Tuesday, 11 June 2019

The Secret Life Of Pets 2 (2019) - Movie Review

There’s a certain thought pattern among critical circles that children’s films basically exist to promote everything except themselves. From tie-in merchandise to video games to character-specific spin-offs to TV shows, once a studio knows that a given property has got the attention of kids, they will milk it for all it’s worth. Illumination Entertainment is no stranger to this, if the still-prevalent Minions are any indication, but their latest feature feels like a plain-faced attempt at that kind of franchise enhancement. The way they go about this, though, leaves a bit to be desired.

Comparing any modern animated film to the DisneyToon sequel factory would usually serve as one of the gravest insults possible, but here, it’s kind of unavoidable. The plot in this under-90-minute flick feels similar to Atlantis: Milo’s Return, as if three smaller pilot episodes for a series were stitched together to make a singular feature. The plots in this instance involve Max and Duke getting into trouble on a farm, Gidget encountering the apartment of a crazy cat lady, and ‘Captain’ Snowball saving an animal from a travelling Russian circus.

The acting overall is fine, with Max this time around being voiced by Patton Oswalt because having an admitted sex offender voicing something that children cuddle up with would’ve sent off all kinds of red flags, but it’s nothing all that noteworthy. Same for the animation, which pretty much abandons the first film’s Merrie Melodies style for something a bit more standard. I got more than a few Nut Job flashbacks while watching it, although this is definitely less annoying to sit through. Even with the presence of Kevin 'Why is he still here?' Hart.

It taps into familiar territory from the first film as far as humour, sticking to the animal psychology behind how house pets behave. However, that part ends up diminished in comparison to the frequent attempts at kid crazy antics. I’d be disappointed by this if the attempts at crazy didn’t pan out more times than not. Kung-fu bunny rabbits, knife-throwing monkeys, a train chase sequence, not to mention the basic weirdness of a tiger running around New York with all these house pets.

There’s some mild lip service to using the animals as proxies for parents (something that gets spelled right the hell out at one point, so deducted points on that one), but ultimately, this is just another pleasant but harmless and inoffensive distraction. While the first film managed to skate by on those grounds, if this series is going to be a recurring thing, they’ll need to come up with something more for the next go-around. Or, more preferably, they could just bite the bullet and make this into a TV show; I can guarantee that the people who still watch cute animal videos on YouTube will be into it. Hell, judging by the end credits, the filmmakers themselves seem all too aware of that.

Monday, 10 June 2019

X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) - Movie Review

In the history of the Fox-helmed X-Men films, this particular entry is an important one. Mostly because, now that Disney owns the entertainment sector of Fox, this is the last film this franchise will produce until Feig and company integrate the mutants into the MCU proper. Even though Logan basically served as the thematic conclusion for this series, this is where it officially ends (save for New Mutants, but that project has been held back for so long now, it’s anyone’s guess if we’ll ever actually see it).

But there’s also something else that gives this film importance, namely writer and first-time director Simon Kinberg’s reason for making it. He tried before to bring the story of the all-powerful Phoenix to the big screen through his work on The Last Stand, but since most audiences didn’t care much for it, he wanted to try again and get it right this time. As I got into at the start of this year, I have a fondness for cinematic redemption stories like that, ones where creatives look at past mistakes and seek to rectify them; doubly so since it’s a filmmaker correcting their own mistake in this instance. However, no matter which way you slice it, the background importance placed on this just doesn’t translate into the finished product. Like… at all.

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Rocketman (2019) - Movie Review

This is the kind of film that, for as long as it has languished in production limbo, came together through a collection of cosmic synchronicities. From producer Matthew Vaughn’s connecting with Elton John on the set of Kingsman: The Golden Circle, to director and fellow Ritchie collaborator Dexter Fletcher’s experiences batting clean-up for Bryan Singer on Bohemian Rhapsody, right down to Taron Egerton getting a shot of portraying one of Britain’s greatest musical talents as a result of having already done his music justice as part of Illumination Entertainment’s Sing.

