Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
ListsAn error has ocurred. Please try again
It's shlocky, but entertaining enough.
A lot of 'Greta' isn't all that good. The dialogue is pretty bad and generally unconvincing, the decisions by the characters get more and more frustrating, and the overall narrative is very silly even though it seems to be taking itself completely seriously. With all that considered, though, it's actually rather fun in a sort of schlocky, 'B-Movie' kind of way. It moves along swiftly, is sufficiently engaging - although never quite 'thrilling' - and there's a sense of unpredictability to it all, even though that mainly comes from just how stupid things get. Chloë Grace Moretz and Isabelle Huppert do good jobs with what they're given, too, and their level of talent somewhat elevates the picture past it's 'B-Movie'-style roots. Overall, while it's far from great, it's fairly entertaining, despite how silly it is. 6/10
It's certainly not bad, but overall it's just a little too average.
'Little' is far from a bad movie; the cast are entertaining enough, it's decently put-together and, although it's never really 'funny' per se, it's fairly amusing in places. The problem with it is that we've seen it all before, not just in regard to the fact that it's basically a remake of 'Big (1988)' either. The whole narrative, including every character arc, is very generic and this wouldn't be so much of a problem if the film as a whole was anything more than fine. There are several 'generic' films out there that still work because of how entertaining they are, but 'Little' just isn't funny or engaging enough to overcome these generic aspects. It's also trying to tackle too many themes for its own good, which means that they are all a little underdeveloped. As a whole, it does feel really long; the amusement of its core concept runs out of steam far before the film is over. Like I said, though, it's a decent watch and it's not exactly boring, so there is some entertainment to be had if you're not looking for anything special. There are far worse films out there, but overall it's just a little average. 5/10
Dragged Across Concrete (2018)
It's very problematic and takes far too long to get going, but once it does it becomes rather tense and engaging.
S. Craig Zahler has stated that he didn't set out to make a political film. Well if that was his aim, then he failed. 'Dragged Across Concrete' is unnecessarily long, clocking in at just under 2hrs and 40 minutes, and the first hour or so seems to be an excuse for Zahler to express his political viewpoints. The characters discuss current 'political issues' in great detail, detracting from narrative development. There are many scenes, including ones that set-up the character motivations, that are quite frankly racist. These scenes are really quite uncomfortable to sit through and while one could argue that the characters are acting in this abhorrent way as a way of getting us to dislike them, this seems rather counterintuitive as it completely disconnects us from them. They are severely unlikeable and therefore it's hard to root for what they are doing, making the whole thing feel quite tedious. Luckily then, after the first hour or so once things really get underway, the racism sort-of subsides (although it always lingers due to the set-up of the characters) and the film becomes a more involving, fairly tense time. It's nasty, but manages to be engaging and, overall, it doesn't seem to drag on too much. Zahler manages to make us care about the pedestrian side-characters more than the core players, and the way in which the antagonists interact with them creates a good level of tension. The narrative also moves in an unpredictable way, always keeping you interested, and the action is realistically depicted, too. Overall, it eventually becomes quite entertaining and has its fair share of tense sequences, but it's undeniably hindered by its uncomfortably racist and fairly pointless first act. It's not Zahler's finest hour. 6/10
It's not terrible.
Let me make it clear that 'Hellboy' (2019) is not a 'good' movie. It's poorly edited, the acting is pretty shoddy - apart from David Harbour, who is actually quite good in the titular role - and the narrative is extremely messy. It just doesn't seem to have a clear vision, and the studio interference is obvious when watching. It also feels quite long and the frequent flashbacks are almost painful, highlighting just how bad the storytelling actually is. It's also entirely unmemorable, which doesn't help. However, it's not all terrible. While it's never entertaining to a high degree, it's not exactly boring. The action sequences are decent, if overly CG, and there's enough going on to keep you somewhat interested throughout. The practical creature designs are visually pleasing, too, and Hellboy looks the part. It's certainly not the worst of the year, even if it is down there. Overall, it's just okay. 5/10
Wild Rose (2018)
There aren't many thorns here.
