Tag Archives: Movie Review

Tuesday Cinema Club: Dunkirk

I’m a fan of war movies, I watch quite a lot about all sorts of battles and one thing I love about them is that they teach you things and give you a better understanding of how the world works. That is where I feel this movie was a let down.

I thought it was good but not great. I’m not quite sure what all the 5* reviewers saw that I didn’t but clearly we have a gulf in opinion. If you don’t know the history behind what happened at Dunkirk you learn very little from this movie. There is no customary written intro and exit heralding the figures of such an achievement of human spirit and determination and I think that was greatly missing.

I would have loved at the end to know how many men were on the beach, how many returned, how many ships, boats and vessels retrieved them, how many planes covered them and a summary of what happened next. I think if you are highlighting a movie about what happened over the course of I think a week so important in history, that you could have taken the time to add a couple of written slides at the end giving you the figures.

I honestly don’t think any other country could have pulled off what we did that week. A call goes out that Englishmen are stranded on a beach in France and as many ships, boats, ferries and the like that can manage it head across the sea into a war zone – unarmed and unprepared with a moments notice, risking their own lives and livelihoods to bring them back. That is what needed to be made more of in this movie.

For those people sailing across most of them used their boats for work, if they got sunk or were killed that risked the lives of their families and the people who relied on their business. That is a hell of a thing. I know a lot of the ships were commandeered by the British Navy but I believe a lot of people joined in regardless to help out.

The movie made reference to the fact that we brought French soldiers back but I haven’t heard this before. Not that it showed you any French soldiers returning, the leader makes reference to them having to wait.

The one thing the movie lacks is the rawness of the situation given it shows no real injured soldiers, there are no dead bodies, even in the sea there is minimal floating debris and bodies following the sinkings. It shows the beach being bombed and the explosions and yet everyone gets up and back into line. When all the ships have gone the beach is empty, which is unrealistic.

There was reportedly around 400,000 men on that beach, there would have been weapons, vehicles, dead bodies, rubbish, shrapnel and all sorts lining the beach. Anyone who has lived with a man knows how much mess they can make so you can’t tell me 400,000 of them left the beach completely clear.

The flashback sequences weren’t very obvious either. It took me a minute to realise we were seeing the same part again from a different perspective and it was annoying a couple of times.

I don’t think it’s accurate that only 3 Spitfires were sent out to protect the boats. I know they wouldn’t have used everyone but 3 seems a bit light. Also due to the flashbacks it seems a Spitfire can drift for an extraordinarily long time with engine failure and damage.

Seeing the WW2 planes now gives me goosebumps, I can’t imagine how those men in the ships and fighting on the beaches and fields felt as those wings flew over to protect them. They really were a feat of engineering and without them we would have lost the war.

As a film it told a sanitized story of war from the perspective of the sea, beach and air. I don’t doubt it was based on things that happened and there were elements of risk shown but I think it could’ve been more realistic. I also wish they’d added an educational element at the end for all the young people watching who don’t know much about WW2.

For me it was good but I like a little bit more grit in my war films.

Tuesday Cinema Club: Despicable Me 3

From the start my enjoyment of the movie was spoiled by the kid behinds constant need to kick my seat and put his feet on the spare seat. When I was a kid my parents wouldn’t have let me do this and it annoys me that no one says anything to kids nowadays when they behave badly. Despite me voicing my annoyance and him sitting next to an adult they didn’t even try to stop him kicking the seat.

There is no need to put your feet on the seats or keep kicking someones seat, especially when you have enough leg room as it is, it’s just rude and inconsiderate of the people around you. The world could use a little more consideration and a little less self-importance. If you don’t learn consideration as a kid you certainly won’t learn it as an adult!

However, despite the rudeness of others I did enjoy the movie. It had the usual amount of silliness but there was enough to keep adults entertained too.

Gru meets his long-lost twin brother and the two of them undertake a heist together following in their Dad’s footsteps. It was everything you would expect a Despicable Me film to be. Including a hunt for unicorns, I mean who hasn’t wanted to meet a unicorn?!

 

Tuesday Cinema Club: The Secret Life of Pets

We have a cat and I have often wondered what he gets up to when we are out of the house. Come to think of it I wonder what HE gets up to when he goes out of the house. I’ve considered putting a camera on him but if the collar situation is anything to go by he wouldn’t be very happy about it!

I really enjoyed this movie. It was funny for adults as much as I think it would be for kids.

I loved that each of the animals had their own quirks and personalities but all of them in their own way liked to get up to no good. I’ve always imagined animals would be naughty when you turn your back on them. I think that’s how half the unexplained things happen in the house!

