‘All The Money In The World’ (2017) Review

All The Money In The World (2017) Review: Cut A Deal On This One. What would you do if you had all the money in the world? That’s a question that for most people remains purely hypothetical, but in 1973 that was the reality of J Paul Getty. The film touts Mr. Getty’s wealth as being more than has ever been owned in human history when he lived. While that might not be empirically accurate it makes for a good tagline. Still, it’s more than enough to pay for the safe return of his kidnapped grandson. But when asked how much he would give up in order to see his grandson again he simply responds “nothing.”That’s the events that kick off ‘All The Money In The World’, a story about the pitfalls of greed, wealth, and the importance of family. It’s also the film that was supposed to star Kevin Spacey, but now stars Christopher Plummer who reportedly filmed his scenes in a matter of 9 days. That changeover might be the best thing that could’ve happened for the film, as this is certainly Christopher Plummer’s show. The 88-year-old actor elevates the production with a complex and rewarding performance.In fact, Plummer is so good, he puts his co-stars to shame. It’s not that Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams are bad. On the contrary, Williams' take on the frustrated mother of a kidnapped child is touching. Mark Wahlberg as the ex-CIA agent hired…

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‘Justice League’ Is Not What You Want, But It’s Okay. (2017) Review

'Justice League' Is Not What You Want, But It's Okay' (2017) Review There’s not a soul alive who didn’t grow up in some shape or form with the Justice League. Though the characters are American inventions, they’re regarded the world over as iconic. Therefore despite all evidence to the contrary, I couldn’t help but have a twinge of excitement over the movie. Sure, ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” was a cinematic travesty, but ‘Wonder Woman’ was a breath of fresh air.So where then does that leave ‘Justice League’? Well, sadly more towards the former. While the film never quite reaches the lows of its 2016 predecessor, it does have some elements that serve as chilling reminders of how bad these films can be. The first act of the film is an incoherent mess. Batman, coming off of his win in his title fight with Superman, is traveling the world to assemble a team of super friends to face off against an incoming invasion.You have Cyborg, The Flash, Aquaman, Wonder Woman and Batman, all facing off against the evil Steppenwolf. An intergalactic conqueror with a vengeance, and rotten dialogue. Perhaps Justice League is a film best seen on mute, as too often I would be hit with the urge to smack one of the characters for saying the absolute cheesiest lines. Where Justice League fails is in its rushed execution, as it feels as though the first hour is a collection of…

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‘Murder On The Orient Express’ (2017) Review

'Murder On The Orient Express' Is A Classic Reborn. (2017) Review For the second time in nearly 50 years, the Agatha Christie novel ‘Murder On The Orient Express’ has been adapted to film. The story follows the incomparable detective Hercule Poirot, and his impossibly huge moustache. Hercule finds himself aboard The Orient Express, a magnificent train packed to the brim with passengers from all over the world, travelling peacefully, until, in the dead of night, one of them meets an untimely end. Unfortunately for the killer, Hercule Poirot is probably the world’s greatest detective. (Sorry Batman).What follows is a simple whodunit, as the detective makes his rounds interrogating the various passengers. The film is directed by Kenneth Branagh, who also plays the lead detective. He’s not the only notable cast member as the movie is filled with eye popping actors. Penelope Cruz, Johnny Depp, Judi Dench, Willem Dafoe, Michelle Pfeiffer. ‘Murder On The Orient Express’ has a rather impressive ensemble, though it leaves something to be desired.No one does a bad job per se, but no one was particularly impressive either. In fact, each of these actors have had better performances this year alone in different projects. The most engaging of the lot is Branagh himself as the eccentric but brilliant detective, whose obsessive compulsive disorder makes ordinary life unbearable, but solving crimes simple. The actors give you enough of their characters to play your own personal game of clue as the…

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‘Happy Death Day’ (2017) Review

