Tuesday 27 November 2018

Robin Hood (2018) - Movie Review

Why do stories get retold? In the world of cinema, the answer is obvious: The almighty dollar, something that’s easier to pinch from the audience’s pockets when a story they recognise is dangled in front of them. However, the purpose behind this particular retelling appears to be a might less cynical than all that. I mean, King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword is what ultimately got this production off the ground, and that film tanked, so this being a plain cash grab isn't the most logical conclusion to draw. But still, if not money, then why are we getting this again? Well, from the looks of things, it’s because this is a story that keeps being retold because these events continue to exist in our world.

Monday 26 November 2018

Widows (2018) - Movie Review

The phrase "honour amongst thieves" pretty much serves as the underlying mood behind most if not all heist films. Most of their main drive comes portraying thievery as a competitive sport. And with the placement in the realms of sport comes the preceding fixation on technical skills and strategy, with all the intensive choreography and smooth-as-butter timing that goes with it. There’s also an underlying aspect of revenge, or at the very least retribution, attached to a lot of them, with the heist being the means to get even with someone who doesn’t play fair.

Sunday 25 November 2018

The Children Act (2018) - Movie Review

Religious freedom is a tricky idea to discuss at any great length, especially nowadays. While it seems a given that people should be free to harbour whatever beliefs they may have about themselves and their place in the celestial scheme of things, friction manifests when it comes to the intersection between one’s own beliefs and the actions of others. With the recent developments regarding acknowledge of LGBT rights, it seems like people are screaming for their right to religious freedom now more than ever… even if it largely amounts to being free to vilify and belittle others without recourse. And even further than that, there are times when upholding one’s own faith means that others end up in direct harm, even death.

Tuesday 20 November 2018

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald (2018) - Movie Review

J.K. Rowling has an interesting approach to the lore of her own stories. In the rather hefty gap between Deathly Hallows and the theatrical debut of The Cursed Child, she kept on adding little bits and pieces to the characters of one of the most beloved childhood franchises. From Dumbledore's sexuality to Hagrid’s mental health, it seemed like she needed the Fantastic Beasts films to happen, if only to provide an outlet for all the things she never found time to squeeze in before. It's like she's writing her own fanfiction.

Monday 19 November 2018

The Girl In The Spider's Web (2018) - Movie Review

Ever sit down for a test, only to realise that you somehow missed two-thirds of the study material you needed to pass it? That’s what watching this film feels like. The story is all over the place on its own merits, tantalising a battle of wits between reigning badass cyber punk Lisbeth Salander (played with a continually-wavering accent by Claire Foy) and her twin sister Camilla (played adequately by Sylvia Hoeks), only we never quite get that. What we do get is a slurry of spy shenanigans, cat-and-mouse games winding around each other, and enough missed opportunities to make one slam their head against a wall in frustration.

Thursday 15 November 2018

Patrick (2018) - Movie Review

After the scourge of talking animal movies audiences have been inflicted with this year, today’s film should come across as a pleasant reprieve. Yes, the title character and main narrative engine is an animal, but we’re not stuck with stupid and/or contrived dialogue to give it a reason for being here. Instead, it serves as main character Sarah’s wake-up call. Played with immense likeability by Beattie Edmondson, Sarah finds herself in an uncannily familiar rom-com situation: Unlucky in love, chomping on snack food on the couch in her pyjamas post-breakup, and in need of some control in her life. After the death of her grandmother, she is left with Granny’s beloved pug Patrick. Hijinks ensue.

Wednesday 14 November 2018

Boy Erased (2018) - Movie Review

Gay conversion therapy is a tough thing to write about. Partly because it is an extremely harrowing subject that doesn’t lend itself to easy composition, but mainly because I don’t want this review to devolve into me just ranting about the practice. At any rate, it’s something that continues to be administered in far too much of the Western world, and it serves as the main focus of the latest from Australian cinematic titan Joel Edgerton. Adapted from the memoir of Garrard Conley, which goes into the horrifying things that take place within ex-gay therapy centres, Edgerton finds himself in prime form, delivering a story that seriously needed to be told.

Tuesday 13 November 2018

Suspiria (2018) - Movie Review

Fresh off of the phenomenal Call Me By Your Name, director Luca Guadagnino’s latest is a serious left-hook: A remake of a classic Italian horror flick that, as I’ve gotten into in past reviews, has proven itself quite influential in the weirder realms of cinema. Since this is far more of a re-imagining of the original than a straight-up recreation of it, direct comparisons to that film are honestly a bit misleading. However, let’s get the more immediate basics out of the way: No, this version doesn’t have the same iconic Argento colour palette to it, and Thom Yorke’s soundtrack doesn’t hold a candle to the skin-crawling work of Goblin. So, is there anything that this manages to do better? Well, aside from those two, pretty much everything.

