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  • Susan May

What's on at the movies Oct 20 2016?

For those interested in grabbing my latest book The Troubles Keeper at a bargain price of 99c, the book will be available from 23rd October. That give-away price will be for 48 hours. So do grab it. Even better, join my mailing list club so you can share all the news about the launch and be reminded its time to read your next great book.

So far it has over 67 ratings with a score of 4.35 out of 5. So I'm thrilled and very proud of this novel.

Here's a link to the book on Good Reads: Click here


Ouija: Origin of Evil ✪✪✪ Opened October 20

Horror films don't do well in Australia, so over the past few years most horror has gone straight to DVD or streaming. However, this genre has enjoyed a reversal of fortune over the past eighteen months, led predominantly by Blumhouse studios (Paranormal, The Visit, Sinister, Unfriended), the masters of low budget, high-return thriller/horror fests. We're talking $5 to $10 million investment for a $60 to $120 million return. Not bad.

The few recent horror films we've seen on screen have been reasonably entertaining, so the studios are beginning to release more and more. This is a prequel to the 2014 straight-to-video Ouija film. There is quite a bit to like. Set in 1967, the feel of the era has been captured well. The actors, especially the children, do a good job for a B film. Interesting to see Elizabeth Reaser (Twilight) and Henry Thomas (little boy in ET) in this. Mind you, we are seeing a lot more better known actors popping up in these horror flicks and this helps lift production values. However, this film does drag its heels in places and offers little new in the kid-girl-possessed-by-demons story idea. Special effects are pretty cool though. A little scary, if white-rolled back eyeballs give you a chill, but a long way off the quality storytelling we enjoyed recently in Conjuring 2 and Crimson Peak. Maybe a good one for Halloween. This is still a good thing because what is your teenage-hood if you can't go to the cinema with your friends and have a good scream?

Film Blurb

Set almost fifty years prior to the first film, in 1967 in Los Angeles, a widowed mother and family fake séance as part of a scam for a living. However, when the family discovers a Ouija gameboard, young Doris attempts to contact her deceased father, but through the game's seeing eye, sees a dark figure and is suddenly possessed by a malevolent spirit, which leads her family to believe that her so-called "friends" are trying to get through from the underworld and claim her as their own. Desperate for Doris's normality to return, the family must confront the Ouija and play the game for real, if their life is to ever be the same again.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back ✪✪✪ Opened October 20

I didn't love the first Jack Reacher. I found the story rather cliche and predictable. However, this one did look a lot better in the trailer. I know everyone doesn't love Tom Cruise, but I enjoy his big blockbuster films.

The Reacher films are based on the very popular books by Lee Child (he always plays a cameo in the films.). There has been a little noise on the fact that loner, highly decorated ex-army man Jack Reacher is actually blonde and tall in the books; pretty much the opposite physically of Tom Cruise. This is not an unenjoyable film and fans of the well-choreographed fight, male-adventure genre are well catered for. The rest of us, who would like a modicum of reality and something less predictable, will feel a tad unimpressed. Nice to see a kick-ass woman role but disappointing to see rather chauvinistic sentiments portrayed by Reacher as he keeps looking stunned at his partner-on-the-run Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders) every time she kicks butt.

I hope this is the last one of these. I'm not a Jack Reacher fan and the films don't encourage me to read the books either, although my books often rank right next to Lee Childs in the Amazon sub-genres, so I have been curious. Not to Cruise: I'm very happy for you to play a role from one of my books.

Film Blurb

Tom Cruise returns as Jack Reacher in this sequel based on Lee Child's bestselling novel Never Go Back, which finds the itinerant problem-solver accused of murder, and learning that he may have a child he has never met.

Cafe Society ✪✪✪ Opened October 20

I'm a huge Woody Allen fan. In fact, I think I've seen every one of his films dating back to the early seventies. He still has it but in smaller punches. Two of my favorite films in the last few years have been Blue Jasmine (2013) and Midnight in Paris (2011). Both received Oscar wins in categories. So whenever there's a Woody Allen I'm there, even though the last few films Irrational Man and Magic in the Moonlight were only so-so. Cafe Society is typical Woody. Jesse Eisenberg, who is often cast in his films as the hapless narrator, plays a Woody Allen type character perfectly. His Bobby Doorman's hopeless, fish-out-of-water character is amusing and enjoyable to follow. So too are all the other characters beautifully portrayed and their stories interwoven with finesse. Where this film really shines is in the aesthetics and rich 1930's world created by the perfect sets and fabulous costumes.

So in saying all this, I should be rating this film a four out of five, at the least. However, I'm not. While it's not a fail by any means, what it lacks is Allen's usual acerbic wit and sharp plotting. Normally his films will run with numerous plot lines, which he nimbly gathers up at the end leaving us feeling as though we've enjoyed some magic. This time his lines are tangled and he only lands a smaller fish, while we watch the big one swim away. Close but not close enough.

Film Blurb

Set in the 1930s, Woody Allen's bittersweet romance CAFÉ SOCIETY follows Bronx-born Bobby Dorfman (Jesse Eisenberg) to Hollywood, where he falls in love, and back to New York, where he is swept up in the vibrant world of high society nightclub life. Centering on events in the lives of Bobby's colorful Bronx family, the film is a glittering valentine to the movie stars, socialites, playboys, debutantes, politicians, and gangsters who epitomized the excitement and glamour of the age. Stars Blake Lively, Corey Stoll, Steve Carell, Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart


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