The Girl on the Train

In this page to screen adaption of Paula Hawkins 2013 bestselling novel Emily Blunt holds the strings on an otherwise collapsing show.

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If like me you have not read the novel prior to watching this film, you may be forgiven for thinking this film, whilst not particularly enjoyable in its feel good vigour, does delight as a standalone thriller, albeit a very dark one. If, however, you have taken to reading before watching than all I can say to you is sorry.

Because let’s face it, the film can be deemed unrecognisable in comparison. Not only has the setting been changed from the original griminess of London to a suburban New York town, but every actor bar one (Emily Blunt) is American. And given the fact than the novel was designed to have been portrayed in Britain’s capital I cannot help but think this quite a significant blunder on behalf of the Film Company and Director.

It would be a pleasure for me to announce that this is a small hiccup in an otherwise exceptional cinematic journey, but alas, this would be a lie. As it seems that despite having a novel on which to base the script and general production upon, this film fails abysmally to carry its characters and their vulnerabilities. And despite having an all-star cast, the limitations put on them are so painfully clear it is almost unpleasant to watch. What should have been a trio of feministic characters turns into a chaotic mess, with only Emily Blunt being able to hold up the persona of her otherwise lacklustre character.

This film was never meant to warm the hearts of cinema goers throughout the world, but neither was it meant to dampen the spirits of Hollywood enthusiasts. With a basic storyline of manipulation and alcoholism it can be hard to craft a film worthy of big screen production, and yet when you think back to film’s such as ‘Gone Girl’ such goals clearly are doable.

Swiss Army Man

There’s no better way to survive the wilderness on your own than enlisting the help of a corpse and turning him into your very own survival kit.

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No, this is not a joke; someone really did make this into a film.

Just when you thought this film couldn’t get any weirder, along comes a plot twist that propels all sanity out of the window as we discover that not only has a lost and bewildered islander befriended a corpse, but the corpse himself has superpowers. And it’s not the superhero kind, but rather the fire fart starting and dead body water retention kind.

What makes the film even more hilariously ridiculous is the fact that they cast Daniel Radcliffe as the dead guy; safe to assume his career has gone nothing but downhill following his childhood stardom as the lead in the Harry Potter franchise.

Apart from the utterly insane storyline that somehow made its way to the big screen, this film actually delights in production and originality; the sets alone are enough to deal with living with a corpse.

Though to most this film will seem almost taboo, for others who can appreciate it, the film is in its own way endearing with its airy fairy way in which it describes the big bad world that we live in. Because beneath all of the corpse puns and inappropriate jokes lies one of life’s most important questions – what is our purpose?

Free State of Jones

There’s nothing that appeals more to an audience than an opening scene panning a battle field full of blood drenched dying soldiers. Wait, is that just me?

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Easing the audience into this film gently was clearly never on the cards for the writers and producers. From the offset you are made fully aware that you have entered into the most historic civil war America has ever bared witness to, and at times it feels as though no details were spared. Especially when it comes to the endless and apparently infinite opportunities for blood splattering bullet penetration. 


Though perhaps unpleasantly vulgar at times, you cannot help but think the actions taken throughout this films duration only tells a small proportion of what these characters realistically endured, especially when taking into consideration that the story that leads this film was birthed from real life events. 


With a story as horrific as this film is attempting to portray, it can often prove challenging to keep an audience engaged, but the way in which this film has been produced makes the transition from reality to onscreen showmanship almost seem easy. With the camera angles keeping the viewers curious, the music rewarding the emotions and the actors glowing with envious talent it can only be deemed a cinematic pleasure to see such a powerful and influential piece of American history come to life on the big screen.


The only slight hiccup in the editing process of this film is the amount of screen time that managed to make it to the cinema; all 140 minutes of it to be exact. At times the film feels as though it is some sort of punishment that will never cease, which quite frankly makes you want to hurt or seriously maim Matthew McConaughey’s character just so that you can put an end to it all.

The Infiltrator

Bryan Cranston is back to his Breaking Bad roots in this wonderfully violent crime thriller. So if you thought his drug infused acting days were over then think again.

