Director: Crispian Mills
Running time: 104 Minutes
UK Certificate: 15
Genre: Action , Comedy , Fantasy
Nearby to a very reputable boarding school a fracking site causes a huge sinkhole to appear and from it comes horrific creatures that turn the school into a blood soaked battle for survival and escape.
Nobody, here, can really come out with anything they can honestly be happy with especially when they see the end product. For Finn Cole this is very much a step down from his good work in Peaky Blinders. I’m none too familiar with any of the rest of the young cast and I would be very surprised if many of them went onto bigger things or if they even wanted to. Of course, the real focus will be on Michael Sheen, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Of the three only Sheen really comes out with any credit. Playing the school headmaster with a vested interest in the fracking site he does achieve some level of pompous deviousness but for Pegg and Frost this is all just a huge sign that things will never be as good as they were. They’re OK doing that they do but it’s all gone a bit like your Dad dancing at a wedding, you feel for them but ultimately it’s a bit embarrassing.
Sadly, the whole thing is just incredibly vapid and for most of the movie I felt it was really beneath any of the main players to be involved with something so brainless. It really did feel like it was aimed at a younger audience than me but even so if I were of that audience I would feel that Slaughterhouse Rulez was an insult to my intelligence. Having said that there was plenty of laughter from the audience I shared the auditorium with, some over the top, at instants in the movie but I found myself wanting to point out to them that it just wasn’t that funny, if at all. Maybe I’m just getting old but this film was just not really worth my time and with Pegg and Frost involved has to be considered a massive disappointment. I also hadn’t realised that Crispian Mills, directing here, was the same gentlemen lead singer of the band Kula Shaker who I saw as recently as last year. Based on this film I hope he concentrates on his music or gets some writers with a higher IQ involved with his next movie project. The thinly veiled message about the dangers of fracking almost took my eye out!
1/5 Stars – The trouble beneath is beneath all of us.
Director: David Gordon Green
Running time: 106 Minutes
UK Certificate: 18
Forty years after murdering his sister and several other young adults, Michael Myers returns to Haddonfield on Halloween to finish what he began all those years ago and reignite his conflict with Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), who in this version of events is no longer a sibling. All other sequels that have come and gone are also ignored.
This was probably a more satisfying return, at least to anything rebooted, for Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode. By her own admission Laurie is something of a reclusive basket case, living away from everyday life other than to overly prepare her daughter and granddaughter for the horrors of life that could be brought by Michael Myers. Curtis still plays the role with some spark but it does feel a little like she’s gone a big gung-ho about things. Her daughter, Karen (Judy Greer), now married with her own daughter, has become frustrated with her Mother and makes not secret of this trying to keep her out of her daughter’s, Allyson (Andi Matichak), life despite her protestations against. Greer adds a more balanced edge to Karen but this soon turns to a situation where she has to put her mother’s “training” into action. Allyson plays our typical young fish bait as her friends are picked off in gruesome fashion.
The very first Halloween movie is one of my all time favourite movies. My sister made me watch it at around eight years old some forty odd years ago. I was properly freaked out by the breathing, which sounded like our old airing cupboard, for some time after watching. I love John Carpenter’s films and even some of the many sequels were quite enjoyable if only for nostalgic reasons but the newer films, starting with H20 and then the Rod Zombie remakes, really didn’t land with me so there was a lot of apprehension going into this but with Carpenter on board in some capacity there was also some optimism. In summary, it was OK. I think the film recaptured the Haddonfield environment well and although present day it sometimes felt like we’d travelled back to 1978, in a good way. There was the introduction of a “new Loomis” which I feel didn’t really work but as it wasn’t particularly investigated there wasn’t any time to dwell on it. In terms of the murders, some were shown whereas others the viewer was just shown the bloodied corpse in a variety of displays. One thing I did find frustrating was the timings of the film, in parts it cut away from a scene too quickly and at other times it did the exact opposite. This meant that tension of any kind was really difficult to build and ultimately I found the conclusion to be quite anti-climatic. The ongoing feud between Strode and Myers would always maintain my interest as it’s such an iconic battle within the horror genre. To go back to the older sequels the second film in the series has always stood out for me as it almost seamlessly continued from the first movie and had the closure it really required. The 2018 addition to the first movie didn’t really do that but then it is actually forty years later so that would always be difficult. I wasn’t disappointed with Halloween and it’s certainly one of the better attempts in more recent years to take the story further.
The Verdict: 2.5/5 Start – Michael Myers doesn’t quite bring it home
Director: Damien Chazelle
Running time: 141 Minutes
UK Certificate: 12a
Genre: Biography , Drama , History.
First Man tells of the true story (if you’re a believer, but that’s a different conversation) of the first man to set foot on the moon, Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling). Set over the course of a number of years leading to the actual mission itself, it goes into some details about the man himself, his relationships and the personal tragedies that befell him. It also gives a quite in-depth account of the setbacks encountered in the build up to Apollo 11 mission that eventually landed on the moon on 20th July 1969
I was quite impressed with Ryan Gosling as Armstrong. I took Armstrong to be a quite introvert man based on Gosling’s performance. He seemed to struggle with relationships of any kind, especially after a personal family tragedy. This tragedy seemed to add extra fuel to his determination to make the mission work whilst his marriage suffered along with his duties as a father. This was a more subtle, reserved role for Gosling and I think he performed well, I was reminded, at times, of his good work in Drive. Claire Foy, I felt, was not allowed to do her best work here as the role did not ask this of her but what she did do she did very well. As Armstrong’s wife, Janet, she too shows a grit and determination to try to keep her family together whilst supporting her husband in his work despite all the tragic setbacks surrounding the mission.
There’s some very strong support, firstly from Jason Clarke as Edward White – a colleague with similar attributes to Armstrong and the same desires to make the mission a success – and Corey Stoll as Buzz Aldrin – The more gung-ho but no less driven second man on the moon. There are also fleeting appearances by Ciarán Hinds but worthy of special mention are both Shea Whigham and Kyle Chandler.
I’m not going to lie, First Man was a difficult watch. I was unaware of some of the events leading up to the landing on the moon and as this film is based on Neil Armstrong’s biography a fair chunk of the story was true to that book just with small embellishments for dramatic effect, as if it actually needed it! As well as that, there were periods of the movie that were just plain boring if I’m being honest and I think the busy cinema around me felt this too. This may, of course, have been down to the fact that the ending wasn’t going to offer any big surprises but despite that the climax of the movie is quite the event and is very well delivered. To be fair, those are the only real negatives as the film is well-directed and some of the cinematography is quite striking. Paired with some strong performances and an attention to detail it’s hard to find any reason to do anything but recommend First Man as a film you need to see for yourself.
Verdict 3/5 stars – Hard work but First Man does reach the moon