Thursday 26 May 2016

Bastille Day (2016) - Movie Review

If nothing else, Idris Elba exists to prove that having a rap career won’t kill off your acting career. Seriously, with how scrutinising the media can get and how equally atrocious some actors can be when they attempt singing, let alone rapping, the fact that he still has a cinematic leg to stand on is kind of miraculous. Or at least it would be if his acting chops didn’t downright demand that his place in the green room be secure. I mean, him being cast as the whitest of the Norse gods in the MCU is reason enough for him to garner some respect, as if his badassery is so high as to destroy racial barriers in its wake, but then there’s Pacific Rim where he gave the mother of all inspirational speeches as well as Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom where he imbued one of the greatest political prisoners of all time with all the pathos that the role deserved. So, naturally, I was looking forward to seeing him step back into the cat-and-mouse action scene. Is it going to be worth seeing even with him in mind, or am I setting myself up for another fall? Dear God, I hope it’s the former.

Saturday 21 May 2016

Florence Foster Jenkins (2016) - Movie Review

Earlier this month, I went to an interactive screening of The Room at one of my locals. Again. I lost count a while ago, but I’ve definitely reached double digits in how many times I’ve done this already. Under normal circumstances, I don’t go and see movies at the cinema more than once; the only time I can remember doing it was with Spy Kids 3, and that was ultimately because I missed the first few minutes the first time round. I also don’t usually advocate for repeatedly giving money to what is undoubtedly a very, very bad filmmaker, especially not to this degree. However, this is why I have always shown leniency towards films that can be enjoyed by less than legitimate means, and The Room in particular because these are less screenings and more a form of communion. A mass of people getting together that all have the same approach to movie-going as I do is a rarity in today’s day and age, and it is kind of comforting to be able to connect with that many people about something. I bring all this up because the idea of ironic entertainment is hardly a new concept and has been around for a long time, with today’s film highlighting one of the earliest examples of it. I’m coming into this with a certain understanding of the phenomenon that would normally have me on some mental ward waiting list, but I wouldn’t have it any other way honestly. So, with all that said, let’s get started with today’s film.

Wednesday 18 May 2016

The Huntsman: Winter's War (2016) - Movie Review

In today’s more prominently continuation-based film economy, there is one thing that everyone can be given credit for: We’ve learnt proper continuity. Say what you will about the wavering quality standards between sequels/reboots/reimaginings and what have you, but filmmakers and in particular screenwriters know what they’re doing when it comes to making one story feel like an actual follow-up to another. We’re past the days of going from Batman Returns to Batman Forever, where the tonal shift was enough to melt your spine at a moment’s notice. Or, at least, I thought we were. And then came the trailer of today’s film, and we all collectively went pulled the head tilt that is synonymous with reading a large number of Star Wars fanfiction: Where the fuck does this fit into the canon, if at all? Is it a prequel? Sequel? Mid-quel? Attempt to create a TV series that didn't get picked up? It’s kind of astonishing that a trailer for a film can come out that raises so many questions that they actively had to make another one just to answer them as best they could. I’d make a statement about not judging films entirely by their trailers, given some of the *ahem* controversies going on at the moment concerning a release that is fast approaching, but quite frankly this is a pretty bad first impression to get. But credit where it’s due, the film itself straightens the timeline out; it just finds whole new ways to be shit.

Saturday 14 May 2016

Snow White And The Huntsman (2012) - Movie Review

It’s catch-up time again as I take a look at the predecessor to an upcoming film… or an already-released film that I didn’t get to because I was too busy spending a month brown-nosing an entire industry. This time, it’s in preparation for The Huntsman: Winter’s War, a film that already looks incredibly uninteresting even without having seen the first film. So, let’s go back to 2012: Chris Hemsworth is riding high on that Marvel wave, Kristen Stewart is trying to break away from the series that would be tied to her forever, Charlize Theron was less than a month away from either disappointing or surprising audiences with Prometheus, and I was having constant mental breakdowns in the face of my final exams for school; it was a tough time for everyone. Oh, and the world apparently ended or something, I don’t know; I think a guy on the radio mentioned it once. This was also released in close proximity to another Snow White adaptation (or re-imagining or whatever buzz word the studios wanted to use) direct by Tarsem; you know, the guy who made this waste of a film. Why do I get the feeling that the contest of lameness between them is going to be really, really close?

Thursday 12 May 2016

Eddie The Eagle (2016) - Movie Review

Even though buddy cop action films may hold the crown for the most widely recognised clichés, they still don’t hold much of a candle to the oddity that is the inspirational sports movie. The wide-eyed innocent of the genre family, it walks this weird divide where it is often based on actual events and yet is easily one of the most fantastical forms of drama (or dramedy, as a lot of these turn out) out there. Don’t get me wrong, films like the Rocky series show that gritty realism is just as welcome in this sector of filmmaking… when they aren’t inserting helper robots and Russian super soldiers into the narrative, that is. We’ve even looked at a few of these before like Paper Planes and last year’s update of the Rocky canon with Creed; between them, we have a pretty decent spectrum of what could be expected from a film like this. Needless to say, this is very much in the former category this time, but maybe that need not be such a bad thing. This is Eddie The Eagle.

Wednesday 11 May 2016

Mother's Day (2016) - Movie Review

I haven’t seen much of Garry Marshall’s work, and remember that I’m mostly familiar with more recent cinema so I have a lot of older films to get to including a few of his, but what I have seen in no way sets my hopes high for consumable product this time around. His brand of heavy pandering under the guise of empowerment with The Princess Diaries (BOTH of them) and the plain-old twisted sense of festivity of the last two holiday-centric releases makes him the kind of filmmaker who is quite poisonous to people like me. This should come as no surprise for those of you who have read my earlier gripes on chick flicks, but yeah; I really friggin’ hate these kinds of movies almost on principle by this point. Not that that is reason enough for me to hate anything though, just that it makes what I am sure is going to be pure bile come up a lot more smoothly. So, let’s get this gastric excavation of a film over and done with already. This is Mother’s Day.

