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A complex villain and an incredible final act make for a pretty decent film
'Ma' was one of those movies where the trailer just kept coming up before every movie I would see in the cinema, to the point where I was sick of the film before I had even seen it. Nonetheless I finally got around to watching it, and I'm glad I did. The movie started out very much like what I was expecting based on my numerous views of the trailer. It felt very unoriginal and like a story I had seen a thousand times before. But then as the movie went along it began to present some original concepts, and by the time the credits rolled I was quite satisfied with the finished product.
Octavia Spencer plays the villain in the film, and it is actually a really fascinating roll she has been given to work with. This isn't your average villain. There are levels of complexity here that you don't find in your average thriller. I kept swinging back and forth between being on her side, and hating her more than anything. The flashbacks used to create this conflict are excellently woven into the film, drip fed to the audience bit by bit, so we know just as much information as we need to at any given time.
Around the midway point in the movie things were beginning to stall a little. I wasn't sure if the film had any tricks up its sleeve, so I begin to lose patience. I needn't have worried though, because the final third of the film things kick into gear big time. In fact the film gets shockingly dark. To the extent it really took me off guard. It went to some places I never saw coming, and I loved it. I had a surprisingly good time with 'Ma' and I think most that give it a chance will as well.
Style can only carry a film so far
I really didn't expect to dislike 'Once Upon a Time in... Hollywood'. It's a Tarantino movie so it is still well above the average film, at least in terms of quality of production. But to say it was a disappointment would be an understatement. All the great things that are apparent in every Tarantino movie were missing, at least for the first 2 hours of the film. The problems stemmed from the fact that this was a character study, rather than being plot driven. Tarantino is usually so good at combining the two together, so for him to completely ignore one of those elements is a real shame.
The film is almost 3 hours long and it simply doesn't have the pacing to justify that. I lost count of the scenes where, after they'd finished, I thought to myself how easy it would have been to leave that on the cutting room floor. So many scenes were setting things up for later in the movie, which is fine and has to be done, but none of them had any creativity to keep them interesting. We simply had to listen to long boring conversations.
Finally after a couple of hours a very intense and well-crafted scene involving Brad Pitt's character at a ranch happens. It's arguably the best scene in the film and all I could think was, where has this been? There is no doubt that Pitt and Leo DiCaprio carry this film big time. Without their acting talents this film would have been unbearable. Pitt especially was the best thing this movie had going for it. The film does its best to redeem itself in the final half hour or so, by then the damage was already done. This is my least favourite Tarantino film to date I'm sad to say.
Great cast and a fast twisty thriller make for a great watch
I can't help feeling the title 'Night Hunter' somewhat misrepresents this movie. It's not inaccurate, it just implies a different movie. It implies more of a slasher film which this is far from being. The alternative title was 'Nomis'. I like that one, however it makes it sound like a foreign film to me, which is why I suspect they went with it. The bottom line is that I hope the title doesn't put people off seeing it because this is a very good film.
Firstly, what a cast! For a run of the mill thriller this is close to as good as it gets. The entire cast are fantastic but to have Henry Cavill driving your movie in particular is just a wonderful addition. The thing with this movie is there are some moments where you certainly have to suspend belief. You find yourself asking would that ever be the actual police procedure in real life? But the thing is the movie is so twisty and fun and is moving at such a great pace that you simply don't care.
This really wasn't the movie I was expecting to get going in, but I'm so glad it's the one I got. It had everything I love in a thriller. It also was not afraid to get very dark in certain scenes. There was no holding back in that regard. I had a great time with 'Night Hunter' and I would strongly advise you give it a watch if you haven't already.
What Keeps You Alive (2018)
A near perfect film that will haunt you long after the credits
About 15 minutes into 'What Keeps You Alive' the film was just cruising along. I was having a good time with a little bit of drama cropping up here and there as we meet a few different characters. Then in an instant, in one of the most haunting and brilliant scenes I have ever seen in a film, everything changed. From that point onwards the film was a non-stop rollercoaster thrill ride. This is an incredible film that has to be seen to be believed.
Something you'll notice early in the film is some very unique foreshadowing. It is done in such a way that it sticks with you throughout the film. Then finally it comes full-circle and is the complete opposite of what you expected. Very clever writing indeed. Also the direction in this film is nothing short of masterful. The trickery and innovation used in the camera-work on multiple occasions is second to none.
