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Author: Freda Cooper

LFF 2018 – Stan and Ollie

Reviewed by Freda Cooper

Comedians have notoriously unfunny private lives, so Jon S Baird’s Stan And Ollie faces an uphill task right from the get-go. It’s multiplied by the fact that Messrs Laurel and Hardy were at their peak some 80 years ago, which means the film has to walk something of a tightrope. On the one hand, avoiding patronising members of the audience who are familiar with the duo’s films and legendary scenes, but on the other showing newcomers why they were so great and what made them funny. A neat trick, if you can pull it off.

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LFF 2018 – The Favourite

Reviewed By Freda Cooper

A Yorgos Lanthimos movie has become something of a tradition at the London Film Festival. The Lobster made its debut in 2015 and last year it was The Killing Of A Sacred Deer but his 2018 offering comes with the loudest fanfare. After winning big at Venice – the Grand Jury Prize and the Best Actress award for Olivia Colman – The Favourite is already looking like one of the major contenders come the awards season.

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LFF 2018 – Five Must-Sees

Freda Cooper picks her 5 must see film in this year’s London Film Festival programme.

For any self-respecting film fan, the London Film Festival is a tantalizing mix of heaven and hell. Heaven is the prospect of some wonderful films, events, red carpets and more than a sprinkle or two of good old fashioned glamour and glitz. Hell is working out how many of the 225 features in this year’s programme you can fit in without breaking the bank.

Some of the big films have already been announced. This year’s festival kicks off on 10 October with Steve McQueen’s Widows and closes on the 21st with Stan And Ollie. The American Express Gala on the 18th sees the return of festival favourite Yorgos Lanthimos with The Favourite, Mike Leigh’s Peterloo breaks new LFF ground with its screening in Manchester and the festival’s official competition includes the likes of David Lowery’s The Old Man And The Gun, Ben Wheatley’s Happy New Year Colin Burstead, Nicole Kidman in Destroyer and Sunset, the latest from Son Of Saul director, Laszlo Nemes.

But what of all the others? Whittling them just down to five must-sees is almost impossible, but we love a challenge. Here goes …….

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Mission: Impossible – Fallout Review

Reviewed by Freda Cooper (@FredaTalkingPix)

Ethan Hunt is back! It’s the sixth instalment of the Mission:Impossible franchise, but let’s put aside the logic that says there should only ever have been one film with that title. The same argument applied to the original TV series and it never bothered them, so why should Tom Cruise worry about it?

After all, this is not a series that demands too much of your thinking time. It’s all about the action, a formula that’s been paying off handsomely since 1996 and increasingly as the years have gone by. While previous offerings have been very much stand-alone affairs, it helps this time round to have seen Rogue Nation, if only to understand the interplay between Hunt (Cruise) and some of the returning characters. His long-running adversary Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) is back and this time Hunt and his trusty team of Benji (Simon Pegg) and Luther (Ving Rhames) have to make sure he’s never let loose on the world again. And there’s the small matter of some plutonium getting into the wrong hands.

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Film Review: Den Of Thieves

Reviewed by Freda Cooper

There are two Gerard Butler films around at the moment. One sees him explaining Scottish slang. The other is Den Of Thieves.

This is a movie that’s bursting to be something else. With its chases and gunfire, it fancies itself as the DeNiro/Pacino face-off, Heat (1995), but its ambitions don’t stop there. It also sees itself as something of a Sicario (2015), especially when a gun battle takes place in a queue of stationery traffic. But most of all, it really wants to be an updated The Usual Suspects (1995).

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Film Review: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

Reviewed by Freda Cooper

It was only a matter of time. One of the brothers McDonagh had to hit the jackpot. Big brother John Michael had made The Guard, Calvary and, more latterly, War On Everyone. Martin had In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths under his belt. And now he brings Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri to the screen – the most cumbersome of titles for a film which is the complete opposite.

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Film Review: All The Money In The World

Reviewed by Freda Cooper

Only two months ago, a large question mark hung over the fate of Ridley Scott’s All The Money In The World. We all know why and we all know what happened next. Rather than have his film shelved, the director reverted to his original choice of Christopher Plummer to play billionaire J Paul Getty and re-shot his scenes in just six weeks.

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Most Anticipated Movies of 2018

By Freda Cooper

So that was 2017, the year when horror became the genre of choice and broke a few boundaries into the bargain. When every month had at least one blockbuster, or a superhero movie – or both. When some superheroes weren’t exactly super. And when fan backlashes became the norm, from La La Land to The Last Jedi.

But, most importantly of all, people still kept going to the movies. Because, despite the inevitable flops and disappointments, as well as the more serious, longer term issues, it was a pretty good year as far as the films themselves were concerned. Those of us that write about cinema have had one hell of a job compiling our top tens – even top twenties – this year, because there were so many contenders.

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Film Review: Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle

Reviewed by Freda Cooper

The word Jumanji immediately conjures up misty eyed memories of the 1995 family comedy starring Robin Williams and a young Kirsten Dunst. With a magical board game at its heart, it boasted some special effects that weren’t just impressive for their day, they also stand up surprisingly well now. 22 years later, we have an updated version for today’s generation, in theory a standalone, but who knows?

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