Sunday 29 March 2020

A Fall From Grace (2020) - Movie Review

Well… since I’m still in isolation, looks like I’ll have to subside my hunger with VOD and streaming. Not entirely sure why I decided to go with this release in particular, but now that I have a better idea in my head about who Tyler Perry even is as a creative, I feel like I can approach this with more certainty than I did A Madea Family Funeral. See, when Tyler actively sets out to make a comedy, his weak-ass sense of character and comedic timing makes the more overwrought, melodramatic aspects shine through more so than the supposed selling point. But when he tries to make a thriller, you start to wonder why he ever had trouble making people laugh.

Sunday 22 March 2020

Use Me (2020) - Movie Review

We’re stepping into the Aussie indie files once again, and you know that things are gonna get surreal when I see the guy who gave me the screener for this film within the first five minutes. A mockumentary-style thriller set within the underbelly of online humiliation fetishism, the film follows director Julian Shaw in his efforts to make a documentary about Ceara Lynch, a professional ‘humiliatrix’, and the finer details of her line of work. However, as he finds himself deeper and deeper in her world, what begins as an expose on fetishes turns into a much darker voyage into the unknown.

Friday 20 March 2020

Jay And Silent Bob Reboot (2020) - Movie Review

“Just for the fans” can be a real kiss of death when talking about any form of media, but movies especially. In the mainstream, finding-those-who-share-your-fandom-has-never-been-easier landscape, there is a lot to unpack around the idea of making products for an already-established fanbase. It can range anywhere from ‘let’s keep our customers happy’ to ‘what they say they want and what they actually want aren’t the same thing’, and pretty much every point on that scale has its ugly side.

But it needn’t always be a bad thing. Sometimes, it can be as simple as showing gratitude for audiences that have kept up with your work for years, even decades, and wanting to let them know that you see them. Avengers: Endgame from last year is an excellent example of that in the more positive sense, and while not really on the same wavelength, I’d argue that this film would be another.

Wednesday 18 March 2020

Hot Mess (2020) - Movie Review

With how much I never managed to get into shows like Girls (or really anything to do with Lena Dunham), and how this ‘indie comedy-drama-romance-thing about twenty-somethings trying to find their place in the world’ mumblecore premise is pretty old hat by this point, I wasn’t really expecting much out of this one at first. And after a weird case of mistaken identity, a fit of inactivity, an expired screener link, and wanting to override missing a FilmInk screening by doing all the work I could in one day (this and the previous two reviews were written concurrently), I found myself sitting down to watch this. And hot damn, am I glad I did.

Saturday 14 March 2020

Citizen K (2020) - Movie Review

Alex Gibney is one of the strongest documentarians working today. He’s basically the embodiment of the more investigative, journalistic side of the art form, diving head-long into incredibly intricate and invariably depressing subjects, managing to unearth gold more times than not. We last caught up with him with the 2015 Scientology documentary Going Clear, a film so effective that I still can’t listen to Bohemian Rhapsody without feeling slightly ill. And with his latest, he’s getting into a topic that might be even dicier than going through David Miscavige’s dirty laundry: Putin’s Russia.

Thursday 12 March 2020

The Big Trip (2020) - Movie Review

Yep. It’s another one. There must be some inherently masochistic part of my brain that is still willing to sit through these things, as there’s no rational reason why I should be here today, presenting a write-up for another bloody talking animal movie. I used to justify this as part of my larger want to expose myself to every new film I can, so that I could potentially find some gems that I wouldn’t have watched otherwise… but it is growing increasingly rarer for that to yield positive results with this subset of movies. So, for my readers who haven’t grown bored of me trotting out this cloud-of-powder-in-the-shape-of-a-dead-horse just yet, time to take another turn on the world’s ugliest carousel.

Wednesday 11 March 2020

Military Wives (2020) - Movie Review

A bunch of middle-aged people get together to form a hobby group that gains enough notoriety to be featured in a TV show and/or documentary, which in turn gets turned into a dramatised film. This is one of those situations where I find myself reflecting on just how many times I’ve covered stories like this on here and how, with barely any exceptions, they usually just fall into the realms of ‘meh’ for me. Best case scenario, I end up being pleasantly surprised, albeit still not all that jazzed about it, and worse case, it turns into another Poms where I end up questioning what the filmmakers even think of their own audience. And with this one… honestly, I didn’t end up feeling either of those.

Tuesday 10 March 2020

Miss Fisher & The Crypt Of Tears (2020) - Movie Review

Time to get into another cinematic continuation of an Aussie TV show that my overseas readers likely won’t have heard of, and despite me working on more local ground, I’m about as familiar with the source material as they are. Aside from vague memories of seeing my nan watching it out of the corner of my eye, I have no experience with the escapades of 1920s-era detective Phryne Fisher.

However, over the last few years, I’ve taken definite notice of lead actor Essie Davis as one of the best Australian actors working today, between her phenomenal turns in The Babadook and True History Of The Kelly Gang. As such, familiarity or no familiarity, I knew I wanted to check this out.

Friday 6 March 2020

Honey Boy (2020) - Movie Review

Shia LaBeouf. Actor. Performance artist. Meme in human form. Multidisciplinary plagiarist. Jack of all trades, master of none, not even himself. The man I’ve been calling ‘Shia LaBullshitArtist’ for as long as this blog has existed, out of respect for Daniel Clowes, the Anomalies crew, and pretty much everyone else Shia has ripped off over the course of his career. Is it clear enough yet that I don’t exactly have the highest opinion of this guy as a creative?

Or, at least, I didn’t use to. Between his place as the lead actor in the earlier Michael Bay Transformers movies, the way Hollywood kept trying to push for him as the next big thing with little success, and how much he basically imploded over the course of the 2010’s, he’s pretty much secured his place as everyone’s favourite punching bag. But after seeing him in The Peanut Butter Falcon, in a performance so fucking resonant that articulating my gratitude resulted in some of my best critical work to date, I’m more willing than ever to give the guy his fair due. And once I get into the contents of his latest, hopefully you’ll see why.

Wednesday 4 March 2020

The Lodge (2020) - Movie Review

The phrase ‘style over substance’ tends to get a bit overused in critical circles. Usually, it’s applied to films that are far more interested (or at least are perceived to be more interested) in showcasing cinematic style and craftsmanship over deeper textual or subtextual meaning. On its own, there’s really nothing wrong with it as a label or even as an artistic practice; hell, my favourite film of all time is very much style over substance, and that’s one of the reasons I like it so damn much. But then there are the occasional films that embody the phrase in a different manner. Films where both the style and the substance have equal work being put into them, but where one ends up succeeding the other for one reason or another. Unfortunately, this film fits into that category.

Monday 2 March 2020

The Invisible Man (2020) - Movie Review

The Universal Monsters. A stable of cinematic creatures that served as the progenitor for the modern craze surrounding cinematic universes, which itself has found repeated non-success in the post-MCU landscape. Dracula Untold was retrofitted to be part of the ‘Dark Universe’, and the results are unsurprisingly rushed, and the less said about the Tom Cruise vanity project (well, more so than any of his others, at least) The Mummy from 2017, the better. Hell, even before then with the works of Stephen Sommers in the 2000’s, attempts to bring back the classic monsters kept shooting themselves in the foot as far as trying to create serialised franchises out of them.

But now that Universal has stopped putting the cart before the horse, and are letting individual films stand on their own for a change, we have the latest attempt to bring back the old guard. And holy shit, this is easily the best attempt yet.