Movie Review #5943 THE COMMUTER.
Everybody's favourite Irish actor Liam Needon is main dude in this killer thriller set on a New York commuter train.
The special set of skills guy is Michael MacCaughley, an ex-cop come insurance salesman who when traveling home one evening after an eventful day at the office is approached by a mystery woman and asked to complete one little task. Of course this one little task involves murder, blackmail, kidnapping, lotsa skullduggery and intrigue and leads our man down dead end after dead end before all is revealed and the bad guys exposed.
Starts out a little tedious as the mystery is established and we wince a bit as the frustration levels build for our guy however once it all gets rolling we settle into a nice little thriller that keeps the edges of our seats well shuffled upon. Liam gets his head smacked about quite a bit and for an ex-cop he doesn't win many of his altercations yet he plugs on, desperate to get to the bottom of it all.
Femme fatale is Vera Farmiga, lately Norma Bates of Bates Motel and veteran side guy Jonathan Banks shows up as a mate who unfortunately winds up head butting a bus.
Lively showing from Mr Neeson and certainly one of the better thrillers of late despite the slow start. 8/10.
Movie Review #7831 THE SHAPE OF WATER.
Apt title for a Swiss Army knife of a movie that hovers across sci-fi, horror, musical, love story, comedy, porn flick and spy thriller genres taking each one by the throat and giving it a damn good shake.
Sally Hawkins is the mute Eliza working as a cleaner in an early 60s government research facility when she strikes a repose with the latest researchee - a throwback from the creature from the black lagoon. Octavia Spencer is her workmate & eventual cohort as they, along with her gay neighbour and a humanitarian scientist, who turns out to be not quite what he seems, endeavour to stay one step ahead of the egotistical head honcho played nicely by very easy-to-dislike bad guy Michael Shannon.
I'm told there's one small DNA strand difference between a human and a chimpanzee and one small tweak in the DNA of this movie changes it from sci-fi thriller to cornball spoof, from love story to political commentary plus we're left at the end with a did she/didn't she puzzler.
Nonetheless an extremely well crafted film that could have easily lost its way through all its ducking and diving across boundaries yet it manages to stay on a relatively even keel throughout, delivering a highly entertaining couple of hours.
Movie Review #6971 DARKEST HOUR.
Far, far superior retelling of the Churchill story, or at least part of it, than last year's CHURCHILL.
This one focuses on his appointment as British Prime Minister through to his leading the country in defiance of Hitler's aggression, even as the British Expeditionary Force is caught in a German army stranglehold on the coast of France.
Man-of-a-thousand-faces Gary Oldman is the rotund himself and Kristin Scott Thomas the long-suffering Clementine, who is constantly holding up his pillar as he battles factions within his own party who would seek to enter into peace negotiations with Hitler, via of all people Benito Mussolini.
We see both a strong and a vulnerable Churchill, superbly portrayed by Mr Oldman who finally resorts to some fairly interesting opinion/information-gathering before launching into his 'fight them on the beaches' spiel.
Can't fault the cinematography nor the script and the amusing interplay between Churchill and the king is nicely sequenced in between Winston's frustrations with Chamberlain and Viscount Halifax, who keeps threatening to resign (dunno why Winston didn't just sack him!).
As you can probably guess, the stand out by country mile is Oldman although Scott Thomas is pretty dazzling too given that her screen time is much less. Interesting to remember that Gary Oldman played Sid Vicious in the Sid and Nancy biopic in the mid80's so quite a turn.
I rarely do this but for me it's a 10/10.
I'm a movie nut from way back with my first ever being The Hallelujah Trail from 1964. Ever since, I've been mesmerized by the giant screen, and the darkness that went on forever. Despite the infernally uncomfortable seats, (plus having to stand for God Save the Queen), I've been enticed ever since to duck into a theatre whenever I can for a few hours of escapism.