Ever since I saw this film I have been recommending it to people flat-out. I loved almost everything about it. I was very worried it wasn't going to be able to stick the landing but it nailed that too. A magnificent film not to be missed.
Went to places I didn't expect
I was on the fence about seeing 'Calibre' so I decided to have a look at the trailer before watching it (something I almost never voluntarily do). About halfway into the trailer, before anything had happened, I turned it off and decided to watch the film. The acting looked strong and the tone seemed fittingly dark. I couldn't have antiquated though just how much I would enjoy this film.
The film takes some time to set itself up, all important plot-pieces that will come into play later on, and then boom it explodes in an instant. From that point on the film is as gripping as they come. For a cast of actors that I had never heard of before they all did an excellent job and were a big part in making this film what it was.
The strongest thing this film has going for it though is its final act. I kept thinking to myself as the film was going along, how are they going to wrap this up in a satisfying way for the audience. Well trust me when I say they found a way. This film gets very dark and it is brilliant. I can't recommend this film highly enough. Definitely with your time.
A unique and challenging film that won't be everyone's cup of tea
It's rare today for a horror film to respect its audience as much as 'Possum' does. Horror films that ask their audience to concentrate, think and solve are becoming less and less popular. All people seem to want is the fast-food horror that 'The Conjuring' universe spews out 3-4 times a year. And that's fine if horror isn't the genre you go to when you're looking for a heavy and deep film, but I would suggest you are missing out on some rare treats like 'Possum'.
What's going to hurt this film with audiences the most is that it is admittedly very slow. A lot of the dialogue is cryptic and there is basically no action. Despite this though I found I couldn't take my eyes off the screen. It was almost hypnotising in a way. I was determined to work out exactly what the film was trying to tell me.
The film asks a lot of you. First of all to understand what it all means, and then to understand a twist through that same lens. I was fairly confident I had understood most of it, but I did read an explanation thread on the film afterwards just to be sure I had it right. Needless to say this film won't be for everyone, and some could even argue this isn't really a horror film, but if you feel like a challenge I'd recommend giving it a look.
The Endless (2017)
Weird, creepy and a fun watch
Very rarely do I watch movies on the Rialto channel but I was flicking through the other day and 'The Endless' came up on the planner. It sounded interesting and after a quick glimpse at the trailer I decided to give it a go. It pretty much fit exactly into my perception of Rialto channel movies. To be frank, it was weird. But weird in a good way if that makes sense. This film goes to some utterly bizarre places.
The film starts out straight-forward enough. A couple of brothers return to the cult they left years ago. The first half of the film is spent introducing us to characters and creating mystery around the true motivations of the cult. The occasional weird thing is happening, but nothing too over the top at this stage. Then in the second half of the movie all hell breaks loose and we go to crazy town. I would have to say I actually enjoyed the first half of the movie more. In fact I would really like to see this film given a conlusion to the way it starts out that wasn't supernatural in any way. That's the film I would have preferred to see.
But what we got certainly wasn't bad. It's a movie where you never know what is going to happen next and I loved that about it. It also feels like anything can and will happen, also a major plus. The cast were actually the biggest surprise of all for me. For a clearly low-budget film they did extremely well. Creepy when they needed to be, mysterious at other times, they nailed all the marks. And it must be said this film does get very creepy in certain places. I had a good time with 'The Endless' and I look forward to going back and watching these filmmaker's earlier films.
Hell Is Where the Home Is (2018)
Pushes past a weak start and becomes a very good thriller
After the opening scene of 'Trespassers', which is far and away the weakest segment of the film, I thought to myself oh no this is going to be a very long 90 minutes. It was just a very sloppy and lazy way to start a movie. No creativity was used, no suspense was built, they simply wanted to show that these were people not to be messed with and that was that. Incredibly though, from that point onwards the film gets consistently better until it reached the point by the end where I considered it a very good low-budget thriller.
It's quite a bizarre movie in the sense that there are almost two movies worth of storylines being combined into one. It is sold as a home-invasion movie, and yet that really is almost like a tacked on afterthought near the end. Most of the film is the explosive drama going on between the four lead characters in the house. I can't remember seeing a film like this before actually, where the film spends so long on set-up (if you could call it that) and so little time on the actual promised storyline. The reason it gets away with it is because both elements are done very well.
