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I Am Mother (2019)
Great Sci-Fi without fireworks
A young woman is being raised by a robot in an underground facility.
I am not going to touch on plot anymore as it is best not to have any spoilers.
This is a great intelligent, science fiction film with a high production value and a great script.
The acting is great and the story is complicated enough to keep it interesting.
This is a shut-in film so don't expect too much action and after a while the battleship grey walls of the facility can make you feel a bit claustrophobic.
This is a great movie but does require a little bit of patience.
This is a very enjoyable movie, it is not epic or massively exciting but should get you thinking.
Head Count (2018)
A good idea and well made - just feels a bit worn-out
A young makes some new friends in the desert and dumps is older brother to hang with them.
Then it gets a bit larey.
This is very well acted the cast appears quite young and they all did a great job. I liked the characters and they were easy to get a handle on but didn't feel too stereotypical.
When stuff starts to go odd the film does fairly well at building up some tension and suspense but struggles as the film writes itself into a corner in a very early scene.
Things start to unfold with a depressing sense of predetermination. You can see the train hit the bus hours before it does and nobody is even waving a handkerchief at it.
Now I have seen a lot of movies in this vein and perhaps if yo are newer to the scene or you really like this kind of bottle-up horror flick then you may really like this.
This is very well made and this definitely isn't a "bad" move: it just feels a bit tired to my eyes.
Little Monsters (2019)
Pure budget zom-Com gold
A teacher and a "man-child" get caught in a zombie outbreak with a bus load of kids.
First off this is quite a "small" movie: it only concerns a handful of characters and at no point is society on the brink of collapse or the White-house explodes.
Also this is a Zom-Com with a lowercase "z". You do not get your first zombie until about half way through and then they are there for plot device rather than menace.
This film is lots of fun! It starts of as a dry, amusing rom-com about a guy splitting up with his long-term girlfriend and his sudden infatuation with his nephew's kindergarten teacher. Then there is some zombie silliness.
The film happily pokes fun at itself and never tries to take itself seriously. A lot of the humor comes from how adults are expected to behave around children; this setting leads to some interesting situations. Expect lots of naught-word gags and vagina jokes!
It is clear a lot of love was poured into this film. Small things, that can be so easily neglected, like extra costume and direction are afforded great care. This permeates through the whole production.
The acting is top notch and watching Ms Nyong'o flit around the zombie infested countryside in her sunburst yellow dress I am sure will become an iconic scene.
This is not a big blockbuster movie and is unlikely to shatter anyone's Earth: but it is a fairly simple, cheerful movie that anyone can enjoy with a bag of popcorn and a grin.
P.S My girlfriend hates anything zombie related but admitted this was "actually pretty good" which screams volumes.
Mr. Right (2015)
Romantic Action Comedy
A woman breaks up with her scum bag boyfriend and goes on a bender.
Following this she catches the eye of a psychopathic hit man and they hit it off.
This is a romantic comedy - action movie hybrid. For this to work both the romance and the violence has to be reeled back in a bit diluting both genres. This isn't a problem for Mr Right as it is also very funny. There are jokes about relationships and murder and both me and my girlfriend enjoyed this immensely.
There is a really great balancing act here between Anna Kendrick's sweetness vs Sam Rockwell's craziness and Tim Roth's cold, British, pragmatism. All three do an amazing job and the characters work well.
The story feels very familiar and there isn't anything particularly new here (this film is 5 years old at time of review) but it chugs along happily.
I found the ending was a little too cheesy and made me cringe a little.
This is good fun! It is probably best not too hard about it just soak up the action, the romance and the one liners
Elizabeth Harvest (2018)
Very well made, gripping - but dresses itself up for more than it is
A woman is whisked away to her new mountain retreat by her enigmatic husband on her wedding day - it is clear everything is not what it should be.
This is a well made film with great acting and production and, to a minor extent, keeps you wondering. It does lack in story though.
The cast and characters are fantastic! Elizabeth is pretty and vapid like a doll - a counter point to Claire who is intelligent and has real sex appeal. Henry and Oliver are also great being both menacing and pathetic in their own ways.
