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Film Reviews

Is Don’t Worry Darling that bad? (No Spoiler Review )

After years of drama, gossip and rumours Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling is finally here. Before the film was even released, it had been trashed for the performances and plot. This can instantly destroy a movie. Audiences go into the cinema jaded by reviews or potentially don’t even see it. So is Don’t Worry Darling as horrible as everyone says? Is Harry Styles’ performance that atrocious?

Don’t Worry Darling is one of the most beautiful looking films of the year. The cinematographer – Mathew Libatique – creates this pristine and elegant world. Every shot has the perfect light that accentuates this idyllic 1950s’ town. While the constant lens’ flares aren’t for me, I am 100% here for the world that he and Olivia Wilde have created.

Beautiful cinematography needs to be coupled with a well-constructed and tight plot. With a run time of 2 hours and 3 minutes, the audience must be kept engaged from the get-go. Unfortunately, I was not. I just found myself kind of bored in this movie. Scenes drag on for way for too long and once you figure out what’s coming, it just feels kind of bland. I know Olivia tried to include some moments to keep you hooked but they just weren’t enough. Ultimately, the beats of this story feel repetitive and dragged out.

What really failed for me in this movie was the horror. I understand it’s meant to be more psychological than physical, but it felt very flat. I cannot even recall some of the sequences because of how forgettable and repetitive it was. It didn’t feel like any new horror was brought to the table but instead just repeating what has been done in cinema for the last 30 years.

Florence Pugh certifies herself as an incredible actress. She is so talented at being scared that if all she did for the next 10 years was horror I wouldn’t mind. On top of this, Florence delivers some dodgy lines excellently. I truly believe she puts this film on her back and carries it to the finish line.

Now the backlash on Harry Styles’ performance is warranted – it’s not great. He isn’t even that bad it’s just that there are so many other talented actors out there who would have smashed this role. It always feels like he is trying to give an Oscar worthy performance by screaming and yelling a lot when it isn’t warranted and doesn’t make sense. In a movie this high budget and high concept, Harry doesn’t belong.

Everyone else is good. Chris Pine replicates this type of Andrew Tate man in a way that I haven’t seen in a film yet (no spoilers). Olivia Wilde shows off her comic abilities and adds this light-hearted touch to the film. Gemma Chan and Nick Kroll were amazing but just not in it enough. With all of Nick’s talents, he should have been in this film much more.

Before I go into spoilers, I want to highlight the soundtrack. John Powell has created a new and refreshing horror movie sound. Every time it played it made me genuinely remember to write about how good the music was. He has blended breathing, humming and music together to create a chilling horror theme that feels very different to everything being made right now.

!!!!SPOILERS!!! (RANT)

The twist in this movie is one of the most predictable and bland pieces of writing I have seen. 15 minutes into this film I had guessed what it was and spent the rest of the film praying it wasn’t that. The problem with Don’t Worry Darling is that the writer and director think they have this Sixth Sense level twist on their hands and spend the whole movie building up to it. But it isn’t. Instead, the audience should have been shown earlier what is going on and the rest of the film should have been her working it out and attempting to escape. Imagine if this film had a similar plot to the Truman Show but really focused on how horrifying and scary this situation is. There could have been stronger ties to abusive relationships and control instead of this washy garbage. There is just so much wasted potential for this high concept idea that really could have been something special.

Should you see it in cinemas?

No, this is definitely a streaming movie. While all the pieces are there, it ultimately just falls flat due to a predictable script. If Harry Styles wasn’t in this film, it would be on Amazon Prime right now.

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Film Reviews

Three Thousand Years of Longing Review

George Miller is back with his third film in 10 years. Mad Max, Babe, Happy Feet – all critically and financially successful and yet we rarely see his name pop up in the credits. So something big had to be next for Miller. And that ambitious film was none other than Three Thousand Years of Longing. A film so unique and different that it makes complete sense for Miller to direct. But was this film worth his return to directing? Does it live up to the hype of his previous films?

