Monday, 11 December 2017

Movie Review: Death Note (2017)
The plot: Light Turner (Nat Wolff) is just your average high school student. That is, until he discovers a notebook called the Death Note, a tool of the death gods where if a person’s name is written within, that person will die. Wanting to use this power for good, he is spurned on by the death god Ryuk (Willem Dafoe) to rid the world of crime using the Death Note, becoming known as Kira. However, as Light’s father (Shea Whigham) is called on to investigate the series of mysterious deaths, and a mysterious detective (Lakeith Stanfield) is brought in to assist, Light’s mission is about to get a whole lot tougher.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Movie Review: Wish Upon (2017)
The plot: High schooler Clare (Joey King) is given a music box by her father Jonathan (Ryan Phillippe), who found it while dumpster-diving. Clare manages to translate enough of the text written on it to learn that it is no ordinary music box: It has the ability to grant a person seven wishes. As she uses this new gift to improve her life conditions, it seems that the price for her wishes is far greater than she realizes, and it could spell doom for everyone she holds dear.

Movie Review: 47 Meters Down (2017)
The plot: Sisters Lisa (Mandy Moore) and Kate (Claire Holt), while on holiday in Mexico, are invited by two locals to go shark cage diving. They agree and head down in the cage, but they soon find themselves in trouble when the winch holding up the cage breaks, sending them plunging 47 metres underwater. With only a limited supply of oxygen and many sharks swimming nearby, Lisa and Kate have to find a way to contact their boat and get back to the surface.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Movie Review: Una (2017)
The plot: Una (Rooney Mara) tracks down Ray (Ben Mendelsohn) to his workplace. As they talk, they discuss their past history together, how their lives turned out since they last spoke, and how Ray was in a sexual relationship with Una when she was only 13 years old. However, whatever Una’s reasons for wanting to see Ray again, it seems that she is driven by more than just anger.

Movie Review: Nerdland (2017)
Already this year, I have gone into detail on my favourite director and my favourite actor. Well, considering how I exist as a series of words on a page, it only fits to reason that I would eventually get to my favourite screenwriter. And chances are, even if you don’t know the specific name, you have seen his work before. Ladies and gentlemen and others, may I present the one, the only, Andrew Kevin Walker. As a writer, the man doesn’t just create stories; he creates breathing universes for them to inhabit. His best-known work as the writer of David Fincher’s Se7en had him give so much detail to an unnamed city that it became a character in its own right, one whose soul had to be fought for by the characters. No other writer that I have come across has shown such prowess at world-building and story detail, always being able to scratch that particular itch for me. Naturally, with all this in mind, I’ve been keeping an ear out for when his latest film would become available over here in Australia; dude’s been quiet for a few years now and, even though films like John Wick have served well along the same lines of narrative dimension, I need my AKW fix. So, how does his latest venture turn out? This is Nerdland.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Movie Review: Kidnap (2017)
The plot: An ordinary day at the park becomes a living nightmare when Karla (Halle Berry)’s son Frankie (Sage Correa) is snatched from the playground. With no-one else seeing what happened, and attempts to contact the police proving unfruitful, Karla takes it upon herself to get her child back by any means necessary. The chase is on.

Movie Review: Little Evil (2017)
The plot: Gary (Adam Scott), now married to Samantha (Evangeline Lilly), is the step-father of the very reserved and quiet Lucas (Owen Atlas). As he tries to win Lucas over, and converses with his friend Al (Bridget Everett) about her own issues being a step-dad, weird things start happening with Lucas right at the centre of them. Gary’s mission to be a supporting father is about prove even tougher than he first thought, as all signs point to Lucas being the Antichrist, and unless he is willing to make a terrible choice, the End Times may be right around the corner.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Movie Review: Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond (2017)
Jim Carrey has never really gotten the credit he deserves as a singular being. His grand heyday in the 80’s and 90’s is treated for what it is, him at the peak of his rubber-faced and highly energetic game, but that’s also the big thing associated with him. Now, while I myself personally love the guy’s work in that mode, admitting that also ends up discarding everything else that the man has done on the big screen. It disregards the painfully emotional performance he gave in Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, or the genuinely confronting portrayal of The Number 23, or the truly perfect depiction he gave of comedic legend Andy Kaufman in Miloš Forman’s 1999 classic Man On The Moon.

It’s as if these two worlds, Jim Carrey as the comedian and Jim Carrey as the actor, never managed to collide in a way that made the world appreciate that he was both. I see it, I recognize it and I consider him my personal favourite actor because of it. I don’t see anything special in making that announcement; I’m just putting my bias right on the table like always before getting into a review (provided I can even be bothered to write an introduction for a review nowadays for admission of bias to even exist in). So, when this documentary about the making of Man On The Moon popped up on NetFlix, it immediately had my attention and I knew I had to cover it before the year was out. But I don’t think anything, not even my pre-existing love for the actor in question, could have prepared me for this. This is Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond – Featuring A Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention Of Tony Clifton.

Movie Review: Wonder (2017)
The plot: August “Auggie” Pullman (Jacob Tremblay), after being homeschooled by his parents (Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson) up until that point, starts to go to a mainstream school. As he tries to deal with people’s reaction to his rare facial deformity, his interactions with the students and teachers inspire those around him to start thinking differently about the things that they see.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Movie Review: The Babysitter (2017)
The plot: Shy and meek kid Cole (Judah Lewis) gets picked on by a lot of people in his life. The only major exception is his babysitter Bee (Samara Weaving), who is his best friend. However, when he decides to stay up late one night to see what Bee gets up to when he goes to sleep, he discovers that Bee isn’t quite what she seems and unless he can keep on his toes, he may end up being sacrificed in the most literal way possible.

Movie Review: Jesus, Bro! (2017)
In the year of some people’s Lord 2014, something happened. A film by the name of God’s Not Dead was released by PureFlix Entertainment. After seeing the rather intense reactions to it online, I checked it out for myself. I didn’t like it. At all. Here’s my review on just how much wrong is contained within. Ordinarily, that would be the end of it: It’s a bad movie, something we get a lot of year-in and year-out. However, this was decidedly different because God’s Not Dead apparently stuck such a chord with both its defenders and its detractors that it spawned, as put aptly by critic and filmmaker Brad Jones, “a golden age of a different kind of exploitation film”. Over the next three years, a slew of similar Christian-oriented cinema began to spring up, from the hardcore apologetics of Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas to the seemingly unaware sexism of War Room right down to the furthering of dangerous narrative of God’s Not Dead 2. Brad himself has covered several of these films on video, either in character as the Cinema Snob or just giving his immediate post-watching thoughts for his Midnight Screenings series. However, it seems that his interest in the subject still can’t be sated so he went all-out and made a feature-length production to mock the hell out of this sub-genre. But how did it turn out? This is Jesus, Bro! Yes, that is actually the title, and no, it never stops being amazing.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Movie Review: iBoy (2017)
The plot: After a visit to a friend goes horribly wrong, meek high school kid Tom (Bill Milner) ends up with chunks of his smartphone lodged in his head. As he recovers from the shooting that resulted in said embedding of phone parts, he discovers that he now has the ability to control electronics with his mind. While his best friend Lucy (Maisie Williams) deals with her own after-effects of that same night, Tom, known in Internet circles as iBoy, sets out to find the people responsible and stop the vicious cycle of crime occurring in his neighbourhood.