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The Infiltrator is based upon one of the most notorious drug kingpins the world has ever seen; Pablo Escobar. Not only does this film show his up and coming rise to wealth and success, it also documents his very hard fall back down to justice that was famously orchestrated by two undercover US Drug Enforcement Agents; Emir Abreu (John Leguizamo) and Robert Mazur (Bryan Cranston).

Though based upon a real story, it would be hard not to mention the plots ever-widening gaping hole that grows bigger with every minute of the film that passes by. Sure, it isn’t the worst the cinematic world has been subjected too, but it definitely needs a little tidying up. Perhaps if the writers had spent more time working on the characters interconnectivity with one another and less time creating elaborate action scenes, this film would have been a little more engaging.

However, what this film lacks in plot potential, it certainly makes up for in acting; both Cranston and Leguizamo are able to seamlessly convert from their undercover gangster-esque alter-egos to their agonisingly ordinary characters in a heartbeat.

The Infiltrator is unlikely to achieve any box office records, and yet it is still likely to reach great heights of success simply for being a documentation of one of the most notorious drug cartel stories to ever grace our screens.


Captain Fantastic

Living in the wild with no amenities and not being dependent on any possessions is a euphoric dream for most people sick of the hum drum of life, but for the Cash family this is their life, and their dad is the Captain; Captain Fantastic.

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Whilst their dads intentions to bring up his children without 21st century dependencies is admirable, it is really not practical, especially when it leads to losing the love of his life and the mother of his children. 

The very premise that this film is based upon is the necessity for love above all else, and yet it has an underlying story of mental health, that proves even the happiest of families can be susceptible to diseases of the mind.

A phenomenal message that is constantly reiterated by this on screen family, is that family is worthless and irreplaceable and wealth and the ‘real’ world is futile to creating a happy ever after. 

The film not only explores the tragedy of loss and the hindrance that segregation from reality can bring, but also the political scepticism that comes from those who chose to rebel against the standardised way of existing. 

Captain Fantastic showcases a powerful message that shows the vulnerabilities of being a citizen in the modern world. And the acting is pretty good too…

Kubo and the Two Strings

It’s not exactly the most conventional of family animations, but at least it wins on originality. 

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Dreamworks have always been lagging behind in the animation game, not that you can blame them with rivals as big as Disney. But recently they’ve really upped their game with features such as The Secret Life of Pets. And this film is no exception. 

Though the film itself gives the impression of static animation, the script that forms this epic story is undeniably unique; taking a culture often left to its own and turning it into a wild and emotional story is not only genius but unprecedented in current cinema culture.

Kubo is a young Japanese boy who apart from having one less eye than his peers, has an incredible talent for telling the most engrossing stories, a trait that is hereditary in his family. 

Though young Kubo soon finds out, to his dismay, that what he believed were stories from his over-zealous imagination are actually real life tales, that are endangering both himself and his family. So what better way to fight these unrelenting stories than to team up with a talking monkey and a beetle-human and battle them.

The story of Kubo and the Two Strings is based upon Japanese folklore, and is a true picture of the stories that have been passed down through Japanese families for generations.

Whilst this film can be praised for its originality, its ability to capture a young audience is debatable in parts because its adult tones that probably scare rather than engross most children due to the dark atmospheric basis it is formed from; which to be fair is probably the intention that was derived from the folklore.

Sausage Party

Prepare to never eat food again after watching Seth Rogen’s devastatingly brutal comedy animation.

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Stockwells supermarket is full of food items that have high hopes of the outside world, or ‘the beyond’ as they like to refer to it. But these hopes and dreams are about to come crashing down when they learn what the reality of escaping the supermarket brings, and it’s not pretty.

The food items are under the illusion that humans are Gods and that once purchased, all food goes on to live a luxurious life with their human rescuer. This, as we know, couldn’t be any further from the truth, and it is Frank the sausage’s job to let his fellow food items know the horrific news. 

See, it turns out that the ‘God’s’ are actually serial killers, who will even go as far as slaughtering baby carrots for their own selfish nutritional benefit. 

Apart from the horribly depressing story-line that makes you feel ridiculously guilty for eating, the comedy in this film is a classic Edward Norton and Seth Rogen mash-up. And whilst it may be a little much that every other word is a f**k, you can’t help but love the boy humour that these two comedy legends have poured into this film.

