The Mercy

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Based on the true story of amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst (Colin Firth) and his solo attempt to sail round the globe without stopping. This attempt was a part of the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race and it’s completion would make the winner the first person ever to achieve this feat. Donald decides to take on the challenge and ropes in local business man Mr Best (Ken Stott, The Hobbit, Fortitude) to fund his mission – with the promise of the money back when he wins – and local journalist Rodney Hallworth (David Thewlis, Harry Potter, The Theory of Everything) to work up support and sponsorship. Donald’s wife Clare (Rachel Weisz) and the mother of his three young children, is supportive but clearly doesn’t want him to actually go through with it.

the-mercyWith the deadline to set off rapidly approaching and the boat nowhere near ready, Donald is forced to ask Mr Best for more money. In order to cover his back Mr Best agrees under the condition that if Donald doesn’t complete the race his business and house will go to Mr Best. Backed into a corner, Donald signs, and therefore when the last day to leave arrives and his boat still isn’t fully ready, he is forced to set off for the sake of his family and their home. Naturally Donald quickly runs into trouble as his boat struggles to stay together and it becomes clear to him that he won’t be able to complete the race. He is then faced with a difficult decision, if he goes back he loses everything but if he continues he is likely not to survive. Donald decides he has no choice but to lie. He sends messages home claiming to be further along than he is, generating lots of attention as he notches up incredibly fast times. As his popularity grows and more and more contestants are taken out, Donald becomes a firm favourite to win, but after nearly 9 months alone at sea his mental state has deteriorated and he knows he won’t be able to lie to everyone when he returns.

Colin Firth is exceptional in this role, you can really see Donald’s determination to take mv5bmjqxmzg1mzy3n15bml5banbnxkftztgwnjk5ntayote-_v1_sx1500_cr001500999_al_part and then his apprehension as it dawns on him he has gone too far to back out. The scenes of him at sea are so realistic and emotional as he becomes desperate, and coupled with flashbacks of his life with his family makes for an emotional watch. Colin is an incredible actor and really leads this film, he was the perfect choice for the role. As was the casting of Rachel Weisz, her portrayal of Clare is perfect, she is the ever supportive wife but isn’t afraid to voice her concerns. With Donald’s departure, Rachel really shows Clare’s continued worry as she struggles to keep the family afloat and becomes desperate for any contact or message from her husband. There is an incredibly emotional speech from Clare towards the end of the film, which Rachel puts her all into and brought a tear to my eye! By the end of the film you are so invested in this family and so the final scenes are all the more moving.

methode2fsundaytimes2fprod2fweb2fbin2f0c2bbf88-0bfe-11e8-b553-b6f31437c43bVisually, The Mercy is excellent. There are some incredible shots of Donald at sea – although some scenes may make you feel a little sea sick! Filmed actually at sea, and not with a green screen, really brings the realism and a great decision by director James Marsh (The Theory of Everything). The use of flashbacks is also a brilliant decision, it means we quickly get into the sailing part of the film and where the story really takes place, but the slow pace at sea is broken up as we are taken back to the fast pace of the preparation to leave and really keeps the film’s momentum going. It also reminds us what Donald has left behind and therefore triggers so many of his decisions whilst at sea.

Overall, The Mercy is a really good film. I wasn’t sure what to expect, not knowing the story of Donald Crowhurst, but Colin Firth gives a brilliant performance and has you gripped throughout. The supporting cast are all excellent, David Thewliss and Ken Stott in particular as the leaders of Donald’s home support, and Rachel Weisz as the wife and mother left behind. I would really recommend this film, it’s an emotional watch and doesn’t have the ending you would want but being a biography this just makes it all the more real.

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Darkest Hour

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Within days of becoming Prime Minister in the early period of World War 2, Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman, The Dark Knight) faces the tough task of deciding whether to explore a negotiated peace treaty with Hitler and Nazi Germany, or stand firm and fight for the freedom of the UK. As the unstoppable Nazi forces roll across Western Europe and the threat of invasion is imminent, and with an unprepared public, a skeptical King, and his own party plotting against him, Churchill must withstand his darkest hour, rally a nation, and attempt to change the course of world history.

