Halloween Kills (2021)

Rating 18
Length 2h23
Release 26.4.2012
Director Joss Whedon
About Nick Fury is compelled to launch the Avengers Initiative when Loki poses a threat to planet Earth. His squad of superheroes
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: In cinemas and on some home streaming platforms
Trailer:

Trick

  • It can’t keep the momentum of the first of this timeline and it certainly doesn’t hit the bar in terms of quality. 
  • There are almost too many character threads being followed. In a similar way to Halloween II (1981), Laurie is hospital bound and has little to do, there’s Anthony Michael Hall’s Tommy and a few other returning characters from the 1978 original, but how they’re used makes their inclusion too much like fan service than a need for them in the story; almost as if casting and characters were prioritised over telling the story.
  • In a similar sense, this instalment feels like a set up to the next film. They knew how they were starting, they knew there were two more sequels and how this was going to end, the rest just feels like padding. 
  • I really hate the immortality aspect of The Shape/ Michael Myers. It’s fucking stupid because that is part of the legend of him and undermines the believability of a mob mentality.

Treat

  • The body count and kills are unrelenting and imaginative. From the first responders, to the final showdown this film really earns its 18 rating. 
  • Jamie Lee Curtis will always be impeccable in everything she does. Ever since seeing her in A Fish Called Wanda, I’ve trusted that anything she’s in will be something I’ll enjoy. 
  • Anthony Michael Hall as Tommy is quite a genius bit of casting and characterisation. To see how those 40 years have gone for Tommy, how much it’s effected him is not something I’ve really thought about. His ability to move and motivate a crowd into a mob is incredible, and something I’m not certain Joseph Gordon Levitt would have been able to pull off. 
  • There are Call backs and Easter eggs to many of the other films in the franchise. I particularly loved the nod to the third film that didn’t even feature Michael Myers. 
  • The scariest thing out of all of the violence is the mob. Michael Myers, due to his apparent immortality, and known volatile tendencies doesn’t have the same shock and horror as the group of ordinary people; doctors, citizens and police who are all but frothing at the mouth at the thought of killing Michael. It’s all within the realms of possibility and the fact that they all ignore the harm they do to others and actively ignore the voice of logic and reason is the sole bit of this film that chilled me to the bone. 

Final Thoughts

I found aspects of the film interesting, but it just didn’t quite live up to the expectations the 2018 offering gave me.

Muppets Haunted Mansion (2021) Halloween Advent

Rating PG
Length 52m
Release 8.10.2021
Director Kirk R Thatcher
About On Halloween night, Gonzo is challenged to spend one night in The Haunted Mansion.
Moon: Full Moon sighted just before Gonzo enters the mansion.
Where to Watch: Disney Plus
Trailer:

Trick

  • Kermit’s new voice is not quite right for me. At first, I thought it was that Kermit had a pig nose on his face and they were adding an effect. However, additional scenes proved otherwise. Whoever they picked is a few octaves lower than previous voice actors and not only is it noticeable, it changes the whole character.

Treat

  • Wil Arnett is perhaps the perfect human companion after Jason Segel. He has the adaptability to play the sort of characters Muppets needs. Arnett looks in his element throughout and it lifts up the performance of everyone involved.
  • Move over Animal, Pepe is my new favourite Muppet. He’s charming and funny. Not only that, he works well alongside fan favourite, Gonzo.
  • The songs are used sparingly, which I’m grateful for.
  • The humour, the charm and the meta-ness of the plot is all on brand and well written throughout.
  • It’s the perfect length for a family-friendly film. Especially for those days when no one has the attention for anything longer.

Final Thoughts

Muppets doing what Muppets do best, what’s not to love?