It’s the kind of background info that ends up fuelling the hype behind this particular feature, as this is the kind of film that only comes about through pretty much everything being exactly where they need to be. It’s not a perfect film, but it’s damn near close.

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Godzilla: King Of The Monsters (2019) - Movie Review

Imagine a disused wrestling ring. One that has been left abandoned for so long that anthills have formed on the foam-padded floor. The ants have made it their home… but something happens. All of a sudden, the stage lights turn on. The rumbling of the audience is heard as they take their seats. Gladiators take to the stage to throw down and see who is the true champion. All while the ants can do nothing but stand and watch as the place that was once their home is ravaged by creatures beyond their comprehension. Now stop imagining, because this is exactly what watching Godzilla: King Of The Monsters feels like.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Brightburn (2019) - Movie Review

After a fairly lengthy and social media drama fuelled fiasco, filmmaker James Gunn appears to be back in action and at full force. Not only is he returning to Marvel for the next Guardians Of The Galaxy entry as well as snagging the next Suicide Squad movie for DC, he has also given his blessing and a production credit to today’s film, a superpowered horror flick written by James’ brother and cousin that takes a look at a familiar superhero origin story and twists it on its head into something worthy of horror. I’ll admit that I was very hyped to check this one out, seeing it as the re-entry point for a creative mind who got into the alt-right’s line of fire, but as I’ll get into, the results are more muddled than they should be.

Monday, 27 May 2019

The Hustle (2019) - Movie Review

It’s distaff remake time again as we look at the latest attempt to give female actors a chance to shine by reviving an old favourite, in this case being the Frank Oz classic Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, itself a remake of the 60’s Marlon Brando vehicle Bedtime Story. Between how well previous distaff remakes have turned out, like the still-enjoyable Ocean’s 8, and last year’s major success at a legacy remake with A Star Is Born, there’s a certain chance that this film could turn out alright. However, while I hesitate to call this film outright bad, I also hesitate to call this film… well, worth existing.

Before getting too heavily into the negatives, let’s be fair and look at what is done right here. While utilizing the same script as both Scoundrels and Bedtime Story, we also have some punch-ups done by Captain Marvel co-writer Jac Schaeffer. To her credit, the new quips in this version land more times than not, and even when they don’t land, it rarely devolves into sheer pain like a lot of bad comedies tend to do. Add to that Anne Hathaway doing nicely as the upper-class swindler and Rebel Wilson and her frequent ad-libs as the small-time con artist, and you have a good foundation for some madcap antics. Bonus points for Wilson’s work IRL, using her legal education to keep this film from getting a rather bewildering R rating in the states.

But for as much as I could discuss the new elements here, not to mention director Chris Addison giving a solid first impression as a feature filmmaker, this is still wielding a script that has been around for over 50 years and the major points, namely the narrative, are pretty much beat-for-beat what they were at the start. As a result, any real props I can give to the new dialogue ends up overshadowed by how this is ultimately a matter of delivery: How does this film hold up to previous incarnations? And honestly, it’s all over the place.

Both Bedtime Story and Scoundrels treated the con game in much the same way that Ocean’s Eleven treated its own, presenting it as a battle of wits and charm where respect is paid to those who can do it well. That’s not what we get here. For every moment of grace and good sportsmanship that existed in either previous films, there’s a moment here that brings out hysterics in the patronising, ‘we used to use this as psychiatric gaslighting’ sense, always coming across like they’re entitled to not playing fair.

That on its own makes engaging with them at work a bit tricky, but then we get to the swindles themselves and… *sigh* While claiming to be European royalty probably doesn’t work as a grift anymore, the ‘Lord Of The Rings’ gambit here might be one of the dumbest cons I’ve ever seen on the big screen. I know that the script has its wacky moments, but it didn’t strain credibility this badly.

And then there’s the major sticking point: The ending, which is basically the exact same as Scoundrels. Now, if I had to guess, I wouldn’t be surprised if this remake’s entire existence was predicated on just that ending, considering it made for a deliciously subversive moment of the two professionals getting played at their own game. It even featured fake Australian accents, which sound a lot better coming out of Caine’s mouth than Afrikaans does out of Wilson’s.

