I was a huge fan of the first one. So much so I voted and successfully championed 'IT' as our Film of the Year on that years NERDIES. So to say I was excited for this would be an understatement. Unfortunately the second chapter fails to hit the same high moments as its first installment. Don't get me wrong, the cast is amazing, the story is compelling and Skarsgaard is still monumentally creepy but... it's not really a horror film to me. It's far more cerebral, which isn't a bad thing however, that means I expect a level of consistency. The big flaw of this film is it's tonally a mess. It doesn't know if it's a horror, a thriller, a drama or a comedy. The comedy was really jarring. I love Bill Hader, and he gives the performance of his career but without the sheer horror of the first, it's overpowering. I still really liked this movie, I just wish it was scarier.
6 out of 10 - JB
JOHN WICK 3: PARABELLUM 22/09/19
This is the worst out of the 3 films. That doesn't mean it's a bad film, far from it. It just doesn't hit the same heights the previous 2 did. And this might seem a crazy criticism to have of the film but, it was a bit far fetched. I know, I know, you're clearly meant to leave your sense of reality at the door with these films, and I've been totally cool doing that, but there were a couple of moments in this one when I thought, "Nah... I'm not buying that". There's also a pointless storyline in the second act that irked me. Great fight scenes, it made me laugh, it gripped me to my seat. Really good film. I just prefer 1 + 2 a lot more.
7 out of 10 - JB
INVADER ZIM: ENTER THE FLORPUS 21/08/19
Really disappointed in this. I don't think it stood a chance though. Zim was well ahead of its time, the problem it's got is that whilst it was gone, it's been outdone. The entire time I watched this I couldn't help but see where Rick and Morty got some inspiration, only they definitely did it better. I also don't think the characters and their dynamic work in long stretches. The short bursts of chaos are what made Zim fun. It wasn't awful, the animation is glorious, the voice acting is on form but alas it wasn't my bag.
4 out of 10 - JB
MEN IN BLACK INTERNATIONAL 25/07/19
*sighs* How hard is it to get this franchise right? The material is gold! So why are we pan handled something that looks shiny but of no real worth. This isn't terrible by any means but it has to be held up to the others. There were things about this I liked. CGI, creatures, plot, and humour. There were things about this I didn't like. CGI, creatures, plot, humour. International? More like 'inconsistent'. I just felt like I was watching the same MIB tropes again for a fourth time. It didn't help that I guessed the entire plot from the trailer, so maybe avoid that if you've not watched it. Worth a watch but maybe on a stream or DVD?
5 out of 10 - JB
BATMAN VS TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES 13/07/19
This started off very rocky for me. I enjoy all these characters, having a childlike soft spot for the turtles, which has recently grown again thanks to free comic book day. My expectation then was weirdly quite high, and the first impressions I got were that I didn't like the animation or the tone. I can safely say that those feelings soon dispelled. I had a hoot watching this. The script is funny and clever, the story is entertaining and inventive whilst the voice acting and cast of villains is fan fiction level genius. By the time it was over I realised that the unusual tone and animation weren't an issue, just a charming quality that helps form an identity for a team up story that could have been left without one. This must have been hard to pull off, but they made it look easy. Fun fiction at its best!
9 out of 10 - JB
JOHN WICK + JOHN WICK CHAPTER 2 - 09/06/19 + 30/06/19
I watched the first half hour of this many years ago, then got pulled away due to an emergency and never carried on with it. It has played on my mind for years, and hearing it being accoladed on so many people's lips has slowly driven me mad that I have never watched it in full. I finallt got to last night aaaaaand...it's great. Not amazing, but great. It was odd as I kind of found it hard to suspend my disbelief that he struggled to shoot a man in a towel but not that he could do everything else as well, and with very little dialogue. I still feel I know nothing about John Wick in both a good and a bad way. Definitely getting on the second one before I go and watch the third. 7 out of 10 - JB
This was one of those rare sequels that is better than the original. I can't quite put my finger on why though. It could have been the anime live action vibes it exuded. It could have been the complete unpredictability of it. Whatever the reason, this was a strong film that had my attention from start to finish and now has me extremely interested in what Chapter 3 has to offer.
8 out of 10 - JB
This was...interesting. Especially considering I was highly looking forward to it. Like an actual political career, it took time to get anywhere. Act 1 was okay, act2 was entertaining and act 3 was brilliant. Acting, make-up and camera work was as on point as the original take and tone of this film. Wish it had spent longer on his George W. Bush years and a shame it's 20 minutes too long. 6 out of 10 - JB
THE REVENANT 11/05/19
Wow. What a film. I was gripped to my seat the whole way through. It was like watching one long sweeping shot of a modernised greek tragedy. Those long camera swoops and gritty close ups made me feel like I was there in the thick of it. Everybody should have gotten an Oscar. I genuinely have a love for this film. A truly great piece of art. 10 out of 10 - JB
Well this was just plain messy, it doesn’t make any sense and before anyone says that’s the point, sorry it just didn’t work. The plot was just plain stupidity! Maybe I’m missing some sort of message but frankly it just came off as irritating! Some okay moments sprinkle an otherwise frustrating and disappointing movie 3 out of 10
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD 09/03/2019
I am super critical of animated films but that is because I hold them in an extremely high regard. With that being said; This is the worst of the trilogy. But that's really the only bad thing I can say about it. It's gorgeous to look at, funny and an entertaining watch. It just never took the time to let you soak in any moments (apart from THAT Toothless scene, which is memorable because of that). I mean, don't get too excited about seeing 'The Hidden World's because you could blink and miss it. I also feel the bad guy was voiced by someone who had never done an accent before. Add on top of that, that it ends the film with a scene that does NOT need to be in there, but does completely put a hope for a 4th one out of anybody's hopeful minds. Not pointless, but not up to the level of classic "Toothless" that I would hold the other two to.
5 out of 10 - JB
FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY 08/03/2019
Great little film about the story of WWE star Paige and her rise from a family owned wrestling company in Norwich to the dizzy heights of Macmahons favourite Titantrons! I have to admit I only went for this film due to the my man the Rocks name being attached to it! But it really delivered despite his appearances lasting a total of about 5 minutes ! It was funny and heartwarming and well worth a shot for fans of wrestling or neutrals! A solid 7 smack downs out of 10
CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? 03/03/2019
I knew nothing about this going in except it had a low key buzz about it at the Oscars and Baftas. Based on the true story, Melissa McCarthy plays a biographer with writers block who stumbles into the bad influence of Richard E Grant, who seems to be continuing where he left off somewhat, from his performance in 'Withnail and I'. A small cast, and a focus around a couple of shops and her apartment, make you feel very much closer to Melissa's character who, by all standards, should be the bad guy. But there's something about this rude, alcoholics moxie that makes you want her to succeed. Even if that success is just getting through another week by the skin of your teeth. Funny, well acted and without any Hollywood romance sugarcoated on top, this honest look at how desperate people end up doing desperate things will have you on the side of gypsies, tramps and thieves.
8 out of 10 - JB
RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET 01/03/19 Disney and Pixar have problems with sequels. This is probably because they have a great idea for an original film, and then after its success, get pressured by high level bosses to "make another" even though they never planned a sequel in the first place. This feels like that happened. The story moves along faster than Man of Steel without much time for absorbing the moment. You can almost hear the voices around the table shouting "and then they go here, and then this happens" etc. It's not until our heroes get to "Disney-Land" that the story becomes more in the moment and scenes are savoured and funny. The third act is pretty mental as well. It's like they had some ideas for some scenes but not for others and had to find a way to quickly thread them. It's funny and greatly animated however, this easily could have been a straight to DVD sequel for me and doesn't hold much of a torch to the original.
5 out of 10 - JB
American Animals - 8 out of 10
A surprisingly great heist movie that focuses on the true story of a group of college kids who try and steal some valuable and rare books from their own university. It intertwines the dramatic interpretation on screen, with the real accounts of the crew members, making for some conflicting stories. All in all, it gives this tale an audacious amount of reality as you watch it, along with making it very entertaining too.
