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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.