3040658Nominated for 6 Oscars (Best Makeup/Hairstyling, Best Picture, Best Actor – Gary Oldman, Best Cinematography, Best Costume & Best Production Design) and with Gary having already won Best Actor at the Golden Globes, Darkest Hour has a lot of attention right now. I love Gary (he will forever be Sirius Black from Harry Potter to me and therefore always have a place in my heart!) and here he is literally unrecognisable as Churchill due to the extensive costume he wears to turn him into this well-known character. It’s no wonder Gary is tipped to win an Oscar as his performance is outstanding, everything from his mannerisms to his clear torment as to which path to follow regarding the UK’s future, has you mesmerised. There are an awful lot of speeches made throughout this film but every one made by Oldman is full of passion and has you listening intently to every word.

It’s also no wonder that the cinematography has been picked up for an Oscar nominationlead_960 too, it was something that I myself noticed as being excellent throughout! There is a great usage of different camera angles – often moving along with the characters – so we see all sides to the drama unfolding. There are also lots of extreme close ups on faces, particularly Winston’s, showing every emotion and making everything tense and dramatic. You can really feel the build up to Winston’s decision and the feelings of those around him, so much so that it’s like you’re right there with them.

5491973The film is significantly led by Gary Oldman but the supporting cast is almost entirely British and full with familiar faces – it’s particularly nice to see a lot of our TV stars making it on to the big screen. Kristin Scott Thomas (Only God Forgives) is Clemmie, Churchill’s long-suffering wife. There are some very sweet scenes between the two, it’s clear they love each other very much but Clemmie knows she will always come second to Winston’s real love of politics. Winston’s immediate circle is made up of: Elisabeth (Lily James, Cinderella, Baby Driver) as Winston’s new typist, John (Joe Armstrong, Robin Hood), Sawyer (Philip Martin Brown, Waterloo Road) and Sir Anthony (Samuel West, Mr Selfridge). All brilliant actors and bringing Winston different angles when it comes to important decisions. These are just the characters we see the most, the rest of the cast includes so many other recognisable faces, making up a fantastic supporting cast.ac10-jan-film-still

Overall, Darkest Hour is a brilliant British film, it does centre very much on politics – there’s a lot of concentration needed to keep up! – but it’s also filled with moments of humour, love and sadness. It’s also very interesting to see the pressures Winston faced when it came to this huge momentous decision. After all, if he had gone the other way our lives would be very different today! Definitely a must see and I hope Gary receives the recognition he deserves.

The Post

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With two Oscar nominations (Best Picture & Best Actress – Meryl Streep), filled with a cast of greats including Streep, Tom Hanks, Matthew Rhys and Alison Brie, and directed by Steven Spielberg, The Post is the most talked about film right now. It follows the true story of when American military analyst Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys) realizes the depths of the US government’s deceptions about America’s involvement in the Vietnam War, and takes action by copying top-secret documents that would become the Pentagon Papers. When Washington Post owner, Kay Graham (Streep) – who is still adjusting to taking over her late husband’s business – and editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks) discover Ellsberg and the complete copy of those papers their plans to publish their findings are put in jeopardy with a Federal restraining order that could get them all indicted for tom-hanks-meryl-streep-the-post-inline-zoomContempt. Now, Kay must decide whether to back down for the safety of her paper or publish and fight for the Freedom of the Press.

Filled with references surrounding that time in history, The Post is probably better suited to Americans and those with an interest in American history as a lot of it went straight over my head. Due to this the film was a little hard to follow and frankly I found the whole thing quite boring which should not have happened considering the huge cast involved! Tom Hanks was great, his character is clearly driven by publishing exciting stories so when they get their hands on the papers he is determined not to be intimated by the Government and fights for it to be published. You can really see this passion in his character and therefore Tom stood out the most in every scene.

You can’t deny that Meryl is a good actress, and here she has some great speeches of the-postdialogue but unfortunately there’s just nothing behind those speeches – whether this is actually a true representation of Kay Graham I don’t know, (in which case Meryl did a fantastic job!) – but it was all just words and in Meryl’s monotone voice it sends you to sleep! There were constant references of how Kay’s father overlooked her to take over from him, instead giving it to her husband, and therefore giving the perception to the board members that she wasn’t good enough to now be in charge. This would have been such a great angle to further explore, giving us more of a background and a connection towards Kay, but instead it’s glossed over so we hardly see the struggle she would have gone through as the first female newspaper publisher.

