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Vidiot: February 2018

Sunday 11th, February 2018 / 12:00

 

Goodbye Christopher Robin 

The hardest part of writing bedtime stories is constructing prose so boring it puts your audience to sleep. The yarns penned in this drama, however, roused more than fatigued their readership. 

After WWI, author A.A. Milne’s (Domhnall Gleeson) creativity is stifled by his PTSD. It’s not until he details the adventures of his son, Christopher Robin (Alex Lawther), and his stuffed bear Winnie – named after Winnipeg – does Milne find his hit. But the stress from sudden stardom, a neglectful mother (Margot Robbie) and an opportunistic father, pushes Christopher Robin towards his nanny (Kelly Macdonald), boarding school and enlistment in the forthcoming world war. 

The depressing origin of literature’s most gluttonous bear, this well told and finely acted true story focuses on the family drama behind Pooh, adding much needed depth to the generally juvenile brand.     

Incidentally, if Milne’s stories were set in Winnipeg they’d have more stabbings in them.   

 

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women 

Wonder Woman was created because Batman hitting Catwoman didn’t look good. Ironically, this drama displays how the Amazonian Princess was forged from S&M. 

Fired from his teaching position for his relationship between a student (Bella Heathcote) and his wife (Rebecca Hall), William Marston (Luke Evans) draws inspiration from his feminist viewpoint, his fetish leanings and his invention – the lie detector – to create the first female super-hero. But when he and his publisher Max Gaines (Oliver Platt) are called before a decency commission for the BDSM imagery in the comics, Marston’s paradise comes crashing down. 

The kinky beginnings of an icon for female empowerment, this Wonder Woman origin story doesn’t exploit the creator’s lifestyle choices, but instead offers compassion. With dedicated performances across the board, this titillating true tale shines a whole new light on the 75-year-old warrior woman. 

And here everyone thought The Flash was DC Comics only sexual deviant. 

 

Jigsaw 

The worst thing about taking hostages is that Stockholm syndrome obligates you to send them all Christmas cards. Even the killer in this horror movie has empathized with his victims over the years. 

The deceased Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) is back in action, welcoming new captors (Laura Vandervoort, Brittany Allen, Mandela Van Peebles) to his complex torture tests designed to draw confessions of past sins from each. As the hostages struggle for survival in captivity, dead bodies begin appearing around the city leading detective Halloran (Callum Keith Rennie) to suspect that a copycat killer is responsible. 

Borrowing heavily from previous installments for its two major plot twists, this eighth chapter of the floundering franchise is predictable to anyone with a passing familiarity with the series. While Jigsaw’s traps are inventive, the largely Canadian cast is hammy.     

And remember the ransom for a Canadian hostage is half due to the exchange rate.   

 

Happy Death Day   

The best thing about reliving the same day over is never having to do laundry again. However, the student in this horror movie has more on her mind than her wardrobe. 

Hung-over, college co-ed Tree (Jessica Rothe) wakes on her birthday in the bed of a loser, Carter (Israel Broussard). Disgusted, she hurries about her day, which involves making out with her professor and hanging with her roomie (Ruby Modinebefore) before heading to another rager. On the way, however, a knife-wielding stranger murders her. Instead of dying, Tree wakes on her birthday in Carter’s dorm room. 

By applying the time-loop dilemma to the slasher genre, this low-budget thriller manages to create something new with the repeating day narrative. While the scares are tame, the twist is surprising, while the script as a whole is playful.    

Incidentally, if you die on your birthday they bury you in a pointy party hat.  

 

Blade Runner 2049 

The downside to having a robotic lover is that your romantic baths always end in electrocution. Smartly, the Blade Runner in this sci-fi thriller keeps his sex-bot on his frontal lobe. 

K (Ryan Gosling) is an engineered human employed by the LAPD for the purpose of tracking down and liquidating maverick replicates. When he learns of a replicate that reproduced, K’s superior (Robin Wright) orders him to kill the offspring before the manufacturer (Jared Leto) can exploit the glitch.   K’s search for the lost lovechild finds him face-to-face with the Blade Runner who held his position previously, Deckard (Harrison Ford).     

A visual feast with absorbing concepts but measured pacing and a taxing runtime, this long awaited sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s book is a worthy successor to the equally sluggish original. 

Incidentally, when delivering a mechanical baby make sure not to cut the wrong cord.   

 

Geostorm 

Extreme weather isn’t global warming; it’s God trying to wipe out humanity again. Thankfully, this disaster movie has a Noah of its own to protect the wayward sinners.      

When a system of satellites he designed to control Earth’s climate begins to attack it, the ousted Jake (Gerard Butler) is asked to return to the International Climate Space Station by his replacement, his brother, Max (Jim Sturgess). Jake is hesitant to help his former employer until he sees the damage his creation is wreaking across the world. But when Jake discovers that the White House planted the glitch, his and his daughter’s lives are endangered. 

