I rated Early Man (2018) 4/10 #IMDb

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4701724

Endearing characters, some amusing animated antics, and a host of weak one-liners cannot save this from just being a story about football.

While the animation is as good as ever, this movie is nowhere near as well-paced or engaging as previous Nick Park movies.

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I rated Downsizing (2017) 5/10 #IMDb

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1389072

Overall a fair film that doesn’t seem to stretch any of the cast much. It probably contains a few lessons including ‘the grass is not always greener…’ and ‘you get out of life what you put in’. And if you think those a little anodyne then that’s my lasting impression of this movie.

The run up to the act of ‘downsizing’, being shrunk to a fraction of your original size, is desperately long and overwrought. And I wondered whether this idea should have been abandoned in an earlier rewrite. It serves a similar purpose to moving out of state or to another country. Yet it involves some scenes and ‘jokes’ that wouldn’t have been missed.

Then Matt Damon is shrunk. His wife is not. They divorce. He falls apart. And he leads a melancholy life not too dissimilar to his full-sized life until a real encounter with his neighbour (Christoph Waltz) leads him to start living again.

He meets a former Vietnamese dissident He joins her in helping the disenfranchised and they fall for each other.
The rest of the film has some adventure and Malthusian apocalyptic predictions and stereotyped Norwegians.

All in all this is an unsatisfactory yet occasionally entertaining and life-affirming movie. A mixed bag of various nonsense, deep feeling, and dodgy story telling. It lacks coherence and left me wondering whether I’d enjoyed it or if I’d been bored by too much of it.

Maybe it’s a bit like a mundane ‘Brazil’?

If you’ve nothing else to do it’s worth seeing but I can’t recommend you go out of your way for it.

I rated Coco (2017) 9/10 #IMDb

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2380307

Another Pixar triumph. Coco loves music and his family forbids it. He accidentally travels to the land of the dead to seek out the shade of the man he thinks is his great great grandfather.

A brilliant and vibrantly animated story epic. The colours. The characters. The simple and heart rending story. It could have you in tears at times. It certainly has some LOL moments.

If you’ve liked a Pixar movie in the past you’ll likely love this.

I rated Darkest Hour (2017) 7/10 #IMDb

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4555426

Gary Oldman is very good indeed. As is Kristin Scott Thomas.

At times it seems very ‘british’ in its style. There are some jarring interludes into the Whitehall drama where we see the terrible toll being paid in mainland Europe.

The movie replays the usual Churchill myths and legends. It also shows the contempt many had for him.

His appetite for booze is almost comically played up with what looks like a bar order for breakfast.

I can’t attest to its accuracy but this is an entertaining, challenging, and proud movie. Well worth watching.

I rated Brad’s Status (2017) 6/10 #IMDb

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5884230

Like it says on the tin, ‘bittersweet’. Ben Stiller plays an almost anti-Walter Mitty in this tale of odious comparison, not realising how good you have it, and finally empathy and reconciliation.

The film is almost a monologue with us hearing Brad’s narrative thought most of the time. There are some scenes that interrupt this monologue. These work very effectively to usually challenge Brad’s self-indulgent dwelling thinking.

Despite the slow pace this is a gripping film if you can tolerate the inner voice style.

I rated The Post (2017) 3/10 #IMDb

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6294822

One of the most enervating stories about transformative reporting events I’ve seen.
Chock-a-block full of tedious exposition, it is like watching an amateur PowerPoint presentation. All tell and no show.

Sure, some of the performances are effective (Hanks, Streep, especially Ben Odenkirk). But the whole thing is dull, unoriginal, and it’s just going through the motions.

See it only if you struggle to get to sleep

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.