The Greatest Showman (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’.

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Pitch Perfect 2 (2015)

“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.

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Movies for 2018

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.)

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Bright (2017)

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.

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Olaf’s Frozen Adventure (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.

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Goosebumps (2015)

“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.

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White Christmas (1954)

“First and unforgettable picture in VISTAVISION”

Directed by Michael Curtiz
Starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen

A pair of singers – Broadway star Bob Wallace (Crosby) and aspiring entertainer Phil Davis (Kaye) – team up to produce a show for their unit during WWII. After the war, they become a successful double act, and are asked to view an act put on by their mess sergeant’s sisters, Betty (Clooney) and Judy (Vera-Ellen). Wily opportunists Phil and Judy hit it off, while Bob and Betty form a certain rapprochement tempered by the conflict of his cynicism with her idealism.

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Rebourne: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

“The Game Has Evolved”

Directed by Jake Kasdan
Starring Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Nick Jonas and Bobby Cannavale

The Original

Years after a boy is sucked into a mysterious board game, two more children find the game and begin to play. In order to avoid getting trapped themselves, they must play the game to the end, and in the process learn some important lessons about themselves.

The Late Sequel

In 1996 a teenager finds, but sets aside the Jumanji board game. To lure him in, it becomes a computer game. Twenty years later, four mismatched students – nerdy gamer Spencer (Alex Wolff), jock Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain), queen bee Bethany (Madison Iseman) and angry young woman Martha (Morgan Turner) – are given detention and tasked with clearing out old papers from the basement. There they find the game, and it pulls them in.

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

As ever on the site, this review contains hella spoilers.

This Star Wars movie has no tagline, apparently. What is the world coming to.

Directed by Rian Johnson
Starring Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Benicio del Toro

Following more or less directly from The Force Awakens, we begin with the Resistance fleeing from the First Order fleet, whose motto is clearly ‘more shooty, bigger shooty’. Hot-shot pilot Poe Dameron (Isaac) sasses pompous First Order not-quite-head honcho General Hux (Gleeson) then blows up a dreadnought ‘fleet killer’ (Star Destroyers are now largely for support, it seems,) but at the cost of many pilots and the Resistance’s entire bombing fleet.

The first thing that this film makes clear about the Resistance that was less apparent in the previous instalment: It’s really small. Like, there are probably fewer ships and personnel than there were on Hoth.

This is Krayt. I don’t see no dragons.

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