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  1. #11526
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    First Love

    A young boxer and a call girl come together over one night in Tokyo as they are caught up in a drug-smuggling scheme.
    A nice bit of romance for Valentines. However, you may change you mind on that thought when I tell you that First Love is from director Takeshi Miike, he of Ichi The Killer, Audition and Yakuza Apocalypse fame. This is his one hundred and third feature film and he shows no signs of slowing down. Yet, with First Love he does show his tender side… a bit. This is typical Miike yakuza action but with added weirdo Miike action as well. It is a story about a friendship being developed by two people who would never normally come into contact with each other, but on this one fateful night they do and then they realise they are better on the run together than separate when it comes to trying to fight some very mean & nasty mobsters. It is actually a rather tender film in many places because you actually care for the two central characters from the beginning. There is hardly a moment where it feels wrong to actually like them, and to want them to escape this dreaded night of doom. Monica, the sex worker, is already world weary even at her young age. She looks lost and in need of direction because those in her life are only after one thing. Step forward Leo, a boxer who is having his own troubles, and they come together in a delightfully sweet way.
    Then the action hots up as Monica & Leo race against time and across the city in order to stay alive. The action is relentless in places. There is also a lot of classic Yakuza influence running through the bad guys. While they are all standard fare bad guys, there is still something entertaining about watching them gun & slice their way around Tokyo trying to find two people.
    As I mentioned earlier, this is Takeshi Miike. He doesn’t do standard fare film though. So when you think it is a little bit too ordinary for a Miike piece of work, he then throws in a bizarre scene or animated sequence that reminds you why he is such a unique voice of Asian cinema.
    If you like your Yakuza movies then First Love is well worth seeking out.


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  3. #11527
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    As the Mrs is away I was able to finally watch Rush.
    Yes, it's old.
    However it is brilliant.
    Simply brilliant.


  4. #11528
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    Well, I don't normally go to the cinema to watch a movie all that often but since I was a child I have been a fan of a certain blue hedgehog so I sort of had to go see the movie adaption. It was sort of expected of me, and I have to say, it's really, really.... good. I loved it to pieces and if you are a Sonic fan or have kids who love Sonic I highly suggest you go/take them. It's not ground breaking, it's a touch cliche, but it has heart to it, it has Jim Carrey back to his best, lots of nods to the fans of the games and it even has a frankly amazing mid-credits scene a la MCU.


  5. #11529
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    The Revenant

    I know it was released several years ago, but it takes me time to get round to watching movies.
    Anyway, this was on Netflix last night.
    What a monster of a film!
    Di Caprio and Tom Hardy both stunning.
    Great cinematography and a decent plot with plenty of action.
    I'd give it foive as Janice used to say on Juke Box Jury!

    Last edited by Captain Sinister; 24-02-20 at 22:22.

  6. #11530
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    Freaks

    A brave girl discovers a bizarre, threatening and mysterious new world beyond her front door after she escapes her father’s protective and paranoid control.
    Crossing film genres can be a tough game. Many films try and fail. However, many are successful and it makes for compelling viewing. Freaks just about crosses the genre lines but makes hard work of it along the way. Early on this feels very much like an unofficial Cloverfield sequel as the little girl is stopped from going outside by her father. He tells her stories about what the outside is like and we see them practising lines in case she is caught and interrogated by the bad people the father discusses. The idea of having a film set inside a house with the outside being a dangerous place can work well, and initially it does generate some interest in both the inside and outside of the house. Soon that slips away into a film about special powers. This is where the title comes into play. These people with special powers are seen as freaks by the “normal people” and when things don’t go right they call in a special police force to deal with them. The film sort of then becomes an X-men movie but without great characters.
    This is a movie that needs interesting characters and unfortunately the father and daughter are severely underwritten. Their dialogue amounts to little more than going around in circles as to why they can’t show their special powers. There needed to be more understanding about them as characters and about them as a species. But the film holds back too much in favour of making it a guessing game as to whom, or what, they might be. There is a rather excellent, and sinister, performance from Bruce Dern as the ice cream man. He actually gives a lot of exposition in the film. It seems like he is the only one who is willing to talk about what, or whom, they are. If this character wasn’t in the film then it would be a much more confusing piece than it already is.
    The switching of genres is quite smooth but each of them feels undercooked and without and real merit. There are times when you think it will finally blossom into an interesting Sci-Fi film, only for it to pull away at the last minute. There is potential within the film. It is a jack of all trades but a master of none.


