Summer is in full swing and after June & July’s look at the best outdoor movie events, we return to the cinema for our next batch of reviews. Let’s take a look at the month in more depth…
FILM OF THE MONTH: MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT – 5 stars
Credit: Paramount Pictures
Quite possibly one of the greatest action films you’ll ever see, Mission: Impossible – Fallout is a mesmerizing affair that leaves your jaw firmly on the floor with wave after wave of amazing stunts and sublime spectacle. The world’s biggest and best movie star Tom Cruise once again leads the line in a captivating adventure which finds Ethan Hunt and his team (Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames) in pursuit of some missing plutonium that will be used to make 3 nuclear bombs. Throw in a scene-stealing Henry Cavill and the ever reliable Rebecca Ferguson and you have the best film of 2018 so far. And remember, all of the stunts you see onscreen are real. Simply staggering.
ANT-MAN AND THE WASP – 3.5 stars
After the cataclysmic events of Avengers: Infinity War, we revisit the more light-hearted world of Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and his cohorts. Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) seek Scott’s help again – the only problem is he’s restricted to house arrest after aiding Captain America in Civil War. Pym believes he can reach his long-lost wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) in the Quantum Realm but is distracted when his tech is stolen by the mysterious Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen). Lots of laughs, some great set-pieces and Michael Peña once again steals the show. Be sure to check it out in IMAX for the full effect – it looks stunning.
ICEMAN – 3.5 stars
Credit: Bulldog Distribution
The remarkable true story of the Iceman (known as Ötzi) was big news when he was uncovered in 1991. This well-preserved mummy is believed to have lived around 3,300 BCE. Now a film has arrived that aims to fill in the gaps of Ötzi’s life with a fictional tale about the story behind the man – delving into the possible circumstances that eventually led to the Iceman being frozen. Kelab (Jürgen Vogel), the leader of a Neolithic clan, returns from a hunting expedition to find his village pillaged so he begins to track down the murderers and exact his revenge. Writer/Director Felix Randau has taken cues from The Revenant to deliver a visceral cinematic experience that certainly engages in a tale of brutal revenge and survival, even though the narrative becomes predictable.
HEARTS BEAT LOUD – 4 stars
Credit: Park Circus
Every once in a while you stumble upon an indie gem with music at its core (Begin Again and Sing Street were the last really good ones). Hearts Beat Loud follows suit with this timely tale of Frank Fisher (Parks and Recreation’s Nick Offerman), a record store owner having to give up the lease on his store so that he can ‘get a proper job’ and help fund his daughter’s college education. Sam (Kiersey Clemmons) is a fiercely intelligent student and a gifted musician, much like her father and late mother. In her last summer before heading to college, Frank makes a big effort to reconnect with Sam by forming a band and having jamming sessions as their time together slowly comes to an end. A bittersweet and engaging drama, with great support from Toni Collette, Blythe Danner, Sasha Lane and Ted Danson.
SEARCHING – 3.5 stars
Credit: Sony Pictures
Filmed to look like its taking place on various computer screens and electronic devices, Searching gives the ‘missing persons’ thriller a jolt of timely invention. David Kim (Star Trek’s John Cho) and his wife chart the milestones of their young daughter Margot’s life in videos and photographs. Some nifty nods to old Windows operating systems and the early days of Face-time and social media take us up to 16 year old Margot (Michelle La). She usually checks in with her Dad regularly, but after an extended period of non-communication David fears the worst. With no trace, a missing persons report is filed and a detective assigned (Will & Grace’s Debra Messing). What follows is a frantic search to locate Margot and work out what happened to her. It’s a suspense-filled journey with lots of red herrings, but the final reveal is a bit weak. That said, John Cho is always worth your time, and does very well living out every parent’s worst nightmare.
THE EQUALIZER 2 – 3.5 stars
Credit: Sony Pictures
The reboot of The Equalizer proved very popular, so director Antoine Fuqua returns to this gritty crime thriller. It starts off so well – Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) has now relocated, and goes about his day helping out his local community and keeping himself to himself where possible. But before long he is forced back into action as a tragedy occurs to someone close to him. Tracking down the culprits, McCall sets up a showdown to determine why he is a target and uncovers a sinister cover-up. After a strong start the film sinks into predictability and poor plot devices, So much potential but very little reward in the final act, which is a real shame – it needed a much better, sharper script.
THE CHILDREN ACT – 3.5 stars
Emma Thompson and Stanley Tucci shine in this melodrama about a young man’s right to not have a life-saving blood transfusion on the grounds of his belief system. Thompson plays High Court Judge Fiona May, tasked with investigating the plight of 17 year old Jehovah’s Witness Adam Henry (Dunkirk’s Fionn Whitehead) and his steadfast refusal to undergo medical treatment. Thompson is perfection, Tucci plays her estranged husband with aplomb and there’s also solid support from Jason Watkins, Ben Chaplin and Eileen Walsh.