The main cast, featuring Evan Peters and Barry Keoghan, are fantastic as the lads who seemingly just catch themselves up in a moment of madness as they start to plan and actually carry out the "it would probably be too ridiculous for Hollywood" sounding plot. It's one of those crazy stories where you realise you are cheering for them to get away with the crime.
The Darkest Minds - 5 out of 10
Thinking and acting like a kiddie 'Heroes', this promised much as the connection to 'Arrival' and 'Stranger Things' was boasted with its trailer, but this failed to live up to the standard of either.
What 'Stranger Things' did right, this slow and soft offering seemed to ignore completely. Little things like, for example, the soundtrack. I can't recall any tracks particularly standing out. There was even a line in the movie where one of the teens with powers regales a story to another teen, also with abilities, about how he would remember her; with headphones on and music playing. But no music was playing in the scene! It may seem like a small thing but they all add up.
What was not a small thing was the lacklustre script. It tried so hard to make this lightweight style X-men-esque film about a romance between a boy and a girl, but the relationship between the two seemed so forced and I could almost hear that "Ha, Gayyyy" meme everytime the two spoke to each other. The ending clearly sets up for a sequel that no one in their right mind will watch, so do yourself a favour and use the ability of not remembering this one exists!
First Reformed - 4 out of 10
Sometimes a film should work so much better than it does, perhaps it's because you don't watch it in the right mood, but sometimes it's probably cause it's shite. I think this one falls into the later category here first and foremost because, despite the usually likeable Ethan Hawke trying his best, this just felt so dull overall. I have seen Ethan provide charm to films, like in the superb 'Before Sunrise', but this really dissapointed on that front.
It focuses on a reverend of a church who starts questioning God's plan surrounding the protection of Earth from those who seek to pollute it and even seeks his own retribution on those harming God's creation, it all leads to a climax, which again fails to flatter in the end. By the end of the movie I was just glad it was finished. It clocks in at 1 hour and 53 minutes and you really feel each second of it.... but not in a good way.
Tag - 7 out of 10 A throwaway comedy for sure, but a good comedy! Actually can't believe this was based on a true story about a bunch of old geezers playing tag into their eldar years. "Heroes" is a term used to loosely these days but I feel it is well used here. They decide by keeping the game alive while older stops them from actually growing old, which is a pretty novel and likeable notion.
The lead parts are also very likeable. Jeremy Renner, Ed Helms and Jon Hamm provide good laughs throughout but perhaps the stand out comedic performance shockingly comes from Isla Fisher as one of the guys over competitive girlfriend. She lit up the screen consistently. This was just a straight up funny enjoyable one off movie anyone can enjoy.
Ant-Man and the Wasp - 7 out of 10
Clearly I wont go into as much detail as you will find in our Video review (Click here) for this one, so all I really need to say is; Luis and Korg spin off has to happen. This was packed full of fun and comedy throughout the action which made it a pretty good outing once again within the Marvel universe. It ties in nicely to the rest of what's going on with some nice touches, not least the first credits scene... but it felt weaker than the first Ant-Man movie mostly because of the lack of a true villain in the piece. Goggins was just a black market pusher with little or no threat throughout and Ghost was a little bit confusing which just gave the overall movie a weaker score.
A Quiet Place - 8 out of 10
Really unique feel to this due to the use of sound as what brings the antagonists out. I had heard great things about this film and sometimes that can only lead to disappointment but this lived up to the hype. The creatures were genuinely creepy and scenes with the baby particularly gripping. All in all this is a dramatic horror which actually does make you jump and actually does keep you gripped. Great performances from Emily Blunt and John Krasinski here provide a real warmth on screen through their interactions with this close family just trying to survive, you route for them every step.
Skyscraper - 6 out of 10
Another week another movie featuring the ever loveable Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Today's throwaway but quite likeable Rock movie, is the ridiculously tall 'Skyscraper'. It is so insanely over the top just like 'Rampage' but once again you almost...'almost'...forgive its sheer preposterous nature just because of the main man on screen. This one, like 'Rampage', features a plot so mind numbingly simple and ridiculous, you could probably be forgiven for thinking you had lost some brain cells throughout watching... who knows, maybe I have because I actually kind of liked it.
Films like this are escapism, leave your snobbery at the door and just watch the pretty fireworks of a tall building on fire. It played on the idea it was like 'Die Hard' and, let's face it, it's not 'Die Hard', and for that matter, it's not 'Towering Inferno' either! But still, just shut your mind off and enjoy the stupidity for a bit. The Rock seems to be throwing himself into film after film at the moment and I would happily watch one of these every month.. so keep them coming champ!
A Prayer Before Dawn - 7 out of 10
Intense, very intense. This film about a scouse boxer who ends up in a Thai Prison leaves you more than a little uncomfortable, as it's shot almost like a fucked up sports documentary/'Trainspotting'.
Based on the true account of Billy Moore, Joe Cole brings the real character to film superbly and, as previously mentioned, it's fucking intense, so strap yourself in for this one. It's a bit of a ride!
Super Troopers 2 - 5 out of 10
The old cult stoner classic returns.... but not nowhere near as funny. It tries way too hard... I don't know, maybe I truly should have got chonged out my skull for this but I still don't think it would have made me laugh that much. It felt so forced out that you have to wonder why this ended up getting made, did they honestly feel they had the same spirit back? Or was it just the cash? I fear the latter, but just for peace of mind... I will get totally stoned and watch it and decide for sure...I mean, that's research really ... medical research...for you guys...no other reason!
Pacific Rim 2: Uprising - 5 out of 10
Following on from a disappointing sequel with a disappointing sequel! A little bit of 'same old', big robots fighting big monsters. This time they try and turn Charlie Day's character into a villain.... which really sucked. Like, I love Charlie Day but the guy is not a villain! I was just waiting for him to break into the 'Nightman' song, and that actually that would have made this film 10x better! Aside from that it was just as expected, really big budget action with very little substance around the edges.
Wes Anderson at his beautiful best, his eye for detail and the right visual has been revered for as long as I can remember but it truly is something to behold in this gorgeous display. The animation from start to finish is simply magnificent and has that usual quirky Anderson feel behind it, which really separates the film from any other animated movies you will see out there.
The casting is also absolute perfection with Bryan Cranston, Bill Murray, Edward Norton and Jeff Goldblum at the helm of a gang of dogs voices. All bringing their own unique personalities to the characters, something that really elevates this tale. The dogs are cast out of civilisation to their own island over fears of contamination, all created by the evil rulers who have managed to turn their owners against their pets and are left to fend for themselves.
It may sound basic but it is without doubt the story that grips more than anything, clearly helped along by the talent which brings it to screen. Witty, heartfelt and clever, Anderson and Roman Coppola have given us a true modern classic, which is a dream for the eyes.
Love Simon - 8 out of 10 You've got to feel sorry for Simon more than anyone because if it wasn't for a film like Isle of Dogs coming along, then this one would have been a pretty good shout for the top spot! But we will have to give it a pretty damn, respectable, close second. This film was bloody brilliant. A very modern and surprisingly funny rom-com, which really does seem to tap in to the psyche of the teenage mind. Dealing with friendship and love, especially difficult when you believe you need to hide your true self because of your sexuality.
This film really has a beautiful story blended with humour that also shouts a proud and firm message; be who you want to be and you have to love that, regardless of your orientation. The cast was perfect, Nick Robinson as the title role, Simon, was simply brilliant in conveying the difficult period we all face in our teen years, however especially so in this case as he hides his identity from those closest to him. The cast around him are no slouches either, Jennifer Gardner and Josh Duhamel are excellent as Simons parents, and the casting of his friends also are absolutely spot on, particularly Logan Miller who plays the annoying but ultimately loveable Martin.
I really didn't expect much more than a cheesy teen rom-com here but it had so much spirit and it was presented so well that I think this will be appreciated a lot more. And for some it will be essential viewing.
Traffik - 7 out of 10
Bit of a throwaway thriller this, certainly nothing you haven't seen before but still a perfectly enjoyable ride if you have a spare hour and a half. This follows the story of a couple off for a romantic weekend away who unfortunately stumble into danger with a gang of bikers. Plenty of decent enough displays on show make this a good watch, but Paula Patton as our main heroine Brea gives a particularly great display.