Three Thousand Years of Longing is a romantic / fantasy film written and directed by George Miller. It sees a lonely scholar – Tilda Swinton – who is granted three wishes by a Djinn (Idris Elba).   

Every time you go to the cinemas, you kind of know what you are already going to see. Between trailers and marketing, you have a pretty rough idea of what is coming. I was completely blindsided by this film. Three Thousand Years of Longing shocked me from beginning to end and that is for one core reason – the sound design.

I haven’t seen a movie as precise and careful with its use of music and sound in a long time (probably Mad Max actually). Each scene uses it so sparingly that it makes the audience glued to the world in front of them. Even the transitions between locations use natural sound to make the film flow. But what accentuates this creative choice is the writing.

George Miller and Augusta Gore have replaced music with a script that feels like a song. The dialogue has a perfect rhythm that makes this film flow. You almost forget the lack of music when the words spoken by Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba feel poetic. For a film about storytelling, Miller understands exactly what makes a story work. It is not about the visual elements but instead the spoken word and that is exactly why this narration works so well. And while these effects were striking, they were not what made me love this film. Instead, it was the movies core theme.

The emphasis on the importance of storytelling to humanity is a perfect golden thread and something that means a lot to me. Three Thousand Years of Longing not only reminds the audience on why we need stories to survive but also the different forms they can take. It accomplishes this through roughly 6 separate stories each more intriguing and different then the last. With different themes and messages, they will leave any audience wanting to spend more time in the mind of George Miller.

Like a song however, the film ebbs and flows. It did have moments where I lost interest and was not completely gripped by the story. I think it comes down to the run time. While an hour and 40 minutes is by no means a long film, I do think it could have been cut down. If this film was 15 minutes shorter, the pacing would have been fantastic. When so much time is spent in one location, it is pivotal that the audience is still hooked by the story and especially the actors.

(Spoilers)

Now I did like the performances of Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba. In fact, I loved them. They both did an excellent job of displaying loneliness and how it affects people in different ways. Also, what stories can mean to people’s lives. Where their performances fell a little flat was in the chemistry. I never felt the love between them. While they bounce off each other well, the sudden turn in the story didn’t make sense for these characters. It felt like a sharp right turn in a direction I didn’t think these George Miller and these actors were going for.

Should you see this film?

Yes absolutely. It is a movie that will sit with you for days on end. Not only is it a completely original story but it is the craft of it that will keep you hooked. However, I do recommend going in expecting a slower pace and a different method to most Hollywood movies.

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Film Reviews

Is Nope Jordan Peele’s Best film? (Non-Spoiler Review)

After two box office hits, Jordan Peele is finally back. He is one of the few directors in Hollywood whose name brings a certain level of respect. Like Robert Eggers or Ari Aster, you are already going to see his film before you know what it’s about. Nevertheless, there are two things you expect from a Peele film – 1. A tense and gripping horror and 2. A strong and clever social commentary. With so few films under his belt, it is truly an accomplishment he has already achieved this reputation. But does Nope follow this path? Does it live up to the hype of two previous smash hits?

From the beginning to the end of this film, I was hooked. There was never a dull moment. In a 2hr and 15-minute run time this is an incredible accomplishment and a perfect representation of how good a writer and director Jordan Peele is. Butnot everything worked. Nope has some parts I absolutely loved and moments that just didn’t work for me.

Predictable

I was never shocked with this film. Sure, there was some slight twists, but nothing really surprised me. I think this is a real shame considering how many incredible and clever twists there were in Get Out and Us. Maybe it’s due to trailers showing way too much (I avoided them as much as I could) but I knew where the story was going before I even saw it.

As a result, this affected the ending of the film for me. Obviously, I won’t spoil it but it just wasn’t satisfying. I didn’t feel the entire story was completed and it just left me wanting another twist in the plot or to see more from these characters.

Horror

Jordan Peele is a master at creating tense horror sequences. In every movie he has made, he has a couple of scenes that make you want to look as far away as possible. Nope is no different. It’s so refreshing to have the UFO as this horrible force of nature because as an audience, we are so used to looking down or around us. Instead, Peele introduces this concept of being afraid of what’s coming from above that hasn’t really been touched upon since the 80s.