But more than that, the fact that the ending is this xeroxed, but still keeping the gender-swap, robs it of any efficacy. It takes what was a pretty cool moment of showing the supposed victim becoming the victor into something that only serves to reinforce the film’s own preconceptions. Pretty weird when you’re trying to subvert what came before and end up missing the point of the whole affair.

All of this results in a film that is mildly funny, technically sound and even outdoes what it’s remaking (albeit in superficial areas, like the opening credits), but just doesn’t hold a candle to past material. Even Bedtime Story, as dated as it is, left a better impression than this does. What’s more, even though it sticks closely to the original script, it somehow manages to miss the very point that could have given this remake some agency and even a bit of subversion in its own right. It’s a remake that feels like it completely missed the point of why it’s even being remade, which considering the current remake-heavy climate, is thoroughly disappointing.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Poms (2019) - Movie Review

As someone who frequently watches and reviews all manner of films on this blog, the first question in response to most if not all of them is fairly straight-forward: Who was this made for? Whether it was made with my suburban early-20’s demographic in mind or otherwise, who is a given film meant to appeal to? More to the point, is it any good at doing the appealing? Today’s film is a relatively simple answer to that, the older demographic, but that question nonetheless persists because, frankly, I’m not even sure if the filmmakers themselves knew who they were aiming for.

Friday, 24 May 2019

Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019) - Movie Review

After a long line of films based on video games that have made both gamers and general audiences heave into their popcorn buckets, it seems like the levy has finally broken and we have a good one out in cinemas. We’ve been leading up to this for a while now, between the genuine attempts at artistry in Assassin’s Creed, the outright fun of Rampage, even the frenzied glee of video-game-inspired Hardcore Henry, and while not everyone is raving about this particular feature, this has caught fire in a way that video game adaptations really haven’t managed to in years past. The reason why, having watched it, seems fairly obvious: Both as a continuation of an adored IP and as a film in its own right, this production does justice to both.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019) - Movie Review

John Wick may be the single most important non-superhero action franchise still active today. While Fast & Furious and Mission: Impossible may have the longevity and their respective fanbases, it’s hard to argue that John Wick didn’t still have the larger impact on the landscape. Whether it’s the fight scenes, the visual style, the kind of world-building that puts most comic books to shame, or even just the moment when people finally started to take Keanu Reeves seriously as an actor (even The Matrix, as popular as it remains, couldn’t manage that), it has captured the zeitgeist in a way that very few film franchises ever could, both past and present. And with how Chapter 2 concluded, stakes are very high for the latest in this series to measure up to the grandeur of what came before. To the surprise of likely very few, this film manages to do just that and with gusto.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Top End Wedding (2019) - Movie Review

I’ve ragged on romantic comedies a fair bit in past reviews. Part of that is simply the nature of the beast, since rom-coms tend to make for rather clichéd viewing even at the best of times, but I feel like I haven’t the sub-genre nearly enough credit. I mean, with both critics and general audiences, rom-coms tend to be the most accessible features to get into, and that accessibility can lead to some opportune moments for demographics to get screen time. I looked at this last year with Crazy Rich Asians, a film that was ostensibly just a standard narrative boosted tremendously by its cultural aesthetic. Today’s film very well could have the chance to do the same thing for Tiwi indigenous Australians, but… I can’t lie, I’m not nearly as hyped about this one.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Missing Link (2019) - Movie Review

I’m starting to get worried about Laika’s foreseeable future in mainstream cinema. Not out of a fear that their work is going to start taking a serious decline any time soon, but out of a worry that there might not be enough people willing to see it. This film came out roughly a month ago, but because of an embarrassingly sparse release schedule over here, I’ve only just now gotten around to it. I know that Kubo And The Two Strings didn’t exactly set the box office on fire, but the reputation the company has garnered as doing far better with critics than general audiences could mean trouble. At any rate, we’re here to look at their latest, and needless to say, it’s another fine entry into their healthy artistic canon.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Long Shot (2019) - Movie Review

One of the oldest tropes in romantic comedy is the idea of mismatching someone conventionally attractive with someone unconventionally attractive. If you’ve seen any movie or any sitcom in the last handful of decades, you’ve seen this in action. It usually takes the form of a schlubby guy who is either going out with or is married to a beautiful woman, with the internal joke being the audience questioning how he got her.