  7. #11531
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    Dark Waters

    A corporate defense attorney takes on an environmental lawsuit against a chemical company that exposes a lengthy history of pollution.
    Mark Ruffalo, aka The Incredible Hulk, gets angry but doesn’t turn green, instead he opts to looks through paperwork and stare out of the window thinking about things. This is a movie that is sold on the back of Ruffalo, and for the most part he is absolutely the best thing in it. His Robert Bilott is, at first, a corporate lawyer but when he starts to secretly uncover things he switches sides. However, this is where the film makes it’s first letdown. It doesn’t make too much of the fact that Bilott is going after companies that he used to represent. It is a huge change in the mindset of the character but the film sort of blows it off without a second though. From then on it seems like Bilott is on his own all the way through. But really he isn’t. There are people helping him out even though the film makes it feel like he has no one. It’s another bit of a letdown in the film. This should feel like one man, a suit no less, is sticking up for the little people. But it only vaguely comes across as that happening. There is a lot of scenes of Bilott in rooms reading files or staring out of windows. The film seems unsure what to do in these character reflective moments.
    As to be expected with any courtroom film, it is only in the finale where the pressure starts to rise. As Bilott uncovers more & more about the company polluting the water you can feel the energy start to appear in the film. The problem is that it all feels a little bit too late to start trying to create something when we’ve sat through most of the film not particularly getting angry or emotional about the story. This is a story that should make you angry. It wants to show how corporate malfeasance and arrogance is rife and there is nothing you or I can do about it. However, it never gets into second gear until towards the end and by then it is all but over. The film’s beats are exactly the same as other courtroom expose films through the years. It doesn’t offer anything new. Which is a shame as Ruffalo really is trying his best in the film.
    This film needs more urgency and energy to talk it beyond being just an OK courtroom film. This is a very much straight down the line film.


  8. #11532
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    Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    On an isolated island in Brittany at the end of the eighteenth century, a female painter is obliged to paint a wedding portrait of a young woman.
    There are certain films that creep up on you while you are viewing them. You aren’t heavily invested in them until those final moments when you realise you are crying your heart out. That’s exactly what happened to me when watching Portrait of a Lady on Fire. It is a vaguely intense piece for long portions of its runtime until the end when it has one of the most emotional endings of a film in recent years. It is the forbidden love aspect of this film that really makes you wonder how deep and real it can get considering it is based in the eighteenth century. The answer is: a lot. The painter-for-hire comes into a family dynamic household that doesn’t care for outsiders or insiders. There is almost nothing between the young woman and her mother apart from resentment and anger. There are times where the mother instructions her daughter to come and follow her without even letting her finish her sentence to someone else. It very much is a controlling relationship from the ground up. It is only when the daughter, Heloise, is given freedom to go outside and walk around with the painter that she starts to expand her mind. They become walking buddies, for want of a better phrase, and they begin to break down each other’s walls. Soon, love starts to burn within them but they cannot and must not do anything about it for fear of being cast out. It is heart-breaking to see love be strained at the leash like it is in this film. Yet, that’s when the film really gets the emotions flowing.
    It helps that everyone in this film is very good-looking. There isn’t an ugly person in the film. One is mentioned but never shown. This really is a film that benefits from gorgeous people. Everyone has long angular lines on the face and their bodies. Noemie Merlant is the true stand-out in the film. She is wonderful to observe as she tries to paint Heloise in secret. There is something about the way her eyes move that expresses her every thought. She is destined for big things based on this performance.
    From the outside this may look like a stuffy period drama, yet it is much more than that. It is a story about love and all the forms it takes. Also, how desire can never be contained no matter what the outcome. A ravishing love story.


