Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children: A fun Fantasy film involving time travel, monsters, fighting skeletons and a school for "gifted" children which is really different from Hogwarts. Eva Green is Miss Peregrine, monster killer and pedagogue supreme and an ace shot with a crossbow. Samuel L. Jackson is the Bond Villainesque baddie. Asa Butterfield is the new pupil travelling from 2016 to 1943, with Terence Stamp as his grandfather. 8/10.
Tale Of Tales: Very Grimm Tales! Got darker as the film developed. An Ogre, Giant Flea, Sea Monster, Shape Shifter and more. Set in Medieval Italy but anachronisms abound: 18th century muskets, llamas, 19th century diving suit - 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea style.
John C. Reilly dons the Vernian diving suit to hunt a Sea Monster. 8/10
I wanted Tale of Tales to roll up its sleeves and get to grips with fairy tale weirdness, but always felt it was at a remove from what it was depicting, ironic or otherwise I'm not sure. It seemed more interested in showing the corruption of the ruling class, but that's Italian filmmakers for you. It is pretty good, but had the potential to be better.
A Monster Calls: A boy suffers bullying at school, his mother is seriously ill, he doesn't get on with his grandmother. All of this forces him into a fantasy world where a Monster Tree (played by Liam Neeson) comes to life and tells him three tales. As well as the tree being CGI/Animatronics, the Monster's tales are played out in animation.
A moving, coming of age film which also contains adult themes and no, Neeson's acting wasn't wooden. 8/10.
Saw The BFG, yet another movie where the female gets kidnapped to keep the plot going, I felt triggered and needed my safe space.
Ahem, anyway, it's nicely done but looks too unreal to be fully immersed in story-wise, I'd rather they'd stuck a pair of comedy ears on Mark Rylance and used forced perspective. I remain unconvinced farting is quite as funny as family movies say it is. I know it was in the book, but it's not my favourite Dahl. Where's my movie of The Twits, dammit?
The Great Wall: Matt Damon ventures to China in search of the secrets of gunpowder, but meets a monster and ends up defending the Great Wall against hordes of beasties looking like hyena-raptor hybrids. An Alternate-History where every 60 years the creatures would attack and attempt to breach the Wall.
Well imagined monsters, there's a homage to Aliens in one scene, great costume and weapon design, steam punk without the steam, hot-air assault balloons which are really giant Chinese Lanterns. Seems to be Fantasy but pay close attention and you will spot a possible SF explanation for the monsters. 8/10.
Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle: 1996, the Jumanji Board Game is found on a beach and brought home. Overnight it upgrades to a games cartridge and once inserted it claims another victim. Flash forward to 2016 and four teens in detention find the game, plug in it and are sucked into the game. The Instagram girl becomes a middle-aged Professor Challenger type, the Geek girl incarnates as a Lara Croft, the Nerd boy is now The Rock, the Jock is now a puny sidekick.
An evil villain who controls the animals, enemy motorcyclists from Mad Max, hungry man-eating hippos, a quest for a jewel, a helicopter battling rhinos. This is a light-hearted film which borrows a lot from Indiana Jones and Lara Croft but is enormously entertaining. 8/10.
They're going to make a new Red Sonja movie whether we want it or not, goddammit! Red Sonja article
Jill Soloway, who did Transparent on Amazon and might be the most pretentious woman in Hollywood, is the new director, replacing the "problematic" Bryan Singer. I know the comic version was revitalised by a female creative team, but I'm kind of expecting Arnold Schwarzenegger to admit he's the real star of Red Sonja, as before.
Warrior Nun: A secret order of nuns dedicated to combating demons, generally just the wraith type which possess people but occasionally more fearsome ones. Their leader is killed during an ambush and her internal halo is transplanted into a dead girl. Ava (Alba Baptista), reanimating her and bestowing superpowers on her. The Halo has been passed down for centuries and was meant for another nun who is now jealous. We get nuns armed with crossbows, swords, rifles. These are Ninja Nuns. There is a conniving Cardinal and a lot of Church intrigue. A scientist is also involved who has her own plans for Church relics made from Divinium (a bit like unobtainium). Ava runs away and teams up with a gang of young grifters. Great combat scenes, well imagined demons. The RCC Hierarchy don't come out of this smelling of roses so it may substantially differ from the comic book series it's based on. Good fantasy thriller. 8/10. Ten episodes, on Netflix.