2018-01-19_lif_37806342_i1It takes some time for the film to really get going and it’s only really at the end when Ben and his team are racing to get all the information needed from the Pentagon Papers ready for press that night – all the while fighting their legal team to let them print it in the first place – that you get a sense of just what the team have their hands on. There are some great shots of the process of printing the newspaper too – but the fact that I was more interested by this than the rest of the story says something!

Overall, I was very disappointed by The Post. Maybe it had just been hyped up too much, or I don’t know enough about American history to really follow everything going on, but I felt that with such a big cast of names it would be a lot better than it is. I certainly don’t understand how Meryl got an Oscar nomination and Tom didn’t, specially as Tom drives this film and I personally think gives a far better performance than Meryl. The story line is interesting and Spielberg could have created a fantastic film with it but sadly this is not the case.

Downsizing

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Matt Damon (Bourne Trilogy) stars as Paul Safranek, an occupational therapist who, along with his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids) decide to follow the latest craze and “shrink” themselves to four inches tall. This latest procedure is sold as a way to help save the planet due to the small amount of waste produced from being smaller. It also gives individuals the chance to get more for their money and live a better, more luxurious lifestyle. The first part of the film introduces us to Paul and Audrey, showing their lack of money and therefore their initial interest in ‘downsizing’, we also see the different reactions from everyone as this procedure becomes more worldwide – there is downsizing-matt-damon-kristen-wiig-1200x520naturally a lot of criticism, with one character asking if smaller people should still have the same rights as regular people. We then see Paul and Audrey going through the procedure – but Audrey backs out at the last moment leaving Paul to continue alone. The rest of the film then follows Paul as he adjusts to his new life. Unfortunately this is where the film becomes incredible boring and all very strange. None of it really makes any sense, there’s no real story line to it we just follow Paul as he meets new people, and frankly it all becomes a little weird.

Considering the cast includes two comedy greats (Kristen Wiig and Jason Sudeikis), and ofteakjaabzyc53zlgsxit’s classed as a comedy, I was under the impression that the film would use humour to show the smaller people adjusting to their new lives – yes there are a few funny lines of dialogue, but I definitely wouldn’t sell it as a comedy! The writers were obviously going for a more satirical stance but this film could have been really funny if they’d tried. There is barely any difference in how Paul lives his life now he is small – other than he can afford to live in a mansion – and their community is built within a special enclosure so after a while you forget that these people are any different as there is no interaction with them and the outside world.

27-downsizing-w710-h473Kristen and Jason have relatively small parts, with Matt Damon taking the lead. Matt is a great actor but I feel slightly less towards him now after enduring this two hour film. Christoph Waltz (Spectre, Django Unchained) also stars as Dusan Mirkovic who spends his new life throwing notorious parties and is the one who introduces Paul to Ngoc Lan Tran (Hong Chau) a Vietnamese political activist who was jailed and downsized against her will. Ngoc shows us the other side to ‘downsizing’ and proves that there are different classes even in this new world.

Overall, I wouldn’t waste your time watching this film, it’s two hours of my life I’ll never get back! There are a few moments of humour but certainly not enough to class the film as a comedy, it’s also apparently a sci-fi but other than making the characters small there’s no element of science-fiction at all! It’s an incredibly weird film that feels like it’s never going to end, which is a shame as the premise of ‘downsizing’ could have given a very entertaining film if written differently.

All the Money in the World

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John Paul Getty founded the Getty Oil Company and at one point was named the richest man in the world. It’s because of this title that Getty’s 16 year old grandson John Paul Getty III was kidnapped in 1973 and help captive for five months. His mother, Gail, received a call demanding $17 million for his release and immediately went to her father-in-law for help, but he refused stating: “I have 14 other grandchildren and if I pay one penny now, then I will have 14 kidnapped grandchildren”. After four months of beating and torture, the kidnappers decide to get serious and cut off one of Getty III’s ears, sending it to a local newspaper. After this, Getty took the kidnapping seriously and allthemoney1agreed to pay but only after cutting a deal and bringing the ransom down to around $3 million.