There are also some other sequences that I honestly found even scarier (no spoilers). They feel so seamless and blend into the story perfectly. Unlike most horrors, it never feels like Peele went “hey we need another horror scene here.” Also, how Jordan and his cinematographer – Hoyte van Hoytema – move the camera is beautiful. They know exactly what to do to make sure you are permanently “shitting it.”

The Comedy

At no point in this movie did I laugh out loud. That wouldn’t be a problem if it didn’t feel like Peele had written in some purposeful jokes. These actors are all completely capable of being funny it’s just the movie doesn’t really commit to these comedic scenes very well. Sure, they might be worthy of a slight chuckle but when it’s Jordan Peele writing – one of the funniest comedians in Hollywood- you want to see some lines that make you laugh out loud.

Acting

Daniel Kaluuya was excellent in this film. I really believed this character and all the choices he made completely fit his backstory. How Daniel mumbles and is so socially awkward he can’t even talk to others perfectly fits a man who has known farming and nothing more. For Keke Palmer, I really had to settle into her performance, but once I did, I loved it. I like how she starts off as this over top character and as the film moves forward, she becomes more grounded and realistic. Now Steven Yeun I also liked, I just don’t think he was given as much screen time as the others. But when he was on screen, he completely solid this capitalistic money-grubbing man. Apart from Brandon Perea and Michael Wincott (both were solid but didn’t stand out) that is basically the whole cast.

Sound design

I don’t ever really talk about sound design because most movies are samey but holy fuck the sound in Nope is incredible. Johnnie Burn does an amazing job at making you understand exactly when the UFO is about to arrive. In an interview, he mentions how the barrel in Jaws shows you when the shark is coming. For Nope, they used wind whistling to represent the alien. Simple choices like this add a whole new level of suspense. It completely immerses you in the situation and makes you that much more terrified.

Minor Spoilers

Something new

Ultimately, Nope doesn’t seek to offers answers but instead make you ask questions. Like Kubrick’s style of filmmaking, Peele wants you to question the world around you. Whether this be the themes of the entertainment industry, animal abuse or capitalism, I think Jordan has a specific goal of making the audience challenge their views. While these messages are buried deep deep below the surface, I love that he is not beating the audiences’ head about what the film is truly about. It’s subtle and it’s smart. On top of this, he brings a completely new structure to this film that worked. It was a simple signposting, but it kept me engaged and focused.

Should you see this movie?

Nope is a great movie with tense horror and well written heartfelt moments that kept me hooked from the beginning. While specific elements didn’t work for me – like the comedy and predictability of the plot – it is still worthy of your time. You must see it in cinemas for its incredible sound design and beautiful cinematography. Definitely go see this film.

(It’s not his best movie…)

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Film Reviews

A Complete Surprise: Thirteen Lives Review

Thirteen Lives is a survival drama based on the true story of the rescue divers that saved thirteen Thai boys’ lives. Directed by Ron Howard, the film stars Colin Farrell, Vigo Mortensen and Joel Edgerton. It is a movie that came out of nowhere. Maybe it’s because of Amazon’s horrible marketing strategy or because the documentary had already been released, but this film had absolutely no traction behind it. Despite this, it completely shocked me. Thirteen Lives was not what I expected in any way, let me explain.

Tense

I honestly cannot tell you if it is because this is based on a true story, but this movie is one of the most tense and nerve-racking cinematic (streaming) experiences I have had in a while. Every time that Colin and Viggo entered those caves I felt like I was right there with them. Even though I knew what was coming, it didn’t take away from how horrifying this film is. It doesn’t feel like a standard survival movie. Instead, it feels like I am watching a horror movie and that is an amazing thing.

