Director: Dome Karukoski
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Lily Collins, Colm Meaney, Derek Jacobi, Tom Glynn-Carney, Anthony Boyle
Duration: 111 minutes
KRS Releasing Ltd
When we think about J.R.R. Tolkien, his stories and how they have changed and influenced the realm of high fantasy gain prominence.
Seldom do we see the life of the man explored on screen in such a way as director Dome Karukoski’s Tolkien has.
The film departs from the standard fare of discussing Tolkien ‒ born John Ronald Reuel Tolkien ‒ the visionary linguist and curious professor, but dares to venture beyond that, into the author’s early days as a student and a soldier.
The plot follows Tolkien, played by Nicholas Hoult, a literary-inclined orphan who wins a place at Oxford University where he makes friendships that solidify his resolve to write.
Critics seem split on the film, citing a lack of imagination in doing its subject justice. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone writes: “A bit of a stiff as cinema, rich in atmospherics but starved for the human spark that might uncover the man behind the myth. It’s insulting to think that the movie’s subject would tolerate seeing the essential moments of his life reduced to mere building blocks in a literary origin story.”
Sandy Schaefer of Screen Rant does not agree totally. She says: “Tolkien might not be as exciting or engaging as his epics about Middle-earth, but it's an otherwise worthwhile biopic that's elevated by the resonant love stories at its core.
“For the most part the film is more invested in exploring the interests and beliefs that his writing was inspired by.”
And David Sims of The Atlantic comments: “This is a biopic so fearful that audiences won’t get the connections it’s drawing that it depicts a CGI dragon stalking the battlefields of the Somme.
“The result doesn’t rise above the insight of a Wikipedia page.”
Rotten Tomatoes: 50%
Empire: 3 stars
John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019)
Director: Chad Stahelski
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Laurence Fishburne, Mark Dacascos, Anjelica Houston
Duration: 131 minutes
KRS Releasing Ltd
After breaking one of the Continental’s cardinal rules at the end of his last cinematic outing, John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is on the run once again, with a $14 million bounty on his head. Now declared excommunicado for killing Santino D’Antonio, the world’s deadliest assassins are on his tail. Cut off from the Continental’s services and resources, his chances for survival become dire.
Critics have been showing an overwhelming amount of love for John Wick: Chapter 3, proclaiming it true to form to its ancestors, with improvements to boot.
“It’s important to stress just how well-made this film is,” writes Andrew Barker of Variety.
“Since making his debut on the first John Wick, Stahelski’s technical ambition and ability has grown substantially each time out, and it’s hard to think of too many film-makers who are willing to invest that sort of care and detail.”
David Ehrlich of IndieWire writes: “While this franchise is starting to feel a bit long in the tooth, details suggest that screenwriter Derek Kolstad can still mine this world for plenty of new life, so long as future instalments find a way to deepen the mythos instead of just stretching it out.”
“I don’t mean to give the impression that John Wick 3 is anything grander than a gorgeously choreographed, gratuitously violent action movie. But as gorgeously choreographed, gratuitously violent action movies go, it’s high art,” comments Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly.
John Wick Chapter 3 ‒ Parabellum opens on Friday.
Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Empire: 4 stars
Paw Patrol: Might Pups (2019)
Voices of: Devan Cohen, Drew Davis, Samuel Faraci, Kallan Holley, Chance Hurstfield, Berkley Silverman, Carter Thorne, Joshua Whitaker
Duration: 70 minutes
KRS Releasing Ltd
Ryder and the pups take to the big screen for their next high-octane adventure.
When a meteor lands in town all those who come into contact with it gain superpowers, including Adventure Bay’s finest.
Chase gets super speed, Rubble acquires extra strength, Everest gets super-frostiness, Marshall develops fiery paws, Skye commands tornados and Zuma releases powerful jets of water.
Unfortunately, Foggy Bottom’s first nephew Harold also acquires powers and uses them to wreak havoc on the town and terrorise the eponymous pups.
“No one old enough to read this review is likely to take much interest in this film for its own sake,” writes Jake Wilson for the Sydney Morning Herald.
“What parents mainly need to know is that it runs a mere 70 minutes, which from one angle may not appear great value for money. Then again, it reduces the chance of you or your offspring getting restless, and you’ll be home in time for tea.”
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A
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