The execution is very tight from Elizabeth's vacant witterings to the dirt under Henry's finger nails.
When all is said and done a lot of the story feels redundant and disjointed. The pace of the film is nice and leisurely setting up the characters with obvious care; but then - to get where the film wants to go - a lot this has to be churned up.
With all the references to Fairy-tales and a malevolent patriarch this obviously has a theme of female empowerment and may appeal slightly more to a female audience but does not alienate men. Although a little too briefly it also touches on the pain of loss and, despite technology, the inevitability of death.
Witches in the Woods (2019)
I feel sorry for the witches
Some young american's get stranded in the wilderness where according to legend witches lived.
So, Jill's best friend, Alison, has been the victim of some unspecified sexual assault.
Jill is like, "Hey, Alison to get your mind of things do you fancy coming on a road trip?" "You will be stuck in a car for hours on-end with my overly aggressive boyfriend and his dumb mates. Well at least you know them, as two of them are implicated in your sexual assault. One of them is bringing along their new girlfriend. We haven't met her yet but she is definitely a massive bitch. Oh yeah and I am cheating on my boyfriend with one of his friends, also on the trip, but don't worry he was the one least likely to have molested you." Alison is like, "That doesn't sound like it will be awkward at all. Count me in!"
Bitch-face has just enough time to read out a pamphlet about witches in the area before they get stuck in the snow and immediately start fighting.
Not a lot happens in this film; most of the action is in the car. Not a problem as this worked with the likes of "Dead End" and "Wind Chill" Not here though.
These setups rely on you actually caring about the people in the car. Here you just can't. If this bunch of moody, opinionated, arrogant, narcissists had made it to their destination it still would have been a horror movie.
The acting, production and camera work are all very good. A fair amount of tension is built up and what little story there is twists enough to keep it interesting. The dialogue is also pretty well written and a few times it feels like sanity could prevail. But it is always evident that old alpha-male Derek can't keep his poo together for more than twenty five seconds at a time and everyone else seems intend on pushing his buttons.
A nice try with some nice ideas but it is hard to shake the feeling that everyone got what they had coming to them - even if their crime was just being really bland.
One Last Night (2018)
A neat little indie-hipster-romcom
A first date goes downhill when the couple get locked in when the cinema abruptly closes.
There is not a lot of substance to this film, the story is very basic with a tiny cast.
Sometimes the execution of the movie feels a bit amateurish. A few scenes are inexplicably shot without tripods and the editing clips some of the conversations so they feel jilted and forced.
But, saying that, this is a very enjoyable short film. The cast are great and, although simple, the story is endearing and works well with the available budget and plays to the cast's strengths.
The majority of the production, sound, lighting, camera etc. is to a standard you could almost forget you aren't watching a big budget movie.
I enjoyed this greatly, I wouldn't recommend centering your weekend around it, but this goes down perfectly on a weekday evening with a bag of popcorn.
Men in Black: International (2019)
More of the same - so all good
This time around the members of the titular organisation have to stop some aliens from doing some stuff or destroying the world or something.
A big portion of this movie is concerned with quirky aliens, cheesy jokes, high-tech gadgets and explosions. So, pretty much the same as the previous ones.
A lot of money has been chucked at this so the production and performances are predictably high The story is rubbish but I was expecting that.
This is a fun family movie with action and some jokes and some dazzling good effects.
This movie has received some bad ratings saying that it isn't as good as the first one. They are right, but that is to be expected for a third sequel. The first two films pretty much exhausted all the hidden alien jokes but this does what it can.
This is unlikely to win any Oscars or have a profound impact on the rest of your life. But to kill a coupe of hours this does just fine.
Has a sit down halfway through and can't get back up again.
I enjoyed this first time around and I was unsure what else you could do to make this more up to date.
A refresh of sound track, fashion, effects and some gender shuffling perhaps?
It turns out, yeah that is about it.
