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      Murder on the Orient Express


        The best thing about this movie is the opening scene. We meet Hercule Poirot and his unique personality, and moustache in the middle of avoiding a religious war at Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall, and things are off to a great start. The story flows and so does the action, and before we know it, we find ourselves along with Poirot on the Orient Express from Istanbul to London.


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      The Death of Stalin


        This comedy is as black as the ace of spades, with Beria issuing detailed orders about the manner of the executions being carried out, and with an understandable air of paranoia amongst the scheming Politburo plotters, any of whom was at risk of being denounced and shipped off to Siberia or worse. The film has not gone down well in Russia, where the Ministry Of Culture has apparently considered banning it, an act worthy of Stalin himself.


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      The Party


        Sally Potter has a history of making arty films dating back to her best-known work Orlando (1992), though she made her first super 8 film at the age of just fourteen. The Party is a low budget, black and white affair shot in a fortnight and restricted to just seven characters. The film works because Sally Potter’s script has a keen eye for middle class hypocrisy and pretentiousness, the sharp lines delivered by a classy cast.


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      Blade Runner 2049


        Ridley Scott’s original “Blade Runner”, released in 1982, is an iconic science fiction film, ground-breaking in its striking sets and notable for some fine acting performances. It was therefore always going to be a challenge to do a sequel, and the task has fallen to director Dennis Villaneuve (who directed “Arrival” and “Sicario”). It has to be said that the visuals and sets are stunning, every bit as striking as the original and then some. Every bit of the rumoured $185 million budget is up there on the screen for all to see.


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      It


        Stephen King’s story about a supernatural clown preying on children in a small town is updated from the 1950s to 1988. This is certainly a superior horror film, and one that finally does justice to a Stephen King story.


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      Logan Lucky


        When Jimmy is made redundant from his tunnelling job and needs money quickly to hire a lawyer to help him with a custody dispute over his young daughter Sadie, he comes up with a scheme to rob the cash-rich vault of the nearby Nascar racing track where he has been working. To access the safe they need the skills of Joe Bang (played by Daniel Craig), who is currently incarcerated in the local prison, who brings into the gang his redneck brothers, who are no criminal masterminds.


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      Wind River


        Wind River is no Hollywood crime thriller. The plot has some genuinely unexpected turns and the acting is fine, but the star is really the mountain landscape, which is striking beautiful yet clearly dangerous. As the main character says: “Luck is for those in the city; here you either survive or surrender.”


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      Dunkirk


        Director Christoper Nolan lets us experience ‘Dunkirk’ by means of three storylines: one on land, one in the air, and one on the sea. With dialogue being minimal, it is all about the combination of visuals and Hans Zimmer’s nerve-wracking score to tell the story. And that works very well.


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      War for the Planet of the Apes


        What a pleasant surprise. A third instalment in a blockbuster franchise remake that actually holds up to the original. I would even say that of all nine Planet of the Apes movies and remakes (yes, I have seen all of them…), this one ranks as number 2, second only to the 1968 original.


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      Baby Driver


        English director Edgar Wright’s latest and most successful film to date is Baby Driver, which plays fairly straight as a heist movie. Ansel Elgort plays the eponymous “Baby”, a youthful, introverted but preternaturally talented getaway driver who works for criminal big-shot “Doc” (a sauve but occasionally menacing Kevin Spacey), who plans assorted bank robberies and recruits a revolving gang of thugs to carry them out, always with Baby as the driver…


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