adventure

JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM

Director
J.A. Bayona
(A MONSTER CALLS, THE IMPOSSIBLE, THE ORPHANAGE)

Stars
Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Daniella Pineda, Justice Smith, Rafe Spall and Isabella Sermon

The arrival of JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM, the second film of the Jurassic World trilogy, coincides with the 25th anniversary of Steven Spielberg’s JURASSIC PARK. Can anyone believe it’s been that long already!?

Taking place three years after the events in JURASSIC WORLD and with Spielberg now serving as executive producer, this action/adventure begins on Isla Nublar, once a wonderland dinosaur theme park that is now abandoned and home to an active volcano that is ready to erupt. The dinosaur population that remains there is in immediate danger of extinction. Their only hope of survival resides with a couple of the park’s former employees, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) who now works as a dinosaur-rights activist for a company she founded, and Owen (Chris Pratt) who’s living a quiet life in his roadside home. They are helped by some new characters including a feisty young doctor, Zia (Daniella Pineda) and geeky IT guru, Franklin (Justice Smith).

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There are more dinosaurs in this film than in any previous JURASSIC PARK/WORLD movie and volcanic action aplenty in JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM, but does this instantly equate to a (dino)soaring film experience you’ll have a hell-lava time with!? I do apologise for my very lame (yet somewhat creative) statement there. But if you intend to have fun in this stomping ground, then allow my flippancy to humour you for there is plenty of far-fetched action and frivolous behaviour going on here.

As over-the-top as it may be, the behind-the-scenes work (a combination of Animatronics and CGI) that’s been invested to create the dinosaur imagery and the film’s set-piece sequences we see never fail to impress. Which is important, because that’s why we’re here, right!? As for JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM’s (arguably) lesser important movie making ingredient of storytelling, the writers disappointingly do not bring anything new to this genre, or even the franchise for that matter. That being said, the film’s theme of human greed and the foul human beings that practice that trait makes for a completely acceptable plot which has some darker moments and plenty of fun times. Especially when it’s the dinosaurs’ turns to bite some bad folk right back! On that note, while parents should heed the M classification for much younger audience members, JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM does ensure that (almost) every attack scene (some of which are rather brutal) and potential scare is made very obvious before it occurs.

Replacing JURASSIC WORLD director Colin Trevorrow (set to return for directing duties in JURASSIC WORLD 3) for this second chapter in the trilogy, Spanish-born filmmaker J.A. Bayona is faithful to the rule book but keeps the pace and entertainment both flowing consistently. And if you’re really keen, remain seated until the very end for a post credits scene.

3 stars

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Viewer Discretion
(Action violence)

Trailer
JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM

Moviedoc thanks Universal Pictures for the invite to the screening of this film

Review by Leigh for Moviedoc
Follow on Twitter – Moviedoc / LIKE on Facebook – @moviedoc13

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NETFLIX FILM REVIEW – ANNIHILATION

Writer & Director
Alex Garland

(EX MACHINA)

Stars
Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny and Oscar Isaac

Behind the production of ANNIHILATION are some facts pertaining to its development that do raise a few serious talking points. 1) ANNIHILATION is based on the award-winning first novel in “The Southern Reach” trilogy written by author Jeff VanderMeer. 2) Writer & director Alex Garland’s script had already been completed before the second book in the trilogy was published. 3) Prior to its release, ANNIHILATION drew some criticism for its casting, as certain characters are of a completely different ethnicity to as described in the second novel.

In response to that criticism, Alex Garland explained that that none of the five female characters’ ethnicity is revealed in the first book, in addition to the above second point. Furthermore, he did not wish to read the trilogy while making this movie, in order to not be influenced by them and to maintain his own direction of adapting the first novel into something that’s “like a dream of the book”.

And so beg the questions – Do you consider these decisions to be dismissive towards the original material this vision is sourced and its creator? If so, is this fair to everyone, including many readers and viewers? Does the final casting call take an employment and potentially career-defining opportunity away from someone it is originally written with and intended for? And just how far will your answers to these questions sway your overall opinion of the much-hyped and highly-anticipated Netflix release of ANNIHILATION?