All the Money in the World is a biography – directed by Ridley Scott – depicting this moment in time. We start with the kidnapping (led by a voice-over of Getty III) but soon go back in time to give us a brief background of Getty’s rise to wealth, Getty III’s childhood and the relationship between Grandad and Grandson. These flashbacks are interspersed with real time and so things get a little confusing at times, but once the background has been revealed things become clearer. Getty is played by Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music) – although his part was last minute after Kevin Spacey was dropped due to certain allegations, resulting in a complete re-shoot of the film. Plummer’s portrayal of Getty shows him as a cold-hearted man who’s only contribution towards helping his grandson is to hire ex CIA spy Fletcher Chase (Mark Wahlberg, Patriots Day, Deepwater Horizon) to assist Gail (Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain, Manchester by the Sea) in her search. Together Chase and Gail attempt to track down the location of Getty III whilst all the time fighting Getty to get him to pay the ransom. d7e0e99e312c449600d38bdeb536930bc49504e0

Michelle Williams is a great actress and her portrayal of Gail shows a mother desperate to save her son, going to any lengths to ensure his release. It’s clear she doesn’t understand how Getty can so easily dismiss her pleas for help and as the audience we side with her immediately and will her to continue fighting for the money that Getty so clearly has. Wahlberg has done his fair share of biographies recently, but here his role isn’t as important as that of the Getty family’s. Instead he supports the leads and is there to keep the investigation moving forward as he hunts down clues as to who and where the kidnappers are.

charlie-plummer-in-all-the-money-in-the-worldGetty III is played by Charlie Plummer (no relation to Christopher) and he does an excellent job at playing the frightened 16 year old. The poor lad can’t understand why his grandfather doesn’t pay up immediately and with no communication from the outside world – apart from with his kidnappers – he has no idea what efforts his mother is going to in order to save him. When it comes to the cutting off of his ear, Charlie does a fantastic job of showing us the fear and desperation of this young lad. I personally couldn’t watch the scene, but am told that you see more of the faces of those around the procedure than the actual cutting itself.

Overall, All the Money in the World has a great cast that all do excellent jobs but for me there was something missing. At over two hours long the film drags a little and there’s nothing in it except the ear cutting that makes it tense or thrilling. Before and after that scene it’s just a lot of talking, with great emphasis on the fact that Getty was refusing any money (and in the end only agreed to give a small amount because he found out he could avoid tax on it!). The story itself is fascinating but unfortunately the film doesn’t have enough in it to really grip you.

The Greatest Showman

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The Greatest Showman is the latest Hollywood blockbuster to receive critical acclaim across the world. The American musical biopic follows P. T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman), the man who invented show-business and the circus as we know it. Orphaned and penniless, Barnum rises above this to open the first entertainment show introducing extraordinary never-before-seen acts to the public. Not everyone agrees with these acts being in the public eye though and Barnum, plus his collection of “freaks”, must overcome backlash and abuse in order to continue living a better life and bring entertainment to those who want it.

mp0lq5amolcb6snf04reThe cast is filled with great names and they really bring the energy throughout. Hugh Jackman in the lead is perfect, he gives out a determination to succeed and improve his life for himself and his family. Therefore it’s easy to see how his character gets swept up in the adoration he receives from the public and inevitably loses sight of what he was actually wanting to achieve. Hugh is a great actor and you will quickly fall in love with his portrayal of Barnum. His relationship with Michelle Williams (Suite Francaise) who plays Barnum’s wife Charity is sweet and clearly full of love. Childhood friends – even though her family forbid it due to Barnum being working class – their love led them to running away and this love carries them through all the ups and downs that follow.487677_145

Zac Efron (a personal favourite of mine) is back in a musical role – forever known for playing Troy Bolton in High School Musical! – here, he is Phillip Carlyle, a playwright who Barnum convinces to join in his venture. Upon meeting, Phillip falls in love with Anne (Zendaya, Spider-man Homecoming) an African-American trapeze artist. She returns the feelings but being a white man and a black woman their relationship is forbidden. Both Zac and Zendaya play this really beautifully, their scenes together are touching as the two try to suppress their ddvk-yw0aaeqzudesires for one another and follow social expectations.

