Saturday, 30 September 2017

Victoria & Abdul (2017) - Movie Review

With how much time I spend at the cinemas as opposed to doing pretty much anything else, I end up relying a fair bit on my film intake when it comes to learning certain things. Things like foreign cultures and the history behind them. Because of this, especially when discussing historical films from other countries, I’ve wound up learning more about that history from films than anywhere else. For instance, through watching Bollywood films, I’ve gained a certain level of understanding concerning the cultural strain between the U.K. and India, like the line separating India and Pakistan from Begum Jaan. Of course, there’s also the element of bias to keep in consideration; no matter what is being depicted on-screen, there is always some level of creator bias involved, even with films based on historical details. So, basically, whatever I’ve picked up from films in regards to history is always packaged with an understanding that the real-world events may or may not have actually occurred as shown; it’s a weird tightrope to walk. It’s because of this I tend to be lenient with most biopics, at least in terms of accuracy to the real events, since films that are 100% true to the story are exceptionally rare.
tl;dr As we get into today’s film concerning a historical British monarch, I’m not going to focus too highly on historical accuracy; I’ll just stick with efficacy at storytelling as always.

Friday, 29 September 2017

mother! (2017) - Movie Review

Over the course of these reviews, I’ve talked at great length about directors who rank up there with my absolute favourites: Edgar Wright, Christopher Nolan, Kevin Smith, Tim Burton, Steven Soderbergh, even directors who became my favourites as I wrote more about them here like Denis Villeneuve. Today, however, we’re talking about my No. 1 spot, the filmmaker that I hold in the highest regard above all others: Darren Aronofsky.
The reasons for which are rather simple: His filmography is full of truly great films, save for Black Swan but that’s just down to personal taste, and he fulfills my liking for psycho-thrills more consistently than any other filmmaker I’ve come across. His approach to all things spiritual and psychological appealed to me even before my critical awakening, and to this day he continues to impress me. Without question, I was looking forward to this one… and yet the initial opinions on it (both from critics and audiences) are the most divisive I’ve seen for any film in recent years. Well, time to cut into this thing, and be warned that this is going to be a bumpy ride.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

The Emoji Movie (2017) - Movie Review

2017 has been an… interesting year so far. In the real world, a series of natural disasters and what appears to be a Twitter-influenced update on the Cold War going on between the U.S. and North Korea has put a lot of worry in people that we are on the brink of destruction. Oh, and some other stuff concerning sexuality just to make everyone seem even more petty than they already are. In situations like this, I and quite a few others would turn to popular entertainment to get away from it all: Movies, TV (or rather Netflix nowadays), video games, literature; whatever gets the mind off things for a little while.
Well, in terms of movies at least, that isn’t working all that well either. Over the past couple of months, a series of underperforming releases have resulted in some of the lowest U.S. box office returns on record. If it wasn't for It breaking audience records at the same time, the industry could be in legitimate trouble at this stage. As much as people are quick to jump on whatever hate bandwagon that could even remotely explain this, with everyone from the filmmakers to the critics to the general audiences getting thrown into the crossfire, I’d like to think that there is a far simpler explanation for all this.
That explanation, as you may have already guessed, is the subject of today’s review: A film that has gotten legendarily awful reviews, the kind that can secure a release into the annals of all-time bad filmmaking. And I can hardly friggin’ blame them, quite honestly, and you’ll see why as we get into this. This is The Emoji Movie… when this first got announced, I knew this would be a real piece of work, but even that couldn’t have prepared me for this.

Monday, 25 September 2017

It (2017) - Movie Review

As we continue our look into the Stephen King adaptations for the year, we’ve come to a certain story that holds a very special place in my heart for a number of reasons. Growing up with a rather morbid and horror-loving mother, I had a lot of exposure to King’s work growing up. One such examples was the 1990 miniseries based on King’s novel It. Despite its rather glaring issues, much like most other Stephen King-based miniseries, it has a very secure place in my personal nostalgia. That connection would eventually lead to the Nostalgia Critic incident, which I have discussed on here before, where my love for the miniseries lead me to my first-ever instance of fanboy rage. I’ve had many more cases of that since then, but that was what first lit fire under me to rage out about what someone else dares to think about something I love; you’ll notice that I don’t tend to do this that much anymore.
And now, after a fair amount of time in production limbo, we have the first of two theatrical films based on that same story. Knowing my own love for Tim Curry’s homicidal kookiness as Pennywise, I was definitely sceptical about how it would measure up. What I was in no way prepared for was just how good this would turn out.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

American Made (2017) - Movie Review

If you’ve been following my reviews for any length of time, you’ll know that I have a rather specific approach to most of the films I cover. I try and give some breathing room for the acting and production values of each film, but more times than not, I end up talking about the general vibe of a film more than anything else; the supposed “message” behind all of it and end up judging films with that largely in mind. Well, as much as I tend to focus on the main sentiment of a given production, there are certain ideas and notions that I find myself repelled by; things like the general attitude of most ‘chick flicks’ or rather distasteful ideas concerning issues of mental health tend to set me off and make me a bit myopic in my overall critique, as if a film’s overall theme overrides anything and everything else it may have to offer.
I bring this up not to start an effort to avoid such things in the future, but to once again bring whatever biases I have going into films to the forefront. And unfortunately, we have another instance of that today with a film that involves a form of commentary that I will likely never be able to take seriously. But I’m getting ahead of myself; let’s get started with today’s film already.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Everything, Everything (2017) - Movie Review

