George V. Reilly

Review: Watership Down (miniseries)

Title: Watership Down (miniseries)
Director: Noam Murro
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Released: 2018
Keywords: animation
Country: UK
Watched: 30 December, 2018–1 January, 2019

Two years ago, just after the death of Richard Adams, I reread the book of Watership Down for the first time in many years, having originally discovered it when it was new in the mid-1970s. There's a beautiful new adaptation, an animated miniseries made by the BBC and Netflix.

This adaptation is largely faithful to the original book: The brave young rabbits striking out on their own before their home warren is destroyed; creating a new warren on Watership Down; the war with the to­tal­i­tar­i­an warren of Efrafa; the peaceful aftermath. One short­com­ing is that although the continue.

Review: Coco

Title: Coco
Director: Lee Unkrich
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Released: 2017
Keywords: animation
Country: USA
Watched: 25 December, 2017

Coco is another delightful movie from Pixar: It's a magical tale of a Mexican boy who pas­sion­ate­ly wants to play music, even though his shoemaking family has rejected music ever since his great-great-grand­fa­ther pursued his own musical ambitions and abandoned his wife and child—the eponymous Coco, who is now ancient. Miguel discovers that his despised ancestor is none other than Ernesto de la Cruz, the most famous musician of his time. In order to enter a talent com­pe­ti­tion on Día de los Muertos, he steals Ernesto's guitar from his mausoleum, whereupon he is trans­port­ed to continue.

Review: The Italian Job

Title: The Italian Job
Director: Peter Collinson
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Released: 1969
Keywords: heist, comedy, cars
Country: UK
Watched: 17 Febuary, 2017

The Italian Job movie is worth your time. One of the quin­tes­sen­tial movies of the Swinging Sixties, its British sen­si­bil­i­ty wears well, almost 50 years on. The humour still works. And it's probably the best ad­ver­tise­ment that the Mini ever had.

Charlie Croker (Michael Caine) has inherited a plan to rip off $4 million in gold bullion from Fiat in Turin. He and the lads are going to help the balance of payments by bringing the loot back from the Common Market. (They're proto-Eu­roskep­tics.) And they're going to do it by causing the continue.

Review: Kill Me Three Times

Title: Kill Me Three Times
Director: Kriv Stenders
Rating: ★ ★ ★
Released: 2014
Keywords: black comedy thriller
Country: Australia
Watched: 10 February, 2017

A jealous husband engages a private detective-cum-killer for hire (Simon Pegg) to follow his wife. Upon proof of her infidelity, he orders a hit, which triggers a comedy of errors and double crosses, which ultimately leaves most of the cast dead at each other's hands.

There's not much to like about this Australian noirish comedy. It's bloody but not that funny. The characters are thinly drawn and unengaging. They're a far cry from Taran­ti­no's gonzo mo­tor­mouths or the Coen Brother's quirky killers.

Review: Dr. Strange

Title: Dr. Strange
Director: Scott Derrickson
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
Released: 2016
Keywords: Marvel, fantasy
Watched: 7 January, 2017

Stephen Strange is a world-class surgeon whose talent is only matched by his arrogance. His hands are ruined by a car crash, leaving him desperate to regain their use. In Nepal, he finds a temple of sorcerers led by the Ancient One, where he learns new and un­sus­pect­ed ways of dealing with the world. Eventually he takes on the renegade sorcerer Kaecilius, who wants to summon Dormammu from the Dark Dimension to change the world.

Aside from his very odd American accent, Benedict Cum­ber­batch does a decent job with a not-great script of portraying continue.

Review: Jason Bourne

Title: Jason Bourne
Director: Paul Greengrass
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
Released: 2016
Keywords: action, thriller
Watched: 20 August, 2016

In Jason Bourne, the eponym is back in action, running around the planet in a personal vendetta with the director of the CIA. Bourne's old ally Nicky Parsons is killed trying to pass him some in­for­ma­tion that she's unearthed about the Treadstone program that turned David Webb into the amnesiac assassin known as Jason Bourne. The CIA director sends a killer known only as the Asset after Bourne, while the fresh-faced head of the Cyber Ops division does her best to keep Bourne alive.

This is a largely un­nec­es­sary sequel to the Bourne franchise. While continue.

Review: De Reünie (Murdered Memory)

Title: De Reünie (Murdered Memory)
Director: Menno Meyjes
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
Released: 2015
Keywords: psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller
Watched: 24 July, 2016

De Reünie is a Dutch film starring Thekla Reuten as Sabine, a woman who is disturbed by her half memories of her final year of secondary school some twenty years ago, when her girlfriend Isabel dis­ap­peared without trace. The arrival of Olaf—once a classmate, still a jerk—at her workplace triggers more memories as they are drawn together. Slowly, very slowly, through extended flashbacks, we learn more about that fateful spring in a small coastal town as Sabine and Isabel fell out of love. In the present day, both Sabine and Olaf grow more continue.

Review: The Hurt Locker

Title: The Hurt Locker
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Released: 2009
Keywords: war
Watched: 30 July, 2016

Three bomb disposal techs in Iraq are the subject of The Hurt Locker: Sgt James (Jeremy Renner), Sgt Sanborn (Anthony Mackie), and Spec Eldridge (Brian Geraghty). James has grown addicted to war and he is reckless and cavalier about disarming bombs, while Sanborn is in­creas­ing­ly angry at James' en­dan­ger­ment of them all and Eldridge grows ever more terrified and fatalistic. The Hurt Locker is a gritty and visceral war film. We have no idea what's going to happen next and anyone could be blown up or shot at any time. The bomb makers continue.

Review: Ghostbusters

Title: Ghost­busters
Director: Paul Feig
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Released: 2016
Keywords: su­per­nat­ur­al comedy
Watched: 29 July, 2016

The Ghost­busters remake is a light­weight but enjoyable summer comedy and a lot of fun. Four women, mostly dis­cred­it­ed scientists, fight an increasing number of paranormal incursions and kick some as­s—with­out wearing skintight clothing or being adjuncts to male leads. Internet trolls may be outraged but the non-tra­di­tion­al casting works. Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones are funny and jell together. And Chris Hemsworth as the hunky but dim re­cep­tion­ist is an amusing bit of reverse casting, while Kate McKinnon seems to have become a queer icon overnight.

I dislike Hol­ly­wood's continue.

Review: Star Trek Beyond

Title: Star Trek Beyond
Director: Justin Lin
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Released: 2016
Keywords: sf, action
Watched: 24 July, 2016

Star Trek Beyond is the best of the Kelvin timeline Trek movies, easily surpassing the two previous episodes in the reboot.

The Enterprise is lured into an ambush where the ship is destroyed by Krall, a mega­lo­ma­ni­ac who has a grudge against the Federation. Most of the crew are captured, leaving only a few of the officers at large to run around fre­net­i­cal­ly. They find an ancient Federation ship, free the crew, and stop Krall before he can destroy a giant starbase.

I thought that this was the best of the three Kelvin continue.

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