Finally, let’s look at the plot, which centres on a biologist named Lena (Natalie Portman), who is recruited by Dr Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to join her and three other women on a dangerous research expedition into “The Shimmer”, an accessible yet foreign area situated on our planet where our laws of nature do not apply. It is also where Lena’s husband, Kane (Oscar Isaac), journeyed to twelve months ago… and never returned.

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The fascinating ideas raised in this science-fiction adventure film from its core material has indeed made a successful transition to the screen. Right from the opening scene, ANNIHILATION draws mystery that deepens and greatly intrigues. Many early questions relating to “The Shimmer” are provoked and these alone are sufficient to maintain investment to the film. But so ambitious is the concept and writing, several additional points of interest arise courtesy of the main characters.

Visually, it must be said that ANNIHILATION’s unusual design is at first unspectacular, but does eventually grow on the viewer. More so once we’ve trekked further into “The Shimmer” and have adjusted to its beauty, secrets and dangers, which exude a strong sense of wonder and trepidation. Similarly, the first couple of key momentous scenes don’t quite live up to their potent build-up and do underwhelm. Nonetheless, once the visual design begins to impact the film more positively during further proceedings, ANNIHILATION achieves its own original style that is very alluring.

However, it is fundamentally flawed. Without mentioning these specifically, there is more than one crucial detail during its conclusion that remains unexplained. A couple of lazy or clumsy patches in the writing are easily observed throughout too. Make no mistake though, this is still a very good movie. But when taking into account certain facts surrounding its development into film, one cannot help but believe we may have had an instant sci-fi classic in our hands, had due care, some loyalty and better collaboration been given when and where needed.

It’s not often you’ll award a film this rating out of five and still remember it as a missed opportunity.

3 ½ stars

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Viewer Discretion
MA15+ (Strong violence, strong blood and gore, strong horror themes)

Trailer
ANNIHILATION

Review by Leigh for Moviedoc
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TOMB RAIDER

Director
Roar Uthaug

(THE WAVE)

Stars
Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Walton Goggins and Daniel Wu

It’s hard to believe that it has already been 17 years since the release of LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER, with a sizzling Angelina Jolie in the starring role. Though this first adaptation of the popular video game series left unflattering impressions, it did indeed earn success at the box office. In just its opening week, LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER gave film distributor Paramount its second-best debut with $48.2 million, topped the opening record for a video game adaptation and most importantly, it beat the opening record for a film featuring a female protagonist. 

Based on the 2013 video game, this TOMB RAIDER film series reboot features the dazzling Alicia Vikander donning the tank top of Lara Croft, who is living in London where she is facing pressure to claim her father’s inheritance by his business associates after his extended disappearance. She soon discovers that her father, Richard (Dominic West), traveled to an island in search of a mythical Queen named Himiko that he’d been researching. Determined to learn the truth behind her father’s quest and fate, Lara journeys to the remote island with the assistance of Lu Ren (Daniel Wu), a ship captain who also lost his father.

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How will you view 2018’s TOMB RAIDER? Is it going to be the original version up against the more modern adaptation for comparisons sake? Or perhaps you will (also) judge more according to the presence of Jolie v’s Vikander? Either way, if taken for face-value, this relatively straightforward exercise in movie-making isn’t as industrious as its lead actress evidently was in her preparation for the role, but it’s certainly entertaining-enough.

In order to appreciate Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft, one should accept the difference in persona and physique to any previous renditions of the character. Having actually gained noticeable muscle for this part and performing her own stunt work, the Academy Award-winning actress undoubtedly surmounts the physical demands required while also being completely capable at demonstrating the necessary emotions. As for the development of the story and the structure it is rendered, TOMB RAIDER is a more pedestrian journey. During its more enjoyable sequences, this reboot is reminiscent of an Indiana Jones flick and THE MUMMY (Brendan Fraser’s version, not Tom Cruise’s absolute stinker!), only darker in tone and more violent than those films. At all other times, it has the appearance of any other stock-standard action film complete with too many implausible and over-the-top set-piece sequences. To call-out just a couple; it just isn’t possible to face-plant into the trunk of a tree or to fall horizontally through the thick branches of several trees at a rapid pace and emerge from such brutal scrimmages as unscathed as seen here. Facially, in particular.

