I rated War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) 6/10 #IMDb

It stands up as a good planet of the apes movie.

Though the scope of the movie at its outset is limited: some renegade general sees he needs to destroy the apes, it turns into an existential battle.

The political parallels are perhaps a bit unsubtle at times but put those aside and you have a reasonable revenge thriller that transforms into a biblical tale.

Some of the dialog is a bit weak but all the characters do their job in a mainly male-driven plot.

Some of the destruction is surprisingly epic and accompanied by some inhuman acts of cruelty.

Worth a watch if the planet of the apes is of any interest to you at all.

I rated Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) 7/10 #IMDb

Some real fun in this rebooted, post-avengers Spider-Man movie.

Great that it avoids yet another tedious origin story for Spider-Man. I think his super power origin is dealt with in one line exchanged with his high school friend.

The Tony Stark involvement works really well. Tom holland does the awe struck teenager really well. And Robert Downey Jr just is Stark in the movies. Suitably irreverent yet serious.

I think though that the best thing this movie has over previous Spider-Man ones is the excellent portrayal by Michael Keaton of Toombs the ‘vulture’. His introduction and genesis are both fantastical and credible. No mutating gases, no experiments gone wrong. Just an aggrieved and disenfranchised worker taking a criminal route. Toombs and his gang have a well-balanced blend of menace and comedy that makes their criminal escapades credible in the context of the movie.

With its action scenes this movie even manages to overcome the overwrought video-game CGI of previous outings. Sure, some of the things look not quite convincing but then this is a teenager with super powers movie.

The balance of the action, drama, and mundane works well and I’d recommend you see this movie if you’re after some entertainment.

I rated Despicable Me 3 (2017) 6/10 #IMDb

Another despicable me movie. More of the same and nicely done. While Gru and Dru have some fun capers I thought the stuff that Lucy and the girls get up to was more entertaining and richer in its content.

All in all though, this is a well put together feature-length animated movie that has some real fun in it and keeps you entertained with only a couple of lulls.

I rated Baby Driver (2017) 7/10 #IMDb

A slick and stylish movie directed by Edgar wright.

The scenes are masterfully matched to the soundtrack. In particular the foot chase scene.

So many parts of the movie reminded me of other movies that it was almost like a dizzying montage of references at times. Testament to Edgar Wright’s magpie talent that these fit really well into a relatively simple tale that is well-told and despite repetition builds to an inevitable climax and outcome.

Well worth watching if you haven’t already made the trip.

I rated Churchill (2017) 6/10 #IMDb

A richer Churchill story than I’d expected. It tells the tale of the days leading up to D-Day/operation Overlord.

It shows Churchill in various emotional states as he comes to terms with his past and its bearing on current circumstances.

Brian Cox does a good job, and the rest of the cast make this credible and engaging.

Worth seeing.

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.

I rated Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) 5/10 #IMDb

More of the same. Mythical nonsense, mech violence, moralising, and some sort of story.

After the events of the last movie folks don’t like Transformers. Apparently, devastating alien battles in populated areas go down as badly in this world as they do in Marvel’s Avengers.

As well as dealing with being an outlaw, ‘traitor’, distant father, widower, unsuccessful inventor, and unlikely hero Mark Wahlberg’s character lives in another junk yard with some guy he’s duped into joining him.

The myth weaving and back story take us back to Arthurian legends. Albeit in a shorter and more entertaining and convincing fashion than the recent ‘legend of the sword’. Cue Sir Anthony Hopkins doing irascible Lord and secret keeper. Together with his transformer batman/butler/companion he’s been protecting the ancient secrets of the transformer knights as part of a tradition.

The other characters don’t seem as well-developed (relatively) as these. Even the transformers seem a bit peripheral at times.

There’s some other story going on with Optimus prime on its way to cybertron to meet the maker. Somehow OP gets turned and pops back to earth to serve the evil intentions.

At a perceived 4 hours this movie goes on a bit. The different threads are woven together like a ball of string left in a drawer. The odd mix of myth, violence, and comedy is amped up a bit from earlier movies.

Go see it if you have to. It is more fun than some of this year’s movies but don’t expect a landmark.