Tuesday, 24 October 2017

The Snowman (2017) - Movie Review

While the reigning school of auteur theory may argue against this, directors don’t always have complete control over their work. Sometimes, it’s down to studio interference like with Walking With Dinosaurs; sometimes, it’s down to a rotating list of creatives attached to a single film that can lead to a major case of too many cooks in the kitchen like with Jane Got A Gun; and sometimes, it’s down to just poor planning. A lot of work goes into every single film I have covered so far and will ever cover on this blog; even the worst pieces of crap I’ve talked about involved dozens, hundreds or even thousands of people working together. There’s all sorts of room for error in that kind of situation, from stunt work that goes hideously wrong to constant re-writes in the middle of production that put the story out of whack.
Then there’s what went into today’s film, which is objectively unfinished. I feel somewhat bad for even writing about this in the first place, but as I’ll get into, the production issues aren’t nearly enough to excuse how… baffling this turned out.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Geostorm (2017) - Movie Review

There’s always been something rather perverse about the natural disaster sub-genre. Starting and subsequently nose-diving during the 70’s, disaster films have always presented themselves as a showing of solidarity between people of different backgrounds working together to avert the titular disaster. However, in recent years with the continuing threat of climate change, it has kept that same mentality but added the spectacle nature of visual effects into the mix. Rather than watching people unite to show the world working as one for a change, it turned into taking joy out of seeing the world get crushed by the forces of nature. I know that some men literally just want to watch the world burn, but given how the writing quality of these films have spiralled out into thin but plentiful casts who exist solely to witness the hand of God flatten the Earth, these films aren’t being made with actual humanity in them these days. I’d be far more disheartened by this if it wasn’t for the one shining positive that a lot of these films share, but all in good time. For right now, let’s look at the latest attempt to pull off global carnage in the cinema.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

The Foreigner (2017) - Movie Review

The plot: A department store bombing claims the life of restaurant manager Ngoc Minh Quan (Jackie Chan)’s daughter. Distraught at losing the only family he had left, he pressures terrorist-turned-government-official Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan) to produce the names of the bombers responsible. As Quan’s desperation for answers reaches explosive levels, Hennessy is under his own pressure to find the culprits, as he digs into his old connections to find the rogue elements.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

The Mountain Between Us (2017) - Movie Review

The plot: Neurosurgeon Ben (Idris Elba) and photojournalist Alex (Kate Winslet) are both stranded at the airport when their flight is cancelled. Urgently needing to get back, they take an unchartered flight with pilot Walter (Beau Bridges). Unfortunately, the storm that cancelled their original flight hits their new flight and the plane crashes. With Alex terribly injured, they have to find a way to survive the frozen mountain climate and, hopefully, make it back home.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Blade Runner 2049 (2017) - Movie Review

Blade Runner isn’t just a good film or even a great film; it is one of the few genuinely important science fiction films. Setting in stone the cyberpunk/neo-noir aesthetic that would give franchises like The Terminator their most iconic moments, its approach to both world-building and thematic context is one of the first real instances of the wider mainstream audience seeing that maybe there’s something to ‘genre’ films beyond just visceral nonsense. It took me a couple of viewings for it to really sink in, and I wouldn’t call it one of my all-time favourites or anything, but it’s a film that I have an entire truckload of respect for. This is one of those situations where making a sequel could turn out disastrously badly, much like most other attempts to make a follow-up to a decades-old film. 

However, after seeing director Denis Villeneuve make a triumphant step into the realms of SF with Arrival, which is still one of the single best films of the last several years, I have enough faith in him to pull this one off. Probably helps that not only is writer Hampton Francher returning from the original but he’s also aided by co-writer Michael Green, who helped give us Logan, a film that I am slowly starting to develop an even greater understanding of and appreciation for. Maybe this will turn out okay; it’s already being heralded as one of the greatest sequels of all time. Will I agree or will I have to be the bearer of bad news? Get out your torches and pitchforks, because I can already tell this is going to get ugly.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Happy Death Day (2017) - Movie Review

There is an entire singularity of irony surrounding today’s movie. When Groundhog Day first came out, it was well-regarded and seen as a welcome reprieve from the norm. In the wake of Edge Of Tomorrow, everyone and their two-bit production house decided to get in on the time loop narrative trend, resulting in not only crushing that sense of reprieve that made all this work in the first place, but at a frequency that will likely make most moviegoers feel like they themselves are reliving the same day over and over again. With how many of these films I’ve already covered, I am seriously sceptical that there is any new ground to cover with this idea. I know that “Hollywood has officially run out of ideas” is so much of a meme as to lose any real meaning in saying it, but as I delved into not that long ago, it is starting to become even more pronounced than before.
So, with the director of the widely-derided Scouts' Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse and prolific producer Jason Blum at the helm, is there going to be anything here that isn’t going to make me repeat myself yet again? Well, this is the year of all things surprising, so I’ll admit to being curious about how this will turn out.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Battle Of The Sexes (2017) - Movie Review

The plot: Former world champion tennis player Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) makes a public bet: $100,000 to any female player that can beat him on the court. Billie Jean King (Emma Stone), as a means to show that female tennis players deserve equal pay as the men, accepts the bet. With Riggs’ media circus hyping up the main event, and King trying to juggle her professional life with her blooming attraction to hairdresser Marilyn (Andrea Riseborough), the stakes are set for what would become one of the most famous sporting events in history.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Flatliners (2017) - Movie Review

