Red Notice (2021)

Rating 12a
Length 1h58
Release 12.11.2021
Director Rawson Marshall Thurber (fun fact: He’s the Quiznos guy from Easy A)
About In the world of international crime, an Interpol agent attempts to hunt down and capture the world’s most wanted art thief.
Moon: Full moon sighted as Reynold’s character goes home.
Where to Watch: Netflix
Trailer:

The Good

  • It’s a pretty solid story. Not that I cared, at all. Why? Oh, I was here for the Johnson/ Reynolds dialogue. They understood the mission. Their interactions were *chef’s kiss* perfect.
    I don’t quite know what it is about these two together, but they’re dynamite. The only pairing I’d want more is Reynolds and Jackman and with both, I could have had them sitting, in a room, just reading the lines. Yes, it would be fair to say it really is down to Reynolds’ delivery of a lot of the lines, but if you’ve seen the latest in the Hitman’s Bodyguard series, you’d know that it’s more than that.
  • That said, there are some amazing action sequences, location shoots and excuses to dress up. It’s The Mummy meets Bond, by way of Danny Ocean. Its perfect for a Saturday night watch when you don’t want to think too hard.

The Bad

  • Cal Gadot almost gets there. There’s crazy in the performance, but the actress pulls it back and I really wish she didn’t. Gadot could have given us something shy of Harley Quinn and I know I’m splitting hairs, but in a film as good as this, I do have to critique something.

The Ugly

  • Green light the sequel already, you cowards!

Final Thoughts

Had everything I really needed in a movie like this, so there’s really nothing to complain about. Only thing is, this review is a little redundant as it would appear that most people have already watched Red Notice this weekend.

The Change-Up (2011)

Rating 15
Length 1h52
Release 16.09.2011
Director David Dobkin
About Best friends Dave, a married lawyer, and Mitch, a playboy, envy each other’s lives. Hilarity ensues when their bodies get swapped, and they realise their lives are not as great as they had imagined.
Moon: not sighted
Where to Watch: Netflix
Trailer:

The Good

  • Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman are pretty decent in this body-switch. Reynolds does seem to be able to handle both characters a little better, but Bateman equally works well when he’s acting in scenes with Reynolds. You could also argue that his character is trying to represent Dave.
  • The supporting cast, particularly Alan Arkin, Leslie Mann and Olivia Wilde is great.

The Bad

  • The whole thing with getting Mitch, who is really Dave, to go on a date with Sabrina… but for her to end up with Mitch post switch-back. Like, the film makes it go really well. They almost seal the deal. What I’d really want is for Dave to realise they’re not compatible. Right? It’s not like Dave was pretending to be Mitch, he was totally being himself so I don’t get it.
  • The nudity, to me at least, is the one thing that’s keeping this film from being a 12a and, lets face it, a body-swap is 12a or lower territory, the family lesson learned… it all lends itself to a lower rating, and a better film. Am I a woman of a certain age a bit pissed of all these perky breasts on my screen?! Well, mine have never been perky, so perhaps?! That said, it is still gratuitous and it doesn’t add to the film. (I mean, come on… we can ALL do with one less slow-mo walk to Sweet Cherry Pie in our lives, right?!)

The Ugly

  • The CGI babies. They’re not quite at the level of Twilight’s abomination, however, that CGI chocolate starfish is a hard pass! Then there’s the mid-film knife skills that just make my brain hurt. I’m sure this is more to do with this being a repeat viewing, but it really sucks!
  • The poo jokes. There’s babies involved, I get there is a well there to be used. I have my issues with the projectile shit, but the biggest culprit for me is the “I need to lay off the Thai food” open doored shit Jamie takes.
    I’m calling bullshit on this! What a gratuitous, unfunny scene. Unless Jamie and Dave have some massive kink, she would be closing the fucking door on that shit, pun very much intended.
    Now, had it been the other way around, I’d have had no problem believing that Mitch, in Dave’s body, would have done this being used to living alone. That would have made for a so-so believable scene, and given Jamie cause to question what the blokes had said earlier. However, to suggest that this woman would habitually undress, leave the door open so her husband can have a direct view of the bog, and proceed to have a wet and squelchy shit. The smell of which will plague the bedroom for god knows how long?! Nope, not buying it.
    I know, I know, it’s not that deep! You’re right. Toilet humour is low, its superficial and I fucking hate it.

