Garden City Cinema Review – Joy


ACTORS – Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Virginia Madsen, Bradley Cooper, Isabella Rossellini
DIRECTOR – David O. Russell
CERT – 12A

Joy is now showing at the Garden City Cinema in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.

I’m a fan of Jennifer Lawrence, she’s wonderfully watchable in just about any role and Joy is no exception.
Not strictly a biopic,  Joy is the story of a young woman who invented a mop that started a business and launched a long career.
While some elements of the story are embellished or in fact invented it is based on a real person.


Joy (Lawrence) lives with her Mother (Madsen), who spends all her time in bed watching soap operas. Joy has two children and her ex husband lives in the basement. Her life is hectic, she never seems to have a minute to herself and after her father (De Niro) moves in with her too, she’s put under a lot of pressure.

A fascination with creating things has led Joy to invent a few things and she creates a new mop.
Doesn’t sound too exciting does it? But I got sucked into the story!

I found myself rooting for Joy, with the odds stacked against her she fights every step of the way and has to deal with a terrible family too. De Niro and Rossellini are great as the father and his wealthy girlfriend who put up the cash to start Joy’s enterprise.

The problem with Joy is that the tone is uneven, is it winking at itself? Or is it genuinely trying to be sincere? It’s never fully clear. That said I still enjoyed the film and think plenty of other people will too.
It’s an easygoing, uplifting story that’s full of charm, comedy and drama.

Click the link to book tickets to see Joy at the Garden City Cinema

Moxie McMurder

A Shared Madness

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Top Films of 2015

Here it is! My Top Films of 2015! (Released in the UK)
In no particular order…

Mad Max: Fury Road
It Follows
The Man from U.N.C.L.E
Inside Out
Ex Machina
Crimson Peak
Bone Tomahawk
Bridge of Spies

Honorable Mentions

The Gift
Lost River
The Final Girls

What are your favourite films from this year? Let me know in the comments or tweet me! @A_SharedMadness

Moxie McMurder
A Shared Madness

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Garden City Cinema Review – Bridge of Spies

Bridge of Spies

ACTORS – Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Alan Alda,
DIRECTOR – Stephen Spielberg
CERT – 12A

I loved Bridge of Spies, but then with a great cast and a screenplay by the Coen Brothers’ how could you not?

Based on a true story Bridge of Spies covers the story of Brooklyn insurance lawyer James B. Donovan (Hanks)who is assigned as a defence attorney for a captured, quietly spoken and unassuming, Soviet spy called Rudolph Abel (Rylance).
Donovan is one of the good guys, he firmly believes in everyone’s right to a good defence, he’s like a real life Atticus Finch.

This makes him wildly unpopular with the public and his own family.
After the court case and sentencing of Abel, Donovan is recruited to negotiate an exchange of prisoners as the Soviet’s have captured an American spy. Not only that but an American student has been taken prisoner too but the US government aren’t interested in saving him..just yet. Donovan however leaves no man left behind and while expressly told to forget about the student, he refuses to, which complicates the negotiations.

Beautifully edited and with an excellent, tight script Bridge of Spies is compelling stuff. The visuals are important, pay attention and there are patterns and repeats of images.
There’s also a lot of subtle comedy in the film which was unexpected but well placed. The story itself is a good one but the film is less about the situation and more about the man, Donovan. What a guy!

Tom Hanks giving a great performance, as you might imagine. As if the role was written with him in mind, which is always a possibility. I thoroughly recommend Bridge of Spies, it’s a fascinating story and told perfectly.

Moxie McMurder
A Shared Madness

Posted in Film, Garden City Cinema, Garden City Review, Hertfordshire, opinion, review, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lost River

I’m not a fan of Ryan Gosling when it comes to acting. Drive bored me to tears. But if his directing is anything to do by then play on.

Lost River was a real surprise
Christina Hendricks, Saoirse Ronan, Matt Smith, Eva Mendes and Iain De Caestecker make up the cast in this unusual dark and Lynchian film.

Set in a small town in decay that’s ruled by a total nutbag, a mother (Hendricks) tries to save her home and stay in the area despite people leaving in their droves. She takes on a new job to support herself and her two sons. This new job is at a select club where the blood flows as easily as the booze.