This may be the first time I've seen Fairuza Balk in something since 'The Waterboy'. I actually really enjoyed her cameo though. I would suggest she was the strongest actor in the cast and she fit her role perfectly. The rest of the cast were mixed. There was clearly some weaker performances amongst the bunch, but they all try hard and no one phones in their role at all. You certainly couldn't say anyone gave a dull performance.
There were a few weak points in the movie. The masks the invaders used could have been done better. A lot of films are getting very creative these days with killer masks and they can actually add a lot to your film. These ones were cheap and unoriginal. Also I had trouble understanding what the bad guys actually wanted. Maybe I just missed a line but it was very unclear to me their motives. Finally, when you do some thinking about it and put some logic together this would have to be the shortest night in the history of nights. Not a big deal but worth noting.
The colours in this film were excellent as well. They set the mood perfectly for some good old-fashioned horror/suspense. Also the film gets brutally violent in the final act so be prepared for that. I had a really good time with 'Trespassers' and would highly recommend it to people. Push through the opening scene and know that it gets better the longer the movie goes.
Killers Anonymous (2019)
Completely wastes a couple of big names and a decent concept
I was just recently thinking to myself, I wonder if I'll ever see Jessica Alba in a film again. Then a few weeks later along comes a film with her in it. And not just that, but an interesting looking concept for a movie. The synopsis reads, "A support group of killers is held regularly. The participants sit in a circle of trust and share their transgressions." That hooked my attention. Sounds like a fun idea for a film, right? Apparently not, because the film was not interesting in the slightest bit.
No film called 'Killers Anonymous' about a group of hitmen telling their stories should ever be close to this dull. It's almost impressive that they managed to achieve that. Throw in the fact that the two big names the movie managed to get, Alba and Gary Oldman, went entirely to waste. Their characters added zero interest to the film incredibly.
Near the end the movie tries to get tricky and complicated but by that point you've already been bored into submission and no longer care. I'm not exaggerating when I say there isn't a single intriguing or watchable character in this movie. Don't be fooled by a couple of big names in the cast, this is pretty much a complete misfire and one to be avoided.
Few movies could keep pace with this one
I remember the last time Alexandre Aja made a creature based horror film 'Piranhas 3D' I was very disappointed. It was still very well made like all his work, but it didn't take itself seriously enough. I'm all for less-than-serious horror movies on occasion but not when the best in the industry are wasting their time making them. Luckily 'Crawl' does take itself a lot more seriously. It's a brave thing to do actually these days, try and take yourself seriously as a creature based horror movie, because if you aren't able to pull it off the whole thing can look very silly. Luckily though Aja is good enough to make it work.
The pacing of this film is incredible. After a brief 15 minutes or so of set-up at the beginning the movie just explodes off the screen (almost literally) and from there it never lets up. The entire runtime from there on out is an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride. In fact one of the few problems I had with the movie (which isn't really a problem at all when you think about it) is that because the movie is so intense throughout, it struggles to raise the stakes for the final sequence. And so you are left feeling like it hasn't built up to the big finale, when in actuality the whole film is on the scale of an ordinary movie's finale.
There are terrifically done jump-scares in this movie too. I'm very against cheap jump-scares that aren't warranted or naturally occurring within the story (and there are a couple of those admittedly) but some of them are both warranted and will make you leap out of your seat. I really enjoyed 'Crawl'. In a lot of people's hands this movie would not have worked, but Aja nails it like he usually does and the end result is a fantastic horror film.
I had been quite excited about seeing 'Destroyer' for a while now. I really like female empowerment movies usually. Some of the best story arcs come from women being ground down to their lowest point, only to fight back and take revenge on those that have wronged them. In the first 10-15 minutes of 'Destroyer' I thought that was exactly what I was in for. Then slowly as things crawled along I began to realise just how bland of an experience this movie was sadly going to be.
The lead character in your movie can't be completely lacking in personality. It just isn't an option. Nicole Kidman is a fantastic actress, but her character and the portrayal of it here were bordering on atrocious. It is not fun to watch a depressed person be depressed. Then add in the fact that the movie had very little action (admittedly one of the few action sequences it does have in a bank is actually very well done) and the dialogue is incredibly mundane and you find yourself with a very long two hours ahead of you.
