I rated The 15:17 to Paris (2018) 2/10 #IMDb


Amazing heroes. Dreadful film.

Seeing ‘produced and directed by Clint Eastwood’ I expected a gritty, high-quality movie about the heroes who potentially saved so many people on this infamous train ride from Amsterdam to Paris.

Instead, what I saw was a meandering cut-up effort with some leaden dialog, made-for-tv scenes, and shoddy cinematography.

I can’t fault the leads. Apparently played by the real people, they do as good a job as I’ve seen non-actors do. But perhaps the solid anchoring of scenes in reality is part of what makes this such a poor movie? For all it contains, it lacks drama.

Despite the cut-ups to remind you that horrible things are coming you’ll spend most of the movie watching mundane scenes of childhood and growing up. Like many people, these heroes had various challenges growing up. Unachieved goals, difficulties at school, friendship, loss, and disappointments. What makes this different is that there’s a tedious thread suggesting these events are all leading to a special fate. Oh, and that these scenes are played in a surprising non-dramatic way. It makes this less of a cinematic experience and more like an assemblage of endless home video footage.

Despite the serious nature of the movie there are some amusing moments including a fallacious argument between 2 of the boys’ mothers and their elementary school teacher. The teacher justifies her proposal that one boy take ADD medication with some seemingly irrelevant statistic. The mother responds with ‘my god is bigger than your statistics’. Few things are less helpful in dialog than throwing non sequiturs at each other. However, it’s not the last time you’ll hear this kind of thing.

Despite the chaotic and realistic re-enactment of the train scenes and the contrasting events immediately beforehand this is a poor movie to watch. Avoid it at all costs.


I rated I, Tonya (2017) 7/10 #IMDb


A very well-done Pseudo-documentary movie about the Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding.

Tonya, played by Margot Robbie, states the unreliable nature of any of the narrative early on. Irrespective, this is an entertaining, brilliantly played, and tough tale of abuse, dedication, and coming from the wrong side of the tracks.

The inept plot to scare a rival skater is played entirely credibly despite its ridiculousness. A far cry from the slick capers of fictional thrillers and crime movies.

The movie is a mix of character interviews and re-enactment of accounts of events.

This film has repeated images of domestic abuse and bullying.

It is well worth watching despite its niche sport setting. Go see this instead of hours of Winter Olympic footage.

I rated The Shape of Water (2017) 9/10 #IMDb


Weird, quirky, and a beautiful movie. This is an odd mix of ‘monster from the black lagoon’ styling and modern story telling. No doubt packed with metaphors that escaped me in first viewing it is a splendid story of sensual and sensitive relationships, friendships, espionage, and violence.

Wonderful cinematography, great characters and splendid acting. See it as soon as you can.

I rated Den of Thieves (2018) 5/10 #IMDb


Trope-ridden action drivel. There are some good chunks. But so many dud parts.

The principal characters are well-cast. The ‘twist’ is done in only a predictable way rather than the usual Barn Door style. There’s a bit of a ‘usual suspects’ recap towards the end with some insightful scenes if you missed some of the signposting.

Only if there’s nothing else on.

I rated Winchester (2018) 6/10 #IMDb


Stuffed with supernatural silliness, jump scares galore, and an allegedly real background this is a fun modern horror movie with nods to various classic horror of the past.

If you like unwieldy premises, creepy mansions, and sudden frights and false starts then you’ll enjoy this.