The Boss Baby (2017)

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He carries a briefcase! Does no one else think that’s, oh, I don’t know, a little freaky? A new baby’s arrival impacts a family, told from the point of view of a delightfully unreliable narrator the wildly imaginative 7-year-old Tim Templeton (Miles Bakshi). The unusually verbal Boss Baby (Alec Baldwin) arrives at Tim’s home in a taxi, wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase. The instant sibling rivalry must soon be put aside when Tim discovers that Boss Baby is actually a spy on a secret mission, and only he can help thwart a dastardly plot that involves an epic battle between puppies and babies… This is simultaneously inventive, overdone, funny and draining,with a serious dip in energy round about the hour mark but it picks up by the end. Is anyone else as tired of endlessly gee-whizz-flash computer-generated animation as I am? At least there’s a nice use of The Beatles’  Blackbird in the story. Adapted from Marla Frazee’s 2010 picture book by Michael McCullers and directed by Tom McGrath. And yes, Bakshi is the grandson of the incredible Ralph. Sigh.

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The Sixth Sense (1999)

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I see dead people. How extraordinary is this film? A truly scary ghost story – even all these years later when you know the amazing twist at its centre. Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) is the child psychologist treating troubled Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment). The son of a single mother (Toni Collette), he’s a kid whose weirdness marks him out amongst his schoolfriends leading to bullying and strange injuries. Halfway through the story he tells the extremely sympathetic Malcolm his dark secret – and he knows that Malcolm just doesn’t get it. A stunning exposition of death, bereavement, grief, sorrow, the problem with acceptance and some punishing home truths, this is augmented by totally believable, realistic performances. A really audacious and cunning piece of work by writer/director M. Night Shyamalan.

The Birthday Present (1957)

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Ah, the 1950s. When smuggling in Europe was yet to become eased through Duty Free shops, now known as Airport Shopping.  Tony Britton is the star toy salesman who buys his wife a lovely watch in Germany and is nabbed by Customs (think of what they miss nowadays …). His solicitor messes up the defence, he doesn’t have the money for an appeal plus the various fines, so he winds up doing three months in the clink. And word begins to leak out … Very proper low-budgeter with the gorgeous Sylvia Syms as his beautiful, loyal wife, a photographic model.  There are a lot of familiar faces playing the roles of Ex-RAF officers now on company boards hiding their own drink drive convictions and nobody really wants to do right by him when he finally re-enters society. Geoffrey Keen is Colonel Wilson, the boss who tries to defy his board of directors and re-hire him. Not bad but hardly thrilling drama, directed by the venerable Pat Jackson. Written and produced by Jack Whittingham.