The cast are pretty good. Everyone holds their own at being young, stereotypical, rich Americans so gorgeous you could eat ice cream off. The characters are ok but seem a little too smart to guard the skeletons in their closets for as long as they do.
The build-up and front end of the story are pretty serviceable and I enjoyed myself for a bit.
Where the film really falls down is the later half. The pay off from the other-world experiences are so limp and weak it really makes you wonder what the fuss is about.
The bullying element - which was so memorable in the original - has been modernised to include some sexting malarkey but ultimately watered-down. Before any of this comes home the character make amends by spending about as much effort as it takes to order a Starbucks and all is good.
Keifer Sutherland is wheeled out for nostalgia purposes but adds nothing. You can almost feel him grimace as he exits the two painfully laboured scenes that were shoehorned in for him.
It feels like the makers of this movie were really enjoying making this until they realised it was all you can eat wings in the bar opposite, so wrapped the whole thing up and took a half day.
Ellen Page is pretty good, the effects are OK but the sum of all this is greatly less than the original.
Just watch the original.
Katherine Ryan: Glitter Room (2019)
I can't believe this was written by Katherine Ryan
It pains me to say it, but this is one of the worst comedy shows I have ever seen. Which is unbelievable as Katherine Ryan is normally hilarious.
Perhaps it is because this is for an American audience or Katherine was having a bad day but both me and my partner struggled to even crack a smile during this.
Katherine starts the show declaring she has spent the last few months making Britain angry - which is odd as I assumed she was universally loved in the UK; hardly a panel show slips her by and she is always a joy to watch.
In Glitter Room she exchanges her normal wit and dark humor for acidic vitriol. The majority of the routine is calling people pricks, interspersed with comments on how awful men can be. You can get a more entertaining and coherent version of this show by starting a fight outside any Essex pub or nightclub at closing time.
Now even if you want to let off some steam partaking in a bit of man-bashing or generic name-calling , I would still argue you can find wittier and more gratifying material on any online forum.
I hope this is a show for Yanks that Brits just don't get and this isn't a new direction for Katherine as I truly am a big fan - just not of this.
An amazing feat that feels less dramatic the more you watch
A well made documentary about a man who decides to run 50 Iron Man events in 50 states in 50 days for charity.
A truly Herculean task!
I was excited to see all the other competitors and share their journeys and give some publicity to their charities and... Well no you won't! Obviously time is an issue so most of the races he runs at night, on his own.
Oh, well at least you will see the scenery of all the different states from Palm trees to snow covered mountains to swamps to... No you won't! The sections of the races that aren't at night time will be held on running tracks, streets or in swimming pools. Unless it rains then they will be held in a gymnasium.
Well it will be amazing to see how far a human being can be pushed, to see the limits of endurance the human body can take without performance enhancing... Let me stop you there.
It was great that the the guy undertook this but the task was just too difficult to even be attempted without widening the parameters of the goal so wide to make it unrecognisable.
Despite the impossible physical and mental challenges he faces so many concessions are made to the initial event that it loses a lot of its meaning.
The real hero of the piece is his wife who travels across the country performing administrative miracles whilst looking after three children.
The Great Hack (2019)
Is this reverse psychology from Facebook?
This is the story of Cambridge Analytical and their gross misuse of personal data.
If I would want to stand on a side it would be that of David Caroll and Carole Cadwalladr. However, this documentary is so badly made and so obviously biased that it actually made me reconsider my position
First off - this documentary is stretched out to an inch of its life. The amount of actual information in this documentary is tiny, with very little revelations and could easily have been done in twenty minutes.
David and Carole came across as typical, narcissistic, professional activists who seem to be enjoying their labours a little too much. Watching David Caroll writing snarky little text messages, giggling to himself as peoples lives are destroyed hardly paints him as the paragon of virtue.
Most of the documentary is about the protagonists, not about the actual damage the use of data did to actual people or what effects it actually has or even really how it worked.
The main message is that people are easily manipulated by unsubstantiated information delivered in a targeted fashion - then goes on to explain (in a targeted and unsubstantiated fashion) how the data companies will bring an end to democracy.
