Wednesday 30 September 2020

Four Kids And It (2020) - Movie Review

The titular It of this film isn’t the legendary cosmic monster who dresses like a clown. No, this one might be even weirder than that. This It, voiced by Michael Caine, is a sand-dwelling creature that looks like Yoda fucked Chewbacca’s dad and somehow gave birth afterwards. He grants wishes by inflating himself with magical stomach gases, but can only grant one wish a day, except when he can do more because the plot needs him to.

Already, this sounds like the kind of crazy you can only find in media made for children, also known as one of the main reasons why I still give kids’ films an honest chance well into my 20s. Unfortunately, the lunacy isn’t confined to just the story specifics; this entire production is off its face.

Tuesday 29 September 2020

Astro Kid (2020) - Movie Review


From the writers and producers of the bizarre talking animal superhero movie The Jungle Bunch, this film is the latest from French studio TAT Productions, which is dangerously close to outright saying “This was made by garbage”. Originally named Terra Willy (renamed because I’m assuming they didn’t want parents to think this featured grisly emasculation), it’s about a boy who gets stranded on an alien planet and, with the help of his robot Buck, tries to survive long enough to get rescued.

Monday 28 September 2020

Death Do Us Part (Zoo) (2020) - Movie Review

John (Ed Speleers) and Karen (Zoë Tapper) are stuck in a loveless marriage. After they discovered that Karen was infertile, and their last child stillborn, they haven’t stayed together out of love but complacency. Mindlessly shuffling their way through life, propped up on copious amounts of drugs and alcohol to be even remotely interested in this existence, all while they both stay on the cusp of a divorce but ultimately unable to take that plunge. You can see why, once the zombie apocalypse breaks out across the world, their lives haven’t really changed that much.

Saturday 26 September 2020

The Shed (2020) - Movie Review

We’re dealing with some low-stakes, low-budget horror fare with this one, but that shouldn’t automatically be seen as a bad thing. Shoestring gore can be a beautiful thing when done right, and in all honesty, if you want an example of why budget isn’t everything, horror is a pretty good place to start. And with this in particular, we have a high school horror drama where a bullied emo kid discovers that a ravenous vampire has taken up residence in his backyard shed. Let’s see how far we can get into this review without bringing up a certain franchise all about high school and vampires.

Friday 25 September 2020

The Broken Hearts Gallery (2020) - Movie Review

Man, it’s good to see Geraldine Viswanathan still at work in the U.S. I admittedly haven’t kept super-attentive with her recent filmography as I probably should be (gotta support Aussie talent, especially with the note she broke out on), but once this movie hit my radar, I found myself in a rare position of actually looking forward to a rom-com. With how often I poke fun at the genre and its many, many hallmarks, I’m guessing that my heart filed a restraining order against the rest of my body years ago.

Wednesday 23 September 2020

The Secret Garden (2020) - Movie Review

Films like this are frustrating to write about, possibly even more so than films that are outright boring. Although weirdly enough, they’re both frustrating for the same reason: The challenge involved with writing about them in a way that’s worth reading. With boring films, it’s managing to get across how little of an impact it made on me as a viewer without resorting to just repeating the word ‘boring’ 500 times. With films like The Secret Garden, it’s figuring out how to explain that all the pieces for a satisfying movie are here, and it seems to have done what it set out to do… and yet somehow didn’t. Read on, and I’ll do my best to explain.

Tuesday 22 September 2020

The Assistant (2020) - Movie Review

Films like this have the capacity to sneak up on you if you’re not careful. Ostensibly, nothing really happens in it, at least by the metric most films are measured by. It covers a single work shift of Jane, an assistant at a film studio. Over the course of its 80-minute-and-change running time, we see her do menial office work like getting coffees and fixing the printer, and there’s no substantial character change that takes place; this isn’t the kind of movie that ends with a big rousing moment for our heroine when she decides to pursue a better career or hooks up with her dream guy or anything like that. But within that framing, and anchored by Julia Garner’s performance as Jane, this film is fucking terrifying.

Monday 21 September 2020

Host (2020) - Movie Review

At last, after many months of jealously hearing from friends about how cool Shudder is, it has finally made it to Australian screens. That means all manner of exclusive content on the service is now open for reviews, so I might get around to reviewing Kuso or One Cut Of The Dead at some point. But for now, though, we’ve got something very special to look at. A film that I believe will go down as the film of 2020, both because of how much of a snapshot it is of this point in history, and because it’s just that fucking brilliant as a film all on its own.

Sunday 20 September 2020

Cats & Dogs 3: Paws Unite (2020) - Movie Review


Time for something a little bit different around here: A talking animal movie that I actually like. The original Cats & Dogs is a real nostalgic gem for me, and I have it (along with Spy Kids) to thank for my spy phase as a kid. I used to think Hollywood spy action was the coolest shit back in the day, and even watching that film recently, it’s not a part of my childhood that I find myself cringing at. It’s not a masterpiece or anything, but as a spy genre spoof for kids, it’s held up far better than I ever would have expected.

