“Every Maze Has an End”
Directed by Wes Ball
Starring Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Dexter Darden, Giancarlo Esposito, Aidan Gillen, Walton Goggins, Ki Hong Lee, Barry Pepper, Will Poulter, Patricia Clarkson and Rosa Salazar
Following Teresa’s (Scodelario) betrayal in The Scorch Trials, Thomas (O’Brien) and Newt (Brodie-Sangster) are intent on rescuing their comrade Minho (Lee), with the help of survivalists Jorge (Esposito) and Brenda (Salazar) and revolutionary Vince (Pepper). WCKD are determined to hold onto Minho, however, as Teresa and her mentor Ava (Clarkson) believe that his blood holds the key to a cure which could save the Last City from the Flare virus.
Continue reading The Death Cure (2018)
“Lives are on the Line”
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra
Starring Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Jonathan Banks, Elizabeth McGovern and Sam Neill
Ex-cop turned insurance salesman Michael McCauley (Neeson) takes the train to work in the city every day, until the day he gets laid off after ten years and with his son about to go to university. After meeting up with former partner Alex Murphy (Wilson) for a drink and a moan about the state of the world and the politicising of cops under the likes of Captain David Hawethorne (Neill), he takes the train home. En route, a mysterious woman named Joanna (Farmiga) offers him $100,000 if he can find someone on the train who is riding to the last stop on the line, but does not belong among the regular commuters.
Continue reading The Commuter (2018)
“It takes a bear to catch a thief”
Directed by Paul King
Starring Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Brendan Gleeson, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw (voice)
Paddington (Whishaw), whom I should probably point out is a bear, has settled into life in London with the Brown family (Bonneville, Hawkins, Madelaine Harris and Samuel Joslin) and their elderly relative, Mrs Bird (Walters). Missing his Aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton, voice), he wants to send her a pop-up book of London he finds in the antiques shop owned by Mr Gruber (Broadbent). Paddington sets out to earn enough money to buy the rare volume, but unwittingly sets caddish actor Phoenix Buchanan (Grant) onto the trail of the book.
Continue reading Paddington 2 (2017)
“A universe without boundaries needs heroes without limits.”
Directed by Luc Besson
Starring Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, Herbie Hancock, Kris Wu, Rutger Hauer
A paradisiacal world of blue-skinned, pearl-fishing humanoids is destroyed by a rain of destroyed spaceships, but their princess is able to send a telepathic message which reaches Valerian (DeHaan), a happy-go-lucky agent of the United Human Federation with serious boundary issues, as seen in his relationship with his professional partner Laureline (Delevingne). He also appears to have some concentration problems, blowing an undercover op when two of the blue people show up while he is retrieving a Mul converter – an organism which replicates matter, and was native to the planet he dreamed he saw destroyed – from a black market trader.
Continue reading Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)
This is a film about PT Barnum, with apparently no tagline; this feels wrong.
Directed by Michael Gracey
Starring Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson and Zendaya
Tailor’s boy Phineas Barnum (Jackman, once he grows up) sets out into the world to make a fortune, so that he can support his childhood sweetheart Charity (Williams) in the manner to which, as the daughter of a great family, she is accustomed. After years of struggle and with two lively daughters to support, Barnum parlays a gift for flim flam into a museum of curiosities, which becomes a huge success after he hits on the idea of including a show featuring living, human ‘oddities’.
Continue reading The Greatest Showman (2017)
“We’re back, pitches”
Directed by Elizabeth Banks
Starring Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Hailee Steinfeld, Skylar Astin, Ben Platt, Adam DeVine, Anna Camp, Hana Mae Lee, Alexis Knapp, Ester Dean, Katey Sagal, Chrissie Fit, Kelley Jakle, Shelley Regner, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, Flula Borg, John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks
Three-times national collegiate acapella champions the Barden Bellas are disgraced after a wardrobe malfunction in front of Barack Obama’s archive footage, and subsequently replaced on their victory tour by German champions Das Sound Machine. Banned from entering competitions or auditioning new members, the Bellas only shot at redemption is the world acapella championships, to which they are automatically entered as national champions.
Continue reading Pitch Perfect 2 (2015)
With the review of 2017 out of the way, the other traditional new year cinephile activity is to consider the year ahead and ponder what there is to look forward to. For me, this is a slightly more than academic exercise, as it provides a baseline for the ‘waste of potential’ category in my rating system if I start out by assessing what I’m expecting.
The number of releases for each month is not absolute; it’s the number I am currently interested in. With roughly one day per week free for a cinema evening, ‘4’ is thus my ideal number, and anything above ‘5’ means I’m likely to have to make choices. These choices are represented in my projected viewing schedule for the month (which assume the dates are correct and for the UK, which is a big if.)
Continue reading Movies for 2018
Directed by David Ayer
Starring Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, Noomi Rapace, Lucy Fry, Édgar Ramírez, Ike Barinholtz and Happy Anderson
LA cop Daryl Ward (Smith) has been partnered with Nick Jakoby (Edgerton), the first orcish cop in a world where magical races live side by side with humans – apart from the Elves, who have their own exclusive, gated communities, because fucking elves, yo – which has not proven a marriage made in heaven. With the department pushing to set Jakoby up for a fall, the pair stumble across a magical crime scene and custody of an elf magician, Tika (Fry) and a wand.
Continue reading Bright (2017)
Directed by Kevin Deters and Stevie Wermers
Starring Josh Gad, Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel and Jonathan Groff
Olaf (Gad) is thrilled that Anna (Bell) and Elsa (Menzel) have planned a grand holiday surprise party for all of Arendelle (which, based on the information here that the great Jule Bell can be heard across the kingdom, is presumably about the same size as London’s properly Cockney East End, but significantly less densely populated,) only for the populace to leave before the announcement to commence their individual household traditions.
Continue reading Olaf’s Frozen Adventure (2017)
“You will believe in monsters”
Directed Rob Letterman
Starring Jack Black, Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush, Amy Ryan, Ryan Lee, Jillian Bell
Zach Cooper (Minnette) moves from New York to Madison, Delaware, the small-townest of small-town American small towns, so that his mother (Ryan) can take up a new job as vice principal of his new high school. He forms a friendship with Hannah (Rush) the beautiful girl next door, but when he fears her intense and secretive father (Black) is abusing her, he and his new friend Champ (Lee) break into their house and stumble across a stash of manuscripts for the Goosebumbs children’s novels.
Continue reading Goosebumps (2015)