Catch Up Reviews

2018, Uncategorized

I’ve missed a couple of months recently, and the truth is I’ve found it hard to find time to sit down and write reviews. There are a couple of reasons behind this. One of them is moving house. Apparently that’s quite stressful. The other one is my new job. The great thing is my new job allows me to do tons of writing, all film related, which is fantastic, and has for awhile obviously taken prominence. Not that I’ve stopped going to the cinema though, oh no. Now that I’m getting more of a balance back in my life I’m able to get  back to reviewing films. Yay! 

As I mentioned, I haven’t stopped going to the cinema. It felt like it would be a shame if my opinions on those films got lost to time, like tears in the rain. Yes, I do value my opinion that much. So I thought it would be a good idea to do a couple of mini reviews on the films I should have reviewed. Enjoy…

Ant-Man and The Wasp

Another enjoyable entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The problem was it couldn’t help but feel a bit light weight after Infinity War. Meant as a palette cleanse, it all felt a little too disposable. I loved Evangeline Lily as The Wasp, but felt here arc was a little wasted, so much more could have been done. Funny in places, the jokes did start to feel repetitive, and there were lapses within the inner logic of the movie. 

6/10

The Predator 

Shane Black didn’t reinvent the wheel with this one. What he did do though was deliver everything you would want from a movie about an alien game hunter. It’s not a great movie, it’s not that well made. The editing is all of the place, and it doesn’t make a huge heap of sense. It is incredibly fun though. There are some great characters, stellar jokes, and gratuitous violence. All in all, a good time at the movies. 

7/10

First Man

This is not a film about the achievements of man. It does not bask in the glory of space travel. It’s much more personal than that. It’s a story about a man who had to travel to the moon so that he could come back home. It’s a study on grief, and the different ways humans deal with it. What surprised me was just how moving this film was. It owes a huge amount of debt to The Right Stuff, an influence on Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, of which First Man shares a lot of DNA with. They would make a hell of a double bill together. 

8/10

Halloween 

Michael Myers is back. Again. Jamie Lee Curtis is back. Again. She’s dealing with PTSD after the events of the original movie, and he’s back trying to kill her. Again.  Yes, we’ve seen this before, but Halloween acts as a course correction for the series. Pretending that nothing past the first movie happened, this takes Halloween back to its roots. It’s brutal, scary, and fun. It’s not a perfect movie, but will reward fans of the series whilst serving as a great entry point for those new to the series. 

7/10

A Star Is Born

Filled with fantastic performances from Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, this remake of a remake is better than it had any right to be. It’s Coopers first film behind the camera, and he does a great job. The performance scenes are incredibly realistic, with the use of real venues and audiences paying off. The songs are great too, with Lady Gaga’s fantastic voice really selling the believability of the story. It’s poorly paced though, and could do with losing a good 30 minutes. I found it strange how little I was moved by the end of the film, which is a sure sign that something wasn’t quite working. 

6/10

Crazy Rich Asians 

I’m not a fan of romantic comedies. Generic. Boring. Fluff. I loved Crazy Rich Asians. It’s an incredibly well made comedy, with a likeable cast, and characters you can’t help but root for. This is all played against a spectacular backdrop, with an insight into a world and culture that was completely new to me. It’s charming, funny, and moving. I can’t recommend it highly enough. 

8/10

The Nun

I really like The Conjuring  movies. The movies focusing on The Warrens. The spin-offs so far have been a little underwhelming. The Nun is just the wrong side of boring.  It has one good jump scare which has been completely spoiled by the trailer. The lead actors a likeable enough, but there is such a whiff of unoriginality here. It’s all a bit The Exorcist, but without anything that makes that movie work. These films just end up so superficial, that they really aren’t about anything at all. I mean, you have a priest and a Nun in training and not once does anything here make them question their faith. It’s just characters going through the motion of the plot so they can get to the end of the film. 

4/10

The Meg

I wanted this to be so crazy bad I’m a way that makes the whole film ridiculous and fun. The film ends up being both bad and ridiculous,  but as if no one told the film makers that was the film they were making. Instead they try to make a serious movie which is part Jurassic Park, part Jaws. That’s not what people want from this movie. They want to see a giant fucking shark being punched in the face by Jason Statham. There was a point in the movie, probably the most serious, emotional conversation in the whole thing, and it was all I could do to not burst out laughing. It’s just awful. I was promised a movie where Jason Statham chases a giant shark across the high seas. It took an hour to set that up. It should have been a fun dumb movie. It ended up being dumb, boring, and bad. 

