Reviews

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      Arrival


        Arrival is a thoughtful science fiction film, about as far from “Independence Day” as it is possible to get, though the special effects are impressive in their own way. The basic premise is that aliens have landed around the world in twelve huge spaceships, but their intent is unclear. At intervals the ships open a gate and admit visitors, and the aliens show themselves behind a huge screen, but what do they want?


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      Hell or High Water


        Two brothers rob banks together. But they don’t go for the big vault – they just take the petty cash in the tills. Then they move on to the next bank, and do the same again. As the story unfolds, we slowly find out why Toby (Chris Pine) and Tanner (Ben Foster) are specifically targeting Texas Midlands branches. In the meantime Marcus (Jeff Bridges), a Texas Ranger near his retirement, is slowly picking up on their trail, and together with his sidekick Alberto (Gil Birmingham) starts to catch up on them…


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      A Hologram for the King


        A movie about cultures colliding, midlife crises, flailing careers, fear, hope, and love with Tom Hanks heading the cast – sounds like a winner. Unfortunately the major themes get burried deep under the Arabian sand in this mostly bland and uninspired movie.


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      Elle


        How would you expect a woman to deal with being brutally raped? Undoubtedly there are many feasible scenarios – some more predictable than others. The one that Elle presents probably isn’t one you would have come up with. Paul Verhoeven returns to the essence of his earliest international success with Basic Instinct (1992): provoking the audience with female sexual exploration beyond boundaries most directors wouldn’t venture.


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      Anthropoid


        Reinhard Heydrich was Hitler’s third highest ranking officer, who had earned himself nicknames such as the Butcher of Prague and the Blond Beast. The Czech government was in exile in London at the time, and they sanctioned Operation Anthropoid: to assassinate this animal in Human Form.


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      The Girl on The Train


        The “Girl on The Train”, Rachel, played by Emily Blunt, takes a commuter train each day into Manhattan and back. The train pauses in its journey opposite a house where she sees a seemingly perfect couple, Scott and Megan. Rachel, an aspiring artist, sketches the beautiful Megan (Haley Bennett) from her vantage point of the train carriage.


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      The Wailing


        I can’t say the idea of a Korean horror movie automatically puts a film very high on my viewing list; I have seen enough Korean movies to have learnt that they can have a certain je ne sais quoi though: a kind of wacky weirdness that if, a fairly big if…, but if it clicks, it works. The Wailing is one of those.


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      The Neon Demon


        Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, I enjoyed his 2011 movie ‘Drive’. Sure some of the slow scenes and long pauses and deep and meaningful looks between Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan gave it a hint of pretentiousness at times, but that was easily outweighed by the stylisation, imagery and soundtrack. So Refn must have figured he could take those qualities up a notch or two when he wrote and directed the Neon Demon.


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      Hunt for the Wilderpeople


        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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      The Girl With All The Gifts


        Ever since George Romero made “Night of the Living Dead” there have been films about zombies, but few manage to be worth watching. Directors have tried applying comedy (“Shaun of the Dead”) and even Jane Austen (“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”) to the theme, but most efforts plod along as ineptly as the zombies themselves. The Girl With All the Gifts takes a new bite at the cherry.


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