Although it may seem like a run of the mill predictable plot, it has a good few jumps for you along the way, and due to the subject matter this is lined with, it really doesn't follow the thriller by numbers pattern you would expect in the plot. Certainly toward the end the message is clear for all to see about the reality that this film was laced with.
Rampage - 7 out of 10
Over the top action - check Big monkey - check Dwane "the fucking rock can do no wrong" Johnson - BIG CHECK
This has no right to be scoring 7. Some of you may think I have lost the plot here, but I honestly believe in that score for sheer audacity and entertainment value. This reminded me of those utterly stupid but cant help love them movies like "Congo" or "Anaconda" and a lot of credit for the sheer love I have for this film is owed to the Rock. I am racking my brain to think of the last film the peoples champion was in that I didn't love. He has turned into a staple of good humour and good action, this is about as stupid and ridiculously over the top as it comes but it was just so damn fun to watch with the man on screen.
For fans of the Walking Dead we also have him teaming up with Negan, or in this case maverick special agent Harvey Russell, played absolutely superbly by the brilliant Jeffrey Dean Morgan. They even managed to create a catchphrase between them. It was almost like Die Hard with a big fucking CGI monkey.... oh and a big CGI wolf and a big CGI.... was that a fucking crocodile with tusks? did that wolf just fly??? Just fucking watch this now, you'll feel 20 times more stupid but 40 times more exhilarated.
Sweet Country - 7 out of 10
Fantastic little Australian style Western here.
Has everything normal Western fans will crave, that sandy feel and those long old trek sequences where they either have to find someone or escort someone. In this case they are hunting down an Aboriginal farmhand who is reported to have killed a white man. Some absolutely fantastic dramatic displays on offer here and like any good western the story is paramount to keep interest and this one is brilliant.
This may not be to everyone's tastes I know, but certainly for western fans like myself this is a fresh and different look to the stereotypical cowboys and indians with the great backdrop of 1920's australia as the setting rather than North America.
Expectations were low for this as I had heard some mixed reviews but I thought it was a great heist and crime movie. If you go in expecting this film to revolutionise the genre you'd be sadly underwhelmed, however this is everything you want and imagine from a good action based heist movie. I thought it was very entertaining with some pretty damn good characters which, shocked me and yet kept me hooked.
Gerard Butler is fantastic in his role as the bad ass cop, and Pablo Schreiber, his equal on the opposite side of the law. gave this movie a great pace and great presence. It had some brilliant action sequences thrown in that were superbly directed by Christian Gudegast.
Hostiles - 7 out of 10
I do love a western, sadly we don't tend to get many good ones in the modern era. Thankfully this Scott Cooper directed movie provides a fairly decent one. I know full well this genre does not appeal to the majority, many find westerns a tad drab and dull, when I recommend them. But if you are a fan of the style then I think this one is more than worth the viewing. Christian Bale is excellent and provides great strength to a character who has to change his perception of what sort of man he is throughout the film, as he deals with escorting a native american across the state.
Rosamund Pike also provides a great performance as the grieving wife and mother, This movie provides not only a good bit of action but some superb drama too. Overall though, it's predictable and steady, but don't let that put you off this adventure! It's still a very credible and watchable addition to the western genre.
Game Night - 7 out of 10
Comedy films fall into two categories, those that actually make you laugh out loud and those other ones which are too cheesy with little laughs and, in the end, make you feel dirty for watching after. Well no need for a shower here, this is actually one of the good ones.
Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams are excellent in this damn funny movie focusing on a couple who always host game night. I know, I know it sounds duller than the western I just recommended, right?
But on this particular game night, Bateman's brother gets taken hostage. At first the gang of players think it's part of a murder mystery style game, but it's real, and they whimsically carry on to try and solve the "fake" kidnapping, resulting in ending up in a lot of dangerous situations. The key to any comedy is making me laugh and although this is a cheesy, comedy film, this one had me roaring at some moments, and overall, if i laugh like that, the films a damn entertaining one. Easily one of the best straight up comedy films I have watched for a while.
Thoroughbreds - 6 out of 10
This movie focuses on the story of two young girls, former friends who reunite in a very awkward arrangement where one is paid by the others mother. But despite all of this, they form an unlikely bond leaing them to hatch a plan to solve their problems.
There is a very odd atmosphere to this movie that really I wasn't too sure about, I thought the two leads, Olivia Cooke and Anya Taylor-Joy, were utterly fantastic in their roles, but there was just something so utterly odd about it.
Perhaps it was the disjointed, and often distracting music, playing random times throughout. It wasn't exactly music, it wasn't exactly soundtrack, in fact it could have been mistaken for just someone washing pots and pans in the background out of shot.
Despite the distractions and the weird vibe, the two girls did their utmost to keep the film funny. Yes, it underwhelmed slightly to the comparisons of "Heathers". Yet I would give it a pretty amicable 6. A decent watch, especially for the girls performances but this is not one I would be clambering back to.
Tomb Raider - 5 out of 10
Ok .... where do I begin, this isn't a terrible movie, not by a long shot, but it's also not a very good one.
Alicia Vikander for me really struggles to engage the audience to an already much loved character in Lara Croft. It's a bit of a muddled backstory to begin as it focuses on a missing father. Trying to show you her adventurous side in the city during a cyclist game of cat and mouse kind of set the tone for what would is a very average, underwhelming addition to the tomb raider franchise.
Back in the day when i was a spotty teenager, I loved the Tomb Raider games, and if I am being honest, all this film did was make me long for my youth and dig out an old game. It was so predictable, and of course there were some decently shot action sequences. Notice many of them failed to flatter around the very basic storyline. The major plot points, meant to surprise you, are beyond predictable and actually made the film just look ridiculous.
But perhaps, most disappointing was the lack of Lara Croft's signature two pistol moments...poor form and that's why this gets a bang average "only watch this when hungover on a sunday" 5 out of 10.
Check out our movie review on youtube here if you want a more in depth look at this one, but all I will say is like any movie adapted from a well loved book, this one was always going to divide opinion, especially when it diverts from the book quite substantially.
This was certainly not made to be a movie for the book lovers themselves as quite a lot of the plot and moments were either left out, or in some cases, changed completely for the adaptation to the big screen. I can forgive it for many of these myself, despite loving the book, because some of those moments would have, for me, fell completely flat while watching. But did it divert a little too far away from its source material? My nerdy compatriot JB certainly felt so, who was more than a little disappointed with the outcome. I saw this movie slightly different however, and throwing my opinions of whether the book is better or not out the window, I was more than happy immersing myself into the Oasis on screen.
All in all I was allured by the sheer excitement and pace of this movie, it was gripping and fun and my was it pretty to look at. More easter eggs from movies/games of years gone by than you could probably take in one viewing, will lead this to being rewatched a lot by most I imagine, and perhaps the biggest compliments are coming for Spielberg. Many outlets reporting this as a return to form from those big beloved blockbusters of old he has conjured over the years. This was a big ball of fun designed to appease the non-reading masses, tapping into game culture quite marvelously while seamlessly splitting between real life and a game graphics concept that could easily have bombed if not done right. Anyway, as previously mentioned more debate can be found on this here in our video review on you tube!
12 Strong - 6 out of 10
A good 'once-through' of this is probably all it will need. It's hardly spectacular but still provides some decent action to warrant a one time viewing. This movie has Chris Hemsworth in his stereotypical hunk hero style role, as a captain leading a specialist forces unit, the first to engage in Afghanistan after 9/11.
Hemsworth is OK and the supporting cast, including Michael's Shannon and Pena, provide OK support but this one is a pretty paint by numbers war film, which really is overtly pro-war America following on from the tragedy of the twin towers! If you want a film to shut off the brain for a bit, this will do nicely but it's hardly up there with a Hacksaw Ridge or Dunkirk.
Paterno - 6 out of 10
Usually anything with Al Pacino in will peak my interest, but add in to that the subject of him being a football coach hankering back to films such as 'Any Given Sunday' and I was all in on this, despite it being far trickier subject matter than your average American Football movie.