I can't remember the last time I went into a movie with this much anticipation and was so let down. I just didn't have a good time with 'Destroyer' at all. Not one I would recommend.
Lake Mungo (2008)
I'm a big fan of Australian horror movies. I don't like a lot of things they do but horror is one of the few exceptions. 'Lake Mungo' was a very frustrating film for me. There was so much to like about, so much that it did well, and yet for every stride forward it took, it seemed to take two backwards. It was its own worst enemy. Unfortunately I have to go into some spoilers in order to explain the things I didn't like about the film.
First of all the twist about the photos being doctored by the brother. Why did it need to be there? What did it add to the film? All it did was deflate the well created tension to that point. I assume it was so they could hit you with the one-two punch later in the film that it was actually all real (what a remarkable coincidence!) but I didn't like that addition to the film at all.
The other thing that let me down was that twice the film set itself to take my breathe away and both times it struck out. The first time was when the neighbour was found to be in the house. That alone was truly unnerving and could have led down so many creepy roads. But instead it just turned out she was having an affair with the neighbours and that storyline went absolutely nowhere.
Then, late in the piece a plot element arrives where we learn something has happened to 'Alice' at 'Lake Mungo'. Now obviously considering they decided to name the film after this location it must be something pretty massive right? Well it was and it wasn't. It was arguably the biggest moment in the film, and yet it really wasn't enough to justify naming the movie after that I thought. It implied that what happened there was the be-all end-all. Maybe they just couldn't think of a title and decided to go with that, I'm not sure. But I feel that moment would have been a lot more powerful if the movie wasn't named after that location.
Don't think it's all negative though, there were actually a lot of very strong elements to the film. It was suitably creepy in spots, the endless photos were well created and kept you on edge and the big moment that happens at 'Lake Mungo' will stick with you for a while. I just can't help feeling it could have been something great.
A solid debut effort with only a few flaws
I'm a big fan of single-location mystery/thrillers. They have produced some of my favourite movies in fact over the years. There's just something about them. I think it stems down to the fact that the director doesn't have the variety in locations to drive his movie, so he has to use the story and dialogue to carry things. Give me that any day of the week. 'The Standoff at Sparrow Creek' won't go down in the category of greats, but it's a pretty solid effort from a debut filmmaker.
The film is very dark for a large majority of the runtime. It can be quite difficult to tell what exactly is going on at certain points. There's a decent sized cast for a clearly low-budget film. Some of the characters are really interesting, others not so much. The interesting ones luckily have the most screen time and carry the weaker ones when they share a scene.
There are some really strong lines of dialogue in this movie too. Some of them caught me off-guard by just how thought-provoking they were. They film does sometimes struggle to justify its already short runtime and it feels like things are being stretched out just a little at times. All in all though I had a good time with 'The Standoff at Sparrow Creek' and if this is where writer/director Henry Dunham is starting his career then the sky is the limit.
A well paced and unique ride
I was a little bit skeptical prior to seeing 'Suspiria'. I had never seen the original, it looked interesting but not necessarily my type of film (these fantasy/horror types can go one way or the other I find) and it had a very long runtime. What convinced me to see it though was the cast. There are a lot of actresses in this film that I appreciate. So am I glad I made the decision to see it? I would say I am.
While the runtime was very long, I never found my self bored or disinterested (at least if I did it was fleeting). It's a surprisingly well paced movie. The other thing you may notice is that if you're not familiar with the original or the story, things can get quite confusing at points. I feel like this is a film that would be a lot easier to appreciate on second viewing.
The performances were, as I expected, terrific from pretty much the entire cast. I was blown away to read that Tilda Swinton had played the old man. I could have watched this movie a thousand times over and I don't think I would have picked up on that. I don't think this movie will be to everyone's liking, but if you're on the fence about it like I was I would suggest at least giving it a try. You might just get a pleasant surprise.
A love story first and foremost
Music based films are all the rage at the moment. 'Bohemian Rhapsody' did astoundingly well both with audiences and award ceremonies, 'Rocketman' seems to be a hit and now we have 'Yesterday'. 'Yesterday' is a little bit different in the sense that it is a fictional story which utilises the music of an extremely popular band from the 60s rather than just straight up telling their story. In fact this is one of the best ideas for a movie I can remember. The whole world forgets about The Beatles except for one person. The possibilities that lends itself to are endless.
