Double Jeopardy (1999) Film Review

Rating 15
Length 1h45
Release 28.1.2000
Director Bruce Bereford
About A woman arrested for her husband’s murder is sentenced to six years imprisonment. After her release, she sets out to find her son and the truth about the murder as she suspects foul play.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Netflix
Trailer:

The Good

  • I’ve seen the trailer for this film about a million times, so to say that this film surprised me was a bit of an understatement. I’ve always thought that Tommy Lee Jones was the husband and the ferry car crash was how he ‘died’. There’s just something quite nice about being thrown off from the get go.
  • I really like Ashley Judd in this. Judd makes for a really sympathetic and strong leading lady.
  • Bruce Greenwood. He improves literally anything he’s in and I really do like that I’ve now seen him play a nasty role. He wears it well.

The Bad

  • The evolution of time isn’t very well structured. I know we get the cake, but I think I’d have liked a little more. Even something simple as removing the highlights from her hair.
  • I don’t get why there’s the insistence that her boy, Matty, doesn’t go to her parents when it’s the first person she goes to when she flees custody.
  • There’s a few other plot holes that I can’t think of right now, but because it’s not as fast paced as similar thrillers, they’re a little more obvious.

The Ugly

  • How laws work. The whole premise hangs on a law that the film interprets wrongly. Like, its a glaring flaw. There’s also this idea that her child is kidnapped. Yes, she’s given custody over, but is it not a little suspect?
  • This suffers with a similar fate at What Lies Beneath in the respect that the trailer and blurb reveal the ‘faked death’, while the film plays it as a reveal. It makes that opening scene heavy and hard work. In a film that’s not got much time to play with, it really didn’t need to spend that long building up to the ‘crime’. I guess there’s an attempt here to not be The Fugitive. However, the result is that the film loses some of its suspense. Netflix doesn’t help matters by having the reveal scene as it’s preview.

Final Thoughts

An enjoyable, if not heavily flawed, entry into the crime thriller that was popular in the 90s. It’s something I’d love to see a return of. Perhaps without the need to ignore the blatant plot holes.

Bird on a Wire (1990) Film Review

Rating 15
Length 1h50
Release 19.10.1990
Director John Badham
About Rick is given a new identity by the FBI for helping convict a drug dealing FBI agent. His FBI ‘minder’ is replaced by a corrupt agent who helps the drug dealers and his accomplice locate him.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Netflix (until 14th August)
Trailer:


The Good

  • That final act is worth putting up with any issues with the film. Yes, I’m an animal girl and I love my zoos. However, even if you’re not, you will appreciate the nostalgia, the use and the realness of the animals (although I do believe IMBD is incorrect about its baboon trivia; The Fly (1986) used not one, but two trained baboons) over some of the shoddy CGI used today. Seriously, at one point I gasped because I thought it was a species of tiger that is now extinct.
  • Mel and Goldie have chemistry! I momentarily wished for Kurt Russell, but after about 5 minutes of seeing these two together I was all good.
  • Good ol’ Ned from Groundhog Day. Stephen Tobolowsky is part of the bad guy group and it was actually really cool to see him in something with a supporting role, rather than the bit parts he seems to have here and there.

The Bad

  • The start of the movie feels really sluggish. It is *almost* worth the pay off, but this film certainly didn’t have me drawn in right from the get go. As it’s described as akin to It Happened One Night (1934), it really needs to be shit hot from the very start and it really isn’t.

The Ugly

  • There’s two Goldie Hawn’s in this movie. It’s Prince of Thieves all over again for me. He character is set up as this badass who goes toe to toe with all these blokes. Then she meets her old beau and its all screams and tears.
    Don’t set women up, to make them weak and docile when the protagonist shows up. Big mistake. Massive pet hate.
  • What the fuck is with the kissing in Hollywood in the 90s?! Was that window-washing head tilting side to side really how people kissed?!