From this documentary alone I would say that the protagonists clearly have self interest at heart and could not care less what Facebook does, they just need a bad guy to wail against and help sell their books.
I am absolutely amazed how I have been swung around this way. I would recommend not watching this documentary it is boring and fails in whatever message it was trying to purvey.
A bit of silly fun
Apart from the theme tune and some pop-culture references I have very little exposure to "Shaft" so I was not expecting much.
I was kind of hoping it would be one of those silly Samuel L films where he says mother trucker a thousand times before shooting someone. This is exactly what this is.
There is nothing clever or earth-shattering about this. There a few shoot outs and some witty banter but no one was vying for an Oscar here. If you are expecting something special or life changing you may need to look further a field.
There is a bit of comedy between Shaft senior and junior, mainly poking fun at millennials and the older generation. This was all harmless enough and, although not laugh out loud funny, was funny enough.
Maybe not one for die hard Shaft fans, adrenaline junkies, or high browers but it kills two hours easily enough.
Wonder Park (2019)
Very much for kids - little substance for adults
A girl and her mother's help create an imaginary world using her imagination.
When her mother is taken into hospital the girl becomes overly obsessed with the mortality of her parents and starts to worry.
It is no surprise when the girl is transported into the park that has now become real and needs saving.
This is a very well made movie with some amazing visuals and aimed directly at children.
The park is a very obvious metaphor that adults will get in the first three seconds - but children should appreciate.
The film is in constant motion - the camera hardly stands still for a second. Again great for younger views short attention spans but just made me feel sleepy.
One warning to parents. No matter how loving and caring you are, compared to the mum and dad in the film, you will come away feeling like an abusive serial killer. both me and my partner agreed that the opening scene would not have played out the way it did in any household we were part of.
The Hummingbird Project (2018)
A bit dry in places
Jesse Eisenberg tries to beat the stock exchange by putting down a cable to get his transactions in a millisecond before anyone else.
This endeavour consumes a stadium full of money and an incredible amount of determination.
The path to success is full of obstacles from uncooperative landowners to geology to politics.
This was a good solid watch. IT gets a little dry in places and there is very little action of any kind. But the characters are interesting and the story well grounded.
I found it hard to get my head around the huge amounts of money involved in this. If this was the investment what must the return be like?
For me Alexander Skarsgård stole the show playing the troubled technical genius. I found Salma Hayek's character to be too much of a hard-nose, it felt a bit like a pastiche, but perhaps that's what multinational chief execs are really like.
A solid Sunday movie
King of Thieves (2018)
A Sunday afternoon movie
This is a film about the Hatton Garden robbery.
The actual robbery was very simple so don't expect any kind of Oceans 11 heist caper here. The majority of the film is about the interactions between the robbers.
I am unclear how factual this is but it paints the robbers as old gangsters who are woefully out of touch with technology and modern policing methods. Perhaps this is accurate but you would have expected one of them to have watched an episode of CSI or something.
There are some heavy hitters here and all the acting is top notch. The characters are very engaging. Jim Broadbent's character skilfully demonstrates how aggression and determination of will is more dangerous than actual physical ability.
This film has quite a slow pace and not an awful lot happens. Some other reviewers say they got board and I can see that, but as long as you have some patience and you aren't expecting to have your mind blown this is an entertaining watch.
Perfect for a Sunday afternoon whilst your dinner is going down.
A Dog's Journey (2019)
Wants to teach more than entertain
The six year old we were taking to the pictures insisted we watched this - in retrospect I wish I had pushed harder for Pickachu.
This is a lovely idea for a film and it has some great images of cute dogs running through fields of golden corn and it will tug at every heart string you have.
Unfortunately this is very much a film of the times.
In lieu of a story this film has a series of modern moral lessons stitched together with a collection of dead dogs.
The stereotypes are rolled on one after the other: look there is nice-guy Nigel, sexually aggressive Steve, superficial Susan, controlling Colin. Oh hello drinky Dora - but remember that some people are forced into their stereotype and can change to a new one if they are virtuous enough.