Tuesday 10 May 2016

The Jungle Book (2016) - Movie Review

In the canon of important modern directors, I’m honestly surprised that Jon Favreau doesn’t get brought up more often in conversation. Sure, his work is sometimes hit-and-miss with critics (sometimes for no good reason like with Cowboys & Aliens) but when you put him into context with the current state of superhero films, he played a crucial role in getting where we are right now. 2008’s Iron Man was a serious make-or-break situation for the Marvel Cinematic Universe; if they screwed up, we wouldn’t have gotten the proceeding 8 years of astoundingly consistent output from Marvel Studios.

Hindsight does funny things to people, and sure, Robert Downey Jr. set a precedent for pitch-perfect casting in Marvel films, but if it wasn’t for Favreau’s engagingly populist style, we’d be looking at a far different landscape right now. After the lukewarm response to Iron Man 2, which admittedly wasn’t amazing but still decent, he went on to Cowboys & Aliens… and then he made Chef, which was basically his own admission of how difficult it is to break out of the big leagues and just make his own products. Well, he seems to be working with Disney once again with today’s film, a re-telling of one of Disney’s perennial classics.

Monday 9 May 2016

The Divergent Series: Allegiant (2016) - Movie Review

Looks like we have another addition to the series that never ceases to make no sense… except the battlefield has shifted this time around. While the previous films hadn’t gotten that hot a reception with critics, I would’ve considered those as an honorary critical disagreement as it seemed like I was the only one who could see these films as the absolute nonsense that they were. Everyone was going on about how derivative they were (and they most certainly are) and how they’re mediocre at best. And then along came this film and suddenly everyone felt the same growing feeling of confusion as me. Must be a way to balance out what happened with me and Melissa McCarthy. So, now when I endlessly bitch about continuity errors and exhibit the kind of ephemera retention that makes Trekkies blush, I won’t be the only guy doing it this time. It’s the hate that brings people together. So, without further ado, let’s get into this whopping 12%-er and see if my expectations were met from last time, in that this somehow makes everything even more confusing.

Sunday 8 May 2016

An (Sweet Red Bean Paste) (2016) - Movie Review


Okay, okay, I’m awake!

Ugh. It’s been over a week since I watched this thing, and I only just now woke up from it. How amazing that I can manage to publish reviews even in my sleep. That’s not stupid or anything. Regardless, get out your pillows, folks; we’re in for the long stretch.

Saturday 7 May 2016

The Boss (2016) - Movie Review

I have grown weirdly out-of-sync with the rest of the world when it comes to cinema, specifically when it comes to Melissa McCarthy. It took a long while for me to get into her style of comedy and by the time I did, it was with Tammy, the film where people began to stop liking her. It’s some strange anti-hipster effect where I liked it only after it was cool. Whatever; if I liked all the films I’m supposed to like, not only would things get really boring but my annual list of critical disagreements wouldn’t even exist. Sure, Spy came around shortly after and we’re suddenly on the same page again, but it still feels like I’m stuck in the late phase of her career… yeah, we grow bored of people rather quickly in the Internet age. So, as part of some cosmic attempt to confuse me even further, her latest film has come out and it has somehow gotten an even worse overall reception than Tammy. Am I going to stick to my guns and find something to like about it, or will I join the pack and admit that Melissa McCarthy isn’t funny? Only one way to find out.

Friday 6 May 2016

Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016) - Movie Review

While How To Train Your Dragon serves as a lot of people’s evidence that Dreamworks is far better than we give them credit for, the Kung Fu Panda films are also an example of the studio at their best. Admittedly, the entire franchise started on a rather ill-fitting note by casting Jack Black as the main character, and sure his mannerisms were quite grating to start out with, but it had a sense of excitement and fun that a lot of other recent family films were lacking. The animation was high-energy and very well-crafted, leading to probably some of the best fight scenes of any film series of the last several years, the acting was top-notch with an all-star cast that contained some real martial arts legends like Jackie Chan and Jean-Claude Van Damme. Oh, and the writing took the standard “be yourself” theme of a lot of family-friendly fare and executed it so well that it managed to break the mould of its kind and surpass the genre clichés. You can imagine, with a pedigree like this, that this third film would have some rather high expectations. For reasons I will get into with the review proper, I was really not looking forward to this. But hey, after the weaksauce family offerings of the last long while, I’m still positive that this will be a decent watch. How decent is the question, though.

Monday 2 May 2016

God's Not Dead 2 (2016) - Movie Review

I doubt I will ever dread seeing a film for the rest of the year more so than this one. The first film was one of the first that I covered on this blog and… well, it is ugly on just about every level imaginable. As such, I spent two weeks prior to the film’s release to try and convince someone I knew, anyone I knew, to see this film with me. Needless to say, trying to sell someone else on a film that even you don’t want to see is a tall order. Thankfully, I did find someone else to watch it with and share the pain, but that kind of shows just how much seems to have changed over the last two years. Back then, I was that ill-prepared that I had to edit down entire pages worth of notes on the film out of some fear that I’d piss off Christians; now, I actually some confidence in being able to be non-biased and fair to this film. Does it deserve such treatment? Well, only one way to find out as we look at this inexplicably wide release; seriously, this is the biggest release I’ve seen for any Christian film in the last several years over here in Australia.