Bolstered by a great lead performance by Jesse Buckley, - demonstrating her versatility when comparing how different she is in this to her previous film 'Beast' (2017) - 'Wild Rose' is entertaining and engaging throughout. It's well written and shot, and tells a surprisingly original story. Sure, it's easy to see where everything is going and it's somewhat generic in that regard, but the actual narrative is actually quite unique. Instead of the classic rags-to-riches, 'Star is Born'-esque tale that the film looked like it would follow, it's instead a much more focused look at motherhood and combining work and family. This really benefits the film as a whole, and sets it apart from the majority of music-focussed pictures. As a picture of this type, it succeeds; there's a lot of emotion, good music, and a heartwarming story. It does feel a little too long in places and it's not entirely all that memorable, but overall it's definitely worth a watch. 7/10
It's engaging and often effective, but the lack of character lets it down.
'Mid90s' is not always a comfortable watch; it's honest, raw and unflinching. It manages to successfully engage throughout, despite its limited narrative, and is a convincing look at a 'slice of life' from the Mid 90s. There are also some very tense scenes, the cinematography is great, and the score is good, too. While the performances are all decent, however, there is little character work here and this severely affects the piece. While we do care about the lead characters, there is little room for growth or development, which somewhat leaves you wondering what the point of the film actually is. Arcs are established for some of the core players, but the film ends before they have been completed. It's only 85 minutes long, and it feels it. This is somewhat disappointing because it could have been a bit longer, wrapped up the arcs and felt like a more complete story. You could argue that Hill didn't want to tell a complete narrative, though, and that he was instead aiming to just take a snapshot of these characters' lives. He does this successfully as it feels very realistic and is quite affecting, but it's a shame that the characters aren't as fleshed out as they should have been, as this would have only improved the experience. Its primary goal, however, seems to be to recapture the time period, yet this feels like such a small part of the whole thing. It is obviously set in the 90s, but the wider story doesn't feel exclusive to that period, and there is little in the way of producing nostalgic pleasures. Despite its problems, though, a lot of 'Mid90s' worked for me and I was engaged throughout. It is also rather affecting in places and, while there have been several films very similar in essence to this one before, Hill crafts a solid directorial debut that is definitely worth a watch. 7/10
David F. Sandberg saves the DCEU with one word.
Well, they finally did it. It may have taken six years, but the DCEU have finally produced a good movie. It's not just 'good' in comparison to the rest of its roster, either; it's genuinely great and easily the best (non 'LEGO', at least) DC film since 'The Dark Knight (2008)'. The biggest positive here is that it's extremely fun throughout thanks to a sharp script, great performances and an engaging narrative that feels really fresh. It's constantly entertaining, too, with no dull moments, and this is extremely high praise for a DCEU picture. The humor also actually works, matching the tone perfectly, and doesn't feel forced at all, something rather rare in superhero flicks nowadays. It's not like the lightheartedness detracts from your engagement either, as it has its fair share of dark scenes to retain the stakes (Sandberg's previous work in horror is really evident here), well-developed characters that you actually care about, and an interesting and heartfelt look at family. While the second act is definitely the best (seeing Batson discover his powers and use them like any fourteen-year-old would is a pure delight), the final act is great, too, avoiding the typical issues that superhero flicks often suffer here. While - like always - the stakes ramp up (although, as they are so low throughout, this step-up isn't as drastic as you would expect), Sandberg manages to keep things focussed on character and theme, rather than CG spectacle. That's not to say that there's no action however, as it is there and actually done really well, but by staying focused on the aforementioned aspects, Sandberg ensures that the audience remains highly engaged and still cares about everything that's happening. The payoff is extremely satisfying as well, thematically wrapping everything up really well. The biggest problem with the film is its villain. While Strong is good, the character motivations are rather weak and everything about him is fairly bland and generic. The design of his goons is quite cartoonish, too, reminding me of the creatures from 'Scooby-Doo (2002)'. Saying that, the villain does his job in relation to the hero from a narrative perspective, and it doesn't really retract from the film's entertainment value at all. Overall, despite a couple of flaws, 'Shazam!' is a thoroughly enjoyable film with a good sense of humour, and great characters and performances. Sandberg has truly redeemed the DCEU. Well, for now at least. 8/10
Les frères Sisters (2018)
It has all the right pieces but doesn't know what to do with them.
