August 2018~ The Spy Who Dumped Me

*Spoiler Alert*

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I’m honestly not sure what to write about this film. I was looking forward to this a lot- the trailer was funny and the interviews I have watched got me interested. Mila Kunis is normally a good watch and Kate McKinnon was probably the best thing about the most recent Ghostbusters film. That, alongside a good plotline (Girl finds out her boyfriend is a spy, he gets killed. Girl and her BFF decide to finish mission) what could go wrong?!

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I was disappointed to say the least. Whilst the storyline was good and Mila Kunis was brilliant, Kate McKinnon let the film down. Yes, her character was supposed to be OTT, but she was too over-the-top! McKinnon tried too hard to be funny and certain jokes were obvious and fell flat. It took her too long to become serious and it should have happened earlier in the film as the last 15-20 minutes were fine!

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There were a few big names that were underused including Paul Reiser, Jane Curtain and Gillian Anderson. They could have done more, especially with Gillian’s character.

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Would I watch it again? If I was drunk and in the mood for cheap laughs and a bit of Mila Kunis then yes, otherwise no.

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August 2018~ BLACKkKLANSMAN

*Potential spoiler*

The latest offering from Spike Lee is BLACKkKLANSMEN. It is a biographical comedy-drama set in the 1970s and based on the real-life experience of Ron Stallworth and his time as an African-American detective at the Colorado Springs Police Department.

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Ron Stallworth (played by John David Washington) is the first African-American to be recruited by the CSPD. Stallworth is assigned to the records room where is has to deal with mistreatment and blatant racism from his colleagues. Eager to prove himself, he requests transfer to the undercover section as is quickly thrown into action infiltrating a local rally being organised by the Colorado Springs Black Student Union President, Patrice Dumas (Laura Harrier).

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Following on from his success, he is assigned to the intelligence division. One day he sees an add in the paper, recruiting new members to the Klan. He quickly applies much to the shock and amusement of his colleagues.

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What follows is an intense, and at times amusing, story of life for black people in the 1970s from more than one angle. Ron- who believes he can do good and help change the system. Patrice- head of the student union who believes there is no hope and that violence may be the only way. Ron’s colleagues- most are openly racist whereas a few others are slowly coming around to Ron’s way of thinking. Finally, the narrow-minded, violent point-of-view of the Klan members, including Chief-Wizard David Duke.

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The film also parallels the current racial tensions in the USA and quite rightly points the finger at the current president. I won’t spoil it but the last few minutes change the film quite dramatically and is incredibly powerful and moving.

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I’ve read a few reviews (2 actually) that state they think that Spike Lee was trying to say that the white police officers are the allies of the black man. I don’t agree. If anything I would say that he was trying to say that yes, there is institutionalised racism present in the police, but that doesn’t mean that every officer is racist and that only by working together and getting rid of the racism will this war be won.

I can highly recommend this film and if you leave untouched by it I would be surprised!

August 2018~ Bond In Motion exhibition

The Bond in Motion exhibition is currently showing at The London Film Museum in Covent Garden (Entrance is on Bow Street) and showcases the vehicles used in all of the Bond films all the way back to Dr.No. There are also a few costumes, props, toys and other items on display.

As part of the exhibition there is a special set of exhibits called “Behind the scenes of SPECTRE” which has more props, photos and artwork.

I’ve seen the majority of these vehicles before when they were at the museum up in Keswick, but this is a much nicer building and the collection has been added to, mostly from the later Daniel Craig movies.

If you are a bond fan and in London, it’s well worth a visit!

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August 2018~ Christopher Robin

*Obligatory Spoiler Warning!*

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This isn’t the kind of film I’d normally go and see but I had my niece and nephews with me. My nephew Charlie is obsessed with Tigger and my niece Jessica had a similar obsession with Piglet when she was younger (though secretly I think she still does).

The story starts with a young Christopher Robin, preparing to leave 100 acre wood, his friends and his home to go to boarding school. He promises never to forget Pooh and the rest of the group. Lots of time-jumps occur including Christopher’s time at school, fighting in World War 2, meeting Evelyn (Agent Peggy Carter Hayley Atwell), getting married to Evelyn and finally having a daughter called Madeline.

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Grown-up Christopher Robin (Obi-Wan Kenobi Ewan MacGregor)¬†has forgotten all about Pooh and his friends and is now head of efficiency at Winslow’s Luggage Company and is told by his boss (Mark Gatiss) that he has to make cuts. The pressure of the job is affecting his home life, including his relationship with Madeline, as well as causing him stress at work.

