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Brian Viner reviews The Greatest Showman and Jumanji

By Brian Viner for Daily Mail

Published: 19:55 EST, 21 December 2017 | Updated: 20:24 EST, 21 Decem..

By Brian Viner for Daily Mail

Published: 19:55 EST, 21 December 2017 | Updated: 20:24 EST, 21 December 2017

The Greatest Showman (PG)

Verdict: He's no Michael Crawford

Rating:

Here’s a teaser for your family quiz this Christmas: what is the link between the hapless Frank Spencer from Some Mothers Do ’Ave ’Em of blessed memory, and mighty Marvel Comics superhero Wolverine?

The surprising answer is that the actors who inhabited both characters subsequently brought to life the legendary 19th-century impresario Phineas Taylor Barnum.

It’s more than 35 years since I saw Michael Crawford in Barnum on the London stage, and now it’s Hugh Jackman’s turn in The Greatest Showman (which opens across the UK on Boxing Day). Maybe the enduring memory of Crawford’s dynamic performance explains why, for me, Jackman doesn’t seem quite right in a part that, by all accounts, he has been desperate to play for years.

He’s a terrific actor, he can sing and dance wonderfully and he has a smile that could light up Broadway. But in my mind’s eye P. T. Barnum is a lithe, slippery fellow, more bantamweight than heavyweight and definitely not 200lb of Aussie beefcake.

It’s more than 35 years since audiences saw Michael Crawford in Barnum on the London stage, and now it’s Hugh Jackman’s turn in The Greatest Showman (which opens across the UK on Boxing Day)It’s more than 35 years since audiences saw Michael Crawford in Barnum on the London stage, and now it’s Hugh Jackman’s turn in The Greatest Showman (which opens across the UK on Boxing Day)

It’s more than 35 years since audiences saw Michael Crawford in Barnum on the London stage, and now it’s Hugh Jackman’s turn in The Greatest Showman (which opens across the UK on Boxing Day)

A bigger problem is that the movie doesn’t live up to its grand ambition. It was conceived as a musical fantasy blending fact and fiction, telling the story, partly through the medium of modern-sounding pop songs, of how Barnum made it big in the 1860s and effectively invented what later became known as showbusiness.

That’s just fabulous on paper. On screen it’s hard to see who it’s aimed at. Children, I think, might find it all a little boring; adults, a bit try-hard.

First-time director Michael Gracey and screenwriters Jenny Bicks and Bill Condon certainly do their utmost to pile up dramatic tension between the songs: will Barnum leave his wife Charity (Michelle Williams) for the celebrated singer he has brought over from Europe, the ‘Swedish Nightingale’ Jenny Lind (Rebecca Ferguson)?

Will he bounce back from his financial setbacks? Will playwright Phillip Carlyle (Zac Efron), who becomes Barnum’s partner, bend over backwards to please his socialite parents, or alienate them by bending over backwards with the mixed-race trapeze artist (Zendaya)?

And will Efron whip his shirt off, as he seems contractually obliged to do in all his films?

I’m sorry to report that none of these questions, except possibly the last, engaged me for more than a moment.

When you think of the great screen musicals — West Side Story, Oliver!, Fiddler On The Roof, The Sound Of Music, Cabaret, The Jungle Book — they all represented a perfect fusion of story and score, featuring characters we really cared about.

The Greatest Showman conspicuously seeks but never finds that magic alchemy. And among the original songs by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (who didn’t do badly with La La Land), there isn’t one that, thinking back as I write just a few hours after seeing the film, I could so much as hum.

Sure, there are flashes of dazzling spectacle, and plenty of excellent choreography. As a potted history of the Barnum legend, the film does a decent job, too. He was of humble birth, yet by the time he died in 1891, aged 80, the Washington Post described him as ‘the most widely known American that ever lived’. The Greatest Showman explains pretty well how he parlayed his vision and charisma into colossal fame and fortune.