'The Sisters Brothers' is one of those films that just sort of exists, without really trying to do or say anything of note. There's no real through-line to the narrative; it just follows seemingly unrelated events that the brothers experience, with the only real link being that they follow on from each other. The lack of a 'proper story' means that it's never really all that engaging or interesting. That being said it's far from boring, with some of the sequences being quite entertaining. Phoenix and Reilly are excellent throughout, too, and the assured direction means that it's a confidently crafted piece, so there's always a base level of investment there. The protagonists initially seem to be well-grounded, realistic characters, and their similarities and differences lead to a convincing brotherly duo. It's unfortunate, then, that despite their strong formation they aren't necessarily 'good characters'. Throughout the film they don't really change, and this lack of arcs makes the whole affair seem kind of pointless in the end. It could have, and probably should have, been a character study; most pictures of this ilk - those not following a traditional 'three-act' narrative, that is - tend to focus on delving deep into developing core characters, so it's a shame that this picture doesn't even manage that. Like I said though, it never manages to be boring - even if you can feel the length at times - and the direction and performances (Gyllenhaal and Ahmed are good, too, despite being severely underused) are always engaging. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it has all the right pieces, but it unfortunately just doesn't know what to do with them. 6/10
Pet Sematary (2019)
The final act is good, but it can't save the utterly bland and fright-less set-up.
The first two-thirds of 'Pet Sematary' are purely set-up for the final act. There's no real tension or atmosphere created, and the forced attempts at 'horror' - which are completely un-affecting and almost laughably bad - are clearly only included so that the audience doesn't get bored. It's annoying how the filmmakers couldn't focus on delivering a solid narrative with engaging characters in these first two acts because they felt the need to keep the audience 'scared'. In lieu of a investing story about grief and loss, we have a pretty boring excuse for a set-up with a few jump-scares here and there. It really doesn't help that Jason Clarke is completely bland in the leading role and seems to be more bored than the audience, either. Saying that, none of the cast - bar John Lithgow, who is one of the saving graces of the first two-thirds - are really all that engaging. A lot of the dialogue is very awkwardly written, as well, which severely reduces the impact of some supposedly 'eerie' lines. It also doesn't help that the night-time scenes are very poorly lit, especially in the 'Pet Sematary', as this makes it even harder to be frightened by anything on screen. Luckily then, once things really get going (which unfortunately happens far too late into the narrative) it's quite enjoyable. It's never 'scary' but there's a good level of tension, you're actually invested and overall it becomes fairly entertaining. It's just a shame that the film's afraid to take its time in making the audience actually care and is more concerned with getting cheap jumps from them. The final act shows that the filmmakers can create tension and actually make things engaging, and luckily this section of the film exists. Without it, it would really be in trouble. Unfortunately, though, it isn't enough to make up for what comes before it, and therefore it's hard to recommend the film as a whole. 5/10
Missing Link (2019)
It's arguably Laika's weakest so far, but it's still entertaining with outstanding animation.
The first thing that has to be said when talking about 'Missing Link' is that it looks absolutely incredible. With each film, Laika's stop motion animation has improved and this is no exception. While the world might not be as visually interesting as some of their previous creations, what's there looks phenomenal and the characters are animated even better. The movements and facial expressions are so fluid, to the point where it genuinely looks computer generated. The care and craft it must have taken to create this is extraordinary. Where Laika's latest is not up to par, however, is in its narrative and characters. The characters themselves are fun and have entertaining interactions, but nobody really has any arcs or development, and they're all pretty much bottled down to having one trait. Sure, Lionel Frost changes by the end of the narrative, but it feels completely forced, unrealistic and unearned, which is something that can't be said about any of the protagonists in Laika's previous works. The actual story itself is very simple and quite generic, but luckily the globe-trotting adventure includes several locations and scenarios for the characters to be in, which are all entertaining. The relationship between Frost and Mr. Link leads to some entertaining interactions, and the situations they find themselves in are all fairly humorous, too. So, while it's not all that original and there aren't really any arcs, it is entertaining throughout. Surprisingly, the action sequences are well done and actually quite thrilling, while still retaining the fun 'adventure feel'. It's also, like the rest of Laika's works, not afraid of pulling its punches and is more mature than the average animated feature. Overall, it's arguably the worst film that Laika has produced thus far, but it is still very entertaining and has great animation. 7/10
It's thrilling and engaging with great performances.
