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.

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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.

I rated First Man 5/10 on IMDb

www.imdb.com/title/tt1213641

For such a critically praised film, this is one of the dullest stories of one of the greatest achievements.

The narrative runs in a pretty linear fashion, putting together Neil Armstrong’s journey from test pilot to first man on the moon.

Ryan Gosling almost runs the full gamut of emotions from A to B. He stops just short with surprising stoicism. Claire Foy does better with a convincing performance of a grieving mother keeping it all together in a unique situation.

Aside from the linearity, I found the cinematography disengaging. Lingering shots, the relative stillness of the camera, just all very mundane and like I was watching the story unfold in a theatre rather than being immersed in it.

Even the moon landing was dull. Yes, there’s some tension as the lunar lander approaches the ground but it’s obscured by seeing shadows of the landing. Even the iconic ladder climb is made less dramatic in this movie.

All in all, I was disappointed. A shame as there’s some really good material to use. Claire Foy’s real character saved this from being a stinker. If you want space stuff then look to The Right Stuff or Apollo 13 instead.

I rated Bohemian Rhapsody 9/10 on IMDB

Wow! This would have been a 10/10 if there’d been just a bit more oomph in the day-to-day bits. It was spectacular. You really must see it. Even if Queen and rock aren’t your thing this is a superb movie about people, families, friends, and finding yourself.

I saw it in ‘Screen X’. 270 degree parts made it absolutely engaging. Way better than 3D and the gimmicks of 4DX. I’m sorely tempted to see it in IMAX I enjoyed it so much.

Rami Malek is amazing as Freddie Mercury. The band are cast wonderfully. In fact I don’t think there’s a casting misstep in this. Even the almost parody-like Ray Foster played brilliantly by Mike Myers is phenomenal.

The ups. The downs. The fun. And the games. All brilliantly done. There are very few dramatic missteps and the whole film leading up to the Live Aid event is a rollercoaster ride of real life with the dramatic bits selected.

Just go see it. It is a real cinema movie. Bigger than real life and yet of real life.

www.imdb.com/title/tt1727824

I rated Venom 6/10 on IMDb

www.imdb.com/title/tt1270797

not a bad film. Just so-so. Writing now, only a few days after seeing Venom, there’s very little that stands out. and yet, I enjoyed it at the time.

I suppose much of the film is oddly unoriginal. Mad scientist hell bent on a dodgy premise: mashup humans with aliens. A wastrel reporter who yet has a tremendous work ethic. And a really sensible lady with a weak spot for losers. Oh, and a ravenous alien parasite.

It should be very entertaining (cf ravenous alien parasite). Some of it is. The action scenes are surprisingly fun. Especially the swift Venom vs bad guys pieces. Whump! Chomp! The bad guys are done. Though the long car/motorbike chase draws such action out a bit longer for no real reason other than to have a chase. Maybe host panic is the reason? Maybe?

Perhaps the main problem i had is that Venom is almost an anti-superman. Pretty indestructible, surprisingly powerful on this world, and the difference is that it is amoral at best. So there’s more fun than superman with the ‘you shouldn’t eat people’ bit, but in the end there’s only so much drama you can squeeze out. The ‘let’s stop the hard core alien escape our world before bringing a lot more back’ plotline is credible but hardly inventive. And the general lack of external involvement (police, army, so on) makes the events oddly confined.

Tom Hardy does a passable act as a confused and committed reporter with a parasite. Oh, that joke gets old really quickly but I suppose it’s almost a catchphrase.

It could be one of those movies where Venom 2 is better than the original. But only because the original is just OK.