Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Despicable Me 3 (2017) - Movie Review

I think I owe Illumination Entertainment something of an apology. For the longest time, I always judged them mainly off of their take on Dr Seuss’ The Lorax, which still stands as one of the single worst films I’ve ever sat through in so many ways. However, that is honestly an outlier of their work: The rest of their films, in one way or another, have tapped into a sense of nostalgia for the olden days of animation and translated it quite remarkably for today’s audiences. Whether it’s the 2-D throwback of The Secret Life Of Pets to the tribute to all things musical with Sing, Illumination has secured its place in the industry as the most retro-minded studio working right now.
And the crown jewel of their work to date, the series that put them on the map, is Despicable Me. Or, more specifically, the Minions that have now taken a life of their own and, whenever a new film featuring them comes out, you will doubtless see them everywhere. So, in light of the studio’s pedigree and my admitted sensitivity to overblown marketing, how does this latest instalment turn out?

Monday, 26 June 2017

The Promise (2017) - Movie Review

Even without getting into the premise of today’s film, this has the kind of main casting that is designed to make audiences froth in excitement. You’ve got Oscar Isaac, a true rising star who has been attached to critical and audience darlings for several years straight at this point and has even entered meme status thanks to his… interesting dance sequence from Ex Machina. Next to him, there’s Charlotte Le Bon, whom I’ll admit hasn’t exactly wowed me with her latest features, but quite frankly, she’s more than due for a proper-good production. And then there’s Christian Bale, the modern king of method acting who is well-known by this point for how seriously he takes his work. As much as I know better than I’d like how easily a promising cast can be cut down by a wasteful story, rest assured, this isn’t one of those occasions.

Friday, 23 June 2017

All Eyez On Me (2017) - Movie Review

No matter how timid I may come across in these reviews, I know that talking about ideas and concepts in relation to films is still less risky than statements concerning other forms of media. Like, for instance, rap music. I will always consider myself a hip-hop head first and foremost when it comes to music, but the amount of outrage that gets generated in those circles over the most minor shit really doesn’t make me all that willing to admit to such things in public. I bring this up to help cushion the blow of what may be one of the more inflammatory statements I could make within that context: I’m not that massive on Tupac. I have respect for the guy’s place in the industry, and I certainly like some of his music, but in oh-so-popular discussions over who is the greatest MC of all time, I’m far more likely to suggest The Notorious B.I.G. than Tupac.
However, with that in mind, Straight Outta Compton showed that biographical cinema and rap music intersecting could lead to great results (possibly less great than I initially thought when first watching it, but that’s a discussion for another time) so, even without absolutely loving the subject, hopefully we’ll get something similar here. Key word being “hopefully”.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

My Cousin Rachel (2017) - Movie Review

Oh, this is going to be a tough one to talk about. What makes that statement weird though, considering I’ve reviewed a wide spectrum of releases on this blog before, is that it isn’t even for any of the obvious reasons. I’ve mentioned how old-timey costume dramas really aren’t my thing for some reason, and writing about them isn’t something I find easy, but that’s not it. I’ve shown a certain verging-on-dickishness when discussing feminist-centric notions, something that makes those topics not exactly my favourite thing to talk about, but that’s not it either.
Today’s film is a story involving incest between cousins, and to cut a potentially long and aggravating story short, I found out rather recently that apparently people still need to be convinced that incest isn’t exactly the most ideal thing to be doing with one's time. And yet, even that isn’t why this is going to be a tough review to get out there. Rather, it’s because when all three of these areas intersect with this film’s approach to framing its story, it results in a very all-over-the-place kind of production. Let’s get started and, hopefully, I’ll be able to explain why.

Monday, 19 June 2017

The Mummy (2017) - Movie Review

With Marvel sweeping in box office hit after box office hit, it seems that everyone and their backyard sound stage want to get in on this ‘shared film universe’ trend. Sure, Marvel didn’t exactly invent the idea; filmmakers like John Hughes and Kevin Smith both filled in their films with little threads that tied them together for those willing to pay attention. However, those guys did it more in passing than anything else, whereas Marvel has officially turned it into a new blossoming branch of the Hollywood franchise system. From DC’s attempts to match their graphic novel rivals to Legendary Studio’s increasingly-promising big monster franchise, even individuals like M. Night Shyamalan who seems to be setting up his own comic book-inspired world off the back of Split, this is basically the big new thing in Hollywood right now.
So, naturally, it seems that Universal Pictures wants to get in on this trend as well, using today’s film as a springboard for a shared universe based on their classic cavalcade of movie monsters. Of course, if the rest of the entries in the Dark Universe series are anything resembling this, we may be in for a very bumpy ride over the next several years because this film is something truly special.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Wonder Woman (2017) - Movie Review