Final Thoughts

This is one of those films I actually forget I hate. Its Hangover, but a pale imitation. Thank fuck the Hangover buzz was left behind in the early 2010’s.

Shag-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) Film Review

Rating 12a
Length 2h12
Release 3.09.2021
Director Destin Daniel Cretton
About Martial-arts master Shang-Chi confronts the past he thought he left behind when he’s drawn into the web of the mysterious Ten Rings organization.
Moon: None seen… but I was too invested and may have missed it.
Where to Watch: Cinemas nationwide and Disney +
Trailer:

The Good

  • I cannot fault the casting. From the knowns, to the unknowns (to me), they fit the roles perfectly. As always Awkwafina is a joy, Ben Kingsley brings his ham and Michelle Yeoh is the badass I always depend on her being.
  • I adore the change of the Ten Rings from the comic to the movie. Having the rings appeal more to Asian culture also has added bonus of differentiating them from the hand garment of the previous phases.
  • The story is really awesome. It acknowledges the Manderine (Ben Kinsley) of Phases 1 and 2, while giving us someone who is a complex and flawed antagonist.
    The family relationship and dynamic reminded me of the short-lived Helstrom and it was good to see that in play here.
  • Ben Kingsley’s Trever was that brilliant touch of off the wall comedy you need in something like this. Also, his Scouse accent is spot on for someone who would be theatrically trained. There’s varients in the dialect and that man got it right. So it’s not the hacking and eck-ing that people who are familiar with John Bishop are used to, but it’s a softer and rounder accent.
    Sod it, I’m just happy we got some Scouser representation in there.
  • The martial arts itself is STUNNING. Beautiful. I also love that we got original language and subtitles. One of the reasons why I’ve stayed away from the martial arts genre is because access only ever seems to be dubbed movies. As someone who relies on lip reading for understanding, dubbing has the habit of giving me a headache.

The Bad

  • Some of the CGI is ropey. Like Episode 1, really isn’t going to age very well, sort of ropey. It’s a shame, because from what I can tell of the preproduction everyone was prepared for the martial arts, but there were bits that went to the next level to make it a Marvel movie. If it had been kept within the hidden world, it might have been okay, but as it stands I found certain scenes, the bus fight in particular, detracting visually.

The Ugly

  • There’s a scene in which the fight sequence takes place on scaffolding. Bollocks, it scared me. My body had the physical reaction of watching a horror movie, I had to look away and I even considered fast forwarding at one point.
    While this wasn’t a fun experience for me, I do like the fact that it was able to gain such a reaction from me.

Final Thoughts

Iron Man really did run Phase 3 and 4 introductions could fly. I only hope the fatigue doesn’t last for people, because these are the films we need.

No Time to Die (2021) Film Review *potential spoilers*

Rating 12a
Length 2h43
Release 30.09.2021
Director Cary Joji Fukunaga
About James Bond is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica after leaving active service. However, his peace is short-lived as his old CIA friend, Felix Leiter, shows up and asks for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond on the trail of a mysterious villain who’s armed with a dangerous new technology.
Moon: no sighting
Where to Watch: Still in cinemas
Trailer:


First Thoughts/ Trigger Warning

So it’s finally here. We all thought MGM was holding off for that ‘return to the cinema’ so more people felt safe going. Tenent certainly reinforced this with its lacklustre box office.
Having seen No Time to Die, are we not certain it was the subject content (a hijacked bioweapon) that was the cause for hesitation?!
They certainly made the right choice, had they kept with their November 2020 scheduled release, the film might not have been the escape that Bond usually provides.

