End Credits: Passengers

Collateral Beauty, Moster Trucks and Assassin’s Creed

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The festive period is full of movie hits and misses. First up is Passengers, a mysterious sci-fi adventure starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt as two passengers on a 120 year journey, who are awoken from stasis 90 years early. Initially worried and frustrated by their new situation, the two soon try to make the best of it, and with two of Hollywood’s hottest stars of the moment playing out most of the action on their lonesome, they predictably fall for each other. All is not what it seems, and with the ship and the rest of the still slumbering passengers soon in peril, they may have been woken for a reason. Some basic plot premises may seem quite obvious initially but with plenty of twists being hinted at and kept under wraps the movie looks promising.

Less can be said for Collateral Beauty, which, despite a cast that includes Will Smith, Ed Norton, Helen Mirren and Keira Knightley, is an absolute dud. Described as a Chernobyl of toxic sentimentality, a strenuous tearjerker and emotion porn, it’s easy to see why. Smith plays a successful and outgoing ad exec in New York who, when his six-year-old daughter dies of cancer, shuts off and starts writing letters to death, time and love, who soon start visiting him in a dubiously concocted plan by his colleagues, concerned for the company rather than their friend. It’s a plot that will have many wrapped in a duvet sobbing into a pint of ice-cream and others screaming with boredom and frustration.

Boxing Day used to be a big release date for movies but with the likes of Collateral Beauty it may be best to brave the sales or just sleep off the previous day’s over-indulgence, unless you fancy the strange family adventure Monster Trucks, that is. Part Fast and Furious, part Free Willy and part Transformers, a monster befriends a high school senior and helps him build a truck while also living inside said truck and playing the part of its engine.

Things don’t really pick up till the new Yyear when Assassin’s Creed is released, based on the murderous romp of a game series. Video game movies tend to be pretty bad, but Assassin’s Creed looks promising, even if it does utilise the series’ most frustrating element, the present day animus project. For those not familiar with the games, Michael Fassbender plays Callum Lynch who, by using the revolutionary animus, can relive the memories of his ancestor, a 15th century assassin in Spain, and gain information for the assassins in a long running secret war against the Templars.

Mark Wheeler

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