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Reviewing A Selection Of The Summers Best Movies

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Wonder WomanAfter the backlash from critics and some fans of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad, the continued success of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) and the reception 20th Century Fox has received for R-Rated features Deadpool and Logan; the DCEU (DC Extended Universe) and Warner Bros were on the back-foot heading into the release of Wonder Woman. A film that dedicated fans such as myself would have seen, regardless of overall quality, but fans, as well as audiences in general, can be pleased with just how fantastic it is from start to finish.
The origin story shows Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) learning about her mythological heritage and how to become a warrior, before Captain Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crashes in the clear waters of the Amazonian island; Themyscira. Accompanying him to fight the war waging in Western Europe, she must stop gas producing Dr Poison (Elena Anaya) along with the mythical, treacherous son of Zeus; her half-brother Ares.
Much like Man of Steel, the film is story driven, showing the conflict of interests these heroes face when discovering not only more about themselves, but the people and world around them. It focuses on their humanitarianism and purity, rather than over idealising their comic book back story to create a potential quick buck at the box office. Gadot portrays Diana extremely well, being loving and compassionate, whilst being totally badass in the process. She captures Wonder Woman’s finest qualities as she learns more and more about the power she possesses. Pine is very good as her opposite, with the two sharing great chemistry.
Director Patty Jenkins has done a fantastic job in taking the wonderful sneak peek we saw in Batman v Superman and creating a beautiful movie about an icon that can begin to inspire a new generation. Wonder Woman has become the highest grossing movie of all time by a female director, as well as the highest grossing domestic (United States) origin story, surpassing Spider-Man (2002) and Deadpool (2016).

Baby DriverEdgar Wright’s wonderful new action heist hit is one of the best movies of the summer as it follows get-away driver and music enthusiast Baby (Ansel Elgort), who works under crime veteran Doc (Kevin Spacey), alongside various gangs of misfits, including Buddy (Jon Hamm), Darling (actress), Griff (Jon Berthnal) and Bats (Jamie Foxx). But when he meets diner worker Debora (Lily James), the game changes.
When Guardians of the Galaxy became a global sensation off the back of some questioning by many, one of its major drawing points was a wicked soundtrack that would ring through your brain and in your ears for months on end. Baby driver is no different. The music drives the story, with Baby picking specific songs for specific jobs. Not only that, but the way movement in scenes adheres to the beat of the track. From Queen to Blur to the Beach Boys to Bob & Earl to T-Rex. Hit after hit that, much like Guardians, fits poetically with the symphony of story and direction.
The impact of the writing resonates throughout. It gives each of the characters their own unique style and a sense of what motivates them to pursue the life of crime. The acting is terrific, as Elgot and James hold their own around a star-studded line up. The wonderfully orchestrated stunt work in this film is incredible. The superb driving sequences are fluid and seamless as they transition around the evolving romance of Baby and Debora.
As CGI becomes increasingly used, which is sometimes needed and at some points isn’t, it would have been easy for Wright to increment it into the film. But all the stunts were done on location in Atlanta. This gives the film a realistic edge, knowing that they were done on tarmac rather than the screen, because not only are they dangerous, but they are brilliant in every sense. This is easily one of the best films this summer. The original screenplay leaves you scrolling through your phone or iPod to find songs you would use as a get-away driver, but remember not to try the stunts!

