The Snowman

A chilly start to a snowballing crime sees Michael Fassbender pursue a carrot-nosed villain.

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Infamous detective, Harry Hole (Fassbender), must strike up a work-life balance before he loses everything. What starts out as a harmless homicide investigation soon escalates into a matter of personal revenge, with Harry becoming the target.

The film had enormous potential to be one of the most hard-hitting crime dramas in years, but unfortunately, the lacklustre script left the overwhelmingly talented cast pining for a bigger challenge. At every turn, this film had the ability to stun, but, director Thomas Alfredson, disappointed with a culmination of scenes that merged into one another without much hope of climax.

Whatsmore is the lack of explanation as to why a story set in Oslo,  Norway has all-English speaking characters. Though clearly done in order to heighten accessibility in the cinematic universe, it does create confusion for audiences who are not familiar with the Jo Nesbo book on which this film is based, and simply adds to the overall uninspired finish of the film.

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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.

American Assassin

Terrorist annihilation has never looked so thrilling.

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After losing his girlfriend to the deadly clutches of a terror attack, Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien) takes revenge to the next level as he becomes a one-man army in an attempt to infiltrate and kill those responsible for his girlfriend’s demise. Though his plan seems flawless, the CIA decides his talents would be put to better use as part of a team, and so intercept him before he gets in too much trouble.

As movie partnerships go, Dylan O’Brien and Michael Keaton’s on-screen chemistry is electrically on point, with both managing to bounce of one another’s talent. The duos energetic charisma keeps the plots ever-growing tension, upbeat, without seeming forced. 

With a certification of 18, the film boasts a splendid amount of violently orchestrated bloodbaths, but given the nature of the film, it was a necessary evil in order to provide the authenticity of terrorist-driven activity.

Victoria & Abdul

Devastatingly honest, with just a glimpse of hope for post-war England.

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Queen Victoria finds an unlikely friend in Abdul, an Indian servant who visits the palace to present her majesty with an ornate gift. With this newly found friendship, comes a revolt from the royal household, who believe it beneath themselves to serve an Indian.

The story of Victoria and Abdul is exceptionally sad, especially given that the plot is loosely based on true events. The lack of understanding of cultural differences is both disheartening to watch, but also greatly influential in comprehending the need for Indian independence.

With Judi Dench as Queen Victoria and Ali Fazal, a new face to mainstream acting, as Abdul, the actors find a unique rhythm with one another that seems effortless in its execution and encourages the audience to fall head over heels for the duos lovable nature.

In restoring such a magically historic relationship, this film has shed light on Britain’s ongoing struggle to accept those with differences; a problem that is never more present than in today’s current political landscape.

The Emoji Movie

With Sir Patrick Stewart as a poop emoji and James Corden as a Hi-5 emoji, what could possibly go wrong?

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The answer; Everything.

The very premise of this film was a ridiculous idea to begin with, but that didn’t stop Sony Pictures from making a heavy investment in it.

Despite the quite honestly bafflingly talented cast that have joined forces to voice this movie, the plot remains embarrassingly lack-lustre.

If it wasn’t for James Corden’s comforting British sarcasm that provides comic relief at all the right moments, this film would be a complete right-off.

Though the younger audiences will be falling over each other to reach this cinematic defeat, parents will find the experience headache ridden, but at least it might give them an opportunity for a nap.

Despicable Me 3

The super-villain family headed by Gru are ready for a new mission, except this time they’re on the right side of the law, pursuing the bad guys, rather than committing the villainous crimes themselves.

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Not only has Gru changed sides, but he has found a new accomplice in the form of his long lost twin brother, Dru.

Though the creative team may not pick up any awards for original character names, they must, however, be patted on the back for keeping this franchise alive with new and exciting characters that continue to engage audiences of all ages, with a little help from the coinciding adult oriented jokes.

With the successful partnership of Illumination Entertainment and Universal Studios continuing to thrive, its safe to say that both Steve Carell and the Despicable Me team will be staying strong for the foreseeable future.

Spark

A royal monkey prince saves the world from a Gaddafi style dictatorship; yes this is apparently the world we now live in.

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After years of believing he’s an orphan, Spark discovers a secret like no other as he sets off on a mission to save his planet from it’s currently fascist reign.

Though not distributed by a particularly well-known film studio, this animated adventure showcases brilliance on a seemingly low budget. From the animation itself, to the character compositions, the film surprises with its originality and plot commitment.

Whilst the film only has the voice-acting name of Jessica Biel to slap on its promotional posters, the lack of critically acclaimed actors and production team adds to it’s surprisingly successful execution.

The film is not in anyway perfect, but it does provide a stable footing on which to sell itself to audiences young and old, even if it doesn’t have the financial backing needed to make it into the box office charts.