Bird Box is a post-apocalyptic thriller that was released on December 21st, 2018 and rated 15 in the UK (PG-13). Sandra Bullock stars as Malorie Hayes, an artist who is pregnant with her first child. She is taken to the hospital by her sister who as already warned her that there is an outbreak of mass suicide in Russia and Europe. When they are leaving the hospital, they soon realise that the outbreak has now spread to North America when a woman starts to head-butt a toughened glass window. The outbreak soon spreads and Malorie is forced to take refuse in a nearby home. The movie then alternates between the original incident and what is happening five years later. When movies do this it can be confusing, but in this instance, it was easy to follow, and you knew exactly what time frame you were in.
The reason for the outbreak is not entirely clear but it is definitely a sinister entity and the intrigue will keep you watching for the full two hours. There is also lots of blood, but nothing that I would consider over the top. The acting is very good and the two children, particularly the boy, play their parts well. You will enjoy this movie and I would give it a strong four out of five. I would watch it again but won’t be adding it to my collection.
The Christmas Chronicles(22 Nov 2018) In everyone’s hearts there is always the hope of something better, and The Christmas Chronicles delivers. Santa is played by Kurt Russell, yeah I know it is a little hard to believe, but he does it well. This is a fantasy, for children, just remember what I say at the end of this and make sure the children know it. There are several child actors that play Teddy and Kat at different ages, all did well. Judah Lewis plays the oldest who is not a believer and you actually feel for him. His little sister is played by Darby Camp, who by the way, steals the show.
If your children see this as a fantasy, then all is well. If they are expected to believe it, shame on you. It will be a great Christmas Story the whole family will enjoy. Based on that I give it a 4.5 out of 5, taking off a little for the cartoonish elves. I guess they didn’t want to pay for short kids or adults to play them, so sad. Personally, I would have preferred kids, or short people playing those parts, after all, that is what you expect in a Christmas Story… Don’t worry, the children in your house won’t notice… I hope. This was an enjoyable movie.
As a youngster I never believed in Santa Claus, however, I do believe in Sinter Klaus ie Saint Nick who was a robber baron in the old world, by all intents and purposes gave out candy to children, but when he left the town he took several with him, they were never to be seen again. a demon by any name. Let’s face it when kids first see Santa Clause, they scream bloody murder wondering why their parents forsook them. Then they are taught that the evil clown brings them presents. That lasts for several years until, at nine to eleven, their schoolmates tell them the truth! Bad parenting. Now they will never trust you 100% anymore. You lied about the tooth fairy, you lied about the Easter bunny, and you lied about Santa Clause, not to mention all the lies Disney tells them.
I would not buy this, and if my arm was twisted I may watch it again.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Nov 2018) A good singing cowboy that can outshoot Roy Rogers, although I can’t say he can outsing him, at least at first. However, it gets better. There are actually several stories in this movie Each with a different message, and outcome. I enjoyed this video because it made me laugh at people. Oh yeah, there are like twenty major stars in it, so be on the lookout for them, and these are actors, not High Paid He-men… These guys and girls actually act, several times I found myself saying “No it can’t be he/she” but it was!
The directing was great, the acting was great, the writing was great, and hilarious at times. This is one of those, ‘you don’t want to miss this one’ movie, All is fair and it is rated R… I am not sure why, it did have a bit of blood, and only one speck of gore, and no foul language that I heard, hardly worth rating it ‘R’. Then again I hear best friend’s foul mouth, who lives in England, so much lately that maybe I just tune it out.
I think anyone over thirteen will enjoy it. I rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars!
The film Outlaw King was released on November 9, 2018. It is an historical film dealing with the history of Scotland under the role of Robert the Bruce (1275-1329). It starts with the submission of the Scottish lords to King Edward I of England in 1304. Chris Pine plays Robert the Bruce and Stephen Dillane is King Edward I. The film is a bit slow in the beginning due to the presentation of other historical persons, such as Queen Margaret of Scotland and Prince Edward of England and various influential lords.
This was a very bloody time in the history of Scotland but this was not shown until halfway through the film. The death of William Wallace was skimmed over. Another thing that is a problem with biopics is that historical facts are sometimes presented out of sequence. I understand the reasoning behind this, which is due to time limitations, but it presents a prejudicial viewpoint of history. Putting this aside, Outlaw King was a well written story. For the most part it keeps the viewer’s interest. The acting was sufficient and believable. The direction was excellent. I admit that if every battle ever fought by the English and the Scots, the back door politics, and other factors were shown in this film, it would probably last about 6-7 hours.
I like historical films for the most part if the subject is of interest. I knew a bit about Robert the Bruce and King Edward I, but this film gives an interesting perspective on the interaction between these two countries. I would watch it again and I would recommend it others. I give this 4 stars out of 5.
The French action movie The Crew (Braqueurs) was released in the US on November 15, 2018. A gang of armored car robbers find themselves in a bigger mess when one of them sells a gun to the local crime gang. In order to pay off a debt, they are forced to hold up a caravan loaded with 80,000 euros (around $90,000) worth of heroin.
Most of the actors were good and very believable. The director was also very good. I don’t know if French action movies are usually this dialogue heavy, but this did tend to slow down the story. The action sequences were good, but had very little blood. The cinematography was good and helped bring a sense of gloom to the film. The soundtrack was good and didn’t overwhelm the story.
