Ghost in the Shell (2017) – Review

Ghost in the Shell (2017) – Review

★★★★ – “Smart, Cool and Refreshingly Enjoyable.”

Ghost in the Shell is directed by Rupert Sanders and stars Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbæk, Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche, Michael Pitt, Chin Han, Danusia Samal and Peter Ferdinando.

In the near future, Major is the first of her kind: A human saved from a terrible crash, who is cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world’s most dangerous criminals.

There was controversy. There were expectations. For me, these expectations were high. The original 1995 Ghost in the Shell anime had layer upon layer of subliminal meaning in its vast imagery and storytelling. Its themes were explored deeply, and gained a cult following momentously. Rupert Sanders has delivered a visually outstanding instalment to the franchise. Although a soft reboot/reimagining of the original, GITS stands on its own. Continue reading “Ghost in the Shell (2017) – Review”

Lion (2016) – Review

Lion (2016) – Review

★★★★★ – “Emotional, gritty and real. Lion is a must-see.”

Lion is directed by Garth Davis, starring; Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman, David Wenham and introducing Sunny Pawar.

A five-year old Indian boy gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of kilometres from home. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia; 25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family.

It’s rare in film to encounter a first act so thoroughly emotional, gritty and real. In Lion, director Garth Davis introduces us to Sunny Pawar, who at only eight-years old gives one of the most genuine, touching performances I’ve seen from any young actor. The first 50 minutes are mostly silent, similar to the opening act of Pixar’s WALL•E, in which very little dialogue is used. During this time, Pawar is acting through raw expression as he stumbles around the unforgiving streets of Calcutta, laying down a vital background before cutting to a grown Saroo, 25 years on. Continue reading “Lion (2016) – Review”

Hidden Figures (2016) – Review

Hidden Figures (2016) – Review

★★★★★ – “Both serious and fun, Theodore Melfi’s feel-good drama is a blast.”

Hidden Figures is written & directed by Theodore Melfi and stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons and Mahershala Ali.

The story of a team of African-American women mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the US space program.

In Theodore Melfi’s Hidden Figures, three heroic women who were a vital part of NASAs early years, are strongly portrayed by three wonderful actresses; Tarija P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe, thankfully bringing the remarkable true story into the limelight. Continue reading “Hidden Figures (2016) – Review”

Moonlight (2016) – Review

Moonlight (2016) – Review

★★★★ – “Three Distinct Time Periods. Three Fine Actors. One Remarkable Film.”

Moonlight is written & directed by Barry Jenkins and stars Mahershala Ali, Alex R. Hibbert, Naomie Harris, Janelle Monáe, Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes and André Holland.

A timeless story of human self-discovery and connection, Moonlight chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighbourhood of Miami.

Short and sweet; Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight has sunk low under the radar for many, but the sheer quality in the writing and acting will be treasured inside the hearts and minds of those who were lucky enough to experience this touching story. Continue reading “Moonlight (2016) – Review”

Hacksaw Ridge (2016) – Review

Hacksaw Ridge (2016) – Review

★★★★★ – “Brutally honest, an engrossing masterpiece.”

Hacksaw Ridge is directed by Mel Gibson and stars Andrew Garfield, Richard Pyros, Jacob Warner, Milo Gibson, Teresa Palmer, Hugo Weaving and Rachel Griffiths.

Based on the incredible true story, WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people and becomes the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot.

It’s taken me a while to digest Mel Gibson’s brutal epic Hacksaw Ridge, roaring with fire and an undying courage shown in Garfield’s deeply rooted portrayal of Desmond T. Doss, but at this point after sitting on time for a moment, I can safely say that this is one of most carefully crafted war films I have ever had the pleasure to, in some ways, endure. Continue reading “Hacksaw Ridge (2016) – Review”

La La Land (2016) – Review

La La Land (2016) – Review

★★★★ – “A love letter to Classic Hollywood.”

La La Land is written & directed by Damien Chazelle and stars Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Rosemarie DeWitt and J. K. Simmons.

A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles.

Who said Hollywood’s Golden Age died back in the 1960s? In Damien Chazelle’s remarkable La La Land, it’s back in full force with all the glitz, glamour and fun energy that made the classics so enjoyable.  Continue reading “La La Land (2016) – Review”

Assassin’s Creed (2016) – Review

Assassin’s Creed (2016) – Review

★★★ – “A poorly executed leap of faith.”

Assassin’s Creed is directed by Justin Kurzel and stars Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson and Charlotte Rampling.

When Callum Lynch explores the memories of his ancestor Aguilar and gains the skills of a Master Assassin, he discovers he is a descendant of the secret Assassin’s society.

Does Assassin’s Creed have what it takes to be a great adaption of a beloved video game franchise? Yes. It’s fast-paced, visually satisfying, features a great cast and showcases a huge amount of practical stunt work.

Does it succeed in being a great adaption of a beloved video game franchise? Unfortunately not. Continue reading “Assassin’s Creed (2016) – Review”