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Basic Horror Ruined By Stupid Ending
Not a terrible movie but the story was all the place. I don't think it knew if it wanted to be a ghost story or something else entirely, as you are purposely/annoyingly kept in the dark about what is going until the very end. This is when it becomes extremely stupid and actually had me laughing by the credits.
You are led to believe this is from Mike Flanagan, who is a really good horror producer/director. It's nothing to do with him, thankfully.
Watchable film but that's about it.
Twisted Pair (2018)
Masterpiece of bad cinema
This move is completely Breenius. All hail our new God-king, Neil Breen
The Snowman (2017)
Formulaic and Predictable
This was a real stinker.
As a bit of fan of Jo Nesbo I was actually quite excited about this film, and having recently got into a new relationship with someone who loves chiller novels I decided this would make a good date night movie. It did, but only so we could both laugh about how bad it was afterwards.
Having read the book I am completely familiar with the story, but when my partner said "that's the killer" the second they showed up on screen, I knew we were in for a lot of dross, as it was painfully predictable.
Let me start by saying this is a seriously boring movie. Nothing happens for the majority of the running time. I can't believe this was made from the novel, which is gripping and filled with complex and interesting characters.
There are many subplot points introduced which are completely unnecessary to the the overall story and you can't help but feel that a lot of this movie was left on the cutting room floor. This is a perfect example of when the trailer is better than the finished product and that has obviously helped this movie a lot financially, as every screening for the day I went to see it was a complete sell-out.
Performance-wise, nothing is inspiring. Fassbender is probably one of the top actors working today, but he completely phones it in. Val Kilmer is wasted and I was distracted by the way he talks in the film every time he was on screen. There was something off about it. Can someone even tell me what the point of having J.K. Simmons in this film was? An excellent character actor given absolutely nothing to work with, except an unintentional comedy moment that had us both laughing loudly in the cinema.
I'm giving this 3 points simply for the stunning Norwegian scenery but I think that's being generous. I normally like to inject my reviews with a bit of comedy but there's nothing funny about this complete waste of a great story and great actors. Unless we're talking about "that" J.K. Simmons scene. I guarantee you laugh when you see it.
This was meant to be the start of a new franchise but I assume now those plan are on ice. Ho Ho Ho, I couldn't help myself.
La La Land (2016)
Wonderful Movie-going Experience
I went to see La La Land with my girlfriend last night in a packed-out screen, mostly filled with young couples. I was actually looking forward to this film, although admittedly with some trepidation as I don't really tend to trust the general movie going public's opinion on what is good or not.
Let me first of all say, this is a fantastic film. It's a wonderful modern take on the classic Hollywood musicals of the past. The acting, cinematography, choreography, and wardrobe are all on point and likely to be some of the best you will see this year and beyond. The songs are not particularly memorable however.
In brief, Emma Stone plays Mia, an aspiring actress currently working as a barista on the Warner Bros. lot, and Ryan Gosling plays Sebastian, a jazz aficionado who drives 5 miles out of the way for a coffee just to be near a jazz club. They each have their dreams and aspirations for the future, but are currently unhappy with their lot in life. After falling for each other, she helps him believe in staying true to his dreams whilst he helps reinforce her passion for acting, but the road is never as easy in real life as it is in the schmaltzy musicals of yesteryear and the dreams they carefully work to maintain threaten to tear them apart.
This in particular is what the movie does superbly. While the plot could be considered as formulaic (you will see things coming before they happen on screen), in classic musicals like Singin' In The Rain (1952) and Mary Poppins (1964), there is always a happy ending. La La Land subverts this, but not in the way you would expect, and I personally thought this was a very clever and sweet way to end the film.
The performances are uniformly brilliant. Gosling does an excellent job but Emma Stone in particular, wow. She really blew me away in this film and I would not be in the least bit surprised if she picks up the Best Actress gong at the Academy Awards as it would be fully deserved. In the beginning, she goes to an audition which we see her practicing for in her car at the start of the film and is roundly ignored. Her soliloquy and performance in this audition and is one of the most powerful and realistic pieces of acting I have seen in many years, more clever in the fact that she is acting while acting (very meta).