Although Norwegian director Roar Uthaug’s first English-language feature film is unremarkable and sends its lead character into damage control, it does allow a couple of hours to elapse just adequately.

3 stars

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Viewer Discretion
M (Action violence and sense of peril)

Trailer
TOMB RAIDER

Moviedoc thanks Roadshow Films for the invite to the screening of this film.

Review by Leigh for Moviedoc
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BEST & WORST MOVIES OF 2017 including the highlights and some low-lights

Hello everyone

Firstly, a huge thank you for every review you have read, liked, shared, commented on and even chatted to me about in person. Thanks to you and your incredible support, I had a very productive year of film watching and reviewing!

In total, I got to see and review 141 films officially released in 2017 alone, which is 15 more than I was able to see at this same time in 2016! Of these, more than 25 movies received a 4 star rating from me, so I have compiled a ‘Best 25’ list this year as well as a ‘Worst 5’.

I hope you thoroughly enjoy reading this post. I also hope you take away a handful of films to see that you’ve never previously heard of or watched!
As always, please get in touch to share your views and best & worst movies.

I look forward to your continued support and interaction in what will be an even bigger and busier year of film watching & reviewing in 2018, where I hope to review a monthly classic and bring a review or two fresh from my attendance at film festivals!

Moviedoc 🙂

Moviedoc’s Best 25 Movies of 2017

25
WONDER
4 stars

A beautiful and meaningful story featuring a great cast that will make you cry a little but feel plenty of joy

24
PADDINGTON 2
4 stars

As sweet as marmalade itself and a sequel that’s every bit as good, if not better, than the first film. Paddington is no one-trick teddy bear!

23
THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE
4 stars

Arguably and in my opinion, this is the best rendition of Batman, ever! Utterly hilarious at times and scores Moviedoc’s #1 spot (just!) for best family film of 2017!

22
INGRID GOES WEST 
4 stars

All at once, this is an uncomfortably funny, dreadfully saddening and downright frightening exposé of just how far a social media addiction and obsession can take a person. Highly recommended!

21
GIFTED
4 stars

A splendid drama! One of the most underrated films of 2017! If you haven’t already, it is time to unwrap this true gift of a film.

20
THE BIG SICK
4 stars

A broadly appealing and wholly accessible romantic comedy-drama that’s not only based on a true story but even stars one of the real-life subjects; stand-up comedian, actor and writer, Kumail Nanjiani

19
BABY DRIVER
4 stars

It’s been a solid year for heist movies and this is the best of them. Flawless car chase sequences and an outstanding music score drive this slick and unique heist film. Hopefully BABY DRIVER won’t lose popularity due to co-starring Kevin Spacey, for it absolutely deserves to be seen.

18
MISS SLOANE
4 stars

Enthralling! I’ve been told those who are into TV Series “House of Cards” will want to see this. Sorry for making another connection to Kevin Spacey!

17
FENCES

4 stars

Can be a challenge to watch, especially during the first half. However, Denzel Washington’s Oscar-nominated performance playing a character he’s portrayed on Broadway 114 times before and Viola Davis’s Oscar-winning acting are so stellar in a movie that becomes absolutely riveting

16
THE BEGUILED
4 stars

Beautifully filmed and impeccably acted by one of the stand-out ensemble casts of the year. An excellent film from director Sofia Coppola.

15
MOONLIGHT
4 stars

You haven’t seen a story quite like the one told in MOONLIGHT before. This is the Best Picture Winner at the 2017 Academy Awards earlier this year. Brave and heartfelt storytelling.

14
MOUNTAIN
4 stars

A majestic and breathtaking cinematic experience. The Australian-made MOUNTAIN is 2017’s best documentary feature.

13
THE SALESMAN
4 stars

This is acclaimed Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s (THE PAST, A SEPARATION) latest feature film. An immaculately devised and strongly executed domestic drama with a gripping finale.

12
DUNKIRK
4 stars

A minimalist war film that draws maximum anxiety and exacts a claustrophobic stranglehold over its viewers from start to end thanks largely to the ever-present score by Oscar-winning film composer, Hans Zimmer

11
HOUNDS OF LOVE
4 stars

A similar breed of film to 2011’s SNOWTOWN, HOUNDS OF LOVE is an unnerving and tense dramatic thriller that showcases an outstanding music score, cinematography and acting. The best Australian film of 2017.

