I rated Jumanji: welcome to the jungle 7/10

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2283362

I didn’t expect much and instead got a surprising amount of fun out of this movie.

The video game setting worked neatly. Especially the NPCs, the mission/level staging, and the cartoonish bad guy.

The breakfast club like set up of the group of characters worked well.

The growth of the characters was amusing and convincing for such an entertainment-based movie.

The 4 main actors did a sterling job of playing their characters.

All in all this was an amusing and entertaining bit of fun that I could see again.

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I rated the commuter 5/10

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1590193

I got to go to a preview showing. Thanks Cineworld.

This is a familiar bunch of tropes patched together with Liam Neeson’s inquisitive charm as a long term commuter and ex-cop.

After a bad day at work Neeson agreed to do something in return for $100,000. Turns out it’s something that goes against his moral code.

This is a straight to dvd type movie that offers some moments of tension and trauma but lacks any real sense of peril.

It’s not helped by following murder on the orient express by only a couple of months. That film has scarred train-based entertainment for a while for me.

Neeson does a fair job of oscillating between mild-mannered commuter and wild-eyed terror suspect but even he can’t redeem this.

There were a few events where I doubted the resolve and ruthlessness of the hidden conspirators.

As for the semi-post-script ending? Oh dear. Hopefully it means no ‘the commuter 2 – the return journey’.

Instead of seeing this I recommend you get on a bus and stream Speed, or a train and stream under siege 2 or source code if you want transportation-based thrills.

I gave The Last Jedi 7/10 on #IMDB

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2527336

Finally, an OK Star Wars movie beyond the original trilogy.

It is way too long with a running time of 152 minutes. There’s nothing here that cutting to, say, 100 minutes wouldn’t have improved.

The story telling is pretty traditional with seemingly contemporaneous cuts between different galactic locations. This makes it feel similar to good Star Wars movies.

I really enjoyed the Rey and Luke scenes. Some echoes of Luke and Yoda there. But with a darker, more challenging edge.

The lamest parts were those with general Hux and Poe near the beginning. Too comical. Oh, and most any part with Ren who is too obviously conflicted and just comes across as meh. The epic fight Ren and Rey have with Snokes’ elite guards is just a drag.

Really good parts were the tension of the fleeing rebel ship and the rebel escape. The triumphant destruction of the first order ships is great. And the sneaking out, reunion, and skywalker/ Ren face off is great. Real Star Wars moments.
Overall this is a rather too long but engaging Star Wars movie that bodes well for the next instalment.

I rated The Man Who Invented Christmas 7/10

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6225520

Possibly the best telling of ‘a Christmas carol’ after The Muppet Christmas Carol.

The exploration of Dickens’ world and writer’s block together with the developing Christmas Carol tale really worked for me. Though some of the scenery is a bit CGI and some London scenes seem more musical than drama this movie really seemed to capture some of the atmosphere of the invention of the Dickens Christmas carol.

There are some very good performances and I’d hesitate to pick out any particular actor. Though Jake the raven is pretty good.

I found this a very enjoyable and entertaining tale of the genesis of a Christmas carol and the modern Christmas.

I rated Wonder 8/10

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2543472

This was a far better film than I expected. Elements that really helped were the different people’s stories and the general lack of mawkishness that can damage films about very personal stories and experiences.

Beautifully filmed with some fun scenes of fantasy + reality. The lead players do a great job of creating credible, realistic characters.

The marvellous cruelty of middle school is convincing.

Well worth watching.

I rated Molly’s Game 7/10

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4209788

I got to see this at a ‘secret’ preview showing. So glad I did. The trailers I’d seen made me want to see it. The movie itself is a triumph. My first reflections were that it was a well-done ‘contemporary events and flashbacks’ film. Thinking later on, it is a disturbing and oddly un-Hollywood Hollywood movie about accommodation and acceptance. Possibly one of the best illustrations of a ‘slippery slope’ on screen.

The closing scenes and the end credit follow up are excellent. I’m very glad the movie had ‘what happens next’ as an endnote.

Essentially a high achiever from a high achieving family has a setback, takes a year out, falls in with an intoxicating crowd and builds a great business with ‘little more than [her] wits’. As with anything you like it can carry you away and that’s where things take a tricky turn.

I mentioned ‘disturbing’. Michael Cera does a great job as an unsettling and seemingly evil Hollywood a-lister, poker player, and self-proclaimed ‘destroyer of lives’.

This is a great ‘based on a true story’ film with some tough scenes that ends with a realistic outcome. Good luck Molly Bloom.

I rated battle of the sexes 8/10

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4622512

8/10? For a sports movie? Ah, this is so much more than a sports movie. With very credible performances by Emma Stone and Steve Carell this is a story of awakening and revolution.

With a good balance of back story and character we seem to find out a lot about the events that prompt the ‘battle of the sexes’.

The action on court is neatly done. And the action off court gives an insight into the characters that my last tennis flick did an unbalanced job of. With this movie I felt that I saw real people dealing with their day to day problems as well as the macro-problems of the age. Sure, some of the characters are super-villain-like (for example, the USLTA chairman) but that puts the emphasis on Stone and Carell and their close characters to show us more depth. And they do that really well.

If you can tolerate the tennis then this is a great character movie showing the weird world of the 70s.