I rated Ad Astra 5/10

www.imdb.com/title/tt2935510

Slightly guilty at giving this 5/10. It has some really good high-concept sci-fi stuff, a sterling performance from Brad Pitt, and some persuasive effects. Why 5/10? Well, the backstory: dad’s missing/out of touch on Neptune; 16 years ago; drones haven’t found him but sending his son on a jaunt out there will? Mmm. Plus, moon-pirates in moon-buggies? Really? And a variety of nonsense scattered about. Brad’s dad is played hilariously by tommy lee Jones. Maybe being out at the edge has broken him, but his character doesn’t really work for me. The ending is also a bit of a non-event. Resolution, but not very…dramatic.

My enjoyment was also marred by a man-child in the front row who kept checking his huge, super-bright iPhone every few minutes, taking time to read and update his social circle. Well, that was when he wasn’t checking his super-bright Apple Watch. 🙄

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Joker 8/10

www.imdb.com/title/tt7286456

Wow. No superheroes. No video game-like CGI. And wonderfully misleading at times.

A great Joker origin story that sits in a grim Gotham not far from Frank Miller’s Dark Knight.

Really compelling character arc that brought me along with it and left me feeing admiration and disgust.

You really have to see this.

Yesterday. Less drama than going to the shops

www.imdb.com/title/tt8079248

ugh. Tedious. I confess, I went to a preview showing and could tolerate no more than about 30 minutes.

The premise is suitably preposterous. But the characters? The writing? There’s NO DRAMA.

Maybe it’s the story, but the main character is a-charismatic. Now he does identify this as a reason he is not an instant star, but it got no better in what I could bear.

I wanted to find out what happened at the end. I feared ‘it was all a dream’ but I could not tolerate more undramatic drivel after Ed Sheeran turns up and there’s an unamusing T-shirt moment and ‘oh, come in’. Dire.

Maybe go and see it and find it amazing. I wanted to enjoy it despite ‘feel good movie of the summer’. The same director’s Slumdog Millionaire was ‘feel good movie of the year’ but I found it different: gratuitous and disturbing. This is different again, boring.

X-men: dark Phoenix – meh

www.imdb.com/title/tt6565702

It promised so much with Jean gray at the heart of the story.

Instead it is a dull mess. Sure, there are some neat events. And there are some defeats for some X-men which is a nice touch. Sadly, the relative absence of a story and some really poor lines combined with variable FX make for a sorry jumble that’s best avoided.

It was great to see quicksilver and nightstalker or whatever Kurt’s character is called do some neat stuff. Especially Kurt getting annoyed with the bad guys. On those bad guys, despite the tedious exposition by Jessica chastain’s character they were all a bit underused and lacked any real depth.

I was told that this is the last of this set of X-men movies. I hope whatever comes next is better.

Late night – earnest and amusing

www.imdb.com/title/tt6107548

Emma Thompson is a star in so many ways. She plays this somewhat 2D character effectively and comes across as authentic.

The setting seems credible and while many characters are stereotypical (earnest new hire, network boss, office playboy, dying husband…) they’re generally played well and do their job.

Entertaining, slightly dated, but worth watching.

Brightburn. Anti-superman

www.imdb.com/title/tt7752126

An understated movie given all the high budget superhero schlock still washing around.

The acting is almost kitchen-sink realistic with none of the usual superhero overblown BS.

I can see why some folks have found this a slow and possibly unrewarding movie. What I found was an intense story of a normal childhood and what could happen if you were a super-powered alien, lied to, lonely, and living in brightburn.

That the movie has a really confined scope, brightburn, and everything happens there reminded me of the confines of a horror movie. One where you discover the horror is closer than you thought.

Puberty changes everything for children and parents. Though this movie does push things far, the events are similar to those for some families. Just magnified by super-powered vengeance.

Get over the other, flashy, superheroes and put yourself in the shoes of people in a regular town with some scary things happening. It’s just how that Clark Kent guy could’ve turned out if he’d had regular parents rather than comic book saints.