Movie Review: Killer App (2017)

The plot: Young programmer Jessie (Ashley Rickards) is chosen to be part of a team workshop at TITAN, a tech company run by her estranged father Springer (Jonny Rees). However, after her colleague Mateo (Will Carlson) takes credit for her work, she designs what she describes as an “anti-social network” called KillList, an app that allows users to tag friends and enemies. As tensions rise in the TITAN offices, people listed as "enemies" start turning up dead. It’s up to Jessie to find what is going on before someone decides to make her their new enemy.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Movie Review: The Disaster Artist (2017)
Some films go down as the greatest of their era. Some go down as the greatest of any era. Some go down as the worst of their era, and then trickle down into being the worst of any era. But some films, a rare few, manage to find a middle ground: Something that by all rationality should go down as one of the worst but is instead remembered as something great. There’s been quite a few examples of this in my lifetime alone. The all-round shoddy production values of the Birdemic films have kept coathangers in everyone’s hands since the first one’s release in 2010. M. Night Shyamalan, for many years, was regarded as one of the absolute worst, with such crowning jewels of hilariously awful as The Happening and After Earth under his belt. Hell, depending on who you ask, even the Twilight series enters into this realm of reputation. But for my money, no singular bad film has given me more joy than Tommy Wiseau’s 2003 magnum opus The Room. And apparently, I’m not the only one, seeing as the film’s reputation has grown so much over the last few years that we now have a Hollywood production all about the making of the infamous classic. But how does it hold up? This is The Disaster Artist.

Movie Review: The Star (2017)
The plot: Grain mill donkey Bo (Steven Yeun) dreams of being part of the royal caravan in Jerusalem. However, once he notices a particularly bright star in the sky, he realizes that something special is about to happen. With Dave the dove (Keegan-Michael Key) and Ruth the sheep (Aidy Bryant) in tow, he sets out to find Mary (Gina Rodriguez) and Joseph (Zachary Levi), who are about to be parents to the saviour of all humanity.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Movie Review: Gerald's Game (2017)

The plot: Gerald (Bruce Greenwood) and his wife Jessie (Carla Gugino) go to a secluded lake house for a romantic weekend. However, after a bit of bedroom roleplaying goes hideously wrong, Gerald winds up dead with Jessie still handcuffed to the bed. With no-one around to help and time soon running out, she retreats into her own mind for support… and what she finds isn’t pleasant.

Movie Review: Before I Wake (2017)
The plot: After the death of their son, parents Jessie (Kate Bosworth) and Mark (Thomas Jane) adopt Cody (Jacob Tremblay). They soon discover that whenever Cody goes to sleep, his dreams manifest themselves in the real world. As both Jessie and Mark take comfort in what Cody’s gift can do, it soon becomes clear that not everything in his dreams is benevolent and his nightmares could prove something far more dangerous for his new parents.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Movie Review: Loving Vincent (2017)
I’ve discussed before how the notion of there being no new ideas in the realm of cinema really doesn’t bother me that much. I’m far more concerned about stories being told well than whether or not I’ve already seen something like it before. However, just because I’m apathetic towards the possibility of fresh ideas doesn’t mean that I’m immediately turned off by that same possibility. I say all this because today’s film, in no uncertain terms, is a unique specimen. A production funded by the Polish Film Institute, with some of its funding being crowdsourced through Kickstarter, that marks the world’s first animated film made entirely of oil paintings. No line drawings, no CGI, no instances of one trying to masquerade as the other; just real-ass paintings. Given the subject matter of today’s film, that being the life and death of famed painter Vincent Van Gogh, this decision definitely fits but what is the end result? This kind of high-concept filmmaking, rather than high-concept narrative, very easily could devolve into being just a gimmick meant to hold up an otherwise unremarkable film; think a more high-brow version of the latest 3D movie. Ugh… enough with this empty cynicism and let’s get into this truly incredible film already. This is Loving Vincent.

Movie Review: Gifted (2017)
The plot: After the death of her mother, seven-year-old Mary (Mckenna Grace) was left in the care of her uncle Frank (Chris Evans). When Mary’s school teacher Bonnie (Jenny Slate) discovers Mary’s talent for complex mathematics, it sparks a debate between Frank and Mary’s grandmother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) about whether the opportunities Frank is allowing her niece are fulfilling her potential. As the matter gets brought into court, Mary’s ultimate fate rests on who can make a better case for what is right for the child.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Movie Review: Song To Song (2017)
This… was a mistake. As I’ve said in reviews past, I don’t particularly like Terrence Malick. Like, not even a little bit. I think he’s undeniably talented and I’m not setting out to ruin his works for the people who do connect with them, but I was never one of them. I started with The Tree Of Life, a film I have seen crop up a lot in Internet and even general critical circles as one of the greatest films ever made. I watched it and I couldn’t even begin to see what those people saw in it. Even after having watched analyses of the film since watching it, I still don’t get how people could like something this absolutely dull. I mentioned in my review for Vacation as one of the worst films I’ve sat through, and even considering its visual chops, I stand by that. I then checked out To The Wonder, which I don’t have nearly as much against but still consider to be a weak feature. When a film contains dialogue like “What is this love that loves us?” or “Where are we when we’re there?”, it’s not just difficult to take seriously; it’s impossible.

So, why is looking at his latest feature today a mistake? Because having sat through it, I am struggling to put how this film affects me into words. Mainly because it didn’t really affect me that much overall, but also because I feel like I’ve already watched this movie twice before. I seriously doubt that I will be able to come up with anything worth reading to say about it, but ‘tis the season to make the effort so I’m going to try anyway. Wish me luck: This is Song To Song.

Movie Review: The Bye Bye Man (2017)
For a good deal of 2017, I kept hearing about today’s film from colleagues over in the U.S. Specifically, how most of them couldn’t get past the extremely memetic title. While I can’t exactly disagree with their assertions, since it is very much a silly as all hell name for any movie, let alone a horror movie, this year has already proven itself to be one made out of shattering expectations. How bad could this possibly be? This is The Bye Bye Man.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Movie Review: The Killing Of A Sacred Deer (2017)

Mahan’s Media, at its core, is me spilling my post-film thoughts into writing. Sometimes, the film being discussed tries so little that thematic analysis is barely required, while other times, I go out of my way to bring up what I think is relevant to the conversation. The Human Centipede III led me to talking about the U.S. Constitution, Hotel Transylvania 2 got me thinking about the modern attitude to the classic Universal monsters, and Aaaaaaah! gave me an excuse to polish off my high school drama education; basically, I write about whatever I want to write about at that given moment. However, while I do pride myself on being able to discuss media at this level, I will always admit that I am hardly a seasoned expert on any of this.