Rebecca Ferguson (The Girl on the Train) is Opera singer Jenny Lund who Barnum brings into his show in order to attract a higher class of audience. However her arrival proves a distraction for Barnum as he focuses all his attentions onto her and loses sight of his family and the other performers. Rebecca is great as Jenny and gives one of the more powerful musical performances of the film with the song Never Enough – think along the lines of Elsa’s Let it Go from Frozen – although Rebecca doesn’t actually sing it in real life, the stunning voice belongs to Loren Allred.

The musical performances are incredible throughout, every member of cast really throws themselves into them and this creates a powerful watch. The stand out song of the film is This is Me, which is an anthem for all those who feel like they are different. The songs are all fantastic – written by Justin Paul and Benj Pasek, who won Oscar’s for their work on La La Land – they fit perfectly within the story and are incredibly catchy, I actually bought the soundtrack right after seeing the film and now have it on repeat!

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Overall, I’m going to put it out there and say that The Greatest Showman is possibly one of the best films I’ve seen in a while! Everything about it is mesmerising, from the story line to the musical numbers to the costumes and brilliant acting…I couldn’t fault it! Definitely a must see, it’s family friendly and the catchy songs will be stuck in your head for days to come. I’m actually itching to see it again it’s that good! A great film to start the New Year with and one which is bound to win many awards in the coming weeks.

A Bad Moms Christmas

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After the success of the first film (Bad Moms), A Bad Moms Christmas brings us back into the lives of Amy (Mila Kunis, That 70s Show), Kiki (Kristen Bell, Frozen) and Carla (Kathryn Hahn, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days), this time in the lead up to Christmas. All three are struggling to create the perfect Christmas for their children, and when their own mothers show up putting more pressure on them, they decide to go against tradition and take Christmas back for themselves. What follows is a series of hilarious decisions as the three rebel against the norms expected of mothers around Christmas.

KATHRYN HAHN, MILA KUNIS, and KRISTEN BELL in A BAD MOMS CHRISTMASHaving loved the first film so much I was a little worried that the sequel wouldn’t be as good – and also that it’s too early to be watching Christmas films yet! – but thankfully A Bad Moms Christmas is just as good, if not better! This time around it’s more about the girl’s relationships with their own mothers than with their children, but it’s their determination to give their kids a great Christmas that leads them to act out towards their mums as they clash on how exactly they should be celebrating.

All three have very different relationships with their mothers. Amy’s is very controlling and undermines all her decisions as Ruth (Christine Baranski, The Good Wife, Into the Woods) is determined to have Christmas exactly how she wants, regardless of the fact A BAD MOMS CHRISTMASthat they are at Amy’s house. Kiki’s mother Sandy (Cheryl Hines, Curb Your Enthusiasm) is over bearing, the death of her husband has resulted in Sandy putting all her attentions onto her only child. She wears clothes with pictures of Kiki on, cuts her hair into the same style, and watches Kiki as she sleeps – much to the irritation of Kiki’s husband! Carla’s on the other hand, is very much a free spirit who only shows up when she needs money. Played by Susan Sarandon (Thelma & Louise), Isis is unreliable and has no real relationship with her daughter or grandson. She certainly doesn’t act her age and it’s clear that though Carla wishes her mum cared more for her she’ll take any sort of acknowledgement from her in the hopes that it will lead to more.

All the cast are excellent, our three leads are just the same as before bad-moms-christmas-kristen-bell-mila-kunis-kathryn-hahnand their relationship on screen is completely believable even though they are totally different characters. Their different characteristics now make more sense to us having seen their mothers and this gives us a greater connection to them as we can relate to one or more of them. There are some hilarious scenes throughout as the three friends try to relieve some of the stresses of Christmas, you will definitely be laughing out loud on more than one occasion!