When you think of the great screen musicals they all represented a perfect fusion of story and score, featuring characters we really cared about. The Greatest Showman conspicuously seeks but never finds that magic alchemyWhen you think of the great screen musicals they all represented a perfect fusion of story and score, featuring characters we really cared about. The Greatest Showman conspicuously seeks but never finds that magic alchemy

When you think of the great screen musicals they all represented a perfect fusion of story and score, featuring characters we really cared about. The Greatest Showman conspicuously seeks but never finds that magic alchemy

First, he built his Museum of Curiosities, filling it with the uncommonly short, tall and fat, not to mention a lavishly bearded lady.

Then came the Jenny Lind episode, plainly an antecedent of the modern rock tour. Finally and most famously, yet apparently forced on him after his theatre burned down, he devised the idea of a circus, in a tent.

So there’s no doubt that he deserves posterity’s unyielding admiration. But he also deserves a more memorable movie than this.

I sat down to The Greatest Showman with high hopes and left disappointed.

Jumanji: Welcome to The Jungle (12A)

Verdict: Enormous fun

Rating:

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle did the precise opposite. I expected it to be humdrum and witless. In fact, it is inventive, cleverly scripted, and huge fun. The 1996 Robin Williams film to which it is notionally a sequel, and which was itself based on the children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg, was not one of the great comedian’s better efforts, but I think he’d have enjoyed this enormously.

BACK in 1996 in smalltown America, a boy vanishes after plugging in a video game called Jumanji. A couple of decades later, the same thing happens to four high-school kids.

All in detention at the same time, they start mucking around with an old games console and get sucked into the high-octane world of Jumanji, reappearing as adult adventurers stuck in a perilous jungle.

Karen Gillan, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and Jack Black all star in the new Jumanji remakeKaren Gillan, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and Jack Black all star in the new Jumanji remake

Karen Gillan, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and Jack Black all star in the new Jumanji remake

There, they each get three lives in the quest for a precious jewel, while evading the clutches of a baddie straight out of an Indiana Jones movie, who is enjoyably played by Bobby Cannavale.

I was reminded also of the 1988 Tom Hanks comedy Big, as the quartet, while internally feeling the same as before, come to terms with their new grown-up physiques and capabilities.

The difference, from which director Jake Kasdan and his co-writers extract a series of very good verbal and physical gags, is that they are strikingly unlike their high-school selves.

Spencer, a bookish nerd, turns into dishy and muscular Dr Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson). The powerful school jock, nicknamed ‘Fridge’, becomes diminutive zoologist Dr Moose Finbar (Kevin Hart). Martha, a sport-hating misfit, is transformed into sexy commando Ruby Roundhouse (the former Doctor Who actress Karen Gillan).

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle is inventive, cleverly scripted, and huge funJumanji: Welcome To The Jungle is inventive, cleverly scripted, and huge fun

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle is inventive, cleverly scripted, and huge fun

Most spectacularly, Bethany, a vain blonde princess in thrall to her smartphone, changes gender. She turns into tubby archaeologist Professor Sheldon Oberon (Jack Black).

In a way it’s a one-note joke, but such a good one it easily sustains the rest of the movie.

Black in particular excels, but then he gets most of the best lines. The mere act of urinating as a man is a source of wonder. ‘The fact that I’m not Instagramming this right now is insane,’ says the former Bethany, looking down. And later: ‘I feel like ever since I lost my phone, my other senses have heightened.’

As the father of a daughter whose phone sometimes seems surgically attached, I almost cheered.

Loud, bonkers, fun! Ellis gives his views on the Jumanji remake

Rating:

I wasn’t sure I was going to like this from the trailers. However, much like Paddington 2, it proved me wrong.

It starts where the original film ended. But this time the story follows four teenagers — Spencer, Fridge, Martha and Bethany — who, after getting stuck in detention, find an old video game called Jumanji.

It’s an updated version of the board game, so you are expecting mayhem, especially when you hear the drums.

They are sucked into the game and become their avatars (played by Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Jack Black). With their characters’ unique skills – and weaknesses – they must complete the game to get back to the real world.