Ron Howard and Sayombhu Mukdeeprom have crafted this film perfectly. Directing underwater sequences would be so challenging and they both did it for weeks on end. This practical work is so effective in making the audience feel as claustrophobic and tired as the divers were. Having a cinematographer who specialises in underwater photography is an excellent choice and one of the core reasons these sequences work. But perhaps what is most important is that it never feels like a Hollywood movie. Every underwater scene feels authentic and such a stark contrast to the CGI garbage that is being pumped out lately.

The Script

I think the script is going to divide a lot of film lovers. For me, it works perfectly. Thirteen Lives sticks to the events of the story and nothing more. It doesn’t dive into back story, character arcs or even the Thai boys. In a BTS interview, Ron Howard specifically says he wanted to be as “journalistic as possible.” I love this decision. We get to completely focus on this story and not get side-tracked with some forced backstory of our main characters.  It feels so procedural and realistic that it adds even more suspense to this already thrilling story.

Thirteen Lives has an incredible core theme. The film is about community. In particular, the Thai community. This golden thread of sacrificing yourself for others is weaved in so subtly you could almost miss it. Ron Howard does an excellent job of showing that when people come together great things happen. The divers, families, villagers all give up what is important to them for the greater good.

Acting

Everyone in this film is bringing their A game. There is not one person in Thirteen Lives who did not completely sell me on the stakes and danger of this mission. Obviously, Colin Farrell and Vigo Mortensen are excellent. I loved the chemistry between these two, it felt like they had known each other for years. Furthermore, Joel Edgerton comes in at just the right time. He is so talented at being afraid and scared that it added a whole new layer of pressure to the task at hand. These three actors don’t have much to work with and yet I completely understand them as people. I knew their motivations and fears as soon as they stepped on screen.

I also want to shoutout the actors playing the Thai boys. I think they did an excellent job of capturing how afraid and drained these kids would have been. Every time they were on screen, I completely believed their performance and consequently had this constant fear for their lives.

One Issue

There is only one problem with this film, and it bugged me as soon as it started – it wasn’t released in cinemas. Usually, I don’t give a fuck about where a movie comes out but when it is a film like this, it feels disrespectful to not see it on a big screen. It just would have been so much more captivating with proper speakers and a huge IMAX screen. I know it’s where cinema is moving but a movie like this will always make me want to see it in a cinema.

SHOULD YOU SEE IT?

Abso – fucking – lutely. Thirteen Lives is an excellent and well-crafted movie that kept me gripped from the moment it started. While the run time may seem long, it never drags or feels like the 147 minutes it is. Definitely go watch this film on Amazon Prime.

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Film Reviews

Why a good script is pivotal? The Grey Man Non Spoiler Review

I know it’s a been a week, but I finally got around to watching Anthony and Joe Russo’s the Grey Man. The action / comedy stars Ryan Gosling, Ana De Armas and Chris Evans playing mercenaries and spies hunting down dark secrets.

I won’t lie when I say I didn’t know this film was happening until it came out. There was no hype, no marketing and no promotion by Netflix. So when it was finally released I was excited to see it. In my head, the film would be similar in style and action to Captain American: the Winter Soldier – an excellent film. But I could not have been more wrong and truthfully, I am still trying to figure out why…

Action

I’m sure in the Russo’s heads the action sequences were cool, but it never felt like there was never any weight or danger to them. What I love about Civil War and the Winter Soldier is those close hand to hand fight scenes. In this film, there is one towards the end that is solid, but the rest are not even on the same level. There is too much focus on big scale expensive sequences rather than the John Wick action we have come to love. Even if you set the action scenes in exotic locations, the choreography still has to be entertaining to watch. In the Grey Man, it simply isn’t.

Casting

Ryan Gosling is severely under-utilised in this movie. He is one of the best actors working today and is given absolutely nothing to work with. There is no dramatic moments for him to sink into and barely any comedy – two things Ryan Gosling is very very good at. Just look at his character in the Nice Guys and Drive. I just do not understand why the script is not more targeted for an actor with his skill and expertise. Nevertheless, he does feel dangerous. His stature and body are effective in showing that this man is a killer. I just wish there was more for him to work with.

