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.

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I rated the commuter 5/10

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1590193

I got to go to a preview showing. Thanks Cineworld.

This is a familiar bunch of tropes patched together with Liam Neeson’s inquisitive charm as a long term commuter and ex-cop.

After a bad day at work Neeson agreed to do something in return for $100,000. Turns out it’s something that goes against his moral code.

This is a straight to dvd type movie that offers some moments of tension and trauma but lacks any real sense of peril.

It’s not helped by following murder on the orient express by only a couple of months. That film has scarred train-based entertainment for a while for me.

Neeson does a fair job of oscillating between mild-mannered commuter and wild-eyed terror suspect but even he can’t redeem this.

There were a few events where I doubted the resolve and ruthlessness of the hidden conspirators.

As for the semi-post-script ending? Oh dear. Hopefully it means no ‘the commuter 2 – the return journey’.

Instead of seeing this I recommend you get on a bus and stream Speed, or a train and stream under siege 2 or source code if you want transportation-based thrills.

I gave The Last Jedi 7/10 on #IMDB

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2527336

Finally, an OK Star Wars movie beyond the original trilogy.

It is way too long with a running time of 152 minutes. There’s nothing here that cutting to, say, 100 minutes wouldn’t have improved.

The story telling is pretty traditional with seemingly contemporaneous cuts between different galactic locations. This makes it feel similar to good Star Wars movies.

I really enjoyed the Rey and Luke scenes. Some echoes of Luke and Yoda there. But with a darker, more challenging edge.

The lamest parts were those with general Hux and Poe near the beginning. Too comical. Oh, and most any part with Ren who is too obviously conflicted and just comes across as meh. The epic fight Ren and Rey have with Snokes’ elite guards is just a drag.

Really good parts were the tension of the fleeing rebel ship and the rebel escape. The triumphant destruction of the first order ships is great. And the sneaking out, reunion, and skywalker/ Ren face off is great. Real Star Wars moments.
Overall this is a rather too long but engaging Star Wars movie that bodes well for the next instalment.

I rated The Man Who Invented Christmas 7/10

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6225520

Possibly the best telling of ‘a Christmas carol’ after The Muppet Christmas Carol.

The exploration of Dickens’ world and writer’s block together with the developing Christmas Carol tale really worked for me. Though some of the scenery is a bit CGI and some London scenes seem more musical than drama this movie really seemed to capture some of the atmosphere of the invention of the Dickens Christmas carol.

There are some very good performances and I’d hesitate to pick out any particular actor. Though Jake the raven is pretty good.

I found this a very enjoyable and entertaining tale of the genesis of a Christmas carol and the modern Christmas.

I rated Wonder 8/10

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2543472

This was a far better film than I expected. Elements that really helped were the different people’s stories and the general lack of mawkishness that can damage films about very personal stories and experiences.

Beautifully filmed with some fun scenes of fantasy + reality. The lead players do a great job of creating credible, realistic characters.

The marvellous cruelty of middle school is convincing.

Well worth watching.

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 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.