LOVE OF MY LIFE

Director: Joan Carr-Wiggin (2017) BBFC cert: 15

 

One shouldn’t make jokes about cancer and this glacially paced farce certainly succeeds in failing to make us laugh.

Devoid of wit, mirth or ambition, it’s a malignant, morbid and mawkish misfire, unrelentingly unfunny, staggeringly awful and too predictable and painful to endure.

It stars three refugees you’ll recognise from classic comedy, Four Weddings And A Funeral, in John HannahJames Fleet and Anna ‘Duckface’ Chancellor. The latter in particular is deserving of so much better material.

She plays middle aged mother and architect, Grace, who believes she has only four days to live before she undergoes an operation to remove a brain tumour.

Her arrogant and smug ex husband turns up declaring undying love and wanting to rekindle their romance. Her current hubby is a dithering drunken idiot, and doesn’t seem too put out.

It’s set and filmed in Canada, presumably for tax relief purposes. It speaks volumes even the British film industry wouldn’t stoop to funding this nonsense.

@ChrisHunneysett

A CURE FOR WELLNESS

Director: Gore Verbinski (2017) BBFC cert: 18

 

Gore Verbinski administered shock treatment to Johnny Depp’s career by directing the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films, and the magnificent mess, The Lone Ranger.

The appropriately named director now turns his hand to horror, with equally mixed results.

It’s beautifully designed on a grand scale, and stunningly photographed.

Brit actor Jason Isaacs is wonderfully measured as the governor of an exclusive Swiss sanitarium. Forever pale and interesting, Dane DeHaan is suitably cast as a young US executive sent to Switzerland to rescue his CEO from hydrotherapy.

In the vein of the venerable Hammer House of Horror, the story draws heavily on the European folktales which inspired Dracula and Frankenstein.

Distended on a diet of eels and red herrings, the constipated storytelling puts a strain on the audience. It needs a good dose of leeches. Movement in the bowels of the castle allows for a necessary and explosive purge of plot, providing great relief all round.

@ChrisHunneysett

I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER

Director: Billy O’Brien (2017) BBFC cert: 15

There’s a beating heart full of love within this off beat and disturbingly entertainingly horror.

Young actor, Max Records, is terrific as John Cleaver, a bullied high school student works part time at the family mortuary and believes himself to have the potential to be a serial killer.

Veteran Christopher Lloyd has fun as his elderly neighbour and only friend.

But when John believes he’s discovered the existence of a real serial killer at large, his life takes a doubtful turn.

Due to the smart writing, assured direction and performances of rigid conviction, this is a macabre, small town joy.

@ChrisHunneysett

BEYOND THE GATES

Director: Jackson Stewart (2017) BBFC cert: 18

 

Rewind to the era of the video nasty with this lovingly made, entertaining and accurate homage to cult comedy horrors such as such as Fright Night and Re-Animator.

When two brothers return to their parents’ defunct video store, they find a mysterious interactive video cassette game movie called Beyond The Gate.

They realise it holds clues to their father’s disappearance, but are warned playing the game could cost them their souls.

There’s a healthy amount of camp fun among  the blood letting action and enough menace to give you the shivers.

@ChrisHunneysett

HIDDEN FIGURES

Director: Theodore Melfi (2017) BBFC cert: PG

Equations lead to equality in this astronomically uplifting biopic.

When NASA find themselves behind communist Russia in the space race, three groundbreaking African American female mathematicians prove they have the right stuff.

Their brain power is instrumental in figuring out how to to return an astronaut alive from Earth orbit.

Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monae and Octavia Spencer bring warmth, integrity and humour to their roles. The latter was up for the best supporting actress Oscar, but all of them are deserving of an award.

The real life characters they play may have been hidden from history, but they’re easily identifiable in the labs occupied by white men.

Rather than preach, the script uses humour to mock the stupidity of racism and sexism. And the science is pitched at a level so dummies like myself can easily understand it.

Stirring, sentimental and sweet, it’s a powerful and entertaining story of heroism in the face of prejudice.

@ChrisHunneysett

 

 

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2

Director: Chad Stahelski (2017) BBFC cert: 15

Keanu Reeves’ career blasts back into black as the sharp suited assassin in this blistering thriller sequel.

It’s a super stylish, extraordinarily violent action spectacular which offers non stop ferocious thrills.

With little fanfare the first film tore through cinema back in 2014, shooting up the box office charts and killing the competition.

It delivered a much needed hit for the ever popular star who was once again in great need of a boost. Reeves has been quite since then but there’s no ignoring him here.

We pick up where the first finished. Having avenged his pet dog and recovered his car from the Russian gangsters who stole it, the multilingual hitman, Wick, is once again looking forward to a peaceful retirement.

But Riccardo Scamarcio’s powerful Italian crime lord makes Wick and offer he can’t refuse. As the villainous, ambitious and smooth talking Santino D’Antonio, he needs his own sister assassinated and Wick owes him a blood debt.

However if Wick succeeds, it will allow D’Antonio to takeover not just Rome, but Wick’s hometown of New York.

The relentless barrage of action sequences combine the sleek sophistication of the James Bond series, the elegant sumptuous design of vampire flicks and the dynamic violence of Asian martial arts movies.

Enabling the short fused Wick to burn the candle at both ends is an armoury of guns, the most cool car, a wardrobe of gorgeous suits, and residence at a chain of high end hotels.

The inventive violence takes place on subways, in catacombs and at parties, ending with a showdown in Central Park.

British actors Ian McShane and Peter Serafinowicz add a touch of class. Reeves’ co-star from The Matrix movies, Laurence Fishburne brings the menace.

The Hollywood union of stuntmen has long agitated for an Oscar to be established to honour their work. If one were to be awarded, the stunt team here would be a shoo in for the thorough shoe-ing their members receive here.

For what they accomplish, I hope their danger money was on double time.

@ChrisHunneysett

The Lego Batman Movie

Director: Chris McKay (2017) BBFC cert: U

The Caped Crusader returns in a dynamically entertaining spin-off from 2014s The Lego Movie.

Brightly coloured, rapid fire and full of jolly stupidity, I was laughing from the first word of dialogue. And by the end of the opening titles I was a giggling mess.

The fun is powered by state-of-the-art animation and the camp sensibility of the 1960s Batman TV show. It lovingly sends up Batman’s many screen portrayals and his bromance with his arch-enemy The Joker.

In order to prove he is Batman’s number one bad guy, The Joker unleashes a horde of villains from Hollywood history. To save Gotham City from Godzilla, King Kong and err, Daleks, Batman must confront his greatest fear.

The crime fighter is once again voiced by a gravel-throated Will Arnett, who brings the superhero to life with a deliciously angry delivery.

It’s stuffed with super-enjoyable cameos and revamped Bat-tunes, and the Bat-cave is a treasure trove of potential merchandise for your kids to drool over.

They will love this daft Bat-adventure, I definitely did.

@ChrisHunneysett