The Good

  • I’d forgotten about the humour and witty dialogue in Bond. This was up there with some of humour in Casino Royale. Not all of it hits the mark for every “What’s with the Book of Moron?”, there’s a cringe inducing ” do you know what time it is? …. Time to die!” but when it works, it is amazing.
  • I absolutely loved the use of sound when Bond is deafened by a bomb. As someone who is partially deaf, this really brings to everyone’s attention how difficult it can be. I know it’s not a new thing and I’ve certainly seen tv shows use this effectively, but this really did stand out as it was giving the audience a vulnerable spy.
  • Massive shout out for the Hugh Dennis cameo! Who doesn’t love Hugh Dennis?! Made my night and reminded me that this will forever live rent free in my head.
  • Felix! I love Felix. His relationship and interactions with Bond have always been my favourite part of the Craig era.
  • Lashana Lynch is the perfect 007. After all, its only a number. I love how the film acknowledges the ‘concerns’ and dismisses them completely. My only issue is that Lynch is underused. I, for one, would love to see a continuation of her story.
  • The entire Cuba sequence is wonderful. From the action, to the music. It is a chuck of Bond perfection. My favourite moment is the reunion of Daniel Craig with his Knives Out co-star Ana de Armas. Mainly for the fact that Bond asks her to turn around while he changes. I find it so endearing and weirdly charming that there’s this reversal of the norm for this sort of scene.
  • They made Q gay! Oh my heart soared (after I rewound to confirm what Ben Whishaw had said). No outing, no big fuss, just conversationally gay! THIS is exactly how LGBTQ+ should be in films.
    And, just as a side note. I want his house… and his cats.
  • Dad Bond is awesome. There’s a massive change in Craig’s performance once he even suspects that the young girl is his daughter that certainly, for me, put him at the top of the list for the most developed Bond in the franchise. There’s certainly a move away from the toxic masculine persona of the past and I’m pretty certain we wouldn’t have got that without Craig.

The Bad

  • The ‘prologue’ was a hefty 23 minutes, the longest in the franchise. I’m not sure what it was, but it put me completely on edge for all the wrong reasons.
    The prologue for me was also a little unclear. I didn’t have subtitles, so perhaps I missed the girl being called Madeline, but visually there wasn’t enough to state that it was a flashback. (Yes, there was a Tamagotchi. However, I’ve seen them for sale recently so that didn’t stand as a marker. There was also Barney on TV. While I know Paw Patrol is the cartoon of choice, that does not mean Barney is not watched around the world?!)
  • I’m still uncertain about Ralph Fiennes as M but that might be my dislike of Spectre.
  • Naomie Harris deserved so much more from this franchise. She is utterly wasted as Moneypenny.
  • I don’t like the legacy storylines. Yes, our way of consuming media has changed and now lends itself to over arcing storylines. However, I miss the self contained story. I love Bond, I didn’t like Spectre so I’ve only seen it the once. However, this instalment required a refresher (my own fault to be fair, a kid I was teaching did tell me this and even gave me a recommended Youtube video so I was up to speed) to really keep up with the story.
    I had convinced myself that the gravitas of Christoph Waltz, that he was from a much earlier film but couldn’t quite place him. It distracted me quite a bit, and I feel it would do the same for other viewers.

The Ugly

  • I know Bond has always been full of clichés, but I really had hoped the problematic ones would be vanquished by now. I’m of course talking about disfigurement and disabilities being used to signify an antagonist, villain or henchman. No Time to Die gives us two; Lyutsifer Safin and Primo (who is also credited as ‘Cyclops’).
    • Safin is brandished with scars (more on his shitness as an antagonist later); a bit of research *after* the film informs me these were caused by a bioweapon used to kill his family. The very fact that I missed the sole line that gives us this knowledge shows how gratuitous it is.
    • Cyclops is given the name for a reason; he has one eye. One he can see out of at least. While I understand the purpose of the bionic eye as a plotting device later in the film it’s this disables = other that’s problematic. Plus, the GCI on that bulging Stargate-glow eye is shit.
    • James Bond, on the other hand, should look like human swiss cheese yet all I saw was what might be Daniel Craig’s appendix scar. What the fuck, is the franchise literally telling us scars = bad person?! Fuck off!
  • There is such a dependence on CGI in this outing. Most will not have noticed, but it really isn’t going to stand up to repeated viewings. Looking at the location list makes me wonder why this is the cast too; many sequences look like they’ve taken place on a green screen studio set.
  • The nanobots confuse the fuck out of me for two reasons:
    • If Madeline was related to Blofeld, why didn’t the nanobots given to her kill her? We’d seen how they reacted to the other dude’s family at the funeral. Also, why we’re on that, how thoughtless and callous was that scene given the current climate?! Who the fuck kisses the corpse of someone who died of a contagion? Hell, who has an open casket?!
    • I know there needed to be a no known ‘cure’ for the plot, but what about the EMP?! Surely that could have neutralised the nanotech?! I know, I know, both are theoretical inventions so they have artistic licence, but fucking use logic on them (one kills electric, one *runs* on electric). Also, Q tells James to us the EMP and then wonders why they’ve lost radio connection?! I have these questions and I went in with my brain switched OFF!
  • Safin is a shit bad guy! Like, literally the worst. Don’t get me wrong; Rami Malik does a grand job with what he has to work with, and he creeps the fuck out of me. HOWEVER;
    • Killing members of Spectre, I get. Wanting to kill Blofeld; get it. Global rollout; why now?! Money? Revenge? Thanos Fan boy? Give me something that explains why. Honestly, I’d have had him only plan as far as killing Blofeld then have him either auction off the product, or have the mad scientist take control.
    • Why the fuck did Safin save Madeline in the flashback, not kill her when he sends her to assassinate her father to then kidnap her? It feels all so convoluted and … bullshit!