This movie isn't for everyone, and I would imagine that some will detest it as it is quite slow moving, the songs aren't catchy (and there's not really a lot of them) and as previously mentioned, the plot is formulaic. There was also quite a few confused looking faces in the audience at my screening in the end which genuinely made me laugh my ass off as they didn't "get it" (they were pretty young so it's forgivable), but I personally found it endearing, a joy to watch and I'm looking forward to seeing it again.
Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)
As ridiculous as the first film.
It's another film I would class as half-decent. Utterly ridiculous, bombastic and jingoistic, but just as good as the first film.
It's surprisingly not terrible.
We pick up 20 years after the first invasion. Humanity has rebuilt and evolved thanks to the tech left over by the "Harvesters" - as they are now identified - and the world is looking forward to a good ol' knees up in celebration of the historical victory. This is when the proverbial excrement hits the fan.
As in the first film, character development is sparse, and our heroes are as bland as they come. We even now have a Madam President, which is nice. She doesn't last long though. Ho hum.
Saving the world is Military Hero #1 (white guy) and Military Hero #2 (black guy). Also there's a chick. She's got brains and skills. Obviously. We've also got Brent Spiner returning as the mad scientist in a much bigger & madder role, and Bill Pullman as the former POTUS, now a wee bit insane, but still able to deliver a rousing speech when called for.
Jeff Goldblum remains eternally watchable, and has now graduated from "cable repair man" to ESD (Earth Space Defence) Director, but retains some of his wit. Judd Hirsch returns as his father and the Most Jewish Man Ever. Hilarity ensues.
I suppose this is my main problem with this film. The "jokes" fall totally flat. They were hardly high-brow in the original, but they at the very least raised a titter. In this they don't.
What we're mostly here for is to see the Earth get absolutely smashed the s**t right out of, and boy oh boy does that happen. When the Burj Khalifa smacks right into the London Eye (what? yeah) Goldblum quips a joke. I snorted in derision. This is the funniest line in the movie. Mass death is hilarious to these people.
Naturally, due the the humans now having advanced technology, they quickly figure out how to seriously kick some alien ass, and I was a little disappointed at how easily they did. The ending, while very, VERY similar to ID4 is actually pretty good. But dumb. Really, really dumb. The whole movie is. Do not try to make sense of anything that is happening on screen. If you do, you may start to feel your brain dribbling out of your ears.
You can consider this review mostly hyperbole, as I was actually looking forward to this film. Truly, it doesn't disappoint. It's dumb as a box of rocks, has awful characterisation and - when thoughtfully considered - is exactly the same film all over again, but it does what it says on the tin. It's better than average and you know what? I had a blast.
Lots of people love the original, and I'd imagine most will enjoy this too. I'll no doubt purchase this on Blu Ray when it becomes available because, I kinda love bad films that try really hard, and this is exactly what Independence Day: Resurgence does. With Aplomb.
Yeah, it was alright. I'd go so far as to call it very decent.
Good special effects, decent performances and a serviceable story.
The script was pretty weak and does let down the film overall, but if you're into this kind of fantasy flick then you'll probably have a good time.
It's campy as hell and should have some humour but doesn't, which is disappointing. If you've played any of the old RTS games or WoW then you'll understand it a lot more clearly than complete virgins to the franchise, and there are some nice touches for fans.
Overall, very watchable. Don't believe the pro critics, they're just bitter old hacks with no sense of fun. Duncan Jones has obviously put a great deal of effort into making a coherent narrative for something that could easily have been blazed over 4hrs. I'd actually have preferred that (double feature?) but clearly that was too risky for the studio.
I hope this does well as there are some truly cracking stories that could be used for future films but only time will tell. Plenty of other terrible films have had multiple sequels (Fast & Furious anyone?) so it's not too much of a stretch to imagine it could happen.
The Hateful Eight (2015)
For Tarantino fans, this is one of his best. For others, maybe avoid
Quentin Tarantino is a hard man to like. His films are the very definition of R-rated. There are many who find his brand of gory violence and profanity extremely distasteful, offensive even. This must be taken into account before you watch The Hateful Eight.
Personally I am a great fan of his work, and although I don't find him infallible, he has a very clear vision of exactly what he wants to show you and has a habit of getting the very best out of his cast. This is to be respected.
With his eighth feature, Tarantino has created a masterful suspense whodunnit that harks back to Reservoir Dogs (1992) for inspiration, set almost entirely within one room over the course of nearly 3 hours.