I didn't actually realise until after seeing the movie that there was only a select few (20 I believe) songs that they had rights to. That possibly explains a little why the film often feels more about the love story at its centre than the music itself. The love story was actually very well written (both characters were extremely likeable) but I did often think I would like to be hearing a little more music. Too often songs were cut short or were chopped around a joke relating to interrupting the song.
The biggest flaw in this movie for me was the humour. Far too often jokes fell flat. The character of 'Rocky' was clearly designed as the comic relief, and the character was perfect, but the jokes written for him were not up to standard. It felt like they were trying far too hard. An obvious joke is never as funny as a subtle one. Ed Sheeran's involvement with the film was a master stroke though. They didn't over-use him and when he was on screen it was fascinating to watch. I had a good time with 'Yesterday' no doubt about it. I can't help wondering though if things were done a little differently whether this could have been a masterpiece.
Annabelle Comes Home (2019)
They just can not make this series work
Two doll based horror movies have come out in the last couple of weeks, One was vastly superior to the other. The superior one was not 'Annabelle Comes Home' I'm sorry to say. In fact having 'Child's Play' come out only seven days before this film only emphasised just how badly these 'Annabelle' movies are being made. The reason 'Annabelle' worked in the original 'Conjuring' movie was because she was an addition to the storyline. Not the storyline itself. You'll notice in that film she never actually did anything, however the thought and imagery of her was enough. It is not enough though to sustain an entire movie, and it is certainly not enough to sustain three of them.
This movie is rated 'R' but it really can't justify it. Almost nothing happens the entire movie that would justify that rating (in fact while we're at it almost nothing happens the entire movie period - but that's another issue). The best horror movies today aren't afraid to be bold and step out of their comfort zone to shock their audience. 'Annabelle Comes Home' on the other hand plays it about as safe as you'll ever see. Consequently, any intelligent audience member will know that pretty much every character is entirely safe and if something scary jumps out (that's all this movie has going for it) they aren't actually going to do anything to anyone.
One of the characters in this movie was one the of the most annoying I can ever remember seeing in a film. She did ridiculous things that only served to advance the plot of the movie. A lot of the humour missed the mark in this one too. If you feel like a couple of hours to ghosts jumping out of nowhere accompanied by loud jolts of music then this is the film for you. Otherwise, if you have taste in horror movies, see 'Child's Play' instead.
A decent effort, but falls short of its potential
I really like the concept behind 'Brightburn' - what if 'Superman' came to Earth, but with intentions of evil instead of good? That sounds like a much more fun movie to me than the actual 'Superman' movies we get every few years. What surprised me most about this movie was how seriously it took itself. It wasn't there to muck around. In fact in the whole movie there was only one moment that made me lightly chuckle, and even then I had to ask myself whether or not that line was intended to be funny. Even some of the darkest movies being released today usually utilise humour to at least a small degree. It didn't take away from the movie in my opinion. It was just unique and worth noting.
It wasn't just a lack of humour making the film dark either. There is some extreme gore intended to really offset the audience. I'm not sure if it's because the movie centred around a child that I was so taken off guard by how extreme the imagery they were willing to show us was, but I really was taken aback. It was probably the strongest thing the movie had going for it. No character felt safe, and it truly felt like anything could happen. I love that in a film.
The costume given to the child didn't do a lot for me. I thought it could have been designed better to have more of an unsettling effect. Also the casting of the child wasn't ideal. He wasn't bad, he just never blew me away at any stage. I had a good time with 'Brightburn' but can't help thinking I might have had a great time with a few tweaks here and there. A sequel could certainly go to some interesting places.
One of 2019's best so far
If you can see the trailer for 'Booksmart' and not immediately picture a female version of 'Superbad' then you are a stronger person than I am. Even though that film isn't listed as an influence on this film, it had to be in some way. And there's nothing wrong with that. 'Superbad' was a terrific film, and so is this.
