z I have become quite fond of Charlie Hunnam and he is very personable as Arthur. Jude Law makes a great villain, but this is very much Lock, Stock and Knights of the Round Table. A couple of the cameos (they know who they are *cough* Beckham *cough* Richie*) took me out of the film but it was a proper romp.

Ghost in the Shell [22 May] This was a Film Club outing with chums and under the cloud of the casting controversy and poorest reviews we turned up with some trepidation. But it was OK, I guess, largely because of Scarlett Johansson’s performance (for some reason I loved the way she walked, strange, I know). It has grown on the Book God since then, and we now have the DVD though we haven’t watched it again as yet. May be damning with faint praise, but it wasn’t as bad as I expected but not as good as it might have been.

Colossal [26 May] I knew nothing about this film until just before we booked the tickets and I’m so glad I went in cold, because I absolutely adored Colossal. I’ve never been a huge Anne Hathaway fan but I loved her in this. I loved the fact that the story started in one place and I thought “I know where this is going” and then it went somewhere unexpected. Also, Dan Stevens is my new favourite thing. I asked for and received this as a Christmas gift and I’m looking forward to watching it again soon. If you haven’t seen this you should – it’s one of the highlights of this year!

Coming up next: the Movies of June……

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Another bunch of films where it’s been so long since I have seen them that full reviews may be difficult to write but I wanted to make a note about what I thought of them. There will be proper reviews of more recent films over the next week or so.

Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice – Finally got around to watching this, without the benefit of having seen Man of Steel, but honestly I don’t think that was a problem. Superman caused the death of loads of people and Batman is extremely cross and decides to take him on, but something more significant comes along so they have to join forces, and then Wonder Woman turns up. Luthor is silly and annoying, no-one cracks a smile at any point, it’s too long & loud and dark, there isn’t nearly enough WW but it isn’t the total disaster lots of folk said it was. Supports my firm view that DC is better on TV than movie screens.

The Huntsman: Winter’s War – the sequel that nobody really wanted, but it was pretty good fun and had three of my favourite actresses (Ms Theron super-evil, Ms Blunt misguidedly evil, Ms Chastain being badass) and of course the Greater Hemsworth. The frocks are gorgeous, the effects are pretty cool but they should be arrested for the awfulness of their Scottish accents. Ends exactly as you think it’s going to.

Split – M Night Shyamalan’s latest is a multiple personality horror thriller thing with an amazing performance by James McAvoy but which in the end is pointless and confusing. I couldn’t work out where it was headed and became quite impatient. The much lauded cameo at the end was a real blink or your miss it event. Annoyingly disappointing.

A Monster Calls – I read the book on which this is based about a week before I saw the movie so I knew that it would be a two box of tissues movie. It’s so beautifully done, excellent performances all round and so, so sad. The monster is astonishing. I saw it with friends and we all cried buckets. Just excellent, and if you haven’t seen it please seek it out, it’s so, so good.


I had really hoped to write individual reviews for these films as they are (mostly) worthy of more than a couple of short paragraphs, but such is life and I could see myself just not writing anything about them at all in a desire to tidy things up for the start of a new year. So, here goes:

Doctor Strange:- The newest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this was on my must-see list as soon as it was announced, and it did not disappoint. Cumberbatch totally looked the part, and despite the controversy over casting I thought Tilda Swinton was, as ever, awesome. It was tripper and funnier than I expected and made it onto my To Buy list straight away.

Spy:- I hadn’t really seen any of Melissa McCarthy’s work until Ghostbusters, but i was very taken with her as a screen personality, and I had heard that this was a very funny film so it seemed a no-brainer to check this out when it appeared on cable. Haven’t laughed so much in ages. McCarthy very cool, but it’s Jason Statham who makes this film. Hilarious.

Arrival:- I was very keen to see this, more so after I read the short story by Ted Chiang on which it is based (and is wonderful in its own right). A completely absorbing and moving film with excellent performances. I wondered how the story would translate to the screen and I wasn’t at all disappointed. So clever and engaging. And one of the rare occasions when I have liked Jeremy Renner. Again, straight onto the To Buy list.

Independence Day: Resurgence:- It kind of had to be done. I love Jeff Goldblum and was interested how this would all work out twenty years after the original. And I didn’t think it was as awful as some people did, but it was distinctly meh and a real mess. Insufficient Goldblum, at least one superfluous sub-plot and the unnecessary despatching of several characters for no good reason that I could see. A clear example of bigger not meaning better.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them:- Loved it. Yes, there are plot and pacing problems; it feels like two unequal stories mashed together, one significantly darker than the other, but it was so well done that it was easy to overlook. I really enjoyed the film; the effects were excellent with some wonderful beasts (I personally would like to own a Niffler, and the Thunderbird was so so cool) and personable characters. My favourite was Queen; she was so sweet. Looking forward to the next film.

Maggie:- I can’t remember if someone recommended this to me or I just heard or read a review somewhere, but however I found out about it I was intrigued by a slightly different take on the zombie genre and a subtle performance by Arnold Schwarzenegger. I thought it was very good indeed. Low key and affecting. Worth watching.

Limitless:- We really enjoyed the TV series produced by Bradley Cooper (and sadly and wrongly cancelled after only one season) and decided to watch the film that had started it off. I am ambivalent about Mr Cooper – I’ve seen some great performances and some where I didn’t warm to him at all) but he was absolutely ideal for this character and I liked the movie very much, especially as Robert de Niro was being proper Robert de Niro. No real depth but a great Saturday night watch.

Rogue One:- It was brilliant. I’m going to see it again next week and will say more about it then, but I’m excited to see it again.