10
LAND OF MINE
4 stars

An Oscar-nominated foreign film taking place after WWII, which depicts a group of very young German POWs sent to Denmark to clear thousands of hidden land mines. Stomach-turning tension is guaranteed.

9
LOVING VINCENT
4½ stars

The first-ever oil painted feature film about Vincent van Gogh is never solely limited to its visual capabilities. A sublime film.

8
SILENCE
4½ stars

Martin Scorsese’s passion project and three-hour epic is a bravely written piece that is expertly penned toward the most religiously devout. A near-masterpiece.

7
WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES
4½ stars

The PLANET OF THE APES film series is now officially one of my favourites, if not my absolute favourite film franchise. Combines mesmerising CGI and cinematography with a powerful and relevant story that has a strong message for humankind. I just love it!

6
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
4½ stars

The storytelling structure, its well-studied account of key themes and the honesty of its writing and character depiction achieves MANCHESTER BY THE SEA A-grade status.

5
PERFECT STRANGERS
4½ stars

What happens when a close-knit group of friends meet for dinner and share every text message, email and phone call received with one another? You will want to find out! Italian comedy PERFECT STRANGERS features one of the most cleverly conceived and carefully-considered screenplay’s of the year.

4
GET OUT
4½ stars

Movies as genius as this are few and far between. Masterfully and studiously crafted, intelligently written and flawlessly executed, GET OUT is a broadly appealing and accessible horror film at heart that functions as a menacing mystery invite to all. If you haven’t already, please accept your invitation, pronto! You will not regret it.

3
LADY MACBETH
4½ stars

Witness one of the most conceivably written, daring and exciting character transitions seen in recent years. This fierce, fearless and electrifying film turns the period drama genre on its head in near flawless fashion and is the breakout film for its star, Florence Pugh, who is scintillating. Unmissable!

2
DOWNSIZING
5 stars

The last film to receive 5 stars from me was THE HUNT in 2013! Well, it had to take something very special to break that lengthy drought. Simply put, you have never seen a film quite like DOWNSIZING before. It is extraordinary. I admired its continual refusal to yield to any form of mainstream cinema convention, despite being a mainstream-friendly release. It also unearths one of the truest & most beautifully conceived and written characters I’ve seen in any film. Hong Chau (from acclaimed TV Series Big Little Lies) is just superb as Ngoc Lan Tran, in what is one of this year’s acting highlights. Absolutely amazing in every way imaginable.

THE BEST MOVIE OF 2017

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME 
5 Stars

It took me until February, 2018 to see this sensual and picturesque masterpiece. CALL ME BY YOUR NAME not only met my high expectations, it by far exceeded them. This slow-building drama set in northern Italy during a hot summer in 1983 is so precise and honest yet powerfully subtle in its articulation of the complex emotions and sensitive scenarios involving its characters. It takes some time for the forthcoming relationship to develop, yet does so organically and in complete avoidance of all stereotypes. By the time its extraordinarily moving and meaningful finale arrives, CALL ME BY YOUR NAME simply overwhelms. The ultimate meaning and key themes of this beautifully produced film earn an equal amount of appreciation as the stunning production, stand-out score and immaculate performances achieve.

Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet in Call Me by Your Name (2017)

Moviedoc’s Worst 5 Movies of 2017

5
BAYWATCH
1 ½ stars

Not even the charismatic Dwayne Johnson can save BAYWATCH from drowning in its own dump.


4
CHIPS
1 ½ stars

Unfunny. Sexist. Nasty. Avoid!


3
JIGSAW
1 star

Jigsaw may do a Jesus by way of his resurrection, however he is certainly no saviour to the eternal damnation sentenced upon the viewer in this dreadful reboot. Now, please stay dead.

2
SNATCHED
1 star

Goldie Hawn should have remained in her fifteen-year movie hibernation. Terrible movie.

