I rated Hampstead (2017) 4/10 #IMDb

So promising. Great actors. ‘Based on a true story’ authenticity. And a chunk of London ripe for complex storytelling.

Instead it’s an insipid mash up of sitcom, farce, twee London scenes and characters, and indulgent cinematography.

There are lots of scene-setting shots showing off the intended beauty of the area. Most of these belong in tourist ads or on Gardener’s World rather than a character movie. But then you’d expect characters in such a thing. And they’re a bit weak on the whole. They’re not that credible for sure.

Most of the characters seem to be lazy stereotypes or caricatures: posh fakes, daft do-gooders, pompous asses, etc.

Even Keaton and Gleason don’t get to do much beyond play characters who should be complex but just seem vague and confused at best.

The film trundles along with its predictable story right up until its predictable and sickly end.

You’d be better off watching three weddings and a funeral again if you want some entertainment based in London.

I rated Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) 5/10 #IMDb

More of the same. Mythical nonsense, mech violence, moralising, and some sort of story.

After the events of the last movie folks don’t like Transformers. Apparently, devastating alien battles in populated areas go down as badly in this world as they do in Marvel’s Avengers.

As well as dealing with being an outlaw, ‘traitor’, distant father, widower, unsuccessful inventor, and unlikely hero Mark Wahlberg’s character lives in another junk yard with some guy he’s duped into joining him.

The myth weaving and back story take us back to Arthurian legends. Albeit in a shorter and more entertaining and convincing fashion than the recent ‘legend of the sword’. Cue Sir Anthony Hopkins doing irascible Lord and secret keeper. Together with his transformer batman/butler/companion he’s been protecting the ancient secrets of the transformer knights as part of a tradition.

The other characters don’t seem as well-developed (relatively) as these. Even the transformers seem a bit peripheral at times.

There’s some other story going on with Optimus prime on its way to cybertron to meet the maker. Somehow OP gets turned and pops back to earth to serve the evil intentions.

At a perceived 4 hours this movie goes on a bit. The different threads are woven together like a ball of string left in a drawer. The odd mix of myth, violence, and comedy is amped up a bit from earlier movies.

Go see it if you have to. It is more fun than some of this year’s movies but don’t expect a landmark.

I rated The Mummy (2017) 1/10 #IMDb

Just awful. ‘Show, don’t tell’ should’ve been the mantra. The endless exposition of backstory and rationale for circumstances and events is tedious and pompous.

None of the characters are credible or engaging. Not even the mummy herself.

There’s so little flow and connection between scenes that it’s almost as if the producers for each one scripted by independent cells of writers. Then they dumped each chunk in the director’s inbox and said ‘stitch it together’. The result is The Mummy 2017. A horrible Frankenstein’s monster of a movie with no redeeming features.

I will caveat this review by saying I could suffer less than an hour of it. Seeing the risible bar scene and mummy victim reanimation reminded me how important vacuuming my staircase was in comparison.

Just don’t go near this.

I rated Wonder Woman 9/10 #IMDB

This is the movie that Batman, Superman, and the risible Batman V Superman could, and should, have been.

From the start this is a remarkable DC superhero movie. Real characters. Real people. And real challenges.

The opening scene of Diana getting Bruce Wayne’s ‘I know who you are’ message is very neat and not verycstalker-ey. Then the shift to the origin story is something that any number of tedious ‘reboots’ could learn a thing from: there’s a reason to look to the past here.

Diana’s upbringing sets the scene for her complex approach to war very well. Partly because it is tough and idyllic. And partly because we know she will lead a different life from her amazon family.

Her rescue of Chris Pine is superb. Genuine heroism captured in a handful of short scenes.

Gal Gadot IS Wonder Woman. A tough role to play and she is convincing.

I was so pleased to see Chris Pine play a brilliant support role to her. Yes, sure, he is Kirk at times and in being so he does a great job of complementing Gadot’s excellent Diana.

I really liked the ‘it’s a bit more complicated than that’ good vs evil precept to the story that Pine espouses and Gadot realises. A nice complex twist from most superhero stuff.

I heard some parallels being drawn with Capt. America. Sure it’s set in a world war. Yes, the ‘German’ villains are present and magically/scientifically enhanced. But this is more serious and somewhat more definitive in its approach.

Well worth seeing and despite an earlier ‘8/10’ my daughter reasoned me up to 9/10. This is a superhero movie to watch.


I rated Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge 7/10 #IMDB


Almost relentless action and a long duration makes this a little tiring. But it is a sterling Pirates movie. Johnny Depp is on form as an hilarious and convincing Capt. Jack Sparrow.

Though Pirates movies could get as formulaic as Bond it is hard to imagine someone else playing Sparrow. Depp has it down.

The introduction of new characters and extended legends is done well. And the passing of the age of Pirates into near history is smart.

There’s enough backstabbing, parlay, and legendary nonsense to make it amusing, reassuring, and very entertaining.

I found the politeness and manners of the various cut throats as funny as ever. As well as the ridiculous slapstick stupidity of Sparrow and his weirdly loyal crew.

More real Pirates fun. You’ve sort of seen it before and this new chapter adds to the enduring appeal of this series. Funny, romantic, a little scary for some, and very entertaining if you give yourself up to it.