War For The Planet Of The ApesFollowing on from the events of the second instalment, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the leader, a chimpanzee named Caesar (Andy Serkis) takes his colony to high up in the woods. But when a military faction called Alpha-Omega, under the leadership of a ruthless dictator known as The Colonel (Woody Harrelson) destroys their home and murders some of his apes, Caesar is out for vengeance, looking to put an end to the war once and for all.
The motion capture and CGI, as with the first two instalments Rise (of the Planet of the Apes) and Dawn, is mind blowing. The attention to detail is exquisite; everything from fur to battle wounds is superbly done to bring Caesar, Maurice and co to life. Even in an era where CGI is used constantly, you can’t help but be in awe. Not only the apes, but the landscape and action sequences are a thing of beauty, adding to the overall quality of the movie. The performance that Andy Serkis gives is unbelievable, easily his best as Caesar to date.The power he portrays through motion capture is divine, truly perfecting the art he has already mastered. But the best thing about this film, which can often get lost in franchises, is the story. It’s a great story of morality and desire from start to finish. The way it unfolds and the depth you get from the characters is stunning. That is testimony to the ethos writers/producers Amanda Silver and Rick Jeffa have implemented right from the beginning with Rise. They have envisioned what they wanted, and with the help of directors Rupert Wyatt and Matt Reeves, they have achieved it.
A fitting conclusion that has been the goal since James Franco began teaching baby Caesar. There have been rumours that a fourth is being planned, which could be welcomed by fans and critics alike after the success of War for the Planet of the Apes, but some stories are best left at their rightful end and this surely is one of them? Otherwise, it may turn out like Transformers, and nobody wants that to happen again.

DunkirkChristopher Nolan’s portrayal of what Winston Churchill described as “a colossal military disaster” is impactfully beautiful. Along with his wife Emma Thomas, they have produced some of cinemas best films; from the Dark Knight trilogy to Inception to Interstellar. Their latest adventure, Dunkirk, adds to their superb resumé of critically acclaimed movies.
The story follows the evacuation of British and French troops across the channel as they try to escape German advances towards the beach and harbour at Dunkirk. Not only were the lives of those serving their country in the three divisions of the army, the navy and the RAF in danger, but those of civilians who were willing to sacrifice their life to bring servicemen home.
Whilst Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy return once more to collaborate with Nolan, Dunkirk sees young British actors such as Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden and Irish actor Barry Keoghan take centre stage, performing superbly, with veterans Kenneth Branagh and Mark Rylance supporting. Harry Styles did incredibly well in his film debut, adding strength to the whole performance rather than seeming like any publicity attraction. With its wide angles and first-person cockpit shots, it is cinematically stunning from frame to frame.
The nonlinear narrative of the movie from three perspectives was a pleasant surprise, especially with how they all aligned in the conclusion, but caused confusion for me on one occasion. The composition was orchestrated by Hans Zimmer. As usual, he matches the film perfectly, drawing you into the suspense minute by minute.
With great period war, they try to give a sense of what trauma, devastation and loss soldiers suffered. Of course, they are not close to what our brave servicemen & women have and must face in such circumstances . Dunkirk, historically accurate or not, gives you a sense of how difficult it was to simply survive onslaught after onslaught on the beaches, in the freezing sea and roaring skies.

The Big SickOut of all the Hollywood blockbusters and star-studded movies that have been released over the summer; I bet one film you never thought of watching is The Big Sick. A love story that has truly warmed our hearts and undercut the competition this summer. Well if you do one thing, take a few hours out of your life to sit with some snacks, drinks, maybe even some tissues and watch, what has been said by many, as one of the best films of the year to date.
Loosely based on a true story, the writers Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily V. Gordon tell their struggling tale. Comedian Nanjiani (playing himself) meets grad student Emily (played by Zoe Kazan in the film) and they fall for one another. Kumail lies to his Pakistani family, who believe in arranged marriage to a person from the same culture and race. But when Emily develops a serious illness, Nanjiani deals with her parents Beth (Holly Hunter) and Terry (Ray Romano), whilst trying to make his way in stand-up and keep his family off his back.
Like a Randy Orton RKO, this film came out of nowhere. This beautiful story has been cleverly written by the two who experienced it first hand, Nanjiani and Gordon, with well-timed jokes, awkward relationship moments and passionate parents; just what you expect from their actual lives. Anybody who has had a relationship can see themselves at some point in this film as relatability (to some extent) is the driving factor.
Playing any sort of biopic is tricky, as the people who really experienced it all must watch; whether everything happened or not, but the cast did a great job of conveying the raw emotion of the situation. The comedy, romance and drama go hand in hand, blossoming together rather than being forced; a credit to the real-life relationship between Kumail and Emily.

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Jack Hollinshead

Film Editor 2017/18 Sport Editor 2016/17

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