Reviews

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      The Man Who Knew Infinity (8/10)


        This film tells the remarkable true story of Srinivasa Ramanujan (played by Dev Patel), who grew up in grinding poverty in Tamil Nadu at the end of the 19th century but proved to have a remarkable gift for numbers and mathematics. Even as a 15 year old he developed his own theorems in number theory, despite hardly any formal education. At 16 he obtained a library book on mathematics and studied it in depth, continuing his researches in his notebooks. He never completed a degree but managed to secure a job in a tax department whose boss happened to be interested in mathematics.


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      The Invitation (5/10)


        Will and Eden were once married, but a tragedy drove them apart two years ago and they haven’t seen each other since. Now, Eden (Tammy Blanchard) and her new partner David (Michiel Huisman) have invited Will (Logan Marshall-Green) and his new partner over for dinner at their house, where Will and Eden used to live, along with about 8 other friends. It’s a nice idea to have the old gang together again, even if there is likely to be some old pain and tension still in the air.


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      The Forest (4/10)


        Sara (Natalie Dormer) has a twin sister Jess (Natalie Dormer again) who was seen entering the infamous Suicide Forest near Mount Fuji in Japan. Sara knows Jess is still alive and travels out to find her. Once arrived near the Aokigahara Forest, she learns that it is filled with the ghosts or people who committed suicide there, but according to a local guide: whatever you see or hear here is not real, it is all in your head…


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      Sicario (7/10)


        The background to Sicario’s story is the premise that the war on drugs cannot be won by playing by the rules. Or even that the war on drugs cannot be won at all, as it it has become a self-defeating prophecy: an endless war with drug lords pursuing ever more creative ways of going underground and at the same time embracing ever more violent ways to achieve their goals. Trying to get some kind of control back over this is not for the weak.


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      10 Cloverfield Lane (8.5/10)


        The basic premise is that Michelle (played by the versatile actress Mary Elizabeth Wnstead) wakes up after a car accident to find herself with a drip in one arm, her leg strapped up and manacled to a basic bed in a locked room. Not surprisingly, this turn of events causes her considerable unease, especially when the intimidating figure of Howard (John Goodman) appears.


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      Brooklyn (5/10)


        Brooklyn has three oscar nominations under its belt: Best Motion Picture, Best Lead Actress, and Best Writing. I can understand why it didn’t win, but I am still scratching my head as to why on earth it got nominated in the first place.


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      The Witch (8/10)


        Set in 17th Century New England (actually shot in Canada for tax reasons), the film tells the tale of William and his family: wife Katherine, teenage daughter Thomasin, son Caleb, two young twins and one baby. The family are banished from their community for a someway vaguely defined crime of biblical interpretation by William, a proud man who is utterly sure of his religious beliefs and will not compromise them in order to fit in as demanded.


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      Hail Caesar! (6/10)


        “Hail Caesar!” is a gentle comedy on the surface, but seems to me more a homage to the glory days of the Hollywood studio system in the 1930s-50s. At that time the “big five” studios (Warner, RKO, Fox, Loew and Paramount) controlled every aspect of film production, from script writing through to distribution. Actors were on contract to a studio, who managed every aspect of their career and their public image.


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      The Lady in the Van (5/10)


        ‘The Lady in the Van’ was Mary Shepherd (Maggie Smith), an elderly vagrant living in her van in the streets of Camden in the 1970s and 80s. She came to live in Alan Bennett’s (Alex Jennings) driveway for some fifteen years. The movie tells the story of how Mary came to live, in her van, in Alan’s garden, and in a slow and roundabout way also discloses how she ended up living her autumn years in that van in the first place.


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      The Big Short (7/10)


        We are still living the (aftermath of…?) the global financial crisis that took the economy into recession starting in 2008. But it didn’t start in 2008 of course. It started over a decade earlier when investment banks found new ways of packaging debt. Then they evolved these new markets further by creating products consisting of funds consisting of bonds consisting of shares in packaged debt consisting of subprime mortgages. And these new markets were just as intransparent as the previous sentence was.


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