  9. #11533
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    Zombieland: Double Tap

    Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita and Little Rock move to the American heartland as they face off against evolved zombies, fellow survivors and the growing pains of the snarky makeshift family.
    The first Zombieland came out of nowhere to become a rather excellent, and very funny, zombie movie. It certainly showed that mid-level films can break through into blockbuster territory. So it was always going to come to pass that we got a sequel. Now, the trick is how do you go bigger & better & funnier than before? Well, the writers have tried. But in trying to go bigger they appear to have a made a film that has gone smaller. The whole point of what made Zombieland fun was the four of them were a ragtag bunch that were in an opposites attract sort of situation. Now, Double Tap takes the four of them and adds more & more people to the zombie survival and it comes across as too many cooks spoiling the broth. It waters down the comedy and the action. It even separates the group a little bit and that’s not the point of the Zombieland. Adding additional famous actors doesn’t do that much for the film either. In fact, it comes across as rather desperate. Whereas in the first the one big cameo (which was brilliant by the way) really added to the fun factor. Now, all these newcomers are doing little more than what the core group were doing in the first film. It really is treading water quite a lot.
    Also, anytime it has an idea to break free and create it’s own path thanks to the characters it sort of stops before it even gets going. There are several moments in the film where it looks like it might finally take off with a new narrative to follow. But then it suddenly pulls back, almost as if it is afraid of its own convictions. Chase in point, the first newcomer is a ditzy blonde called Madison. The fun that the script has with and at her expense is excellent. It is an uptick in the plot when she is introduced. But then they don’t really know what to do with her after a certain and the character sort of drifts off into nothingness. That is exactly how it is watching the entire film.
    It is a such a shame Zombieland: Double Tap doesn’t work because it has the makings of a really good franchise. But this sequel goes from living human to zombie dead-ite in the space of ninety something minutes.
    One thing to note: keep watching for the mid-credits sequence as that’s the best bit of the entire film.


  10. #11534
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    And Then We Danced

    Competitive dancer Merab is thrown off balance with the arrival of Irakli, a fellow dancer with a rebellious streak.
    It would be slightly wrong to say Rebel Without A Cause meets Strictly Come Dancing with this film. However, there is more than a touch of correctness about that as well. And Then We Danced is modern with an old streak running through it. This is a coming of age tale that takes in romance, jealousy, adventure, lust and many other feelings and emotions. It’s actually quite an aggressive film considering it is surrounded by dancing. The dancing itself only forms the basis of the storyline and the opening is very much an introduction to the type of dancing that Merab and his class perform, ballet I believe it is. Shortly afterwards the infatuation storyline comes leaping through as Merab because obsessed with Irakli and the attitude that comes with the newcomer. Irakli thinks of nothing of talking back to the instructor or interrupting the class mid-way through the dance routines. He is an accomplished dancer but that James Dean-esc wild streak knows no bounds.
    Regardless of the fact that this coming of age tale takes place in a dance environment, there are lots of emotions at play here that we can all relate to. The longing to be a part of something. The fascination with the new person in the class. The mystic around said new person. Also, the first feelings of lust and then love. All of these are things that we all go through no matter the setting and with this film it captures a lot of those emotions perfectly. It is a movie that is aggressive yet also tender. It relies on the tender moments hitting their marks, and they do.
    The most profound and important angle in this film is the ability to tell the story of being gay in the modern era, especially in a deeply religious country. This piece of filmmaking pushes the barriers that LGBTQ+ people face in restricted/backwards countries. It is very open & honest in its depiction of the struggles that gay people face. It’s great to see a film not be afraid to be as uncompromising as this is.
    This is a beautifully made film and one that is rooted in real life. A genuine coming of age tale.