The same can’t be said for the sequel, Revenge Of Kitty Galore, though. It’s closer to Seltzerberg than it is to the original, with enough animal puns to make me want to use my brain for a scratching post. Between that and how talking animal movies are something of a regular target around here, I’ll admit I wasn’t expecting too much from another follow-up. But hey, it’s from the same director as Mighty Oak, and I was surprisingly positive about that, right? Maybe the same thing will happen here.

Saturday 19 September 2020

Proxima (2020) - Movie Review


While the last several years have shown a growth in the sub-genre of psychologically-tinged space operas, where the mental effects of space travel have been examined to largely enthralling effect in films like The Martian, a relatively smaller sub-sub-genre has grown alongside it, that of the parental astronaut. Films like Interstellar that highlight the difficulty in disconnecting from our little blue marble through showing one of the strongest relationships we are capable of, that being the one between a parent and their child. And this French offering from writer/director Alice Winocour looks to be another in that trend.

Friday 18 September 2020

An American Pickle (2020) - Movie Review


I’ve made it no secret that I am a serious fanboy of Point Grey Pictures, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s production studio. I await every new release from them with bated breath, and every time I expect the bottom to fall out from their enviable track record over the 2010s… well, between The Interview and Game Over, Man!, it hasn’t been spotless but it has kept me entertained for a very long time by now. Their latest is something of a torch-passing moment for solo debut director Brandon Trost, who worked as DOP on some of PG’s bigger successes like The Night Before and The Disaster Artist. And honestly, even removing my own biases from the equation, this is one hell of an opening sprint.

Thursday 17 September 2020

Becky (2020) - Movie Review

Any time an R18+ film comes out over here is cause for celebration, far as I’m concerned; it’s like finding a Shiny in the wild. And this one certainly earns that rating with its depiction of a young teenager waging bloody war against a gang of Neo-Nazis who invade her home. But more than anything that visceral, this film is a joy to watch because it shows its directors, Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion, at the top of their game.

Wednesday 16 September 2020

After We Collided (2020) - Movie Review

Well, this is awkward. Between After being one of the worst films I saw last year, and seeing just how bad Fifty Shades rip-offs can get with 365 Days, I was fully expecting to hate this movie. But honestly… I had a lot of fun with this.

Tuesday 15 September 2020

Endings, Beginnings (2020) - Movie Review

This is gonna be a case of ‘careful what I wish for’ for me as… to be honest, on the day I’m writing this review, I’m not exactly in the best of moods. I know that my general worries about lockdown and COVID and all that fun stuff have been seeping more and more into my writings (both here and in my write-ups for FilmInk), but between that and some personal shit that just happened to occur earlier today for me… I need something light. Something simple. Something I can turn on for some basic comfort. And in fairness, that is what I got. Unfortunately, that’s all that I got.

Monday 14 September 2020

Cuties (Mignonnes) (2020) - Movie Review

I find it immensely aggravating that I can be in a position where the decision to review this (meaning that I actually sat down and watched it for myself, like literally every review on here) means that I could be facing harassment in the near-future, regardless of what I actually say about it. This might be the first time that the outrage surrounding a film is the main reason that I finally decided to review it, as the whole controversy surrounding this film kind of pisses me off.

Sunday 13 September 2020

Greed (2020) - Movie Review

The latest collaboration from the winning team of writer/director Michael Winterbottom and actor Steve Coogan, Greed is an obvious if fitting title for a film all about the inner workings of the greedy and the ruthless in the world of business. Specifically, the world of high fashion, where Coogan’s Sir Richard McCreadie has made an infamous name for himself. And shortly after being brought up on official hearings for his shady business practices, he sets off for Mykonos to host a perversely-lavish 60th birthday party.

Friday 11 September 2020

Replicas (2020) - Movie Review

After having quite the phenomenal year in 2019 (not to mention knocking it out of the park more recently with Bill & Ted Face The Music), I was honestly willing to give B-movie Keanu Reeves an honest chance. Hell, the plot for this one really intrigued my itch for sci-fi philosophising, all about the ethics of cloning and transferring a human consciousness into another body. Then I discovered that this is written by Chad St. John, who also gave us the jingoistic claptrap of London Has Fallen and the entitled tedium of Peppermint. Then I found out the director, Jeffrey Nachmanoff, is better known for writing the glorified business expense of The Tourist, as well as Roland Emmerich’s woefully unhelpful take on global warming with The Day After Tomorrow. Can’t win them all, I guess.