3/10

Venom

If Venom had come out in 2005 it would have been seen as the natural continuation of the Sam Raimi Spider-Man series. Lucky for us, we’ve had a decade of fantastic super-hero movies which have  really pushed the genre forward. It just seems like no one making Venom has seen any of those films. Tom Hardy is great, and the moments where Eddie Brock are bickering are great. The film excels when it unleashes it’s dark sense of humour. The action sequences are pretty well done too. It’s just a shame the film takes so long to get anywhere, and wastes its time with unnecessary sub plots which aren’t paid off. It’s by no means a bad film, and I left the cinema thinking I’d quite happily go and see a sequel, but there is plenty of work to be done. 

6/10

BlacKkKlansman

I loved this movie. It’s funny, suspenseful, emotional, and scary. Spike Lee sets his stall out early with Alec Baldwin playing a racist Doctor, creating a video about white supremacy. It’s clear the parallels Lee is trying to draw. The cast are all fantastic, in particular John David Washington in the lead role of Ron Stallworth. The film is both shocking and provocative, but also incredibly entertaining, but it does its job. When a racist cop is caught being misogynistic and racist on a wire tape, he is immediately fired, with someone declaring that the good old wire trick, it always works. You can’t help but think how the last guy got caught on tape didn’t get fired, he got elected president. 

9/10

Christopher Robin

A gentle, but affecting film. It starts off incredibly strong, and ends well, but the middle does drag an awful lot. I enjoyed the way the characters of Winnie The Pooh has been reimagined, and Ewan McGregor does a great job. It’s a film with its heart in the right place, it just has some serious pacing issues. It at times feels more like a nostalgia trip for grown ups rather than a children’s film, but it does include some quite childish moments, you can’t help but wonder who this film is actually meant for. There are moments in which the film clearly hints towards mental health, but then there are also sequences of Ewan McGregor playing with leaves in the woods. It’s all a bit disjointed. 

6/10

A Simple Favour

Pitched as Gone Girl with more laughs. This was supposed to be a more serious outing from comedy director Paul Feig. Sadly, this is very much a case of style over substance. It’s nowhere near intricately plotted enough. It’s reveals come across as damp squibs, and Anna Kendrick does her best to make the jokes land, but this film just isn’t clever enough. If it wasn’t for the starry cast, this would have been a TV movie, or a soap plot in the 90’s. As a mystery movie, it’s not interesting. As a thriller, it’s boring. It’s not funny enough to be called a comedy. It’s just all a bit bland. It needed to go deeper, to go darker to truly resonate. 

3/10

Well that’s it. I’m all up to date now, and hopefully should be back with more regular reviews. Please check out my latest review on The Nutcracker and The Four Realms

Avengers: Infinity War

2018, Uncategorized

*I have tried my best to avoid spoilers In is review, but would recommend seeing the film first before reading if you want to go in knowing nothing*

Dir. Anthony and Joe Russo

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Chris Pratt, Josh Brolin, Scarlett Johansson, Zoe Saldana, Mark Ruffalo, Don Cheadle, Chadwick Boseman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Benedict Wong, Anthony Mackie, Karen Gillan, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Sebastian Stan, Danai Gurira, Dave Bautista, and Pom Klementief.

Well, this is it. The beginning of the end. It’s a journey that started 10 years ago with Iron Man, and has since grown into the box office behemoth that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We’ve seen Earth’s mightiest heroes team up in Avengers, we’ve been to space for some cosmic adventures in Guardians Of The Galaxy and Thor, and most recently we’ve been invited into the amazing world of Wakanda in Black Panther. Here, they all combine to take on their biggest foe to date, Thanos. The big bad that has been drip fed through the whole series. We know that we still have Ant-Man and The Wasp, and Captain Marvel to come before Avengers 4 brings phase three of the MCU to a close, but this feels monumental nonetheless. Going into the movie it felt like the stakes had never been higher, as there was a real sense that anything could happen. We had entered the end game.