The Addams Family 2 (2021) Halloween Advent

Rating PG
Length 1h33
Release 8.10.2021
Director Conrad Vernon and Greg Tieman
About Hoping to get closer as a family, Gomez, Morticia and the rest of the Addams clan embark on an adventurous road trip in a hideous and humongous camper.
Moon: Starts off as a crescent, going into a full moon
Where to Watch: Cinemas nationwide
Trailer:

Trick

  • Finn Wolfhard didn’t return. Honestly, I’m gutted because the person they got to replace him was so different.
  • It had a very Simpsons feel, in the sense that nothing from the first film had any standing in this one. A shame really, as I loved the characters we met in the first film and it would have been quite easy to intergrade them into the story.
  • What happened to having Kitty as the MGM lion?! (Side bar: I got very upset at the youngling who insisted, repeatedly, that the MGM logo showed a TIGER! Don’t worry readers, I did not heckle)

Treat

  • There’s some excellent horror movie Easter eggs throughout the film for eagle eyed adults.
  • The story is pretty decent; for both kids and adults. Elements may be predictable, but it is a cartoon.
  • The comedy is as standard as the first outing, which gags for kids and ones for adults. Some of the location gags are just brilliant.
  • While there are arguments that this film is not in keeping with the live action or tv offerings, I must disagree. I have found both offerings well within the spirit of the Addams Family.
  • Snoop Dogg is perfect as Cousin Itt. I do want to play his lines backwards to see if he does indeed say what the characters say he does. (Thank you Red Dwarf for enabling me to identify backward tracks)

Final Thoughts

Its a decent kids film with a fun plot and a wonderful story arc for Wednesday. While I doubt the box office will see a third outing green-lit, if we do I would love to see Pugsley have a bigger role. Even with, sigh, the new voice actor.

Prisoners of the Ghostland (2021)

Rating 15
Length 1h43
Release 17.9.2021
Director Sion Sono
About In the treacherous frontier city of Samurai Town, a ruthless bank robber gets sprung from jail by a wealthy warlord whose adopted granddaughter has gone missing. He offers the prisoner his freedom in exchange for retrieving the runaway. Strapped into a leather suit that will self-destruct in five days, the bandit sets off on a journey to find the young woman — and his own path to redemption.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Online rental
Trailer:


The Good

  • Nic Cage is at his most bat-shit in this Escape from New York/ Mad Max mashup. I don’t know about anyone else, but if I’m watching a Nic Cage film I need to see him howling to the moon in a way only he can do.
  • It is a beautiful film. The aesthetics of East and West cultures colliding is nothing new, however the way in which they are consistently and visually at odds with each other somehow works.

The Bad

  • Sofia Boutella is wasted in the role. A third of the film she’s placed in unflattering geisha make-up and another third she’d left catatonic. You have this beautiful, well trained actress. Use that. Perhaps its due to last minute casting, but she is much better than the role she was given.

The Ugly

  • Its not quite coherent enough and is certainly more style over substance. Biggest problem for me is the number of flashbacks. It adds nothing to the story to have so many. Especially those scenes that revolve around the opening scene. Because the reveals in the flashbacks are so heavily implied anyway it just bloats the film.
  • It really does seem that the director is trying too hard to hide the inspirations behind the film. To the point that the story is lost completely. The characters are not ones you sympathise with, or get to know in any way beyond the superficial.

Final Thoughts

Honestly, if you press play and make it to the end; kudos.

Candyman (2021) Film Review

Rating 12
Length 1h31
Release 27.8.2021
Director Nina DaCosta
About In present day, a decade after the last of the Cabrini towers were torn down, Anthony and his partner move into a loft in the now gentrified Cabrini. A chance encounter with an old-timer exposes Anthony to the true story behind Candyman. Anxious to use these macabre details in his studio as fresh grist for paintings, he unknowingly opens a door to a complex past that unravels his own sanity and unleashes a terrifying wave of violence.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Playing in Cinemas now
Trailer:


The Good

  • The cinematography is absolutely stunning. Not only in of itself, but in the parallels from the original. Its artistic, its complimentary and its beautiful.
  • The shadow puppets used to tell the myth and legend of Candyman are perfect use of storytelling.
  • The story convincingly weaves in the narrative from the 1992 film, while ensuring those who come to this film without seeing the precursor won’t feel excluded. While a sequel, it does work as a stand-alone
  • The cast is diverse. Not only do we have a gay couple, we have an interracial gay couple. There is comments in reviews stating that it is only white people that are killed in this film. Well, I urge them to take a second watch.