Final Thoughts

The Matrix (1999) Film Review

Rating 15
Length 2h16
Release 11.6.1999
Director Lana and Lilly Wachowski
About Thomas Anderson, a computer programmer, is led to fight an underground war against powerful computers who have constructed his entire reality with a system called the Matrix.
Where to Watch: Netflix/ Amazon Prime
Trailer:


First Thoughts

I bought into this franchise. I had the leather coat that hit the floor. I vaguely remember someone lending me the video and by the time the sequels came out, there was a group of us who made seeing it an event.
This was probably the first film since Jurassic Park that had GCI that truly amazed me and I certainly watched it a fair few times. Until the sequels came out that is.


I know this film is from 1999, but if you haven’t watched recently, or never seen it; beware, spoilers ahead.


The Good

  • “Mister Anderson”. Hugo Weaving really gave us a bad guy to loath, didn’t he? It was because of being in this, that I was excited to see him in Lord of the Rings. Even now, he steals every scene he’s in and scares the absolute crap out of me.
  • Laurence Fishburne and Carrie-Anne Moss to me come as a package. I love both of them in this and I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing their parts. Lets face it, it is as much their film as it is Reeves and his saviour Neo.
  • It is high concept. This film walked, so that movies like Inception could run. However, it is a film that can be enjoyed without exploring the deep, philosophical, meaning behind the concept.
  • The effects, while showing their age, are still incredible. The colour saturation as a marker of which world you’re watching still works and gives an added touch.

The Bad

  • Reading around the casting, I discovered the Wachowski Sisters intended for Switch to be played by two different actors; an androgynous female for the real world and a male counterpart for the Matrix. Given the Sister’s journey in their personal lives, I can’t help but think this was an important aspect and I’m saddened they didn’t get to see that play out.
  • Joe Pantoliano. I think this is a case of casting so good, it undermines the plot. There’s never any doubt that Pantoliano’s Cypher is the leak of the unit. However, it’s played like a rug pull and I wish it wasn’t because I hate being treated like I’m stupid.

The Ugly

  • Come on, you knew it was coming. Keanu Reeves should not be Neo. Sorry, but while he ‘looks’ the part, he does not win me over as a) A tech geek or b) A prophetic saviour. (Also, was hacking that new that you could get away with a handle like Neo? WTF? make it today and he’s be NEO_be@st_1985)
    I get that he’s the reluctant hero, one that we’d latter see butchered on screen in the first few Harry Potter movies, and an everyman. But this performance is not only lacklustre, its lifeless. This is an actor who has been around a fair bit and can do way better than the ‘dead behind the eyes’ look we get from him here. Hell, you could have put Kristen Stewart in the role and she would have done a better job.
    Now, I’m not certain who could have replaced him at the time. The often quoted wanted man was Will Smith, but that would not have worked, and I’m not certain Brad Pitt or Leo DiCaprio could have handled it either. The only name I’ve seen mentioned that has piqued my interest is Nic Cage. However, I’m sure two actors known for bat shit crazy roles (Fishburne being the other) working together would be some sort of Hollywood no no.
    I know it’s the unusual opinion, and I hate that I’m criticising someone as lovely as Keanu Reeves, but it feels like he’s not really there.
  • The score really hasn’t aged well and feels very “generic action score number 3”. I love the use of songs, both at the beginning and during the credits. I almost wish they’d pulled a Cursed Child and repurposed a Rage Against the Machine album, removed the lyrics and sampled it to fit the film. Would have been much more in keeping and less derivative.

Final Thoughts

It’s aged well and long enough has passed for it to feel nostalgic. Not sure I can bring myself to watch the other two movies. I remember not liking them at the time, but I have only ever seen each one once.

Yes Day (2021)

Rating PG
Length 1h 26
Release 12.3.2021
Director Miguel Arteta
About Always feeling like they have to say “no” to their kids, Allison and Carlos decide to give their three kids a “Yes Day,” during which the kids have 24 hours to make the rules.