Happy Death Day (2017) Review: A Halloween Treat In 1993, there was a movie released called ‘Groundhog Day’. It starred Bill Murray, and was directed by Harold Ramis. It was about a weatherman who gets stuck repeating the same day over and over, waking up to the same song as each day restarts. Since then, a number have movies have adopted the classic’s premise for their own stories. They are the movies we refer to as “It’s like ‘Groundhog Day’ but”.This year alone saw the release of ‘Before I Fall’, which applied the format to a high school melodrama, and 2014’s ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ borrowed the idea for a sci-fi backdrop. This time, the day goes on repeat for a young girl named Theresa (Tree for short), except she doesn’t just fall asleep and wake up in the next day. She has to die first.‘Happy Death Day’ takes that plot device that worked so well over twenty years ago and put it in the middle of a slasher film. Whenever the day repeats, it’s like looking at the beginning of a different horror movie each time. That makes for some very fun moments as Tree tries to figure out who’s been killing her. Never has there been a montage so gruesome as the one that's seen here, but I'm certainly glad we've reached this point in society. From this moment on montages must be this intense. Literally, life or death. As these…

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‘Battle Of The Sexes’ (2017) Review

Battle Of The Sexes (2017) Review: 1973 or 2017? The beauty of cinema is that it can transport you to a time and a place you didn't think you could experience yourself. A bygone era that is so different from the times you live in, it feels as though it took place on a different planet. 'Battle of the Sexes', a movie about the incredible tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, does not provide that sense of escapism. The picture it paints feels all too often like a self-portrait of today.After the 2016 United States election, I can't think of a more relevant film to come out. The qualified and less charismatic Billie Jean King played by Emma Stone, against the loud bombastic Bobby Riggs, played by Steve Carell, certainly, gives a parallel. The beauty of 'Battle of the Sexes' is the way it gives each of these counterparts a sense of identity. They're public figures, but like the best biopics, you leave the film feeling as though you knew them as people.You watch Billie Jean King go through the same journey as the heroes from sports movies past. The movie does a fantastic job of intertwining her own path, with the path of women everywhere. The tennis match itself holds little stake for the characters, but you never lose sight of how important it was for the world.If I had one gripe with 'The Battle of the Sexes'…

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‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’ (2017) Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard (2017) Review: Genuine Article When a movie gets too self-aware for its own good, it can go either way. They can be fiendishly clever playing on the tropes of its genre, or it can feel like it reaches for brilliance, but never quite makes the mark. 'The Hitman's Bodyguard' might fall into the latter camp, but that's not to say there's no fun to be had with this R Rated action comedy.Watching Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L Jackson play themselves was more rewarding than I expected. It really ought to be, since it's the roles they know best, and to their credit, the duo plays off each other like the dream team 90s buddy comedies they're trying to emulate. They have a hysterical back and forth as they riddle their enemies with bullets, the same way the script is riddled with plot holes and exposition. Then again, anyone who complains about such things is a stuffy film snob who has no business seeing 'The Hitman's Bodyguard'The roles of the film are in the title. Jackson plays the Hitman, Reynolds the bodyguard. The two are mortal enemies from the start of the film and share a storied history. The bodyguard protects, from the hitman. Their relationship in the movie is marked by constant bickering, and with a clear "you and I couldn't be more different" buddy movie dynamic. All you need is a Jackson munching on a carrot and Ryan…

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‘Girls Trip’ (2017) Review

Girls Trip (2017) Review: Tries To Have It All As they get older, most people find it increasingly trying to make time for their social lives. Some have families, some have work, some have both. 'Girls Trip' is a story about 4 women going on a relentless, wild adventure, reliving their glory days, and acting as young as they feel no matter how old they are. A story told a thousand and one times with men but one that's all too uncommon for women. Puzzlingly, 'Girls Trip' is a movie that has everything you've seen before, and things you never thought you'd ever see. In terms of its plot, it's entirely predictable. A few moments were surprising twists and turns in the road, that ultimately led to the same tired destination. In terms of spectacle, the movie is an entirely different ball game. You might be able to see moments coming, but knowing is only half the battle. You'll still be woefully unprepared for the limits the film will go beyond. In fact, 'Girls Trip' will put you in a state of perpetual denial about its antics. There's a temptation to deny the movie's unlimited raunch. This is pointless. Before you can say "There's no way they'll do that", it's too late. It's already been done. Shock value trumps all else in 'Girls Trip', with scenes designed to leave you contemplating the reality of the movie itself. In a way, this movie…