As a means to contrast the enduring sense of dread I had in the lead-up to the release of Baywatch (you know, before I ended up liking it), today’s film has been a long and steady process of chanting “please don’t suck” over and over again every time I saw the marketing for this film. Knowing what DC is capable of in terms of stories, and how much their recent efforts have been underwhelming (I didn’t give nearly enough flack for the whole Granny’s Peach Tea insanity from BvS: Dawn Of Justice when I first reviewed it), I seriously wish that they would stop falling under their own strain and just make the DC Extended Universe worth watching. The closest we’ve gotten so far is Suicide Squad, and even then it ranks up there in terms of the most bewildering fanboy rage quits in recent years; it honestly seems like I’m one of the few people who was willing to give that film a chance.
So, in the wake of this film’s alarmingly warm reception, am I going to join the crowd for once or am I going to be the lone jackass wondering what the hell everyone else is seeing? Only one way to find out.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Churchill (2017) - Movie Review

Outside of a few pop culture appearances, the urban legend of his conversation with Nancy Astor, and a Robin Williams skit about who truly wrote his greatest speeches, I honestly don’t know that much about Winston Churchill. So, rather than continue to pretend that I have anything of note to say before digging into the film, let’s just get into this thing already.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Baywatch (2017) - Movie Review

If you’ve been following my other reviews this year, you’ll notice that I haven’t made it a secret about how surprising a lot of this year’s films have been so far. I honestly don’t know if it’s directly because of my own expectations or if a lot of filmmakers this year have been getting better at left-hooking the audience, but I am getting less and less confident about films actually matching up with general audience anticipation. And yet, even with that in mind, this is the one film that I was looking forward to the least out of everything expected to come out this year. What’s more, as each piece of marketing revealed more about it, the worse it ended up looking. It’s quite a feat to take the teaser poster, with just about the least subtle dick joke I’ve seen in quite a while, and somehow go further downhill from there but that’s how this thing looks.
By this point, I think my expectations for this are at their absolute lowest; unless we end up with another perplexingly offensive offering, which isn’t exactly out of the realm of possibility, there’s no way this could be as all-time awful as I’m expecting it to be. Could it?

Friday, 9 June 2017

The Shack (2017) - Movie Review

This film isn’t getting an introduction. It doesn’t deserve an introduction. And hopefully, by the end of this review, you’ll understand why because a shocking lack of people seem to see this film for what it truly is. Let’s get this shit over and done with because I am legitimately getting more pissed the more brain power I have to devote to it.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword (2017) - Movie Review

While a lot of the music-loving world still adheres to the idea that Yoko Ono cost us one of the greatest bands to ever touch an instrument, I subscribe to a similar but far less recognised notion. Namely, that Madonna cost the art of cinema one of its potential legendary filmmakers. Guy Ritchie, as has been discussed on this blog before, was responsible for one of my all-time favourite films with Snatch. After that feature, and hooking up with Madonna, Ritchie took one of the biggest stumbles of any filmmaker still working today.
Between the star-vehicle-cum-wrong-headed remake of an Italian classic with Swept Away, to the equally wrong-headed attempt to merge Ritchie’s British crime sensibilities with the teachings of Kabbalah with Revolver, the man found prominence in Hollywood from then on but he never managed to recapture that flame he once had. However, even considering the story we have today, it seems that he has indeed gotten back to his roots… in the single weirdest way possible. Let’s get started with today’s film and I’ll explain how.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) - Movie Review

Out of all the Marvel Cinematic Universe we have gotten so far, from the politically-driven thrills of Captain America to the Objectivist musings of Iron Man, 2014’s Guardians Of The Galaxy still stands as my personal favourite of the lot. Hell, my defence for Suicide Squad likely came from how much it reminded me of Guardians in both tone and intent. Apart from what people have come to expect from a modern Marvel film, like the pitch-perfect casting and the industry connections to some of the greatest effects wizards working today, it also opened the gates for a more bizarre and kitschy brand of superhero story, one that director/co-writer James Gunn was more than apt to tell.
Despite how late this review ultimately is, with the film in question being out for quite a while before I finally got around to it, I was definitely eager to see just how it would measure up to the original that I hold in quite high regard. Once again, this is the year that sees fit to kick audiences square in their expectations, so here’s hoping for a solid project.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017) - Movie Review

Pirates Of The Caribbean is the classic tale of a studio wanting to make a film based one of their most successful theme park attractions that, through one of the single greatest casting decisions in the history of the medium, became one of Hollywood’s hottest properties… at first. It seems that, between the increasing goofiness of the stories being told combined with the increased budgetary requirements (The third and fourth installments in the franchise currently hold the top two spots for the most expensive films ever made), interest in the series is starting to wane. Hell, while I found quite a bit to like about Stranger Tides, it did give the impression that this is a franchise that is starting to beach itself.
So, with another spin of the director’s chair and a few returning faces in the cast, maybe this will rejuvenate the series back to its former glory. While I fiddle around with my Blogger settings to make a large enough font to put enough emphasis on the word “maybe”, let’s get started with today’s offering.