Joker ★★★★☆

 

Following a string of impressive DC releases, we have the latest incarnation of the legendary villain, The Joker. Can Phoenix match Ledger in bring the crown prince of crime to the big screen?

Directed by Todd Phillips

Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Zazie Beetz, Robert De Niro


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The Dead Don’t Die ★★☆☆☆

A quiet town out in the country is suddenly shaken up and thrown into the midst of zombie uprising. Featuring a talented ensemble cast, The Dead Don’t Die is a Zombie movie……..with an Environmental message? Interesting……….

Directed by Jim Jarmusch

Starring Adam Driver, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Selena Gomez, Chloë Sevigny


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The Lion King ★★★☆☆

The relentless Disney train stops by in Africa for the latest remake from their archives. We go back to 1994, as The Lion King gets the 4k remake! With exceptional animations and a stunning cast, can it deliver?

Directed by Jon Favreau

Starring Donald Glover, Beyonce, Chiwetel Ejiofor, James Earl Jones


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Midsommar ★★★☆☆

Following up from the critically acclaimed Hereditary last year, Ari Aster’s latest release sees a young couple join their friends on a summer retreat out in the Swedish countryside. The communal festivities seem jovial until things start to take a sinister turn……

Directed by Ari Aster

Starring Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor and Will Poulter


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Spiderman: Far From Home ★★★★☆

Following the dramatic conclusion of the Infinity Saga, Spidey swings back in to close Phase 3 with another MCU gem filled with laughter and drama. It probably could have waited a few more months before hitting the screens, but it wraps things up well! Onward to Phase 4…………

Directed by: Jon Watts

Starring Tom Holland, Jake Gyllenhaal, Zendaya, Samuel L. Jackson


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Dirty God ★★★☆☆

Dirty God is a somber look at a young mother who has to suffer from the consequences of an acid attack on the streets of London. The lead, is played by a real life burns survivor, bringing an extra sense of realism to the film.

Directed by Sacha Polak

Starring Vicky Knight, Katherine Kelly


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Tolkien ★★½☆☆

Flying in under the radar, was this look back at the life of the legendary author, JRR Tolkien. Looking back at the events and experiences that shaped his life, which would go on to inspire his to write of books called Lord of the Rings………may sound familiar!

Directed by Dome Karukoski

Starring Nicholas Hoult, Lily Collins


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Rocketman ★★★★☆

Freddie Mercury got the big screen treatment last year, now it’s the turn for another musical icon to get on the silver screen. Can Rocketman hit the Oscar buzz? Taron Egerton takes up the role of the iconic Elton John in this flamboyant biopic!

Directed by Dexter Fletcher

Starring Taron Egerton, Richard Madden, Bryce Dallas Howard


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Review / Aquaman ★★★★☆

The DC Extended Universe is in such a state, that following on from their latest bust (2017’s Justice League), it’s literally last chance saloon. Apart from Wonder Woman, the franchise is seriously in need of another strong hero to carry some of the pressure. It’s not much of a shared universe if Diana Price is the only one who fans really care about.

Aquaman burst onto the scene in the much lambasted Justice League, although Jason Mamoa brought a level of gravitas not seen before from our Atlantean hero, the character always felt like an afterthought. A literal fish out of water. But will his solo outing finally give DC a much needed reprieve?

Directed by James Won, who is widely regarded as one of the best Horror directors currently around, does a stellar job, and even manages to throw in some horror elements, such as the wonderfully shot trench dive scene. The film sees our aquatic hero, Arthur Curry (Mamoa) go back to his home of Atlantis, in order to reclaim the throne from his half brother Orm (Wilson), who intends to wage war on the land above.

Visually, Aquaman is by far the most impressive and stunning addition to the DC universe. Wonder Woman did a great job in bringing in some much needed color to the world,  but Aquaman really steps it up another notch,  Aquaman really makes the most out its various kingdoms it has, each with its own tone. The film definitely has a Guardians of the Galaxy vibe,  when it comes to all the locations they visit. The CGI is also a massive improvement over some of the dire work seen in Justice League, the film is loaded with action scenes, so there’s always something happening.

Though visuals can only take a film so far, and it’s good to see a hero that actually has some charisma and charm. Jason Mamoa is clearly having a blast in this role, and is far more warming to fans, as opposed to the grim, brooding Bruce Wayne and Clarke Kent. The rest of the supporting cast also fit in rather well. Amber Heard as Mera is more than just a sidekick, with powers of her own, she more than manages to stick up for herself and proves to be a worthy ally. Patrick Wilson is surprisingly great in the role of the bitter resentful brother, with a backstory that really explains why he is doing what he thinks is right.  There are also pleasant appearances by Willem Defoe & a surprising Dolph Lungdren!

As mentioned, the villainous Orm does feel like an empathetic antagonists, from his perspective, you can see why he has his views.  Unlike Steppenwolf, who was evil…..for reasons. This is also supported by the presence of Black Manta, one of Aquaman’s adversary’s from the comics. His story is also one that is done very well, with his motives made very clear from the start.

But at a run time of nearly 2.5 hours, the film can really drag on at times, as they jump from quest to quest. The treasure hunt segments could really have been trimmed up a lot more. The story is rather basic, so such a prolonged movie can feel tiring at spots. The action scenes are also all too frequent, when its done well, it’s excellent, such as the rooftop chases in Sicily, otherwise after the 10th set piece, it does feel like filler.  The film does appear to separate itself from the wider DCEU, with very little references to the other movies. The romance between our leading duo did feel very forced, they could have laid the foundations of a relationship that could blossom in any future movies, they do jump the gun here, a strange decision as Mera is involved in with Orm.

Wonder Woman is still the benchmark for the DCEU, but thankfully, Aquaman is closer to that gold standard than the underwhelming releases they are usually involved with.  A wonderfully fun and vibrant movie, the only real issue bringing it down is the slow pacing and extended duration.

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