THE WORST MOVIE OF 2017

T H E  M U M M Y
1 star

An unacceptable first instalment in Universal’s rather forced Dark Universe film series that seemingly exists purely to rival Marvel and the like. Yet sadly, THE MUMMY still grossed $409.1 million worldwide, which means there’ll probably be more to come. A score of just 5.5 on IMDB and 16% on Rotten Tomatoes more than justifies why this utterly dreadful reboot is the worst of the 141 movies released this year I have seen.

Still with me? Good! Now we go to some highlights and low-lights of 2017

The acting stand-outs of 2017

Timothée Chalamet in CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
Hong Chau – DOWNSIZING
Florence Pugh – LADY MACBETH
Danielle MacDonald – PATTI CAKE$
James Franco – THE DISASTER ARTIST
Emma Booth and Stephen Curry – HOUNDS OF LOVE
Naomie Harris – MOONLIGHT
Denzel Washington and Viola Davis – FENCES
Aubrey Plaza – INGRID GOES WEST
Teresa Palmer – BERLIN SYNDROME
Barry Keoghan – THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER
Sonia Braga – AQUARIUS
Oscar Isaac – SUBURBICON
Hugh Grant – PADDINGTON 2
John Lithgow and Salma Hayek – BEATRIZ AT DINNER
Nicole Kidman – THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER & THE BEGUILED
Dev Patel and Sunny Pawar – LION
Pierre Niney and Paula Beer – FRANTZ
Brian Cox – CHURCHILL
Jessica Rothe – HAPPY DEATH DAY
Tiffany Haddish – GIRLS TRIP
Sally Hawkins – MAUDIE
Hugo Weaving – JASPER JONES

Films to add to your watch list not in my Best 25 from 2017

PATRIOT’S DAY
LIFE
BATTLE OF THE SEXES
THEIR FINEST
A MONSTER CALLS
COLOSSAL
LION
COLLATERAL BEAUTY
SUBURBICON
THE BOSS BABY
BERLIN SYNDROME
LOGAN
THE DISASTER ARTIST (But watch clips from YouTube of THE ROOM first, if you haven’t already seen it!)

Most over-rated and/or most disappointing films from 2017

KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE
JACKIE
MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS
VICTORIA & ABDUL
THINGS TO COME
THE SNOWMAN
A CURE FOR WELLNESS
GOD’S OWN COUNTRY
LOVING
A SILENT VOICE
ALONE IN BERLIN
TRESPASS AGAINST US
GOLD
THE FLORIDA PROJECT

The highlights in films from 2017

Hong Chau’s character in DOWNSIZING
The uniquely hand-painted visual experience in LOVING VINCENT
The extreme slo-mo’s in HOUNDS OF LOVE
The development of the relationship and the first intimate scene between Elio and Oliver in CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
The atmosphere and the battle sequences staged in DUNKIRK
The real footage of a tightrope walk between two mountain peaks in MOUNTAIN
The final dinner table scene in THE BEGUILED
The car chase sequences and the music score in BABY DRIVER
A reaction from a particular water monster in THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE
The birthday party sequence & guest arrivals in TONI ERDMANN
The visual and aural experience in GHOST IN THE SHELL
The dialogue and its delivery from Tiffany Haddish in GIRLS TRIP
The final action sequence on the ice in Iceland in THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS

Best horror film

GET OUT
(A clear stand-out, however if that’s not scary enough for you, then try out IT COMES AT NIGHT, HAPPY DEATH DAY and IT. None of these films managed to scare me though!)

Best crying film
A MONSTER CALLS
(Even though its title suggests this belongs in the above category! Not the first time director J.A. Bayona has claimed this spot at the end of the year. THE IMPOSSIBLE was his previous movie)

Best lol film

PERFECT STRANGERS
(However, if you want something more mainstream, then try THE DISASTER ARTIST and GIRLS TRIP)

Best love story or romantic film

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

Most unique/strange films

THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER
MOTHER!

