I rated Christopher Robin 8/10 on IMDB

www.imdb.com/title/tt4575576

nearly didn’t go to see this as I’d been told by a trusted source that it was ‘OK, but unoriginal’.

Sure, it’s a familiar trope for a certain type of children’s movie. ‘Big’ with Tom Hanks is the one I remember most. It goes put aside magical childhood to grow up, lose sight of what makes you happy on the hamster wheel of adulthood, and through traumatic events recapture what’s important.

But wow. This movie had me in tears most of the way through. Maybe it’s my time of life. Maybe circumstances. But I thought this was the strongest tale of this sort I have yet seen. And it is all done so gently. Macgregor’s RP accent is a bit weak and he seems to be holding back on something in his character. That does not diminish the power of his role combined with that of his family and especially the brilliantly animated friends in 100 acre wood. They are just right.

Almost modelled after films of a bygone era, this has a strong story arc, neatly ties up all components, love triumphs, and it is all done wonderfully.

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I rated the predator 6/10 on IMDB

www.imdb.com/title/tt3829266

a surprisingly entertaining resurrection of the predator. Reminded me of some of the films and TV of the 80s with its family, children, soldier, and scientist aspects. It’s a great blend of cheesy, humour, violence and gore.

Not a great intellectual effort, but well worth sitting back and enjoying the almost nonsensical events as they unfold.

I rated BlackkKlansman 10/10 on IMDB

www.imdb.com/title/tt7349662

one of the best new films I have seen in recent times.

It’s played with humour and passion. It has a serious message and serious content. It has polemic and argument. It is outrageously entertaining.

An ambitious guy becomes the Colorado springs police force’s first black police officer. And then becomes their first detective. When he responds to the KKK’s newspaper ad with a phone call he’s in. Working with his white Jewish partner they infiltrate the local chapter of ‘the organisation’ and uncover domestic terror plans. The KKK members are played brilliantly and portrayed, accurately, as racist hapless idiots with bad intent.

With its serious undertow and political messages this could have been disturbing and dull. Instead it is a consciousness-raising entertainment movie that deserves viewing.

I rated at eternity’s gate 5/10 on IMDB

www.imdb.com/title/tt6938828

it’s pretty obvious from the beginning that this is an arty film. The super-shonky hand held footage that makes up the first country scenes we see Van Gogh in make that clear.

However, this movie is surprisingly absorbing for all that arty pretension. We see a reasonably linear narrative from Paris to the south of France and so on to Arles and st remy. The cinematography seems to help give an insight into Van Gogh’s mental state. The drama is suitably real-life. Nothing overblown, just right. Willem Dafoe is compelling as Van Gogh.

While there are weird things throughout, Van Gogh’s death in this movie is perhaps the oddest. Saying nothing more about it.

This is a long, arty, yet fascinating movie. Worth watching.

I rated Charlie Says 7/10 on IMDB

www.imdb.com/title/tt1759744

Saw this at the Venice film festival. Packed performance. And deservedly so. We get into the story without much exposition. And what a story. The ethical dilemma of the prison workers, especially the educator. The shifting awareness of the 3 prisoners. And the disturbing replaying of Manson family life.

Each actor does a great job with their character. This is a dramatisation that does what a documentary could not: give us some of the inner life, experiences, and emotion of what it might have been like.

It’s a bit long at times but this gives the movie space to extend the drama and make the characters fuller than they could have been in a more edited movie.

Well worth seeing.

I rated the sisters brothers 6/10 on IMDB

www.imdb.com/title/tt4971344

A surprisingly good western that could have been even better with some cuts here and there to keep its pace.

The sisters brothers are merciless killers, an odd couple, and have a strong fraternal relationship in their work for ‘the commodore’.

On the trail of a man who is being tracked by a detective working for the commodore the sisters brothers have a few mishaps. Killers, spiders, horse troubles are just a few.

When they find him things work out more differently than I could have predicted.

This movie kept a good sense of humour in its harshness and contrasting warmth and humanity. If westerns are the next big thing after superheroes I hope we get more like this.

I rated Peterloo 4/10 on IMDB

www.imdb.com/title/tt4614612

Saw this at the Venice film festival.

It shares some common threads with many of Mike Leigh’s other films. Earnest working class folks. Grim conditions. Oppressive politics. And some moments of light relief. This one goes on and on and on though.

The opening scene is pretty brutal with a young soldier caught on a battlefield with cannon fire and cavalry.

Then to Manchester. The soldier’s home and the eventual scene of the massacre at St Peter’s Field. It’s a long time until the movie gets to that. Once it does, and we get to see the drawn out preparation and carnage things are wrapped up in a few moments.

There’s quite a bit of tedious didacticism with folks explaining corn laws, suffrage, and so forth to family around the hearth.

In most every scene it is like the characters are orating to each other rather than conversing. Especially the magistrates. They identify themselves as ‘moral superiors’ of the regular folk as they plot the crushing of perceived insurrection. About the only characters who avoid this orating and shouting at each other are the Home Secretary, prime minister, and prince regent. Though they’re mildly lampooned.

It’s an overly earnest film that could have been more effective with some dialogue, radical editing, and something a bit more than ‘we’ll be sure to report this in our newspapers’ to end the massacre with.