Sunday, 28 August 2016

Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV (2016) - Movie Review

This is going to be a different kind of review than I am used to writing for this blog. See, for the most part, I rather obviously view and critique films from the perspective of a film-goer: Is it entertaining, is it smart, is it using the visual medium properly, etc. However, because this film is ingrained in something that is a rather prominent part of my childhood and my history as a gamer, I will be looking at this film from that perspective. From watching my uncle play Final Fantasy IX to playing the PS2-era titles in the franchise to rediscovering emulators and the PS1 era to purchasing the X/X-2 HD Remaster, this franchise has formed a rather large part of my tastes when it comes to games.

However, even with it containing some of my all-time favourites in the form of IX, X and XII, it has fallen extremely far in recent times. Between the mockery that was Final Fantasy XIII to the wrong-headed idea to turn it into a trilogy to both attempts to make XIV’s MMO work, with Square-Enix apologising profusely for the latter, it genuinely seems like the glory days of the series with its iconic characters, locales, combat and even musical cues are far behind them. So, when it was announced the latest instalment in the series was getting a companion film made and released, I… was rather hesitant. I mean, outside of working as a film in its own right, this film has to prove to me that this is a game universe worth investing in again, and after the travesty of Lightning and the Annoying Bunch, that is a tough ask.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Suicide Squad (2016) - Movie Review

Even before I developed anything resembling taste when it comes to cinema, I’ve always had a real soft spot for superhero and comic book-related movies. Films that have gotten a bad rap since their release like Constantine, the Tim Story Fantastic Four duology, even pre-Director’s Cut Daredevil; have to admit, I find quite a bit to like about them. That said, I still carry the comic book nerd gene for outrage: I still hate Man Of Steel with every fibre of my being, last year’s Fantastic Four movie is bad to the point of bafflement, and lord knows that I’m not looking forward to the latest iteration of Spider-Man on the big screen thanks to the imbeciles that are writing the bloody thing. And even with all that in mind, I still have to stop and say “Would you people get over yourselves already?”. I’ll admit, I was sceptical about this film myself due to factors I’ll get into in the review proper, but this kind of "Oh, they hate what we like, therefore we hate them" keyboard-smashing attitude is the kind of overreaction that I thought we had gotten past for this year after the whole Ghostbusters fiasco.

But no, we still feel the need to go on the uber-defensive for films that, even with my differing opinions on them, are mostly pretty divisive to begin with. Seriously, ignore what the aggregates are saying: Batman Vs. Superman’s reception has been about as consistent as Man Of Steel’s, and I’m willing to bet that the rest of the DC cinematic universe will follow a similar path. But, given my own reaction to Gods Of Egypt, there’s still a possibility that I could be a part of this backlash myself… except I hope I can show a tad more decorum than the average Youtube commenter. Anyway, enough waffling on; time to get into the film itself and see whether or not it’s worth its salt.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

My first officially published article!

So, a few months back, I did some work experience over at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. I wrote up a few lists for them, mainly focusing on highlighting prominent Australian actors and their best respective work, and one of them actually got published on their website Australia Plus.

Words can't really express how amazed I am by this response. I started this blog out as a kid with no formal training in anything to do with films or filmmaking, just rambling about the many sometimes-contradictory thoughts I have about whatever new film I've seen. Now, things are getting more serious. I am deeply thankful to the people at ABC International for giving me the opportunity to write for them, as well as to all of you fine readers whom have stuck with me for all this time.

So, here's my take on the best film roles by perennial Aussie legend Hugh Jackman.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Bad Moms (2016) - Movie Review

As of the last few months, I live with a mother of three little brats between 3-5 years old. Every morning, usually very early on, the screams wake us up and, quite frankly, magic starts to happen. I say that because, for as loud and 'seriously, it’s still too early for this stuff' as they get, their mother shows an almost superhuman level of patience. It is genuinely remarkable to see a mother in her element, as it is most certainly something I could never hope to have the tolerance for at any time. You’ve seen already how badly I react to films I don’t like; you don’t want to see how I am with people of any age who annoy me. But of course, much like their mother, I love those kids just as much as she does; probably helps that what I didn't mention earlier was that the mother that I live with is in fact my mother, and the brats my little brothers. I help out my mother as best I can with them, but it does take a certain natural skill to be able to do this sort of thing day in, day out. It is because of this that, despite a very obvious biological difference between myself and what is meant to be the target audience for today’s film, I somehow get the feeling that I will be able to relate somewhat to how a mother would interpret such a feature. At least, as best as I am capable of doing.

Monday, 15 August 2016

The BFG (2016) - Movie Review

Steven Spielberg is one of those filmmakers that downright demands attention, although not for reasons you may think. Sure, he’s the guy largely responsible for the modern-day blockbuster and has helped shape American cinema into what it is today, but in the last few years, it seems like the guy has kicked into a higher gear. Along with working with alarming regularity for a filmmaker of his stature, releasing five films in as many years, he has also taken to collaborating with some pretty high-profile names during that time. Between working with Peter Jackson along with some of the biggest names in British screenwriting on The Adventures Of Tintin, putting a script written by legendary playwright Tony Kushner to the screen with Lincoln or bringing in the Coen brothers to help polish up last year’s excellent Bridge Of Spies, he seems to be a magnet for big-name talent behind the scenes right now. And keeping up with that pattern, he has brought a bunch of his regular teammates to make a big-budget version of a story by Roald Dahl, responsible for Matilda, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and The Witches, among many other classics. So, with all this hype behind it, how does it hold up?