The story is an action chase, but it’s a nice twist on the original Jumanji plot.

In the first one, the game comes to the real world — and in this movie, they go to the game world.

And it is funny to watch the characters adjust to their avatar bodies.

Welcome To The Jungle is action packed and features the song of that name by Guns N’ Roses. Both of them are very loud.

There are also lots of nice original features, due to the characters being in a video game. For example, the NPCs (non-player characters) can only say the dialogue in their programming, and each character has a tattoo of 3 lines on their arm, representing the amount of lives they have left.

My favourite character is Alex, played by Nick Jonas. One scene with him mentions Robin Williams’s character from the original, which I liked.

It might be a bit too scary for younger kids at times, with a few loud jump scares. Watch out for the rhino stampede.

But the chemistry between the characters, and the non-stop action is great.

Some of it is bonkers, but that is Jumanji!

ELLIS BARNES-CHURCH, 13

Original Article

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Australia

Argonaut Resources directors show faith in company by participating in oversubscribed SPP

Argonaut Resources NL (ASX:ARE) directors have demonstrated their faith in the company’s copper-zinc strategy by participating in the recently closed share purchase plan (SPP).

Independent non-executive chairman Patrick Elliot purchased more than 4.465 million shares at 0.55 cents per share in an indirect interest.

He now holds 5,876,159 shares in that interest with another 20,324,574 held in a separate indirect interest.

Independent non-executive chairman Malcolm Richmond acquired more than 5.454 million shares in a direct interest, increasing the number held in this interest to almost 15 million with another 1 million held in an indirect interest.

Overwhelming response to SPP[hhmc]
The company was overwhelmed by the response to its SPP which closed early and more than twice oversubscribed with the target subsequently increased to $2.5 million from $1.2 million.

Subscriptions in excess of $3 million were received and as a result, the SPP was closed with immediate effect.

Money ..

Argonaut Resources NL (ASX:ARE) directors have demonstrated their faith in the company’s copper-zinc strategy by participating in the recently closed share purchase plan (SPP).

Independent non-executive chairman Patrick Elliot purchased more than 4.465 million shares at 0.55 cents per share in an indirect interest.

He now holds 5,876,159 shares in that interest with another 20,324,574 held in a separate indirect interest.

Independent non-executive chairman Malcolm Richmond acquired more than 5.454 million shares in a direct interest, increasing the number held in this interest to almost 15 million with another 1 million held in an indirect interest.

Overwhelming response to SPP


The company was overwhelmed by the response to its SPP which closed early and more than twice oversubscribed with the target subsequently increased to $2.5 million from $1.2 million.

Subscriptions in excess of $3 million were received and as a result, the SPP was closed with immediate effect.

Money raised under this SPP and from the recently completed $2.7 million share placeRead More – Source

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Australia

Strickland Metals shares jump 39% ahead of drilling base metal target near DeGrussa

Strickland Metals Ltd (ASX:STK) shares surged 39% today ahead of its maiden drilling program at the Doolgunna Project, which will include a diamond drilling program that is likely to begin by the end of this month.

As a part of the program, a minimum of four diamond holes will be drilled to a depth of 500 metres to test a VMS target similar to the nearby DeGrussa deposit of Sandfire Resources (ASX:SFR).

Heritage survey[hhmc]
Exploration activity has recommenced on the Doolgunna Project following completion of heritage surveys to allow land access to areas where the company wishes to complete exploration drilling.

The target for drilling is a compelling base metal prospect that exhibits geological characteristics that are interpreted to be similar to Sandfire Resources’ DeGrussa deposit about 30 kilometres to the east of the project.

The prospect has a 3-kilometre-long electromagnetic conductor that lies below an outcropping copper-zinc gossan that has been mapped over a 1.2-kilomet..

Strickland Metals Ltd (ASX:STK) shares surged 39% today ahead of its maiden drilling program at the Doolgunna Project, which will include a diamond drilling program that is likely to begin by the end of this month.

