Thursday, 30 November 2017

Movie Review: The Killing Of A Sacred Deer (2017)

Mahan’s Media, at its core, is me spilling my post-film thoughts into writing. Sometimes, the film being discussed tries so little that thematic analysis is barely required, while other times, I go out of my way to bring up what I think is relevant to the conversation. The Human Centipede III led me to talking about the U.S. Constitution, Hotel Transylvania 2 got me thinking about the modern attitude to the classic Universal monsters, and Aaaaaaah! gave me an excuse to polish off my high school drama education; basically, I write about whatever I want to write about at that given moment. However, while I do pride myself on being able to discuss media at this level, I will always admit that I am hardly a seasoned expert on any of this.

Any grand statements I have made in the past concerning the human condition are mostly personal observations and whatever unifying theories I’ve expressed to explain certain films could very well be 100% incorrect. Every word I’ve ever written here and elsewhere is done with the possibility that I could be talking completely out of my arse on the subject; all I care about is being able to explain the reasons why I hold those opinions, not necessarily whether they are “correct”. I just say what I believe to be true, and if I’m wrong, so be it; I learn from it and move forward. I bring all this up because, every time I get to a film of this nature, I get self-conscious that maybe I’m just too stupid to get it. I’m willing to bet that this is a common reaction to today’s subject, but I’ve never let that stop me before. Hope you’re ready to get both confused and depressed: This is The Killing Of A Sacred Deer.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Movie Review: Murder On The Orient Express (2017)

Kenneth Branagh, when all is said and done, is a filmmaker who operates best in the realm of adaptation. Starting out by bringing some of Shakespeare’s greatest stories to the big screen in roaring fashion, right down to what has become the definitive version of Hamlet (all four hours of it), he has since gone on to give the same treatment to operas, spy thriller novels, superheroes, even Disney princesses. The respective qualities of each of those examples definitely differs, but I would argue that the man always manages to leave an impression on whatever genre he decides to take on. Today marks yet another new avenue for the man, this time delving into a murder mystery adapted from legendary writer Agatha Christie. Do we see the little grey cells go off in Branagh’s head once again, or are they sitting this one out? This is Murder On The Orient Express.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Movie Review: Naked (2017)

With December fast approaching, I can already feel my brain preparing itself for the ensuing marathon of reviews. Of course, with the increase in aptitude to see films, there’s also an increased willingness to subject myself to... less-than-ideal releases. The kind of films that people would usually come across in passing and never think of again, either because they’re too dull, too stupid, or just too bad in general. It’s the same mindset that led me to reviewing Fifty Shades Of Black last year, a film as useless as it is a failure at what should be the easiest job in the world: Taking the piss out of the works of E. L. James. And now, it seems that Marlon Wayons and Michael Tiddes are back it again with a Netflix-exclusive release… and somehow, it has an even lower approval rating than Fifty Shades; either version. We’re dealing with another addition to The 0% Club today, so strap yourselves in for what will most likely be a complete disaster. This is Naked.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Movie Review: Detroit (2017)

The plot: On July 23rd, 1967, a riot starts on the streets of Detroit in response to a police raid. A state of emergency was declared by Governor Romney, allowing the National Guard and military officers to step in and provide assistance. In the midst of all this, a seemingly mundane incident at the Algiers Motel soon turns into calamity as the police forcefully try and get to the bottom of the situation. Even if it means shedding blood and tears to do so.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Movie Review: Justice League (2017)

This is the film event of the year but for all the wrong reasons. After the far-from-impressive track record of the DC Extended Universe up to this point, we now have the big team-up feature to kick things into high gear. But then the production issues started to pop up: Avengers writer Joss Whedon was tapped by Zack Snyder to write scenes for reshoots, then Snyder left the project due to family medical issues so Whedon had to direct the reshoots himself... and then Snyder hit up the Internet after the film's release, practically begging the public to show interest in his original cut for the film, rather than the one in cinemas which was edited down. Knowing how scattershot the production values of all the DCEU films have been so far, with the highly lauded exception of Wonder Woman, this kind of production background isn't making me hopeful that this will be the one to finally push DC out of the red. But, as I've said before, I've always had a soft spot for superhero and comic book-related films; hell, I still think that Suicide Squad is a decent, if flawed, feature. Maybe that will kick in again and I'll walk away from this happy.