Even though history doesn’t exactly carry that much regard for filmmaker Joel Schumacher, I can’t help but think that his legacy has been unfairly discarded. Most remember him for the legendary failure that is Batman & Robin, and it’s honestly the kind of film designed to destroy careers in the first place, but the guy’s body of work stretches far beyond that. Me personally, while his more silly tendencies do factor into a lot of the guy’s films, when he indulges in his darker sensibilities, he is un-goddamn-touchable. From the look into self-induced paranoia of The Number 23 to his examination of the sex industry and the darkness within with 8MM, right down to Falling Down, a film I genuinely think changed my larger worldview for the better after first watching it. Basically, the guy either makes really good dark cinema or really cheesy cinema; he’s far better at the former than the latter.
One such example of this is the original Flatliners, a film that, once it found a consistent tone, made for good psycho-thrills; you can probably guess already what draws me to this guy’s filmography. Of course, knowing the track record for sequels-masquerading-as-remakes, learning about today’s film made my heart sink a little bit. But hey, maybe there’s another surprise in store for us; after all I’ve covered this year, I wouldn’t put it past anyone to succeed against the odds. Take a deep breath, like it could be your last, and let’s get started.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017) - Movie Review

Freelance agent Mahan reporting in. Mission: Complete the Experiment to quantify the success rate of Hollywood cinema, in light of recent evidence that the system may be in jeopardy. Secondary objective involving target Harvey Weinstein has been handed off to field agents, and it appears to have been successful. Target has been held accountable for their actions and the flood of corroborating intel has ensured further action will be taken. Dossier for today’s objective: Kingsman, product made by Matthew Vaughn in 2014.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

The LEGO Ninjago Movie (2017) - Movie Review

With the current furore going on concerning the state of Hollywood and the products it’s creating, I figure I’d turn this into a little experiment. The Emoji Movie et al. is getting people to realize just how cynical the system can get, the general reactions to Mother show that even filmmakers willing to make the effort aren’t getting respected, and the recent unearthing of the heinous behaviour of Harvey Weinstein, one of the most prolific producers in the business, is bringing the questioning to a moral level; we’re in a weird and possibly disastrous spot right now.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

The King's Choice (2017) - Movie Review

Even with the breadth of releases that I’ve gotten so far on this blog, today is going to mark not only a first in terms of reviewing but also a personal first. Today's subject marks the first Norwegian film I have ever watched (that I’m aware of), not just the first that I’ve reviewed. Something I’m learning quickly from the prevalence of Indian cinema at my local is that, like a lot of other things, I rely on what I watch when it comes to understanding other cultures.
Some are easier to grasp than others: The American monopoly means that there are a lot of facets of the U.S. that get shown on screen, the occasional British releases have given a better insight into my country’s sovereign nation, and even the increasingly-rare Aussie productions provide a snapshot of my home outside of my suburban domicile. Beyond that, I’m pretty in the dark and no less so than when it comes to Norway. I mean, my extent of the country’s societal trappings comes from Where To Invade Next, and while I would make a joke about how Michael Moore isn’t exactly the most objective viewpoint to adhere to, I’m still trying to comprehend the workings of their prison system as shown in that film.
Basically, if this review sounds like an ill-informed foreigner trying to understand a given culture, it’s only because it is.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Girls Trip (2017) - Movie Review

Back in July of this year, in the middle of some potentially scary medical issues (multiple hospital visits, a lot of dead-ends as to what the hell was going from doctors, that kind of thing), I only managed to get one review done in that whole month. Knowing the frank inconsistency in terms of when reviews get posted here and at what frequency, I still feel like I hideously dropped the ball. Partly because it showed a certain amount of slackness on my part (hobby or no hobby, I take this work far too seriously to let a little thing like potential death get in the way of it, and I am actually serious about that point) and partly because that one review was on a film that I both hated and could probably write a thorough review for without even seeing it. Yes, Rough Night is legitimately that bad, one of the latest instances of the ‘chick flick’ sub-genre digging itself into a cesspool of hatefulness and misguided intentions.
Well, in a double saving-throw, I am looking at a film that has a lot of similarities to Rough Night on the surface (distaff Hangover knock-off) and giving myself a chance to look like somewhat less of a sexist asshole by showing how that very idea can work… supposedly. This could be just as bad, or worse, or it could be legitimately decent; only one way to find out. Keep all grapefruits out of arm’s reach.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2017) - Movie Review

Back in 2015, after the monumental disaster of Home, I was about ready to completely write off Dreamworks as an animation company worth any amount of my time. Even compared to films I’ve seen beyond the lists, it still holds up as one of the single worst things ever designed for juvenile consumption. Well, not only did they collectively waste no time in proving my assumptions wrong, they have done in the most unprecedented of ways.
Kung Fu Panda 3, a film from a critically-acclaimed series that both felt short of the franchise’s pedigree and held up alongside its predecessors. Trolls, what should have become a legendary failure of toy-driven marketing in actuality was a simplistic but still amazingly resonant family film with some truly inspired musical decisions. The Boss Baby, a film that I actively had to be convinced was a genuine product and not just a work of Internet parody that went too far, turned out to have a lot of merit to its name and some very relevant things to say, for both kids and adults. 
I would normally question the studio’s decision to bring one of the most wholeheartedly sophomoric children’s books into a feature film with today’s feature, but after that track record, I wouldn’t put it past them.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

American Assassin (2017) - Movie Review

The plot: Mitch (Dylan O’Brien)’s life got turned upside down after his fiancĂ©e was murdered in the middle of a terrorist attack. From then on, Mitch dedicated himself to getting revenge on the terrorist cell, to the point of getting the attention of CIA Deputy Director Kennedy (Sanaa Lathan). She sends Mitch to train under black ops operative Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton) and prepare for the best chance he has to get that revenge he craves.