The Bad

  • There’s a b-plot storyline surrounding the protagonist’s girlfriend; played beautifully by Teyonna Paris. The plot thread fits in really well and certainly gives the audience and opportunity to understand and sympathise with Brianna. However, its dropped as quickly as it was brought up. It’s almost as if a scene or two were cut and they would have made it more than this filler story.
  • I do find it odd that the one thing that didn’t carry over from the original, was the protagonist being arrested, or even questioned by the police. With all the clever parallels, it’s a shame this one was missed.

The Ugly

  • The reviews outside trying to say this is a racist movie. From “its too political” to “Only white people die”. God, you can just feel the white privilege oozing off the reviews. This movie is telling the same story that was told in 1992. Only bloody difference is that the protagonist was white and provided an almost smokescreen to viewers.
    This *is* a political movie. It is a black movie, it always was. The story’s origins come from Liverpool and the class divide there. As soon as the story’s movie moved from the UK to USA, Chicago in particular, the race divide was much more acute. Gentrification in the USA was about race. However, it is still about class divide. Both then, and now. To boil it down and go ‘urg, too political’ does a disservice to everyone involved. Be honest, just say ‘it made me uncomfortable’ because that’s what you really mean.
  • The other aspect of ‘too political’, could perhaps be the final act in which the police shoot someone without due cause, much in the same way Candyman was imprisoned. Yes, it might hit home a little different in the wake of George Floyd. However, to think this ending was put in *because* of George Floyd shows you’re part of the problem. The protests, the outrage, the lingering memory of his name is not because he was an isolated incident but because it was so frequent.
    The easiest way to put this argument to bed? This film was due for a June 2020 release. George Floyd was killed 25th May 2020. This film was wrapped and in the can way before then, so that ending was already filmed.

Final Thoughts

A little cleaner, much more clear cut than its direct predecessor. The final act, in the wake of George Floyd , may make some feel uncomfortable. Hell, some people will go so far as to say it’s ‘too political’. Well, isn’t that because you feel guilty? For me, that means this film has most definitely done its job.

The Suicide Squad (2021)

Rating 15
Length 2h12
Release 30.7.2021
Director James Gunn
About The government sends the most dangerous supervillains in the world — Bloodsport, Peacemaker, King Shark, Harley Quinn and others — to the remote, enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese. Armed with high-tech weapons, they trek through the dangerous jungle on a search-and-destroy mission, with only Col. Rick Flag on the ground to make them behave.
Moon: We get a waxing crescent moon right at the beginning.
Where to Watch: Most cinemas
Trailer:


The Good

  • How does James Gunn curate the perfect soundtrack?! The Suicide Squad is no exception. From the legendary Johnny Cash to the earworm indie rock band The Fratellis; on paper they stand at odds with each other. However, on the screen, they enhance the story and become the album I must have on my phone.
  • The dialogue is to die for. The quick witted humour is perfect for those who love the work of Kevin Smith and Dan Harmon. It’s still on brand for James Gunn, but the Disney reigns have been removed. There will be times when you’d laugh in that ‘I cannot believe they got away with this’ way. It is joyous.
  • Idris Elba and Viola Davis being in the movie astounds me from the get go. Seeing them in a scene together and going toe to toe made me so very fucking happy. These are two actors that I will forever make time for. They’re powerhouses and our generation of Actors. Yet, here they are, having the time of their lives and playing cops and robbers. It takes a certain calibre of talent that can do that.
  • There’s some stunning cinematography in this outing. It’s not something that Franqois Truffant is going to cream himself over because it’s not ‘high brow’ enough, but it certainly got my attention. There’s a scene in which we watch a bulk of it via a reflection and it is made this film geek happy. Now, it might not age well and in 20 years it might look cheap as fuck, however right now it is just beautiful.
  • My two MVPs are King Shark and Sebastian. Both have this conceit of being absolutely adorable and murderous bastards. King Shark provides this childlike joy and humour and I love that he’s voiced by Stallone.
    Sebastian, on the other hand, gave me so much cute. Yup, I ‘awwww’d’ about 4 or 5 times at that god-damn rat. That rat, that mute, expressive and charming rat stole my heart and might have even had me choke up. Fucking James Gunn man. First a tree and a trash panda, now a anthropomophic shark and a rat. Genius! Mad, evil, genius.

