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.