In the glorious opening act - taking up a full hour of screen time - we are introduced to a cast of larger than life characters, none of whom have any redeeming qualities whatsoever, but are so well fleshed out that you almost begin to like them (and pity them when they start getting bumped off). As things begin to unravel, you will find yourself studying their faces trying to suss them out, and who is (if there even is one) the true protagonist of the bunch. As the pressure cranks up, you may find yourself literally perspiring in anticipation of what is to come. I certainly did.
The Hateful Eight does not shy away from extreme violence or language, and when it comes it flows. This will put many off and is understandable, but for those that love this particular brand of vodka, it's a joy to behold. I'm still smiling about it now.
This is definitely Tarantino's most intimate film since Pulp Fiction (1994), and is epic in every sense of the word. If you're a fan you owe it to yourself to see this. There are people who will say it is way too long and some of the plot elements have no real bearing on the story, but if you love this stuff already then you will find everything you need here.
Best film of 2015? Hell yes. Will it make you enjoy Tarantino if you don't already? Hell no.
Midnight Special (2016)
Unearthly Drama with an Emotional Punch
This film really came out of nowhere for me, as a comment by a stranger I overheard in a bar drew me to this, and thank you nameless stranger with impeccable taste! This is one of those sci-fi flicks that comes along every once in a while that actually has something to say without overuse of CGI and genre tropes.
I knew almost nothing about Midnight Special going in other than said comment, and I highly recommend you try to do the same. Therefore I will be as brief as possible to avoid spoilers.
Roy (Michael Shannon) is on the run with his 8 year old son Alden (Jaeden Lieberher) from a religious cult that worships the boy as some sort of messiah. Also in pursuit are the FBI and NSA, who are investigating several strange phenomena connected with the child. Roy enlists childhood friend Lucas (Joel Edgerton) to help them get to a specific location on a specific date, the reasons for which are unclear but may involve some sort of otherworldly or cataclysmic event.
The comparisons with Starman (1984) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) are apt, but this is very definitely a different movie altogether.
The actors are uniformly excellent, especially Michael Shannon, who gives another intense and believable performance as a man who would do anything for his son.
A bit has been made out of how the movie ends, but personally I found it a powerful emotional pay-off that I could feel in my chest, possibly due to the nostalgic feeling this film evokes.
In conclusion, go see it. A thought provoking sci-fi drama with a story to tell. A good one at that.
Action? This should be your only choice
I'll be the first to admit that it's difficult to maintain one's critical faculties when talking about a movie that essentially defined a million childhoods, but seriously? Commando is the finest action movie ever made.
Arnie is Colonel John Matrix, ex-Delta Force/CIA Black Ops. Now living retired in the mountains with his cute daughter, chopping wood and wearing pastel colours. He learns from his superior officer that someone has been killing his former squad members, and that a couple of disposable soldiers will be left behind to make sure he's OK. Needless to say this is when all hell breaks loose and his daughter is kidnapped by mercs lead by Bennet, an ex-member of Matrix's team expelled for his "methods". Matrix is captured and blackmailed into assassinating the new President of fictional Val Verde by the former despot Arius. He escapes custody while boarding a flight, and now has just over 10hrs before they discover he wasn't on board and kill his daughter.
What follows is delightful, overblown macho craziness. The script and screenplay, while not exactly winning any awards, are perfect. It has everything. gun fights, knife fights, fist fights, car chases, explosions and rocket launchers. The film is full of fantastic one-liners delivered spectacularly by Schwarzenegger - at his absolute best here - and Rae Dawn Chong is excellent as his reluctant assistant. The seriousness of it all is undercut with a tongue-in-cheek sense of humour showing that the actors know how ridiculous it all is, and even remark upon it in one scene.
The bad guys are brilliantly played by the immortal Bill Duke, David Patrick Kelly and Vernon Wells, among others. I am almost certain that Vernon Wells portrayal of Bennet is responsible for the homosexual awakening of many a young boy in the 80s political climate of Reagan America.
This movie is super violent. A lot of people die. A lot. Nearly as many simply just get the crap beaten out of them. There's a scene where Arnold throws around 8 guys lying on top of him flying 10 foot through the air! I mean that is awesome. Imitated many years later in The Matrix (uhhhh.....) Reloaded, but in crappy CGI.