'Us' is not as good as 'Get Out'. Now that that's out of the way, I can talk about one of the years best films so far. While all of the performances are good throughout, Lupita Nyong'o is outstanding in both of her roles, delivering the strongest performance of 2019 yet, and makes the film more engaging. The first act is great at setting up the characters and conflicts, thanks to the realistic dialogue and a superb visual style. Things really get exciting in the second act, once the doppelgänger family are introduced. Here both the tension and horror ramp up to deliver a truly taut, tense and thrilling middle portion that works so well because we care for the characters involved. The doppelgänger family is truly creepy as well, supplying the traditional 'horror' of the film. Unfortunately, the ending is by far the worst section of the flick, as it is severely bogged down by a massive exposition dump that over-explains a lot of the narrative and leaves little to the audience's imagination. There's also a final twist that isn't initially all that impactful as it doesn't really change anything and seems only to have been included for a cheap shock. However, upon reflection it does add an extra layer of subtext and gives the overall message a deeper meaning. Another good thing is that the final confrontation is executed very well in terms of the staging, editing and music and this ensures that things don't end in an underwhelming way. There is also a lot of symbolism and a few hidden meanings scattered throughout, so, while the main narrative is fully explained to the audience, there is still a lot of room for reflection and discussion once the film is over, which is always a positive thing. Overall, 'Us' is a very thrilling and engaging picture with great characters and performances. While the third act could have been handled a little bit better, it's by no means awful and it definitely doesn't tarnish the excellence of what comes before it. 8/10
Fisherman's Friends (2019)
It's average in every sense of the word, but still manages to have some charm.
It's a pretty average 'true story' movie - which is actually, in this case, almost completely fictional (as confirmed by the fine print at the end of the credits) - that doesn't really do anything to stand out. The few character arcs that are there are completely predictable, and some of the conflicts feel falsely manufactured to give the film some more emotional weight. It also doesn't help that it's trying to be so much at once; had it focused more on one aspect of the narrative (preferably the formation of the band), it would have felt far less scattershot in terms of its themes. It's also far too long for its own good, coming in at nearly two hours, due to an unnecessary 'conventional' third act that seems to be tacked on, adding nothing to the picture as a whole. All that being said, I don't dislike the film. Although it does nothing new, it's never boring to watch things play out as expected, in part thanks to the charismatic cast that shine through their one-note characters. It's also a nice introduction to the superb sea shanties of the real life 'Fisherman's Friends', as their real songs are featured on the soundtrack. Also, the generic 'rags to riches' tale doesn't fail here as it's hard to not root for the band and feel happy for their successes, despite how little the film does to stand out. 6/10
Todos lo saben (2018)
Realistic with great performances.
The most striking thing about 'Everybody Knows' is just how real it all feels, thanks to the realistic, convincing dialogue and the outstanding performances across the board. This fantastic sense of realism allows you to be invested in the lives of the characters in the first act, and really amps up the tension in the second. It does take a while to really get going and overall it feels quite long, however it never comes close to ever being 'boring' as you always feel involved with the mysteries. Also, it wraps up quite quickly and the resolution isn't as satisfying as it could have been, but this isn't too much of an issue as it doesn't tarnish what has come before. Overall, it's highly recommendable to fans of both thrillers and family dramas, as it is satisfying on both fronts. 7/10
Captain Marvel (2019)
Admittedly, it is one of the more forgettable MCU pictures, but it still offers the high quality entertainment value of even the more middle-tier flicks in the franchise, never failing to keep you invested in the story and caring for the characters. The best character work here is the relationship between Carol Danvers and Nick Fury, who's interactions provide some of the film's best moments. Speaking about Nick Fury, the de-aging CGI technology used here on Samuel. L Jackson is phenomenal, to the point where it becomes completely unnoticeable. Marvel have always had success with this in the past, but this is clearly the best example of this technology seen in any film to date. Some of the other CGI, especially in the climactic action sequence, isn't nearly as good, but thankfully it doesn't prove to be too much of an issue as you are invested with the characters while watching. The 'live-action' action sequences aren't as involving as they could have been, mainly due to the poor editing, however they're still entertaining enough in the moment. Although it is an origin story, the overall structure and narrative in general allow it to feel somewhat distinct from stories of that type, which is definitely a positive thing and retracts from the predictability of it all. Overall 'Captain Marvel' is a lot of fun and less predictable than expected, but its sometimes badly edited action and the fact that it is fairly unmemorable mean that it never quite reaches the heights of the best MCU movies. 7/10
The Kindergarten Teacher (2018)
Always engaging, despite its unlikeable protagonist.