Meanwhile her eldest son discovers a town that was flooded years before. He’s drawn to this part of town and discovers secrets under the water. This son, Bones (De Caestecker) spends his days salvaging copper from abandoned buildings to make money.
This brings him into contact with Bully (Smith) who runs the town through intimidation and violence and who has claimed all the copper in town as his own.

Matt Smith is excellent as the psychotic Bully, I didn’t recognise him at first!
And the rest of the cast are just as good but it’s the darker elements of Lost River that really did it for me.

Saoirse Ronan has a small role as a friend and love interest of Bones, her Grandmother lives in her basement, still dressed for her husband’s funeral, her lipstick – perfect. She doesn’t speak, she just sits in the dark watching her wedding video. It’s deliciously Lynch inspired and just unique enough to separate it from other impersonators of his style.

The cinematography is gorgeous and the use of colour and distorted angles makes this as much of a visual treat as a mental one.

A real surprise – loved it!

Moxie McMurder
A Shared Madness

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Beware of Crimson Peak

New Guillermo del Toro film Crimson Peak is a love letter to gothic romance.


“Beware of Crimson Peak” This is the warning Edith receives from her Mother’s ghost as a child and again as an adult and lays the foundation for this dark tale.

Mia Wasikowska is Edith Cushing, the daughter of a wealthy businessman and budding author. One day Englishman Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) walks into her life after he asks her father for a loan to help him with his clay-mining invention.

crimson peakThomas’ home Allerdale Hall sits ontop of a large clay pit and this particular clay is blood red. In the winter the clay bleeds through the snow hence the name ‘Crimson Peak’. Her father rejects his proposition but Edith is taken with the tall dark and handsome Thomas and he seems very taken with her.

Thomas hasn’t come to America alone, his formidable sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain)  accompanies him and she is the embodiment of repression and she practically seethes everytime she’s on screen.

Jessica-Chastain-in-Crimson-PeakHer austere attitude makes Edith wary but she’s desperately in love with Thomas so tries her best to get on with Lucille.

After the mysterious death of her father Edith married Thomas and moves to England to live with him and his sister in their broken down mansion.
Ghosts roam the halls and secrets unfold as Edith learns more about the family she’s married into.

Crimson Peak had all the wonderful texture and sumptous visuals you would expect from Del Toro. The film is dripping in Poe, Hitchcock and Hammer Horror. It’s delicious.
A lot of people seemed to be disappointed that the film wasn’t scarier but they are missing the point. This isn’t a horror, it’s gothic romance. The ghosts aren’t what scare you, it’s the people!

Moxie McMurder
A Shared Madness

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Garden City Cinema Review – The Good Dinosaur



Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur is now showing at the Garden City Cinema in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.

While not its worst film, Pixar have brought us a mediocre piece in The Good Dinosaur. The story of Arlo, a young dinosaur who becomes lost and has to find his way back his family farm is visually stunning, the landscapes are wonderfully realistic and Arlo and the other animals looking like kid friendly CGI as opposed to the photo realistic backdrops really works well.

However when it comes to the story, it’s a bit of a let down. The Good Dinosaur isn’t particularly funny or emotional which is unusual for Pixar but more importantly the characters and situations are paper thin. A real shame.
The film covers all too familiar ground, with elements of The Lion King, Finding Nemo and more which waters down the emotional impact. The storytelling isn’t too strong in this film either, with an unusal ending that felt a little tacked on and poorly through through.

The Pixar short for The Good Dinosaur is called Sanjay’s Super Team and features Hindu Gods as superheroes imagined by a young Indian boy. The short offers more in the way of traditional Pixar greatness than the film it preceeds.

The younger children watching The Good Dinosaur in the cinema with me seemed to enjoy the film a lot more than the older kids and parents. And Pixar has a great track record so I can forgive the odd subpar offering.

To book tickets to see The Good Dinosaur click here.

Moxie McMurder
A Shared Madness

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Man Up is a Decent RomCom with a Terrible Title!


ACTORS – Simon Pegg, Lake Bell, Rory Kinnear
DIRECTOR – Ben Palmer
Cert – 15

From the title alone I was sure that Man Up wouldn’t be for me but as it turns out it’s a decent romcom but it has a terrible title which bears no relevance to the film at all.

Simon Pegg and Lake Bell are the leads in this British film. Lake Bell is Nancy, a single woman who would rather stay in her hotel room eating room service and watching Silence of the Lambs than go to an engagement party where she knows she’s being set up with a blind date.
Nancy ends up talked into going to the party by her sister and it’s a shambles.