Chris Evans is excellent in this movie. He is absolutely going for it and I am 100% here to watch. This movie made me realise how much I miss Chris Evans playing a douchebag and I am glad he is returning to his old form. On the other hand, Ana De Armas was not working. I don’t think it’s her fault, it’s just her character is very one dimensional and flat. She doesn’t really have a personality or even an arc. Once again, a very talented actor wasted.

Julia Butters. Wow, what an actress. Most kids in movies are extremely annoying and trying too hard to be funny but, in this film, she feels like a real kid. Julia does a great job at reacting authentically to the big set pieces around her. Also, she is funny without forcing it.

Cinematography

I don’t ever dive into the cinematography for films unless it’s really good or really bad. The Grey Man’s photography just doesn’t make sense. They have chosen to use drones for what feels like 80% of this movie and it never works. It’s disorientating and weird. On top of this, it completely takes you out of the movie. It’s like whenever films use GoPro footage in movies. For some reason, it just makes the audience disconnect from the world they are watching. I just cannot comprehend who thought this was a good idea.

Weak Script

Ultimately, The Grey Man doesn’t work for one core reason – a poor script. Everything surrounding this film is solid but when the script isn’t there, the movie is never going to be anything. There is no substance or genuine emotion to any of the characters in this movie. We learn a tiny bit about Six but not enough to care about him or the people around him. They just needed to dive into this character more and I would’ve been there. Even the side characters have literally no backstory except that they went to Harvard. The heart of this film is so clearly missing and I don’t know how the Russo’s didn’t see that.

On top of this, this film is tonally all over the place. We have characters being serious for half the film, then at the end they are all suddenly comedians. Modern blockbusters are obsessed with being funny and it’s getting more and more draining. Just write funny characters and serious ones. NOT EVERYONE HAS TO BE FUNNY IN A FILM.

At the end of the day, this film is fucking stacked. Great directors, incredible cast, solid soundtrack and it was released on the biggest streaming platform in the world. Everything is there but due to a weak script, it is just kind of boring. The whole film is dull. Despite an A level roster, I was never really interested in the world the Russo’s create and don’t want to see more of it.

SHOULD YOU WATCH THE GREY MAN?

I almost never say this but you can definitely give this one a miss. While the action was solid, it was never enough to really make me care for this film in any way.

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THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER REVIEW

Thor Love and Thunder is finally here. Now I’m not going to bother with the whole spiel about who directed this and the cast and the plot and the blah blah blah. We all know who Thor is and we all know who made this film. At this point, Taika Waititi feels like he owns Hollywood. He is in every film; can choose any project he wants and seems to have complete creative control over his movies. Now I love his other films. Jojo Rabbit, Boy and Hunt for the Wilder People are incredible, but I was never that obsessed with Thor Ragnarök. Going into Thor 4, I was hoping he would prove me wrong. Unfortunately, he didn’t. Let me explain…

Too Wacky

Taika Waititi has been building up how crazy and silly this movie is for years. In every interview, he goes on about being surprised what Marvel let him do – after seeing it, it’s certainly not a flex. There is certainly some weird shit, but it honestly never felt true to the story or character. It just seemed like Taika wanted to go as crazy as possible just to be different. Its like he was so focused on being weird and wacky, he forgot to write an interesting story and compelling characters.

The fundamental problem with this is the number of fucking jokes. I’m all for a strict comedy and I love Taika’s humour but in this it felt so draining. Even in dramatic moments, he seems intent on making everyone be as stupid and idiotic as possible. I cannot remember a single scene that just lets the characters feel real and authentic. This is so disappointing because Taika is one of the best directors and writers when it comes to dramatic moments. In all his films, he has these scenes that really punch you in the heart. But for Thor, I cannot think of a single one…

Acting

There is some big fucking names in this film, and everyone is doing something completely different. Chris Hemsworth is as good as ever. His comedic timing is excellent and is as sexy as ever. However, he doesn’t seem to push the character in the right direction (This probably isn’t his fault). In this film, it feels like Thor has taken a step backwards instead of forwards. He has returned to that same destructive idiot we see in the first film. I think it would have been much more engaging to focus on a Thor who was really depressed, had PTSD and had given up fighting. They touch on it a bit but don’t dive into it as much as I would have liked.