Final Thoughts

It’s not the best, but it is by no means the worst.

Triggermen (2002) Film Review

Rating 15
Length 1h36
Release 01.11.2002
Director John Bradshaw (Story by Mark Thomas)
About English con men Pete (Neil Morrissey) and Andy (Adrian Dunbar) think they’ve stumbled onto a brilliant scam when, in a Chicago hotel, they’re mistaken for a pair of assassins — Terry (Donnie Wahlberg) and Tommy (Michael Rapaport) — and receive payment for a job they have no intention of completing: the murder of major mobster Cutler (Pete Postlethwaite). As Pete and Andy decide what to do with their ill-gotten gains, Terry and Tommy scour the hotel for the money they’ve been promised.
Moon: no moon
Where to Watch: Amazon Prime
Trailer:

The Good

  • This film might be set in Chicago, but it is as British as you get. The humour, the cheek and the insanity that progresses this 90 minute film is something only a Brit would create.
  • Honestly, it’s quite fun seeing Neil Morrissey in a film. I’m glad he gives a much more balanced performance than his ‘lad’ persona in Men Behaving Badly, but still not the serious and miserable gits he’s been playing recently. Equally, it’s brilliant to see a young Ted Hastings get as much screen-time as he does. He’s the ideal ying, to Morrissey’s yang.
  • Playing the *real* assassins are Michael Rapaport and Donnie Wahlberg. The more I see of Donnie, the more I feel bad about calling him the ‘Wish Wahlberg’. Sort of. But in all seriousness, another solid performance from both.
  • This has a squint a bit, and it looks like Big Business to it. It could have leaned a little more into that and really played on the mistaken identity part, rather than the ‘how far can we go until we’re caught’. But to quote another similar film ‘nobody’s perfect’.

The Bad

  • The plot is so-so. The romance between Terry and Emma feels a tad too forced and the idea that the actual assassins would miss the suitcase that was all but dropped on their foot is a little frustrating.

The Ugly

  • There is nowhere near enough Pete Postlewaite, and he certainly doesn’t look like he’s having a good time. This was his Alan Rickman/ Sheriff of Nottingham moment, and it just falls flat.
  • What the fuck was Amanda Plummer’s accent?! Just make the broad American and have done with it. She’s a brilliant actor, even in this she’s the best thing about the film. But, my god she switches accents mid sentence and it drives me crazy. One moment she’s *attempting* an Irish accent, before it dips into a weird Yorkshire lilt.

Final Thoughts

This is a perfect random watch for any fans of Line of Duty. It’s not going to be a film that you’ll come back to often, but for anyone who wants Gangster-lite it’s spot on.