Sunday 11 November 2018

They Shall Not Grow Old (2018) - Movie Review

In the grand horror show that is humanity’s history of war, World War I doesn’t seem to get brought up much anymore. The once-described ‘war to end all wars’ has largely taken a back seat to World War II, Vietnam and even America’s ill-guided ventures into the Middle East in the realm of cinema. Whether that’s due to a more immediate connection to our present, the heightened atrocities committed on all sides, or simply because the leaders in power during WWI don’t have the instant recognisability of Hitler, Churchill, Roosevelt or even Menzies, it’s not entirely clear.

Enter Peter Jackson, heralded filmmaker, vanguard of modern cinematic technology, and a man whose grandfather fought on the western front alongside Tolkien himself. While Peter made no secret of how much that would help form who he is today, he has also turned that into a frankly startling look at the experiences of those soldiers with this feature.

Saturday 10 November 2018

Charming (2018) - Movie Review

Our understanding of classic fairy tales has changed substantially over the last two decades. Once the vanguards of the popular contemporary takes of Happily Ever After, studios like Disney and Dreamworks have been taking a long, hard look at the olden tales and applying the thematic scalpel. From Shrek to Frozen to the slew of live-action remakes Disney has been churning out, and will continue to do so for quite a while yet, revisionist fairy tales have provided a lot of food for thought about how much perceptions have changed. Of course, with that trend comes the unavoidable cash-ins, those who see dollar signs in the act of revising and retelling these old stories but never manage to figure out why these revisions are happening. Charming, in all ways possible, fits that mould.

Friday 9 November 2018

Twisted Pair (2018) - Movie Review

Hollywood serves not just as an example of one of the single biggest cinematic forces in our culture, but also a consistent showing that budget isn’t everything. If you hand a multi-million dollar project to someone who can’t even be trusted to direct traffic, you can’t expect the 0s in the bank to cover a lack of artistic vision, style or even just artistry writ large. Money isn’t everything, and in the world of cult cinema, that law holds true but in the diametrically opposite direction.

Thursday 8 November 2018

Ghost Stories (2018) - Movie Review

We tend to feel easier when we know what’s going on. As long as there’s something that resembles a rational explanation for the frequently chaotic nature of our existence, it makes the whole mess feel a little less daunting. Hell, my entire line of work relies on people wanting explanations for things, or at the very least, a perspective that could possibly give way to explanations. But when we can’t quite figure out what is happening around us, we tap into the one database we have permanent access to for answers: Our minds.

Wednesday 7 November 2018

Rampant (2018) - Movie Review

The plot: Prince Lee Chung (Hyun Bin), after hearing that his brother had taken his own life, has to return home but it is certainly not as he left. The region has become infested with Night Demons, causing the dead to rise again and swarm the living. Unless he and a group of resistance fighters can stop them, the entire nation will be theirs.

Tuesday 6 November 2018

Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) - Movie Review

The plot: After seeing them perform at a local nightclub, Farrokh Bulsara (Rami Malek) meets with guitarist Brian May (Gwilym Lee) and drummer Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy), whom are in need of a new vocalist as their last one just quit the band. What started that night would lead to Farrokh becoming better known as the singer Freddie Mercury, and the band becoming one of the most celebrated musical acts of all time: Queen.

Sunday 4 November 2018

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween (2018) - Movie Review

The plot: While searching an abandoned house, Sonny (Jeremy Ray Taylor) and Sam (Caleel Harris) find a mysterious book with a lock on it that was apparently written by R. L. Stine. When they open it, they discover the ventriloquist dummy Slappy (Mick Wingert) who uses his magical powers to help the boys around the house... at first. It seems that Slappy is up to his old tricks, and he's planning to make this Halloween far scarier than anyone in the town would have expected, and it's up to Sonny, Sam and Sonny's sister Sarah (Madison Iseman) to stop him.

Saturday 3 November 2018

Beautiful Boy (2018) - Movie Review

The plot: Writer David Sheff (Steve Carell), after his son Nic (Timothée Chalamet) goes missing for several days, discovers that Nic is having serious problems with substances. As he sends him to rehab, and Nic's bumpy road to recovery begins, David questions whether he has the resolve or the patience to give his son the help he needs.

Friday 2 November 2018

Shadow (2018) - Movie Review

The plot: Against the orders of his king (Ryan Zhang), Commander Yu (Chao Deng) has challenged General Yang (Jun Hu) to a one-on-one duel, with the victor gaining the territory of the defeated, which Yu means regaining his homeland. As Yu prepares for the battle, forces both in plain sight and hidden in the shadows work towards all-out war, and the fate of both kingdoms will hang in the balance.

Thursday 1 November 2018

Book Week (2018) - Movie Review

The plot: Nick Cutler (Alan Dukes) is a struggling English teacher and even harder struggling author. However, when his latest novel catches the attention of a publisher, he sees a chance to redeem himself for the cock-up he made during the publicity for his last book. As he tries to keep himself out of trouble, rowdy students, romantic entanglements and a whole lot of booze stand in the way between him and some sense of redemption.