Any grand statements I have made in the past concerning the human condition are mostly personal observations and whatever unifying theories I’ve expressed to explain certain films could very well be 100% incorrect. Every word I’ve ever written here and elsewhere is done with the possibility that I could be talking completely out of my arse on the subject; all I care about is being able to explain the reasons why I hold those opinions, not necessarily whether they are “correct”. I just say what I believe to be true, and if I’m wrong, so be it; I learn from it and move forward. I bring all this up because, every time I get to a film of this nature, I get self-conscious that maybe I’m just too stupid to get it. I’m willing to bet that this is a common reaction to today’s subject, but I’ve never let that stop me before. Hope you’re ready to get both confused and depressed: This is The Killing Of A Sacred Deer.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Movie Review: Murder On The Orient Express (2017)

Kenneth Branagh, when all is said and done, is a filmmaker who operates best in the realm of adaptation. Starting out by bringing some of Shakespeare’s greatest stories to the big screen in roaring fashion, right down to what has become the definitive version of Hamlet (all four hours of it), he has since gone on to give the same treatment to operas, spy thriller novels, superheroes, even Disney princesses. The respective qualities of each of those examples definitely differs, but I would argue that the man always manages to leave an impression on whatever genre he decides to take on. Today marks yet another new avenue for the man, this time delving into a murder mystery adapted from legendary writer Agatha Christie. Do we see the little grey cells go off in Branagh’s head once again, or are they sitting this one out? This is Murder On The Orient Express.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Movie Review: Naked (2017)

With December fast approaching, I can already feel my brain preparing itself for the ensuing marathon of reviews. Of course, with the increase in aptitude to see films, there’s also an increased willingness to subject myself to... less-than-ideal releases. The kind of films that people would usually come across in passing and never think of again, either because they’re too dull, too stupid, or just too bad in general. It’s the same mindset that led me to reviewing Fifty Shades Of Black last year, a film as useless as it is a failure at what should be the easiest job in the world: Taking the piss out of the works of E. L. James. And now, it seems that Marlon Wayons and Michael Tiddes are back it again with a Netflix-exclusive release… and somehow, it has an even lower approval rating than Fifty Shades; either version. We’re dealing with another addition to The 0% Club today, so strap yourselves in for what will most likely be a complete disaster. This is Naked.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Movie Review: Detroit (2017)

The plot: On July 23rd, 1967, a riot starts on the streets of Detroit in response to a police raid. A state of emergency was declared by Governor Romney, allowing the National Guard and military officers to step in and provide assistance. In the midst of all this, a seemingly mundane incident at the Algiers Motel soon turns into calamity as the police forcefully try and get to the bottom of the situation. Even if it means shedding blood and tears to do so.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Movie Review: Justice League (2017)

This is the film event of the year but for all the wrong reasons. After the far-from-impressive track record of the DC Extended Universe up to this point, we now have the big team-up feature to kick things into high gear. But then the production issues started to pop up: Avengers writer Joss Whedon was tapped by Zack Snyder to write scenes for reshoots, then Snyder left the project due to family medical issues so Whedon had to direct the reshoots himself... and then Snyder hit up the Internet after the film's release, practically begging the public to show interest in his original cut for the film, rather than the one in cinemas which was edited down. Knowing how scattershot the production values of all the DCEU films have been so far, with the highly lauded exception of Wonder Woman, this kind of production background isn't making me hopeful that this will be the one to finally push DC out of the red. But, as I've said before, I've always had a soft spot for superhero and comic book-related films; hell, I still think that Suicide Squad is a decent, if flawed, feature. Maybe that will kick in again and I'll walk away from this happy.

Maybe. This is Justice League.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Movie Review: Daddy's Home 2 (2017)

Well, I just covered another parental-aimed comedy follow-up a little while ago, so naturally I’m back with another one. One that I am far less happy to see return. The first Daddy’s Home, aside from securing a place as one of the worst films of 2015, is a film that still manages to piss me off just from remembering that it exists. Its ability to irritate is matched only by its complete wrongheadedness in trying to wring comedy out of parental figures spending more time bitching at each other than actually taking care of their kids. Not saying that it can’t be done but the first film flat-out failed to do so and this sequel probably isn’t going to do much better. Let’s get this the hell over with so I can go back to more uplifting holiday activities… like setting my house on fire. This is Daddy’s Home 2.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Movie Review: My Little Pony: The Movie (2017)

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a serious connection to all things associated with Cartoon Network, in particular growing up on the legendary Cartoon Cartoons block. From the pre-pubescent spy antics of Codename: Kids Next Door, to the superpowered comedy of the Powerpuff Girls, to the mad science capering of Dexter’s Laboratory, even the surprisingly emotional and poignant messages of Whatever Happened To Robot Jones?; these shows and others helped shape a lot of how I approach and appreciate media, and likely explains why I still hold a lot of respect for what children-centric entertainment is capable of. Where am I going with all this and what does it have to do with anything? Well, considering my own liking for cartoons, including several that aren’t exactly aiming for my demographic, I have never really understood the disdain for bronies. And this isn’t even with hindsight; even at the height of its backlash, the seeming hatred for these people never made sense to me. Hell, I even joined in out of sheer social necessity, but it was always me playing to the crowd; even as the words “screw you, bronies” came out of my mouth, I still didn’t get the rationale of that statement.

With all that in mind, when today’s film was announced, I knew that I’d have to give my two cents on this whole thing before stepping into the realms that traditional masculinity seems to hate with a passion. Sure, I’m not all that familiar with the My Little Pony franchise myself, but I’ve watched a couple episodes of Friendship Is Magic and it’s honestly pretty good. Let’s get into this thing and see if there is something to it beyond “it’s based on a girly show”. This is My Little Pony: The Movie.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Movie Review: Ittefaq (2017)

The plot: A book publisher (Kimberly Louisa McBeath) and a lawyer (Samir Sharma) have turned up dead and the only two witnesses to the crimes are also the prime suspects: Author Vikram (Sidharth Malhotra) and homemaker Maya (Sonakshi Sinha). As officer Dev (Akshaye Khanna) interviews them both, and hears two different versions of the facts from each of them, he struggles to piece together what actually happened that night. However, as the investigation carries on, it seems that the 'truth' of the matter is going to be even tougher to discern than first thought.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Movie Review: The Son Of Bigfoot (2017)

The plot: Teenager Adam (Pappy Faulkner) misses his father (Christopher L. Parson), who was presumed dead after being chased down by scientists led by Wallace. However, when Adam by chance finds that his father is still alive, he’s more than just alive: He’s Bigfoot! As Adam reconnects with his father and his forest friends, Wallace is hot on their trail to capture Bigfoot and discover the cure for baldness.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Movie Review: Three Summers (2017)