Maybe. This is Justice League.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Movie Review: Daddy's Home 2 (2017)

Well, I just covered another parental-aimed comedy follow-up a little while ago, so naturally I’m back with another one. One that I am far less happy to see return. The first Daddy’s Home, aside from securing a place as one of the worst films of 2015, is a film that still manages to piss me off just from remembering that it exists. Its ability to irritate is matched only by its complete wrongheadedness in trying to wring comedy out of parental figures spending more time bitching at each other than actually taking care of their kids. Not saying that it can’t be done but the first film flat-out failed to do so and this sequel probably isn’t going to do much better. Let’s get this the hell over with so I can go back to more uplifting holiday activities… like setting my house on fire. This is Daddy’s Home 2.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Movie Review: My Little Pony: The Movie (2017)

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a serious connection to all things associated with Cartoon Network, in particular growing up on the legendary Cartoon Cartoons block. From the pre-pubescent spy antics of Codename: Kids Next Door, to the superpowered comedy of the Powerpuff Girls, to the mad science capering of Dexter’s Laboratory, even the surprisingly emotional and poignant messages of Whatever Happened To Robot Jones?; these shows and others helped shape a lot of how I approach and appreciate media, and likely explains why I still hold a lot of respect for what children-centric entertainment is capable of. Where am I going with all this and what does it have to do with anything? Well, considering my own liking for cartoons, including several that aren’t exactly aiming for my demographic, I have never really understood the disdain for bronies. And this isn’t even with hindsight; even at the height of its backlash, the seeming hatred for these people never made sense to me. Hell, I even joined in out of sheer social necessity, but it was always me playing to the crowd; even as the words “screw you, bronies” came out of my mouth, I still didn’t get the rationale of that statement.

With all that in mind, when today’s film was announced, I knew that I’d have to give my two cents on this whole thing before stepping into the realms that traditional masculinity seems to hate with a passion. Sure, I’m not all that familiar with the My Little Pony franchise myself, but I’ve watched a couple episodes of Friendship Is Magic and it’s honestly pretty good. Let’s get into this thing and see if there is something to it beyond “it’s based on a girly show”. This is My Little Pony: The Movie.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Movie Review: Ittefaq (2017)

The plot: A book publisher (Kimberly Louisa McBeath) and a lawyer (Samir Sharma) have turned up dead and the only two witnesses to the crimes are also the prime suspects: Author Vikram (Sidharth Malhotra) and homemaker Maya (Sonakshi Sinha). As officer Dev (Akshaye Khanna) interviews them both, and hears two different versions of the facts from each of them, he struggles to piece together what actually happened that night. However, as the investigation carries on, it seems that the 'truth' of the matter is going to be even tougher to discern than first thought.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Movie Review: The Son Of Bigfoot (2017)

The plot: Teenager Adam (Pappy Faulkner) misses his father (Christopher L. Parson), who was presumed dead after being chased down by scientists led by Wallace. However, when Adam by chance finds that his father is still alive, he’s more than just alive: He’s Bigfoot! As Adam reconnects with his father and his forest friends, Wallace is hot on their trail to capture Bigfoot and discover the cure for baldness.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Movie Review: Three Summers (2017)

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve looked at an Aussie film, so let’s rectify that by looking at today’s film by that fabled Australian filmmaker… Ben Elton. Okay, to be fair, this is a primarily Aussie production, full of premier Aussie actors and it’s set in the outback; it’s just directed by a British guy. But not just any British guy but one of the UK’s foremost satirists. Behind such classics as The Young Ones and Blackadder, Elton’s bombastic and scathing approach to satire is genuinely impressive. Whether it was looking at 80’s punk culture with Young Ones or basically the whole of history with Blackadder, the man had a definite knack for the work, which considering how fiddly true satire can be is commendable. It also helps that he had a hand in the greenlighting of Red Dwarf, not only a strong force of sci-fi satire in its own right but an all-out classic piece of British pop culture. With this kind of pedigree, and taking into account what Australian media is often best at (cultural examination), this should turn out pretty good… right? This is Three Summers.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Movie Review: Bad Moms 2 (2017)

For as much derision as the practice gets, I don’t have any major issue with the whole sequel/franchise/cinematic universe thing in Hollywood. I find it interesting to see what films hold up to the original, and I’m always surprised to see films that manage to exceed what came before it like John Wick: Chapter 2 and Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2. Today’s film, however, is of a brand that does make me tilt my head. It was a little over a year ago that I looked the first Bad Moms, a film that I still think people didn’t give enough credit to for the kind of film it was. Having this little amount of time between installments is usually the sign of a cash-in “let’s just repeat what we did before” sequel. Combine that with this being a Christmas film released in November, because doing it in December would’ve made too much sense, and this has a high probability of being less-than-adequate. Still, given how impressed I was with the first film and seeing how some equally impressive cinematic follow-ups this year, I’m holding onto some hope that this might be decent. For once, I will not be pleased if I’m proven wrong. This is Bad Moms 2 (also known as A Bad Moms Christmas).

