Life (2017) – 2/10
The possibility of life on Mars always makes for compelling viewing. Jake Gyllenhaal and to a lesser degree Ryan Reynolds are fine actors. This is going to be good.
Wait, what’s that tag line? I think they meant we were better off without this movie.
A group of highly educated and trained astronauts working in a confined space. With crazy quarantine protocols. Making life and death decisions based on emotion.
An extremely intelligent and very hungry alien. And it’s definitely evil; evil with capitals and in bold. EVIL.
Never stood a chance. Earth is in trouble. If you are looking for an intelligent, well acted, interesting science fiction flick then you are better off without this movie.
Donnie Darko (2001) – 9/10
This is the third . . . or tenth time I’ve seen Donnie Darko. After each viewing I feel off kilter, like I’m not firmly in this world anymore.
Logan (2017) – 8/10
This is a movie with achingly deep feeling about love, loss and redemption. The weariness of ageing. Characters you care about, really care. Oh yeah, and some damn fine bloody action.
Am I talking about an ‘X-Men’ movie? X-Men movies are super silly these days; a multitude of mutants that have no depth and that you can’t keep track of anyway.
Logan is different, in a class far above the ubiquitous comic book movies and tv shows. Is it the story? Is it the actors? Is it the director? It is a heartfelt farewell to Wolverine and Charles Xavier, whose super heroic appearance belies their humanity.
The Night Manager (2016) – 6/10
Cloak and dagger television series adapted from the novel of the same name by John le Carre. A nod to my father for his love of intrigue and a great spy novel; maybe my interest in this genre is genetic.
Tom Hiddleston is the enigmatic night manager of an exquisite hotel in Cairo. He is ex military, cool and calm under stress. Aloof and apparently irresistible to women. A fate he cheerfully accepts.
Hugh Laurie plays his nemesis. An evil arms dealer unfazed by the deaths his actions permit. Strangely and blindly loyal to those he holds dear.
The night manager is recruited by British intelligence to infiltrate the arms dealer’s inner circle. A most wanted man for some time but clever enough to remain just out of reach. I think revenge forced the final crack in this man’s armour. Revenge for witnessed atrocities that burned and possessed.
Directed by Suzanne Bier. Did her influence create the depth of character of the female roles? Three women, backgrounds glimpsed, motivations cemented after contact with the night manager. A heavily pregnant British intelligence officer an unusual sight in the field.
Complex and exciting. Gorgeous scenery. Well acted except for the ‘oh my gosh this is so obvious’ ogling between Hiddleston and Hugh’s paramour. This went on for the last few episodes and was so annoying that it was, for me, a major detractor.
I was disappointed to read that they are considering making a season 2. I think the story is finished.
Moonlight (2016) – 7/10
A coming of age movie in three acts. Young Chiron growing up rough in Miami. Drug addicted mother, unknown father. Chiron and his peers sense there is something different about him. Chiron seems confused, his peers angry.
Resourceful. Chiron connects with a community willing to offer support to navigate his physical and emotional environment. Patient and available.
Chiron is so reserved it’s frustrating. It’s all internal, the struggle is palpable but untouchable. We all witness Chiron’s journey and final redemption.
A Dog’s Purpose (2017) – 6/10
This movie is full of cliches and scenes that unapologetically tug your heartstrings. The movie version of the last book I remember my mother reading before her long descent to dementia.
I want a dog.
Split (2016) – 5/10
Get your mind into the M. Night Shyamalan universe. Ok there’s Kevin who has DID (dissociative identity disorder). Multiple personalities – 23 of them. ‘Split’ chronicles the events leading to the birth of the 24th personality, The Beast.
An interesting thing about Kevin’s DID is that each personality has unique physical characteristics (eg one of whom has diabetes and needs insulin, the other characters do not). These added supernatural elements increase interest and permit the creation of the ultimate beast; a being who is bigger, stronger (knives cannot penetrate) and with superhuman abilities like being able to bend steel bars and climb on walls and ceilings.
Best scene is the ending. Cafe customers discuss this new nemesis (‘the horde’) and liken the strangeness to a previous villain. What was his name? Oh that’s right, ‘Mr Glass’. Slow scan to customer David Dunn (Bruce Willis), a little older and greyer and contemplating his next movie.