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24th January
written by Adam

An American with Scottish roots, Mickey (Matthew McConaughey), happens to be one of Britain’s largest drug lords. Looking to get out of the game and enjoy time with his family, Mickey is looking to put his business for sale on the black market. But, when perspective buyer, Matthew (Jeremy Strong), gets a look at the operations, everything goes sideways. Kill or be killed, it’s hard to be king without a bit of help, enter Ray (Charlie Hunnam), Mickey’s right hand man; righting the ship and keeping the profit margin high will take extra time, effort, and a few more friends. Just where exactly does the carnage begin and end? Written and Directed by Guy Ritchie, this colourful installment of the Ritchie testosterone, British gangsters, fighters, and bad-assery picks up with much of the same tone and timbre of previous works such as Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. In fact, in terms of specific voice one might argue a considerable amount of the dialogue and pithy humor featured in each of these volumes could easily be cut and pasted interchangeably. Although, it should be noted The Gentlemen feels particularly raged and aggressive in tone, as if to say Ritchie decided to take all of the hardest points of his previous works and amp them up even louder, necessary or not. Meanwhile, the film’s overall pacing seems to run at an odd meter, something that could be addressed with a few more judicious cuts. Regardless, getting the chance to dip one’s toe in the fictionalized pool of the UK’s underbelly is always a fun way to safely spend a few hours with witty cockney sayings, wise-guys getting wiser, rock and roll attitude, and a fair amount of head shots splattering the screen in technicolor red! Solid, and don’t forget to adjust your ear for accent, there’s much ephemera to be absorbed in the language. The Gentlemen is rated R, for a reason!

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17th January
written by Adam

Buddies and cops, Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) find themselves questioning retirement; meanwhile, an old grudge from the past returns with deadly intent forcing the hand of fate. But, not being ones to roll over easily, Mike and Marcus decide to take one last ride to finish what’s been started. Directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah this easy setup to an already well established franchise is totally superfluous and gratuitous, yet checks all the necessary boxes to deliver exactly what fans might hope for; large set piece destruction and action choreography, witty one liners, and oodles of cinematic charisma from two well loved and established leading men. Predictable, simple, and low in nutrition value, not every film can be a balanced meal, and, that’s okay, what we’re talking about here is simple popcorn chomping entertainment and escapism for a little over two hours, done and done. Plus, additional chuckles and support from rest of the ensemble including Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Paola Nuñez, Charles Melton, and Joe Pantoliano, there’s clearly more left in the tank. Bad Boys for Life is rated R.

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10th January
written by Adam

World War I, two British soldiers are tasked with a seemingly impossible mission: warn another company of 1,600 British soldiers deep in enemy territory that they’re about to walk into a deadly trap; racing against the clock, the two will face death at every turn to relay their message, but are they already too late? Directed by Sam Mendes and Written by Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns this epic cinematic tale is an instant classic example of why big films need to be seen on big screens with big sound. Immersive, raw, beautifully conducted chaos, Mendes pairs massive set piece after massive set piece with equally quiet moments of near reflection to show the true cacophony of life at war. Meanwhile the heavy lifting by actors George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman delivers the horror and humanity in buckets while Cinematographer legend Roger Deakins captures every nuance in a seemingly real-time one take shot for the length of the entire film. Absolutely stunning and mesmerizing, not to be missed, 1917 is heavyweight cinema with all of its senses roaring! Running one tick shy of two hours, 1917 is Rated R.

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