Beauty And The Beast 

A curse is out on the self important prince who has to win the heart of a lover before the final petal or a rose falls or the inhabitants of the castle will stay in their cursed form. You know the score. All your favourite songs and characters are lifted straight from the cartoon classic and given a real life makeover. Emma Watson shines as the beautiful rose Belle, filmed in such a degree of HD I could see a pimple on her chin. She has a great singing voice too. 

Dan Stevens plays the beast in the castle and I had a touch of a problem with the CGI of the beast’s face. I thought it looked less photo real and more cartoon animated in parts. 

I’m not a huge fan of the cartoon to be fair but I can see that this is a great conversion to live action. It felt to me that there were new songs added but I could be mistaken. I always enjoy Be My Guest, maybe because it reminds me of The Simpsons parody See My Vest.  

Plenty of singing and good actors giving their all in a good reworking that may have you shed a tear even though you know the outcome. Some wonderful animation and voice work of the animated ornaments which carry much of the movie and help out with some amusing comments. Luke Evans as Gaston and Josh Gad as LeFou are good fun as the bromantic couple who aim to get Belle’s attention. Didn’t rock my world but was perfectly executed for those who will hope to love it. 

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A Cure For Wellness

As I watched this movie with its young male lead entering a creepy institution up on a hillside, I thought of Shutter Island. Dane Dehaan is a b list leonardo de caprio in many ways and this film is a b rate Shutter Island from start to finish. But I adore Shutter Island so the fact that I merely loved this is still high praise. 

Jason Isaacs is the main runner of the institution and he has Celia Imrie and Mia Goth among his customers who are dosed up on the water which comes down from the Alps themselves, cleansing the body and mind. 

Dehaan has an accident which is filmed in a glorious way by Gore Verbinski and that’s when our lead finds himself holed up at the institution and drinking this mysterious elixer. As the film title suggests, maybe the water is one thing to be avoided. Cue drug like hallucinations (or are they real?) scenes where our hero searches behind the scenes in order to seek out the truth. 

It’s a long film and I was on board right up until late in the running time when a white hooded coven scene began and I thought all was lost but I was wrong. I’ve seen a handful of films which don’t know how to wrap things up and always seem to go to the crowd of people in robes holding candles. It could be accused of going a bit far in its closing moments but I just about held on enough to stay with it. 

Not wholly original then but something to seek out if you did enjoy Shutter Island. And I certainly did enjoy both. 

Hidden Figures 

During NASA’s space race with Russia, this tale of the African American women who used their brilliant minds to do the hard undiscovered maths to plot the trajectories for space travel is little known, until now. Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) play the lead trio of brilliant minds in a time of segregation. The ‘coloured only’ bathrooms and even coffee pots only for people who aren’t white show a sickening approach to society even amongst the Intelligent.  

Al Harrison (Kevin Costner) is the boss who makes a stand against the stupidity of segregation and Kirsten Dunst plays Vivian Mitchell who is an intelligent white lady amongst men who gets treated differently. 

The film has a light breezy tone and score which makes it an easy watch. Getting a man into space is no easy task and the intermingling or real footage and filmed works well. All the cast are excellent and I’m so glad this story is finally out there. 

Kong: Skull Island(or Apocalypse Park) 

Let me start with saying that I’m not a big King Kong fan. I really don’t care about the black and white original and although I reasonably enjoyed the overlong Peter Jackson (2005) version, it made little lasting impact on me. He’s just a Gorilla… but bigger. I have the same issue with Godzilla except I put Godzilla above Kong due to the fact he’s a monster and that makes him cooler. 
The opening scene of Kong: Skull Island caught me off guard. Even my son asked ‘is this the film?’ . 

We see Kong in these first few minutes rather than the drip feed of the usual monster kind. It’s breathtaking in its delivery and you soon realise this is a fresh approach to an old idea. 
It takes a very Jurassic Park approach, with John Goodman as a kind of John Hammond character who gets helecoptered on by soldier Samuel L Jackson who himself plays Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now during the Vietnam war. That’s how much of a fresh mix it is. 

The wonderful Brie Larson is a photographer -(Julianne Moore in Jurassic Park 2 a-like) who is brought along to document whatever the hell is making ships and planes go missing on this mysterious island which by the way, is surrounded by a perpetual storm of ferocious intent. 

There are other incidental characters filling out the soldiers outfit but they are filler for the lead actor. That being Tom Hiddleston. In a King Kong movie? Are you sure? 
Well yes, since this is directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts who directed Kings Of Summer, which is great by the way. 

There’s so many directorial choices such as slow motion and audio silences plus snazzily written location titles in between scenes. It all looks so fresh. 

But Kong himself isn’t all that lurks on the island. There are some wonderful other giant bugs and oddities which even best Avatar in their amazingness. The huge beasts are an amazing sight for cast and audience alike. 

That’s not all. There’s an islander played by John C Reilly who is nutty due to being (sort of) alone for ‘some’ time. 

This whole concoction makes for a feast of entertainment which blew my socks off. 
But! And it’s only fair to explain this. I did think to myself on many occasions “it’s like a Michael Bay Kong movie!”. 

That is a very divisive statement. 

I enjoy dumb loud films such as Transformers and Battleship and that kind of thing, but for many, that is awful. 

But I advise you to go see Kong:Skull Island and see if it’s possible to watch the POST CREDIT SCENE and not tremble with excitement!!! 

Sing!

Sing is moderately entertaining as an X Factor with animals animation. Toe tapping animation with a bunch of characters who come together to do a talent contest. The cast is full of famous voices but having Matthew Mcconaughey as your lead is a coo. 

There’s little new here really but it has a good message about following your dreams and it’s sound track is pleasant enough. 

There are chucklesome moments throughout but it’s not all that high grade. 

Think FAME done with animals. 

Sufferable but not fresh. 

The Girl With All The Gifts

The movie centres around a group of children in a soldier run medical centre where the kids are strapped down and seem like they are a threat. That’s because these are zombies but the fungus which made them the undead gives them the appearance of ‘normal’.

Gemma Arterton, Glen Close and Paddy Considine star as the humans who hope to get the cure out of these new species of undead. 

It’s a good discussion starter but is sprinkled with moments and details which take you out of the movie and at times you can easily spot actors acting. A good idea on paper but just another Walking Dead runaround spin off too. Sennia Nanua plays the most intelligent child/zombie who tries to get the confidence of the living. She’s a little annoying in parts and the rules of her zombieism keeps changing. 

A good idea dropped on its head.