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21st February
written by Adam

Based on the novel by Jack London, an oversized dog with an oversized personality named Buck from California finds himself kidnapped, crated, and shipped up North to the Yukon to become a sled dog in the time of the gold rush. At the same time, John Thornton (Harrison Ford), makes his way to the same remote mining town; and, through a series of chance encounters the two become friends. But, as Buck spends more time in the hills and mountains loyal to a code of his own, it’s the call of the wild that ultimately will determine his fate.Directed by Chris Sanders and adapted for screen by Michael Green, this live action/CGI spectacle presents an interesting mix of old and new offering many of the original plot points with a mindset for the 21st century in casting and racial tone, which, in this case, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. So, our focus turns to the elephant in the room, in this instance a giant anthropomorphized CGI dog, a tough sell for fans of well trained cinema hounds of yesteryear, alas there’s certainly less to misinterpret from the Scooby-Doo antics of Buck, but still, prepare for eye rolls and groans from the non-believers. As for the film’s live cast, it’s hard to fault any of the caricature-esque portrayals, noted, over the top Snidely Whiplash inspired Hal (Dan Stevens) is particularly inspired. Cinematically the film does offer plenty of Yukon eye candy with a further blurring of the lines between actual landscape and CGI, interesting. Overall, this family friendly flick is a hard ask for top dollar ticket prices, consider a matinee or stream later. The Call of The Wild is rated PG.

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14th February
written by Adam

Ski vacationing in the Austrian alps an American family is threatened by an avalanche. Surviving the event, Pete (Will Ferrell) and Billie (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) take a serious re-evaluation of priorities and desires, could this be their last vacation as a family?Written by Jesse Armstrong, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, based on Ruben Östlund’s screenplay Force Majeure (2014), Directors Faxon and Rash present this re-telling and re-packaging of an already well received foreign film creating a bit of a head scratcher. Specifically and sadly, a number of comedic and dramatic points appear to get lost in translation watering down the original story to something less than the original, and, American audience’s may be additionally confused by the rather straight delivery from typically buffoonish Ferrell, especially with consideration as to how the film has been marketed (comedy over drama). Never the less, enough of the original screenplay does remain intact to hold structure and the endearing chemistry between Ferrell and Louis-Dreyfus sticks the landing, mostly. Furthermore, coming in at a scant 86 minutes of runtime, plans for the the second part of your date night might still need to be thought out, Valentine’s planners beware. Downhill is rated R.

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31st January
written by Adam

Destructive, destitute and desperate after loosing her entire family in a plane crash, Stephanie Patrick (Blake Lively) is contacted by an investigative reporter with new details about the suspicious details surrounding the incident. Now on a mission to serve justice with guidance from a former MI6 agent, B (Jude Law), Stephanie assumes the identity of Peytra, a lethal assassin with an exceedingly dark past. It’s kill or be killed as Stephanie/Peytra scours the globe executing all responsible, but will she find redemption? Directed by Reed Morano and Written by Mark Burnell this slow to start Dragon Tattoo-esque-lite release is a film that sets out to be a lot harder, a lot edgier, and a lot more exciting than it actually turns out to be. Scripted mainly with cliches and tropes, this unimaginative hour and nearly fifty minutes moves at a glacial tilt while technically checking all the requisite boxes of a “spy” flick. Furthermore, questionable choices in editing and soundtrack poorly punctuate the film’s overall flow all together. Maybe a rental later, save your coin this time. The Rhythm Section is rated R.

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