  11. #11535
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    Sorry We Missed You

    Hoping that self-employment can solve their financial woes, a hard-up delivery driver and his wife struggle to raise a family as they are caught in a vicious circle of zero hours contracts.
    Writer/director Ken Loach doesn’t make easy films about real problems. I, Daniel Blake was a brilliant piece of work but it was incredibly hard to watch. Sorry We Missed You doesn’t quite have the same impact as I, Daniel Blake yet it is still a hugely important piece of work about the struggles people in this country face just trying to survive. Ricky and Abbie both have jobs but they are stuck on zero hour contracts, so when the work is offered they have to take it otherwise them and their two kids won’t be eating for a week. Ricky is initially a cheeky chappie delivery driver and some of his scenes are immensely funny, especially when he, a Man Utd fan, delivers a package to a Newcastle United fan. But the humour is short lived and soon the harrowing realism of Ricky and/or Abbie not getting any work starts to come into play. This is where the film is at it’s most real. Loach has made, what is in effect, a documentary but with actors. Watching this loving yet troubled family spiral out of control with the space of week is tough. Yet, that’s the point of Loach’s work. He shines a light on these social injustices that are happening around the UK every single day but some people might not be aware of them. Art is no longer imitating life, it is showing it for all it’s ugliness.
    Interestingly, the film doesn’t lay the blame at any one person’s feet. It just shows the story of one family trying to make ends meet. It doesn’t offer and conclusions or answers. It basically says: Here it is! However, the film also offers a glimmer of hope. It is says that through all the troubled times, all the hardship, all the suffering, a family can get through it if they stick together. If they each fight, tooth and claw, to get through the austere times. If they can do that and come out the other side still together then they have won half the battle.
    This is a no frills, no compromise film that gives a voice to those who are struggling to survive on zero hours contracts but are in the horrible position of never being able to say anything for fear of being fired. Ken Loach has, once again, made one of the most important and real films of our times.


  12. #11536
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    Calm With Horses

    Douglas ‘Arm’ Armstrong has become the feared enforcer for the drug-dealing Devers family, while also trying to be a good father. Torn between two families, Arm’s loyalties are tested when he asked to kill a man.
    Sometimes watching a film can be tough. You might relate to a character or a situation that is happening on-screen and it makes you emotional to your very core. Other times you can watch a film and just be shocked and feel brutalised as to what you are watching. That is the case with Calm With Horses. An Irish independent film backed by Film4 and with Michael Fassbender as a producer that just hits you like a wave of bricks falling on your head. It is a brutal piece of work. Yet, it is also an outstanding piece of work thanks to everyone involved. The writing is fantastic, the directing is absolutely spot on and the acting is incredible. All of it makes a film that you can’t turn away from yet really do want to.
    Douglas, or Arm, as he is known in the film is, initially, a hated man from the viewers standpoint. He is the very definition of a bruising hulk of a man who cares not for anyone or anything. He is literally hated from minute one because of his whole demeanour. However, here is where the brilliance of the film comes in because you start to see a change in Arm when he becomes more involved with his son and suddenly we see a happy, almost playful side to him. Yet, he cannot shake the Deevers family (It’s no coincidence that with the thick Irish accents in the film, when they say Deevers it sounds like Devils). This family is the epitomy of evil. They do things that would make even Liam Neeson on his best action-filled day cry like a little baby. Their hold over Arm is harrowing to watch. They take him for granted every time, and every time he just does what he is told. Except one time and that is when Arm and the Deevers begin to fallout and their lives spiral out of control and blood is spilled and lives are lost.
    Calm With Horses is a harrowing and haunting watch. Make sure you have somewhere happy to go afterwards because you will need cheering up. However, this is outstanding film-making. It is confident in everything it does. It’s so brilliantly put together that it shows British film-making isn’t afraid to take chances or to stifle creative voices. This is Ireland’s answer to Shane Meadows phenomenal film Dead Man’s Shoes.


  13. #11537
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBS View Post
    Calm With Horses

    This is Ireland’s answer to Shane Meadows phenomenal film Dead Man’s Shoes.
    Sold. Since developing a crush on Niamh Algar after watching The Virtues, this one has been on my radar.


  14. #11538
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trents View Post
    Sold. Since developing a crush on Niamh Algar after watching The Virtues, this one has been on my radar.
    I have to agree with you about her. She is a lovely lady. I'd like to get to know her more.