'The Kindergarten Teacher' is an uncomfortable watch to say the least, however I think that's the point. We're not supposed to feel sympathetic towards the protagonist. This, however, is both a good and bad thing. It does give the film a different perspective, as we're used to siding with the principal character, however since she is so unlikeable it can sometimes limit your engagement with the story. Still, that's not to say it isn't compelling throughout and Gyllenhaal's excellent performance adds a sense of realism to the picture that keeps you invested, despite how much you dislike the character. It also raises some interesting questions about the fading importance of art that give the flick a fresh spin. The final message is a somewhat jumbled one, though, as the final scene seems to retract on what the director was originally trying to say. Overall, I would recommend the film as it is always interesting and has a superb lead performance, despite the unlikeable protagonist that can sometimes limit your investment. 7/10
The Hole in the Ground (2019)
The ground isn't the only thing with holes in it.
'The Hole in the Ground' is a pretty standard 'possessed child' movie, that could have done with something to make it stand out. Don't get me wrong, it's perfectly well made and has a strong central performance that helps you stay invested, but it just doesn't offer anything new. From the direction to the music, we've seen it all before so there are no real surprises in store here. It's also far too unambiguous for its own good, removing a level of intrigue as it reaches the third act, which makes the picture even more standard. Although none of it is new, however, it's never boring and the second act is actually rather involving, creating a good level of mystery and tension, even if any real scares never quite land. Overall though, it's far better than the vast bulk of horror flicks that get churned out on a monthly basis, largely thanks to its assured direction and deft central performance. Still, it's severely lacking in the originality department. 6/10
Fighting with My Family (2019)
We've seen it all before, but Merchant manages to make it feel fresh.
'Fighting With My Family' is the best kind of sports film, one that will not only appeal to fans of the sport (in this case wrestling) but everybody, regardless of if they even know what the sport is. While there is a lot here for wrestling fans (the behind the scenes look at the wrestlers' journey to fame and the recreated ring sequences should suffice), Merchant ensures to keep a keen focus on the 'family' aspect of things, meaning that Paige's story will be relatable to anyone. It's the same 'underdog' story that we've seen time and time again in pictures of this ilk, so it is all very predictable. However, that's not necessarily a bad thing as the formula always works, here being no exception. With a great cast (Pugh and Lowden surprisingly being the standouts), a good balance of humour and drama, and an engaging script, Merchant manages to deliver the traditional formula with a real knockout, pushing the cliches against the ropes and winning over the crowd. It's not flawless, however, as its third act feels extremely rushed, which lessens its impact and makes it feel incomplete. It's not a huge detriment though as it does its job and wraps up the story in a satisfying way, without lessening the enjoyment that the picture brings as a whole. 7/10
Cold Pursuit (2019)
Not cold enough.
There's some mild entertainment to be had from 'Cold Pursuit' and it's never boring per se, but overall it's very problematic. Its biggest issue is its tone. It purports to be a 'dark comedy', but it never quite gets the balance right. It can be really quite uncomfortable one minute, then over-the-top and silly the next. The humour feels misplaced as it's all very unsubtle and in-your-face, which actually stops the film dead in its tracks in service of delivering a joke. It's not just that the jokes don't land either; their inclusion dampens the effect of the whole story as you can't take any of it seriously- even when it wants you to. It also suffers from having too many uninteresting characters, including Neeson's protagonist himself, who are given no real room for development. This is a major problem with the film as you don't care about anyone and, therefore, anything that's happening. It also doesn't help that there are bizarrely long portions in which Neeson is completely absent. Sure, he may not be a very engaging protagonist, but every film needs one to keep the audience invested and the narrative moving, so when he disappears for large segments it becomes even harder to care about the story. It seems to focus more on the villain actually, which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing if he wasn't so annoying and utterly uncompelling. When things wrap up, it almost feels as if nothing has happened at all; almost like a waste of time. Thankfully though, it doesn't drag on and it can be entertaining in places, which stops it from being completely terrible. 5/10
The Kid Who Would Be King (2019)
It's too familiar a tale, but Cornish tells it well enough.
