Doctor Sleep – Review

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4 STARS

Director: Mike Flanagan
Writer: Mike Flanagan
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran, Cliff Curtis, Emily Alyn Lind, Zahn McClarnon, Carl Lumbly, Bruce Greenwood, Jacob Tremblay, Henry Thomas, Alex Essoe

Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s novel The Shining has always been a source of contention. Some say Kubrick’s movie is a masterpiece in filmmaking, others say it’s not as true to King’s story and/or characters as it should have been. Doctor Sleep is King’s long-awaited sequel to The Shining, and it was very quickly greenlit for a film adaptation, with the film being a direct sequel to the movie as well as an adaptation of the book. We’re all pretty used to King’s novels being adapted for the screen, be it television or cinema, but they don’t always turn out as fans hoped or attract as many moviegoers as they should. It and It: Chapter 2 are two of the latest exceptions to the rule, proving popular with audiences and King fans alike. Does Doctor Sleep move in the same vein as It, or is it closer to the disappointing The Dark Tower end of the scale?

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What’s On – November 2019

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November is set to be an unusual month. Why? Because there are A LOT of potentially great movies being released, so much so that there’s an extra ‘Special Mentions’ section after the usual top four this month. It’s unusual for a month to be so jam-packed with must-sees, however it’s a fair theory that releasing a movie now means it’s likely to be better remembered by those who get to decide the nominees and winners during award season early next year. Many of this month’s films have also done the film festival circuits this year, and so now is about the right time for them to have a wider release. Most of them certainly are awards fodder (while others just look purely entertaining), but for good reason, so be sure to set some time aside for as many movie trips as you can during the cold and dark November days.

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Terminator: Dark Fate – Review

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4 STARS

Director: Tim Miller
Writers: David S. Goyer, Justin Rhodes, Billy Ray
Cast: Mackenzie Davis, Linda Hamilton, Natalia Reyes, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gabriel Luna, Diego Boneta

The thing about movies involving time travel (or, really, just about anything within the sci-fi realm) is that they never seem to go away, which makes some sense because they open up a story (and its timelines) to endless possibilities. Thus, we often end up with different versions, remakes, reboots, etc. (you could probably bet anything that some fool will take on Back to the Future one day). James Cameron’s Terminator franchise is up there with the likes of Star Wars and Star Trek for people wanting to put their stamp on it and take it down a road that they think works for the story. Alas, these roads don’t always lead to pastures new, but rather dead ends. So, what happens when there’s yet another continuation/reboot that supposedly takes us back to what (and who) we came to originally love about a franchise? Does Dark Fate satisfy the OG Terminator and Judgment Day crowd, or does it run into the same wall that took down Rise of the Machines, Salvation and Genisys?

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Film Club – Terminator

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It’s a tale old as time: woman is fated to give birth to the saviour of the world, a cyborg is sent back in time to kill her before she gets the chance to even conceive, woman ends up fighting for her life, her unborn child’s life, and three billion others. Whether you’ve ever seen a Terminator movie or not, you’ve likely seen Arnold Schwarzenneger’s most recogniseable character (arguably) in multiple places. Writer/director James Cameron’s first proper foray as a director in 1984 set a new precendent for sci-fi movies, with its original story (though with clear influences from the stories of Isaac Asimov and Philip K. Dick) and pushing of computer generated imagery (CGI) and VFX boundaries, helped along by industry stalwart Stan Winston (he would be involved in every Terminator movie up until his death in 2008). For someone not quite into the world of Skynet and Genisys all they comprise of, it can be confusing on the surface: what happened when? And to whom? And why? Well, with the latest installment in the franchise, Terminator: Dark Fate, releasing in cinemas worldwide, here’s a little catch-up to all five previous movies in preparation for the return of some familiar faces…

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Maleficent: Mistress of Evil – Review

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2 STARS

Director: Joachim Rønning
Writers: Micah Fitzerman-Blue, Noah Harpster, Linda Woolverton
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sam Riley, Harris Dickinson, Chiwetel Ejiofer, Ed Skrein, Robert Lindsay, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Lesley Manville

One of the best things about the first Maleficent movie is that, rather than retelling a well-known tale and purely remaking a beloved Disney animation into a live-action film, it’s all done through the eyes of the villain of the piece. As society moves closer to becoming more understanding of those more troubled than others and figuring out a cause rather than a cure, choosing this angle over the stereotypical hero(ine)’s is something of a breath of fresh air. After the success of Maleficent, it was only natural a sequel was going to pop up at some point, but does Mistress of Evil (MoE) stand in good stead compared to its predecessor, or is it another one of those very unnecessary sequels?

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