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve looked at an Aussie film, so let’s rectify that by looking at today’s film by that fabled Australian filmmaker… Ben Elton. Okay, to be fair, this is a primarily Aussie production, full of premier Aussie actors and it’s set in the outback; it’s just directed by a British guy. But not just any British guy but one of the UK’s foremost satirists. Behind such classics as The Young Ones and Blackadder, Elton’s bombastic and scathing approach to satire is genuinely impressive. Whether it was looking at 80’s punk culture with Young Ones or basically the whole of history with Blackadder, the man had a definite knack for the work, which considering how fiddly true satire can be is commendable. It also helps that he had a hand in the greenlighting of Red Dwarf, not only a strong force of sci-fi satire in its own right but an all-out classic piece of British pop culture. With this kind of pedigree, and taking into account what Australian media is often best at (cultural examination), this should turn out pretty good… right? This is Three Summers.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Movie Review: Bad Moms 2 (2017)

For as much derision as the practice gets, I don’t have any major issue with the whole sequel/franchise/cinematic universe thing in Hollywood. I find it interesting to see what films hold up to the original, and I’m always surprised to see films that manage to exceed what came before it like John Wick: Chapter 2 and Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2. Today’s film, however, is of a brand that does make me tilt my head. It was a little over a year ago that I looked the first Bad Moms, a film that I still think people didn’t give enough credit to for the kind of film it was. Having this little amount of time between installments is usually the sign of a cash-in “let’s just repeat what we did before” sequel. Combine that with this being a Christmas film released in November, because doing it in December would’ve made too much sense, and this has a high probability of being less-than-adequate. Still, given how impressed I was with the first film and seeing how some equally impressive cinematic follow-ups this year, I’m holding onto some hope that this might be decent. For once, I will not be pleased if I’m proven wrong. This is Bad Moms 2 (also known as A Bad Moms Christmas).

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Movie Review: Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

I never thought I would get to this point but I think I’m starting to get burnt out on all these Marvel movies. I’ve mentioned before how much I love superhero and comic book inspired films, and I still stand by all of that, but as more time passes, I’m beginning to realize that my zeal to see these films in the cinema has severely diminished. Yeah, I’ve still seen all of the MCU to date, but I ended up getting to some of them like Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming far later than I would have expected. Whether it’s down to the sheer volume of releases per year, the fact that all of them are interconnected so that they all need to be seen to get the full experience, or just down to me discovering other sub-genres that interest me more, some part of my subconscious is hesitant to keep seeing these. Not that it should be; I mean, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 is still an astounding work, Homecoming gave us the first real Spider-Man movie and even Doctor Strange has some of the greatest effects work I’ve ever seen full stop. So, yeah, maybe it’s less that I’m losing my love for these films and more that they are starting to feel more like work. No change there then, honestly. Anyway, enough waffle; time to get into this latest MCU offering that seems to be taking the franchise in a different direction. A very weird direction. This is Thor: Ragnarok.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Movie Review: Jigsaw (2017)

Saw is my favourite film series. I really have no other way to put it; I friggin’ love these movies. Born right here in my homeland from director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell, the yearly Halloween release of these films was one of the few cinematic schedules I stuck to without a break. And it’s not even for ironic ‘guilty pleasure’ reasons, as there’s honestly a lot to genuinely like for the more strong-stomached audiences out there. The grungy visual texture, Charlie Clouser’s heart-racing soundtracks, the twisted ingenuity behind the series’ trademark traps, even down to the compelling and surprisingly complex characters; it’s a cult film series with the easily-overlooked positives and myopic detraction that a lot of these series end up getting. When the series originally closed out with The Final Chapter, while disheartened that it ended on its worst note, I’ll admit to being more disheartened that the story was closing up shop. But then, the marketing for today’s film kicked in and… well, for reasons I’ll get into, I’m approaching this with an equal mixture of excitement and hesitance. Let the games begin again; this is Jigsaw.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Movie Review: Suburbicon (2017)

I’ve been living in suburban neighbourhoods for pretty much my entire life. The mild isolation from living in a hidden-away culdesac, the golf course next door that insisted the family wore crash helmets when in the backyard, gossiping neighbours who go to prove that there are some high school patterns that some just don’t grow out of; I’ve seen my share of suburbia. Because of this, it’s little wonder to me that seemingly-innocent neighbourhoods are so often used not to show familial connection and comfort, but creeping dread. It all looks so nice and all the neighbours seem so nice… something’s wrong, isn’t there? Cynical as it is, this mindset has led to a lot of good stories, from the nostalgic reality check of Pleasantville to the unnerving voyeurism of Rear Window to the popcorn horror of Goosebumps. Today’s film, co-written by the Coen brothers and George “Hard Left Hook” Clooney, is cut from the same cloth. But how good is it in that capacity? Or any capacity? This is Suburbicon.

Movie Review: Alien: Covenant (2017)

Release Date: May 11, 2017 (AUS)
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action, Thriller
Director: Ridley Scott
Writers: John Logan, Dante Harper
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Movie Review: Ghost In The Shell (2017)

Release Date: March 30th, 2017 (AUS)
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action
Director: Rupert Sanders
Writers: Jamie Moss, William Wheeler, Ehren Kruger
Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Michael Pitt, Pilou Asbæk, Juliette Binoche, Takeshi Kitano

Movie Review: Rings (2017)

Release Date: February 23, 2017 (AUS)
Genre: Horror, Psychological Thriller
Director: F. Javier Gutiérrez
Writers: David Loucka, Jacob Aaron Estes, Akiva Goldsman
Cast: Matilda Lutz, Alex Roe, Johnny Galecki, Vincent D’Onofrio, Aime Teegarden, Bonnie Morgan

Movie Review: Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017)

Release Date: January 26, 2017
Genre: Action, Horror, Science-Fiction
Director/Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Shawn Roberts, Iain Glen, Ever Gabo Anderson, Ali Larter, Ruby Rose, Eoin Macken, William Levy, Rola

Movie Review: Jackie (2017)

Okay, quick bit of context. Earlier in the year, I got picked up by a website called Screenhall; the guy who runs the site contacted me in the comments for one of my reviews and I started writing some reviews for them. However, it's only in the last couple weeks that I discovered something: Screenhall has kind of... vanished. Since those reviews make up part of the lists for 2017, and I don't really like the idea of just leaving all that work in the dust, I'm going to repost them here for your enjoyment. They're formatted a little differently than my usual writing, but it's still me writing them; you can decide for yourself if that's a good thing or not. So, yeah, time for some reposting, starting here with Jackie.