'The Kid Who Would Be King' is a modern day retelling of the classic King Arthur story that knows exactly what it is from the get go. It's unabashedly aimed at pre-teen children including just the right mix of humour, horror and adventure to keep them engaged throughout, while always being appropriate for them. That's not to say that it's without its merits for older audiences, though. Like the best family films, this one ensures to treat its child audience maturely, allowing adults to be entertained as well without having to endure childish moments that break the immersion in an attempt to make sure that the kids are still awake. The biggest problem with it is that we've seen it all before. The fact that it follows the classic tale pretty much down to a tee, like so many other stories, means that there are no surprises. Every character arc and story beat has been done before, often more successfully, and this hinders the engagement with the film. Also, it's too long overall - with a runtime of two hours - and the pacing suffers quite a bit in the second act. Thankfully though, the performances are all good and the action delivers. While it may be a story that we have already seen many times before, Cornish does a good enough job at retelling it. It's not the best family film out there, mainly due to its lack of originality, but it has enough in its favour to be worth a watch. 6/10
It's decently entertaining, but badly paced and too similar to the second one.
It opens with a fun action scene that re-introduces all of the characters, but then things take a while to really get going and this lax pacing makes the overall narrative suffer. It's also very segmented, the villain is too similar to the one from the previous film, and the supporting characters become little more than singular traits. It feels as though they are unnecessary to the story, but they need to be given something to do since they have been established as the core supporters in the previous films. Thankfully, Hiccup, Astrid and Toothless are given good developments and, as they are the leads, this allows for some investment in the story. The animation is better than ever, too, especially in the visually stunning 'Hidden World'. There are some well-crafted sequences without any dialogue, which focus on Toothless and his new found friend. Although its heart is in the right place, the 'emotional' conclusion doesn't really work for me as it feels quite unearned in the presented story. It's clear what they are going for, and the themes it tackles are good, but it just fails to connect on the emotional level that it clearly intends to, in my opinion. As an ending to the franchise, however, it does leave things in a satisfying place and it's good that the filmmakers know when to tie things off - something that's becoming less frequent in today's age. Overall, it's a fairly entertaining watch with some good sequences, but the pacing, general sense of familiarity, and underused characters stop it from soaring as high as it could have. 6/10
Instant Family (2018)
A real crowd-pleaser, for better or worse.
'Instant Family' is definitely predictable and clichéd every step of the way, but that doesn't really matter when it's done this successfully. Its engaging throughout and offers a fun and heartwarming look at adoption and families in general, leading to a very entertaining experience. For better or worse, though, it's certainly a crowd-pleaser, which means that although it's sure to give audiences a good time, it's all surface level and some of the dark, culturally important themes are brushed over in service of keeping things light and friendly. This isn't necessarily a bad thing but, had it scratched below the surface more often, it could have been a far richer, more affecting piece overall. The other thing is that the film certainly works better as a family-drama than a comedy, yet it tries to do both which sometimes isn't too successful. There are several 'funny bits' that generate from the characters and situations which work fine, but it's the forced humour (the improvisational kind of jokes that Anders is used to working with) that don't really fit. Overall though, 'Instant Family' is highly entertaining throughout and offers some heartwarming scenes, despite how generic and surface-level it is. 7/10
If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)
It's impeccably made, but fails to really grip you.
If 'Moonlight' (2016) didn't convince you alone that Barry Jenkins is an expert behind the camera, then 'If Beale Street Could Talk' will leave no doubt in your mind. Visually, it's excellent; Jenkins creates a fantastic atmosphere and utilises the filmmaking to really bring the romantic aspect of the film to the forefront. He knows exactly what to show and what to leave out, even in the most basic of shots, which leads to an experience that allows you to do some of the work - rather than being spoon fed everything. The cinematography is great, too, and therefore the film is always beautiful to look at. Where it falters for me, however, is in its narrative. While it's never badly written or boring, the pacing is generally slow and a lot of it has limited engagement with the audience. Therefore, it never grips you like it should as a whole experience. Saying that, there are some excellent scenes that are very engaging and it definitely works in these moments. It's just a shame that the narrative as a whole never stays as consistent. Another issue is that it's quite unmemorable and, for a picture dealing with the issues that it does, it definitely shouldn't be. Luckily then, it's filled with fantastic performances that are highly believable and make the whole thing feel much more real. The chemistry between KiKi Layne and Stephan James is also really engaging and you quickly become invested in their romance because of how real it feels. There are quite a few 'cameos' from famous faces that, while good performances (except from Ed Skrein, who I believe was miscast), somewhat break the immersion as it's hard to see past the famous face and into the character due to how small their roles are. Overall though, the acting is generally outstanding and this, along with Jenkins' sublime direction and the stunning cinematography, makes it a recommendable picture despite the general lack of engagement and limited memorability. 6/10
Happy Death Day 2U (2019)
It's definitely entertaining throughout, but a lot of it makes no sense.
