Collateral Beauty

Howard Inlet (Will Smith) was a high-flying, smooth-talking New York marketing whizz, until two years ago when his six year old daughter died. He returned to work eighteen months later, but his understandable change of character has left him shut down and closed off to all around him. His work has suffered, and the business he co-owns with best friend Whit (Edward Norton) may go under unless something can be done. After hiring a private investigator, Whit – along with colleagues Simon (Michael Pena) and Claire (Kate Winslet) – discover that as part of his recovery process Howard has written letters to the entities of Love, Death and Time, so the trio decide to hire actors to portray these facets of the world and confront Howard, in an attempt to prove he is crazy so he’ll be forced to sign his ownership of the business over to them.
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Men in Black

Men in Black is a universally adored film, I think. But why is it so loved? What is the secret? Well MIB is that rarest of creatures, a film that is all things to all people. It is not simply a big budget summer blockbuster action movie, nor is it just an effects-driven sci-fi film, or a well crafted character piece, a buddy-cop movie or an offbeat bureaucratic comedy. It is all these things and more, telling the story of Agent J (Will Smith, now a fully fledged movie star after Bad Boys and Independence Day) a new recruit to the secretive Men in Black, an organisation tasked with managing the many alien lifeforms on Earth, without the knowledge of the general public. In true buddy movie form, J is partnered with Tommy Lee Jones’ grizzled yet laconic Agent K (who may well be too old for this shit), but I don’t remember Riggs and Murtaugh driving upside down in a tunnel, Tango and Cash delivering an alien squid baby or Turner and Hooch getting covered in slime – OK, bad example.
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Independence Day

Much like Titanic (also on the list, some other time) this is a film that only really reaches its stride in the second half, once the iceberg has hit and the world starts to sink. Ignoring the obvious, huge and much-discussed plot holes (what if the alien spaceships didn’t operate on Mac OS?) this is actually a very enjoyable popcorn film, with Roland Emmerich unleashing his full hatred on mankind in the form of giant spaceships playing a lethal game of chess with the Earth. The cast contains many tongue-in-cheek performances by actors more known for comedy (Will Smith, Randy Quaid, Jeff Goldblum) and displays people from all walks of life, be they a drunken former abductee or a Clinton-esque president, berated for being too young, all bonding together to save their planet. At times it is a little too patriotic though, as we are shown late in the film that the rest of the world have been waiting for the yanks to come up with a solution (“About bloody time” complains a typically posh Englishman), but then in a big dumb action movie you can expect some big dumb ideas (Smith’s first human interaction with an alien sees him punching it in the head). Also, the US patriotism is probably more of a money-making plot, seeing as the director is actually from Germany.
Choose film 8/10