Thursday 10 September 2020

VHYes (2020) - Movie Review

There’s something inherently nostalgic about VHS tapes. I remember growing up right when the big transition from VHS to DVD was taking place, and I have a lot of fond memories of trawling through the family’s excessive collection (we had numbered crates full of tapes, along with a written register for what was in which crate) to find something I could occupy my time with. And with this latest film from Jack Henry (son of Tim) Robbins, the nostalgia glands are lovingly milked to make an exceptionally bug-fuck offering.

Wednesday 9 September 2020

The New Mutants (2020) - Movie Review

In a year that has seen one of the biggest shake-ups in the Hollywood release schedule of all time, the fact that this movie, one most of us weren’t even sure we’d ever get, managed to come out is kind of miraculous. Of course, in that miracle lies the biggest obstacle standing between this production and success: The fact that we’ve been teased about this thing for a few years by now. Personally, I was counting my blessings that this film made it to theatrical release to begin with, and knowing how wonky the X-Men franchise has been these last several years, I didn’t really go into this with major expectations or anything. I get the feeling that that’s the best way to approach this film, as it’s honestly pretty damn good when taken on its own terms.

Tuesday 8 September 2020

Dark Waters (2020) - Movie Review

Hope you’re all ready to be horrified, sad, and fucking furious today, because we’ve got a whopper of a real-life dramatisation to talk about right here. Following in the footsteps of his righteous turn in the scathing exposé Spotlight, star and producer Mark Ruffalo is once again playing a man taking the fight to a large-scale conspiracy, one that starts out in a little pocket of rural Americana but then reveals its tendrils all over the world. However, rather than systemic cover-up of sexual abuse, this film deals in something that might outweigh even that in terms of genuinely hideous behaviour: A chemical manufacturer who wilfully contaminated a vast majority of American citizens, and by extension a hefty amount of the global population.

Monday 7 September 2020

Trolls World Tour (2020) - Movie Review

Well, after being pleasantly surprised by the first Trolls movie back in 2016, I’m definitely going into this one with higher expectations. I mean, you promise me metal Trolls, you better deliver metal Trolls. There’s also where this production sits within the larger clusterfuck that is how the cinema industry has been adjusting (and, in some cases, failing to adjust) to lockdown conditions, given it became a bit of a line-in-the-sand situation between NBCUniversal and the American (and Chinese) owned chain of AMC Theatres. Basically, even before getting into the film proper, this is already something of a game changer for the industry. Not sure I can say the same about the content, but rest assured, this is still all kinds of worth checking out.

Sunday 6 September 2020

Below (2020) - Movie Review

In the near future, Britain has gone from merely being one of the most powerful monarchies in the world to being the ruler. Any news media that doesn’t conform has been deemed illegal. And in the heart of Australia, state lines have been redrawn to make way for refugee detention centres, so that they can be on the mainland while technically not being located in Australia. It is one of these centres that serves as the main setting for this film, and holy shit, is this a film that needed to be made.

Saturday 5 September 2020

Tammy's Always Dying (2020) - Movie Review

Depictions of the lower class in media, particularly television and cinema, need the right framing to truly work. Too far in one direction, it devolves into tragedy porn meant to appeal to those in moderately-better living conditions to reassure them that, don’t worry, you’re doing better than some people out there. Too far in the other direction, it generates apathy towards the subject, turning what should be a wake-up call for a prospective audience into a reason to continue not caring about such things. This film, the sophomore feature from budding Canadian director and original Pink Power Ranger Amy Jo Johnson deftly avoids the latter, due in part to how readily she skewers the former.

Friday 4 September 2020

Mighty Oak (2020) - Movie Review

Of all the family-friendly features I’ve covered on here, this has got to be one of the strangest. Not because it contains anything all that bizarre as far as content; it’s more how that content is framed. Put simply, this is what happens when a Disney Channel Original movie tries to be ‘edgy’.

Thursday 3 September 2020

Tenet (2020) - Movie Review

After diverting from his usual illusionist ways in 2017 with Dunkirk, writer/director Christopher Nolan seems to be back on his cerebral shit. In fact, he seems to have gone right back to Inception, as his latest is another example of high-concept complexity wrapped up in the kind of mainstream bombast that has allowed Nolan a foot in both houses for so much of his career. While I’d argue, both for subjective and objective reasons, this doesn’t quite reach the same dizzying heights as Inception, I’d also argue that this film has more than enough of its own finesse to succeed.

Tuesday 1 September 2020

The Turning (2020) - Movie Review

A film’s ending has the power to make, or break, the entire preceding story. That feeling where I think I’ve got a handle on what a given film is aiming for, only for the production to pull the rug out from under my feet, is a jarring one and something that can mess with the process of writing a review afterwards because it requires a serious amount of re-adjustment; this is part of the reason why I never really got my head around Hereditary when it came time to formally review it. But then there’s films like this, where that jarring feeling doesn’t make me think I need to re-assess what I just watched; it only solidifies that the film itself sucks.