Meanwhile, Winnie the Pooh has woken up to find that all of his friends have vanished. He needs Christopher Robin’s helpto find them. Pooh risks going through the door to Christopher’s world to find him, battling Woozles and Heffalumps on the way.

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It’s a great film for kids, though some younger children may need the opening part of the story read to them as there is a lot of on-screen text, just as if it was taken straight from one of the books. There are lots of humorous moments and whilst it’s not as funny as Paddington, it does have its own unique charm.

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Pooh, Eyeore, Piglet and Tigger are all well used. Not enough is seen of Kanga, Roo, Rabbit and Owl which is a shame as the scenes they are in a awesome.

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If you are an adult it’s still well worth a watch, especially if you grew up with the stories of Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and the rest of the gang from 100 acre wood. It’s got quite a powerful message for adults

August 2018~ Star Trek Discovery: Spock casting!

When Star Trek Discovery began in 2017, many Trek fans, myself included,¬† hoped that they wouldn’t go anywhere near Kirk, Spock and co during the first season. I felt it needed to be accepted on its own merits. Season one was a complete success (for most fans) and it was an amazing sight when the Discovery finally came nose-to-nose with the USS Enterprise…..I must admit a little tear was shed!

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This led many to believe that the Enterprise would somehow play a big part in season two. That was subsequently confirmed by CBS when they announced that actor Anson Mount was cast to play Captain Christopher Pike (Commander of the Enterprise before Kirk), another Trek character to have been played by multiple actors.

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Anson Mount, Jeffery Hunter, Sean Kenney & Bruce Greenwood as Captain Christopher Pike

What little information we do have tells us that Spock has vanished; Pike and the crew of the Discovery, including Spock’s adopted sister Michael Burnham, set out to find him.

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Sarek (Spock’s father) & Michael Burnham

Since the announcement that Spock would somehow play a part in Discovery season 2 there has been a lot of speculation about who would play him if he were to appear.

Many fans were excited at the prospect of a new Spock, whilst others said that to recast would be tantamount to sacrilege as there can be only one- many said that Quinto was bad enough in the JJ Abrahms movies (FYI even though I’m not a fan of the JJ-verse, for me Quinto and Zoe Saldana were perfect casting choices).

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To me, Leonard Nimoy (Grandpa Leonard ūüôā ) will always be the quintessential Spock. However, for Trek to continue, recasting becomes necessary.

I’d like to remind people that to date, 9 people, including Nimoy and Quinto have played Spock:

So there IS a precedent for a new actor playing Spock at a different age and I’m cool with that. I’m sure the new actor will pay homage to Leonard Nimoy- Leonard’s family seem to approve!

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Ethan Peck (Centre) with (L-R) Terry Farrell (Jadzia Dax in Star Trek: DS9 and wife of Adam Nimoy), Adam Nimoy, Julie Nimoy & David Knight (Julie’s husband)

So who is the new Spock?

His name is Ethan Peck and he comes from good Hollywood-acting stock; his grandfather was the actor Gregory Peck who I loved in The Omen, The Guns of Navarone, To Kill A Mockingbird and more…..

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Ethan already has a good list of acting credits under his belt and I’m sure he will be a great addition not only to Star Trek Discovery, but to the whole Trek family!

Welcome Ethan!

August 2018~ The Meg

As usual, beware of spoilers!

It’s the summer holidays, I have my Odeon Limitless card so why not try and see every film possible this summer? Even one I was convinced was going to be a total rip-off of one of my favourite films, Jaws.¬†It didn’t help that I’ve never really been a fan of Jason Statham either but I thought why the hell not. Off I trotted to the Odeon Tottenham Court Road to see this new shark movie.

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I was wrong. I was also pleasantly surprised.

The story begins with a submarine in distress and the crew in need of rescue. Cue Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) and his mini-DSRV. He manages to save everyone but loses two of his crew before ‘something’ crushes the submarine.

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Two years later Dr Zhang (Winston Chao), an eminent Marine Biologist and his daughter Suyin (Li Bingbing) are welcoming billionaire Jack Morris (Rainn Wilson) to the research platform where they work and he (Morris) funds.

