Mr. Holmes (2015)

Now this is a wonderful premise.  Take a famous literary character, and let him live out his years and explore what would happen if a once world famous detective started to have dementia and amidst his failing health.   

Ian McKellen takes on Sherlock Holmes wrestling with a retirement that is not going terribly well as he is losing his memory and his once powers of deductiveness starts to fail him.

A reluctant house keeper with her young son take care of him, with his usual grumpiness and general impatience feeding into an atmosphere that doesn’t make him the easiest of people to live with.

We are told a story of a case, that has perplexed him in his final years, as he tries to piece together his memory to recall a clue he maybe missed.   Along side this he teaches the young boy all about bee keeping and the process of making honey.

The movie goes along at a very slow pace, but this lets us marvel at the great acting of McKellen.  While not a young man in real life, this movie has him looking 20 years older and very frail.  What is shocking, is the believable state he is in.

Now, the length of the movie could easily have had 30 minutes chopped out of it and not lost anything.  There was large pieces that just didn’t make any sense and you are left wondering if the director had cut maybe a crucial scene that made sense of what was left in.

Overall it was ‘ok’ nothing great and you could be forgiven for overlooking it.

#106 in the series


Viewing Date
Wednesday, 2nd December 2015 (Richmond)


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Trumbo (2015)

This was the tale of the time back in the 40′s and 50′s where America was gripped and paranoid about communistic influences in its cultures.  It went as far as public witch hunts to out those that were a detriment to the American dream.   This movie focuses on the Hollywood writers and actors who were outed and forced to leave their jobs and in some cases their homes and country because there accused of being Russian sympathizers.

This movie comes at an interesting time for me.  In August, I read the Kirk Douglas, I am Spartacus : Breaking the blacklist,  book about his career and the efforts it took to make that iconic movie.  In the book he devotes a huge amount of time to Dalton Trumbo who wrote the screenplay for the book.  Trumbo was at the time on the blacklist which meant studios were not allowed to use them.   There was a huge controversy around the launch of Spartacus with many demonstrations.

The movie takes us through the story of the Hollywood 10, the blacklisted writers.   We see it largely from Dalton Trumbo, his motives, his drives and his passion for his work.

The movie comes at a good time for the country, as Donald Trump, Presidential hopeful, is whipping up his anti-Muslim rhetoric.   Trump is using all the same phrases and sound bites as the likes of McCarthy and his supporters used 50 years ago.   Trumbo highlights the absurdity and division this caused in the country.

Dalton Trumbo stood for the American core value of freedom, the freedom to think his mind without fear or prejudice from his Government.   They fought their case the whole way to the Supreme Court.

A fascinating time in history and the movie goes along at a wonderful pace, even at 2 hrs, it doesn’t feel lengthy or drawn out.

The cast is outstanding, with  Bryan Cranston taking the lead with an excellent supporting cast of top notch players.

Well worth the watch, though I wouldn’t necessarily make a trip to the cinema to see it, there is nothing that is big-screen worthy.

#105 in the series


Viewing Date
Tuesday, 1st December 2015 (Movieland, Richmond)


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Youth (2015)

For my 100th movie on the 100th day in this series I was wanting something a little special to mark this huge milestone.  Oops.   Not to worry, I will chose better for my 200th movie.

Youth had so much promise, with

Michael Caine and

Harvey Keitel as two aging friends, at a spa retreat in the Swiss Alps.  Quirky and stylistic, we followed these pair as they wrestle with what is their last professional outing.  Caine is maestro conductor who is coaxed to giving one last performance in front of the Queen.  Keitel is a movie director who wants to his one last movie made and in the can.

They both bump into a variety of surreal characters who find themselves at the same retreat for a variety of reasons.

Paul Dano plays the hip young actor (think Shia LaBeouf – who he incidentally looks very alike) who represents the old boys career beginning.  He is there for them to bounce off and realize opportunities taken and also lost.

Many a cameo creeps in, including a wonderful piece by the beautiful quirky  Paloma Faith who plays herself, when the son decides to date a pop star.

