Reviews

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      Radius


        This Canadian movie comes straight from the Twilight Zone. It has an intriguing concept to kick things off. A man has been in a car accident but he cannot remember anything – not even his name. As he wanders the roads he finds dead and dying people and animals in his path. Wondering why he isn’t affected by what he assumes to be some kind of virus, he soon figures out what causes the deaths…


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      Journeyman


        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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      Red Sparrow


        A “sparrow” is the term for a Mata Hari style secret agent, trained to seduce men in pursuit of secrets. Ballerina Dominika Egorova (played by Jennifer Lawrence) is inducted into this life by her uncle Vanya (I know, I know; the Chekov references could be subtler), a spymaster, when her ballet career is cut short by a serious injury. Trained at spy school by the cynical Matron (Charlotte Rampling) and directed by General Korchnoi (Jeremy Irons), Dominika is soon thrust into the cut and thrust world of espionage.


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      I, Tonya


        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


        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


        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 Death of Stalin


        This comedy is as black as the ace of spades, with Beria issuing detailed orders about the manner of the executions being carried out, and with an understandable air of paranoia amongst the scheming Politburo plotters, any of whom was at risk of being denounced and shipped off to Siberia or worse. The film has not gone down well in Russia, where the Ministry Of Culture has apparently considered banning it, an act worthy of Stalin himself.


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      The Party


        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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      Blade Runner 2049


        Ridley Scott’s original “Blade Runner”, released in 1982, is an iconic science fiction film, ground-breaking in its striking sets and notable for some fine acting performances. It was therefore always going to be a challenge to do a sequel, and the task has fallen to director Dennis Villaneuve (who directed “Arrival” and “Sicario”). It has to be said that the visuals and sets are stunning, every bit as striking as the original and then some. Every bit of the rumoured $185 million budget is up there on the screen for all to see.


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      It


        Stephen King’s story about a supernatural clown preying on children in a small town is updated from the 1950s to 1988. This is certainly a superior horror film, and one that finally does justice to a Stephen King story.


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