Network (1976) Film Review

Rating 15
Length 2h01
Release 01.11.2002
Director Sidney Lumet
About In this lauded satire, veteran news anchorman Howard Beale (Peter Finch) discovers that he’s being put out to pasture, and he’s none too happy about it. After threatening to shoot himself on live television, instead he launches into an angry televised rant, which turns out to be a huge ratings boost for the UBS network. This stunt allows ambitious producer Diana Christensen (Faye Dunaway) to develop even more outrageous programming, a concept that she takes to unsettling extremes.
Moon: no moon
Where to Watch: Own copy
Trailer:

The Good

  • This is for anyone who loves the work of Aaron Sorkin. Particularly those who have watched, and loved, his 2012 drama The Newsroom. Not that this film takes away from Sorkin’s creation, far from it. This provides a viewer with an insight to the inspiration behind the work. I also suspect that there are some Easter Eggs hidden within the 3 season, Jeff Daniels fronted, show.
    I’d also say this is perfect for those who have enjoyed The Morning Show.
  • I’m not sure I’d heard of Peter Finch before watching this film. However, his performance was something else. It is easy to see why he won the best actor awards. I must admit, I do shy away from War based films, but perhaps this is the push I need to explore the genre. (Correction, I have seen Finch in A Town Like Alice. I know exactly who he plays, but I do not remember it.)
  • This is a prophetic tale akin to that of 1984 and almost as dark a morality story as A Handmaid’s Tale. While it could easily be reworked to fit our modern setting, the idea that this came as a “warning” does add to the horrific nature of that ending.
  • The cast is made up of people you will recognise, but not necessarily place. Yes, it may distract you from the narrative, but its really quite fun to work out what you know people from.

The Bad

  • Modern viewers have been ruined by on-your-nose satire and might miss some of the cues and nods being set out of the era in which the film was made. I’ll be honest, I didn’t even look anything up about this film prior to putting it on. I simply wanted to watch a film from the 70s and it was the first one to come up. It wasn’t obvious to me that it *was* satire until reading up on it.

The Ugly

  • It’s a very static and dialogue led film. This might seem like a strange criticism for someone who adores Sorkin and has a yearly rewatch of the Gilmore Girls. However, Sorkin did develop the ‘walk and talk’ and that really does give movement to his work.
    Network feels a little like a Samuel Beckett play; they all use a lot of words, but they don’t say very much at all. It felt to me, that this film had the same problem as Beckett’s play ‘Happy Days’ in which for two hours you watch ONE actor, buried from the waist talk to an unseen person. No movement, whatsoever.

Final Thoughts

A thought provoking must-see movie. Less painful than Citizen Kane, but you won’t necessarily feel entertained.

Fun Mom Dinner (15) Film Review

Rating 12
Length 1h29
Release 27.1.2017 (Sundance. No UK release)
Director Alethea Jones
About Four women whose only common ground is their kids’ preschool class, decide to get together for a harmless dinner. The night begins as a disaster, but the combination of alcohol, karaoke, and a cute bartender leads to an unforgettable night where these seemingly different women realize they have more in common than motherhood and men.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Netflix
Trailer:

The Good

  • Toni Colette is always a pretty decent watch, and this is no exception. She could have taken any on any of the four main “moms” and made it work, but this embittered and closed of personality was quite refreshing to see her as. Molly Shannon can be a bit of a hit and miss for me, but she keeps it closer to her Never Been Kissed performance and that’s just spot on for me.
  • Bridget Everett keeps popping up in films I watch and I need more of her. If you haven’t already, you need to check out Patti Cake$ which she won a Best Supporting Actress award.
    In this, she’s giving us Melissa McCarthy meets Kathryn Hahn, but with her own brand of chaos that will generate most of the viewer’s laughs.
  • The story is simple enough and it’s fair to say it’s a condensed version of Bad Moms with a tone akin to the Hangover and Book Smart.
  • The liberal use of the word ‘c*nt’ is always a win for me. It’s my favourite swear. Might not be for everyone like, but there’s one interaction that just wouldn’t be as funny without its use.

The Bad

  • It’s come out at a bad time. It’s a saturated market for this genre. From the trailer, you would be forgiven for thinking that it offers nothing new. However, you must give it a go. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
  • It’s not a very diverse cast. It’s all white, all middle class. It’s a shame, because it just feels lazy.
  • I’ve just started to tolerate Adam Scott. Why, then, does he go and give me the very character of his I absolutely hate?!