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Sausage Party (2016) - Movie Review

I once again find myself in a position similar to that when I reviewed Vacation, where I am under the impression that I could watch virtually anything as a follow-up and it’s bound to be a step-up from what I saw previously. While my opinion on Lights Out has been softened slightly in light of its rewrite, make no mistake, I still hate that piece of trash. So, I figured I’d actively go out and find a film I was really looking forward to, and this was certainly it. I’ve made my point about how much I’ve come to appreciate the films produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, but this might have one of the most striking trailers I’ve seen all year. Like, on par if not better than the trailer for 10 Cloverfield Lane, which turned out to be one of the best films of the year so far. Now, with how family-friendly animated films have really taken on board the idea of appealing everyone in said family with more mature story-telling and a basic level of respect for its audiences, I would normally question if making an R-rated animated film is even necessary in today’s day and age. As I’m about to get into, that question got answered in the best way possible.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Lights Out (2016) - Movie Review

When going into certain films, I make it a point of (usually) doing my research if it involves looking at previous relevant films. For instance, in preparation for my review of Ice Age 5, I will go back and watch the previous four so I have a better idea of what I’m getting myself into. Is it any surprise that I haven’t gotten to it yet, with that in mind? However, this is an extremely rare occasion where I have already done my background work without even realising that I had. Last year, when I went to go see It Follows (you know, that film that wasn’t exactly the Oscars), it was preceded by an ad-hoc horror short film festival. Among the titles shown, which ranged from the clever to the supremely strange, was a 3-minute short called Lights Out. I didn’t think much of it at the time, probably because the audience I saw it with at the time hadn’t shut up yet and thought we were in an interactive screening, but apparently someone else did. RatPac-Dune, a production company that seems to be competing with Blumhouse for the most ubiquitous film producers of the era, picked it up and turned it into a full-fledged production. Did this film deserve such treatment, and is it capable of existing beyond its smaller origins?

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

The Legend Of Tarzan (2016) - Movie Review

Since getting back into a regular routine with my movie-watching again, I’ll admit that what I’ve been looking at over the last little while have been pretty good overall. Hell, the only real down point of late (Jem And The Holograms) was only watched by yours truly as a Plan B; I originally set out to see Suicide Squad with a friend but, due to matters outside of both of our controls, we were unable to. Will that film break the streak when I eventually get to it? Too late, honestly, because this film seems to have done it for me. Now, even though the classic Disney iteration of Tarzan was the first film I ever remember watching in the cinemas, that isn’t going to factor into how I see this. The problems with this one are so numerous that I don’t even need to.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Star Trek Beyond (2016) - Movie Review

2009’s reboot of the Star Trek film series is a film that is utter impossible for me to view in any critical sense. I say this because, for better or for worse, it was what finally got me properly interested in the franchise and I have been ever since. When the Star Trek series and movies are at their best, they are some of the most thought-provoking and well-crafted science-fiction stories in the history of the medium. Hell, I’d argue that the Next Generation episode Tapestry is one of the greatest works of fiction ever conceived. But don’t mistake this for blind fanboy devotion: When it’s bad, it conversely makes for some of the most brain-dead uses of the art form possible. In stark contrast to my thoughts on the 2009 reboot, 2013’s Into Darkness is far less complicated: It’s decent, but quickly turns sour thanks to how badly it borrows ideas from previous films in the franchise. Are we gonna get a repeat of either of those, or are we in for something else entirely?

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Our Kind Of Traitor (2016) - Movie Review

I… have no words. This film has left me speechless in the best possible way. And no, that doesn’t mean the rest of this review is going to be just a blank screen; I just don’t know how to open this review without either getting into details that are already in the review itself, or just breaking down and saying “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, SEE THIS MOVIE!” For reasons why, let’s get into it.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Jem And The Holograms (2016) - Movie Review

I’ve previously brought up the weird standards we have over here in Australia when it comes to cinematic releases, but it bears repeating in the face of something like this. Three Wise Cousins, a local production that barely qualifies as something ready for the big screen: Made it to cinemas. Mother’s Day, a film that has managed to become even more tragic in hindsight because it turned out to be the last thing the director would ever make (rest in peace, Gerry Marshall, I mean no disrespect), and no person should have something that awful be their final creative product that they give the world: Made it to cinemas. The Huntsman: Winter’s War, a made-for-VHS cash-in sequel that had no right being shown anywhere, let alone in cinemas: Nevertheless, made it to cinemas. Today’s film, based on a cheesy 80’s cartoon that my mother inexplicably had on DVD while I was growing up (and that I wound up watching on more than one occasion), never got a proper release over here despite plenty of posters, trailers and even session times posted on cinema websites. After what I’ve paid money to see over the last 12 months, is this really deserving of such treatment? Let’s plug in and find out.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Hunt For The Wilderpeople (2016) - Movie Review

Even in spite of my attempts to not let the hype machine sway me when it comes to certain releases, there are still times when things get so intense that I stand back and say “Holy hell, just how good is this thing?!” As I write this, this film is standing at almost 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, with all of one bad review that, when you actually read the thing in all its Geocities-esque glory, still gave it a slightly-above-average rating. The film’s writer-director, Taika Waititi, is not only slated to help co-write the next Disney princess flick with Moana but also directing the next Thor movie with Ragnarok. Even ignoring my somewhat lukewarm reaction to his previous film What We Do In The Shadows (I liked it, but not nearly as much as the rest of the world seems to), this is raring up to be the prologue to a rather explosive break in the mainstream. Now, given how happy I still am that other Oceanic directors like James Wan have managed to get their much-deserved chance to shine, I’m seriously hoping that this will pan out well. But quite frankly, this has a very ‘Boyhood’ feel to it before I even set foot in the cinema; you know, it’s still good but cut down incredibly small thanks to the hype behind it. I’ve said before and I’ll say it again: I welcome the chance to be proven wrong on my scepticism.