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War for the Planet of the Apes

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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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The Mummy

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Whilst Brandon Fraser has all but disappeared from the big screen, his legacy of The Mummy franchise lives on – and now even gets a reboot with none other than Tom Cruise following in his footsteps. The original series is known for its outright silliness, and this update tries to keep some of that whilst at the same time taking a slightly darker approach: suitable at least in name, as it is the first movie in Universal’s so-called ‘Dark Universe’.

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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This first movie in this new wizarding world (there are four more to come) is set in the past in relation to the Harry Potter movies. In 1920s New York to be exact. A lot of the movie therefore is spent on creating this new world and setting out the origins of this entirely new storyline. And it is a lovingly crafted world with lots of fantastic creatures, but unfortunately, it lacks an interesting plot and worse in view of four more movies in the pipeline, it lacks an interesting central character.

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Passengers

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A giant starship is on a century-long journey to a recently colonised planet, carrying five thousand colonists plus crew in suspended animation. The ship is highly advanced and is self-repairing and self navigating, so no human crew are required; this ship’s complement will be woken when the ship nears its destination. The film opens when one of them, an engineer called Jim (Chris Pratt) is awakened from his sleep, and quickly discovers that he is not only the only one awake but that there are still ninety years left in the journey. Needless to say, this is unwelcome news…

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Hunt for the Wilderpeople

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Ricky Baker gets sent off to live on a farm as his last chance before being sent to juvie prison. New Zealand Child Services take him to live with new foster parents – ‘aunty’ Bella (Rima Te Wiata) and ‘uncle’ Hector (Sam Neill); Bella is the patient one with boundless love for the little boy and Hec is the grumpy one who hates the world and everyone in it. Just as it appears Ricky may sort of be settling in, things go wrong and Hec and Ricky end up on the run together through the New Zealand wilderness…

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Now You See Me 2 (5/10)

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I saw the first Now You See Me movie on a plane and was pleasantly suprised. Sure it was a bit silly but it was also just good fun and had a cast-with-chemistry and enough plot to keep you interested. A bit of a guilty pleasure if you will.

Now You See Me 2 brings more of everything – more action, more plot, more twists, and a couple new characters.

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The Jungle Book (7/10)

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Remaking a classic is always risky. It’s inevitable that people will compare the new version with the original, and often find the original better: if the original wasn’t any good it probably wouldn’t have been a classic to begin with, and some rose-tinted nostalgia may also come into play.

The new Jungle Book puts the original story in a new cover, in more ways than one.
Firstly, it is not an animation but a live action movie. Secondly, the atmosphere is decidedly darker throughout.

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Independence Day: Resurgence (4/10)

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It is twenty years since the aliens attacked our planet and were defeated by a cunning combination of Jeff Goldblum, a heroic pilot and the invaders’ dazzling inability naivety about the basic concept of a computer firewall. It turns out that a distress call was sent out into deep space and now they’re back, presumably having fully assimilated the sacred text “PC Security for Dummies”. The human race has been busy in the interim…

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Midnight Special (7/10)

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A seemingly estranged father (Michael Shannon) appears to kidnap his own son from what turns out to be a cult and takes him on the road… But why? And where are they going? And why was the boy revered by this cult?

The details slowly emerge as the chase progresses and we learn more about the boy, Alton, and certain powers he seems to posess. But we never quite understand them, and the director (Jeff Nichols) keeps playing with the audience’s understanding of what may be going on.

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Goosebumps (6/10)

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This movie takes one of R.L.Stine’s book series (there are currently 182 Goosebump books) and makes a merry mash-up of it all. Jack Black plays RL Stine as a recluse, living in a small town in Delaware. When new neighbours move in, teenage Zach (Dylan Minette) can’t help himself and finds himself sneaking into Stine’s house one night. When he accidentally drops one of Stine’s Goosebump manuscripts on the floor, it unleashes the monster inside…

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