Starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey
The Dark Tower novels were a favourite of mine as a teenager. I picked up my first Stephen King novel when I was 12 and ravenously turned the pages of what ever book of his I could get my hand on. But there was something about The Dark Tower. Something about the last gunslinger and his Moby Dick like obsession for the Man in Black and that ominous Dark Tower. Here was this epic fantasy story that somehow combined Clint Eastwood Westerns with wizards and portals into 20th century New York and giant cyborg bears. And it worked. And I loved it. I’ve always regretted not finishing the series when the wait between books grew too long and I found it harder and harder to make time to read books without pictures. But I never stopped being fascinated by that mysterious tower that stood in the centre of all things.
Adapting The Dark Tower is an ambitious project. I don’t believe a straight up retelling would work on the big screen. So I’m glad director Nikolaj Arcel didn’t even try. This is not the movie I was expecting. It’s not the movie I visualised in my head as I followed Roland’s journey to the tower. It’s different. And as I write this on my way home from the cinema, I think I like it.
Starring Ryan Reynolds
This is not an easy review to write. I enjoyed this movie. A lot. But I can not recommend it. In fact, if you are a Christian, I recommend that you avoid this movie. Especially if you are under 18. Now, I know in Australia you can legally see this movie if you are 15 or over. Younger if you see it with your parents. But let me explain why I think this is a bad idea.
Everything is awesome. It’s not just the name of the catchy and quirky pop song that plays incessantly during The Lego Movie. It’s an accurate description of the film itself. Everything about this movie is awesome. After watching The Lego Movie I want to pour a huge box full of Lego pieces on the floor and spend hours building stuff. True, I want to do that most days. But after watching this movie, I really really want to dive into a big pile of Lego, Scrooge McDuck style.
It’s pretty amazing that a movie like Noah even exists. A big budget retelling of a Bible story with big name actors and a special effects budget that would make a film student drool, directed by a guy best known for his quirky, arty films. Surely this is going to be a disaster. The Bible crowd will either love it or hate it and it’s going to be a tough sell to get anyone else even interested.
As an epic fantasy movie with Biblical allusions, Noah is a great film. As a Biblically faithful account of the life of Noah… Well it makes a good fantasy movie.
Starring Keanu Reeves
47 Ronin is the classic Japanese folk story of 47 samurai who are on a mission to seek revenge and restore the honour of their fallen lord… and some random white guy fighting CGI monsters. Somehow Keanu Reeves has got himself involved in this Westernised version of an Eastern story. Now, while I enjoyed this movie and thought it was a good way to spend a couple of hours in a cinema, it never quite manages to overcome to fact that there are two movies here trying to squish themselves into a space reserved for one.
Starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Christopher Eccleston
Yeah, I was going to go see this. Never any doubt. I can count on one hand the Marvel movies I haven’t seen in the cinema (I’ll let you guess in the comments which ones they are). But how high were my expectations for Thor: The Dark World? To be honest, not very high. While I enjoyed the initial Thor outing, I thought it was a bit under-done and needed more time to develop its story. And while I love Christopher Eccleston, he didn’t exactly set the world on fire playing the bad guy in G.I.Joe. On top of that, I had successfully managed to avoid seeing a single trailer for this movie, which is a pretty big achievement these days. So I’m sitting in the cinema, very little idea what to expect, just a small flickering flame of hope in my belly. Enough already Joel – tell us what you thought!
I loved it.
I know I probably say this after every Marvel movie, but Thor: The Dark World has got to be one of my favourites so far. The special effects are grand, the action epic, and the dialogue witty. What more can you ask?
When I think of pirates I either think of someone downloading the latest episode of Game of Thrones or Johnny Depp prancing around with a sword. So when I watch the news and hear stories of Somali pirates, my brain gets a little bit confused. It’s hard to believe that in the 21st century pirates are still a problem. But these pirates aren’t colourful vagabonds or digital thieves. They are dangerous men born out of desperation and violence. In Captain Phillips, when warned of pirates in the area, they don’t prepare for a revival of Pirates of Penzance. They are scared for their lives. And they have every right to be. Because Captain Phillips is the true story of a merchant ship that is boarded by pirates. And the reality of this situation makes this one of the most gripping thrillers I’ve seen.