Movie Review: Home Again (2017)

I’ve made it no secret how much personal taste factors into every film I’ve reviewed so far, and likely every film I’ll review after this. Every critic has an inherent bias behind their reviews, that bias being their own idea of what makes a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ film. If there was a real consensus on what makes good and bad art, there wouldn’t be a need for multiple critics if everyone agreed on the same thing. Rather than present my opinion as objective fact, which either by design or by accident is the case with most of us, I keep things honest and admit that I’m not expecting anyone else to share my views; all I care about is being understood as to why I have the views I do. Today’s review, however, is going to be a weird turn with that in mind. We’re dealing with a romantic comedy, and one that holds a lot of signifiers of what I consider to be a ‘chick flick’… and yet, this is the kind of film that appeals to my tastes. How exactly, given my relentless tirades about how much I hate the tropes of ‘chick flicks’? Well, let’s get started and I’ll explain. This is Home Again.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Movie Review: The Snowman (2017)

While the reigning school of auteur theory may argue against this, directors don’t always have complete control over their work. Sometimes, it’s down to studio interference like with Walking With Dinosaurs; sometimes, it’s down to a rotating list of creatives attached to a single film that can lead to a major case of too many cooks in the kitchen like with Jane Got A Gun; and sometimes, it’s down to just poor planning. A lot of work goes into every single film I have covered so far and will ever cover on this blog; even the worst pieces of crap I’ve talked about involved dozens, hundreds or even thousands of people working together. There’s all sorts of room for error in that kind of situation, from stunt work that goes hideously wrong to constant re-writes in the middle of production that put the story out of whack. Then there’s what went into today’s film, which is objectively unfinished. I feel somewhat bad for even writing about this in the first place, but as I’ll get into, the production issues aren’t nearly enough to excuse how… baffling this turned out. This is The Snowman.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Movie Review: Geostorm (2017)

There’s always been something rather perverse about the natural disaster sub-genre. Starting and subsequently nose-diving during the 70’s, disaster films have always presented themselves as a showing of solidarity between people of different backgrounds working together to avert the titular disaster. However, in recent years with the continuing threat of climate change, it has kept that same mentality but added the spectacle nature of visual effects into the mix. Rather than watching people unite to show the world working as one for a change, it turned into taking joy out of seeing the world get crushed by the forces of nature. I know that some men literally just want to watch the world burn, but given how the writing quality of these films have spiralled out into thin but plentiful casts who exist solely to witness the hand of God flatten the Earth, these films aren’t being made with actual humanity in them these days. I’d be far more disheartened by this if it wasn’t for the one shining positive that a lot of these films share, but all in good time. For right now, let’s look at the latest attempt to pull off global carnage in the cinema. This is Geostorm.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Movie Review: The Foreigner (2017)

The plot: A department store bombing claims the life of restaurant manager Ngoc Minh Quan (Jackie Chan)’s daughter. Distraught at losing the only family he had left, he pressures terrorist-turned-government-official Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan) to produce the names of the bombers responsible. As Quan’s desperation for answers reaches explosive levels, Hennessy is under his own pressure to find the culprits, as he digs into his old connections to find the rogue elements.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Movie Review: The Mountain Between Us (2017)

The plot: Neurosurgeon Ben (Idris Elba) and photojournalist Alex (Kate Winslet) are both stranded at the airport when their flight is cancelled. Urgently needing to get back, they take an unchartered flight with pilot Walter (Beau Bridges). Unfortunately, the storm that cancelled their original flight hits their new flight and the plane crashes. With Alex terribly injured, they have to find a way to survive the frozen mountain climate and, hopefully, make it back home.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Movie Review: Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Blade Runner isn’t just a good film or even a great film; it is one of the few genuinely important science fiction films. Setting in stone the cyberpunk/neo-noir aesthetic that would give franchises like The Terminator their most iconic moments, its approach to both world-building and thematic context is one of the first real instances of the wider mainstream audience seeing that maybe there’s something to ‘genre’ films beyond just visceral nonsense. It took me a couple of viewings for it to really sink in, and I wouldn’t call it one of my all-time favourites or anything, but it’s a film that I have an entire truckload of respect for. This is one of those situations where making a sequel could turn out disastrously badly, much like most other attempts to make a follow-up to a decades-old film. 

However, after seeing director Denis Villeneuve make a triumphant step into the realms of SF with Arrival, which is still one of the single best films of the last several years, I have enough faith in him to pull this one off. Probably helps that not only is writer Hampton Francher returning from the original but he’s also aided by co-writer Michael Green, who helped give us Logan, a film that I am slowly starting to develop an even greater understanding of and appreciation for. Maybe this will turn out okay; it’s already being heralded as one of the greatest sequels of all time. Will I agree or will I have to be the bearer of bad news? Get out your torches and pitchforks, because I can already tell this is going to get ugly. This is Blade Runner 2049.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Movie Review: Happy Death Day (2017)

There is an entire singularity of irony surrounding today’s movie. When Groundhog Day first came out, it was well-regarded and seen as a welcome reprieve from the norm. In the wake of Edge Of Tomorrow, everyone and their two-bit production house decided to get in on the time loop narrative trend, resulting in not only crushing that sense of reprieve that made all this work in the first place, but at a frequency that will likely make most moviegoers feel like they themselves are reliving the same day over and over again. With how many of these films I’ve already covered, I am seriously sceptical that there is any new ground to cover with this idea. I know that “Hollywood has officially run out of ideas” is so much of a meme as to lose any real meaning in saying it, but as I delved into not that long ago, it is starting to become even more pronounced than before. So, with the director of the widely-derided Scouts' Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse and prolific producer Jason Blum at the helm, is there going to be anything here that isn’t going to make me repeat myself yet again? Well, this is the year of all things surprising, so I’ll admit to being curious about how this will turn out. This is Happy Death Day… ugh… that title is not a promising start.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Movie Review: Battle Of The Sexes (2017)

The plot: Former world champion tennis player Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) makes a public bet: $100,000 to any female player that can beat him on the court. Billie Jean King (Emma Stone), as a means to show that female tennis players deserve equal pay as the men, accepts the bet. With Riggs’ media circus hyping up the main event, and King trying to juggle her professional life with her blooming attraction to hairdresser Marilyn (Andrea Riseborough), the stakes are set for what would become one of the most famous sporting events in history.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Movie Review: Flatliners (2017)

Even though history doesn’t exactly carry that much regard for filmmaker Joel Schumacher, I can’t help but think that his legacy has been unfairly discarded. Most remember him for the legendary failure that is Batman & Robin, and it’s honestly the kind of film designed to destroy careers in the first place, but the guy’s body of work stretches far beyond that. Me personally, while his more silly tendencies do factor into a lot of the guy’s films, when he indulges in his darker sensibilities, he is un-goddamn-touchable. From the look into self-induced paranoia of The Number 23 to his examination of the sex industry and the darkness within with 8MM, right down to Falling Down, a film I genuinely think changed my larger worldview for the better after first watching it. Basically, the guy either makes really good dark cinema or really cheesy cinema; he’s far better at the former than the latter. One such example of this is the original Flatliners, a film that, once it found a consistent tone, made for good psycho-thrills; you can probably guess already what draws me to this guy’s filmography. Of course, knowing the track record for sequels-masquerading-as-remakes, learning about today’s film made my heart sink a little bit. But hey, maybe there’s another surprise in store for us; after all I’ve covered this year, I wouldn’t put it past anyone to succeed against the odds. Take a deep breath, like it could be your last, and let’s get started: This is Flatliners.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Movie Review: Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