The movie tries far too hard to be a mood piece.  Drawn out scenes that never seem to get to the point, lots of lingering shots on people standing around (sometimes nude granted so not as bad as it could have been) and basically you are left wondering if you have missed anything.

There is one particular scene with

Rachel Weisz sitting on a sun lounger while she talks with her new mountaineer.  The problem is that the scene switches between two cameras – one in front of her, one behind her.  However the continuity is so ridiculously out of sync as her hand moves on each scene you can’t help but be drawn to it.

The movie could have been great, but failed. 

#100 in the series


Viewing Date
Thursday, 26th November 2015 (Orlando)


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Ted 2 (2015)

I was nearly a fan of the first outing with the talking bear, that we know and love as Ted.  The premise was a nice gimmick on the genre usually reserved for the likes of Disney, bringing life and character to an animal.  But by stepping away from the family audience and going straight to the adult world, you open up to a lot more crude humour.

Ted 2 continues where we left off, with Ted now happily married and looking to have a baby.  However, he has to be officially and legally recognized as a person before he can progress any further.   Setting aside the whole bestiality sub plot with Ted and

Jessica Barth the story see’s them on a journey of what is basically a series of sketches.

These sketches afford you the luxury to be able to dip in and out of the movie without actually feeling you have missed anything.  I will confess to falling asleep for a little bit half way through this and never felt I had to rewind.

The story is fine enough, the only real criticism is that it is probably 30 minutes too long.  It gets to a point, where you just want it to finish.  Jokes are wearing thin and feel tired by the time 2 hrs is about to role up.   To keep a comedy fresh and engaged for that length of time requires a lot of effort.

Now that said,

Seth MacFarlane, is well known geek/nerd and his back references to things like Flash Gordon etc are clever and a nice nod.  He kicks it up a notch, when there is a whole sequence set around Comic Con in New York.  Keep an eye out in the background for the subtle cross overs and nods as they come quick and galore as Ted interacts with it all.  Clever.

Good enough comedy for a Sunday afternoon.

#96 in the series


Viewing Date
Sunday, 22nd November 2015 (Richmond)


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The Runner (2015)

Here we have Nicolas Cage trying to prove he can be a serious actor by taking on the role of a politician who is trying to walk the line between personal and professional morality.

Set just after the BP oil spoil in the Gulf of Mexico, we have Cage playing a saintly congressman who is fighting the fight for the local businesses and people who’s lives have been destroyed by this disaster.   Lots of impassioned speeches and rousing cries to defeat the corporate machine.

However, all too good to be true, and even though he is under the shadow of his father’s political record as Mayor (played by the legend that is Peter Fonda), he has a few skeletons in his cupboard.

So it all spirals out of control and he is soon without office, without support.  But is prepared to pick up his cause and continue to fight for the people doing pro bono work.


Sadly this movie has no surprises at all.  Every single story line weaved here you have seen a hundred times before in every other political movie.  We even have

Connie Nielsen as the troubled wife, playing pretty much the same role she played in the HBO series,


This was one of those, Netflix what the hell lets try it, movie choices and after viewing it, one can see how it bypassed the cinema and went straight to Netflix.   ‘Straight to Netflix’ seems to be the new version of that derogatory term we used before ‘straight to video’; signal when a movie was just not worth spending the marketing money.

Move along, nothing to see here.

#97 in the series


Viewing Date
Monday, 23rd November 2015 (Richmond)


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Trainwreck (2015)

I will confess to not running towards this movie with any great speed.  I had seen the trailers and it wasn’t turning me towards it.  But I was recommended to watch it by a friend, so threw it on, with very low expectations.  I was pleasantly surprised.

The lead Amy Schumer is a name I was unfamiliar with and I definitely didn’t know she was a stand up comedian.   The movie does the classic roles reversal routine, with her playing the maninizer!

The humour is extremely funny, and very adult/sex in nature, which made it quite refreshing.  With Schumer’s comedic ear, she has really put a lot of effort in making scenes really work without feeling strained.

Great wee movie, good drinking movie to watch with someone.

#84 in the series


Viewing Date
Tuesday, 10th November 2015 (Richmond)


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