The Ugly

  • Having the woman cheat. It’s a cliché and I’m done.

Final Thoughts

It’s a decent offering, it’s just a shame that there are so many others on offer.

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) Film Review

Rating PG
Length 1h38
Release 12.8.1971
Director Mel Stuart
About A factory owner gives 5 children a chance to win a lifetime supply of sweets. Charlie, along with four odious children enter the factory. Disasters befall each of the children. Will Charlie survive?
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Amazon Prime
Trailer:

The Good

  • Gene Wilder is the reason why they should stop attempting to remake this story. This batshit crazy portrayal, for me at least, is such perfection that anything else (outside of a time machine to cast Spike Milligan) pointless.
    Wilder has has this ability to be this perfect character no matter how old you are when you watch. As a kid, I appreciated the child-like flare he had. Now, I adore the deadpan “help. police. A murder.” that clearly went over my head thirty years ago.
  • The humour, despite the American feel to overall film, feels very British. It’s the tone, particularly the news reports, that are clever and sardonic that I just adore.
  • Mr Turkentine is an odd addition to what is an oddly paced film, but they are some of my favourite scenes and as close to having a Python on set. This film, this story was made for the Pythons. Could you imagine it? Cleese as the spy, Palin as the teacher, Idle as Grandpa Joe?! Damn, I want that time machine now.

The Bad

  • It takes way too long to get into the factory. I mean, I hate to make the comparison here, but if the first Harry Potter had this pacing?! Jesus, could you spend that much time with the Dursleys?
    There’s way too much fluff and songs- get rid of “Cheer up Charlie” at the very least- and it really slogs along for the first half for very little pay off. Yes, keep all the bits about the other shitty kids. But Wonkamania could have been cut short. The film spends too much time telling me I should want to root for Charlie. Sorry, but the more you give me, the more I don’t care. He’s just as annoying as the others, he’s just good at putting on a public face.
  • The placement of the film. It’s not England, it’s not America… but what seems to be an imaginary place, off the map. Take Veruca, for example. She’s got two pure bred Yorkshire parents, yet her accent is what, exactly? Then the factory worker who says all of three or four words is American? Don’t fuck with my head!

The Ugly

  • Grandpa Joe is one shady mother fucker. Can’t get up for twenty years, but has no problem when it comes to taking Charlie on a fun day out? Bullshit! For one thing, I’ve lived with someone who rarely got out of bed; they fucking smell rank! Charlie ain’t taking Grandpa Joe anywhere.
  • The music. I am not a fan of 1970s musicals. Scrooge with Albert Finney, Oliver!, hell even Saturday Night Fever gets a firm “pass” from me. The only musical aspect I like is the little interludes from the Oompa Loompas. But then, I fucking hate the Oopmpa Loompas and everything they’re alluding to.

Final Thoughts

It’s better than Burton’s attempt, but I think the problem is more to do with the Dahl legacy than anything else. If you’ve never seen it, you must. For Wilder alone, you must put up with all the other shit.

Paper Tiger (1975) Film Review

Rating PG
Length 1h39
Release 1.5.1975
Director Ken Annakin
About An English man tutors the son of a Japanese ambassador. He boasts about his heroic service in the British Army, but painful truths are revealed when he and the boy are kidnapped by political terrorists, so he needs to play the hero.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Amazon Prime
Trailer:

The Good

  • David Niven is as charming as always. He’s the British answer to James Stewart. Watching him in this film soothes the soul in a way no film today ever could. Unfortunately, while he makes the whole thing watchable, Niven also causes a lot of my problems with the film.
  • The relationship between the teacher and student is adorable. The development of the admiration Koichi has for his new teacher is something you don’t often see in these types of films today. It’s really refreshing to not have the child at odds with the adult.
  • There’s a few times in which Niven’s character thwarts the terrorist actions, simply by accident. I loved this moments and actually wish there were a few more of these.

The Bad

  • It takes almost too long for the boy, and teacher, to be kidnapped. I understand there’s a need to show how important the relationship has become between the two, and establish that Bradbury is embellishing his past heroics, but I’m certain that could have been done in a much better way.

