Home Again

With a famous film director as a dad and a gorgeous actress as a mum, it’s no wonder Alice Kinney (Reese Witherspoon) has the weight of the world on her shoulders.

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Two children and a broken marriage later, Alice decides to move back to her hometown of Hollywood, but she gets a little more than she bargained for when her 40th birthday bash lands her with three new housemates; young and extremely handsome housemates.

This film follows the usual romantic-comedy guidelines; putting obstacles in the way of happiness until eventually, the lead finds her happily ever after.

But unlike most films, this one seems a little more organic in its execution, by ensuring the female lead, Reese Witherspoon in this case, doesn’t need a relationship to feel ‘worthy’ or ‘complete’. Which, admittedly, is a refreshing outlook given the countless needy romances already in the back catalog of this genre.

Though entirely generic, the film does at least make for easy-watching, with its occasional comedic sketch and the inevitable and all too often clumsy-mum moments, it is a good ‘all-rounder’, but certainly won’t be winning any cinematic awards anytime soon.

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God’s Own Country

This film is the epitome of beautiful moments for independent British films.

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When his father falls ill, it becomes Johns responsibility to run the farm, causing a ripple of bitterness between the two of them. But when a new recruit is brought it, John rediscovers his love for the farm and his family.

Homosexuality is still an incredibly sensitive subject in the cinematic world, and so to see such a beautiful incarnation of a homosexual relationship represented with such normalcy was a powerful reminder that all types of love matter. 

Josh O’Connor (John) and Alec Secareanu (Gheorghe) are both incredibly new to the acting scene, and yet both give exceptionally brilliant performances in roles that require both courage and passion. 

The film is a wonderful love story, that is centered around a character-based plot, that allows for a quiet transition from loneliness, to intimacy, in a blink of an eye.

Table 19

No wedding is complete without a little drama, and this wedding is no exception.

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There’s always that one table at a wedding that is crammed full of weirdos who have been invited out pity, and that is the very subject of this film. Table 19, as you may have guessed by now, is that such table.

From a married couple in turmoil to a teenage boy who’s trying to bag himself a girlfriend, this table has it all.

Though the plot has a great concept behind it, it never seems to reach its full potential, which is no more helped by the often sloppy acting, which is only marginally saved by Anna Kendrick taking centre stage. 

A film that’s entire focus is narrowed to a single table within the wider environment of a wedding is a difficult task and, unfortunately, one that I cannot say was successfully achieved within this attempt, which at most could be described as an experimental defeat.

Beauty and the Beast

Full of beauty, but not at all beastly.

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A classic Disney tale gets a revamp in this live action extravaganza, which excels all expectations.

To even attempt to explain the magical sense of belonging this film has encompassed is simply an impossibility. 

From the phenomenal casting that brings some of the greatest actors of our time to the screen, to special effects that are beyond beautiful, this film truly brings an aesthetic and musical appeal that is hard to find in today’s modern cinematic exploits. 

Dan Stevens as the beast and Emma Watson as Belle couldn’t be a more perfect fit; not to mention they both surprise in their singing ability. Both, however, are just two of the stars in an outlandishly gifted cast.

What is so pleasantly unexpected about this retelling is the subtle changes to a tale as old as time.

Disney has always been at the forefront of change, with daringly bold choices and regardless of the consequences that may unfold, they have never wavered their morals, and this film is no exception. 

The introduction of LeFou, Gaston’s faithful accomplish, as a gay character, was a powerful reminder of political remission and a wonderfully warming encouragement for the LGBT community. 

Beauty and Beast is the perfect accompaniment to any family cinema excursion, showing audiences both young and old the importance of love through adversity.

Fifty Shades Darker

A film with as much full-fronted nudity in it as this one does, can never be good, mainly because it’s verging on the point of becoming pornographic.

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Struggling to get to grips with a normal relationship, Mr.Grey finds himself trying to win Anastasia’s heart back once more. But as is the case with many of Christian Grey’s ‘relationships’, there are rules, however, Anastasia does not want to submit to them.

The acting, as you may expect from such a film, is nothing special; it does excite, nor does it inspire, it is simply average in it’s execution. A disappointment would suggest that more was expected, it was not.

The camera angles are laughable throughout, with strategically placed ornaments covering various degrees of genital exposure. At times, the props used to subdue the show of human flesh are so horrendously comedic, you have to repeatedly remind yourself that this film is actually trying to market itself as a serious romance drama.

It has become beyond difficult to subjectively review this film, not only because it goes against the grain of  the cinematic experience, but because it preys on the vulnerable to fund it; predominantly middle aged woman, who are looking for ‘more’. Admittedly, this is a huge over generalisation, but to a certain extent, is very true nonetheless.

How a story, that is essentially glorifying sexual abuse has come to be such a prominent part of our society, is quite frankly an embarrassment to filmmakers everywhere. But of course, this story did not just come into being through the medium of film, no, it was firstly a book, and not just any book, and international best seller.

It is the very nature of this film’s existence that is having a dyer affect on the film-industry, which has almost become a dumping ground for lacklustre film-makers with a remarkably large budget. It is a sad reality, and one that I hope will eventually be squashed.

La La Land

With an opening scene that literally sings the films praises, it’s hard to not love this type of controlled cinematic wizardry.

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Some say romance is dead. This film begs to differ. Ryan Gosling (Sebastian) and Emma Stone (Mia) both delight in what is an exceptionally produced triple threat assembly, with ample amounts of passion, hope and love.

Getting noticed in Hollywood is just about as easy as trying to find a needle in a haystack, and quite frankly often a game of chance. This is a realisation that our main characters Sebastian and Mia must face as they pass from job to job with little hope of a break anytime soon.

Not only is this film crammed with horrendously catchy musical intersections that will have you tapping your way home, the choreography that accompanies these numbers is also mesmerizingly spell binding in its execution.

At times this film really does feel as though you have been catapulted into the struggles of 21st century Hollywood, with colours that captivate you and camera angles that almost will you into the scene.

La La Land encompasses everything that Hollywood has lost, and for that it will create an eruption of nostalgia that will leave it sailing into the cinematic history books.

Why Him?

Every father’s worst nightmare comes to life in this gloriously inappropriate comedy that’s brought to life by director John Hamburg.

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James Franco of course takes on the role of Liard Mayhew, the boyfriend with little regard for discretion and an astonishingly good bank of swearwords. Whilst Breaking Bad star, Bryan Cranston, steps into Dad mode, as an overbearing father.

It goes without saying that this is very much a dad VS. boyfriend battle, giving way to a whole host of brilliant comic material, from pink panther style combat to business banter.

What makes this comedy so unrelentingly hilarious is that it is the characters that make it so, rather than props. Cranston’s facial expressions whilst using a Japanese toilet are quite frankly Oscar winning material on their own.

It may not be a film for family night, but it definitely leaves a lasting impact, mostly because once you see a dead Moose’s genitals impound a fifteen year olds face, it’s not something you forget in a hurry.