Freelance agent Mahan reporting in. Mission: Complete the Experiment to quantify the success rate of Hollywood cinema, in light of recent evidence that the system may be in jeopardy. Secondary objective involving target Harvey Weinstein has been handed off to field agents, and it appears to have been successful. Target has been held accountable for their actions and the flood of corroborating intel has ensured further action will be taken. Dossier for today’s objective: Kingsman, product made by Matthew Vaughn in 2014.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Movie Review: The LEGO Ninjago Movie (2017)

With the current furore going on concerning the state of Hollywood and the products it’s creating, I figure I’d turn this into a little experiment. The Emoji Movie et al. is getting people to realize just how cynical the system can get, the general reactions to Mother show that even filmmakers willing to make the effort aren’t getting respected, and the recent unearthing of the heinous behaviour of Harvey Weinstein, one of the most prolific producers in the business, is bringing the questioning to a moral level; we’re in a weird and possibly disastrous spot right now.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Movie Review: The King's Choice (2017)

Even with the breadth of releases that I’ve gotten so far on this blog, today is going to mark not only a first in terms of reviewing but also a personal first. Today's subject marks the first Norwegian film I have ever watched (that I’m aware of), not just the first that I’ve reviewed. Something I’m learning quickly from the prevalence of Indian cinema at my local is that, like a lot of other things, I rely on what I watch when it comes to understanding other cultures. Some are easier to grasp than others: The American monopoly means that there are a lot of facets of the U.S. that get shown on screen, the occasional British releases have given a better insight into my country’s sovereign nation, and even the increasingly-rare Aussie productions provide a snapshot of my home outside of my suburban domicile. Beyond that, I’m pretty in the dark and no less so than when it comes to Norway. I mean, my extent of the country’s societal trappings comes from Where To Invade Next, and while I would make a joke about how Michael Moore isn’t exactly the most objective viewpoint to adhere to, I’m still trying to comprehend the workings of their prison system as shown in that film. Basically, if this review sounds like an ill-informed foreigner trying to understand a given culture, it’s only because it is. This is The King’s Choice.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Movie Review: Girls Trip (2017)

Back in July of this year, in the middle of some potentially scary medical issues (multiple hospital visits, a lot of dead-ends as to what the hell was going from doctors, that kind of thing), I only managed to get one review done in that whole month. Knowing the frank inconsistency in terms of when reviews get posted here and at what frequency, I still feel like I hideously dropped the ball. Partly because it showed a certain amount of slackness on my part (hobby or no hobby, I take this work far too seriously to let a little thing like potential death get in the way of it, and I am actually serious about that point) and partly because that one review was on a film that I both hated and could probably write a thorough review for without even seeing it. Yes, Rough Night is legitimately that bad, one of the latest instances of the ‘chick flick’ sub-genre digging itself into a cesspool of hatefulness and misguided intentions. Well, in a double saving-throw, I am looking at a film that has a lot of similarities to Rough Night on the surface (distaff Hangover knock-off) and giving myself a chance to look like somewhat less of a sexist asshole by showing how that very idea can work… supposedly. This could be just as bad, or worse, or it could be legitimately decent; only one way to find out. Keep all grapefruits out of arm’s reach; this is Girls’ Trip.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Movie Review: Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2017)

Back in 2015, after the monumental disaster of Home, I was about ready to completely write off Dreamworks as an animation company worth any amount of my time. Even compared to films I’ve seen beyond the lists, it still holds up as one of the single worst things ever designed for juvenile consumption. Well, not only did they collectively waste no time in proving my assumptions wrong, they have done in the most unprecedented of ways. Kung Fu Panda 3, a film from a critically-acclaimed series that both felt short of the franchise’s pedigree and held up alongside its predecessors. Trolls, what should have become a legendary failure of toy-driven marketing in actuality was a simplistic but still amazingly resonant family film with some truly inspired musical decisions. The Boss Baby, a film that I actively had to be convinced was a genuine product and not just a work of Internet parody that went too far, turned out to have a lot of merit to its name and some very relevant things to say, for both kids and adults. I would normally question the studio’s decision to bring one of the most wholeheartedly sophomoric children’s books into a feature film with today’s feature, but after that track record, I wouldn’t put it past them. This is Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Movie Review: American Assassin (2017)

The plot: Mitch (Dylan O’Brien)’s life got turned upside down after his fiancée was murdered in the middle of a terrorist attack. From then on, Mitch dedicated himself to getting revenge on the terrorist cell, to the point of getting the attention of CIA Deputy Director Kennedy (Sanaa Lathan). She sends Mitch to train under black ops operative Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton) and prepare for the best chance he has to get that revenge he craves.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Movie Review: Victoria & Abdul (2017)

With how much time I spend at the cinemas as opposed to doing pretty much anything else, I end up relying a fair bit on my film intake when it comes to learning certain things. Things like foreign cultures and the history behind them. Because of this, especially when discussing historical films from other countries, I’ve wound up learning more about that history from films than anywhere else. For instance, through watching Bollywood films, I’ve gained a certain level of understanding concerning the cultural strain between the U.K. and India, like the line separating India and Pakistan from Begum Jaan. Of course, there’s also the element of bias to keep in consideration; no matter what is being depicted on-screen, there is always some level of creator bias involved, even with films based on historical details. So, basically, whatever I’ve picked up from films in regards to history is always packaged with an understanding that the real-world events may or may not have actually occurred as shown; it’s a weird tightrope to walk. It’s because of this I tend to be lenient with most biopics, at least in terms of accuracy to the real events, since films that are 100% true to the story are exceptionally rare. Tl;dr As we get into today’s film concerning a historical British monarch, I’m not going to focus too highly on historical accuracy; I’ll just stick with efficacy at storytelling as always. This is Victoria & Abdul.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Movie Review: Mother! (2017)

Over the course of these reviews, I’ve talked at great length about directors who rank up there with my absolute favourites: Edgar Wright, Christopher Nolan, Kevin Smith, Tim Burton, Steven Soderbergh, even directors who became my favourites as I wrote more about them here like Denis Villeneuve. Today, however, we’re talking about my No. 1 spot, the filmmaker that I hold in the highest regard above all others: Darren Aronofsky. The reasons for which are rather simple: His filmography is full of truly great films, save for Black Swan but that’s just down to personal taste, and he fulfills my liking for psycho-thrills more consistently than any other filmmaker I’ve come across. His approach to all things spiritual and psychological appealed to me even before my critical awakening, and to this day he continues to impress me. Without question, I was looking forward to this one… and yet the initial opinions on it (both from critics and audiences) are the most divisive I’ve seen for any film in recent years. Well, time to cut into this thing, and be warned that this is going to be a bumpy ride. This is Mother.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Movie Review: The Emoji Movie (2017)