As a part of the program, a minimum of four diamond holes will be drilled to a depth of 500 metres to test a VMS target similar to the nearby DeGrussa deposit of Sandfire Resources (ASX:SFR).

Heritage survey


Exploration activity has recommenced on the Doolgunna Project following completion of heritage surveys to allow land access to areas where the company wishes to complete exploration drilling.

The target for drilling is a compelling base metal prospect that exhibits geological characteristics that are interpreted to be similar to Sandfire Resources’ DeGrussa deposit about 30 kilometres to the east of the project.

The prospect has a 3-kilometre-long electromagnetic conductor that lies below an outcropping copper-zinc gossan that has been mapped over a 1.2-kilometre strike.

Diamond core drilling


The company plans to start the diamond core drilling by the end of this month.

A multi-purpose drill rig has been contracted to enable the minimum planned program wRead More – Source

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Australia

Pan Asia Metals has positive discussions on plans for Thai lithium project

Pan Asia Metals Ltd (ASX:PAM) has had positive discussions with authorities in Phang Nga Province, Thailand, including the provincial government, for its Reung Kiet Lithium Project.

PAM has submitted a presentation covering all aspects of the project including methods of ongoing exploration, conceptual mining and concentrate production, and the potential for downstream value-adding industries in Phang Nga and Thailand.

The presentation and subsequent discussions were aimed at assisting Phang Nga Provincial Government in their considerations for the proposed mining and industrial development areas.

Provincial Government discussions[hhmc]
Pan Asia was recently invited by the chief executive officer of the Phang Nga Provincial Administrative Organisation (PAO), a Phang Nga Provincial Government coordinating body, to represent PAM and the Reung Kiet Lithium Project.

The meeting was also attended by the head of Phang Nga Provincial Industry along with the representatives of the Phang Ng..

Pan Asia Metals Ltd (ASX:PAM) has had positive discussions with authorities in Phang Nga Province, Thailand, including the provincial government, for its Reung Kiet Lithium Project.

PAM has submitted a presentation covering all aspects of the project including methods of ongoing exploration, conceptual mining and concentrate production, and the potential for downstream value-adding industries in Phang Nga and Thailand.

The presentation and subsequent discussions were aimed at assisting Phang Nga Provincial Government in their considerations for the proposed mining and industrial development areas.

Provincial Government discussions


Pan Asia was recently invited by the chief executive officer of the Phang Nga Provincial Administrative Organisation (PAO), a Phang Nga Provincial Government coordinating body, to represent PAM and the Reung Kiet Lithium Project.

The meeting was also attended by the head of Phang Nga Provincial Industry along with the representatives of the Phang Nga Provincial Public Works and Town Planning Office.

Phang Nga Provincial Industry head has been appointed by the Phang Nga governor as chairman of the Phang Nga New Town Planning Committee.

During the meeting, the chairman of the committee conveyed its support for the Reung Kiet Lithium Project.

PAO wants to ensure that the requirements of the Reung Kiet project are incorporated into the town planning committee’s zoning plans to ensure that the project can progress once exploration and feasibility results prove positive.

“Can bring opportunities”


PAM managing director Paul Lock said: “We have been working hard in Phang Nga province and we are very happy with the positive reception that the Reung Kiet Lithium Project is receiving from the Phang Nga Provincial Government and surrounding communities.

“Reung Kiet is strategically located and based on peer feasibility work the project is positioned to potentially be one of the lowest-cost suppliers of lithium chemicals in the global peer group.

“This is a project that can bring substantial opportunities and value to Phang Nga and Thailand.”

Pan Asia is planning its second Reung Kiet drilling program with expectations that this will begin in the coming months following the conclusion of the current Khao Soon drilling program.

Potential cost curve leader


Reung Kiet is a hard rock project with lepidolite rich pegmatites chiefly composed of quartz, albite and lepidolite with minor cassiterite and tantalite as well as other accessory minerals including some rare earth.

Lepidolite does not require roasting and has a suite of by-products which are recoverable at the concentrator and processing stages of the flow sheet.

Peer feasibility work has Read More – Source

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