Review: Kong: Skull Island (2017)

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The Kings Of Summer director Jordan Vogt-Roberts transitions to big-budget tent pole with relevant ease; his Kong a mammoth creature discovered during a scouting mission to an unmapped island in the immediate aftermath of the Vietnam War. Roberts wastes no time in introducing the ape, keen to make him the main focus, to the point where both narrative and characters are sorely underdeveloped. Continue reading “Review: Kong: Skull Island (2017)”

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Review: Personal Shopper (2017)

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Kristen Stewart continues to distance herself from Twilight, reteaming with her Clouds Of Sils Maria director Olivier Assayas for this unusually fascinating drama. Her role here is similar to that film; she plays Maureen, a psychic-cum-celebrity’s assistant who’s haunted by the death of her twin brother, while running errands. Continue reading “Review: Personal Shopper (2017)”

Review: Beauty And The Beast (2017)

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This live-action reimagining of the classic fairytale – directed by Bill Condon – sticks closely to the original story and animated version, bar some extra padding to increase its running time well beyond the two hour mark. Emma Watson delights as Belle, the strong-willed bookworm who falls for the Beast (Dan Stevens), turned so by a witches spell to teach him a lesson. Continue reading “Review: Beauty And The Beast (2017)”

Review: Moonlight (2017)

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Barry Jenkins’ tender coming-of-age drama explores the anxieties of a black man – Chiron – as he comes to terms with his identity – personal and sexual – in a tough neighbourhood of Miami. The script unfolds over three stages in Chiron’s life – childhood, adolescence and adulthood – and is every bit intimate, beautiful and heartbreaking. Continue reading “Review: Moonlight (2017)”

Review: Sing (2017)

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This entertaining animated comedy from the studio behind mega hit franchise Despicable Me powers along on the back of its talented voice cast and recognisable pop tunes. Buster (Matthew McConaughey), a theatre-owning Koala, is on the cusp of losing his business, so he decides to stage a singing contest that attracts a menagerie of talented animals (an under-appreciated mother, a stage shy elephant), big and small. Continue reading “Review: Sing (2017)”

Review: Jackie (2017)

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In director Pablo Larrain’s intimate and unrelenting biopic, Natalie Portman delivers a tour de force performance as Jacqueline “Jackie” Kennedy at the time of her husband’s assassination. Noah Oppenheim’s script hops backwards and forwards in time, perfectly mirroring that of a fragile state of mind, bookended by an interview between Jackie and an unnamed reporter (Billy Crudup) that she controls. Continue reading “Review: Jackie (2017)”

Review: Live By Night (2017)

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Ben Affleck writes, directs and stars in this visually sumptuous, yet clunky adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s 1920s set crime novel, in which he plays the prodigal son of a cop who ties himself to the Italian mob in hopes of exacting revenge. It’s not as clear cut as that, the script weaving in many extraneous subplots involving an impressive array of supporting actors, each better than the material they’re awarded (Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana and Chris Messina all have roles). Continue reading “Review: Live By Night (2017)”

Review: A Monster Calls (2017)

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JA Bayona directs Patrick Ness’ adaptation of his own much-loved book into a heartwarming tale about a boy, Conor (Lewis MacDougall), and his struggle with grief in the face of his mother’s illness. He’s visited by a monster (motion captured, voiced by Liam Neeson), who emerges from an old yew tree to impart wisdom and frank honesty about the hardships to come. Continue reading “Review: A Monster Calls (2017)”

Review: Silence (2017)

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Martin Scorsese’s labour of love is an expansive – and frequently monotonous – portrait of faith in the face of persecution and torture. It’s sprawling and contemplative, more or less focused on one priest’s internal conflict as he searches for his mentor (Liam Neeson), who’s rumoured to have apostatised. Andrew Garfield, as capable as he is, never quite seems like the right fit in the lead role, perhaps because he’s outshone early on by Adam Driver. Continue reading “Review: Silence (2017)”

Review: La La Land (2017)

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This stylish, exuberant crowd-pleaser spectacularly revitalises the sorely missed Hollywood musical. In it, two aspiring artists – Mia and Sebastian, played by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling – fall in love, while each pursuing their dreams of success in LA. Damien Chazelle, who last made Whiplash, infuses an abundance of warmth and charm into this love story, which emerges from a big-scale highway dance number. Continue reading “Review: La La Land (2017)”