I rated The Front Runner 6/10 on IMDb

www.imdb.com/title/tt7074886

great performance by Hugh Jackman. With some of its focus on newspaper reporting of politics I was reminded of The Post. For me, this is way better. Tighter scenes. Less melodrama. And more story.

The subject matter is fascinating and provides a dramatic contrast for today’s political news.

Worth watching for the period costumes alone. Add in the contrast with today’s world and it’s almost compelling.

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I rated Green Book 5/10 on IMDb

www.imdb.com/title/tt6966692

With some delightful scenes and some shocking events this is a pretty stable piece of cinema. It fails to get over its true drama and underplays the difficult and revolutionary acts contained in it.

The Green Book of the title is almost dealt with in passing. Though the racism that brought it about is apparent throughout.

I rated Vice 8/10 on IMDb

www.imdb.com/title/tt6266538

Remarkably entertaining polemic that seems to imply that Dick Cheney was some sort of nidus of many of today’s ills.

Expertly acted by all the cast, this is a suitably wry dramatisation of a number of supposed events that gave us the world of today.

‘What do we believe’? ‘Ha ha ha ha’.

Go see it. Make you you stay for the extra footage partway through the credits.

I rated Robin Hood 6/10 on IMDb

www.imdb.com/title/tt4532826

My expectations were not high from the trailer: video game style blah translated to movie. Reminds me of my era: RPG narrative translated to paperback.

In reality this has some of the great parts of video games and some surprisingly nascent narrative.

There are some ‘cut scene’ pieces. And there are some narrative components best used in video games rather than movies. However, as a reboot of Robin Hood and as a modern film the style worked really well.

Nottingham seems to be a sort of dark ages cyber punk Dickensian proletariat nightmare even before robin of loxley returns as an alleged dead man. Still, the rambling intro works surprisingly well and sets a good scene for Egerton to establish his role as a lord but not a Lord.

Then things change. The Middle East scenes are clearly Iraq/Afghanistan influenced and despite the anachronistic aspects they set the characters up well.

When things return to England it gets really engaging.

Sure, it’s a bit simple at times but the genuine hero pieces, the complexity of several characters, and the deep friendships make for some surprisingly real characters.

As an action movie it has some hits and some misses.

As a modern teen movie I’m surprised at its sophistication.

If you’re aiming for a movie and want some fun, romance, and action and don’t mind a bit of ‘really?’ Then this is a good move.

Go see it with low expectations and you’ll have a great time. See it with an open mind and you’ll have real fun.

I rated the girl in the spider’s web 3/10 on IMDb

www.imdb.com/title/tt5177088

oh dear. So execrable that I could not endure the whole movie.

Lazy, trope-ridden nonsense.

Stephen merchant adds his usual gravitas, giving the movie all the weight of a helium balloon.

Even the opening scenes of a traumatic childhood followed by vigilante retribution are done in such a perfunctory way that they’re rendered pointless.

The movie continued in a similar vein to the escape from the bridge and the ‘mysterious’ black van and Lisbet’s sister’s appearance. And that was the point I had to leave.

This sorry tale told in lumpen parts augmented by the dullest of dialog might represent the book well. But it made really intolerable cinema for me. I cannot recommend you even consider seeing this.

I rated Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald 5/10 on IMDb

www.imdb.com/title/tt4123430

Very disappointing indeed. This movie runs at about 134 minutes and feels interminably longer.

I’d expected more of the off-beat ride through the wizarding world that the first fantastic beasts showed us. And I’d expected that to have some extra darkness and plot too. Sadly, no.

Not even Johnny Depp as Grindelwald and Eddie Redmayne reprising his role as Newt Scamander save this rambling travesty of movie making from turning a simple story into a mess of special effects, inconsequential characters, dull and drawn out events and meandering guff.

We left the cinema and one of the group summarised the essential story in a couple of sentences. Everything else is just padding.

For extra delight, Jude Law imbues Albus Dumbledore with a fascinating quality that I can only describe as ‘mawkish oak’.

The whole thing goes on and on with an apparent belief that there is tension and intrigue about the target, Credence, of Grindelwald’s interest. Nothing of the sort. Dull.

And as for the tedious exposition of Credence’s origin in the mausoleum? Just no. It might work in a book but in a movie that kind of blah blah has no place. Especially at a point of potential dramatic tension and revelation.

Some of the creatures are fun. But generally have no real purpose beyond providing plot events that add little to the narrative.

I’d suggest that that unlike real life, movies like this need to have a reason for everything that happens. Otherwise where’s the drama? This pile of meh puts that aside and gives you more than 2 hours of visual presentation where not more than about 30 minutes has any real purpose.

One of my biggest cinema disappointments of the year. I hope you have more fun with the crimes of Grindelwald than I did.

I rated The House With a Clock in its Walls 7/10 on IMDb

www.imdb.com/title/tt2119543

Despite the trailers I wasn’t expecting much. I was pleasantly surprised.

Cate Blanchett is very good indeed in this. The interplay between her character and Jack Black’s is lightning fast and their bickering and friendship are clearly portrayed. The child character is great. Nerdy, misfit, and plays some childhood events so well. For example, the difficulty of finding friends or the problem of dealing with challenges.

There’s peril in this. And some of it is surprisingly scary for this type of movie. There are also some real fun ‘scares’ like the neighbour and the hidden room entrance.

Watch out for spooky automata including clowns!

Great children’s movie that I really enjoyed. Reminded me of Monster House in some ways. Well worth seeing.