The troubling thing for me was the number of snakes living in the sewage network. As someone who hasn’t been able to use a toilet in comfort since I read a story about a 6ft snake being found in a toilet, that was not an image I needed in my overactive imagination!  Neither was the sliding touches up my arms and laughing by my fellow viewers who know how  much I hate snakes! Yes I know it’s a ridiculous fear but that is why it is called ‘irrational’!

I loved the dog massaging himself on the mixer and the fat cat eating the roast dinner, although who leaves a roast dinner in the fridge like that?!

The old woman at the end with 30 cats immediately made me think of what my sister will be like in 40 years time! She didn’t see the comparison 🙂

If you’re looking for a movie to see with the kids but that you will also enjoy then I think this ticks the boxes.

Tuesday Cinema Club: Batman v Superman…

It’s quite fitting I post this review today as I just saw that its National Superhero Day!

I was disappointed with the last Superman movie, it felt too much like it was building up to the big fight which then just caused as much destruction as possible. I don’t think they missed flying through a building in a 20 block radius!

I was also sceptical of the appointment of Ben Affleck as Batman. I’ve watched Daredevil which wasn’t a great superhero movie endorsement. I also thought that Christian Bale made a really good Batman but I was prepared to give Ben the benefit of the doubt. I don’t think he did that bad a job, I still think Christian Bale was better but that’s because I feel there was more action in his movies compared to this one.

The tone of this movie was very subdued. It showed a more tortured side of Batman over the loss of his family. I’m not sure why Wayne Manor was left to become derelict, he didn’t appear to have lost all his money.

There was a few unanswered questions for me in this movie. There was the introduction very briefly of The Flash, Aquaman, Wonder Woman and one other I wasn’t sure of but you had to know what they were getting at. Wonder Woman appears in the movie, at least I assumed that is who she was, it was never explained.

I went with my Sister who has watched superhero movies but she didn’t know any of the characters and I had to explain to her who they were. I guess she wasn’t the only one who missed the point of some of the movie.

I thought we would finally get the answer to the age of question of who would win in a fight between Batman and Superman but that question remains unanswered, as you could guess from about half an hour into the movie.

As superhero movies go I was disappointed. I didn’t think the Batman back story really fitted into the back story I had grown up with, having watched I would say every Batman film since Michael Keaton donned the black mask.

As for Superman I’m not sure. I’m amazed after all this time how no one can recognise him as Clark Kent just by removing his glasses! I know people look different without glasses but that is a bit unrealistic! He’s invested in a more superhero outfit than just wearing a legging one piece with his pants on the outside and an old bed sheet for a cloak. At least the story fits with what I know. It was just a bit samey and obvious I felt.

There was a bit that made us laugh when Batman and Superman are fighting and in comes Wonder Woman to help. The men are covered from head to toe with body armour and wearing capes whilst Wonder Woman is predictably wearing the bare minimum of clothing possible to cover her dignity.

Surely by now we could accept that her clothes could be a little bit more modest and that she would still be capable of fighting with the big boys! She could at least wear a cape. In this history of Wonder Woman, when she first appeared she wore more clothing but as the years went by it got tighter and shorter. While the men have remained predictably covered.

It would just be nice to see some women on the TV and in movies and music videos being shown wearing normal everyday clothes and not as is often the case, skin-tight or barely there clothing. Especially when in most cases the men they are with couldn’t physically wear any more clothes as they are already covered head to toe!

Yes sex sells and women have the right to show off their bodies whenever they choose. It just shouldn’t be necessary to show off your body all of the time to get attention, or to be taken seriously. There is so much more to a person than the shape of their body and the clothes they choose to put on it.

Wonder Woman would still be Wonder Woman if she was wearing long sleeves and knee length clothing, she is a superhero after all!

Tuesday Cinema Club: The Big Short

I have to start by saying ARRGGGHHHHH.  You might think that is a strange opening to a movie review but I’ve been annoyed by this movie all day and I had to let it out.

Not many people are fully aware of the absolute stupidity that brought about the collapse of the housing markets in 2007/ 2008 and the resulting impacts on the world’s economy. If you watch this movie you will see that the banks were the last to realise exactly what a catastrophe they had created.

One man foresaw the future and backed against the banks, who laughed in his face over the amount of money they would make from the deals. That is until he was right and the banks ran out of money.

I think this movie should be shown in every school to educate people on the stupidity of the people we elect to be in charge of our world. The governments were as much to blame as the banks and as they are all so closely intermingled there has never really been anyone held to account over the whole fiasco.