  15. #11539
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    Dogs Don’t Wear Pants

    Juha lost his wife in a drowning accident. Years after he still feels numb and unable to connect with people. Meeting Mona, a dominatrix, changes everything.
    This is a curious tale of looking at second chances and finding love in all the right, or wrong, places. The problem is is that this film says it is a dark comedy, but actually it comes across more as a film that misses the comedy moments completely and ends up being a dark look at the world of sexual pleasures. And when I say dark, I mean the lighting in the film is almost non-existent. At first, I thought it was a ploy to have Juha emerge from his own metaphorical darkness and the film would begin to light him better as he discovers Mona and a new love life. But the film keeps everything in relative darkness. It is quite difficult to see a lot of the scenes, so as such we are treated to a series of scenes that are difficult to understand because we can’t see what is actually happening.
    The film does wallow in the morbid-ness of Juha’s life a bit too long. It’s great to see him finally find someone who cares for him, even if they are inflicting pain on him, but it takes far too long for the film to finally give us the happy Juha. As much as the film needs to wallow in the darkness, it doesn’t need to drag it on as much as it does. It feels unnecessary and without any real reason for it to be that long.
    Juha as a character is also a tough nut to crack. His closed off attitude doesn’t help to warm to him even later on in the film. Mona is probably the only person in the film that has a softer side to her. She is actually quite entertaining to watch and we see a lot of emotions pour out of her that she has never experienced before. It does seem that the better journey undertaken in this film is the story of Mona rather than Juha.
    It should be mentioned that there are several scenes of Mona inflicting pain on Juha that could be tough to watch for some people. These are not easy on the eye or ear. I can see why reports have suggested that people walked out of this film at certain film festivals because of those scenes. However, if they didn’t exist then the film doesn’t have the mcguffin that links Mona and Juha.
    There is an interesting film about kinks and life and love, and how they all eventually meet buried in this film. But the film as a whole comes across as very un-engaging for a large portion of its runtime.


  16. #11540
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    The Jesus Rolls

    Jesus Quintana is released from prison. He sets off on a road trip with his friend Petey. Along the way they fall in love, rob people and discover themselves.
    This is a spin-off from The Big Lebowski. Jesus Quintana was one of the characters that Walter and The Dude come into contact with at the bowling lanes. He was always a unique character and fans of The Big Lebowski, myself included, have been curious about him. Now, John Turturro, who plays Jesus, has been given permission from the Coen Brothers to write and direct a story all about his character. It is a slightly different film to The Big Lebowski tonally. This isn’t as laugh out loud funny. In fact, it isn’t as smart funny either. This is much more veering towards a drama than a comedy. There are little touches of comedy scattered throughout, especially at the beginning where Petey gets shot in the testicles and they have to try and find a doctor to save him. This sets them off on a road trip to find a better life. Along the way they fall in love with Marie, a care-free woman who is slightly bonkers yet has a heart of gold and maybe, just maybe, loves a bit too much. They ultimately make for a sort of Bonnie & Clyde and Clyde threesome, but with extra stupidity. There is a lot to like about the three characters and having the three as central takes the strain off of Turturro’s Jesus to be funny and also the centre piece.
    As they travel across country in all sorts of automobiles they try to find happiness in whatever shape or form it comes in. This is where the film is at its absolute best because this is a voyage of discovery. A coming of middle age tale especially for Jesus who, if you remember from The Big Lebowski, is only interested in two things – bowling and something we can’t mention. This film gives them a human touch, as much as that is possible with characters like these. You sort of fall under their chaotic spell and enjoy being along for the ride.
    It is a cracking cast list – Bobby Cannavale, Audrey Tatou, Susan Sarandon, Pete Davidson, John Hamm, Christopher Walken. This are big names in a little movie about a spin-off character from a cult classic. Yet they all add something special to make a film that has a little bit more than just one for the fans. It has a Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? Feel to it. And it even has echoes of Y Tu Mama Tambien. This is not the film most will expect and it is much the better for it.


