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.

Saturday, 23 February 2019

If Beale Street Could Talk (2019) - Movie Review

I really hate my review for Moonlight. This isn’t me at my usual self-deprecation; I genuinely don’t like how it turned out. I’ve always had a policy of utter honesty, even if it meant getting into uncomfortable shit in the process, but that review showed me at my ugliest. It’s just about the whitest thing I’ve ever written and it shows, coming across as racist at certain times. The suburban white kid-in-adult-clothing in me saw Moonlight’s incredible honesty and rawness and just didn’t know how to respond; it’s like I just read through someone’s private journal, something that is both true and something I myself wasn’t meant to see.

That’s the closest I can get to a rationale on why it turned out how it did, and I can only hope it’s something that hasn’t persisted since then. And since we’re dealing with the latest from the same writer/director, and it indeed carries that same heavy feeling I left Moonlight with, I’m hoping that this review will show that.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

On The Basis Of Sex (2019) - Movie Review

For both understandable and woefully misguided reasons, feminism as it exists in the modern conversation is not what it used to be. A branch of civil rights activism that remains at the core of some of the most vital changes in human society, it has gone the way of an unfortunate bulk of activist stances and become a hotbed for all things on the fringe of the discourse. I myself have railed against the current face of feminism, and while I know the precarious position that puts me in, I also recognise what feminism represented at its peak.

It wasn’t a way of thinking that insisted on the same pedestaling as the opposition, acting as a mirror that only reflects prejudice rather than a hammer that reshapes it, but a movement that wanted equality among the sexes. The stereotypes that bind one half of the binary do the same for the other, and until both sides are placed on even ground, both end up suffering. It is because of this, among other things, that this film strikes a serious chord with yours truly.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Happy Death Day 2U (2019) - Movie Review

Well, it’s February and you know what that means: Horror… movies…

Wait, didn’t I just write this? More to the point, haven’t I reviewed this movie already? Came out a couple years ago, it was this time loop slasher film with a dark sense of humour… yeah, I’ve definitely seen this already. Has all my time bitching about the prevalence of this plot device somehow got me stuck in one myself? Is my Groundhog Day having to review the same movie over and over again?

No, I haven’t quite gotten that far up my own arse to attempt some alternate-reality game shit in these reviews… not yet, at any rate. I’m just using this as a preface because something this bizarre kind of needs to introduced in a surreal fashion. It’s not every day that a film comes out that is both a serious rehash and a bold step into new territory.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Escape Room (2019) - Movie Review

Well, it’s February and you know what that means: Horror movies. No, I didn’t just suffer a stroke; it’s just that the start of the year is usually when studios dump off the movies that weren’t good enough for release the previous year, and horror movies are nothing if not plentiful regardless of the time of year. Knowing that off-season horror fare usually isn’t worth writing home about (we’ll ignore the irony that I do that for literally every new film I see), I can’t say I was expecting much from this. Hell, between director Adam Robitel, whose last film was pretty plain in the visual department, and writers whose best-known work between them is an early-2010’s Nicolas Cage flick, there’s not much reason to expect more than mediocrity here. Well, thankfully, this film does have quite a bit going for it. And it even manages to achieve some of it.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Ben Is Back (2019) - Movie Review

Addiction is not an easy thing to get right, either on the big screen or in the real world. There are few things more disheartening than seeing someone in the midst of a chemical dependency, and one of them is having to go through such a thing for yourself. Portraying that kind of heartbreak, that desperation, that body-flooding pain is a difficult tightrope to walk from a narrative standpoint. 

Going too far in either direction could result in a disaffected wake-up call that only reminds audiences of how good they have it, or a glorified Very Special Episode that treats the matter far too simply to really connect. In the hands of writer/director Peter Hedges, whose last work was the aggressively forgettable Odd Life Of Timothy Green, we get a surprisingly effective walk straight down that tightrope with nary a wobble in sight.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

The Front Runner (2019) - Movie Review

2019 is an election year here in Australia. Knowing the intense makeover that has taken place over the last couple of years in regards to political discourse, largely due to what can charitably be called an unexpected result in the U.S. 2016 election, it seems that the public are more aware than ever of the chicanery that goes down on the party front lines. As such, features like this which delve into the political past are typically done as a means of making some sense of what is happening in the now. The Post managed it, Vice ultimately didn't, and today’s outing? Well, it does technically speak to the current political climate... in the worst way possible.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Free Solo (2019) - Movie Review

Free solo rock climbing. It’s one of those ideas where literally everything involved sounds like a bad idea. It takes the typical vertigo rush of rock climbing as is, and removes any semblance that it’s even remotely a safe thing to be doing. One slip, one all-too-tired muscle giving way, one grip that isn’t as secure as you thought it was, and gravity sends you out of this life. I mean, yeah, most physical exercise seems daring to me because I’m a lazy bastard, but doing shit like this feels like it was put into people’s heads just to weed out those who are stupid enough to risk it. Or, at least, that’s what I thought, until seeing this.