Movies reviewed this week: Moana, Collateral Beauty, Miss Sloane and Long View: The Windmill Massacre (Starring: Charlotte Beaumont).
This month’s feel-good movie has to be Moana, the story of a brave teenager who crosses the Pacific Ocean to find the shape-shifting demigod Maui (voiced by Dwayne Johnson) to help save her people.
Moana Waialiki, voiced by newcomer Auli’i Cravalho, is the daughter of the chief of Motunui, a small island in Polynesia. As a child, she was chosen by the ocean to find the heart of Te Fiti, an island goddess, which was lost 1,000 years ago by – you guessed it – the rogue but loveable Maui. Te Fiti’s heart has the power to create life and is vital for the survival of Moana’s beloved island and people. And as they begin to suffer, this is when Moana sets out on her adventure, along with her pet rooster Heihei, to find Maui and set the world right again.
Of course, there are many adventures and threats along the way, as well as a moment when she almost gives up. But at the end of the day, this is a Disney film and the heroine always wins.
Kudos must go to Moana’s directors, John Musker and Ron Clements (who also directed 2009’s The Princess and the Frog), both of whom spent time in Fiji, Samoa and Tahiti on research trips to fully understand the culture and traditions of the people of the South Pacific. Their efforts are evident in the film, and it comes across beautifully.
The latest blockbuster from Walt Disney Pictures, Moana is a rollicking, 3D-animated ride that stays true to its Polynesian roots and keeps the audience entertained with its snappy jokes, fun storyline and foot-tapping songs. Definitely a must-see movie for all ages.
Review by Felicity Glover
After suffering the tragic loss of his young daughter, New York advertising executive Howard (Will Smith) retreats from the world to grieve and begins writing letters to Death, Time and Love. Deeply worried, his friends and colleagues try to come up with a plan to help Howard reconnect with life. But when Howard begins to receive responses to his letters, it is only then that he begins to understand how they connect. Smith heads a brilliant ensemble cast that includes Helen Mirren, Edward Norton, Kate Winslet and Keira Knightley – and at the time of shooting the film, learned that his own father had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and only had weeks to live. Another must-see, but bring some tissues.
Elizabeth Sloane, played by a steely Jessica Chastain, is a ruthless political lobbyist who will stop at nothing to win at all costs. But this time, the stakes are much higher when she decides to represent a client backing a government bill that imposes regulations on firearms, despite being asked to lobby for the opposition. However, her determination to win makes her the target of some powerful new enemies that put at risk both her career and those she cares about. An intriguing thriller that also stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, John Lithgow and Michael Stuhlbarg.
The Windmill Massacre
Brutal and gory, The Windmill Massacre is not for the faint-hearted so be warned! However, it’s not your typical slasher horror film, thanks to a clever plotline that keeps the audience guessing. We begin with Jennifer (Charlotte Beaumont), an Australian on the run in Amsterdam. In a bid to avoid the authorities she joins a bus load of tourists exploring the country’s famous windmills but the bus breaks down in front of an old mill and this is where the horror begins. If you are a fan of horror films, you’ll no doubt love this. It also stars Australian journeyman actor Noah Taylor.
Oman release date: January 12