Archives

First Reformed

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Reverend Ernst Toller (an excellent Ethan Hawke) heads a dwindling congregation at a small Dutch Protestant church in upstate New York. He drinks, far too much, since his marriage collapsed after his son died. Now, Toller mostly keeps to himself; he regrets an affair with the choir director who now won’t leave him at peace, and he seems to struggle keeping his faith.

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A Quiet Place

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Humanity has been largely erased by an invasion of blind aliens who hunt their prey with their hearing. This means Silence is Survival. We follow a family trying to do just that. Krasinski plays husband Lee, and his real-life wife Emily Blunt plays his wife Evelyn. Their eldest child, Regan, is deaf (played by deaf actress Millicent Simmonds), which means the family can use sign language to stay silent as they communicate. Of course raising a young family in silence will still prove impossible, and they find themselves in the middle of an alient hunting ground…

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American Animals

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A couple of friends decide to pull of the perfect heist. They are going to steal $12m worth of books from their college library. They watch heist movies and plot the plans, ranging from choosing disguises to organising a fencing deal to get rid of the loot. The movie echoes titbits of Heist classics ranging from Ocean’s 11 to Catch Me If You Can to Reservoir Dogs.

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Journeyman

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Matty Burton (Paddy Considine) is an ageing boxer who hopes to defend his title in a last fight, and then plans to enjoy his retirement with his wife Emma (Jodi Whittaker) and their baby daughter. After he comes home from the fight, his wife soon finds him collapsed on the floor…

This is not a boxing movie; it is about Matty, as well as his family and friends, trying to fight their way back from his life-altering brain damage.

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I, Tonya

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Tonya Harding was, as the movie points out, briefly the second most famous person in the world (after Bill Clinton). Growing up in poverty, the young Tonya had a passion for ice skating, and a rare talent for it too. In 1991 she was US champion and world silver medallist, and became the first woman ever to land a triple axel in competition.

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

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Mildred Hayes’ teenage daughter was recently raped and murdered in the small town of Ebbing, Missouri. She now brings up her son alone and becomes frustrated at the local police department’s lack of progress into the investigation of her daughter’s brutal death. Spotting a trio of unused roadside billboards on a quiet road in the town, she hits on the idea of renting them and keeping the case in the public eye by using advertisements to accuse local chief of police chief of neglecting the investigation.

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Murder on the Orient Express

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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 Party

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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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Dunkirk

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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

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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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