Free State Of Jones (2016) 

Director: Gary Ross

Running time: 2 hours 19

Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mahershala Ali, Keri Russell. 

Matthew McConaughey plays a deserter from a Confederate army who leads an uprising with a small but growing group of townsfolk. McConaughey jumps into this role utterly as he seems to do every role recently. You can see the urgency in his eyes as he dodges bullets and picks bodies off the battle field in an opening like Saving Private Ryan’s. Whilst this movie is very good it’s in the shadow of The Revenant which I felt was better still. The brutality of such old fashioned weaponry is portrayed effectively and and packs a literal punch. I felt there were pauses in parts as the story slowed and my mind wandered but McConaughey himself never misses a beat and there are other faces you may or not place who help flesh out the story to its close. A good effort but nit the best of this kind of thing currently. 

C Whitehouse 2016

Bridget Jones Baby (2016)

Director: Sharon Maguire

Running Time: 2 hours 

Cast: Renee Zellwegger, Colin Forth, Patrick Dempsey, Jim Broadbent, Emma Thompson, Gemma Jones. 

Bridget Jones returns to the big screen with a new set of problems. Life is selling her short as usual but in the space of a week she beds two men and finds herself pregnant. One of the males is an American billionaire called Jack played by Patrick Dempsey (who is 24th down the cast list on imdb) and the other is,well, Colin Firth. But who is the father of the unborn child? There you have the crux of the story but happily hanging on the bones of an idea is a very humorous and sweary story of a clumsy woman trying to juggle her work life and her new found pregnancy while dealing with various stages of pregnancy. There’s an awkwardness as Mr Darcy returns on the scene just by happenstance and rivalry between the two potential fathers raising emotions for all. While mostly funny, I also felt touched by the love for the baby angle and especially the two fathers feelings for wanting to be there for Bridget and baby. Naturally the males butt horns as the jockey for position and this echoes the first outing as well as This Means War which had two men battling over Reece Witherspoon. I was afraid that this may be fluffy girly nonsense but it isn’t that at all. I enjoyed Bridget’s company and her accent was surprisingly good too. It felt good to see the female take on the role of the hapless lead rather than the male and although it runs the same confident path of a Richard Curtis movie, it never went saccharine. In short, I can’t knock it. I’d happily sit through another like that but not like the second Bridget Jones. Supporting cast such as Emma Thompson, Jim Broadbent, Gemma Jones and Shirley Henderson also make this an easy watch whether you’ve been dying to watch it or are simply being pulled along. 

C Whitehouse . 2016