Movie Review #2964 DEATH WISH.
Remake of the 1974 Charles Bronson vehicle which, coincidentally was my very first R16 movie. I think I'd just turned 14 and me and my ole schoolmate Robert Crockett donned our best platformed shoes to convince the ticket lady we were of age (and at least this time I didn't ask for half!).
Anyway this one has Brucie Willis in the main role and this time he's a doctor not an architect, which begs the question what happened to the Hippocratic Oath when it comes to the doc blowing away bad guys after his wife is attacked in a robbery gone wrong. Sufficiently cringeworthy in some scenes when the retribution is being dished out and Dr Willis proves to be no slouch when figuring ways to best do so.
Unfortunately a very average script makes it all a bit bland and predictable and it lacks the edginess of the original. No real noteworthy performances either as it's not really a noteworthy performance movie although everyone's second-favourite actor Vincent D'Onofrio turns in a decent shift as the little brother.
Yes violent & blood-curdling but not overly so and Brucie's inventive ways of getting bad dudes to talk is about the only creativity present. The original also spawned a bunch of sequels, hope that doesn't become the fate of this reboot.
Movie Review #9357 THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI.
Very Coen-esque tale of a grieving mother resorting to an unusual method to prevent her daughter's murder case sinking without a trace.
Frances McDormand, actually in real life Mrs Coen takes the centre stage as Mildred Hayes, aforementioned mother with ex-Cheerser Woody Harrelson as the local boss cop and Sam Rockwell a numbskull deputy who has a habit of putting foot in mouth with alarming regularity.
It's typically dark, (very) subtley (is that a word?) comic with some brilliantly placed little quips and gems that you need to be on your toes to catch, think I missed a few! The plot dips and dives, sets you up then hauls you back down again and works an unpredictability that is quite refreshing albeit frustrating at times.
McDormand is superb, Woody-boy equally so and Rockwell complete with gormless haircut floors everyone with a keen performance and a character who turns a corner during the proceedings. Other notable characters are the chief's wife Anne, Peter Dinklage with the hots for Mildred and Mildred's ex who parades his young but dumb trophy girlfriend around the show.
It shows that given a good script and masterful screenplay, actors have license to shine and certainly this cast does that very well. Bound to be in award contention and wouldn't be surprised to see it take a hatful.
Movie Review #1974 GAME NIGHT.
American comedy built on premise of a few couples who like to outdo each other at games, any game, as long as it's innocent so no drinking games or anything unseemly.
Enter the high-flying brother of one of them and the game night takes on an interesting twist with plenty of misunderstandings, confusion and red herrings abound as a murder/mystery night becomes a little too real for comfort.
Standard comedy fare built on insecure characters but with just a little originality thrown in. Jason Bateman and Rachael Mcadams are the leads although neither turns in anything memorable along with the rest of the cast although the script makes it hard to rise above anything mediocre. The cop next door is mildly amusing who pulls a surprise or two however from a position of possibilities it all becomes a bit, well, boring.
Couple of grins raised at a few scenes that could have been really funny but weren't so much and I found myself watch watching third of the way through. Nice try but doesn't really come off.
Movie Review #3865 THE GREATEST SHOWMAN.
Expected a biopic but got a musical instead albeit a reasonably good one. Loosely based on the early experiences of Phineas Taylor (PT) Barnum and the establishing of his various entertainment enterprises.
Doesn't really stick to the facts but in keeping with the old adage of never letting the truth get in the way of a good story, we have Wolverine himself, Aussie Hugh Jackman prancing across stage and circus ring, accumulating his menagerie of oddities as he goes. As usual these folks carry hearts of gold despite their dispositions and on more than one occasion come to Barnum's rescue as he continues to suffer various setbacks.
Supportive but suffering wife Charity and two cutie pie daughters wait in the wings as PT diversifies his interests as impresario and philanthropist, following a sensational new vocalist across the USA before realising his folly.
Zac Efron shows up as a business partner who like the resident oddities bails Hughie boy out on more than one occasion.
Amusing up to a point and falls into the common trap with latter day musicals of too much music! Jackman is adequate as Barnum and Michelle Williams the same as Charity so no real standout performances.
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.