I’ve covered a lot of movies during this blog’s relatively short existence. In that time, I think I’ve run the gamut in terms of initial reactions. From the sensible (New Michael Bay Transformers movie is probably going to suck) to the somewhat irrational (The Angry Birds Movie has a vendetta against me personally), I’ve shown a pretty broad spectrum. Well, for the second time this year, we’re dealing with a film that I am having difficulty believing even exists in the first place.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Logan Lucky (2017) - Movie Review

Retirement in the world of creative arts has always been a funny thing. As much as it is like any other profession in how some people can get sick of it after a while, the idea of actual retirement in this industry rarely if ever holds water. Here in Australia, one of the biggest running jokes I heard growing up was how singer John Farnham did a retirement concert tour pretty much every year. In terms of films, for as little stock as I hold in the idea of being involved in films flat-out calling it quits, it was still pretty heartbreaking to learn that Steven Soderbergh, one of my all-time favourite filmmakers, was hanging up his hat. Then it was announced that he was doing some TV work with The Knack; still no films, still let down. Then Magic Mike XXL came out, and while he wasn’t directing, he still had a real hand in making it. And then today’s film was announced, and it definitely clicked that a guy who is that passionate about the art form wasn’t likely to just leave the game entirely. But as a dramatic return to the director’s chair, how does this film actually turn out? Is it worth the wait or is it one of those occasions where it would’ve been better if Soderbergh actually did retire?

Monday, 18 September 2017

The Hitman's Bodyguard (2017) - Movie Review

The plot: Disgraced bodyguard Michael (Ryan Reynolds) has been tasked with protecting hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson), a key witness in the criminal trial against dictator Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman). As they try and manoeuvre their way to the courthouse, they have to deal with Dukhovich’s hired goons, the local police and even each other to make it there in one piece.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

The Dark Tower (2017) - Movie Review

We’re going to be getting quite a few adaptations from the written horror legend Stephen King this year. I’m going to cover them as I do any other film, except I’m doing to do something a little different with these. Along with going over the individual merits of the films themselves as per usual, I’m also going to take this time to go over King’s own strengths as a writer, how they present themselves in his works, and ultimately how well these films stand up as a continuation of his ethos. And oh boy, do we have a doozy to start out with.
After being in development hell for many years, only truly getting off the ground thanks to everyone’s favourite hack Akiva Goldsman, to say this film hasn’t been well-received would undermine the sheer apathy that this has generated so far. Anyone who has read through my reviews for quote-unquote “boring” films in the past should know that failure to engage often ends up being a bigger sin than just being aggravating or thematic heinous. But is that truly what we get here? Let’s take our first dip in the King pool and find out.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets (2017) - Movie Review

Outside of Luc Besson being an idiosyncratic director (shorthand for “he has his own style that I am unable to put into words”), I don’t have anything new to say about the guy that I haven’t already said in reviews past. As such, I’ll forgo my usual introduction and just get right into this thing because I am legit excited to be talking about this movie.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Dunkirk (2017) - Movie Review

Christopher Nolan is one of those directors who seems to ferociously divide audiences, usually in reference to the director’s more staunch defenders. He has made some truly incredible films, like the cerebral heist flick Inception and the ground-breaking superhero film The Dark Knight, both of which I’d count among my favourite films ever… but the guy’s reputation has been stuck in a bit of a mire for a while now.
Interstellar wasn’t that well received overall, and while The Dark Knight Rises still holds up as a good Batman film, it and combined with his involvement in Man Of Steel resulted in the current state of the DC Extended Universe, one that was definitely painted with Nolan’s dark brushstrokes from his Batman work. Naturally, as is the case with pretty much all of his films, the marketing for his latest has been rather inescapable. Knowing my own hesitance to full-force advertising of films and my want for him to pull through with a film that I don’t have to defend quite so hard as something like Rises, this is already looking like an interesting situation for a film’s release.
But that’s all background noise; what’s the actual movie like?

Monday, 4 September 2017

Hampstead (2017) - Movie Review

A few times now in my reviews, I have mentioned a few ‘sentient red flags’ that have shown up in some films; actors whose recent track records are so consistently underwhelming that merely seeing them attached to films is enough to make sceptical. Usually, I’ve attributed that label to certain Aussie actors like Jai Courtney and Teresa Palmer, both of whom have been attached to some rather troubling works over the last few years. Well, it is my unfortunate duty to include another actor to that list: Diane Keaton. Over the last couple years, her live-action filmography has ranged from the bland with a touch of mean-spiritedness with And So It Goes to the casually spiteful and rather distasteful with Love The Coopers. Will today’s film show a change in that pattern, or will I have to see another lauded actor fall through the cracks of modern cinema? This is Hampstead.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Annabelle: Creation (2017) - Movie Review

Well, after the unprecedented success of Ouija: Origin Of Evil from last year, a film that I still absolutely adore, I figure it’s about time to put that hope for better cinema into practice. Between Origin Of Evil showing that it is still possible to make a prequel film that outshines the original and the general unpredictability surrounding a lot of this year’s releases, I have more than enough reason to believe that, in spite of how lame the original film was, this film could still turn out alright. So, let’s take a look at this latest horror film from the director of Lights Out… wow. I think I just set a world record for the fastest loss of optimism on that one, but let’s press on anyway.