By Adam Ray Palmer
This weekend, 19th to 21st July, I re-visited some films of recent years to see what I thought of them. Nothing revolutionary, but nothing perhaps that exciting.
Free State of Jones
Starring Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Mahershala Ali, Gary Ross’s (writer/director) picture follows the life of Newton Knight (McConaughey) and his armed revolt against the Confederacy in Jones County, Mississippi, throughout the American Civil War. It’s a tale that hasn’t been well publicised before on screen, but the subject has certainly been well documented. The racism, slavery and injustice throughout this movie is haunting. However, the plot is hurried along in its two-hour runtime and I feel some sequences should have been left on the editor’s floor to allow the meatier scenes to flourish. It’s a solid effort, but Mudbound for example still packs a bigger punch.
Cineroom’s rating: 3 stars
J. C. Chandor’s 2019 Netflix movie has bags of talent aboard, but the supermarket carrier bag has ripped when it comes to originality. The film stars Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, and Pedro Pascal as a group of former Special Operations soldiers who reunite to plan a heist job of a South American crime lord. As you can well and truly tell, films like this always have a “plot twist” half way through, when things begin to go shockingly awry. Thus, meaning only two possible outcomes... one, they get out with some money but not all return, or two... they all make it back but with nothing to show for it. I’ll give you 30 minutes into the film and you’ll guess it.
Cineroom’s rating: 2 stars
Revisiting this 2016 classic really made my weekend. It’s riveting, deep and leaves your mind in a state of satisfied shock. Denis Villeneuve’s movie is based on the 1998 short story "Story of Your Life" by Ted Chiang and stars Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker. The film follows a linguist enlisted by the U.S. Army to discover how to communicate with aliens who have arrived on Earth, before tensions lead to war. It may sound like your standard sci-if movie but don’t be too hasty to judge. It’s so much more than that. I’d rather it be categorised as an ‘out of this world political thriller’ than an alien pic. It’s moving, powerful and certainly aided by a truly astonishing score by the late, great Jóhann Jóhannsson. If you haven’t seen this yet, get yourself free for two hours and treat yourself.
Cineroom’s rating: 5 stars