Christian Bale holy fuck man. He is taking 50 shots and making 40 of them. Bale absolutely goes for it in this film, and I am here for it. He has some really heartbreaking and dramatic moments that only work through his performance. On the other side, Christian can be so terrifying when he chooses to be. It’s so refreshing to see an MCU villain that actually feels scary and has a purpose in their movie. I have a theory that he took some inspiration from working with Heath on Batman. Both characters take up so much of the screen and make it their film. Essentially, they bring something new to the villain stereotype that we haven’t seen before.

Pictured: Christian Bale as Gorr the God Butcher

Natalie Portman…  I hate shitting on actors I know are talented but what the fuck happened here. Natalie Portman is an amazing actress who has some deep range. Unfortunately, comedy is not included. She is so talented at dramatic acting but whenever she tries to be funny in this film it is hard to watch. I have a slight tingle that a lot of these lines were forced improv and you can see how forced and unnatural it is for her. Other then that, her fight scenes are amazing and she really sells being a Thor.

Action (minor spoiler)

There is a lot of action scenes in this film and all of them are pretty forgettable. Sure, Taikia has a striking 80s style he injects into Thor but the choreography or set pieces never really stuck out to me. Except for one scene…

The fight on the Moon planet. What a fuckin fight scene. Choosing to make it black and white was a perfect decision. The way the light from the hammers shines in the bleak darkness and how contrasted and stylised this world is (Chefs Kiss) is so refreshing. Marvel always gets a lot of shit for its bland colour palette, and I think Taika knew that. By taking away all colour, it is actually more effective then just dumping a bunch of it in like the rest of this film.

The MCU

I know I talk about the MCU a lot and that is for one key reason – it’s the biggest thing in the world. The MCU is pumping out so many shows and movies its even hard for me to keep up. And I truly believe this affects Thor a lot. If Thor love and Thunder came out 5 years ago, I would be praising this film and so would critics. But there is so much superhero content that is all equally good that films now have to be a 10/10 movie to stand out.  Remember Shang Chi, Eternals and Black Widow? I don’t at all. Not necessarily because they are bad but because there is so much of this being pumped out. I remember the Batman. That is because it’s a crime film first and a superhero movie second. Thor just feels like another superhero movie with some wacky moments and a lot of jokes.

Should you watch Thor Love and Thunder in cinemas?

Yes absolutely.  This film is still a very entertaining and engaging movie but as Scorsese says, it is just a theme park ride. There is no memorable scenes or heartbreaking moments. Honestly, if the story was a bit more complex and layered, this film could be so much more. There is to much focus on getting from point a to b and not on exploring these once interesting characters.

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Film Reviews

An Honest review of Elvis

After what feels like 5 years, Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis is finally here. Ever since Tom Hanks got COVID I feel like I have been hearing about this movie once a week. Probably because it was filmed in Australia, but the hype train to this movie felt enormous. Something that is usually quite dangerous for an audience’s expectations. But its finally here and boy is it something. It’s one of those movies I think will really unite audiences because what works works and what doesn’t really does not…

What is structure?

Walking out of the packed cinema, everyone around me had the same core criticism of Elvis – a weird structure and pacing. The opening of this film is some of the most bat shit crazy effects and transitions I have ever seen. Baz gives zero fucks about what everyone else is doing and as usual goes with his gut. In the first 10 minutes, there’s animation, split screens, psychedelics, and a lot of spinning transitions. While this is not for me personally, I did appreciate it. It felt like a refreshing way to open a movie and it didn’t take me long to settle in. And then, it disappears for the rest of the film…

If Elvis maintained this breakneck speed and crazy style, I would have appreciated it much more. Instead, we move into this slow and dragging pace that makes you look at your clock and go “FUCK ME THERES 2 HOURS LEFT?” It’s not that it’s that bad it’s just when you have such a fast-paced opening, you kind of have to keep a little bit of the momentum going. I could not count how many people were checking their phones or going to the toilet after an hour of this. I think it comes down to one key reason.