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Morris has been invited to witness an historic occasion. A mini-sub is about to prove that the Marianas Trench isn’t the deepest part of the ocean, and that what they believe to be the sea floor is actually a thermocline (a thin layer in a large body of water where the temperature changes rapidly with depth with different temperatures above and below. The thermocline acts as a barrier meaning these temperatures never mix). Once proven, they expect to find a whole new environment with never before seen species.

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As you can guess, something doesn’t go quite right and Jonas Taylor is brought in to help save the crew. On return to the research station they quickly find out that something has followed them through the break in the thermocline. a creature that was thought to be extinct; A Megalodon (a very old, f***ing great shark!).

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Things quickly descend into utter chaos and the usual amounts of screaming, crying and dying take place.

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There are also at least 6 homages to Jaws in the film. Director John Turteltaub said in an interview that whenever a shark film is released, critics will inevitably compare it to the 1975 Speilberg epic, so why not pay homage to one of his favourite films.

The links to Jaws that I noticed include:-

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  1.  The way the shark was filmed. From overhead shots to the silhouettes- it was remarkably similar in style.
  2.  Morris makes a comment about attaching a tracker to the shark, very reminiscent of the scene where Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and Quint (Robert Shaw) try to attach a tracker using harpoons and barrels.
  3. There is a scene with Jason Statham trying to take aim at The Meg- very similar to the scene at the end of Jaws where Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) is aiming at the gas canister that eventually destroys Bruce.
  4. The attack on the beach is similar to that of the attack on Amity Beach.
  5. A dog ends up in the water. The dogs name is Pippin- very similar to Pippet, the black Labrador that perished in Jaws.
  6. The attack on the boat is visually similar to the attack on The Orca where Quint dies.

This film isn’t going to win any Oscars, but it’s a good, fun, romp worth of a repeat viewing. Very entertaining with lots of (sometimes inappropriate) chuckles throughout!

Rainn Wilson as Morris was a pleasant surprise! Wilson recently recreated the role of Harry Mudd, who was first seen in the original Star Trek, for the new show Star Trek: Discovery. There was a Trek reference in The Meg, said by him. I wonder if it was his idea?

Check it out!

August 2018~ The Darkest Minds

Beware- Spoiler alert below!

I had no knowledge of this film prior to watching it. I now know it to be part of a series of Young Adult (I like to think I still am one!) novels a bit like The Hunger Games- another book/film series that I enjoyed even if the middle film was a bit of a let down! I have ordered the books so that I can make a comparison for future use. Interestingly, I spent a lot of the film trying to work out where I had seen the lead actress, Amandla Stenberg before. It turns out she played Rue in The Hunger Games!

The Darkest Minds is a sci-fi thriller set  in the very near future in the USA. A disease called Idiopathic Adolescent Acute Neurodegeneration, or IAAN kills off 90% of the children aged under 18. The 10% that are left are all endowed with powers. The general public and the government are fearful of these children who are quickly placed in Nazi-style internment camps. It is in these camps that the children are classified and colour-coded according to his or her power. Of the powers, Greens are the least dangerous and have a very high level of intelligence and memories; Blues are classed as mildly dangerous and have telekinetic abilities; Golds are dangerous and can control electricity; Reds are highly dangerous and have the ability to generate and manipulate fire; Oranges are lethal and have the ability to enter and control the minds of others- they are also shot on sight.

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Ruby Daley celebrates her tenth birthday with her parents. That night, her powers first manifest themselves- she is an Orange. Ruby causes her parents to forget her and shortly thereafter ends up in an internment camp where she witnesses another Orange force a guard to commit suicide. She is then taken to be scanned where the doctor learns she is an Orange and tries to terminate her. Using her powers, Ruby escapes with the aid of another doctor and ends up on the run. On the way she meets three others: Liam, a blue with telekinetic powers, Zu a Gold who has to wear rubber gloves due to her electrical powers, and Chubs, a super-intelligent Green.

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Together, they head towards East-River, a haven for psionic kids in Virginia, run by Slip-Kid, one of the only surviving Oranges. On the way they have to contend with other kids, trackers who are hunting them and more.

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The film has received negative comments and ratings on sites like RottenTomato. For me, I found it an enjoyable movie that could easily be developed into a series of films. Yes,I found the ending to be weak, but I’m hoping its because they are hoping for a sequel. Performances all-round were fairly good considering the cast is quite young and the idea behind the story I find interesting. The only thing that let me down was their depiction of Salem, Virginia, It’s somewhere I know well and have visited it many times. It doesn’t look anything like what it did in the film. It’s a minor thing and doesn’t take away from the film, just me being picky!

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