The Bad

  • It’s a little on the long side. About 30 minutes too long for me. It does try to keep the pace, but there’s a clunky, choppy flow to the narrative that I don’t think will allow this film to hold up to repeated viewings.

The Ugly

  • The violence is hardcore. It’s a blend of surreal and real which I personally love, however it may be too much for some viewers and I would certainly argue that this film’s violence warrants and 18 rating.

Final Thoughts

A DC film using the Marvel playbook. Its a good watch for someone uninvested, so I’d imagine someone who is loving the DCMU (I’m a DC TVU girl) will be very happy with the outcome.

Jungle Cruise (2021) Film Review

Rating 12
Length 2h07
Release 30.7.2021
Director Jaume Collet-Serra
About Dr. Lily Houghton enlists the aid of wisecracking skipper Frank Wolff to take her down the Amazon in his ramshackle boat. Together, they search for an ancient tree that holds the power to heal — a discovery that will change the future of medicine.
Moon: Waxing crescent (I think) that is part of the plot
Where to Watch: Cinema and Premire Access on Disney Plus
Trailer:


The Good

  • The Rock is owning this role. He’s hamming it up like he does in Jumanji, but with a little Disney flare. His chemistry with Emily Blunt is on a par with Fraser and Weis in The Mummy (1999) and I’ve not enjoyed a romance plot as much in a long while.
  • The effects are quite impressive. More so when you compare them to that of Pirates of the Caribbean.
  • There are some zinger lines and funny puns to keep all entertained, or groaning in their seat.
  • The film’s score plays like a love letter to all the films that came before. I think it was about half way through I’d have sworn it was composed by the great John Williams. You know, if it wasn’t for the fact that the film was utter nonsense.

The Bad

  • The plot is as if a computer programme had been fed Indiana Jones, George of the Jungle, The Mummy, National Treasure and Pirates of the Caribbean to spit out… this. The shame of it really is the fact that there’s a good film in here. Somewhere.

The Ugly

  • Jack Whitehall. He’s one note and insincere to the core. The only nice thing I can say about his presence is that at least it wasn’t James Corden.
  • Staying on the problematic Whitehall and his character MacGregor; I normally have no issue when it comes to straight men taking on gay roles I do find this choice dumbfounding. If it’s a box checking exercise, that only *really* works if the representation is on AND off the screen. As it stands, the story required the character to be gay, the audience are presented with a rather poor stereotype.

Final Thoughts

It’s a hot mess of a film, saved by the chemistry of Emily Blunt and The Rock. It’s not going to be top of anyone’s list of rewatch films, however you can’t leave it unwatched.

Fast 9 (2021) Film Review

Rating 12
Length 2h23
Release 24.6.2021
Director Justin Lin
About Dom Toretto is living the quiet life off the grid with Letty and his son, but they know that danger always lurks just over the peaceful horizon. This time, that threat forces Dom to confront the sins of his past to save those he loves most. His crew soon comes together to stop a world-shattering plot by the most skilled assassin and high-performance driver they’ve ever encountered — Dom’s forsaken brother.
Where to Watch: Cinemas
Trailer:


The Good

  • It’s a ‘leave your brain at home’ sort of action movie that requires little effort on your behalf. With 8 previous films, the viewers will know what to expect.
  • Tyresse Gibson provides his solid humour as always, but it is Nathalie Emmanuel who really shows her comedy chops in this film. She’s not quite up there with Jason Statham, yet, but she really brought an element of that British humour.
  • The cars are still as beautiful as ever.
  • John Cena is a welcome addition to the franchise, although I wasn’t too happy with the resolution. It felt devoid of emotion and that clashes with Dom’s belief about family.

The Bad

  • They really missed out on an opportunity with the flash back storyline. I enjoyed that much more than the rest of it and I do feel like there was a whole film there waiting to be made prior to the ‘present day’ story line. Yes, it would have perhaps lacked the star power the franchise perhaps relies on, but the flash backs really did seem at odds with everything else. Split it and make two films and you have the chance to create a film that’s much more in keeping with the earlier films and a palate cleanse for the bat shit crazy hijinks of the universe post-Fast Five.
  • Charlize Theron was absolutely wasted in this. As was Helen Mirren and Michael Rooker. All seemed really shoe-horned in to serve the plot at a disservice to the fans.