2017 has been an… interesting year so far. In the real world, a series of natural disasters and what appears to be a Twitter-influenced update on the Cold War going on between the U.S. and North Korea has put a lot of worry in people that we are on the brink of destruction. Oh, and some other stuff concerning sexuality just to make everyone seem even more petty than they already are. In situations like this, I and quite a few others would turn to popular entertainment to get away from it all: Movies, TV (or rather Netflix nowadays), video games, literature; whatever gets the mind off things for a little while. Well, in terms of movies at least, that isn’t working all that well either. Over the past couple of months, a series of underperforming releases have resulted in some of the lowest U.S. box office returns on record. If it wasn't for It breaking audience records at the same time, the industry could be in legitimate trouble at this stage. As much as people are quick to jump on whatever hate bandwagon that could even remotely explain this, with everyone from the filmmakers to the critics to the general audiences getting thrown into the crossfire, I’d like to think that there is a far simpler explanation for all this. That explanation, as you may have already guessed, is the subject of today’s review: A film that has gotten legendarily awful reviews, the kind that can secure a release into the annals of all-time bad filmmaking. And I can hardly friggin’ blame them, quite honestly, and you’ll see why as we get into this. This is The Emoji Movie… when this first got announced, I knew this would be a real piece of work, but even that couldn’t have prepared me for this.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Movie Review: It (2017)

As we continue our look into the Stephen King adaptations for the year, we’ve come to a certain story that holds a very special place in my heart for a number of reasons. Growing up with a rather morbid and horror-loving mother, I had a lot of exposure to King’s work growing up. One such examples was the 1990 miniseries based on King’s novel It. Despite its rather glaring issues, much like most other Stephen King-based miniseries, it has a very secure place in my personal nostalgia. That connection would eventually lead to the Nostalgia Critic incident, which I have discussed on here before, where my love for the miniseries lead me to my first-ever instance of fanboy rage. I’ve had many more cases of that since then, but that was what first lit fire under me to rage out about what someone else dares to think about something I love; you’ll notice that I don’t tend to do this that much anymore. And now, after a fair amount of time in production limbo, we have the first of two theatrical films based on that same story. Knowing my own love for Tim Curry’s homicidal kookiness as Pennywise, I was definitely sceptical about how it would measure up. What I was in no way prepared for was just how good this would turn out. This is It.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Movie Review: American Made (2017)

If you’ve been following my reviews for any length of time, you’ll know that I have a rather specific approach to most of the films I cover. I try and give some breathing room for the acting and production values of each film, but more times than not, I end up talking about the general vibe of a film more than anything else; the supposed “message” behind all of it and end up judging films with that largely in mind. Well, as much as I tend to focus on the main sentiment of a given production, there are certain ideas and notions that I find myself repelled by; things like the general attitude of most ‘chick flicks’ or rather distasteful ideas concerning issues of mental health tend to set me off and make me a bit myopic in my overall critique, as if a film’s overall theme overrides anything and everything else it may have to offer. I bring this up not to start an effort to avoid such things in the future, but to once again bring whatever biases I have going into films to the forefront. And unfortunately, we have another instance of that today with a film that involves a form of commentary that I will likely never be able to take seriously. But I’m getting ahead of myself; let’s get started with today’s film already. This is American Made.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Movie Review: Everything, Everything (2017)

I’ve covered a lot of movies during this blog’s relatively short existence. In that time, I think I’ve run the gamut in terms of initial reactions. From the sensible (New Michael Bay Transformers movie is probably going to suck) to the somewhat irrational (The Angry Birds Movie has a vendetta against me personally), I’ve shown a pretty broad spectrum. Well, for the second time this year, we’re dealing with a film that I am having difficulty believing even exists in the first place.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Movie Review: Logan Lucky (2017)

Retirement in the world of creative arts has always been a funny thing. As much as it is like any other profession in how some people can get sick of it after a while, the idea of actual retirement in this industry rarely if ever holds water. Here in Australia, one of the biggest running jokes I heard growing up was how singer John Farnham did a retirement concert tour pretty much every year. In terms of films, for as little stock as I hold in the idea of being involved in films flat-out calling it quits, it was still pretty heartbreaking to learn that Steven Soderbergh, one of my all-time favourite filmmakers, was hanging up his hat. Then it was announced that he was doing some TV work with The Knack; still no films, still let down. Then Magic Mike XXL came out, and while he wasn’t directing, he still had a real hand in making it. And then today’s film was announced, and it definitely clicked that a guy who is that passionate about the art form wasn’t likely to just leave the game entirely. But as a dramatic return to the director’s chair, how does this film actually turn out? Is it worth the wait or is it one of those occasions where it would’ve been better if Soderbergh actually did retire? Only one way to find out: This is Logan Lucky.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Movie Review: The Hitman's Bodyguard (2017)

The plot: Disgraced bodyguard Michael (Ryan Reynolds) has been tasked with protecting hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson), a key witness in the criminal trial against dictator Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman). As they try and manoeuvre their way to the courthouse, they have to deal with Dukhovich’s hired goons, the local police and even each other to make it there in one piece.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Movie Review: The Dark Tower (2017)

We’re going to be getting quite a few adaptations from the written horror legend Stephen King this year. I’m going to cover them as I do any other film, except I’m doing to do something a little different with these. Along with going over the individual merits of the films themselves as per usual, I’m also going to take this time to go over King’s own strengths as a writer, how they present themselves in his works, and ultimately how well these films stand up as a continuation of his ethos. And oh boy, do we have a doozy to start out with. After being in development hell for many years, only truly getting off the ground thanks to everyone’s favourite hack Akiva Goldsman, to say this film hasn’t been well-received would undermine the sheer apathy that this has generated so far. Anyone who has read through my reviews for quote-unquote “boring” films in the past should know that failure to engage often ends up being a bigger sin than just being aggravating or thematic heinous. But is that truly what we get here? Let’s take our first dip in the King pool and find out: This is The Dark Tower.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Movie Review: Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets (2017)

Outside of Luc Besson being an idiosyncratic director (shorthand for “he has his own style that I am unable to put into words”), I don’t have anything new to say about the guy that I haven’t already said in reviews past. As such, I’ll forgo my usual introduction and just get right into this thing because I am legit excited to be talking about this movie. This is Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Movie Review: Dunkirk (2017)