Me and my partner did have a little grizzle at some parts and the acting and filming were solid - but overall it was a bit painful.
As this is from a dog's point of view it watches like a six year old writes about their summer holiday: "we went there and had an ice cream but I dropped it so mummy brought me a new one, then we went here, then we went there, I like sausages."
The child we took got an hour in before she started asking when this was going to end (personally I think she did rather well.) This is probably for older children but I worry it is a bit dull and simplistic for pre-teens - there is no way I could have sat through this when I was ten years old.
I'll Take Your Dead (2018)
A tidy thriller that pushes a bit too hard
A man who is obliged to dispose of bodies for gangsters is left in a dilemma when one of the corpses is still alive.
First off this film is mostly people sitting around talking. The moments of horror and action are few and far between - so if this is what you are expecting (the trailer is ambiguous) give this a miss.
As a character study this is pretty good. The principal three actors give great performances. Especially the little girl who is both vulnerable and creepy as hell.
Not an awful lot happens in this movie but then with such a small scope it doesn't need to.
The direction and camera work is very good. Someone has been quite cute with the use of colour - every other shot is sprinkled with daubs of red.
As the film ramps up to a conclusion it tries to become something its not. Some elements that are handled with great dexterity at the beginning of the film are pushed clumsily to the foreground where they just don't work.
In all a solid thriller with great characters but trails off at the end.
A Dog's Way Home (2019)
A sweet story but overreached on the effects
A lost dog's thoughts are narrated as it goes on an adventure to find its owners.
This is obviously not a new concept but a more modernistic retelling.
A lot of Belle's inner dialogue is quite interesting, how she perceives human activities and other animals from a canine perspective is what really makes this film - it reminded me of Fluke to a degree.
The actual adventure is quite plain and dry compared to other adventure stories. Belle never communicates directly with other animals so the film is essentially one long monologue so you lose a lot of the interaction that made "Homeward Bound" a more endearing film.
The enemy here is capitalism and authority vs family and honor. From a cynical Brit's point of view it does get a bit sploshy and overly "American" in places - but if you can't poke some emotional buttons in a movie about a lost dog when can you?
I think it was a mistake to mix CGI with actual animals, I think they threw a lot of processor time at this but I don't think the technology is there yet. Seeing a computer image in the same scene as a real breathing animal causes your attention to flicker.
This film falls over itself in its attempts to be inclusive and politically correct, but I can't say this is particularly a bad thing for children. It may feel a little stark and contrived to older viewers.
Escape Room (2019)
Good value horror
A group of seemingly unrelated people win a competition to play an escape room.
Obviously the game soon turns into a desperate struggle for survival.
This is a great little horror movie with a touch of sleuthing thrown in. The traps are scary and unpleasant but without the gore and brutality of say Saw. The characters are less stereotyped than normal horror but you can still pick out the jock, greedy banker, over achiever, nerd etc.
The affects stand up ok but be prepared to squint at the places where the CGI budget ran thin.
There is nothing amazing about this film but it does what it sets out to do - for which I applaud it. It doesn't try to be as dark or stylised as "The Cube", this is happier being lighter and more accessible.
I feel it went a bit too far at the end and wasn't really sold on the direction the post film was taking.
This won't blow your mind but you will have an entertaining ninety minutes.
Ladies in Black (2018)
A charming movie that is happy in its own skin
This is a quite a remarkable film in that it is quite unremarkable.
It follows the lives of some women working in a department store in Australia, in the 1950's
I have a guilty confession to make: when I saw this was a film centred on women in the 1950s I did clench, expecting something a lot angrier and edgier. This movie really isn't like that.
This is a delightful, charming film set in a time that is difficult to comprehend now.
Lots of negative reviews say how boring this film is. To be fair to them they aren't wrong. Do not expect any action, drama or romance. But just because a film doesn't have an explosion every two minutes or leaves you reduced to tears doesn't mean it isn't great.