Infinity War follows Thanos. An 8ft, ripped, purple alien born on Titan. Thanos is hell bent on balancing the universe. To him, this means invading planets and killing half of the population residing on them. His ultimate goal is to kill half the universe, and to do this he needs to collect together the infinity stones. 6 stones from the beginning of the universe which when united together give the holder unlimited power. Two of these Infinity stones are on Earth. One is the time stone which is in the possession of a Doctor Strange, and the other is the mind stone which is nestled in Vision’s forehead. Thanos sends his most trusted minions to Earth to retrieve these two stones, whilst he sets out in the universe to find the others. Standing in Thanos’ way are the Avengers, last seen fighting each other in Captain America: Civil War, the Guardians of The Galaxy, Spider-man, Doctor Strange, and the people of Wakanda.

The scale of this movie is huge. It’s ambition is unmatched in the modern day blockbuster. Just looking at the cast list alone is enough to make the jaw drop. Fittingly the Russo brothers decided to film Infinity War entirely on IMAX cameras, and I was lucky enough to see it on an IMAX screen. It truly is mesmerising. Thanos looks huge on screen, and the size adds an extra bit of weight to the action unfolding in front of you. This is event cinema, and considering we get about three MCU movies a year, that is quite a feat. For the film to work, the stakes had to feel real, and for the stakes to feel real the audience had to believe in Thanos. We’ve seen glimpses of him before in Post-credit scenes and GOTG, but these fleeting appearances never gave across the sense that this was a villain to be reckoned with, so it was a bold move when writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely declared that he was to be the main character for Infinity War, even bolder considering that he is entirely CGI. The character is so richly written though, and Josh Brolin plays him so brilliantly, he easily owns the movie. From the opening sequence he is imbued with a sense of weight and gravitas which has previously been lacking, setting up the darkest MCU movie thus far.

Infinity War could have ended up as a complete mess, or just a collection of five minute scenes that give each character their due, but doesn’t hold together as a film. The fact that the fine balance has been expertly walked between story and character is testament to the skills of both the writers and directors. It’s a far from simple plot, with many strands, but it all works, and every character is given their moment to shine. The character interaction is spot on too. It’s rumoured that James Gunn came on to write all the dialogue for the Guardians, and if that’s true, it’s a smart decision and works fantastically. These characters feel like the characters you know and love from their separate movies, and finds joy in watching them interact. If this is the darkest MCU movie, it still remains laugh out loud funny. It’s smart as well that the original avengers get their own little teams to lead, without spoiling it, Thor, Cap, and Iron Man are mostly kept separate, each leading their own story thread. It means that we aren’t watching a rerun of what’s come before, they are mostly with characters they’ve not met before which keeps it fresh. Best is watching Chris Pratt’s Star Lord, trying to macho it up against Thor.

If this is the biggest MCU movie in terms of characters, it’s all the biggest I terms of spectacle. The action is stunning. It’s worth the extra to see it in IMAX, or the biggest screen you can find. The Russo’s continue to manage to make the action dynamic, funny, and ingenious whilst including some great character beats. They get the escalation right too, for a film which breaks into fights almost every 20 minutes, by the time you get to the climatic battle, it still feels big, and manages to hit the emotional beats hard. I felt like the climax of Black Panther was a little underwhelming, and it seems they may have been holding it back a little for the climax of this film. If the film does go in directions that you don’t always expect, and it’s a long watch, it is also completely satisfying. I walked out of the screening numb, I’m going to have to see it again just to completely absorb it.

Infinity War delivers in spades. If this is part one of the end. I can’t wait for Part Two. There are so many ways in which this film could have been rubbish, but it’s just not. If you don’t like previous MCU movies this isn’t for you, if you like the MCU you’re going to love it. There are more spoilerific discussions to come, but for now, it’s a towering achievement. I loved it.

10/10

The Most Anticipated Movies Of 2018 – Part Two

2017, Uncategorized

Welcome back! In this post we are looking ahead at 2018, and the movies that we can’t wait to see. If you haven’t seen Part One you can find it by clicking here. For now though we’ll continue to go through the movies which have us excited to go to the cinema over the next twelve months.

 

IMG_0354

A Wrinkle In Time

Every year Disney releases a blockbuster that offers something different. These films unfortunately in recent years haven’t done too well at the box office. Although not financially successful they do offer something unique, and original. Tomorrowland is the perfect example of this. A Wrinkle In Time is Disney’s 2018 offering, and it looks fantastic. With a distinctive look, and a director with a real voice and vision in Ava DuVernay, known for Selma, and documentary 13th, it’s the perfect fit for this space and time bending adaptation of the beloved novel. It also features an all star female cast with Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling, and Reese Witherspoon.