But do be prepared when you go to the cinema, because whilst this is a definite winner in terms of comedy and characters, it will not be to everyone’s taste, given the fact that sexual innuendos are aloof and the use of paraphernalia is unfathomably high despite the fact that food cannot even get high; not that the rest of the film is entirely factual anyway. 

Cafe Society

Woody Allen’s cafe society delights on the big screen with wonderful atmosphere and crazy tales of love and lust, which  quite frankly is a wonderful wind down to a summer of outstanding cinema.

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Being propelled into 1930s Hollywood has never been so perfectly executed and Bobby and Vonnie are the stars of this Hollywood romance. Unfortunately the love between these two is left unrequited when Bobby discovers that the girl of his dreams is a lot more interested in his wealthy and successful uncle.

As is to be expected, one doesn’t get over such heartache with haste, especially when it is a family member that steals your girl, but alas Bobby eventually finds love again in him hometown of Manhattan, where he finally marries and settle down.

Though both Bobby and Vonnie find their own happy ever afters, there is always a sense of longing between them whenever they come in contact with one another, and though their light never went out.

Much like the rejuvenated Gatsby that graced our screens in 2013, this film follows along much the same lines in creating astonishingly accurate sets and providing exquisite costumes, making you feel as though you’ve been whisked back through the decades.

Not only is this film a refreshing look back through time, but it showcases the remarkable young talent that the film industry has to offer; even Kristen Stewart  is on form, showing that she is somewhat capable of showing varying facial expressions.

War Dogs

War is not a game; you cannot muck around with the US government and expect to come out unscathed.

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War Dog is a term for someone who makes money out of wars without actually being part of the action. And making money out of such a horrific situation can only be described as outrageously and morally disgusting.

The two gentleman who take the limelight in this film, Efraim and David, are war dogs, and they are willing to rinse the pentagon for all they are worth, even if it means breaking the law; which they do, repeatedly. 

A film that is so enriched in politics and social justice as this one is can only ever be controversial in its perception. But this film goes beyond this first layer of political hierarchy and helps you discover the wreck that lies behind the face of a war.

Though serious at heart, this is not just a film about political controversy and the Iraq war, it is  in fact a comical satire that bares resemblance to many infamous British comedies such as Dad’s Army and BlackAdder, admittedly with a much higher budget, and more serious undertones. But the general satirical look on the workings of war are clearly reflected in abundance.

The very fact that this film is based on a real story, not only shows that the US government have a blatant disregard for where there weaponry is from, but also the unexpected money that is pumped into funding a war that when all is said and done created absurd anarchy. 

A film like this is not only an incredible adaption of a real circumstance, but also a real eye opener, that has been performed and actioned with incredible unbiased accuracy that will almost definitely be a favourite amongst film critics alike. 

Bad Moms

Full of belly-laughing humour, and a heartfelt storyline, this film is bound to be a winner at the box office.

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Baby puke, moody teenagers and horribly embarrassing nights out; what’s not to love about being a middle-aged mum?

In potentially the most hilarious Hollywood blockbuster of the year so far, Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn make for a unexpected and yet delightfully amusing trio.

Being a mum can’t be an easy job, especially with all those extracurricular activities you find yourself subjected to on your child’s behalf; with those frequent PTA meetings becoming particularly odious overtime. So odious in fact that Hollywood have taken it upon themselves to make a crude film surrounding said meetings’ frustrating pointlessness.

And what better to show the futility of such meetings, then to make a mockery of them. Because we all know that those who run the PTA are more often than not depressingly perfect, which is quite frankly completely un-relatable for most modern mothers.

This is why is this story one mum has decided to say enough is enough and take’s on her rival PTA mums with her fellow running mates to prove that not everyone can be perfect. After all not everyone can stay at home plumping pillows, some of us have to actually work for a living, as well as juggling this whole parenting malarkey.

What makes this film utterly euphoric, however, isn’t just the undeniable comedy that radiates from these women, but more the fact that the film is a standalone success without the need for a male lead.

And in an industry where we know men are over appreciated, a film such as this can only be seen as step in the right direction for gender equality amongst  Hollywood’s elite.

There is quite honestly no better way to show a women’s limitless strength than to show them taking on perhaps the biggest battle of their life’s; motherhood. Which, it turns out, is not only a hilariously disastrous experience for most, but also quite a difficult one.