For those not familiar with the story surrounding Penn State's most successful coach Joe Paterno, he was heralded as one of the greatest coaches in college football history, winning more games than anyone else, a quite remarkable 409 career wins, but sadly a dark twist to the tale focuses on a child sexual abuse scandal, which occurred right under his nose and a cover up designed to hush the victims for the benefit of the successful sports programme.
It's a very interesting true story, sadly not particularly well presented and even Pacino fails to flatter in his usual form, as coach Joe Pa. Again, I would probably say this would be a decent enough viewing 'once-through' but unlike the brilliant 'Any Given Sunday', watching this on one Sunday would surely be enough!
I Kill Giants - 5 out of 10
Wasn't all that sure what to expect from this latest comic book adaptation movie but again I have to say what I witnessed really didn't inspire me to much. A lot of this movie just felt so so slow, I didn't feel too engaged with the lead girl Barbara, played by young Madison Wolfe, and I have to say the film would have hinged on that connection to make it a success.
Something about the character I just couldn't warm to. What some would perhaps love of her loner-style-sass, I felt it came across as quite-annoying-teen! Imogen Poots is probably the best thing about this film playing the struggling motherly sister of Barbara, she brings a genuine performance out of a fairly dull script, not even the attempted tug of the heart strings toward the end was enough to truly bring this one out of its slumber and the effect of the scenes involving giants really didn't excite either.
So all in all, your basically just killing a dull ponderous hour and a half watching this one!
All the Money in the World - 7 out of 10
Based on the true story of the kidnapping of 16 year old billionaires grandson John Paul Getty III in 1973, this film focuses on his quite bizarre and eccentric grandfathers reluctance to pay the ransom for his own flesh and blood.
Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams provide great performances but it is the portrayal of Jean Paul Getty by 88 year old Christopher Plummer that really makes this a decent watch. This role was to be played by Kevin Spacey originally before his recent scandals and although it is reported he brought something completely different to the role, I am delighted we got to see this performance by Plummer, who I think in hindsight playing the 80 year old Getty gave far more realism to the role than Spacey could have at the tender age of 58!
Director Ridley Scott delivers suspense and the subject of greed argued throughout in a pretty enjoyable flick, which will have you reaching for the Wiki pages to learn more of the real story.
The Greatest Showman - 7 out of 10
Michelle Williams is on duty again for this next film, this time for a fun musical in which she co-stars with Wolverine, Hugh Jackman. Jackman is back to his theatrical roots with this one, belting out tunes, dancing throughout with his energy enlightening the role. Through the delightful tunes is the story of the creation of the circus as we know it, the world famous Barnum circus (later known as Ringling Bros), which ran from 1871 to 2017 under the banner of the greatest show on Earth.
Not everyone loves musicals and I get that, they are hardly my favorite genre either but sometimes the songs and the movie go beyond the realms of a normal standard musical and provide a film I think the average movie fan can watch, and this is one of them. Jackman is fantastic throughout and Zach Efron also puts in a decent shift alongside. The true hero is the standard of the tunes, not quite La La Land sublime but this will cater far more for families of all ages!
I hadn't heard too much about this one before going in, the ratings looked very hit and miss and I wasn't seeing all that much critical acclaim, yet something about it intrigued me enough to give it a go, and I have to say I'm pretty glad I did. I thought it was a compelling story, presented in a non-linear way, which kept it even more interesting as it peeled away layers of the characters, very clever from Shawn Christensen who directed.
The story focuses on an author called Sidney Hall who writes a very popular but controversial book. It follows his story from school where he finds the inspiration for writing it, through to the success of completing and selling it and then onto his elder years where he disappears, living his life roaming like a vagabond, disillusioned with all he has created. The title role is captured brilliantly by Logan Lerman throughout and he is joined by some great support with Elle Fanning, playing romantic interest Melody, and Kyle Chandler who plays a man searching for Sidney in his later years. There are some great little plot points waiting to surprise you that I obviously can't highlight without spoiling the film, but take my word for it, this movie is well worth a watch.
Roman J. Israel, Esq. - 6 out of 10
If you are a fan of Denzel Washington then I recommend watching this movie for his performance alone. I think the man is a living legend and to me he can make anything watchable with his delivery, is this the most action packed interesting movie? No, it certainly isn't. But this is all about building his character in front of your eyes and thrusting life into it.
Roman is a a very clever man, a lawyer who does not enjoy the courtroom but his mind for the law is undoubtedly genius. He is also a very brash man who finds it easy to upset people. Despite this you grow to love him as he displays his ethics on screen, you'll feel sorry for him when he has altercations with others as they look down on him and then, with everything that's happened along the way, Roman does something that questions his own ethics. His performance shows how hard an inner struggle he's trying to deal with what he has done. All expertly performed by Mr Washington, of course.
He is joined by Colin Farrell and Carmen Ejojo throughout who do okay in what is truly only an okay movie. Denzel does give it that bit extra to make this a worthwhile watch though it will never stand in his true classics collection.
Annihilation - 7 out of 10
This little mad slice of Sci-fi will have you wondering what the hell was slipped in your coffee, personally I love films which will have you scratching your head, I know they are not for all but this one in particular had some stand out weird moments. It will be quite hard to explain what happens without ruining things so here is my feeble attempt at the introduction; a woman is being interrogated about what has happened somewhere, you aren't sure where or what but sure enough you then go back in time to the beginning of the story where you learn she is a teacher. Her husband has gone missing, but then he pops up with no memory of where he has been for a about a year and is acting pretty damn strange, Then for some reason his organs begin to fail and they both get taken away by some sort of government type force. In this secret laboratory type location, she learns of a weird bubble which has impacted on earth which seems to be growing and everyone who has gone in beyond its walls hasn't come back out, bar her husband who has, but clearly is in a bit of bother. She decides (obviously) the only thing to do, is to go in too!
I need a lie down just typing that bit out and that's just the very beginning, I ain't going to tell you what happens in the bubble, but all I can say is shit gets crazy and fair play to director Alex Garland, because I think the mad world he created looked fantastic. Natalie Portman does a great job as lead role Lena, as she creeps her way through the bubble world. There are some great action and suspense moments all the while your head is being battered by what's actually happening. A great movie to watch, and you know a movie plays with your mind a bit when for the next two nights, I dreamed I too was in this madness! But if you love madness, like me, this movie is for you!
Veronica - 5 out of 10
Now is the time to personally thank facebook and the many posts of utter shite which streams its walls saying "the scariest film to hit Netflix for years" or "this movie had people being sick throughout it" or "This scene had people running for the door".
I can reveal all of the above was utter fucking garbage! It's not even that scary. Firstly, I am not a massive fan of horror in general but when a good horror comes along, I love it! This one was overhyped to the point that I felt I had to watch, and in particular one scene, just because of the shite I was reading about it.
In particular it was the highlighting of that one scene which was meant to be so scary, a person might puke. Not that I wanted to puke but morbid curiosity gets the better of you and you challenge yourself just in case. If someone can tell me which scene it was, I'd be even more puzzled because this movie just seemed to drift by with very little in the way of a scare. Even the main antagonist was presented poorly, I thought, and I found myself lacking any sort of nervous excitement for what was going on. There was a creepy looking nun at one point who was blind but even she turned out not to be the evil thing and despite that, that was still the most haunting image I will take away from the movie. Equally shocking is that this is based on a true story and I'm usually a sucker for this type of thing but it just fell so flat for me.
Maybe you horror fans out there can tell me what on earth I missed but this will be one to file into my overhyped and forgettable category for sure!
Can someone please contact the Oscars and tell them young talent deserves to be recognised too please, because I simply don't understand how Jacob Tremblay has again been overlooked for this performance. Following on from his quite remarkable display in Room from a couple of years ago, the young actor, still only 11 years old, conjures another impeccable performance as a young disfigured boy and his experience of life as he embarks on public school for the first time. It's a heartfelt and beautiful performance which will lift the spirit despite some tough moments on his journey.