Overall, A Bad Moms Christmas is a really good film, and you don’t have to have seen the first one to understand it either. It’s also not a Christmas film that is overly Christmassy – yes it’s about the run up to the big day, but you’re more focused on the characters, their relationships and their various acts of rebellion that the fact it’s surrounding Christmas is just an added extra. I really enjoyed this film, it’s a simple comedy that is perfect to enjoy with your friends and just take you away from the outside world for a bit and there’s a lovely underlying message about mother-daughter relationships throughout.

 

 

 

Murder on the Orient Express

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From the novel by Agatha Christie, directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh (Dunkirk, Wallander), Murder on the Orient Express follows Detective Poirot as he races to find a killer amongst 12 strangers aboard a stranded train.

murder-on-the-orient-express-kenneth-branagh-hercule-poirot-mustacheEveryone has heard of Poirot – there have been various adaptions of Agatha Christie’s novels – and so this remake (for apparently there is an original film of the novel from 1974) was hugely anticipated. This was partly due to the incredible cast of actors involved, led by the great Kenneth Branagh who gives us his own unique portrayal of Poirot – complete with a ridiculous moustache! I can’t say I’ve ever really watched any of the other Poirot stuff but there has been a lot online about Branagh’s decision to change the moustache, and I have to admit it is very distracting! Branagh is known for his theatrical jobs and here we almost have a one man show for the film is entirely dominated by Poirot – I get that the film is about the detective but with such a great cast you’d think they would have shared out the airtime! Branagh does do a great job though, his portrayal gives us a character that is clearly very talented at solving mysteries, but we also see a sense of humour as well as a deep sadness for his lost love.

Alongside Branagh there is: Dame Judi Dench (James Bond, Philomena), Johnny Depp murder-on-the-orient-express-df-07779_rgb_copy_-_h_2017(Pirates of the Caribbean, Edward Scissorhands), Michelle Pfeiffer (Dangerous Liasions, Scarface), Penélope Cruz (Pirates of the Caribbean, Zoolander 2), Derek Jacobi (Last Tango in Halifax, Gladiator), Willem Dafoe (Spider-man, Finding Nemo), Olivia Colman (Broadchurch, The Night Manager), Josh Gad (Frozen, Beauty and the Beast) and Daisy Ridley (Star Wars). As you can see a very impressive cast and all give excellent performances but unfortunately are dominated by Branagh. I definitely think they should have used this impressive cast to their advantage and instead of wasting a lot of time at the beginning following Poirot as he begins his landscape-1506000453-murder-on-the-orient-express-jdjourney, the film should have got straight into the action on the train and given us more from the rest of the cast.

Visually, Murder on the Orient Express, is fantastic. There are some stunning shots of the train moving through the snow covered mountains – all CGI of course – and the various camera angles used throughout helped to keep you guessing as to who the killer was. I particularly liked the scene when the body is found, it was shot from above so all you see is the tops of the heads of the cast and it moves along the carriage as the characters move.

Overall, Murder on the Orient Express is a good film with a great cast, but for me it was a little bit boring. It takes ages for the characters to even get on the train, and Branagh has so many long speeches that at times my mind would wander – mainly to stare at his ridiculous moustache, which is a huge distraction! It’s not a film that I would be fussed about seeing again to be honest which is not really something I should be saying when it has a cast as great as this one does! Maybe I’m just the wrong demographic for the film, but if you don’t like Kenneth Branagh then you really won’t like this!

The Snowman

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Based on the book of the same name by Jo Nesbo, The Snowman is a crime thriller produced by Martin Scorsese and follows Detective Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender, X-Men, The Light Between Oceans, Shame) as he investigates the disappearances of women where the connecting link between them is a snowman found at their properties.

40851720170905111024The story line has you hooked from the beginning and continues until the very end. There are some brilliant twists and turns, and although my friend twigged the killer about halfway through it’s not blatantly obvious as to who it is. Luckily for us it’s not scary either! The trailer had us wondering if it was a horror, but we decided to risk it and actually it’s not much of a thriller either. There’s a couple of moments where you think something might jump out but nothing like that ever happens. The ‘thriller’ aspect comes more from the chase of catching the killer, and it’s also quite gruesome with some close-up shots of some very realistic wounds!