Today’s film, the latest from my favourite film studio working right now Point Grey Pictures, is another in this grand tradition, and after narrowly dodging a bullet with their last film, I was honestly worried that this was going to be the point where the bottom fell out of this studio’s fantastic track record. I should really stop underestimating these guys because, while this is indeed a rom-com, its real ambitions are bigger. A lot bigger. Like, this is the kind of shit we need in circulation right now.

Sunday, 5 May 2019

The Night Eats The World (2019) - Movie Review

I’ve gone on record a few times in previous reviews that I have a serious weakness for zombie movies. Far as I’m concerned, the weirder, the stupider, the more outright insane, the better. And yet, with how much I’ve delved into my love for this sub-genre, one question still seems to elude me: Why? Why is it this specific brand of genre cinema that sticks to my heart the easiest? I could just chalk it up to nostalgia for Planet Terror, the film that made me realise I loved film at large, let alone zombie films, but that still doesn’t seem to fit. I bring all this up because today’s entry in the genre makes for a distinct diversion from the norm… and honestly, it helped me finally pin down why I love this genre so damn much.

Saturday, 4 May 2019

The Chaperone (2019) - Movie Review

Time to delve into what is quickly becoming my critical kryptonite as we take a look at another costume drama. Not only that, it’s a costume drama from both the writer and director of Downton Abbey, the former of whom has already made it onto my watchlist for penning the incredibly misguided Crooked House. Knowing that a big screen adaptation of Downton Abbey is set for release later on this year, it seems I had better get used to this level of drabness. Honestly though, I’m just hoping we’ve hit the bottom of their respective barrels because I don’t think I can take something that turns out even blander than this did.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

The Curse Of The Weeping Woman (2019) - Movie Review

While Marvel and DC continue to hash it out for the place of the kingpin of mainstream superhero cinema, horror has its own monarchy: The Conjuring Universe. Not since the days of Saw consistently blowing up the Halloween schedule has James Wan had this tight of a stranglehold on mainstream horror, having fingerprints on The Conjuring, Annabelle, last year’s The Nun, not to mention outliers like the Insidious series as well as the bane of my existence that is Lights Out. Today’s film technically doesn’t fall under the Conjuring canon, but through a brief inclusion of Annabelle herself, it still has a marked place within it. Think of it as the Redman to the larger universe’s Wu-Tang Clan, or (in more genre-appropriate terms) what The Marked Ones was for Paranormal Activity.

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Hellboy (2019) - Movie Review

Well… this is going to be interesting. After being stuck with the flu for the past several days, I’m finally getting around to what is already being heralded as one of the worst comic book movies ever made. Oh, the joys of critical hyperbole. Not to say that this film doesn’t have its issues but, compared to some of the worser flicks I’ve covered on here like Fant4stic, Venom and even Justice League, this doesn’t even come close.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Avengers: Endgame (2019) - Movie Review

Well… here we are. After 11 years, 21 films, over 18 billion dollars in box office receipts and twice as many geekgasms, we have reached the finale of this chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s been a long journey, and while part of me is excited for what's in store for this finale, there's still a lingering problem here: How in the actual fuck am I supposed to write a review for this thing?

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Wonder Park (2019) - Movie Review

This film has no credited director. No, this hasn’t confirmed everyone’s suspicions that computers are now making films all on their own, nor is this a situation where the director disowned the production for one reason or another. In reality, it seems like the production disowned the director, citing "multiple complains of 'inappropriate and unwanted behaviour'" for him being fired in January 2018, after the majority of the film was already completed. While someone with Weinstein tendencies helming a children’s film is dicey to say the least, I will give some credit to Paramount and Nickelodeon for booting his credit from the film, while still releasing it so everyone else’s hard work didn’t go to waste. It also helps that this film is certainly better than I would’ve expected from that kind of production drama.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Pet Sematary (2019) - Movie Review

While it didn’t get a lot of love back in the day (and judging by reactions to today’s film, that feeling persists), Mary Lambert’s Pet Sematary is a fucking great horror flick and one of the better Stephen King adaptations. Having King himself penning the screenplay certainly helped, but as a look at how people react to grief and why it is vitally important to come to terms with that grief, it is a seriously intense ride, if an occasionally goofy one.

