Boldly ambitious in its attempt to make a sequel to both Kubrick’s The Shining and Stephen King’s novel of the same, Doctor Sleep is a largely successful affair. Great performances and a compelling emotional story are central as compared with might be the assumed scares. Danny Torrance, the boy from The Shining is all grown up and a drunk much like his psychotic Dad. When soul vampires threaten the life of a powerful psychic girl, he has to step up and face the ghost he has kept locked away. A few too many plot threads give this a hefty running length but once they all come together it makes for something special.
Blinded by the Light.
A feel-good, winner of a film for anyone who has ever been obsessed by their favourite musical artist. The feeling that every word they speak is about and for you. This tale of … , a Pakistani teenager growing up in Thatcher’s England is heartfelt but also unafraid to tackle racism and more thorny issues. ‘Yet the falling in love and finding yourself’ trope is well worn as are celebrations of classic artists. It could feel too familiar for some. However, it is a must for fans of The Boss.
Terminator: Dark Fate.
A return to acceptable form for this umpteenth attempt to make the Terminator franchise relevant. It acts largely as a bridge between the past and the future of the series. Its success comes more from focusing on Sarah Connor cut adrift from fate and purpose rather than its new players. Dark Fate is admittedly stronger in its quieter moments than its mediocre and somewhat cheap-looking action (especially third act stuff) but manages to be watchable throughout. Slightly above average is probably high praise for a franchise that seen better days. Still, Arnie and Hamilton are always worth a watch and it might present an interesting way forward for the series. Not for everyone but not as bad as you were expecting.
Ford vs. Ferrari.
Being both unfamiliar with the engine of my car and the history of car racing, Ford vs. Ferrari surprised me. Touching performances, a fascinating story and a true sense of immersion make for a solid film. There are a lot of moving parts and they don’t always work, and it has too many twists for a drama. But Bale and Damon anchor this film with their typical earthiness. It feels very typical until the last probably twenty minutes where it pulls some emotional and unexpected moments. Overall it feels solid rather than spectacular. Very watchable and a quality product but somehow not quite must-see.