Despite the slow section of the movie, it was entertaining. An audience would be drawn into the story more if there would have been more emphasis on the action sequences instead of establishing the relationships between the characters. I give this 3 1/2 stars out of 5.
Mowgli was released on 29th November 2018 and is directed by Andy Serkis who also voices one of the characters in the movie. It is based on Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book and stars Rohan Chand in the lead role.
The first thing that hits you when the movie opens is that this is not going to be the same as the cutesy, sing-along Disney version as there is a lot of blood and death which will probably explain its 12-rating. So, I would not recommend it for a younger audience. The story is very good and the acting from young Rohan was very believable. The voices for the main characters are from very well known, mainly British, actors and I thought they played their parts very well. The usual characters are all there as well as one I have never seen before, a young albino wolf voiced by Louis Ashbourne Serkis. If Bhoot does not make you cry, you are HEARTLESS! The CGI was also very good with a good musical score to help with the tension.
I really enjoyed this movie, it was a lot darker than what I was expecting and Remmy tells me that this was closer to what Kipling wrote in his book. I am glad someone decided to write and release something other than the Disney version (which I also liked!). I hope it becomes available to buy on disc as I want it in my collection. An easy 5/5 from me.
On November 2, 2018 the biographic film of one of rock’s greatest bands Queen, was released. Bohemian Rhapsody covers the time when Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) introduced himself to his favorite band Smile and ended up leading them to be one of the greatest bands of the 1970s. The other members were Brian May (Gwilym Lee), Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy), and John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello).
Most biographic films tend to ignore some parts of history, while expanding other parts. Bohemian Rhapsody may be guilty of this aspect, but it is somewhat tempered by Brian May and Roger Taylor’s remembrance of this time and of Freddie. All of the actors did a great job of portraying their characters and the story line was handled very well. The director was also very good. I especially enjoyed the soundtrack. He made a great decision to recreate Queen’s complete concert for Live Aid which revived Queen’s popularity after Freddie Mercury had tried to go solo.
I can hardly imagine anyone who has never heard of Queen or never heard any of their music. Freddie Mercury had a great vocal range and he and the band are experiencing a resurgence. I highly recommend this movie to everyone. By the end of the film, I was starting to tear up and this was the second film I’ve seen where the theater audience stood up and applauded. I give this a 5 stars out of 5 for the emotional experience alone.
This family-friendly movie was released on DVD in the United States on October 9, 2018. James Nash (Lucius Hoyos) discovers a robot in the forest behind his house. Dr. Andi Palmer (Kelly Hu) is its creator and she has decided to hide it from her unscrupulous boss (Angus Macfadyen). James seeks help from his friend Danny (Reid Miller) and, eventually James’ girlfriend Natalie (Casimere Jollette). The aim is to return F.R.E.D.I. to Dr. Palmer and prevent the bad guys to use F.R.E.D.I. for an instrument of war.
The story line is not really original and the acting of the adult actors, especially the bad guys, reminded me more of a Three Stooges skit. Hoyos, Miller, and Jollette were believable and it actually looked like the actors were the appropriate ages. There was no foul language used, but the dialogue was kind of bland. Some minor characters were not even worth having in the movie, such as the water gun squirting bullies. The directing was good as well as the scenery. The fact that they called the laboratories where F.R.E.D.I. was created ArachnaCorp (SpiderCorp.) was cute when I suppose it was meant to be sinister.
I can’t really say that I hated this movie, because there were some well done scenes. I wouldn’t buy this for my collection, but for families with young children, this would be a nice movie to keep them entertained. As for a rating…I suppose I would give it 3 stars out of 5.
The British science fiction film Await Further Instructions was released on October 5, 2018. I am hard-pressed on whether to classify this as an apocalyptic sci fi movie or as a dark Christmas movie. As for the message of the movie, which this one seems to have, I would say that it is “we are controlled by the media”.
A dysfunctional family gets together for Christmas, but the next morning they find a message on their TV which says: Stay inside your houses. Await Further Instructions. It is at this point that Nick (Sam Gittins) and his girlfriend Annji (Neerja Naik) must deal with his family’s inner fears and prejudices. As far as the acting went, it was tolerable. The story line wasn’t totally original, but there were some good emotional scenes. The CGI was also good.
There was no foul language and the violence was there but it wasn’t particularly bloody. If you are a fan of dark science fiction, there you will enjoy this movie. The main star of the movie wasn’t any of the actors, it was the television screen. I give this 3 stars out of 5.
The British film Viking Destiny was released on October 5, 2018. It is classified as a action-fantasy movie about a Viking princess’ attempts to recover her throne after her uncle kills her father and takes it for himself. Princess Helle (Anna Demetriou) is guided by the Norse god Odin (Terence Stamp) to flee the kingdom of Volsung and regroup. Her uncle Bard (Timo Nieminen) is tempted by the god Loki (Murray McArthur) to seek her out.
The story line was good and fairly well done. The acting was good in that the characters were believable. I liked the Northern Irish countryside for the location. There were some things that could have been improved. The fighting scenes were average and not all together bloody. I am not sure about the CGI used to convey the characters of Odin and Loki. Odin should have been shown as having one eye which would be consistent with the mythology.
While I was watching this film, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. All in all, I suppose there were more positive things about the film than negative. I give this 3 1/2 stars out of 5 stars.