Christopher Nolan is one of those directors who seems to ferociously divide audiences, usually in reference to the director’s more staunch defenders. He has made some truly incredible films, like the cerebral heist flick Inception and the ground-breaking superhero film The Dark Knight, both of which I’d count among my favourite films ever… but the guy’s reputation has been stuck in a bit of a mire for a while now. Interstellar wasn’t that well received overall, and while The Dark Knight Rises still holds up as a good Batman film, it and combined with his involvement in Man Of Steel resulted in the current state of the DC Extended Universe, one that was definitely painted with Nolan’s dark brushstrokes from his Batman work. Naturally, as is the case with pretty much all of his films, the marketing for his latest has been rather inescapable. Knowing my own hesitance to full-force advertising of films and my want for him to pull through with a film that I don’t have to defend quite so hard as something like Rises, this is already looking like an interesting situation for a film’s release. But that’s all background noise; what’s the actual movie like? This is Dunkirk.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Movie Review: Hampstead (2017)

A few times now in my reviews, I have mentioned a few ‘sentient red flags’ that have shown up in some films; actors whose recent track records are so consistently underwhelming that merely seeing them attached to films is enough to make sceptical. Usually, I’ve attributed that label to certain Aussie actors like Jai Courtney and Teresa Palmer, both of whom have been attached to some rather troubling works over the last few years. Well, it is my unfortunate duty to include another actor to that list: Diane Keaton. Over the last couple years, her live-action filmography has ranged from the bland with a touch of mean-spiritedness with And So It Goes to the casually spiteful and rather distasteful with Love The Coopers. Will today’s film show a change in that pattern, or will I have to see another lauded actor fall through the cracks of modern cinema? This is Hampstead.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Movie Review: Annabelle: Creation (2017)

Well, after the unprecedented success of Ouija: Origin Of Evil from last year, a film that I still absolutely adore, I figure it’s about time to put that hope for better cinema into practice. Between Origin Of Evil showing that it is still possible to make a prequel film that outshines the original and the general unpredictability surrounding a lot of this year’s releases, I have more than enough reason to believe that, in spite of how lame the original film was, this film could still turn out alright. So, let’s take a look at this latest horror film from the director of Lights Out… wow. I think I just set a world record for the fastest loss of optimism on that one, but let’s press on anyway. This is Annabelle: Creation.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Movie Review: War For The Planet Of The Apes (2017)

Of all the sci-fi tentpole films that have reached our screens in the last few years, including the myriad of comic book-related fare, no singular series has given more credibility to the genre as a whole like the Planet Of The Apes prequels have managed. Hell, just the fact that we have not one but two prequels from this series that are not a complete embarrassment to the license is proof enough that these are some special-ass movies. Through a combination of legitimately ground-breaking special effects work and some truly inspired scripting, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes and Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes have a very special place in the film industry as it stands today. If we ever grow a sense that the Oscars actually matter in any real way, and decide to end the stigma concerning ‘genre films’ and how they mostly get relegated to the special effects categories in terms of nominations, you’d be hard-pressed to find two better pieces of evidence than those. Since the cyclical nature of cinema releases means that quite a few of 2014’s releases are getting follow-ups this year, I’m definitely curious to see if this film is able to live up to the series standard thus far. What I was not expecting, even from these filmmakers, was a result that manages to outdo the previous installments. How is that even possible? Well, let’s take a look. This is War For The Planet Of The Apes.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Movie Review: Atomic Blonde (2017)

Over the past couple years, mainly off the back of the now-legendary Mad Max: Fury Road, Charlize Theron has become the female action icon that, honestly, we need right now. I know that this might sound a bit reactionary after the pleasant success of Wonder Woman, and especially in light of certain… comments that have been made about it recently, but we don’t really have a lot of bankable female action heroes right now. Not to say that they just don’t exist (hell, I’ve been singing Scarlett Johansson’s praises for a while now) but I specify “bankable” because money talks and we’re still in this weird position of hesitance in letting these actors get their fair share. So, in light of another widely-popular action reinvention in the form of the John Wick movies, Theron tapped Wick co-director David Leitch to give her a fighting chance. Does that chance pay off? Well, time to find out. This is Atomic Blonde.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Movie Review: The Big Sick (2017)

At the time of writing this review, I am at the tail-end of a bout with gastroenteritis; yes, a month and a half in and my body is still finding new ways to keep me out of commission. As my brain is still running on half-full in-between worrying about how intact my lunch is going to stay, I hope you’ll understand if I just skip the pleasantries and get right into the movie already. Hopefully, the film I’m looking at today does a better job of making ghastly medical issues seem funny than I just did. This is The Big Sick.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Movie Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Over the last several months, I’ve probably shown every conceivable pre-conception that a person can have for a movie. Whether it’s down to my own weird tastes or just how surprising this year’s releases have turned out, I’ve gone into the cinema with some odd ideas about what it’ll be like. Well, today’s film will likely represent my absolute worst expectations for a film: I want this film to be bad. Now, as much as I’ve talked about the therapeutic power of cinema, I don’t actively like watching bad movies; I rarely if ever want films to be bad, and it’s even rarer that I would want a film to suck to prove a “point”. Basically, after the clusterfuck that went down in the wake of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which I still maintain is a genuinely good movie despite some definite flaws, learning that the guys behind what is properly the worst film I’ve ever sat through would be behind the next Spider-Man reboot seriously pissed me off. It even got to the point where, and I wish I was joking, I made this claim on Reddit last year:

Just so we’re clear, this is how badly I not only didn’t want to see those numbnuts get rewarded for their lack of effort, but how badly I wanted some hubris to kick in after the honestly OTT reactions ASM2 got. But as I’ve already established, I’m a bit of a fanboy for comic book movies and I’m usually a lot kinder to them than I probably should be; I may not be happy to be proven wrong in this instance but I definitely get that the possibility of it happening here is pretty high. Anyway, enough waffle, let’s see where my cold-hearted cynicism gets me as we look at the latest iteration of the New York Webslinger. This is Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Movie Review: A Monster Calls (2017)

With how many times the average person comes across it in a standard day, we tend to underappreciate the strength of storytelling. With the right words and imagery, something as mundane as what a person had for breakfast can tell some poignant things about the human condition. Or, at least, I’m assuming that’s the case; quite frankly, I can’t think of another reason why people seem to be so intent on sharing every single meal they ever have on social media. But even that easy target, how people use social media, itself is a form of storytelling. Sometimes, it’s just to provide snapshots of a person’s life that might a few disparate thoughts into place and help things make a bit more sense. Other times, it’s to completely detach from the real world for a time, absorbing one’s self in the fantastical and frequently loopy details of fiction. But there are times when we tell each other stories, and even tell ourselves certain stories, because the reality that they represent is a little too confronting to take on without some form of filter. That particular situation will be the subject of today’s film; as someone who prides cinema as a highly effective method of storytelling, I’ll admit that I’m quite curious about how this will turn out. Time to dig in and find out: This is A Monster Calls.