I’d argue the point in remaking the story in the first place, but considering the recent crop of King adaptations and their combined consistency, I’m not entirely against the idea. Hell, this one has an uncredited David Kajganich working on the script, and given how well he did with last year’s remake of Suspiria, this could turn out good. However, as I’m about to get into, this film ends up being a mish-mash of underperforming, overperforming and just outweirding the original and not all in good ways.

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Little (2019) - Movie Review

This is gonna be somewhat of a redemptive piece for me, since technically, I should have seen this movie already. I was supposed to see this movie earlier in the week for FilmInk, but due to… well, let’s be honest, me screwing up, I didn’t get to the preview screening. This isn’t going to be in any official capacity, and I do try and watch every movie I can anyway, but out of a sense of professional pride (stop laughing), I had to get this film out of the way first.

That said, having now sat through this, I can’t help but be a little thankful that I missed out the first time around because, if I went to the preview screening, I likely would’ve sent my editor a page covered in my own arterial spray as my write-up. Yes, I type out all of my reviews, but trust me, I would’ve found a way to do that regardless because that is how painful this thing is to sit through.

Friday, 5 April 2019

Why I'm Not Reviewing Shazam! (2019)

I’m not reviewing this movie. I’m not watching this movie at the cinema. I’m likely to never go near this movie at all. Yep, for the first time in this blog’s history, I’m instating an official boycott for a movie. Wonder Wheel and Underworld: Blood Wars may have gotten me in the mindset of boycotting whatever came next, but this is the first time I’ve actively done so. The reason why is both complicated and rather depressing, so let’s try and go into this as even-handedly as possible.

Monday, 1 April 2019

Us (2019) - Movie Review

This review is going to be quite different from what I usually write on here. As much as I try and refrain from tooting my own horn, I often pride myself on being able to dissect a film in real time as I’m watching it, turning these reviews into a glimpse at how I see a given film and its ideas. However, that only works for the films that make an immediate impact, the ones where what is being communicated is good, clear and foreshadowed early so I can latch onto it. Us is not that kind of movie.

Not to say that its own communication isn’t good, clear and foreshadowed; just that, as I’m writing this, I’m still trying to figure out what the actual ideas being presented are and what they amount to. So, as I get into this movie, know that I’m basically showing my working in an attempt to make heads or tails of this whole thing, so if this comes across as confused rambling, that’s only because it is.

Sunday, 31 March 2019

Destroyer (2019) - Movie Review

"(Famous actor) as you've never seen them before", goes the tacky marketing push for films like this. Not to say that this mode can’t be done well, as it has for Charlize Theron in Monster or Steve Carell in Foxcatcher or even Tilda Swinton in Suspiria. It’s just that there’s something slightly patronising about the idea that special make-up is a bigger selling point than the actor on their own merits. It’s especially weird in situations like this, as the transformative aspect of this film isn’t even as intensive as Monster or Foxcatcher.

There’s no point in this film where the audience simply forgets who they’re looking at; the make-up isn’t that good. But more to the point, the idea that this is Nicole Kidman turning a new leaf? After seeing her perform one of the greatest verbal emasculations in the history of cinema back with Secret In Their Eyes, this is the kind of shit I’ve been eagerly awaiting her to revisit. And thankfully, she doesn’t disappoint.