Highest Grossing Film – Worldwide

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
($1.26 Billion)

Highest Grossing Film – In Australia

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST 
($36.3 Million)

Compiled by Moviedoc
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DOWNSIZING

Director
Alexander Payne
(The Descendants, Sideways, About Schmidt)

Stars
Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz, Udo Kier, Hong Chau and Rolf Lassgård

You have never seen a film quite like DOWNSIZING before. Perhaps it can be described as another previous Boxing Day release, THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY meets HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS, but for a more adult audience (thank goodness they didn’t name this film Honey, I shrunk the bits!). Oh, and far more extraordinary too!

As the film commences, an incredible scientific breakthrough is achieved that will change the future existence of humanity. Norwegian scientist, Dr. Jorgen Asbjørnsen has successfully performed a procedure that will come to be known as downsizing, which reduces the height of that person to just 13 centimetres. Those who choose to “get small” are then relocated to their own specially designed miniature world, called Leisureland. With the groundbreaking, life-changing transition to shrinking gaining immense popularity, as life inside the idyllic world of Leisureland receives glowing reviews from its rapidly-growing citizenry, Paul and Audrey Safranek (Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig) decide to undergo the irreversible procedure. However, life remains full of surprises and fate cannot be changed, regardless of where you decide to live, as the Safranek’s are about to discover.


People may be shrinking, but DOWNSIZING enlarges its scale of utter brilliance at every spontaneous and consequential turn that is taken. This breathtaking adventure that you are about to embark on over the next two plus hours isn’t anything…ehm…short of being absolutely amazing. 

First and foremost, the premise that catapults the journey that is coursing throughout DOWNSIZING is internally consistent and conceivable. So too are all the capabilities and characteristics that are immaculately presented as well as the trigger that propels the very invention of downsizing and Leisureland. This entire section of the film, right up until it is time for our lead characters to bid farewell to their height, is hugely and broadly engrossing. Any hint as to where this incredible story ventures to from here ought to be kept privy to the advantage of its (hopefully sell-out) crowd. What can be safely said is that a vast array of colourful characters will acquaint you for the rest of DOWNSIZING’s duration. Many of whom are acted by recognisable Hollywood faces. Some appearances are fleeting only. Others remain more long-term. This is where DOWNSIZING unearths one of the truest & most beautifully conceived and written characters in any film of 2017. You will never forget Ngoc Lan Tran (Hong Chau, from acclaimed TV Series Big Little Lies) who is just superb in what is one of this year’s acting highlights.

There are brief and sporadic moments in DOWNSIZING where the film appears to be in some kind of limbo. My advice – embrace the curiosity that this draws in and let go of any initial concern that this movie’s brilliance has finally come to a halt, for Oscar-winning writers Jim Taylor (SIDEWAYS) and writer/director Alexander Payne refuse to yield to any form of convention. Vanquishing all doubts that a drop in its high degree of filmmaking and entertainment is imminent, their combined writing works continually heighten the magnificent sense of adventure and rarely-achieved wonder that embodies this film.

The all-important conclusion to what’s been a most mesmerising expedition understandably amasses a considerable level of anticipation. Some may feel underwhelmed, or not even be sure how to feel, by the finale of DOWNSIZING. If that is you, then I say look to and reflect over the infectious love of life that is bursting from the screen and open your mind to the beautiful & wild ride that living life can whisk us away on. Adopting this perception, handed to you by the film, will prove that the final moments are as perfect as the film itself is.

5 stars

Viewer Discretion
(Sexual references, coarse language, drug use and nudity)

Trailer
DOWNSIZING

Moviedoc thanks Paramount Pictures for the invite to the screening of this film.

Review by Moviedoc
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PADDINGTON 2

Director
Paul King

(PADDINGTON)

Stars
The voice of Ben Whishaw, Hugh Grant, Brendan Gleeson, Sally Hawkins, Hugh Bonneville, Julie Walters and Jim Broadbent

In his first-ever feature-film outing, Paddington bear was a huge success. At home in the United Kingdom, PADDINGTON was the second highest family film debut of 2014 and it received two nominations at the British Academy Film Awards for Best British Film and Best Adapted Screenplay. Worldwide, the family film grossed $265.3 million from its $50-$55 million budget including $76.3 million in the United States. In his first-ever feature film sequel, Paddington proves that he is no one-trick teddy bear.

