Inferno


Nobody wanted, nor sought a sequel to Angels and Demons, and yet here it is. But thank goodness Hollywood did grace us with another Dan Brown screen convert, because despite its needlessness it is an added adventure that was surprisingly much needed after all.

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Tom Hanks may have grown older in this seemingly endless franchise revival, but it also appears that he has grown wiser.

As is a recurring theme in these films, gore and ancient history is a given. Between visions of bloody water and decapitated limbs it’s safe to say this is not a film for the faint hearted.

Once past the graphic hysteria of the deluded hallucinations curtesy of Professor Langdon (Tom Hanks), the film holds a hugely adventurous plot to destroy the world.  This sees the characters initiate a trail across various historical places throughout Europe to discover the source of the plan that threatens the possibility of human extinction.

Though the film is tremendously engaging in terms of back to back action and a thrilling plot which twists and turns as the storyline unfolds, the level the fact-finding is somewhat comprised at times in place of added violence, which can be described as nothing but disappointing.

However in the grand scheme of things, this seems a small sacrifice in an otherwise enticing thriller, which with the original creator of the books, Dan Brown, as producer is almost idealistic in its page to screen adaptation.

Storks


Where do babies come from? A question as old as time.

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Well it turns out our parents weren’t lying to us; they really do come from storks, highly chaotic and not at all capable storks, but storks nonetheless.

Now, if like me, you saw the trailer for this film and weren’t exactly filled with excitement, then you will be pleasantly surprised, because this is one of the funniest family films of 2016.

To be honest the quality and fluidity of the animation could win awards on its own. And it almost certainly gives Disney’s animation studios a run for their money.

With a plot that looks as if it will stumble at the first hurdle this film actually surprises in its execution, taking an initially dull start and excelling it into a heart-warmingly hilarious adventure.

Storks ticks the boxes on most family checklists, from charming characters to unyieldingly seamless animation.

And the best thing about this film? It’ll finally stop your kids from asking the question that every parent dreads.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children


Yes, I can confirm that this film is, as the title suggests, quite peculiar.

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Set in the early second world war in the plush lands of Wales, a forgotten fairy-tale is brought to life by none other than blockbusting tycoon and all round top notch director, Tim Burton.

This story is of course taken from a children’s novel and leaked onto the big screen with envious wit and larger than life, if not somewhat unconventional characters, as is the case with so many of Burton’s cinematic experiments.

With a plot as gripping in peculiarity as this one is, it is hard to find a dull moment through this films duration. However with a storyline as odd as this one finds itself comes a pairing of dark undertones which quite frankly make me question whether it should have ever been branded as a ‘family film’.

Because be it the unpleasant monsters that are hiding behind every corner or just the bizarrely scary characters themselves, one things for sure, this is not a children’s film; it will more than likely keep said children awake at night if you are foolish enough to entertain them with it. However, this being said, I think we can all agree that the majority of Burton’s creations are not exactly for the faint-hearted.

Though the characters play a huge role in the success of this film, it is the special effects and use of setting that truly makes this film spellbinding in its effect. In fact I cannot recall a single film that has ever made travelling back through the ages more satisfying to watch than this one has.

What is so gloriously different about the effects put onto the finished production is that they are not over the top, nor are they unnecessary. Instead, they do exactly what CGI was created and intended for; they complement the film, making it a scorching success in its own right.

 

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.