The Ugly

  • I don’t understand the whole Bradbury lying about his wartime experience. Partly it is down to the charming persona David Niven provides, also knowing Niven did indeed reenlist at the start of WWII makes it hard to believe that he’s simply a coward.
    I don’t see how his participation in the war would have an impact on his employment and it certainly not a lie he carries well: literally everyone suspects him of not telling the truth.

Final Thoughts

As a film for a lazy Sunday morning goes; it wasn’t too bad. However, if you want to see David Niven, there are much better films out there to pick from.

Resident Evil (2002)

Rating 18
Length 1h40
Release 27.8.2021
Director Nina DaCosta
About A virus turns hundreds of humans and animals at a genetic research facility into flesh-eating zombies. In response, an elite military unit tries to take them down before it is too late.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Now TV
Trailer:

The Good

  • The cast is incredible. Michelle Rodriguez, Eric Mabius and Colin Salmon all pull their weight and make this a lot less painful to watch.
  • The dogs are frightening. Whatever they did to make them dogs look the way they did, really works. Incredible.
  • I love the set design of the underground labs. They are perfect for the action sequences and increasing panic.

The Bad

  • Some of the CGI isn’t holding up as well as other people might suggest. It’s not the worst out there by any means, and some of the scenes would not have been possible without it, but it does appear more like game play than film in places.
  • The use of Alice in Wonderland is so basic and superficial, I wished they’d just removed it completely. The work of Lewis Carroll is so well known and name dropped by all forms of media, it just feels underwhelming here. Especially when its a story about a woman who is uncertain who she is and she’s going into a world she’s never experienced before?

The Ugly

  • Gratuitous nudity of Milla Jovovich. Not once, but twice, this films has her out of her clothes and her cooch out. Just fuck off with the spank bank imagery.

Final Thoughts

It was much better than I remember, but it didn’t leave me wanting to watch any of the others in the franchise which is a shame really because most: Potter, Die Hard, Star Wars, to name a few, do lend themselves to a marathon of some description.

The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)

Rating 18
Length 2h
Release 27.8.2021
Director Renny Harlin
About Samantha Caine suffers from amnesia. Her mysterious past begins to haunt her, which sets her off on a search to discover her true identity.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Now TV
Trailer:

First Thoughts

I used to have a 9pm bedtime. Which really sucked because back in the day, most films on tv started at 8pm. It meant that I’d get to see around 35-45 minutes of any film my parent’s chose to watch.
This was one of these films. Die Hard with a Vengeance and Rambo: First Blood are two others that stick in my memory as films that I’d only seen the first act of. I don’t know why I never got around to watching the rest of this film, but I’d only ever gotten to the knife skills before being sent to slumber.

The Good

  • Another 80/90s box office powerhouse in the shape of Geena Davis. She not only handles the action sequences well, but also the duel personality and the shift from one to the other as the film progresses. I couldn’t imagine anyone better in the role.
  • Samuel L Jackson proves in this film that he’s leading man material. While it’s true to say he was billed rather highly in the third Die Hard outing, it being a franchise means the requirement to pull in viewers is not really on him. With this, however, it is.
    Mitch Henessey perhaps is no different than some of his other performances, but I would argue that without this film, we might not have gotten some of the others. It’s a solid performance and, most importantly, we get to hear him utter his favourite swear.

The Bad

  • The tone is off. I think perhaps that’s owing to a barley there plot and some really weird dialogue, but I’m torn as to whether this is a serious spy thriller or a dark comedy. This is not something I should be undecided on and it would have been quite easy for the director to have picked a tone!

The Ugly

  • It’s really messy and I found it hard to keep my interest in the plot. Part of the problem, for me, was that it wasn’t made clear who the main bad guy was, instead choosing to introduce another to replace the one that just died.

Final Thoughts

Unfortunately, other films have done this plot a little better. However, it is worth the watch for Geena Davis and Sam L Jackson alone.

Black Widow (2021) Film Review

Rating 12a
Length 2h13
Release 27.8.2021
Director Cate Shortland
About Natasha Romanoff, a former KGB spy, is shocked to find out that her ex handler, General Dreykov, is still alive. While evading capture by Taskmaster, she is forced to confront her dark past.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Disney Plus
Trailer:

First Thoughts

I’ve now watched this film three times and I really have struggled to put down my thoughts. I’m glad I didn’t do it after my first, or second, watch. There are things I’m still very unhappy about, but …. well you’ll see from my review.