8 million Americans lost their jobs and 6 million Americans lost their homes when the crisis hit. One banker went to jail out of all the banks, ratings agencies, government departments and controlling bodies that the crisis affected. He must feel very hard done by as he wasn’t the only guy doing it. Or so the movie told us.

The fact that ordinary tax payers money was given to the banks to bail them out, without a solid gold clause that none of the money was to be used to line the pockets of bankers in the form of bonuses is bordering on criminal behaviour.

The government gave the banks the taxpayers hard-earned money and they used it for their own individual financial gain.

I have heard many leading people talking about the banking crisis and explaining the need to pay bankers bonuses in order to keep the best of the best in the top positions. But I don’t agree.

None of the banks realised what they were doing and the effect it was going to have on the world economies and once they began to realise they tried to cover it up and continue making money.

Put that into context of any other business. I am working on a contract to build a new school but I have brought all the wrong tools and fittings and used up all my budget. In order to buy the right tools and fittings I need to charge my client a monthly fee on top of my quote for the works. I eventually finish the school at twice the cost I originally said I would and then ask my client for a bonus of £30m because I am the best at what I do.

Would you pay me a bonus or sue me for overcharging my contract? Would you hold me accountable for the mess I made of my contract?

The problem is that no one was checking who was being given mortgages or their ability to pay the money back. By and large if you want to spend money the bank will let you spend whatever you like, regardless of whether you can pay or not because they make money on charging you interest. The less you pay the more they earn. At no point as far as I can see will they stop letting you spend money. But it’s easy to lose track when you aren’t dealing with notes and coins.

Money only exists in notes and coins in a small minority of its existence. For the most part it is numbers on a piece of paper. I can go shopping all day with my plastic card and 4 digit number and spend up to a limit on my card without touching a tangible piece of money. As I pay my bills each month my bank keeps offering to raise my limit and I keep refusing, I don’t want to spend more money.

If I walked into the bank today and asked to cash all my money I doubt they would be able to hand it all over. I would have to order it and wait. Because banks don’t hold everyone’s money as it mostly exists on a paper trail. Look at Greece when they ran out of money as people wanted to clear out their bank accounts.

The more paper money that is in existence the less it is worth. So printing more money to help people spend devalues the money you are printing. Or so my years of studying Economics at school would have me believe.

The people we put in charge of our financial services and government agencies don’t have to have any relevant qualifications to hold the role. By and large you need to have attended the right school and know the right people. If they don’t understand the mess they created then how will they avoid making that mess again?

The truth is they haven’t learned a damn thing. The banks have re-branded the CDC’s that crashed the markets into a new title and have begun selling them again. The individuals don’t make as much money as they once did but I still don’t think you’ll find that poor a banker out there.

We let them get away with it and they are doing it all over again. It will crash all over again, but this time I doubt it will take as long.

Oh and what about the man who first saw what would happen? Well he is investing small amounts of money in water nowadays. Makes you wonder what he’s seen this time, doesn’t it?

Go and see this movie and learn what you can about the financial industry and how it affects you. Read the paperwork carefully before signing up and ask the difficult questions.  Because bad debt affects all of us in the end and no one ever thinks the bad stuff will happen to them, so make sure you protect yourself when it does.

Tuesday Cinema Club: The Revenant

Another Tuesday, another long movie.

The acting and cinematography in this movie was amazing. I loved the casting, every character fitted the part and the performances were flawless. It was nice to see so many English actors in a big Hollywood movie.

My only problem with the movie was the length, it was too long. I started to get bored.

I hope Leo finally gets his oscar for the role as it was well acted if not completely far-fetched and implausible.

I’ve already said that next week we need to see a light-hearted comedy after 2 weeks of slow 3 hour movies. I need a bit of action and adventure and something around the 2 hour mark!

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

We had a bonus trip to the cinema this week which is always nice.

I got outvoted over seeing the movie in 2D, as I’ve said before I’m not a 3D fan. I can see that certain movies would warrant a better experience seen in 3D but for the most part it adds little to a movie. It also tends to make me feel a little queasy by the end! I don’t think watching Mockingjay in 3D added anything.

I wasn’t blow away by the movie at all. Maybe I’ve just seen too many movies that had better action scenes. The storyline was ok and there were some unexpected parts but it all felt a bit like running the franchise down rather than going out on a big bang.

It was nice to see Philip Seymour Hoffman in the movie; he made some great movies. Although I wondered as he was only in it briefly if they had to edit any of it due to his passing. I imagine so as he was always a driving character in the franchise.

I know from speaking to an avid Hunger Games fan that they loved the movie so it seems like I’m in a minority thinking it was just ok!