The characters are great and the scenery beautiful. The film manages to get you settled down into a simpler time when something as seemingly mundane as the purchase of a new dress takes on real importance. The turmoil of the war and the changes that it brings is more of a back drop and full focus is on the relationships between the characters.
Although some of the matters discussed are quite dark no one dwells on them and everyone jogs forward with an optimistic outlook - which probably epitomises people of the time.
I have no idea how accurate this film is but in comparison, at this time, by grandfather was still working ten hour days: my grandmother toiling away to tend their bomb-damaged London flat, that would not be connected to mains electricity for several years yet.
Triple Frontier (2019)
A heist-war movie with
Some ex army types decide to knock over a drugs baron and at the same time "help" the local communities.
As expected the heist doesn't go according to plan and soon the "good guys" are unloading M4's in to trucks filled with locals.
This film has a relative air of realism to it - there are no slow motion moments as the heroes dive in front of an explosion, or leap from cliff top to cliff top. The action is fast and un-glorified.
The main antagonists here aren't the drug lords themselves but the local people that have to coexist with them. In this respect the film does hit a note about how quickly secondary agendas are dropped and the speed with which morality becomes a luxury few can afford.
The film tries to poke at the human side of these big macho dudes but there really isn't scope in this story to uncover much.
This is not an action film as such but at the same time there is not a great deal going on outside of the heist.
People have pointed out a lot of plot holes, from what I read, seemingly ridiculous mistakes are common place in actual military operation. But to enjoy this film it is best not to tug at too many of the loose threads.
The Last Boy (2019)
Cheap, boring and stupid
A young boy has to find his way to a safe house through a world that is now infested with killer breezes.
This is very cheap and it shows. The acting and direction is very poor. A lot has been asked of the young leads and they just can't shoulder the film.
The story is both stupid and boring. There are the list of lame, arbitrary rules that apply to the bad guys. Here they don't like water.
The kids bounce from one bunch of losers to the next until it all culminates in a big old pile of bumbo-jumbo. There are so many better films than this.
Tries to be too clever
This is a reverse Bigfoot story.
This is a film that wants to be loved and we wanted to be love it: but we just couldn't. Everything about this feels forced. The animation is ugly and the charters brash and annoying. The songs feel forced and, although diverse, aren't particularly good and feel unnecessary.
The story dances along the line between "Logan's run" and the Gorillaz song "Fire from the Monkey's head" The theme of trading personal freedom for physical protection, and dogma as a form of control is just too complex and dark for a movie like this.
Every step of the way it feels like the movie has been hammered around the story.
You can pick any Disney or Pixar film and get a strong, thoughtful message from it but it takes a really gifted writer to make politics and social engineering work with fluffy snow monsters.
I would like to be kinder to this movie but I just did not enjoy it at all
Is probably going to please nobody
This is Rob Zombie's take on Halloween, taking it all the way back to Michael's childhood.
The direction, production and acting in this, for the most part, is very good. The young Michael is especially good: managing to portray an intangible creepiness but with a hint of childish innocence.
The film is quite long (I think I saw the extended version) and once you get passed Michael's childhood not an awful lot happens. Young people get naked before getting sharp implements jabbed into their bodies, rinse and repeat until the credits roll.
The main question is why was this made? Rob Zombie is a master at recreating films in the style of the 70's "video nasty" a genre dedicated to push against an unrelenting censorship system using an overabundance of sex and violence. Halloween is\was a fairly straight forward horror.
This film is obviously going to annoy die-hard fans and is not original enough to excite the Rob Zombie fans.
The genre feels a bit creaky after the invention of the internet and a general desensitisation to nudity and violence. I doubt many men will watch this thinking: "Phew I'm glad that's not me being stabbed in the back whilst I'm penis deep in a cheerleader" anymore that I imagine female horror fans are thinking: "thank goodness that isn't me tearing around a creepy old house, bare-chested, screaming my head off like a lunatic, chased by an actual lunatic."
Fans of the original should stay away, so probably should Rob Zombie fans. This isn't a bad film, a large portion of it is very good cinema, it is just a bit of a misplaced effort.