The Ugly

  • It’s about as believable as the UK government. They go to space! Not kidding, they go to fucking space! When you consider the first ever film, you do wonder how we got here. It’s one of those that you just have to accept. Apply logic to it and it will send even the sanest person mad.
  • How are these people still alive? While I’m telling you to suspend belief to enjoy the movie, I do not understand how any of these characters have a pulse.

Final Thoughts

Eh, I don’t think there’s anything I can say to sum it up. Bit too long, but lets face it you’re either going to watch it, or you’re not.

Gunpowder Milkshake (2021) Review

Rating 15
Length 1h54
Release 17.9.2021
Director 
About To protect an 8-year-old girl, a dangerous assassin reunites with her mother and her lethal associates to take down a ruthless crime syndicate and its army of henchmen.
Where to Watch: Cinema and Sky Cinema/NOW
Trailer:


The Good

  • The cast is incredible. Karen Gillan can hold her own as the female equivalent of John Wick. Yep, you’re going to see that a lot in reviews of this film because it has all the feels of John Wick. Only here we get it with retro tunes, neon brights and a lead who is much more talkative.
  • Carla Gugina, Michelle Yeoh and Angela Bassett steal every scene they grace with their queer, fantastical and bad ass librarians. Its a library everyone would love to visit, even if you have be careful with which books you open. How they fit into the world of the Firm is unclear, but they offer such a sceptical, that you’ll forgive the film for that oversight.
  • Chloe Coleman, last seen in My Spy alongside Dave Bautista, makes Macauley Culkin’s old soul seem like hard work. Coleman really looks at home in this world were any children have to grow up fast. I cannot wait to see her in whatever she has lined up.
  • The action is amazing. They are complimented with the set pieces; from a bowling alley to the aforementioned library.

The Bad

  • The plot is a little flawed. Not while your watching, and not on a superficial level. However, I suspect if you spend any time thinking about the lulls between the bangs or if you chose to watch it again; the cracks will begin to show.
  • The violence won’t be for everyone and some bits of the action did leave me with a bit of a queasy stomach.

The Ugly

  • The hate that this film is getting. I don’t understand what movie people saw instead. Please ignore the reviews. Even mine if you need to.

Final Thoughts

John Wick meets Kill Bill, with the stylings of a Guardians of the Galaxy film. Switch of your brain and enjoy.

Promising Young Woman (2020)

Rating 15
Length 1h 54
Release 16.4.2021
Director Emerald Fennell
About Nothing in Cassie’s life is what it appears to be — she’s wickedly smart, tantalizingly cunning, and she’s living a secret double life by night. Now, an unexpected encounter is about to give Cassie a chance to right the wrongs from the past.


The Good

  • This film is visually beautiful. There were so many times during the runtime I thought ‘put that on a canvas and I’d hang it in my house’. Very few films have even one frame like that for me. Yet here is this film, a Film Studies academic’s dream, giving me enough canvas for a museum.
  • The film holds a wonderful familiarity with one of my favourite films, Get Carter, and a beloved tv show of mine, Veronica Mars. Not in a way that screams “remake” or “rip off”, but gives me the indication that the creatives behind this film are aiming for my demographic. That this is a film for me, by someone like me.
  • The entire cast is incredible, but this really is Carey Mulligan’s time to shine. It was Cassandra’s story and Mulligan told it with such a presence that you’re drawn right in. I always knew she was going on to do great things when my favourite episode of Doctor Who became the one in which the Doctor, David Tennant’s Doctor no less, was barely present. It makes the geek in me really happy to see her hold her own in such a powerful and important film.
  • Okay, there’s one other person I need to mention and that is Jennifer Coolidge. Holy crap, she blindsided me. She has been the epitome of comedy and caricatures that I am ashamed to say I cringed when I saw her name in the credits. Gone was that nasal squeak that she seemed to have branded herself with, gone are the blonde locks and instead we get a rather understated performance that really added to the family dynamic in the film. Directors, I hope you use this woman more because she is so much more than her 2 Broke Girls’ “Hi everybody”.