Joined by a great support cast featuring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson as his parents and another superb young actress Izabela Vidovic, herself only 16, as the sister who has to deal with being second attention in the family. This was a mature display from Izabela which, really stood out for me, aside from the main plot of the young boy. In truth though, I was very impressed by all the young actors and actresses who graced the screen as school friends throughout in telling this remarkable story, this one will have the heart strings tugged for sure.
What Happened to Monday - 8 out of 10
I was so so surprised by how good this movie was and how little recognition it was receiving, this felt almost like an old school 80's action film I would have loved growing up. A very modern plot I dare say I hadn't seen before from any other movie. Set in a futuristic world where parents are only allowed one child due to overpopulation, Willem Dafoe plays a father of 7 who tries to keep all his offspring from the authorities. Named after the days of the week , they all grow up assuming the profile of one singular person in the outside world but all have separate identities and personalities in the home, so when Monday goes missing, the others are left in a very awkward situation when trying to figure out where or why she is gone.
It's a simply brilliant little action movie in as they seek the missing sister and Noomi Rapace is amazing performing the roles of 7 different style sisters. This makes paying your Netflix subscription worthwhile!
The Death of Stalin - 7 out of 10
Humorous satirical look at the Soviet dictators last days and the events which follow. This is Armando Iannucci at his best, famed for political comedy such as The Thick of It and also a writer for the legendary I'm Alan Partridge, this will be an acquired taste of satire I'm sure, but for those that get it, this will be a funny chortle at the Russian expense.
Steve Buscemi is his usual marvelous self as Nikita Khruschev. He is the standout comedic performance but there are plenty others who support in this tickle of the sides. You wont view communist Russia quite the same again and the performance of Stalin himself by Adrian McLoughlin I'm sure will never be mirrored.
Black Panther - 6 out of 10
Disappointment of the month for me. That may be harsh and I can almost hear the screams of half of you suggesting I'm out of my mind but I'm sorry. I go to watch Marvel films for good action and good humour and this may have covered one of those but fell so flat in the other. If you are going to take a comic book movie seriously then it has to be a story which can rival the Dark Knight and the comparisons for this and the Lion King leave a lot to be desired for me.
It looked great in moments, the stunning back drops of Wakanda were visually a treat but the pretty over the top CGI scenes, most specifically with regard to the car scene just left me frustrated and underwhelmed. Chadwick Bosemans performance was good in parts, so too the main villain of Killmonger played by Michael B. Jordan. Yet it pains me to say Killmonger was forgettable and actually the villain I longed for more of was the portrayal of Klaue by Andy Serkis. He was far stronger and this led me to feeling flat toward the end. People were calling this movie revolutionary in regards to other Marvel films as the social and political messages were supposed to be a direction shift for the universe but I think it was regression instead.
In truth this was for me quite a poor Marvel movie, perhaps an average DC movie but with the yardstick that Marvel have already set itself down the years I just hope this isn't the turning of the tide for the comic book giants. Who knows maybe DC might sort its act out and overtake it in years to come...what's that? Kristen Wigg is playing Cheetah? Am I the only one who thinks I am psychic right now?
Phantom Thread - 6 out of 10
Ok so it's not quite as bad as 'the Post', but what are the people who run the Oscars actually watching? The most interesting thing about this movie is that nothing fucking happens and the real world got suckered into watching it for two hours. A man makes a dress, a woman wears a dress, a man gets sick, the end. I am not even exaggerating that much, that's basically it, I kind of liked the end and I feel almost bad for making it sound so dull, because in truth, it's shot beautifully but at the same time it's just so drab for most of it and so, so, SO forgettable.
Daniel day Lewis is okay, all the other performances are okay, but that really is it. If you score this any more than a 6 I think you are just snobbing up to it. You think you are supposed to like it more because the Oscars told you to do so and for that you are a total nob who should watch The Shape of Water instead as it is, far and away, a better romantic movie!
Jumanji - 8 out of 10
My favourite film of the week and wouldn't you know it, its a bloody reboot of one of my favourite films from the 90's. For all the complaints about reboots these days, every now and then we should all just shut up and enjoy the ride. This was Jurassic World levels of fun and a modern spin on a cracking old fave. Its funny and action packed and all the characters bring their own fantastic element to this movie. A film featuring Dwane "the Rock" Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan could have been a mess of personality but it actually blends perfectly and what's brilliant about this is how each character is cast as someone they are not.
So the nerd is the ultra strong and ultra brave 'The Rock' and a pretty selfie obsessed teen girl is played by Jack Black, it's a master stroke, which leads to endless laughs and this really is just a very big fun movie. It doesn't pretend to be anything else and that makes it loveable. Forget the old 'Jumanji', this stands completely on its own as a movie to be loved in its own right despite its name share with its 1995 compatriot. I honestly loved it from start to finish and now I will sit waiting longingly for the reboot of Small Soldiers. Who's with me?
The Neighbor - 6 out of 10 William Fichtner stars in this tame but still quite enjoyable thriller. It's definitely a film you will only watch once, its tone had the right amount of creep to keep you watching, but the downside is it was very predictable. I kind of wanted just something more "Rear Window" out of this, but it just failed to materialise and, though the ending is good, it also felt quite safe, which will ultimately leave this movie in the realms of the forgettable.
It does seem slightly farfetched for some of the key plot points too, certainly regarding Fichtner's character, Mike, and his relationship with his wife. It didn't feel like there was any development within this relationship and I felt things moved far too fast from one extreme to the other without reasonable cause, but what I did feel it got right was Mike's struggle to deal with feelings towards his young neighbor, this was developed well and this to be fair is what saves the movie. To summarise in neighbourly terms, this movie is the person you give a nod to walking down the street but you certainly won't be asking it to come in for a coffee.
Only The Brave - 8 out of 10
Inspired by a true story, this focuses on a group of firefighters called the Granite Mountain Hotshots and their extremely dangerous profession in tackling wildfires. It's incredibly well displayed and that is testament to Joseph Kosinski who really captures the landscape, the devastation and the intensity these fires would cause. You can nearly feel the heat on your face in some scenes and therefore I could feel how incredibly brave these men must have been staring it right in the face.
Josh Brolin is excellent as the leader of the crew and Miles Teller also puts in a great shift as one of the new recruits, a guy from the wrong side of the tracks who recently had a kid and wants to turn his life around. This is why true stories are always superior, the characters are always easy to resonate with because you know they are real people doing real things. The end of this movie though will blow you away, I hadn't before watching this film, read up on the story and to say I was floored was an understatement, it is seriously heartbreaking and delivered in a very gripping but respectful way. We all like watching our superhero movies but this is a film about real life heroes and I would find it hard to believe you come out of this one without feeling a lot of emotion for these brave men, this is simply the must see for this week!
Goodbye Christopher Robin - 7 out of 10
I was never a massive fan of Winnie the Pooh as a kid, so I felt before going in that this could have passed me by, but this is a just a very well made and well scripted film. The story follows A.A. Milne in his creation of the much loved children's bear while playing with his son. There will be plenty for fans of Winnie to get excited about, the toys themselves being revealed and how the names were made for the characters but even for people like myself who would never consider himself to be a big fan, I was sucked right into it too.
I felt the tone was absolutely great, with bits of humour sprinkled through the drama and you really could feel the relationships between the characters. The cast was brilliant, particularly the young actor, Will Tilston, playing the title character. When I was aged 8 I was probably still banging dinosaurs heads together on my play mat but this lad just delivered a superb performance amongst some big names to shine the brightest. Margot Robbie and Kelly Macdonald were both excellent in their roles as Christopher's mother and nanny respectively but I also have to give a tremendous amount of credit to Domhnall Gleeson who was fantastic as writer A.A Milne, the scenes in which he portrays the stress of having served in the great war, particularly gave the character great development. Most of all though, this was as entertaining as it was informative, just a good fun movie with plenty of nods to the creation of one of the worlds most loved children's books and characters.