The Good

  • This is the sort of family movie I feel has been missing for the last few years; one that can be put on for everyone. While Jennifer Garner is the ‘name’, its an ensemble effort. It requires no grey matter and will charm everyone.
  • It is fun. Once it lays the groundwork and sets up the family dynamic, the film just allows everyone to have so much fun. It also gives a lighthearted lesson to everyone.
  • Its short, its a simple plot and perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

The Bad

  • The father, Edgar Ramirez, has a beautiful set up for a story arc. Not only at home, which does have some form of resolution, but work too. Unfortunately, that aspect of the story is left at the misway point. Its a shame because it wouldn’t have taken much in that final act.
  • I’m still not sure how I feel about the parent teacher meeting. I know it was there to be the catalyst that prompts the ‘yes day’, but what point was the teachers trying to make? Did they really think that the mother was endangering her children? It felt totaly forced.

The Ugly

  • I don’t know why family films still use the trope of a weird, bording on creepy, charater that becomes an almost running gag. That’s what happened to Nat Faxon’s Mr Deacon in Yes Day. School Councillor meets PE teacher, due to ‘budget cuts’. I’ll be honest, the last place I’d want to find this oddball is in a school changing room.

Final Thoughts

Its not a film I’ll rush to watch again, but I suspect those of you out there with children out there might just want to keep this as on of your go to movies.

Dumb and Dumber To (2014)

Rating: 15
Length: 1h 49
Release: 19.12.2014
Dir: Bobby + Peter Farrelly
About: In need of a new kidney and having learned that he has a long-lost daughter, dimwit Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) snaps his equally cretinous pal, Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey), out of an apparent fugue state to accompany him on a journey to find her. The witless wonders criss-cross the country using whatever mode of transportation they can find, ultimately arriving at the one place on Earth where they least belong: a summit of the world’s most brilliant minds.


The Good

  • I like that they brought back the kid from the first film to reprise Billy. In fact, the casting choices throughout the film are really good. From Walking Dead’s Laurie Holden to Paul Blackthorne’s brief cameo. It’s clever choices that make this film almost bearable.

The Bad

  • “gotcha”. The whole premise of this film runs on pranks that just don’t make sense and are not remotely funny. Much like the first film, the humour is way too taxing.

The Ugly

  • Having Lloyd laughing at Harry’s mother for talking in Chinese is just fucked up.
  • That god damn incest trope again. We spend the movie with him wanting to bang the girl, for him to work out she is most likely his own daughter. Gross. (Gross is in fact the most recorded word withing my notes for this film)
  • Yet another form of sexual assault played for laughed. Lloyd on one of their many misadventures, is manipulated into touching an old lady’s genitals. Upon realising no diamonds are to be found where he’s been led, he tries to remove his hand but she clamps his hand between her legs. So wrong on so many levels.

Final Thoughts

Yet more misses than hits, but if you liked the first one; this is just more of the same.

Review: The NeverEnding Story (1984) spoilers included

The NeverEnding Story (1984)

Rating U

Length 1hr 42

Release 4.4.1985

Director Wolfgang Peterson

About A troubled boy dives into a wondrous fantasy world through the pages of a mysterious book


The Good

The physical effects are amazing considering the time. The dragon Rankor is a delight to watch. They’re not Jim Henson quality, but they have charm and grandeur.

Arteyu is a solid character that I really felt for. The actor, Noah Hathaway, brought a strength to the role that you don’t often find and with another actor he may have seemed whingey and petulant. I almost wish they’d done away with the meta layering and told me a straight story about Arteyu.

It has that vibe all children’s films had at that time; adventure that may or may not be real. now with added nostalgia to keep it as a firm favourite. For everyone but me, that is.

The Bad

The meta is handled better in films like The Lego Movie. I found the passing back and forth between Bastian and Arteyu a little clunky and distracted me from engaging with either one. I felt almost as if we spent a little too long with Bastian at the beginning with no payoff at the end.