The end of the movie is absolutely insane, with Matrix going alone up against a literal army. Cue massive explosions, gunfire and (hilariously fake) bodies. What keeps this crazy 4 minutes so entertaining is not just the amount of people that die, but also the inventive ways in which Matrix dispatches his foes, using various tools out of a shed at one point.
Really, this review is just pandering to any kid who grew up in the 80s and loved action movies. They will never be the same as they were then, and this is the absolute apex of the genre.
If you want drama, emotion and exposition, look elsewhere. This it ain't. If you want awesome action and killer one-liners along with the greatest star to ever hold an M16, This should be your only choice.
A guide to what happens when leading scientists suddenly become morons
Boy howdy was I let down by this film. I recently got the chance at a second viewing, as the first time I tried to watch it I was interrupted on several occasions and put my total confusion of what was going on and the preposterousness of it all down to the fact that it barely had half, let alone my full attention.
Well it turns out I wasn't wrong, they really were all that stupid! This is essentially a study of what happens when you introduce a bunch of characters who are meant to be the best and brightest of what humanity has to offer (save for a solitary grafter, who makes himself known early on with his tattoos, crazy haircut and a cockney accent so rough he might as well have chip butties flying out of his mouth every time he opens it, guv'nor) and then have them suddenly all develop the hallmark symptoms of brain damage.
Within minutes of entering the atmosphere of the planet they have been drawn to by the discovery of ancient star maps from several unconnected cultures on Earth, they discover an alien facility and with barely a warning from their mums, or even due consideration of where they are, they are breaking all reasonable protocol and training they (probably) would have received before the journey, and are removing their helmets and touching things without a care in the world.
Most of these morons masquerading as physicists, archaeologists or suits I couldn't have cared less about as they are given very little screen- time and virtually no character development other than the order in which they do profoundly stupid things or die. The only characters I found any semblance of interest in were Holloway (Logan Marshall- Green), whom I immediately pegged out as one of those in for a horrible, grisly death, and David the android (Fassbender) whose motivations weren't immediately clear until I remembered I was watching a Ridley Scott "Alien" movie. The sequence of him learning all about human culture, history and languages and lusting after Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia to the point of dying his hair platinum blonde whilst the others are in stasis was probably the best part of the movie. Everything after that was straight downhill. Idris Elba was decent but brutally underdeveloped, however he can do no wrong in my eyes so I consider that moot point.
For all its obvious and glaring faults, it is watchable enough and there is an engaging movie somewhere in the mess, it's just buried under a mountain of implausibilities, stupid characterisation and clichés that drag the whole thing down to the dirt where I often find myself on Sunday mornings.
Jupiter Ascending (2015)
Interesting Premise Executed Poorly
If you like a silly action spectacle with special effect to make the eyes bleed, then this may be right up your street, otherwise you will probably find it difficult to even make it to the credits.
What I will say is that the Wachowski's have at least created an interesting universe. Sadly this only really seems to have been fleshed out in their own heads. The plot is at times so convoluted that it was honestly 40 minutes into proceedings before I even knew what the hell was going on. There is some terrible editing at the beginning of this movie.
Mila Kunis literally serves this movie only for the sake of exposition and is not at all believable. Channing Tatum pretty much plays the same part he has in most of his movies except now he has pointy ears, guy-liner and magic boots. Sean Bean is reliable but that's about it. Eddie Redmayne on the other hand, wow. I couldn't actually believe this was the same guy who just won an Academy Award. For the supposed main antagonist of the film he is laughably unthreatening, it looked like a strong gust of wind would blow him over, and for some bizarre reason he affects a whispering Maggie Thatcher-like accent for the entire movie which makes him difficult to understand.
The visual effects are likely to keep the young 'uns entertained, and for what it's worth they are fairly impressive in certain sections, however some of the action sequences are so busy you've got absolutely no idea what is happening other that big explosions and Channing Tatum looking intense.
I forced my way through to the end (stopping to write this review 20 minutes before as I could feel my retinas were beginning to detach) and if you are over 13 years old you'll probably feel the same.
If you like big dumb action-fests with the male lead rescuing the heroine over and over again against a backdrop of bright colours and explosions, have at it, otherwise I would avoid like the plague.