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Swimming With Men (2019) - Movie Review

Growing up is difficult. Growing old, even more so. The mindset that aging can put people in can make for great works of cinema, but unfortunately, this film isn’t one of them. Based on the 2010 documentary Men Who Swim (making this the third film I’ve covered this year that’s based on a pre-existing piece of cinema, after Fighting With My Family and Hotel Mumbai), this film has its material cut out for it with a story about a group of older men who form a synchronised swimming team and compete on the international level in Milan. However, both as a dramatisation of actual events and as a piece of drama on its own, this fails to do much more than swim in circles.

Friday, 22 March 2019

Hotel Mumbai (2019) - Movie Review

This is a difficult film to talk about. Productions like this that dramatise real-life tragedies have that aspect baked into them from the get-go, but this has inadvertently gained another layer of unpleasantness in light of the recent mosque massacre in Christchurch. Watching a film where Muslims are endangered by terrorists could very easily fall into the realms of exploitation, as most thrillers with action elements tend do to by their very nature, and considering recent events, that’s not a sensation we particularly need right now. Thankfully, in the hands of director/co-writer/co-editor Anthony Maras, an Aussie on his feature-length debut, what we get is a highly visceral but still tactful recreation of the 2008 attack on the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.

Monday, 18 March 2019

The LEGO Movie 2 (2019) - Movie Review

After a quite fantastic solo spin-off (and a rather disappointing secondary spin-off), the LEGO movie franchise is back to its main series. Knowing how much fire the first film caught on release, and is still catching on and off five years later, expectations are quite high that this is going to not only match up to what audiences loved about the original, but also a reassurance that the fumble that was Ninjago was just a one-off incident. I once again find myself in a position where I’m not entirely sure what to expect from this film, much like how I went into the first movie. Also once again, having seen the movie, this feels like exactly what this film should be, both on its own and as a continuation to what has become one of the greatest films of the 2010’s.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Godzilla: The Planet Eater (2019) - Movie Review

With the destruction of Mechagodzilla City, and the original Godzilla dormant but still alive, Haruo and the remains of humanity once again find themselves against the forces of the monsters. While the Bilusaludos try to gain the upper hand, the Exifs have begun amassing followers. They are preparing for the arrival of a being ever greater than Godzilla, one with the power to destroy not only all monsters, but all living things and the entire planet along with them. A being that the Exifs call Ghidorah.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

The Guilty (2019) - Movie Review

This is one of those ideas that, on paper, feels like the worst possible fit for a visual medium. It’s the story of a Copenhagen policeman who is on desk duty and manning the phone line. For the entirety of the film’s run time, we never leave his side; the majority of the other characters and pretty much all of the narrative is given to us through dialogue, with only background noises during the phone calls giving us a ‘picture’ of what’s going on. This isn’t the first time this has been attempted, but when your contemporaries include The Call with Halle Berry, the capacity for mediocrity is quite high. And yet, even with the lack of visual detail, this works really damn well. Namely, because it highlights what else goes into the cinematic process besides the visuals.

Monday, 11 March 2019

Captain Marvel (2019) - Movie Review

With Avengers: Endgame right around the corner, this prequel to the franchise that changed superhero cinema as we know it has a lot riding on it. It has to not only deliver as yet another Marvel flick, but it also has to sell the idea that this superhero, Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel, is the progenitor to everything we’ve seen in the MCU thus far and deliver one final setup before Endgame officially closes this chapter for good. Knowing how recent movies have turned out in regards to build-up vs. pay-off, with both Marvel and DC struggling in their own ways over the last handful of years, this really could go either way. Which is why I’m pleased to report that this film does pretty much everything it needed to succeed, starting with the casting.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

A Dog's Way Home (2019) - Movie Review

Remember what I was saying at the beginning of the year about how 2018 was the year of getting our shit together? Well, we’re barely into March and I’m already seeing signs that that progression isn’t lasting. I mean, nothing says "we’ve learnt nothing" more than taking one of the more misguided releases of 2017, A Dog’s Breakfast Purpose, and deciding that it needed not one but two follow-ups this year. Both adapted from the writer of the original source material at that, with the sequel to Purpose coming out later this year, and a separate adaptation in cinemas right now. Knowing my now-prominent axe to grind when it comes to talking animal movies, and my position that Purpose is awful in its own special way, I can’t say I’m expecting a lot out of this one. Thankfully, this film didn’t go below my expectations; if anything, this turned out better than it had any right to.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