The Bad

  • Eat before you press play. Do everything you need to because you are not moving once it starts. I stupidly didn’t think I was going to like this movie, so I naively put it on about 30 minutes before I was going to have my dinner. I couldn’t pause, I couldn’t just nip out… this film had me not only engrossed, but invested. To have paused, even for a moment, could have altered the outcome.
    Now, that, that is cinema at its finest.

The Ugly

  • Its not the most comfortable of watches when you consider the themes, the story and the characters. This isn’t a film for entertainment’s sake. This is a cautionary tale and a societal mirror for trauma, grief and gender prejudice.

Final Thoughts

Watch this movie. Show your mother, your sister and most importantly, show your son, show your brother and show your dad this movie.

Thunder Force (2021)

Rating 12
Length 1h 47
Release 9.4.2021
Director Ben Falcone
About Two childhood best friends reunite as an unlikely crime-fighting superhero duo when one invents a formula that gives ordinary people superpowers.


The Good

  • Jason Bateman certainly looked to be having fun as the miscreant The Crab. On anyone else it really would have looked and felt cringe. However, he has enough of that dry smarm to get away with it.
  • The premise is pretty good. The idea that whatever it was caused villains and the heroes have to be manufactured is pretty good. There’s a really decent film here, under the McCarthy-branded humour.

The Bad

  • The film took too much time setting it all up. I don’t need to see these two friends as children. I don’t need to see Lydia’s daily routine if it has absolutely no baring on the plot. It doesn’t endear me to the characters, it doesn’t provide a challenge for the two to over come. It just felt like a waste.
  • The bad guy motivation was a bit, meh. If I cared enough, I could scrutinise it and it would all fall apart. As it stands though, I don’t care enough to actually pin point what it is that makes it so shit.
  • That. Dance. Scene?! What the actual fuck?

The Ugly

  • I really don’t like the crude humour, or the “You didn’t get it the first time, so I’m going to repeat it” thing McCarthy does. Its all humour that doesn’t stick the landing for me and it got old about ten movies ago.
  • Raw chicken?! I know they weren’t eating raw chicken, but it was a bloody good imitation and it made me sick to my stomach.

Final Thoughts

I’ll be sticking to my House of Mouse for my superheroes from now on. Thank you.

Palm Springs (2020)

Rating 15
Length 1h 30
Release 9.4.2021
Director Max Barbakow
About Stuck in a time loop, two wedding guests develop a budding romance while living the same day over and over again.


The Good

  • Andy Samberg is just a delight in a role that was totally made for him. While there’s still that 99 goofball humour, there are layers to the character of Nyles giving Samberg a chance to show his range. It could not come at a better time for the SNL alumni, given that the 99 are bowing out.
  • It might seem a little jarring at first, but stick with it. I’ve not seen as clever a time loop since Star Trek Discovery’s episode Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad (S01 Ep07). Its a fresh take, while acknowledging everything that’s come before.
  • Its that sweet spot run time. With a time loop, there is a sweet spot. Groundhog Day, depending on when I watch, doesn’t always hit the mark and I drift in the middle. This has me for the whole thing.
  • It is a film you’re going to want to watch again. I have the feeling its the sort of film you learn more and discover things you missed each time you watch it. There’s also some deep philosophical shit going down that I think had I not been day-2 post Covid jab, I’d have a better insight to.
  • There’s some STEM shit too. Proving you’re never too old to learn… shit.
  • JK Simmons. That’s all you’re getting.

The Bad

  • You don’t get a full resolution for Sarah and her family. It may leave a few viewers frustrated.

The Ugly

  • Get ready to feel your HIMYM rage all over again. Within five minutes of seeing Cristin Milioti as Sarah, you will not only be mad about the ending, or the fact that the last series took place over the course of a few days. You will be mad that they cast this great, amazing person and wasted her.

Final Thoughts

Cannot wait to watch this on 9th November 2021. Its become my new Groundhog and Rex Manning Day.