For the past few years, Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw) has lived with and become part of the Brown family in London, as illustrated by the opening of this sequel. Though far apart, Paddington has not forgotten his real family from the Peruvian jungle where his Aunt Lucy (voiced by Imelda Staunton) is soon to turn one-hundred years old. When Paddington visits an antique store owned by Mr Gruber (Jim Broadbent), he comes across an old book that features several of London’s landmarks and decides to get a job in order to save the cash needed to purchase the perfect gift for his Aunt. Little does he know, this book is also being sought after by former TV star and wannabe solo stage performer, Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant), who manages to steal the book before Paddington can purchase it.


Rest assured, this premise, which might not sound particularly enticing on paper (or screen, for that matter), serves to be a mere springboard for the adventure, excitement and laughter this fun-filled live-action sequel is guaranteed to give the entire family! Without revealing the specifics, Paddington’s desperate pursuit of the antique book and the masked burglar who took it will introduce him to a whole new array of colourful characters and cast him in a starring role in the numerous inventive scenarios to follow. Yes, this does mean that Paddington is away from the Brown family for most of this film’s duration, however they still play a very important role in fulfilling Paddington’s mission. So not only are all past and present characters such wonderful company all throughout, they are also each creatively conceived and contribute meaningfully to all proceedings. A perfect example of just that revolves around what Paddington aspires to and indeed does achieve at a particular facility. Classic stuff!


Thank goodness that FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS and Meryl Streep wooed Hugh Grant out of his premature retirement. He is in as dashing form here, portraying a narcissistic and flamboyant villain, as he was in any film from his heyday. It is an act worth the price of admission alone. Another fan favourite among adults and children alike will be Brendan Gleeson’s extremely likable outing as an unapproachable and irascible head chef named “Nuckles”. Having detected a softness in Nuckles’ heart that was understood to be non-existent, the brave and utterly endearing manner in which Paddington attempts to extract it is as sweet as marmalade itself. The reactions from Paddington’s audience who witness this risky business and the hilarious shenanigans they get up to produces family comedy at its finest.

Director Paul King left WONDER to direct this sequel and has repeated the original’s excellence whilst reinventing the all-ages adventure and story. Don’t miss it!

4 stars

Viewer Discretion
(Very mild themes and violence)

Trailer
PADDINGTON 2

Moviedoc thanks Asha Holmes Publicity and Studiocanal for the invite to the screening of this film.

Review by Moviedoc / “LIKE” on Facebook – Moviedoc

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MOUNTAIN

Director / Jennifer Peedom (SHERPA)
Narrator/ Willem Dafoe

“You never feel so alive knowing at any minute… You could die”

For anyone who has stood at the top of a mountain’s edge, those words will resonate completely. This Australian produced documentary is an exploration of how our initial trepidation of mountains has evolved over time for these popular attractions to now be home of various activities. It was just three centuries ago when entertaining the idea of ever climbing a mountain was thought to be madness. Nonetheless, a physical and a spiritual calling was awakening inside of us.

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From a visual standpoint, MOUNTAIN ends as it had started. In between though, this mildly educational film and overall mighty experience is guaranteed to significantly alter perceptions of the very subject it is documenting.

This meditating observation of the serene beauty and the raw wildness that mountains possess has been poetically scripted for the guiding narration work of actor Willem Dafoe to perform. Amalgamating its minimal narrative with the constant presence of music performed for the film by the Australian Chamber Orchestra, MOUNTAIN is a majestic cinematic experience unlike many others. The devastating scenery and mesmerising expedition chronicling the birth, development and dare of mountainous adventure has been exquisitely photographed for the big screen. In fact, the outstanding cinematography truly comes to the fore during a genuinely jaw-dropping segment that captures the successes and the failures of crazy stunts that are beyond your wildest imaginations, all performed and recorded by thrill-seeking adrenalin junkies. The aerial shots, angles and the camerawork during these stunning sequences especially are of equal magnificence to the production as a whole.

A breathtaking 70 minute worship of mountains. Highly recommended.

4 stars

(c) renan ozturk 2

Viewer Discretion/ E 

Trailer / MOUNTAIN

Moviedoc thanks Madman for the screening invite to this film.

Review by Moviedoc / “LIKE” on Facebook – Moviedoc

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