To be watchable a film has to be over-the-top and unrealistic. It's that simple. No one wants to watch things that they likely see in their everyday life, because there's nothing cinematic or grand about that. 'Booksmart' finds an excellent balance between being completely over-the-top (in a really fun to watch way) and still somehow staying grounded and relatable. There are some low-key heart-breaking moments in this film amongst all the chaos. Also the amount of nostalgia is brought out in me was insane.
The two lead actresses are particularly fantastic, but it has to be said the entire cast is tremendous as well. There isn't an unlikable character in this movie (even the ones that are meant to be unlikeable are somehow not so). This a movie I didn't want to end. I could watch this cast and this story go on for days on end. There is also a huge rewatch factor about this movie. I can't praise it highly enough. See it immediately.
Child's Play (2019)
Back to a darker 'Chucky' and I liked it
The original 'Chucky' series had become a little stale in recent entries in my opinion. It had stopped taking itself seriously and each entry was basically just a violent comedy movie. So I was mildly happy to see that they had decided to reboot the series. It should be noted that the original 'Child's Play' was a very different type of movie to every other one in the series. It was a very understated film and was created more as a whodunnit mystery between the doll and 'Andy'. This reboot using the same name is very different to that original.
What I liked most about this film was the balance is struck between humour and horror. While there were certainly moments intended to make you laugh, this one first and foremost sets out to scare people. I think these movies are much stronger when the balance leans in horror's favour. In fact the gore at times took me off-guard. There is some truly gruesome imagery.
I really loved the choice to make Mark Hamill the voice of 'Chucky'. He used a very similar tone to that which he does with the 'Joker' and it worked masterfully. If they do make sequels to this film I would love to see him given free range to be as evil as he possibly can. Also the look of the doll was good. It took a little getting used to after having been accustomed to the original for so many years. But by the end of the film I had really come to like the look.
The downside was that it never really managed to scare or unnerve me. Granted, I'm pretty tough to effect when it comes to horror movies, but I had hoped to get the heart racing just a little bit. I did have a good time with this movie nonetheless and would be interested to see where a series of sequels could lead to. Worth a look, just don't get your hopes up overly high and you should have a good time.
Murder Mystery (2019)
Sandler and Aniston have genuine chemistry amongst a fun story
For the last decade or so Adam Sandler has been phoning it in for the pay checks unfortunately. He has been picking very easy projects that will be terribly reviewed but still return a profit. So when a film like 'Murder Mystery' comes along that actually has some writing depth, funny situations and a decent support cast it is very pleasing to see. I enjoyed this movie a lot more than I anticipated I would.
It all started with the chemistry between Sandler and Jennifer Aniston. They had done a film together 'Just Go with It' back in 2011 and it had actually been one of the better Sandler movies in recent memory. The chemistry was apparent then, and it still is present now. How much of this movie was improvised I'm not sure, but it often does feel like the two of them are just going off on their own tangents and having fun with the roles, and the movie is better off for it.
Then there was the mystery element of the plot. It was surprisingly well put together. Nice and straight forward to follow, while not easy to put your finger on exactly where it was heading. The finale of the movie was handled very well also. I like comedy movies that are driven by their story. I really enjoyed 'Murder Mystery' and I think most that see it will too.
Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)
Enough here for all ages to enjoy
It's very rare that I ever watch kid's movies any more. I couldn't even tell you what the last one I saw before this was. But 'Pokémon Detective Pikachu' just really interested me for some reason. I'm not even much of a 'Pokémon' fan (I watched it briefly as a kid, but that was about it). I think it was the casting choice of Ryan Reynolds as 'Pikachu' that took my fancy. A really enlightened choice. He has the comedic skills to make anything funny, and ultimately that is the strongest thing this movie has going for it.
I also loved the concept of the story being based around a mystery. I'm a sucker for mysteries in films. Unfortunately the one they chose for this movie didn't really work for me. It just never hooked me in. I didn't absolutely need to know the answer, and that is always the key to a mystery element working in a story.
The other thing that impressed me was how good the animation was. The 'Pokémon' looked absolutely fantastic. I think this is a great movie in the sense that kids are going to have a great time with it, but also the adults that take them along are going to enjoy it more than they might other children's movies. A worthy effort.
