Holiday Pop-Reviews

By Eddie on 19/01/2018

Taking some time out over the Xmas and New Year’s period, below is a collection of brief reviews of some new and old films I had the chance of catching whilst on a relaxing sojourn.

Happy reading and happy watching!

The Killing of a Sacreed Deer (2017)

And you thought The Lobster was strange?

You haven’t seen anything yet.

Following up his surprise indie hit, Yorgos Lanthimos keeps things just as weird as you’d expect as Colin Farrell’s doctor finds his life turned upside down by the increasing appearance’s of Barry Keoghan’s odd teenage boy Martin.

A genuinely unnerving experience that is best enjoyed with as little prior knowledge as possible, this is a well-acted, shot and slow-moving affair that is unlike anything you’ve seen before.

4 MP3 players out of 5

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

Now a certified box-office smash, this sequel that no one really wanted is a lot more tolerable than you would’ve ever have thought but that’s not exactly a glowing endorsement with the expectations set so low.

Filled with some fine cast chemistry, that’s lead by the scene stealing Jack Black, Jake Kasdan’s film won’t have the longevity of the 1995 Robin Williams original but this polished and throwaway blockbuster will be a favorite for the youngsters for the next few years at least.

2 1/2 Hippo’s out of 5

Downsizing (2017)

Nothing could ever prepare you for just how bad Downsizing is.

That its made by such a competent filmmaker as Alexander Payne makes it all the more payne-ful.

A tonally misguided and criminally executed mashing up of sci-fi, romance, comedy and social commentary, this Matt Damon lead experience is a 2 hour plus chore to endure featuring one of the most annoying cinematic characters in some time in the form of Hong Chau’s peg-legged Ngoc Lan Tran.

1/2 a smoldering hot shower out of 5 

Insidious: The Last Key (2018)

The Insidious franchise is the horror series that keeps on giving and while James Wan’s original remains the benchmark, the low budget horror efforts have always provided some simple thrills and chills that are far more competent than your average horror event.

The Last Key is the weakest entry so far (as is the rule of averages with these type of things) but there are still a few cheap scares on offer and a story that takes a few neat turns into areas you aren’t expecting, while actress Lin Shaye remains ever watchable in her most famous role as ghost and demon hunter Dr. Elise Rainier.

2 unguarded crime scenes out of 5

M (1931)

Fritz Lang’s much talked about 1930’s classic holds up incredibly well these many years on from its initial release.

Featuring an intriguing murder mystery story that becomes so much more thanks to Lang’s great direction and Peter Lorre’s classic turn as criminal Hans Beckert, M is well deserving of its reputation and a clear inspiration for many directors that came in its wake.

4 blind balloon salesman out of 5

The Mountain Between Us (2017)

The trailers for Hany Abu-Assad’s romance masquerading as a survival thriller didn’t inspire much confidence in the movie loving public but the final effort is even worse than we expected.

A total bore of an experience that wastes the talents of Idris Elba and Kate Winset, nothing in this pretty yet dull affair inspires any-type of lasting impression as Assad’s film crawls to the finish line that you will see coming from a few mountains away.

1 flare gun out of 5

American Assassin (2017)

Against all the odds, American Assassin seems to be destined for something randomly special and a cut above average when things kick off with a shocking and memorable bang in Michael Cuesta’s action thriller.

Featuring a beefed up performance from Maze Runner star Dylan O’Brien, American Assassin quickly sinks into a rather generic flow that becomes increasingly uninteresting as O’Brien’s Mitch Rapp gets tutored by Michael Keaton’s Stan Hurley on how to be a top notch secret operative while trying to stop Taylor Kitsch’s big bad.

Some decent moments but overall American Assassin is lacking in too many areas to be worth a watch.

2 gym sparring sessions out of 5

The Only Living Boy In New York (2017)

500 Days of Summer director Marc Webb’s second film of 2017 following on from the rather good Gifted, The Only Living Boy in New York is a tiresome affair focusing on Callum Turner’s Thomas Webb’s affair with his father mistress.

With an all star cast that includes Jeff Bridges, Pierce Brosnan and Kate Beckinsale, Living Boy should’ve been a decent enough experience but with a lack of laughs, heart and likable characters, this is Webb’s worst big screen effort yet.

1 1/2 talkative neighbors out of 5

The Dinner (2017)

Based on Herman Koch’s famous novel and featuring an all star cast that is headlined by Steve Coogan, Richard Gere, Laura Linney and Rebecca Hall, Oren Moverman’s slow moving and dialogue heavy event is a film with some interesting things to say but a film that far to often gets lost in various tangled webs that never untangle in the 2 hours of runtime.

There are some moments of real brilliance here but this tale of a group of parents talking about what they should do with their children after they commit a violent crime is a story that could’ve been told in a far better fashion.

2 expensive bottles of wine out of 5

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