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Movie Review: Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

I never thought I would get to this point but I think I’m starting to get burnt out on all these Marvel movies. I’ve mentioned before how much I love superhero and comic book inspired films, and I still stand by all of that, but as more time passes, I’m beginning to realize that my zeal to see these films in the cinema has severely diminished. Yeah, I’ve still seen all of the MCU to date, but I ended up getting to some of them like Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming far later than I would have expected. Whether it’s down to the sheer volume of releases per year, the fact that all of them are interconnected so that they all need to be seen to get the full experience, or just down to me discovering other sub-genres that interest me more, some part of my subconscious is hesitant to keep seeing these. Not that it should be; I mean, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 is still an astounding work, Homecoming gave us the first real Spider-Man movie and even Doctor Strange has some of the greatest effects work I’ve ever seen full stop. So, yeah, maybe it’s less that I’m losing my love for these films and more that they are starting to feel more like work. No change there then, honestly. Anyway, enough waffle; time to get into this latest MCU offering that seems to be taking the franchise in a different direction. A very weird direction. This is Thor: Ragnarok.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Movie Review: Jigsaw (2017)

Saw is my favourite film series. I really have no other way to put it; I friggin’ love these movies. Born right here in my homeland from director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell, the yearly Halloween release of these films was one of the few cinematic schedules I stuck to without a break. And it’s not even for ironic ‘guilty pleasure’ reasons, as there’s honestly a lot to genuinely like for the more strong-stomached audiences out there. The grungy visual texture, Charlie Clouser’s heart-racing soundtracks, the twisted ingenuity behind the series’ trademark traps, even down to the compelling and surprisingly complex characters; it’s a cult film series with the easily-overlooked positives and myopic detraction that a lot of these series end up getting. When the series originally closed out with The Final Chapter, while disheartened that it ended on its worst note, I’ll admit to being more disheartened that the story was closing up shop. But then, the marketing for today’s film kicked in and… well, for reasons I’ll get into, I’m approaching this with an equal mixture of excitement and hesitance. Let the games begin again; this is Jigsaw.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Movie Review: Suburbicon (2017)

I’ve been living in suburban neighbourhoods for pretty much my entire life. The mild isolation from living in a hidden-away culdesac, the golf course next door that insisted the family wore crash helmets when in the backyard, gossiping neighbours who go to prove that there are some high school patterns that some just don’t grow out of; I’ve seen my share of suburbia. Because of this, it’s little wonder to me that seemingly-innocent neighbourhoods are so often used not to show familial connection and comfort, but creeping dread. It all looks so nice and all the neighbours seem so nice… something’s wrong, isn’t there? Cynical as it is, this mindset has led to a lot of good stories, from the nostalgic reality check of Pleasantville to the unnerving voyeurism of Rear Window to the popcorn horror of Goosebumps. Today’s film, co-written by the Coen brothers and George “Hard Left Hook” Clooney, is cut from the same cloth. But how good is it in that capacity? Or any capacity? This is Suburbicon.

Movie Review: Alien: Covenant (2017)

Release Date: May 11, 2017 (AUS)
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action, Thriller
Director: Ridley Scott
Writers: John Logan, Dante Harper
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Movie Review: Ghost In The Shell (2017)

Release Date: March 30th, 2017 (AUS)
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action
Director: Rupert Sanders
Writers: Jamie Moss, William Wheeler, Ehren Kruger
Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Michael Pitt, Pilou Asbæk, Juliette Binoche, Takeshi Kitano

Movie Review: Rings (2017)

Release Date: February 23, 2017 (AUS)
Genre: Horror, Psychological Thriller
Director: F. Javier Gutiérrez
Writers: David Loucka, Jacob Aaron Estes, Akiva Goldsman
Cast: Matilda Lutz, Alex Roe, Johnny Galecki, Vincent D’Onofrio, Aime Teegarden, Bonnie Morgan

Movie Review: Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017)

Release Date: January 26, 2017
Genre: Action, Horror, Science-Fiction
Director/Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Shawn Roberts, Iain Glen, Ever Gabo Anderson, Ali Larter, Ruby Rose, Eoin Macken, William Levy, Rola

Movie Review: Jackie (2017)

Okay, quick bit of context. Earlier in the year, I got picked up by a website called Screenhall; the guy who runs the site contacted me in the comments for one of my reviews and I started writing some reviews for them. However, it's only in the last couple weeks that I discovered something: Screenhall has kind of... vanished. Since those reviews make up part of the lists for 2017, and I don't really like the idea of just leaving all that work in the dust, I'm going to repost them here for your enjoyment. They're formatted a little differently than my usual writing, but it's still me writing them; you can decide for yourself if that's a good thing or not. So, yeah, time for some reposting, starting here with Jackie.

Movie Review: Home Again (2017)

I’ve made it no secret how much personal taste factors into every film I’ve reviewed so far, and likely every film I’ll review after this. Every critic has an inherent bias behind their reviews, that bias being their own idea of what makes a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ film. If there was a real consensus on what makes good and bad art, there wouldn’t be a need for multiple critics if everyone agreed on the same thing. Rather than present my opinion as objective fact, which either by design or by accident is the case with most of us, I keep things honest and admit that I’m not expecting anyone else to share my views; all I care about is being understood as to why I have the views I do. Today’s review, however, is going to be a weird turn with that in mind. We’re dealing with a romantic comedy, and one that holds a lot of signifiers of what I consider to be a ‘chick flick’… and yet, this is the kind of film that appeals to my tastes. How exactly, given my relentless tirades about how much I hate the tropes of ‘chick flicks’? Well, let’s get started and I’ll explain. This is Home Again.