The writing of Elvis is unique. A scene in this film kind of goes like this – Tom Hanks narrates something big in Elvis’s career happening and then we cut to the consequence of this rather than showing it. But what really damages this is that all these scenes drag on for a very very long time. And while I do appreciate Baz not just showing us all the famous and well-known aspects of Elvis’s life, this structure gets repetitive and brings the story to a halt.  For example, that whole sequence of the Christmas show went for a staggering amount of time. While I know it’s a big part of his career, it just doesn’t fit this movies pacing. I just think that if Baz maintained that fast pace and cut some scenes down, this movie would be a lot more engaging.

Austin fucking Butler

It’s no secret that Austin Butler smashes this performance of Elvis. The voice, the moves, the mannerisms – everything is spot on. To me, it just shows a level of hard work and passion that is so appealing to see on screen and hear about in interviews. Having an actor truly love the role is so addictive and makes the character so believable. On top of this, it never felt like Austin was overdoing it. He never pushed anything to far or begged for the audience’s attention. It just felt like an honest and passionate portrayal of a man that Austin and Baz clearly care about so deeply.

Tom Hanks…

I don’t think its Tom Hank’s fault that his performance in this doesn’t work. Instead, I think it comes down to two key reasons. Firstly, his name. Tom Hanks is just at the level of fame where as soon as he is on screen, it is a challenge for us to suspend of disbelief. Sure, when he plays an American it is easy for the audience to accept his character but let me ask you this. In the last 10 years, are you ever actually watching him and not just thinking that you are watching Tom Hanks on screen? I truly believe he is just so famous and so often typecast that convincing us of these oddball characters has become near impossible.

The second reason is the accent. I think Tom is doing a Dutch/ American accent, but I could not tell. I never settled into it or felt that it was natural for one moment. Its not necessarily terrible it just feels so forced and out of place. 

Australian Actors

The Australian actors in this are incredible. Everyone in this smashes their accent and never made me question it once. As usual, Richard Roxburgh and David Wenham are amazing. They both play characters that feel out of their comfort zone and yet it still feel so natural and effortless. Kodi Smit – McPhee just takes over the screen whenever he is on it. He is on track to being one of Hollywood’s best actors in the next 5 years.

The Ending (Spoilers)

Man, that ending… Few film endings leave you constantly pondering it and replaying that final scene in your head for days. Elvis did just that to me. The film wraps up very quickly and does this beautiful cut to the real Elvis. What is so incredible is that it doesn’t try too hard to wrap things up in a bow or give a positive spin on the Kings life. Instead, it shows his final days for what they truly were. Bleak and miserable. We see his passion for performing but also the darker side of his life so clearly in those final few moments. It leave the audience with this bittersweet taste in their tongue, seeing how easily such an evil man ruined a true artist. Perfect editing, directing, and acting.

Should you watch Elvis?

I do think its worth seeing in the cinema. Just prepare yourself for a rollercoaster… Apart from the slow second act and Tom hanks’, I did enjoy this movie and would recommend.

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Film Reviews Uncategorized

Jurassic world dominion is not as bad as you think (review)

I honestly had no intention of seeing Jurassic World Dominion. The Jurassic Park franchise is just one of those things I don’t really care about (like a lot of people with Star Wars). The first movie is great but after that, there all pretty much the same aren’t they? On top of this, the film is getting eaten alive by critics (no pun intended). Every reviewer I watch is slandering the film for the same shit. Nevertheless, on a cold Monday night, I filled up my water bottle with a special orange juice (probably impacted the review) and saw Jurassic World. And honestly, its not as bad as everyone is saying.  

I do not understand what critics are expecting going into this film. Citizen Kane with dinosaurs (no stealing this idea)? Jurassic World Dominion is exactly what I expected for a modern blockbuster about dinosaurs living in our world. An overly convoluted plot, good action, dumb one liners, average acting and some pretty rough jokes. It is not a good movie, but that doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable. There are some parts I really did enjoy and a lot I didn’t. Let me explain.

