Following up 2014’s almost flawless X-Men: Days of Future Past (you can read my review here) was always going to be a challenge, especially in a cinematic landscape overflowing with comic book franchises. With all it’s major characters returning and an influx of new blood, expectations ran high. Early reviews didn’t sound too good but whatever….this is X-Men and damnit, I’m going!
The movie opens in ancient Egypt with the world’s very first mutant, Apocalypse (Isaac) trying to live forever. It was a thing back then. His efforts are thwarted and he crumbles as quickly as his tomb, forced to endure until some followers/devotees resurrect him.
And that brings us to the 1980’s …..and 1980’s hair *claps hands*
Alice (Johnson) has just graduated from college and decides she wants a break from her long-term boyfriend. Although she loves him, she also wants to experience single life before they settle down for good. So where does a girl full of romantic ideals and after some fun and adventure move to?
New York City of course.
Alice moves in with her single sister Meg (Mann) and finds a job where the eternal party girl Robin (Wilson) takes her under her wing and shows her ….. well, how to be single. Alice and Robin go drinking one night in a local bar and this is where we meet our fourth single girl, Lucy, who is juggling dates and dating apps to find Mr Right.
I am going to keep this one short because let’s face it, if you are going to see Deadpool, you’ve already seen it. I am a bit late to Deadpool’s party but shit happens …..
And so the least superhero-y (but most fun) ‘superhero’ finally gets his own movie. It has been a long time coming and a lot of secret and not so secret behind the scenes maneuvering has happened to bring this guy to the big screen. So is it worth it?
You bet your arse it’s worth it.
Eilis (Ronan) is a bright young woman who, feeling there is nothing for her in her native Ireland, makes the momentous decision to emigrate alone to the United States. It is the 1950’s and Irish society is still ultra conservative, deeply religious and full of gossip. Eilis is a clever girl and wants more for herself than simply looking after her widowed mother so she embarks on a voyage into the unknown.
Once in Brooklyn, New York, Eilis boards with 4 other young ladies at the house of the no-nonsense Mrs Keogh (Walters). The local priest helps secure her a job but wracked with loneliness and homesick to the point she cries herself to sleep each evening, Eilis cannot quite fit in with this new America and its freedoms, so foreign to the girl from Ireland.
First things first. Yes Kate Winslet CAN do a convincing Aussie accent. If she hadn’t got that right, the entire movie would have been a great waste of time. Now to the review proper …
Myrtle ‘ Tilly ‘ Dunnage (Winslet) is returning home to the small rural town that cast her out many years ago. She is now a glamorous and successful dressmaker and she has come home to remember. Remember what? She was accused of the murder of the school bully sand was sent away at the age of 10 but she cannot recall the incident and it haunts her.
Her mother Molly (Davis) lives in the ramshackle, rundown house at the top of the hill and it is from here that Tilly strives to reconnect with her mother and seek revenge on those who hurt her as a child.
Identical twins Ronnie and Reggie Kray were notorious East End London gangsters in the 1960’s. They built a huge organised crime empire and ruled with fear and violence. I have seen a few movies and documentaries about the brothers but this movie is slightly different as it is told from the perspective of Frances Shea (Browning) who becomes Reggie’s wife.
The movie picks up with Reggie and Ronnie well established East End thugs and ready to take on the rest of London, with the help of some American friends. Frances is the younger sister of on the Kray’s drivers and once she catches Reggie’s eye, she never stood a chance. Despite what she might have us believe.
The movie weaves a tale of a sweet, almost innocent, budding romance amidst the horror of brutal violence.
At the height of the Cold War, there was nothing the Americans feared more than the Soviet Union. Propaganda urging citizens to report suspected Commies, to stop the spread of the Red Menace only spurred on this fear and hatred. Communist sympathisers were the scorn of society and it was into this atmosphere that insurance lawyer James Donovan (Hanks) was asked to defend a suspected Soviet spy Rudolf Abel (Rylance)
It was meant to be an open and shut show-case but Donovan was a just and righteous man who took his job seriously and so defended his client with the same expertise and compassion he would any client. Naturally, this did not go down well with everyone, especially Donovan’s fellow citizens and he and his family became targets of the ignorant and bigoted within his community.
When an American U2 spy plane pilot is captured by the Soviets, the situation changes and Donovan is left to negotiate an exchange….. the Soviet spy for the American pilot.
Say what you want about the Paranormal Activity franchise but with 6 films spanning 8 years, from a budget of just over 28 million it has raked in almost 839 million at the box office. Those figures would many any studio executive weep bitter, envious tears.
So how does the latest and final installment in the franchise fare?
Well we have another young family, another seemingly average house and another creepy kid who speaks to imaginary friends and just generally starts doing weird shit.
Edith Cushing (Wasikowska) is an aspiring writer who laments at ever being taken seriously. A bright, sensible, middle class girl who understands her world very well, she toys with the idea of using a male pseudonym to enhance her publishing chances. All this is forgotten when she is seduced into marriage by the devilishly handsome Thomas Sharpe (Hiddleston) and whisked away to the crumbling, sinking ruins that is his family’s estate in England.
Once at the estate, too late she realises that she will not be Mistress of the Manor as her new sister-in-law Lucille (Chastain) has no intention of relinquishing the title. Edith will not even have a set of house keys, for her own safety she is told, so she must wander through the house silently wondering what all those creaks and odd noises are.
Sometime in the not so distant future, NASA is sending manned missions to Mars. They travel for 6 months, stay a few weeks collecting samples and data and stuff, then travel the 6 months back home, laden with scientific cargo. One one such mission, a particularly ferocious sand storm catches the crew unawares and they flee the planet leaving behind one of their team, Watney (Damon) who they all presume is dead.
But Watney is not dead.
He is, however, stranded alone on a planet some 225 million miles from home. He has a very limited supply of food, water and other essentials for life. Worst of all, no one realises he is alive.
When NASA does realise he is alive, the race is on to bring Watney home.