There was never any way that 'Rocketman' was going to avoid being compared to 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. Which is a little unfortunate because 'Bohemian Rhapsody' was a masterpiece. 'Rocketman' is an excellent film, however it couldn't live up to what that film managed to achieve. They're similar films, although rather different in a number of ways too. 'Rocketman' has a lot of spontaneous singing with back-up dancers appearing out of nowhere, making it feel more like a musical. I didn't mind that to be honest. It was what it was and didn't pretend to be anything differently.
This is also a much darker film than the other one was. Both deal with a couple of very depressed artists in their prime, but this film really rams it home. There are a tremendous amount of unlikeable characters in this film. Apart from Elton himself, there is really only one likeable one that I can think of. It's almost a relief when he is on screen because otherwise the film is just too bleak.
I was thoroughly impressed by Taron Egerton's performance. He maybe didn't "become" Elton to the extent that Rami Malek became Freddie Mercury, however his singing was excellent and his acting in the emotional scenes was of a very high standard. Elton John fans will have a particularly good time with this film, but even if you're not his biggest fan I think there is enough here to keep you satisfied and interested.
Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018)
A sequel that does the original proud
While I did enjoy the original 'Sicario' I admit I found it a little slow paced and tedious in places. As with most sequels 'Sicario: Day of the Soldado' comes out with guns blazing (literally) trying to one up its predecessor. The first 2/3 of this film are electric and everything I wanted them to be. Then sadly the final 1/3 couldn't deliver the knock-out punch. It went down some channels that I wasn't particularly fond of, and ignored some that I would have loved to have seen. Don't get me wrong though, this is a very entertaining and well made film.
Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro are perfectly cast in these films. They are legitimately bad-ass. The rest of the cast however leave a little bit to be desired. Catherine Keener in particular was miscast and couldn't hold her own in any scene she was in. It didn't ruin the movie, more so it was just a distraction when she was on screen.
The action scenes in this movie are quite incredible. The are shot in such creative and powerful ways. Only lacking in some casting errors and trailing off a little in the final 1/3, this film has a tremendous amount of watchability factor.
The Prodigy (2019)
A horror film that feels a class above the usual
How I love an R-rated horror movie. The reason? It completely opens up the limitations on what can happen. PG-13 horror movies are predictable almost down to the detail. 'The Prodigy' managed to catch me off guard multiple times. The strange thing about this movie though, is that even though it's clearly a horror, at times it doesn't feel like a horror. Even though there is a supernatural element, it often just feels like an extremely dark thriller. This isn't a 'Children of the Corn' type movie where every character must be dispensed of one by one. There is more going on than that, and I liked it.
There is actually a lot of patience in this movie. Almost the entire first hour is spent explaining and setting up what it actually going on. Not in a tedious or boring way though. It never feels dull or dragged out. You just sort of think at about the 60 minute mark, I'm really enjoying this, but come to think of it not a lot has actually happened. Then in the final third things kick into gear and the film took me to some places I didn't expect to be taken. I really liked the handling of the end of this film.
'The Prodigy' is well made, well acted, fun horror film that I thoroughly enjoyed. I could see sequel potential in this too. Perhaps with entirely new characters using the same "prodigy" concept. I'm not sure how this did at the box-office as to whether that will actually happen or not. But if they do, I'll be there to watch it.
The Perfection (2018)
A thriller masterpiece
I once read a list of the top 100 movie characters of all time and I remember there only being 6 female characters on the list. Over the years Hollywood has always struggled to make females the leads of their movies. 'The Perfection' is a film that proves just how brilliant female characters can be. I watched the trailer for this film a few days a go and it hooked me in. It was one of the most bizarre trailers I'd ever seen and I needed to see the actual film to know what it was really about. Needless to say, I was not disappointed.
The film is basically broken into two halves. And each half is a masterpiece of its own. The first half is some of the most intriguing cinema I have seen in a long time. I literally could not look away from the screen. I needed to know what was happening and what would happen next. If there had been a power cut at that point and time I may have had to drive to the nearest suburb with power to keep watching.
Then the second half of the film is rather different, but equally brilliant. I loved how dark this film was willing to get. Filmmakers who aren't afraid to be daring in their films has to be the way of the future. The sooner we stop accepting films that play it safe and by the book, the sooner films will begin to turn around their quality. 'The Perfection' is a near perfect film in itself, and one that I highly recommend you take the time to see.