Midnight Special

Viewed – 20 March 2018  Netflix

I certainly love me some science fiction, especially if it’s offering something different or unusual than I’ve seen before, not just alien invasions or space exploration.  Here we’re presented with what appears to me a rather X-Files-like scenario of a young boy who has been taken from a religious group and reported abducted.  Police and shady government officials, along with members of the religious group are hot on his trail and that of his kidnappers, one of which turns out to be his father.

Midnight Special

A cast headed by an actor increasingly becoming a favourite, Michael Shannon (Man of Steel, Boardwalk Empire) also see’s Joel Edgerton, Adam Driver and Kirsten Dunst along for the ride..  The mystery surrounding the child and just why everyone seems out to nab him is intriguing and what transpires certainly kept me hooked.  However with somewhat subdued performances, especially from a rather sleepy Shannon who normally delivers such intense characters, I was left a little frustrated.  Nobody seems all that affected by the increasingly bizarre or life and death situation they find themselves in … bar perhaps Edgerton who isn’t evenly emotionally connected to the situation other than being an old friend of Shannon’s.  Add to this an under-explored backstory (just how did the boy become a part of the religious group, what happened to the mother…and who was she?) this is a movie that leaves a little too much unanswered to be satisfying.

Jeff Nichols’ direction however is solid, at times eerie and atmospheric, decorated with some impressive visuals. Along occasional heart-in-mouth moments (the motel), I still had a good time with this, despite it not being the complete package.

Verdict:  3 /5

Kiki’s Delivery Service

Viewed – 10 August 2013 Television

This is one of Studio Ghibli’s films that always seems to get mentioned as a favorite.  Kiki has just turned 13 and as all young witches must leave home for a year to complete their witch training … Kiki chooses to set off for the city, with her wise-cracking black cat Jiji along for the ride.


As with many Ghibli movies, this is a charming experience filled with impressive, hand-drawn animation and plenty of quirky characters.  Kiki herself is a likable, feisty young girl voiced well by Kirsten Dunst, and other characters like a love-struck boy and a pregnant bakery owner are all very entertaining.  The clearly European themed city is also rather gorgeous.

For this kind of material, it is a bit long and sags in the middle slightly.  Also apart from the ending, it seemed to cry out for more menace and a villain of some sort … which we don’t get.  Instead the movie opts for simple feel-good storytelling with that age-old believe in yourself message.  Not exactly a bad thing.

I enjoyed it overall, but apart from the animation and fun characters, I felt there was much more potential here.

Verdict: 3 /5