A Futile And Stupid Gesture - 7 out of 10
Funny biopic of the creation of National Lampoon and in particular the man behind it Doug Kenney. It is shot as a fitting tribute in silly lampoon style with so many jokes that will have the most avid punslingers laughing away. Will Forte is fantastic as the lead role and although I personally am too young to know too much about Doug, as a fan of comedy I understand that it is through National Lampoon that we get the genre of comedy as we know it today. Animal House was the blueprint which the American Pie's followed, a lot of what became SNL was indirectly related to the work on Lampoon's radio show. A great cast of comedy names littered this film playing equally big stars themselves such as Bill Murray, Chevy Chase and John Belushi, it really was a who's who of name dropping for comedy of the 70's and 80's! Another wonderful touch was the use of modern Doug played by Martin Mull, which gave comedic narrative to the movie throughout. It should have had a sad end to Doug's story truth be told but again in sheer Lampoon style, it's never far away from making you chuckle and that's an inspiring message to take out of it. This certainly was a stupid movie, but futile it was not and now it feels only right to go dig out my copy of Caddyshack and laugh along in Doug's honour.
Thor Ragnarok - 8 out of 10
Late to the nerdy party as ever with this one as I know the lads have already done their vlog on this but I thought I would put my two cents in, mainly because after watching their review upon finishing the movie I feel they made a massive omission of perhaps my most favourite MCU character of all time. Let's start by saying if Thor had been considered the duller of all Marvel films so far this one set out to atone. It's far more whacky and far more fun, it comes packed with the action you expect of a superhero film but what was most pleasing to me was the characteristic Marvel humour had been cranked up to an emphatic 11 and I laughed throughout. You had Jeff Goldblum in his usual mad cap deliveries, the scenes between Thor and Banner/Hulk were also great fun, when they were pounding each other in an epic battle it was fantastic to watch but just as enjoyable was their patter between the action, and as for Korg, let's just talk about Korg shall we?
I actually loved this character, the New Zealand accent had me hook line and sinker, it was like The Thing meets Rhys Darby, the man behind the voice was Taika Waititi and he has shot straight into my heart for this character, honestly I haven't enjoyed anyone as much in the Marvel cinematic universe.
The low points for the movie was another fairly poor villain, Hela just never made me believe she was as scary or powerful as what everyone kept making out, sadly just another in a long line of forgettable MCU villains, but even despite that, I thought on the whole, the film actually looked so boss, so colourful and vibrant when watching and that, along with the great action and hilarious moments, made this a very strong MCU film. I am now psyched and ready for Black Panther.
True story about former olympian Molly Bloom and her unlikely rise to become the organiser of the world's highest stake poker game, all of which led her to become targeted by the FBI who were convinced she had ties to the Russian mob. This was a great little story, plenty of flashy tales on how she sunk deeper into this world from humble beginnings, after an accident and injury brought her Ski jumping career to an abrupt end. Jessica Chastain plays the title role and she looks ravishing on screen while really making Molly's attitude and character stand out, but just like in the Jungle Book, Idris Elba was here to steal the limelight with another great performance as her lawyer and his speech toward the end was absolutely brilliant.
There were some other great moments too and I was particularly intrigued as to who the unnamed people might have been who kept getting teased throughout (famous celebs/lawyers/politicians and sports stars who, sadly, we are never to find out as Molly never gave them up in real life). To have the scruples to keep these identities a secret is testament to her character, especially as she was offered multi million pound book deals to tell all, this above all else really makes you root for her character. I also sort of liked the card playing scenes which revealed all the crazy hands that made and lost so much money, although if you aren't a poker pro, some of the lingo may be a bit lost in translation. If I'm honest, despite my rookie adventures into Texas hold em' when pissed at the casino at 3am, I am certainly no pro, but the good far outweighed the bad here...so to put it in Poker terms, this was more of a good straight than a royal flush, but definitely worth a gamble!
Darkest Hour - 8 out of 10
After slating the "Churchill" movie not so long back, how refreshing it was to find that this portrayal did the man some justice. An absolutely brilliant performance courtesy of Gary Oldman and a quite stunning cosmetic to really allow him to immerse himself completely into the role. Every criticism I had for the ill aforementioned piss shower I watched a few weeks ago was ever more apparent with how much better this film was displayed. It looked far better, the whole cast was far better, the focus of the story was far better and, aside from one particularly obvious made up dramatised event, it felt a lot more honest a story of the man. Even that scene in question was done so in a way to emphasise Winston's affinity with the public opinion regarding going to war and I really can forgive that. The speech scene at the end inspires goosebumps and it's certainly no shock that Oldman is in the nominations for an academy award. For normal movie goers worldwide this is a good historical biography on your screens, for us Brits, pop on the Elgar and enjoy the pomp and circumstance old chaps. Rule Britannia!
Small Town Crime - 6 out of 10
Ok, so this is a good movie, but its not a great movie. Its a good 6, but it will hardly have you clambering for a rewatch. Sometimes you get a movie like this. A film you enjoy as you watch but then afterwards you know...you just KNOW you probably won't be remembering it in a few years. I watched it a few days before writing this and i'm struggling now. What I remember is that John Hawkes plays an alcoholic ex cop who takes it upon himself to try and solve the murder of a young girl he finds the body of and, while there is decent moments sprinkled throughout this tale with an OK story, it's also not the most original. But for a movie not packed with that many huge stars thankfully there is enough to make this at least a worthwhile once over. As thrillers go, it's more sat comfortably with your feet up than edge of your seat, but I can recommend you visit the small town of crime for at least one solo visit!
Borg McEnroe - 7 out of 10
Sports biopic focusing on the rivalry between two tennis players, this film works only because of the two very good lead roles from Shia LaBeouf (McEnroe) and Sverrir Gudnarson (Borg). Both look great as the parts, particularly Gudnarson who really does look the image of the character he was portraying. I should warn that there is a lot of Swedish speaking parts throughout this so if you ain't one for subtitles this might not be for you but for those who can live with that, this is a gripping and dramatic look at one of the best tennis finals of all time. I'm not even remotely interested in the sport of tennis normally but I couldn't help be gripped by this movie as it reaches its climatic end. It reminded me slightly of "Rush" with two titans of a sport giving absolutely everything to better their adversary and though I don't feel this was quite as good as that movie, if your a fan of sports films in general like I am, this will definitely be one you want to watch.
Professor Marston and the Wonder Women - 7 out of 10
A tripod of excellent acting within this great story about the inspiration behind the world's favourite female heroine. Professor Marston (played wonderfully by Luke Evans) who also invented the lie detector, with his wife Elizabeth (also superbly played by Rebecca Hall) both fall in love with an intern called Olive (again lit up on screen by Bella Heathcote) and an unorthodox relationship grows between all 3. You could easily spend the entire time muttering to yourself what a lucky bugger Mr Marston was if you weren't just enjoying a very well written, presented and informative movie. I can't say I knew much about the creation of Wonder Woman, but I certainly had no idea that it stemmed from a good old threesome bonking. Ok, ok, so there was more to it than that, but I get easily distracted by women kissing each other. Seriously though, even if you aren't bothered about Wonder Woman or where she came from this was a good movie nonetheless, riveting in parts and raunchy in others with some real emotion thrown in.
Batman: Gotham By Gaslight - 7 out of 10
Very enjoyable animated movie which looks at a recent adaptation from the comics, that whisks you away to a Victorian Gotham. It's a nice different look at the Dark Knight as he looks to solve the case of Jack the Ripper. Some great voice work by Jennifer Carpenter who plays Selina Kyle and Bruce Greenwood takes on the role of the Bat and I think he delivers a great performance. The story is the real hero of the piece though, it's a really good detective style plot with a nice enough twist toward the end and the animation looks beautiful throughout. They may be getting some pelters for the films at present but thankfully they have not faltered with their animations in the same way, this was far superior to what we have seen from DC on the big screen in the past few years!
The Post - 5 out of 10
Around the time of the Oscars there always seems to be movies like this which get nominations that I just can't for the life of me understand why. This year its "The Post" which underwhelmed me completely! It's not a terrible movie at all. I was ok. Sauntering my way through it, but that's all it was to me, "ok".
It focuses on journalists at the Washington Post uncovering lies made by US governments during the Vietnam war and the coverage leading up to 'Watergate'. It sounds dull reading that back and unfortunately I think that's part of the problem. 'Watergate' for me is one of the most frustratingly boring pieces of history, I get why it was a big deal, but at the same time it just doesn't personally interest me like something (such as the Churchill movie "Darkest Hour" as mentioned above), it also failed to inspire me to want to be interested in it, such as the subject matter covered in the film "Spotlight" from not too long ago, a similar type movie regarding journalists uncovering the truth.
