I rated Patti Cake$ (2017) 8/10 #IMDb

Saw this at a Cineworld preview. It has a familiar rapper movie plot that doesn’t bear too much scrutiny or need any elaboration. I really liked the unsuccessful meet up between the protagonist and her hero. Brilliantly done.

The production values aren’t high. The dialog is OK. The characters are both stereotypical and yet convincing. What I really enjoyed was the lo-fi approach and the sheer enthusiasm, grim reality, and fantasy elements all jammed into an almost-too-long triumph.

Beats the pants off so many big-budget let downs I’ve endured this summer. Go see it if you can.

I rated American Made (2017) 8/10 #IMDb

Despite its morally questionable material this is a surprisingly enjoyable movie. The violence is often more threatened than seen and the action and excitement is forefront. Slickly-written, crisply directed, and acted with credibility. It is not a serious movie. More a caricature of a story based on a story of some true events.

One of the most entertaining movies of the summer.

I rated Detroit (2017) 4/10 #IMDb

It’s just a very long, drawn-out movie. In a way it is a few movies jammed together. No single movie could deal with the Detroit riots, the Algiers hotel, the trial, and the aftermath of events. It’s a tall order even for Kathryn Bigelow. And by trying to squeeze so much in it fails really to do much beyond open the door for the next movie. The end credits give some follow up on some characters. But not enough is made of these people and their stories. We’re presented with horrific events at length and yet because of the limited time we have to get to know these people we are marooned in the shocking events that unfold.

It’s worth seeing for its subject matter. Build up your stamina beforehand. It is disturbing. Despite its content, it seems oddly undramatized. Most of all though it seems very long.

I rated The Dark Tower (2017) 5/10 #IMDb

It’s a teen SF/fantasy type thriller with some horror and dystopian parallel world stuff.

If you liked things like the maze runner and similar then this may be just the thing for you.

For me it was entirely predictable, trope-ridden, and executed just like many teen and children’s movies. A long build up to an expected, action-packed anti-climax.

It leaves the door open for a sequel or TV series.

There are some good bits in it. Walter played by mcconaughey is suitably ruthless and evil. Though like many villains he needs to do some significant risk management. ‘Stop breathing’ in his calm (reverbed) voice is more chilling and effective than many bad guys’ ‘die!’

Elba does a fair job with a very limited character. The teen is OK if not sufficiently terrified at times.

Not great. Entertaining at times. Catch it on DVD or see it if you don’t have some cleaning to do.

I rated England Is Mine (2017) 5/10 #IMDb

70s manchester is grim in this movie. Though without it we would perhaps not have seen the invention of Morrissey and the Smiths.

The movie goes up to the point where Johnny Marr goes to Morrissey’s front door. Everything before then is about the genesis of Morrissey.

With cuts to the water in the canal, documentary-style shots, and some tedious detail this is a slightly arty film. Few of the characters appear fleshed-out and despite the soundtrack it’s all a bit dull in appearance and content. Perhaps that’s the point? The experience of watching this movie was a little like a 70s/80s childhood week: drudgery in the week, a highlight on Saturday and then the dullness of Sunday.

OK, but there are other films out now that offer more entertainment.

I rated Atomic Blonde (2017) 7/10 #IMDb

Better than I expected. Lots of action, some intrigue, a period sound track, good costumes, and evocative of 80s Cold War culture.

The oddest thing was that the first few scenes I wondered if I had 3D glasses in they’re so dark. Either I got used to the grimy appearance or it got brighter later.

It’s a typical Berlin spy story. A mole. Limited trust. The Berlin Wall. And some urgency.

Surprisingly violent with some intense fight scenes for Charlize Theron. This is worth watching if you like grimy spy/action thrillers.

I rated The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017) 8/10 #IMDb

A slightly odd mix of serious material, violence, love, and comedy. Despite looking like it was shot on VHS at times this was real fun to watch.

A formerly successful bodyguard is tasked with getting a wise-cracking hitman to The Hague by his former girlfriend who is an Interpol agent.

Brilliant chase scenes on canals and narrow Dutch roads. Some shockingly violent fight scenes. And some genuinely hilarious exchanges. This is worth watching.

I rated Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017) 6/10 #IMDb

It has more of the effects and spectacle of ‘the fifth element’. It just lacks the stellar characters. Sure, valerian and laureline are credible sci-fi special agents but there’s not much to them in this. All other characters are similarly OK, if a bit lacking depth.

It is l o n g. With snappier editing, some of the simplicity of the characters might have worked OK. As it is, they all get a lot of screen time to show that there’s not much there.

Despite some reasonable moralising and an attempt to contrast the human vs Alien morals and methods, the story doesn’t have much sophistication. Which is a shame. I’d rather have fewer FX and a better story with deeper characters.

See it if you liked fifth element and want more Alien FX. It’s a simple story told with simple characters in a beautifully illustrated world at great length.

I saw it in 3D. Like all 3D movies it adds nothing but a few jazzy FX.

I rated Cars 3 (2017) 6/10 #IMDb

A bit obviously worthy compared to the first movie. Mainly enjoyable if a bit long and drawn out in places.

Lightning McQueen needs to give way to a new generation of racing cars. After a few false starts he does this on his own terms.

Some of the steps on this quest are funny (the wreck race), and some are poignant (catching up with Doc Hudson’s contemporaries).

After Cars 2, this is a return to form.