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‘Cars 3’ (2017) Review

Cars 3 (2017) Review: Just What I Needed The notorious Cars franchise races back into cinemas this time. After the spy-themed fever dream that was 'Cars 2' the series has taken a cue from other trilogies before it and returned to its underdog story roots. The focus switches back to Lightning McQueen this time around. The movie opens with Lightning on top of his game. Winning races, but without the ego that made him so unlikable in the first film. Along comes Jackson Storm, a new breed of racecar. The faster, stronger new hotness, to Lightning's old and busted make and model. After a car accident leaves Lightning worse for wear, he has to rediscover his inner racer or leave the racing to the new kids on the track.The Cars films have always been the black sheep of the Pixar family. The decency of the first film was undercut by the second film's inadequacy. This film, however, builds upon the best elements of the series, providing perhaps the most heartfelt of the films. It entirely disregards the events of the second film, and can be seen as a direct sequel to the first, much like the way 2016's 'Star Trek: Beyond' was better suited as a direct sequel to 2009's 'Star Trek'. Most of that is due to Lightning McQueen's introspective journey, as he comes to terms with his legacy and the life of a racer well past his prime.If any of…

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‘Alien Covenant’ (2017) Review

Alien Covenant (2017) Review: The Best Alien Movie In Years. When 1979's Alien was first released, the world was introduced to one of the most iconic monsters in cinema history. Now, 38 years later, that same monster is being reintroduced to audiences with 'Alien Covenant'. Set 10 years after the last installment in the franchise 'Prometheus', 'Alien Covenant' tells a somewhat familiar story. Much like the original and its sequels, this movie follows a crew of space explorers searching the vast echoes of space. A journey filled with wonder and excitement, that inevitably takes a grim turn. Despite following beats that have been seen before, 'Alien Covenant' feels fresh in today's cinema landscape. It never quite eclipses its predecessor, 'Alien', but it does evoke the same sense of dread. Scott shows his true strengths in this film, as he crafts one tense sequence after another. The best type of horror is presented here, one which frightens you but compels you not to look away, as you warm the very edge of your seat. Aside from the thrills, 'Alien Covenant' is a film with remarkable pacing. It takes its time to build its story and never felt dull or wanting for action. Then again, that won't be the same for all viewers. Most of the first act is watching scientists document their discoveries, which is not the most entertaining of pictures. The looming threat of death is what most viewers come for, but…

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‘Power Rangers’ (2017) Review

Power Rangers (2017) Review: Flawed, But Fun When the 5 teenagers we’ve come to know and love finally don their armour, the evil Rita Repulsa remarks how cute it is that they finally have their super suits and dinosaur robots. She says this with an irony that is present all throughout the film. A movie that reveres its source material, just as much as it irreverently mocks it. That source material is, of course, the ‘Power Rangers’ television show, in which 5 teenagers with attitude are given incredible abilities, and tasked with defending the Earth from alien attackers. The film follows the same basic formula, but with slightly better visuals than the low budget tv show it hails from. Still, there’s nothing here that you won’t find in the last Transformers movie. Truly, ‘Power Rangers’ is less its own property but more an amalgam of films done better. It takes its cues from ‘The Breakfast Club’, ‘Chronicle’, ‘Pacific Rim’, and others. It wears its references on its sleeve but feels like a cheap copy in some instances. Despite not feeling wholly original, the movie manages to maintain an energy to it that keeps you engaged with its light tone and enjoyable moments. This is just my personal preference. As obvious as that might be for a review based on my own opinion, I feel it should be emphasised in the case of this movie. Many times I saw something in the movie…

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