The Card Counter
Oscar Isaac has proven himself to be part of the Hollywood elite in numerous outstanding performances and The Card Counter is another excuse for this talented actor to flex his thespian muscles. The story, crafted by legendary writer and director Paul Schrader, sees a former convict trying to earn a living by playing cards, something he is rather good at. As the story progresses you learn more about Isaac’s character and everything does not seem as straightforward with him as first appeared. Not only does the film feature the ever-talented Isaac’s but also sees some great performances from Tiffany Haddish and screen legend Willem Dafoe. It’s a slow-burn thriller that is guaranteed to keep you guessing until the final credits and is one of the best movies to be released this year.
One of the divisive movies to come out this year, Cryptozoo is an animation tour-de-force that will shock as much as it will fascinate. A hand-crafted hallucinatory film from renowned animator Dash Shaw features the voice of Lake Bell as the character Lauren Gray, an army brat who grew up outside Okinawa following WWII and has a special connection to the Baku, the Japanese cryptid who consumes nightmares. The Baku ate her nightmares as a child and she is indebted to its protection. As an adult, Lauren seeks out cryptids to deliver them to safety in a Cryptozoo, a haven-slash-theme park. But when the army also seeks to capture the Baku and use it as a weapon, chaos ensues. It’s a tough movie to watch, but one that is essential to see. With wonderful animations, a truly adult-themed story, and solid voice acting, Cryptozoo is the weirdest and maybe the best movie you haven’t seen yet.
Riders of Justice
From director Anders Thomas Jensen, Riders of Justice is an action-comedy that follows recently-deployed military man Markus, played by the wonderful Mads Mikkelsen, who is forced to return home to care for his teenage daughter, Mathilde, after his wife is killed in a tragic train accident. It appears to have been plain bad luck, until data analyst Otto, a survivor of the wrecked train, surfaces, and claims foul play. Now suspecting that his wife was murdered in a carefully orchestrated assassination plot, Markus teams up with Otto, alongside his eccentric colleague Lennart and his even stranger friend Emmenthaler, to embark on a revenge mission to find those responsible. Riders of Justice strikes just the right tone of humor and pathos as Mikkelsen offers a masterful turn that’s at once deadpan and deadly serious.
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Good karma wears sensible shoes
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Cancer – there, I said it. According to the most recent research reported in the British Journal of Cancer, over half of us under the age of sixty-five will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in our lifetime. If you manage to dodge this bullet there is a significant chance that you will know someone who has cancer, and that some may die from the disease. I meet both the former and latter criteria, witnessing both my wife and mother-in-law succumb to this bastard of an illness. Yet, even in the face of these daunting statistics, there are reasons to be cheerful since cancer survival rates in the UK have doubled over the last four decades, and around half of diagnosed patients survive for more than ten years.
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