Anticipation Level: 8/10

 

IMG_0355

Deadpool 2

The merc with the mouth is back in 2018, and we can’t wait to hear what he’s got to say for himself. Proving that adult orientated super hero movies can still make money, Deadpool was the ultra-violent, ultra-funny shot in the arm that the genre needed. Let’s hope that Ryan Reynolds can catch lightning in a bottle again.

Anticipation Level: 7/10

 

 

IMG_0371

Mortal Engines

From producer Peter Jackson, and based on the best selling novels by Philip Reeve, Mortal Engines is a steam punk fantasy where cities are huge moving machines that eat up smaller towns as they scourge the earth. This is sure to be a visual marvel.

Anticipation Level: 6/10

 

 

IMG_0372

Mary Poppins Returns

Some may argue that the original film didn’t need a sequel. They’re probably right, but we’re getting one, and we are excited about it. With Emily Blunt in pitch perfect casting as titular nanny, and the help of Hamilton star and creator Lin-Manuel Miranda on co-star and song writing duties, we can’t help but feel this could be a treat of a film for young and old.

Anticipation Levels: 6/10

 

 

IMG_0373

X-Men: Dark Phoenix

It’s always a mixed bag with the x men films. For every X-2 there’s a Last Stand, for every Logan there’s an Origins, and for every Days Of Future Past there’s an Apocalypse. So fingers crossed that mega-producer Simon Kinberg’s directorial debut is one of the better ones. The Dark Phoenix story is one the most well regarded in comic book lore, and even though it’s been adapted partially in The Last Stand, this will be chance to right old wrongs.

Anticipation Level: 7/10

 

 

IMG_0374

Annihilation

Alex Garland, the writer behind films such as 28 Days Later, Never Let Me Go, and Dredd, made his directorial debut in 2014 with Ex-Machina. A gloriously adult, and intelligent sci-if movie which made the most of its one building setting. To follow it up he’s going a bit bigger. Natalie Portman plays a biologist who signs up to enter an environmental disaster zone in search of her missing husband. This could be the break out hit of 2018.

Anticipation Level: 8/10

 

 

IMG_0375

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald

It’s time to jump back into J.K. Rowlings wizarding world, and this time we know what we’re getting. After an enthusiastic  if  mixed response to the first movie, we now know that we’re following the rise and fall of Johnny Depp’s Grindelwald. After being stopped by Eddie Redmayne’s Newt Scamander in the first film, the sequel will reportedly relocate to Paris, and we will be introcuded to Grindelwalds friend who became an enemy Albus Dumbledore, played here by Jude Law. Harry Potter fans, it’s time to get excited.

Anticipation Levels: 9/10

 

 

IMG_0376

Creed 2

Creed was a complete suprise. A Rocky sequel where Rocky trains his old rivals son had no right to be as good as it was. Now anticipation is heating up for the sequel, with Creed lined up to fight the son of the man who killed his father. Sylvester Stallone co wrote the screenplay, and was going to direct it until he recently stepped down clearing the path for Steven Calle Jr. It will also feature the return of Dolph Lundgren as Ivan Drago.

Anticipation Level: 8/10

 

 

IMG_0377

Ant-Man And The Wasp

Coming after Avengers is Ant-Man and The Wasp. With Evageline Lily being bumped up to co-headliner the film will follow her and Paul Rudd as they attempt to unravel a mystery to uncover secrets from Hank Pyms past. If it’s anything as inventive as the first movie it’s sure to be a blast.

Anticipation Levels: 8/10

 

 

IMG_0378

Avengers: Infinity War

Possibly the Most Anticipated movie of 2018 is Avengers: Infinity War. The culmination of a twenty year, and 18 film plan. This is what it’s all been leading up to. Thanos has been teased since the first avengers movie, and we are finally going to see the big bad in action. It’s also the film where a lot of our main heros find themselves out of contract, so the stakes are raised as anyone could die. Returning directors Anthony and Joe Russo will have plenty of confidence after smashing Civil War out the park, and the trailer suggests they’ve done the same here. If that’s not enough it’s also going to introduce the Avengers to the Guardians Of The Galaxy.

Anticipation Level: 10/10

 

That’s the end of our Most Anticipated Movies Of 2018. Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below…