The majority of 'Happy Death Day 2U' doesn't really make any sense at all. It's a lot less clever than it thinks it is and its attempts at explaining the events of the first film create more confusion than clarity. The beginning is also very bizarrely structured and introduces an element to the narrative that makes zero sense at all in the wider story, which is very confusing upon reflection. Luckily, then, the film is genuinely entertaining once it gets going and you can almost completely ignore the plot holes in service of having a good time. The characters are all really engaging and the cast do good jobs, helping with the overall investment. There's also quite a bit of emotion introduced, which adds depth to Tree's character, and actually impacts the audience. It is important to note that nearly every 'horror' aspect of the first has been removed (aside from a few "tense" 'stalking sequences') and the film is more of a 'sci-fi-comedy' than a 'tongue-in-cheek-slasher'. This shift in tone is certainly something that could put some fans of the first one off, but (while I preferred the route of the original) it didn't matter too much as it allows this one to have its own identity, and the sense of fun is never lost. While it's not a necessary sequel and has lost some charm from the original, it remains solidly entertaining throughout and is therefore still recommendable. I just wish it made a bit more sense. 6/10
Alita: Battle Angel (2019)
Its stunning visuals can't help the fact that its narrative is a complete and utter mess.
The animation is excellent and some of the action sequences are entertaining, but the narrative of 'Alita: Battle Angel' is, quite frankly, a mess. It's got a very strange structure and pacing that makes it very hard to be invested in anything that's happening. A lot of things occur, but there's never any feeling of narrative movement. The main conflict is unclear and the overabundance of characters makes it very difficult to understand who each person is in relation to the plot. In the majority of cases, characters are introduced, have a few scenes and leave, having made no impact on the wider narrative at all, leaving you wondering why they were even included in the first place. It also makes a really bizarre decision, once it reaches its logical narrative conclusion, to add a very rushed extra ending (which doesn't just wrap things up but actually introduce new elements) that condenses what could be at least 30 minutes of entertaining footage to around 10 badly edited ones. Initially, I thought that this section - despite how bizarre it felt - would end up being the 'sequel-bait' and that that's why it is so rushed, however at the end of it pretty much everything (except from one loose-end signalled after a bad time jump) is wrapped up so they even missed the opportunity to leave things more open for a potential sequel. It's not just its bizarre pacing that lets it down, though, as it's actually quite boring for a lot of its runtime, filled with on-the-nose exposition and offers nothing new to the genre. It's a shame, too, because it's visually stunning and, with all the talent involved, had the potential to be a lot better. 5/10
It's not quite as good as its predecessor, but it's still thoroughly entertaining from start to finish.
This film was a pleasant surprise: the trailers didn't make it look very good, it's an animated sequel from a different director, and by all rights the LEGO franchise should be starting to get old by now. Luckily, then, this franchise is far from running out of steam ('The Lego Ninjago Movie' (2017) was thankfully just a dip and not the start of the decline) and 'The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part' is a thoroughly entertaining time from start to finish. While it's not quite as good as 'The Lego Movie' (2014) or 'The Lego Batman Movie' (2017), it's not too far behind thanks to its multiple laugh-out-loud moments, heartwarming story and general sense of fun throughout. These traits cement it as a true 'Lego Movie' - a meta, witty and often hilarious film, with beautiful animation and a heartwarming story that works for all the family. What makes it slightly worse than it's predecessor is that it never feels as fresh, some of the characters get underserved and it's nowhere near as memorable. Also, while the musical numbers aren't bad, and I can see why they included them in relation to the narrative, there were too many for my liking. Still, it's a highly entertaining animation that's more fun than it has any right to be and a definite recommendation to any fans of the 'Lego' franchise. 7/10