I rated Hidden Figures (2016) 8/10 #IMDb

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4846340

Wow. From its opening scene its apparent this is a great mix of meaningful, challenging, and entertaining content.

The weirdness of segregation and sexism and their deleterious effects on Virginia society, productivity, personal development, and NASA is shocking. The personal battles of the characters and convincing portrayals are as compelling as they are disturbing.

The NASA story and the Cold War pressures create a great environment to explore the characters.

Another ‘based on a true story’ movie, this one you really have to see. Some great acting, jarring events, and a good story.

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I rated The Founder (2016) 6/10 #IMDb

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4276820

Engaging tale of Ray Kroc’s ‘founding’ of McDonalds.

Michael Keaton does a fair job of trying to be a focused and somewhat ruthless Kroc. He gets across the variable success of Kroc’s earlier entrepreneurial efforts. And he does portray the evangelical enthusiasm for the McDonald’s concept. There’s an apparent maturing of Kroc’s business thinking and his introduction of talented folks who share his vision and have skills he does not.

The McDonalds brothers are successful in their own way but are very risk averse. As a result it’s hard to feel sympathy for them when Kroc’s McDonalds corporation machinery buys them out of their store. For apparently $1.35million each. Not bad for a small burger joint.

It’s an OK ‘based on a true story’ film that despite its quality lacks some of the drama and tension that this story might have been able to deal. Worth watching if you have the time.

I rated Patriots Day (2016) 7/10 #IMDb

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4572514

A bit like the British TV series Casualty crossed with a 24-like docudrama. The events are set up, you know what’s going to happen, and when they do everything kicks off.

An engaging account of the events of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

The characters work well. The enactment is believable. The intercutting of contemporary footage fits well though it is done without explanation or blending.

I was unaware of the shootout in water town. Pipe bombs, handguns, rifles, it looks like a scene from GTA: violent chaos.

A portrait of bravery and resolve from law enforcement, emergency services, and the people of Boston. The end scene footage of some of the real people portrayed in the movie is worth seeing on its own.

I rated A Cure for Wellness (2016) 4/10 #IMDb

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4731136

Though this is stylish there’s nothing new here. If it were a fraction of the running time, had fewer pretensions, and was entertaining I might claim it was in the style of a Hammer movie. It isn’t. It goes on and on. You can anticipate each revelation in the story until it finally gets to the big one that you will have spotted early on at the sanitarium. And then there’s a later bizarre scene of rebellion/insanity. Meh.

The sanitarium exploration is very much in the spirit of Scooby Doo or teen horror flicks: go weird places, find weird things, and then try and get away.

There are some jump shocks. Lots of persistent eeriness. And some scenes of typical fears: drowning, falling, teeth falling out, teeth being drilled, baths of eels, corpse defiling, menstruation, thugs, madness…

Overall though it is worth avoiding. Wait for it on DVD, play it at 1.5x or 2x and you will miss nothing and get to use the time you save more wisely.

I rated Gold (2016) 7/10 #IMDb

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1800302

MM plays Kenny Wells a mining company guy with gold fever. His well-publicised weight gain would be more impressive were it not for his hyper-lordotic spine in any scene the belly is needed. I envy his good looks in this film too.

Nitpicking aside, this is a surprisingly low-key movie that tells the tale of avarice, hubris, and nemesis. Sort of.

There are some great down-at-heel scenes and some great tropical suffering.

Oddly it’s a film where almost no one seems to really win. And I liked that.

In the end you’re left wondering who was in on it.

MM could do a Hunter S Thompson to rival Johnny Depp’s based on his performance here.

I rated The LEGO Batman Movie (2017) 9/10 #IMDb

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4116284

If you liked the Lego Movie this is a must-see.

Lego + Batman is a great combination. In this movie Batman is a solipsistic narcissist. Highly self-reliant, he ignores all the cues to enjoy friends, family, and team work. He learns his lesson during this fun-filled film.

There’s a strange reverent yet irreverent tone to the movie that has Batman turning up at Superman’s fortress of solitude to find he was not invited to the Justice League party and later has Voldemort and Sauron fighting on the side of The Joker.

Inspired movie making.