Tuesday Cinema Club: Spectre…

I should start by saying I haven’t watched a Bond movie since Piers Brosnan. The reason I stopped watching was it all got too realistic. I like my Bond movies with men biting through cable car cables and Bond climbing into a crocodile skin and running over the heads of the other crocodiles.

I’m not a huge fan of Daniel Craig as Bond, as an actor I find him to pouty. I think Roger Moore is the best James Bond for me, either him or Sean Connery.

So to the move last night . For me it was all about the DB10, with my birthday coming up it shot straight in at number 1 on my wish list! It is a fantastic looking car and small enough to be almost practical in your normal every day life. Well if your normal every day life can support a £3m car that is.

The story line was a little slow for me, I think you could easily lose 30 minutes to an hour and not lose the plot. The lack of gadgets was a little disappointing and it almost felt like the car chases and fight scenes were added in out of habit.

I’m told I missed the nuances from the previous movies and that’s why I didn’t get it but I don’t think that’s it. I just think as a standalone movie it wasn’t exciting enough. It didn’t make me go wow and had it not been James Bond as the lead character I wonder how many other people would have agreed?

The storyline is so relevant to what is going on in today’s mad world that is could almost have been an insight into the secret meetings that probably happen daily amongst governments without our knowledge. We certainly seem to be heading towards a total surveillance world in light of the terror threats we all face.

I voted to see Burnt last night but as it started later and I was going with a huge Bond fan we saw Spectre. Half way through I wished I’d stuck to my guns on Burnt.

Apart from the DB10 the most exciting thing was seeing the advertising boards for Creed. Rocky Balboa is making a comeback and I for one will be in the queue to see that! I’d rather watch any of the Rocky or Die Hard movies than a James Bond movie!

Tuesday Cinema Club: Legend

There hasn’t been much to catch the eye at the movies for me lately but I’ve always had a bit of an interest in The Krays.

We had family living in the Bethnal Green area of London in the 1960’s and I’ve heard stories of the famous twins who were well-known in the area. I don’t remember any of them being first hand stories but there were a few tales to tell.

My Mum just looked up some of the history of The Krays and if it’s right then our family lived in the same road for a time, but probably not at the same time as the notorious gangsters.

As the film says anyone who lived in London in the 1960’s has a story to tell about The Krays.

Tom Hardy was amazing as both of the twins. The difference in their character shining through in every scene. He didn’t need words to express how unhinged Ronnie was in most of the scenes his body language and facial expressions told you all you needed to know.

I’m not sure how accurate the story was, there were parts that seemed a lot different to things I have seen or read before.

A lot was made in the movie about Ronnie being homosexual for example. I did question whether in the 1960’s, if even Ronnie Kray would have been as openly gas as he was portrayed. At one point when meeting the American gangsters he comes straight out and tells them he likes boys and talks about the boys he has been with.

In real life both of the brothers were twice married. The movie only refers to Reggie’s first wife Francis and implies he goes to prison still carrying the plane tickets for their trip to Ibiza.

I’d never heard about them mixing with American gangsters before so that was a new story to me. If you’re interested in reading about The Krays check out Wikipedia The Kray Twins

I wouldn’t say the film was the best I have ever seen. There are elements of comedy throughout. I defy anyone to watch Ronnie dancing to Something Stupid and not laugh!

But for Tom Hardy’s performances alone I would recommend the movie. I hope he wins some awards because I don’t think there are many actors that could have played his parts even half so well.

Tuesday Cinema Club: Fury

The Tuesday Cinema Clubs have been few and far between lately, partly due to busy schedules and partly due to lack of inspiring film offerings, but Fury looked like a good start to getting back into the routine.

It was filmed about 5 miles away from where I live and yet there is a distinct lack of “I saw Brad Pitt buying a pint of milk” stories floating around the neighbourhood.

As far as I know in the last year Taylor Lautner, Brad Pitt and Shia LeBoeuf have all been filming locally and all went under the local gossip radar. Yet someone gets a new car or has a house refurbishment and everyone knows about it. Priorities people!

Anyway, Fury was uncomfortable to watch at times but as with most American war movies you get the distinct impression that without them the war would have been lost.

You have to admire the men who fought in tanks, it doesn’t look like a comfortable environment to be trapped with men who haven’t had a decent wash in a while. Let alone the fact you were pretty much trapped in a tin can and open to ambush with a distinct chance of being burned alive.

The film is over the top, at times implausible, difficult to watch in places and in parts annoying but I enjoyed it anyway.

It seems the film has been panned a lot by the reviewers and at times it is a bit self-indulgent but I do love a good war movie and I think this falls into that category. Good, not great and if you are looking for a movie to see this week then give it a chance.

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