Reviews

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      Life


        Scientists on the International Space Station are bringing back a sample from Mars, which turns out to contain -indeed- Life. It starts out as a single celled organism, but it doesn’t take long for it to grow into a complex creature. Not surprisingly, as it grows and develops, it turns out not to be too friendly and soon this newly hailed Life form becomes a threat to all on board, and beyond…


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      Alien: Covenant


        Ridley Scott returned to the Alien franchise that he started with “Prometheus” (2012), a prequel to the original movie “Alien” (1979). Covenant takes up the story at the end of Prometheus, with a spaceship full of human colonists in stasis en route to an alien planet; a small crew is also in stasis and the ship is run by its computer and an android, Walter. An incident forces Walter to wake the crew early into the journey, and a signal is detected that may be of human origin from a nearby planet. When the crew land on the planet they discover the relics of a dead civilisation and some familiar life forms…


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      Their Finest


        Catrin Cole (played by Gemma Arterton) appears married to a handsome but struggling artist/painter Ellis Cole (Jack Huston), and against his wishes decides to get a job in order to shore up the couple’s frail finances. She is hired as a writer to help the established writing team. Catrin is sent to investigate a potentially stirring tale of a pair of twin sisters who take their drink father’s boat to Dunkirk to help in the rescue, and concludes that, despite some serious issues, the material may make a flagship propaganda film.


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      Uncanny


        The more a robot looks like a real human, the more empathy most people have for it. If a robot becomes almost ‘real’ in its looks, movements and interactions, many people suddenly experience a huge drop in empathy where it can even flip to extreme dislike – this stage of human replicas being almost truly lifelike, but not quite right, is known is the Uncanny Valley.


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      Night of the Demon


        This low-budget black and white movie shows off the prodigious directorial talent of Jacques Tourneur, who by this stage had already made the classic “Cat People” (1942) and the haunting “I Walked with a Zombie” (1943). Set in the English countryside, the film begins with the mysterious death of an agitated Professor Harrington (played by Maurice Denham), a psychiatrist who has been investigating paranormal beliefs in some of his patients who practice witchcraft and devil worship.


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      Regression


        Ethan Hawke takes on the role of Bruce Kenner, a detective in small town Minnesota who investigates a case of serious child abuse. The victim, Angela (Emma Watson), isn’t quite ready to speak to him as she is hiding out at the local priest’s home. Slowly more details emerge, as Kenner gets help from psychologist Dr Raines (David Thewlis), who uses regression as a tool to unlock hidden memories.


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      Get Out


        This is the first feature from actor Jordan Peele, who both wrote and directed it. His acting career has veered between comedy and more serious fare, such as his role in the hard-boiled TV series Fargo. For his debut movie he has chosen horror as the genre, laced with just a touch of comedy to relieve the tension. Overall this is a terrific film, certainly one of the best, and most thoughtful, horror films to appear in the last few years.


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      Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them


        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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      The Accountant


        You can envision the pitch to the studio now: “like Jason Bourne, but with an autistic accountant.” It is tough to make an engaging movie about autism without Dustin Hoffmann, more so about an accountant. So it is fortunate that the main character is a dab hand at martial arts and high calibre weapons as well as being a whiz with figures.


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      Hidden Figures


        This film tells the story of a group of black female mathematicians who worked on the early NASA space programme. This being a time when the US was still racially segregated, the women had to endure “coloured only” bathrooms and even segregated water fountains while contributing to the space race with the Soviet Union. The film focuses on three women in particular, who are friends. Katherine Johnson is the most brilliant mathematician, drafted in to help NASA calculate flight trajectories in an age when computers were in their infancy and most calculations had to be done by hand.


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