King Of Thieves (2019) - Movie Review

In some of my other reviews, I’ve bemoaned what feels like the status quo in regards to the treatment of older actors. The notion that, in order to get anything of worth out of folks like Robert De Niro or Morgan Freeman, they have to be stripped of their dignity and paraded around in stories where their age is part of the joke. Now, I get the underlying reason why people like De Niro accept those kind of roles (they want to put money away for their kids, so they’re not exactly picky with their scripts), but at the same time, essentially selling out doesn’t mean that one has to throw away any and all standards in the process.

Monday, 4 March 2019

Greta (2019) - Movie Review

When crafting a story, there is always that feeling that there is more that can be done with the premise. No story is capable of exploring every single facet that it brushes against, and when dealing with something as intensive as cinema, the smaller details require as much preparation as humanly possible.

I’ve covered a few movies in the past that felt like they were trying to make statements on anything and everything connected to its core idea, but movies feeling cluttered doesn’t get a gut rejection from me as a critic. All I really ask is that, if something is going to be brought up on-screen, it should at least be given enough weight that it makes sense why it is being highlighted. For a good example of this, there’s last year’s Suspiria, which not only dealt with a whole slew of different ideas but managed to give all of them room to breathe so it all made sense. For a bad example of this, we have today’s Chloë Grace-Moretz feature.

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Flying The Nest (2019) - Movie Review

Just as spring always follows winter, of bloody course there’s always at least one bad talking animal movie out in cinemas. As much as I feel like I’m grinding this dead horse into a fine powder with how much I talk about it on here, the fact that this is what audiences have come to expect is precisely why I’m still here railing against it. I approach family films the same way I approach any other genre, with the same want for something worthwhile to write about. But alas, not only is this film beyond worthless, the best thing I can say about it is that it occasionally reminds me of animated media that isn’t as bad as this.

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Stan & Ollie (2019) - Movie Review

Time to take a trip back to the days of black-and-white cinema with a look at one of vaudeville’s most beloved acts: Laurel & Hardy. Vaudeville comedy has had such a tremendous impact not just on comedy but the cinematic medium as a whole that it is quite possible to understate just how important this movement was for the art form. From Charlie Chaplin to the Three Stooges to Abbott & Costello, this field of pantomime performance set a bedrock for pretty much every comedic work that would follow. As such, creating a biopic in tribute to one of these acts requires not only a willingness to respect the greats but also an objective admission of why they are the greats to begin with. And in all of the important ways, this manages to do just that.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

What Men Want (2019) - Movie Review

Situations like this are why I’m not as staunchly anti-remake as most others. What Women Want is an awful movie, the kind of attempt at gender analysis that does everyone a disservice and finds that lovely middle ground between hating men and hating women in equal measure. It’s really sad to think that the idea of casting Mel Gibson as the lead in a romantic comedy isn’t even in the top 10 worst decisions that went into making that pile of utter garbage.

But at the same time, the concept at its heart about being able to read the minds of the opposite sex is something that has potential for something that isn’t painful to sit through. So naturally, when this remake was announced, I admit to being a bit sceptical at first… but then I watched the original in full and realised that there’s nowhere to go but up with this story. And thankfully, this film actually does that.

Monday, 25 February 2019

Alita: Battle Angel (2019) - Movie Review

Well, this is one hell of an unexpected team-up. On one hand, you’ve got director Robert Rodriguez, one-man film crew, vanguard of modern exploitation and the guy behind the film that got into cinema in the first place. And on the other, you have co-writer James Cameron, a filmmaker responsible for some of the greatest 90’s action flicks and the guy behind the two highest-grossing films of all time. Of course, since Rodriguez hasn’t been in the director’s chair for a few years now (and his last couple of offerings were quite inconsistent) and Cameron is apparently dedicating himself solely to building an empire of unnecessary backwash off the back of Avatar, this could easily turn sour. But man oh man, am I glad that this film is as entertaining as it is.