Thursday, 29 July 2021

Thunder Force (2021) - Movie Review

Over this blog’s lifespan, I have reviewed (almost) every film written and directed by comedian and Melissa McCarthy’s husband Ben Falcone. The only exception is Superintelligence from last year, and that was only because I legally couldn’t leave the house to see it when it came out (not that I’m exactly shedding tears about that development, given how lame the trailers made it look). While I can’t say I have any special affection for his films thus far, and I recognise him being one in a string of filmmakers who seemingly exist only to prop up their spouses, I can’t say I have any real hate for them either. Tammy was alright, The Boss had its fun-crazy moments, and Life Of The Party ultimately got a pass for having its heart in the right place. I am unable to be anywhere near as charitable with his latest, however.

Monday, 12 July 2021

Stowaway (2021) - Movie Review

The sophomore feature from Mystery Guitar Man turned budding filmmaker Joe Penna is an amplification of everything that went into his first film Arctic. The main cast has been doubled, the dialogue has increased exponentially, and while the setting is ostensibly far more cramped than the vastness of the Arctic, it serves as ground zero for a survival narrative that delves even further into dissecting human instincts. The result of all this is a film so refined, it retroactively makes Arctic look like splashing around in a kiddie pool by comparison.

Saturday, 10 July 2021

The Mitchells Vs. The Machines (2021) - Movie Review

When trailers for this film first dropped (back when it was under the far lamer title Connected), I didn’t think much of it. I mean, it looked cool and all those pug licks put a smile on my face every time they showed up, but it didn’t seem like anything all that special. Or, to put it more accurately, it didn’t seem like a film that, once it finally escaped the COVID carousel, would become one of the most popular films of the year. This thing has been getting hyped into the stratosphere for the last few months, and while lockdown brain has kept me from getting as many reviews done as I’d like, this is one I wanted to hold back on for a bit just so I could separate it from the colossal praise this has been getting. And then I watched it… and realised that everyone might have been underselling it.

Friday, 9 July 2021

Josee, The Tiger And The Fish (2021) - Movie Review

Looks like keeping Music the hell away from my review schedule wasn’t enough to stop me from dealing with the topic of ‘inspiration porn’. For the uninitiated, no, we’re not talking about Tony Robbins’ sex tape (thank fuck for that), but instead an aspect of depictions of disabled people in mass media. Put simply, it’s how even the simplest of everyday tasks suddenly become ‘inspirational’, purely because they are being done by a disabled person. It’s basically a term for media that, while depicting and centred on disabled characters, largely exists for able-bodied people to feel good about themselves because ‘if this person (who I subconsciously consider to be in an inherently worse position than me) can do things, so can I’.

Speaking as someone with disabilities, I have mixed feelings about this whole conversation. Part of that is due to my previously-mentioned attitudes towards abled actors ‘passing’ for disabled characters, but there’s also how… well, I don’t really know how else to put it: Far as I’m concerned, I’ve done inspiration porn in the past with Employable Me. Don’t get me wrong, no part of me regrets taking part in that documentary… but I can’t say I haven’t, both at the time and even today, worried that I was simply becoming part of that same voyeuristic equation. That quick snapshot of disabled life that makes the abled consensus feel good for a moment, and then never consider that reality again until the next picture develops.

Monday, 5 July 2021

Dream Horse (2021) - Movie Review

Knowing how badly things turned out last time I highlighted a film about horse racing, scepticism feels like the right mood to enter this particular film with. Or I could expect basic sentimentality, given the median age of the cast here and the general pleasantness of the tone I got from the trailer (and, truth be told, the poster). But instead, I’m actually going into this with a certain amount of anticipation, and of course, it’s because I recognise a few of the names attached to this feature. We’ve got Toni Collette in a starring role, which is a start, but there’s also the director: Euros Lyn.

Now, depending on my reader’s familiarity with sci-fi television, that name might ring a bell, given his work on Russell T. Davies-era Doctor Who, Torchwood: Children Of Earth (low-key one of the greatest TV miniseries of the 21st century, and possibly even further back), and the Black Mirror episode Fifteen Million Merits, the one with the exercise bikes and a version of Pop Idol that’s somehow even more depressing than the real thing. Most of his work up to this point has been in TV production, with this apparently being his first theatrical release. Well, if this is his first sprint on the big screen, it’s good knowing all that experience and skill can translate this effectively.