There is a great cast, led by Michael Fassbender, who is so good at adapting to different roles and really portraying the characters in a way that makes them believable. Here he is Harry, who we see from the start has a drinking problem, and is desperate for a case to sink his teeth into to help him get back on track. Michael Fassbender is always great and here is no exception, his character is flawed but that only draws us to him more. Harry is teamed up with Katrine (Rebecca Ferguson, Mission Impossible, The Girl on the Train) who has her own agenda for taking on the Snowman case. The two detectives have very different ways of working, and with both hiding secrets it takes a while beforemaxresdefault they start to trust each other. Michael and Rebecca work brilliantly together, their characters are both instantly likeable and you are willing them on in their search for the killer.

Supporting the two leads are a host of well known names and faces: J.K. Simmons (The AccountantWhiplash), Toby Jones (The Hunger Games, Dad’s Army), Genevieve O’Reilly (Star Wars, Spooks, Episodes), James D’Arcy (DunkirkBroadchurch), Chloe Sevigny (American Horror Story) and Sofia Helin (The Bridge). Not all the names have very big parts – Sofia Helin is sadly only in the first 5 minutes – but each character brings something to the narrative and all act their parts brilliantly.

snowman380Overall, The Snowman is a very good watch. If you like crime thrillers than this is perfect for you! It has also been released just as winter approaches so the setting with snow all around is something which we can relate to very soon – hopefully without the creepy snowmen though! – the snow also helps to give an eerie feeling which adds to the tension. I actually really liked this film, the narrative is believable and the cast really pull you in so you’re fully transported into that world. I would definitely recommend it!

 

Home Again

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Newly single Alice (Reese Witherspoon, Legally Blonde, Walk the Line) moves back home to Los Angeles with her two daughters, and whilst adjusting to her new life she finds herself inviting three young guys who are struggling to break into the film industry to live in her guesthouse. There are two narratives in this film, Alice as she home-again-bigattempts to find herself again, and the three guys, brothers Harry (Pico Alexander) and Teddy (Nat Wolff) and their friend George (Jon Rudnitsky) who are on the path to getting their film created. When the lads move in with Alice the two narratives entwine creating laughter as well as some emotional and moving scenes.

I love Reese Witherspoon, she has starred in so many brilliant films of all genres but here she goes back to her rom-com roots, a role that she is so great at! Reese has a natural talent when it comes to comedy and there are plenty of scenes which will make you laugh out loud. She also has a way of making you instantly love her characters, and Alice is no exception. It is clear from the beginning that Alice is sub-buzz-27107-1504802931-1struggling as a single mum settling her girls into a new school whilst at the same time getting her business up and running. When she meets the lads the age gap between them gives plenty of comedy as Alice attempts to hide her age but can’t resist the mothering instincts towards them!

The three lads themselves also have very lovable characters, the relationship between them is sweet and you find yourself feeling every moment of their roller-coaster as they desperately work to get their film recognised. Pico Alexander as Harry brings the eye-530776candy, there’s no denying his good looks, and his infatuation with Alice is completely believable – at forty one Reese still looks incredible! Nat Wolff is perfect as the youngest of the three, it’s clear that Teddy looks up to the other two and values their advice but he is often caught in the middle trying to clear the air as Harry and George differ when it comes to professional decisions. George is the calmest of the three and is the one Alice turns to the most for help and advice. Jon Rudnitsky (a stand up comic in America) knows all about comedic timings and so helps execute a lot of the jokes.methode2ftimes2fprod2fweb2fbin2fc241d7e2-a454-11e7-9cc3-a3b3c6cd90b8

Overall, Home Again hasn’t had many good reviews – and so we went in with very low expectations – however, it’s actually a really lovely film. The narrative is simple but it’s filled with so many lovely feel good moments. Every character is played brilliantly from the supporting cast – including Michael Sheen (Passengers, Underworld), Candice Bergen (Miss Congeniality, House) and Dolly Wells (Bridget Jones’ Diary) – to the main four. There hasn’t been a light-hearted romantic movie for a while, so it was nice to just sit back and enjoy a simple film with the girls. It’s definitely one you can enjoy over and again, it’s a shame that it hasn’t had much publicity over here so unfortunately a lot of people are missing out on what is a really enjoyable film!