Archives

A Hologram for the King

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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

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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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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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The Girl With All The Gifts

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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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Florence Foster Jenkins

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If you can’t sing, don’t let that stop you from pursuing your dream to be a singer; if you have enough money, you will get to sing wherever you want. Florence Foster Jenkins aims to pay tribute to a woman who couldn’t sing but achieved fame thanks to her devotion to trying anyway; but it is impossible to watch this movie without realising that in the end it only succeeds in being a sad and misplaced celebration of the vanity and self-indulgence of the rich and untalented.

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Imperium

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Yes that skinhead on the movie poster was once Harry Potter. In Imperium Daniel Radcliffe finds himself amongst an altogether different kind of Grand Wizards. Seeing him giving nazi salutes in White Power gear is quite a change – and more importantly, he pulls it off.

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Money Monster

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If you put George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Jack O’Connell together, directed by Jodie Foster, you’d be right to be expecting a pretty decent film. And indeed, Money Monster is just that: a pretty decent film. George Clooney is Lee Gates, loudmouth host of ‘Money Monster’, a TV show where he dances and prances around making wild predictions about the markets and advocating his latest stock picks with great arrogance and fanfare. During a live show, viewer Kyle Budwell manages to slip onto the set, quickly turning it into a gun-waving, bomb-vest packing hostage situation.

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Cafe Society (7/10)

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Woody Allen has now made 51 movies, and so by now we have a rough idea what to expect. In his twilight years his recent movies continue to attract top notch actors, and his ear for conversation remains as sharp as ever. The humour may not these be quite as a laugh put loud funny as in his “early, funny films” as he noted in “Stardust Memories’ but he can still write a good one-liner.

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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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The Shallows (5/10)

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Who would have thought that surfing on your own on a strange beach in a foreign land in shark infested waters could possibly go wrong? A medical student (Blake Lively) thinking of giving up her studies is on vacation in Mexico (the film was actually filmed in Australia) and heads off to a secluded beach that has a personal connection for her. After the only other two local surfers leave she decides to stay in the water, and quickly discovers who is top of the food chain in the area.

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