  17. #11541
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    The Good Liar

    Consummate con man Roy Courtnay has set his sights on his latest mark: the recently widowed Betty McLeish, who is worth millions. But this time, what should have been a simple swindle escalates into a cat & mouse game with the ultimate stakes.
    This is based on the book by Nicholas Searle and has some heavy hitters involved. Director Bill Condon is known for making sharply observed pieces (and the last two Twilight movies and The Good Liar is no different. It helps that he has, in-front of the camera, two of Britain’s greatest actors in Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren. This may be a thriller that at times can be guessed where the plot is leading but it doesn’t matter when you have McKellen and Mirren facing off against each other. I make no exaggeration that their to-ing and fro-ing reminded me a lot of John Travolta versus Nicholas Cage in Face Off. There is a supreme air about the way McKellen and Mirren play these characters. McKellen really gives his all by being able to switch between two personas – the meek, doddery old Courtnay and the sharp as a tack Courtnay. It’s riveting to see him turn it on as much as he does in the film. This character in McKellen’s hands is so much more than what is written. It shows how an actor can elevate good dialogue to great and even exception dialogue.
    The same is said for Mirren’s performance as the slightly shy Betty. She is absolutely lovely in the sort of Grandma who you love because she knows the real world type way. But Betty is no push over either and when the film starts to ratchet up the tension it is because of Betty’s little movements and dialogue that suddenly Courtnay is rocking back on his heels. He starts to find that Betty has a secret too, and it’s one that maybe he won’t be able to fight back against.
    What you have with The Good Liar is a film that is much, much better than the sum of its parts. That is thanks to the triangle of Director and two actors who know how to find each nuance from the story and the characters. As such they create a film that is more than a match for some of the best crime dramas of recent years.


  18. #11542
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    Superman: Red Son

    What if Baby Kal-El’s rocket landed, not in Kansas, but in the Soviet Union? What would the world be like if Superman grew up behind the Iron Curtain?
    Based on the graphic novel by Mark Millar, this is the latest in a long lime of animated movies from DC that are more adult orientated. The stories are darker and more violent that most of the cartoons and feature films from DC. This one is an intriguing premise and ultimate subverts everything we know about Superman and flips it, to the point where you question if it is correct to rooting for Superman to win or not. Superman is raised in political circles by Josef Stalin, so only knows the ways that Stalin has put in place. But when he saves America from a missile this opens up a whole new area for Supes as he has to decide if the West really are the enemy or if they are actually trying to help. There is, underneath the main story of Superman, a very interesting plot about the fear of the Cold War and who has the biggest and best technology. Take away the superheroes from the film and there would still be a slightly haunting film about the fear of being nuked out of existence.
    However, this film is about Superman and his moral quandaries that he has to go through. None more so than when he meets some of the other DC universe characters in one for or another. Interestingly, once again, the writers have subverted most that we know and have come to love about the DC universe characters and are making the viewer question who you should be rooting for. I like the idea that it flips the script and makes us question our own morals and what we find most important when it comes to possible annihilation and/or superheroes. There are a lot of questions buzzing around this film and it is not primarily up to the film to answer them for you. It is possibly the most adult animated film the DC Comics Elsewhere tales block of stories.
    The animation is strong and very solid. None more so than when, early in the film, Superman has to fight the American version of Superman called Superior Man. It’s the unstoppable force versus the immoveable object and the animation is sharp and the action is even sharper.
    This is a bold piece of work to make into a film, and it succeeds in what it sets out to do, which is create a film that questions many of the origin stories about Superman and turns them into something where you might find yourself rooting for the villain.


  19. #11543
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    What a shame all the cinemas are now going to be closing as soon as possible.
    I was looking forward to taking Mrs S to see Portrait of a Lady on fire - Kermode raved about and you seem to rate it.


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    Default Re: The LTLF Film Thread (sponsored by FBS!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Sinister View Post
    What a shame all the cinemas are now going to be closing as soon as possible.
    I was looking forward to taking Mrs S to see Portrait of a Lady on fire - Kermode raved about and you seem to rate it.
    There is going to be big changes to the way we consume films now.
    You can now rent Cinema films such as The Invisible Man, The Hunt and Emma on Sky Store. Technically they are still in cinemas. We are going to see this happening a lot this year.

    Portrait... should be online streaming soon.


 

 

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