Artax (the horse) dies way, way, way too soon. Had I have seen it as a kid, perhaps I’d have felt more. However, this is a time in which I’ve cried over a messenger owl I’ve gotten to know well over 6 books, I need a little more engagement to feel the loss. Plus, Marvel making me cry over so many characters (yes, I’m looking at you Loki) to discover they’re not quite dead yet, means this just felt lacklustre.

The Ugly

– For me, the biggest problem with this film is that we never have our three main players, Bastian, Arreyu and the Childlike Empress, in the same scene. The fact that Bastian never has a conversation with Arteyu was a massive blow for me.

Final Thoughts

-Why does it have to be so depressing? Yeah, I know we get that ‘upbeat’ ending… but it all feels a little rushed and so I didn’t end the film feeling uplifted.

I wish it had remained in my ‘Ive not seen…’ pile. My only worry now is; if I ever have kids, I HAVE to show them this. It would just be my luck that it ends up their favourite.

The Perfect Date

The Good

Well Noah scores a Netflix hat-trick with this installment. He truly is the teen rom-com king that we really have been missing in the wake of super-hero saturation.

Just like Seirra Burges and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, he plays a lovable guy who loves without discrimination. What’s not to like about a guy who sees the beauty inside as well as out.

It follows similar tropes that 10 Things, She’s All That and even Pretty Woman that had us in our comfort zones back in the nineties and noughties. It’s your baggy tee and boy does it make you feel good.

Brooks’ ’girl friday’ is equally as recognisable; all the sassy of Kat Stratford, the snark and independence of Janis Ian and the vulnerability of Josie Gellar. Laura Marano plays Cecilia with charm and with, which makes you wonder why we don’t meet any of her friends.

The Bad

I LOVE Riverdale’s Camila Mendes, but she is wasted in this film. Her character is flat and it almost feels as if Shelby is so similar to Veronica Lodge in persona, background and aspirations that those watching will merge the two and assume she was something more than a cardboard cutout.

While on the topic of things wasted; I would have loved to have seen the Deuce Bigalow element expanded upon and see the dates he goes on. The few we do see are endearing to Brooks and it would round out his character a little more. Plus, it would open up the humour a little too.

The Ugly

The Yale plot was too easily discarded and didn’t mesh as well with Brooks’ character. Someone that driven wouldn’t give up so quickly really?! Nor would they be half assing their application. I needed to feel his motivation for him to be redeemable. As it stands, he’s a dick who treated people like dicks for no valid reason.

Final Thoughts

It’s the weakest of Noah’s three Netflix movies to date, but it’s an alright watch if you’re bored of watching 10 Things About You again.

Film Review: When We First Met (2018)


Length: 1Hr 37
Rating: 12
About: After spending a night with the girl of his dreams only to become just friends, a man gets the opportunity to travel through time and alter that night over and over again until he gets everything perfect.

The Good

  • It’s an amazing cast, fronted by Jack Blabk-lite Adam DeVine giving us his best leading man smize. He’s charming, funny and not beyond playing the goof.
  • This is the sort of film that cinemas are missing on their schedules; a good, nostalgic and gimmicky rom-com that wreaks of Big, About Time and Groundhog Day. It’s sweet and inoffensive.

The Bad

  • There’s some scenes that are a little too cringe to be entertaining; from taking advice from his wing man, to consequential frosted tips.

The Ugly

  • I couldn’t see quite how they were going to get DeVine’s Noah and Alexandra Daddario’s Avery together; Robbie Amell was never going to be the bad guy. So it was too much of a surprise that his true love interest was in almost all the scenes too. It felt as if it was tacked on the end. It felt fake ad didn’t give me that heartwarming feeling I normally get with a romance.

Final Thoughts

Great potential, sound premise but such poor execution.

Love Han x