The Good

  • Florence Pugh as Yelena is what saves this film. She is a breath of fresh air as this young woman using humour as her guard. Her interaction with both Nat and her ‘father’ are pitched perfectly.
    Most importantly, her persona leaves me begging for Yelena to have interactions with Ant Man, Peter Parker and Nebula. It is going to be so much fun see her have verbal duels with some of these heroes.
  • David Harbour was always going to be a plus for me. I was a little worried; I’ve heard some of his attempts at accents, and they’re not always pretty. However, his Russian isn’t too bad.
    You can tell that Harbour is enjoying every minute of playing this Red State answer to Captain America. It’s brilliant to see a hero that has already had his time and is perhaps someone who should be sitting out of the fights. Then, you see him fight and realise; he’s still got it.
  • The relationship/ family dynamic of the OG Black Widow family is something I took for granted the first time I watched, but I really enjoyed this different type of dysfunction.
    The “time of the month” scene, for example was a stroke of genius. In that short interaction, you got to see Guardian’s ignorance, Yalana’s dark humour and Nat’s leadership skills.
  • The action, as always is spot on and well placed within the story structure. This film almost mimics a Bond movie with its exotic locations (the safe house in Budapest looks so similar to the last act of Craig’s Casino Royale), motor vehicle chases and a lair final showdown.

The Bad

  • The story is underwhelming. Being placed where it was in the timeline and release schedule means the story had to be somewhat self contained. Not only that, but there was a sense of retcon in order to make this work.
    The biggest thing of that I felt was ‘Budapest’. I’ll be honest, the Mouse House had a hard job on their hands with that. When you mention something so vague; you set of about a million plot bunnies. Nothing will live up to what’s been imagined in the heads of many geek’s in the years since it was first mentioned.
  • My issue with Taskmaster is the way the gender of them was hidden. It was deliberate and I’m pretty certain the person inside the Taskmaster suit prior to the reveal was male. It’s not clever, it doesn’t make the reveal more shocking. It just really makes them just another really weak antagonist.
  • Dreykov was badly cast. You do not cast Ray Winstone as a Russian. That man cannot do an accent to save his life and it ruins the character. Instead of him being this formidable leader, he comes across as a cheap panto villain.
  • O-T Fagbenle is wasted as Rick Mason. How are we only just being introduced to him now? This is such a shame as not only did I love the character, I loved his interaction with both Nat and Yalana.
  • Not the fault of the film itself, but the way in which trailers are made needs to change. It was heavily implied that Rachel Weisz’ character, Melina, had died. It is certainly a shock to both Yelena and Nat that she’s not and I think it’s meant to be a shock for us too. That’s hard for the audience to do though, seeing as she appears heavily in the trailer.

The Ugly

  • Black Widow deserved better. There, I said it.
  • This is a film that has almost zero impact upon the universe, mainly because it was tagged on to Phase 3 and added out of sequence.
    Had the film been released prior to Infinity War and Endgame, there would have at least been a slight element of jeopardy. As it stands, we know Nat can’t be killed and it narrative loses any tension.
    Not only that, but placing this film before Nat’s sacrifice? Jesus, that adds so much weight. Don’t have the same punch after the fact, but in the right order Nat is sacrificing herself for two families.
  • Not a single Avenger comes to help. Yes, I know that this is happening mid Civil War, but Disney, Buba, she’s been the wing woman to all these boy’s ‘adventures’ and you can’t even get one scene? Hell, you couldn’t even get Jeremy Renner in for the flashbacks? Do you not realise quite how shitty that is?!
  • It’s not Nat’s film. Not really. The only way this works, in terms of impact, is that it is a film that introduces Yelena Belova to the Avengers Universe. Yet, even this feels like an afterthought based upon fan reaction to the amazing Florence Pugh.

Final Thoughts

An underwhelming addition to the Marvel Universe that does not do Nat, or Scarlett Johannsen, justice.