Meryl Streep somehow manages to get a best actress nomination out of this when in truth I don't think she has come close to deserving it in comparison to some of the other names mentioned, perhaps they can't bare to leave such a massive name off their list for once and somehow, for reasons I really don't understand, this movie managed to be nominated for Best Picture. Again, sorry, but for me it is by far and away the worst movie on the nominations list and perhaps only considered because of the inclusion of Streep/Hanks, and the fact it's directed by Spielberg. This is very much Oscars by numbers, serious subject matter + big time director + two big name actors = Oscar nominations. "Ok", but should never be considered great and it wouldn't even be close to winning best movie out of the movies I have listed for this week, let alone for the whole of a year!
Mudbound - 7 out of 10
Racially stirred story about two men who return home from WW2 and try to pick up things where they left off in their home in rural Mississippi. Mississippi of course was ruled by segregation, and bigotry was widely accepted, so for Ronsel Jackson, an African American, he arrives back from Europe finding it particularly difficult to deal with. Through it all he bonds with Jamie McAllan who also served in the war, he too won't accept the racist attitudes of his fellow white people and strikes a friendship with Ronsel displeasing his father.
Jason Mitchell is phenomenal as Ronsel, who has to suffer tremendous ordeals whilst he portrays every emotion from disillusion, heartbreak, terror, and also, love. There is also great support from Garrett Hedlund (Jamie), as well as a great cast all round featuring superb performances from Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Rob Morgan, Mary J Blige and Jonathan Banks. It starts a little slow in pace initially but it really does build to an outstanding second half and though the climax toward the end is difficult to watch, it is breathtaking cinema. This unlike the last movie I mentioned above is every bit worth a nomination, which makes its omission far more baffling to me. In fact the only person to be nominated for their part (Mary J Blige for supporting actress) had the least impact out of any of the other names mentioned above. Go figure! But aside from Oscar politics Mudbound delivers a great film with more than a meaningful reminder and message and that deserves everyone's attention.
Steve Carrell, Bryan Cranston and Laurence Fishburne star in a comedy drama that follows Larry "Doc" Sheppard (Carrell) as he visits some old Vietnam war buddies with the sole purpose of getting them to come to his son's funeral, who also died in the military service.
It's sprinkled with good comedy around the drama and this film is made by the great chemistry between all 3 lead actors. You see the affection grow and blossom between these men as they eventually end up on a road trip trying to get the son back home. I especially loved the ongoing friction between converted pastor Mueller (Fishburne), who was apparently a bad boy when in the army, and Sal (Cranston) who tries to get him to loosen up again. Carrell is also excellent as the grieving father but it was a very well balanced film between the funny and the emotional making it a very pleasant watch albeit with certain moments where the pace drops a bit, but overall push through those bits and you're rewarded with a decent movie, though probably not the most memorable.
I, Tonya - 7 out of 10
Biographical film which tells the story of ex Olympic figure skater, Tonya Harding. Now I am certainly not a figure skating fan and if I'm being honest, though I had heard the name before, I wasn't all that sure of what trials and tribulations might be on show in this woman's story. I can tell you now, I was surprised with what I watched. This is shot really well, between little interview moments with Tonya (played by Margot Robbie) and certain others characters whom affected her life.
Along with the actual moments of her life being played out, especially the unbelievable account of what happened to unravel her figure skating career, it also shows the struggle she had just breaking into the sport due to her background and appearance despite her obvious talents. Margot Robbie is absolutely fantastic in the role and Allison Janney is perfect in the role of her hard-ass mother. It was definitely an interesting watch and I'm sure if you do, like myself, you'll be reaching for wikipedia to learn a bit more.
Coco - 8 out of 10
The hype certainly was high for this one, "the best Pixar movie to come since Toy Story" people were reporting. Could it possibly live up to the hype? Spoiler alert.... It definitely does.
This is a beautiful story with really beautiful music to guide you through and I can see kids and adults alike falling head over heels for this amazing movie. The songs are great, the humour is wonderful and you will be as happy as anyone to sit through this with the whole family, no matter your age, all laughing together. The story is fantastic too with plenty of emotion and it really is heartfelt toward the end with some beautiful messages that all kids should be privy to as they will eventually learn about life, death and the importance of family.
Perhaps it doesn't have quite the same impact and array of characters that Toy Story did, but this is still a brilliant watch that might just get your tears falling too.
The Voyeur - 6 out of 10
This documentary tells the rather odd story of Gerald Foos, a motel owner who made his hotel into his own voyeuristic paradise, building a platform above all the rooms and fitting carefully placed openings so that he could spy on his guests. Gerald proceeded to invite a famous writer called Gay Talese in on his little private world as he invaded everyone else's and sent him reports and letters documenting his life as a voyeur. Talese would then go on to write this in a book called "The Voyeurs Motel" which shows how Gerald had apparently witnessed all sorts of carry on, detailing the intimate moments between people and even at one point highlight how he viewed a murder.
Very interesting albeit rather creepy and very entertaining to watch how Gerald rationalised his actions. I thought it was especially interesting when we meet Gerald in later life as his personality really comes to the forefront as the documentary team are established in his home with his wife before the release of the book, and after too. It's entertaining for sure but you can't help but feel a bit cheated after watching this, as many of the incidents can't be validated as some people state he didn't even own the motel in some of the years he had documented. This even led Talese to disavow his own book, so although this is an entertaining watch, it leaves you to wonder how much of this was actually true ? Was this a documentary purely made to make something out of a failed book? Possibly, but its an intriguing watch nevertheless!
The Shape Of Water - 9 out of 10
Mesmerising and picturesque, this dark fairytale simply blew me away.
Del Toro has always delivered on the look of a picture and this is no different. The gorgeous design of the set is something to behold and it really makes this one an easy watch. Though the story is nothing too clever, you can forgive its simplicity. Yes, this is nothing new but it's delivered in such a fantastic way. You can feel the romance surround you as if the amphibian beast has your body in its big strong arms and that is down to the outstanding performance of Sally Hawkins, who plays mute cleaner, Elisa.
Only able to communicate via sign language she befriends an amphibian being held in the research facility she works in. She simply lit up the screen every time she appeared on it which is an enormous achievement given the character can't even speak. Michael Shannon is the man in charge of research on the "asset" and he certainly plays his part, delivering a fearful and villainous character to bring balance to the story, but it was love that was the strongest message throughout, and a simply beautiful poem read at the end of the movie whose words have really struck with me. Perhaps it was me who was humbled most by this movie as its presence definitely filled my eyes with love. This is one of the most dark and different romantic films you'll feast your eyes on!
The Disaster Artist - 7 out of 10
Funny interpretation of the making of cult classic, worst-movie-ever-made, 'THE ROOM'.
James Franco nails his portrayal as the mysterious and bizarre Tommy Wiseau who directed and starred in everyone's favourite bad movie. The original has become a late night roar of laughter for many due to the frankly absurd over acting and lunatic sub plots which went nowhere but this film will have many fans in its own right as it cleverly tells the story with good humour of its own. Many of the scenes were given a fantastic tribute and were shot so close to the original you could be forgiven for wanting to see the whole movie played out again, but it's the scenes behind the original that showcase how utterly bizarre Tommy was as he created, attempted to 'direct' and star in the film whilst falling out with everyone around him.
For fans of the original this will be a must see that will have you laughing out loud, and if you have never seen 'THE ROOM', this will almost certainly get you scrambling to see what all the fuss was about with the original. I rated the original a 2 out of 10, which is one of my lowest ever scores, but it's utterly a strange sensation that despite how bad it was, you can't help but want to watch it again. Because it really is the movie that's so bad, it's genius!
Call Me By Your Name - 8 out of 10
Set in stunning Northern Italy, I nearly had my bags packed and fucked off half way through this movie but thankfully I managed to hesitate and stick around for a gorgeous story of a first love and special friendship between 17 year old Elio and 24 year old Oliver.
Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer are excellent as the lead pair who aren't quite sure what to do with their feelings as they grow and bond, and I thought Chalamet was particularly great in his role as the innocent teenager dealing with the awakening desire inside him. Showing love in its truest form and also that you can't help who you fall in love with, this film really tugs at the heartstrings. Perhaps my only negative is this did feel like a long movie, but an emotional moment toward the end of the film more than deserves your patience, as Elio's father expresses his feelings towards the pairs relationship. The music plays its part too and the balance between some classical music and 80's songs such as "Love My Way" by 'The Psychedelic Furs' really work majestically in putting you in 1983 when it was set. Luca Guadagnino offers a sensual, gorgeous and inspired piece based on the story by Andre Aciman and it was both beautiful inside and out. This movie is set in a truly picturesque place but the story too was one of unquestionable beauty.
Lord of the rings meets Bad Boys in this buddy cop fantasy saga. Netflix have been pretty damn good lately with regards to their originals and I have to say I loved the idea of this new blended universe. Will Smith in a familiar sort of role, harking back to the likes of Independence Day and the aforementioned Bad Boys, plays LA cop Daryl Ward and brings the right sort of balance between action and humour with his Orc partner Nick Jakoby (Joel Edgerton). I have to say I really enjoyed the chemistry between the pair and felt critics may have been a little overly harsh on this one.
I loved how this movie played on the racial tensions between Orcs, Elves and Humans living together in a very real LA setting, allowing it to put real racial messages subtly through this movie, but overall it was just a lot of dumb fun alongside that. Perhaps the story was a little less inspiring than some would prefer but certainly no worse than many of the superhero films we are served up almost bi-monthly at the current rate and I feel this could potentially be a really good franchise as the universe it sits in is so damn interesting. Don't write this one off at all folks, it's better than some would have you believe.
CITY OF GHOSTS - 8 out of 10
Stunning documentary about a group of journalists called "Raqqa is being slaughtered silently" who film the rise of ISIS within their home country of Syria. Risking their lives every day they bring the coverage of this evil terror group to the mass Western media and highlight the devastation it is causing throughout the region. It is particularly striking to hear the harrowing personal loss each member has either suffered or fears and their continuing bravery despite what has been thrown at them. They carry on with a sense of duty to try and rid the world of this evil and though this can be a tough, sad and at times frightening glimpse into this part of the world, it can be uplifting to see that their are real people trying to attack ISIS by the means they can afford to and without picking up a gun. A must see for anyone who ever might utter any bad words toward Islam just because of the extremist group carrying out awful atrocities in the religion's name.
BLADE RUNNER 2049 - 9 out of 10
Wow, just wow, stunning to both watch and listen to this, I honestly loved the original Blade Runner and had no hopes this would emulate it but I actually preferred it. I know that's a bold statement but this just looks phenomenal and the score is bliss from Hans Zimmer. Denis Villeneuve has nailed this sequel completely with the right tone and direction, unlike other sequels there was no need to crowbar in the former hero, but instead Harrison Ford's inclusion is cleverly worked within the script and then Ryan Gosling nails our new hero "K".
The story is fantastic and I really may run out of superlatives for this one. Some might say it could be considered a little slow in parts but I actually think you could overlook some of those moments and just take in the scenery around it. This belongs all day long in the "Best film of the year" argument and could easily win it.
LADY BIRD - 8 out of 10
Fantastic coming of age movie which follows the life of teen girl Christine McPherson who adopts the name Lady Bird for herself. All the usual teen troubles are on display here like wanting to be popular, liking guys and being careful to choose who your real friends and of course the big one, losing your virginity. But they are done in a very witty and beautifully rewarding way to leave you pleased you followed Lady Bird with her experiences. Christine is played by the superb Saoirse Ronan but I think Laurie Metcalf who plays her mum is the real star of this show with her very direct and tough love approach. The chemistry between the characters is brilliant throughout and there are some standout lines too which will make you actually laugh out loud. Greta Gerwig sits comfortably in that directors chair and, if this is a sign of things to come from someone we have seen much more of in front of the camera, then the future behind it could be very bright indeed. This is another one which easily could be in contention for a few peoples film's of the year.
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI - 9 out of 10
It seems you can wait ages for a film you love and then suddenly three come along at once. Here is another absolutely brilliant film to feast your hungry eyes on. Frances McDormand plays the brilliant Mildred in another contender for film of the year. She plays a mother distraught that the police had not yet found a lead for her daughter's killer and rapist, so she takes matters into her own hands by demanding the attention of the police and media by hiring the use of three gigantic billboards to advertise her case. Another film which marvellously blends those touching moments with the hilarious this is just scriptwriting at its best and it truly has some great points in the story which really make the characters light up. It's just so easy to fall in love with them and this film. Great casting again including Woody Harrelson as the chief of police, this darkly comic drama certainly delivers and will I'm sure be taking many awards. But it really is the performance of Frances that shines best and, with a stunning dialogue to go with it, this is one not to miss.
MARSHALL - 7 out of 10
Chadwick Boseman takes centre stage as Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court Justice. Focusing on one of his career defining cases this is a really good dramatised version of a real event. Chadwick is very likeable in his role and Josh Gad is equally as impressive as Sam Friedman, the lawyer who takes the case, a case of racial stereotype and fairness in the justice system. Based heavily in the courtroom this reveals a great story which is well worth listening too and has the obvious messages alongside this kind of movie. A decent watch though it probably won't thrill or stay with you as much as some of the ones just mentioned above, but definitely a good watch regardless.
JUSTICE LEAGUE - 5 out of 10
I might be late to the nerdy party with my thoughts on this one, but I have to say I think DC have made a tit out of themselves again here. What on earth was Steppenwolf meant to be exactly? That is perhaps the worst CGI character I have seen in some time. 300 million they spent on this movie and I thought it looked like a straight to DVD Megashark vs Tyranosaurusoctopus type affair (Someone get Spielberg on the phone so I can make that movie). Add to that a fairly piss poor, hardly inspiring storyline and add to that some horrendous dialogue between characters and it (once again) leaves DC trailing in Marvel's wake when it comes to the cinematic universe. Was it the worst film I have ever watched, no it wasn't, but for a $300 million investment I don't think it gives anyone value for money. DC need to go away and really rethink what they are doing at present because the whole thing is getting embarrassing now. The humour often fell flat, there were moments in it I laughed when I knew I probably wasn't meant to and most unforgivable of all, I fucking hated Batman. They made Batman into a bit of a gimp, that's not Batman, Batman doesn't act like this. FUCK YOU! AVOID!
(I need to calm down now before speaking to Spielberg)
THE FLORIDA PROJECT - 7 out of 10
This will definitely be for anyone who enjoyed director Sean Baker's last work Tangerine. It follows a very similar look and feel in cutting out a real slice of life for people living in a budget motel near Disney World in Florida. Focusing on 6 year old wild child Moonee and her brimming full of attitude mother, this film really shows the playful and free nature Moonee has been raised toward, albeit she takes it too far sometimes and can be seen crossing the line between what's right or wrong. This causes constant strain on manager Bobby, wonderfully played by Willem Dafoe, who clearly cares for his residents and tries to help them on their own moral paths while trying to control the raging behaviours on display. It is almost shot like it could be a documentary and that gives a great realism to the characters and grips you in, that being said this sort of film could be construed as almost aimless in parts, but as a whole it focuses on the beauty of young friendship and the brutal reality of needing to be tough in a hard life. I don't think this will be for everyone but could be a beautiful slice of real life to some.
LUCKY - 7 out of 10
Harry Dean Stanton delivers his eerily poignant farewell performance in this story of a 90 year old's spiritual journey as he nears the end. Thought provoking and can be unsettling to remember that this particular art was imitating life as Harry was nearing his own end during filming. It also features the weird and wonderful David Lynch who's meaningful comparisons for life, whilst also telling the story of his tortoise, are fantastic additions to the film but really this is just a magnificent swan song from Stanton.
There were definitely slow moments in this movie which won't stick out but really all you can do is give a tip of your cap to a fantastic end to an illustrious career for the main man playing Lucky.