Simon Pegg is newly divorced Jack who’s been set up on a blind date and through a misunderstanding mistakes Nancy to be his blind date. After a coincidental quote from Silence of the Lambs Nancy decides to play along.

Thankfully this deception is revealed fairly early into the film and it picks up speed. They argue, hijinks ensue and the film merrily chugs along to its conclusion.

While it’s not hilarious the film is amusing at times and Pegg and Bell have chemistry, which helps. However the film feels a bit out of date, there’s something of the Bridget Jones about Nancy.

Overall despite being full of clichés and some strange character choices Man Up is a decent comedy with a terrible title.

Moxie McMurder

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Garden City Cinema Review – Hotel Transylvania 2


CAST – Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Steve Buscemi , MelBrooks
DIRECTOR – GenndyTartakovsky

Hotel Transylvania 2 starts with the wedding of vampire Mavis (Gomez) human Johnny (Samberg), who we saw meet & fall in love in the first film.
Cut to a year later and Mavis is pregnant and gives birth to a boy, Dennis. The boy is the apple of his Vampfather’s (Sandler) eye, but he’s concerned that Dennis is more human than vampire and with Mavis considering moving so Dennis can be around humans Drac sets about trying to make his grandson vamp out so they can stay at the hotel.

This second outing of Hotel Transylvania is better than the first film but suffers from the same problems. Most of the jokes fall flat, the unnecessary dance breaks are cheesy as hell but there’s plenty to keep the kids amused. I laughed out loud more than once so don’t despair parents, it’s not that bad!

Moxie McMurder

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Garden City Cinema Review – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2


ACTORS: Jennifer Lawrence, Donald Sutherland, Julianne Moore, Josh Hutcherson
Director: Francis Lawrence
Cert: 12A

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is now showing at the Garden City Cinema in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.

I haven’t read the books and I’ll be honest, I wasn’t bowled over by the first two films in the franchise but I could see why they were popular and I enjoyed them for what they are.

Then came Mockingjay.
I really liked part one, a lot of people didn’t but I liked getting into the nitty gritty of the politics behind the series and gave Katniss time to reflect on her time in the Games. I felt like it had stepped up its game. The propaganda videos that looked like X Factor adverts, the themes of exploitation, trust etc all worked for me.

Mockingjay Part 2 is tense, violent and has some really great unexpected moments (for someone who hasn’t read the books at least). We start off where part one ended, Katniss is recovering from Peeta’s attack. I can’t stand Peeta, his character is intensely irritating and actor Josh Hutcherson has zero chemistry with Jennifer Lawrence, why she feels so strongly about him is beyond me..but I digress. He’s still brainwashed and cannot be trusted around Katniss.


The Rebels are ready for the last push against President Snow (twinkly eyed Donald Sutherland) and Katniss and her group of cohorts group together for the last time to win this war once and for all. But these things never run smoothly and Katniss is pushed to the limit.

Mockingjay Part 2 is not without its criticisms, uneven pacing, lacklustre performances and at times Katniss feels like a bystander to the situation, not the woman leading the troops. It’s a little frustrating and the ending – when it finally came, was a real let down in certain respects but with all that said I still liked the film and Katniss is still a great character that I’m sorry to say goodbye to. Perhaps I’ll give the books a go.
Click the link to book tickets to see Mockingjay Part 2 at the Garden City Cinema

Moxie McMurder
A Shared Madness

Posted in action, Books, Film, Garden City Cinema, Garden City Review, Hertfordshire, review | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Black Mass


STARRING – Johnny Depp,
Director – Scott Cooper
Cert – 15

Black Mass is a con. I don’t mean in the criminal sense although that is exactly what the film is about.
What I mean is the film has the veneer of quality but scratch beneath that shiny coat and you’ll find a hollow film that took an interesting true story and turned it into a rather dull piece.

Depp looks almost unrecognisable as Boston crime boss Whitey Bulger
whose shady deals with the authorities to bring down his rivals spirals out of control.

Kevin Bacon, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch make up some of the supporting cast and they’re good, as is Depp, incredibly creepy at times but it’s the story and structure that let’s the film down.
It’s all style over substance and a disappointment to be honest. You’d be better off watching Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger
the documentary about one of America’s most dangerous criminals which is currently available on Netflix.

Moxie McMurder
A Shared Madness

Posted in Film, review, true crime | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment