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Last Breath

Fantastic real-life drama
This film is in the same vein as 127 Hours and Touching the Void. It details the kind of incredible drama that only real life can provide, expertly interweaving interviews, real footage of the incident and re-enactments.

It gets off to a slow start, but it wasn't long before I was riveted, praying for the poor diver to live. The music by Paul Leonard-Morgan deserves a special mention, as it's really effective in this film. My only quibble is that perhaps the audience could have used some computer graphics showing the interaction between ship, diving bell, seabed structure, umbilical and diver. This is only a minor thing though, as basically I understood what was going on.

I wish there were more documentaries of this kind of calibre.


For the grieving
The film tells the story of the director's younger brother, who suffered from schizophrenia and committed suicide years earlier. It follows his family as they, after years of not talking about it, resolve to open up and let their dead loved one back into their lives. They do this while camping and hiking through various beautiful parts of the British countryside.

There's a lot here most people will be able to identify with. How we refuse to talk about difficult subjects, when really talking's what we need most. How difficult death and grief are to deal with. And also how blame and guilt can linger after a person's suicide, however unwarranted those emotions may be.

I found some of the film difficult to watch, purely because it's such a real, personal story. And also because the family in question is so genuinely lovely that I just didn't want to see them in pain. But ultimately the film is heart-warming as well as sad. I would recommend watching it to anyone who's struggling to cope with the suicide of someone they love.

Leaving Neverland

It's distressing how fame blinds us to the truth
It's a distressing documentary. How anyone can watch it, disbelieve the two men and defend Jackson is beyond me. It may have been possible to disbelieve them were it not for all the photographic and video evidence that these boys were intimate parts of Jackson's life (some of the photographs definitely fall into the "hiding in plain sight" category) and all the testimony of the family members. Jackson's superstar status overrode the parents' common sense, leaving these boys unprotected and vulnerable. One of the men was seven when the abuse started. Seven!

Now Jackson hero-worshippers are trying to rubbish the documentary, coming up with pathetic lines like, "Let the man rest." Jackson is resting. He's dead. Nothing that happens now can affect him. But his victims are still alive, and they deserve more than being attacked by wilfully blind pedophile defenders.

The voiceless boys these victims were are now fully grown, and finally they're free of Jackson's manipulation. They have found their voice. Jackson superfans may choose to ignore it, but the rest of us won't be so heartless.

The Endless

Loved it
When you see something is a low-budget passion project, with the same people serving as writers, directors and stars, your heart often sinks, but this film is a rare beast: it's great.

The storyline sees two brothers return to a cult they left years before, only to find it's stranger than they imagined. What follows, while not astoundingly original, is interesting and well executed. It effortlessly keeps you watching, and the two central performances are totally believable.

It just goes to show you don't need mega-budgets and incredible special effects to make a good science fiction film.

The Predator

Prayers unanswered - as always
When I watched this film, at first I prayed it would get better.

Then I prayed for total sensory deprivation.

Then I prayed for a lobotomy.

Then I prayed for the sweet release of death.

Then I prayed for a button I could press that would eradicate the whole of the human race, just so I'd be sure a film like this could never be made again.

It's that bad.

Generation Iron

Laughable filmic denial of the truth
What a ridiculous film this is. You cannot look like the men do in this film without taking steroids. It's physically impossible. Yet this film will have you believe it's all down to hard work, pumping iron and eating right. Even the so-called doctors wonder aloud how the guys manage to get so big. We all know how it's done! Just ask Dwayne "The Roid" Johnson.

The Meg

The only valid reason for watching this toothless turkey is to ogle Jason Statham's divine body.

American Gods

Get over it, whingers
To all the people crying over this show being "political" and "into social justice too much": you're only upset because you're a white, heterosexual male. Just get over yourself and realise you've had things your own way for far too long.

You brought this on yourself anyway, by making a sexist, homophobic, white supremacist your President. Did you really think there would be no reaction to it?

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

A profit-making beast
So poorly written Michael Crichton must be rotating in his grave. Poorly directed. Poorly executed and rushed (apart from the CGI). Will this beast spell the extinction of "Jurassic" movies? Of course it won't. It just made $1.2 billion at the box office. No wonder the film-makers barely feel the need to try.


Common sense annihilated
I read somewhere that this is one of those rare sci-fi films where the characters don't make stupid mistakes, and act in accordance with common sense. If only. Never mind using flimsy paddling boats after you've just been attacked by a giant mutant alligator. Never mind using night-vision goggles to see that a perimeter fence has just been opened up by something "like a zipper", and then promptly putting the goggles down and saying, "I can't see anything." Never mind cutting a man's whole stomach off just to show a camera that his insides are moving. Those are just a few of the better decisions the characters make.

The film has other problems. I haven't read the books, and the first 15 minutes were a mess to me. Just awful. I didn't know what was going on, but I wasn't intrigued in the slightest. It's not until the "Shimmer" is introduced that you feel any interest at all. Portman's performance is lacklustre. Whoever thought of putting instrumental guitar music in the soundtrack deserves a slap. Lena's affair seemed to be stuck in there for no good reason. Her duel at the end with her "echo" goes on for way too long.

Then there's the worst thing: the ending. I would have settled for being offered a choice of possible reasons for the Shimmer, and then being left to decide for myself which one was true. Instead, we get only one explanation: aliens did it. Why? No one knows. It's a bit of a cop-out.

Blade Runner 2049

Hated it
I was so looking forward to this film. But the storyline is weak. Gosling is awful. Harrison Ford texts it in. Even the special effects lack solidity. It's like watching a series of cutscenes from a video game cobbled together.

The objectification of women is off the scale. Maybe the makers thought this film would only be watched by heterosexual males, but come on! It got to the point where I wanted to put a brick through the screen.

There's none of the depth and pathos of Ridley Scott's original. Hugely disappointing.


Scariest film ever? No way!
I only watched this because I saw a news article saying this was "the scariest film ever". It's not. It's just the same old tired bags of tricks. A Ouija board. An unconvincing shadowy ghost. Dream sequences that are so obviously dreams it's laughable. A girl's body being contorted into strange positions. Over-the-top music. Loud sound effects signposting jump scares. It's all been done a thousand times before.

When it comes to scary movies, the 1970s still reign supreme. The Exorcist. The Omen. Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Alien. At least the directors of these movies knew how to create oppressive, foreboding atmospheres that chill the spine. VerĂ³nica? It barely generates a frisson of fear.


Simply dreadful!
Who needs yet another retelling of the Bible story? I've read the director did it to highlight environmentalism and the destruction of the earth. Wrong target audience! The devout believe God will always save them. They believe in eternal souls and the afterlife. Religion is one of the principal reasons why we're marching towards extinction.

Pretentious. Painful. Indulgent. The only good thing about it is Jennifer Lawrence's performance. She is totally committed to the role and keeps you watching. I just wish I'd known it was such a waste of time from the start.

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