The Midnight Sky: Netflix Film Review

The Midnight Sky

I love a sci-fi film and always want to see the latest Hollywood offering so naturally, I was excited for George Clooney‘s latest directorial effort, The Midnight Sky, which debuts on Netflix on Wednesday.

Clooney plays Augustine Lofthouse, a scientist whose life ambition was to find hospitable planets where humanity could expand. The main action takes place in 2049, three weeks after “The Event”. Augustine is sick and alone in an observatory in the Arctic Circle as he refused to evacuate with the rest of the team. One day he discovers a young girl named Iris (Caoilinn Springall), presumably left behind following the evacuation, and together they must venture across the treacherous terrain to get to a weather station farther north as it has a better antenna for him to reach the last active space mission – Aether. The Aether crew – featuring Commander Gordon Adewole (David Oyelowo), Sully (Felicity Jones), Maya (Tiffany Boone), Mitchell (Kyle Chandler), and Sanchez (Demian Bichir) – are heading back to Earth from Jupiter following a successful mission to the habitable moon K-23 and have no idea of the global catastrophe that’s taken place.

I was fully excited by the premise for The Midnight Sky, a movie adaptation of Good Morning, Midnight by Lily-Brooks Dalton, and I came away so disappointed. Considering this film is supposed to depict a race against time, there is a surprising lack of urgency to it and the pacing is dreadfully slow. I held out hope for the moment when it would eventually pick up the pace to reach a thrilling climax, but it doesn’t. There are a couple of big moments that should have had a dramatic impact yet they aren’t told with much emotional clout, just the cinematic equivalent of a shrug. Everything is so bizarrely underplayed.

It is also frustratingly vague. Mark L. Smith‘s screenplay holds back so much information that it was hard to care about anyone or their situation. We aren’t given any details about The Event so we have to draw our own conclusions and I had so many questions about Augustine – Why he is at the observatory? What is his role? Why didn’t he evacuate? What illness is he suffering from? We get a couple of flashbacks about his past but they’re still not enough. I also had so much I wanted to know about the Aether mission and his trek to the weather station as well, but again, we are offered so little.

I can’t fault Clooney’s performance, he convinces as the hollow-eyed miserable scientist who is truly fed up with his lot, and I also liked the visuals, the scale and ambition of the story, and Alexandre Desplat‘s score, but what a waste of a fantastic idea. So unsatisfying.

Streaming on Netflix from Wednesday 23rd December

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Gringo: Film Review

Gringo has all the makings of a top-notch comedy – from a decent premise to a stellar cast – led by Charlize Theron, David Oyelowo and Joel Edgerton – but for some reason, it just fails to ignite.

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The Cloverfield Paradox: Film Review

I am a big fan of the previous two Cloverfield films, so I was looking forward to what was originally titled God Particle, the next instalment in the series, which was set to hit cinemas in April. So I was pretty disappointed when I learned that it was going straight to Netflix – and was in fact already there. As a big cinema supporter, I was convinced this was the wrong move, a big-budget sci-fi should be seen on the big screen, but after watching it, I kinda understand why it happened.

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Top Films for November

It’s November which means the awards season films are slowly creeping in – but never fear, there’s plenty of blockbuster fare to enjoy too. So here’s my top picks:

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A United Kingdom: Film Review

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A United Kingdom sheds light on the incredible story of Seretse Khama, the heir to the throne in Bechuanaland (modern day Botswana), who falls in love and marries white British office worker Ruth while studying in England in the 1940s, much to the distaste of their families and the British government. I never got a chance to see it when it showed at the London Film Festival so I’m glad I caught this inspiring story now.

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Queen of Katwe: Film Review

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Queen of Katwe is one of those uplifting, inspirational films that I just love – they make you feel like you can do anything if you put your mind to it and keep fighting, no matter your circumstances. I think that’s a great message to teach young kids so I get why Disney chose to make this story.

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Rosamund Pike, Tom Felton & David Oyelowo at the A United Kingdom LFF premiere

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Tonight the London Film Festival (aka LFF) kicked off in style with the premiere for A United Kingdom, which stars David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, Jack Davenport, Tom Felton and Laura Carmichael and is directed by Belle filmmaker Amme Asante. See all the pics and gossip from the red carpet below.

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Selma: Film Review

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David Oyelowo was robbed of awards season nominations for his portrayal of civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma. He gives a staggering performance that gives us a rare insight into the mighty public figure from his troubled home life to his doubts over his civil rights campaign.

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Top Films for February

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My top film recommendations for this month are:

SELMA

This biopic of civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. depicts a small period in his life where he organises three marches between Selma and Montgomery in Alabama in the 1960s to campaign for the black vote. David Oyelowo gives a storming performance as King and was totally robbed of an Oscar nomination. Review to come. Released: 6th February

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Ava DuVernay talks Oscars snub at Selma premiere

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The stars of civil rights movie Selma came out for the London premiere at the Curzon Mayfair on Tuesday night and I simply had to ask director Ava DuVernay how she felt about the movie, about Martin Luther King, Jr., being snubbed in most categories at the Oscars (except the big one – Best Picture).

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