With a hokey premise that takes itself deadly serious, this super-nature thriller is a gentle breeze from being a movie-of the-week. Bad writing, ham-fisted acting and corny SPFX further feed this shit-storm. 

Furthermore, if humanity controlled weather then all wars would be fought over the thermostat.    

 

The Snowman 

The best calling card a serial killer could leave behind for detectives would be an actual calling card. Unfortunately, the stalker in this mystery just leaves a snowman at their massacres. 

When a dead body turns up after the first snowfall of the season in the shadow of a newly erected snowman, a troubled detective, Harry (Michael Fassbender), sees enough similarities in the case to declare Oslo’s preeminent serial killer has returned. With assistance from a gifted recruit (Rebecca Ferguson), Harry hunts the killer through decade old cold case files that lead him to believe that paternity disputes are the motivating factor. 

An obvious whodunit that follows footprints forged by far superior crime thrillers, this adaptation of the Norwegian bestseller is a nonevent that never challenges viewers with its comatose romance, formulaic plot and endless red herrings. 

Moreover, to catch the snowman killer: simply leave coal, buttons and top hat outside.   

  

It 

The public is afraid of clowns because they don’t want to have to eat a Big Mac. Thankfully, the mischief-maker in this horror movie is not a corporate mascot. 

The summer after his brother vanished down a storm drain, Bill (Jaeden Lieberher) and his friends (Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Jack Dylan Grazer) head out in search of the body. Along the way they recruit more members (Sophia Lillis, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Chosen Jacobs) with knowledge of the town’s missing child epidemic. The gang eventually links the disappearances to a demonic clown (Bill Skarsgård) living in the sewer system. 

The first feature film adaptation of Stephen King’s infamous jester Pennywise, newcomer Skarsgård nails the creepy clown, making the scary moments even more so. Condensed compared to the 1990 miniseries, this streamlined version is a flawless fright-fest.   

Incidentally, the only one powerful enough to defeat an evil clown is a kid’s party magician. 

 

Bright 

If magic were real than sawing someone in half would not end in a jail sentence. Fortunately, the alternate earth in this action-fantasy has seen a recent increase in enchantment. 

In a world where Tolkien-type creatures live in harmony alongside humanity, LAPD officer Ward (Will Smith) and his Orkish partner Jakoby (Joel Edgerton) are tasked with maintaining that delicate balance. But an elf (Lucy Fry) with a magic wand being sought by a dark elf (Noomi Rapace) – intent on reviving the Dark Lord – threatens that harmony. Now, the odd couple must protect the girl and the wish-granting wand whilst battling their own demons. 

A paint-by-numbers buddy-picture, Netflix’s first foray into blockbuster territory is a tepid one. While the concept is serviceable, the racial comparisons are bordering on offensive. Moreover, the action, dialogue and character designs are all questionable. 

Worse, the Orc’s rap album sold more than Will Smith’s last one.  

American Made 

With all of the extra luggage fees these days, it’s cheaper to just fly as a nudist. Fortunately, the amoral flyboy in this dramedy has no qualms with transporting questionable cargo. 

Recruited by the CIA (Domhnall Gleeson) in the seventies to fly reconnaissance over Nicaragua, cocky commercial airline pilot Barry Seal (Tom Cruise) soon leverages that relationship into smuggling cocaine for General Noriega.  Overtime, the CIA asks Barry to start delivering firearms to the contras for Uncle Sam. Later, he’s tasked with flying those same guerillas into the US for military training to help them oust their country’s socialist government. 

A darkly comedic adaptation of the actual underhanded events that transpired during America’s anticommunist efforts to destabilize Central America, Cruise’s charm, director Doug Liman’s stylish direction and the unbelievable script help deliver this enjoyable freight intact. 

Moreover, the best method for smuggling in drugs is inside of a detection dog.   

 

The Battle of the Sexes 

The most sexist thing about sport is that female athletes pay double what men pay for steroids. Back in the ’70s, however, the sport in this dramedy capitalized off that inequality. 

To prove superiority over women, and feed his gambling addiction, former #1 Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) comes out of retirement to challenge current top-female tennis player Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) to a bout. While initially refusing, the closeted King eventually agrees to face the chauvinist on the court. In the process, however, the marriages of both players disintegrate. 

With a comedic supporting cast on hand to facilitate its talented leads, this true story provides the backstory of the oddball pair that has always been missing from the much-ballyhooed match. Moreover, its socially conscience subject matter mirrors our current climate of social change.      

Lastly, men and women can be equal in sport so long as men don’t wear cups. 

 

He’s a First–Class Clown. He’s the… 

Vidiot

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