Action versus Plot

The action and set pieces in this movie is underrated. There are some sequences in this film that are really good. They were creative, thrilling and used the dinosaurs in an interesting way.  The motorbike chase with the raptors was exactly what I wanted from this movie. Even that whole criminal underbelly was so visually interesting. It felt like every corner was filled with something new to look at and reminded me of the Moss Cantina in Star Wars. Also, the sequence where Bryce Dallas Howard is escaping from the big dinosaurs is great (they should’ve held on this moment for longer.)

The problem is that it is surrounded by one of the most bland and overcomplicated plots I have seen in a while. I would start zoning out whenever these exposition dumps came up because they just don’t need to be there. A MOVIE ABOUT DINOSAURS DOES NOT NEED A COMPLICATED PLOT!! Hollywood has this obsession with having to justify everything for audiences. People come to these movies for action and dinosaurs. The plot should be super super simple and entirely focus on these two elements (John Wick is a good example).

Inconsistent Actors

Chris Pratt in this film is very disappointing. Maybe it’s the writing or his political beliefs or god knows what but he just isn’t the Pratt we used to see. He has no jokes, charisma or charm that audiences loved from him in Guardians of the Galaxy, Parks and Rec or even the first Jurassic World.  I know he is capable of it so it just doesn’t make sense why his performance and character is so bland and one dimensional.

On the other hand, Jeff Goldblum is fucking incredible. Every line he delivers in this is just funny. Its like no matter what he says it made the audience laugh. He has this delivery that feels so natural and I think its because he improvises most of his lines to suit himself. What’s weird is that he is only utilised in the last act of this film. The whole movie should’ve been written around him! Goldblum should’ve been like Nick Fury – recruiting everyone to try and save the dinosaurs.

Everyone else is solid. Bryce Dallas Howard and Laura Dern are amazing at acting scared and always interesting to watch. The villain of this film is bit of a disappointment. Campbell Scott’s performance is unique and I get that he was going for this bumbling CEO out of his depth but he should have some shade of evil to him. I really liked Dewanda Wise. She felt like an 80s action star just taking over the film with this appealing self-assuredness.

 VFX / Puppets

JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION

The VFX in this movie are incredible. I never once questioned if the dinosaurs were real until the film was over. I think audiences just expect that these days and don’t appreciate how hard that truly is to do. Every dinosaur, every backdrop, every single thing was consistently amazing. Most modern blockbusters have some very dodgy CGI at times (Marvel movies especially) but Jurassic World’s budget was used excellently.

I loved the use of puppets in this movie. While it was clear they were puppets, it is still so entertaining to watch. Seeing how they make them look realistic is mind blowing and more movies should be using as much puppetry as possible. Even if it does look obvious on a digital camera.

Should you see Jurassic World Dominion?

Honestly, unless you love this franchise you could wait until it comes onto streaming. I do think it is worth seeing for the action and Jeff Goldblum alone but there are huge chunks that could put you to sleep. Maybe just bring some special juice and you will be fine.

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Film Reviews Uncategorized

Is Top Gun Maverick overrated?

I watched the first Top Gun movie around 4 months ago. Let’s just say I was disappointed. That first movie has not aged well in the slightest. That 80s nostalgia just doesn’t work for someone who was born in the 21st Century. So going into the sequel, I truly did not give a fuck. My bet was that it would be a blockbuster flop that no one saw. I could not have been more wrong. This film has smashed it both critically and commercially. But is it actually worth the hype? Absolutely, let me explain.

The flying

The flying scenes in Top Gun Maverick is some of the most tense and engaging action I have ever seen. People in my audience were literally on the edge of their seat, grabbing the arm rests for support. One woman was so invested she would jump up and scream every time they almost died. I think there is a very specific reason for this – how real it all feels. Every actor is up there in one of those jets. While they are acting, the performance instantly feels more genuine as there is an element of danger. A good example is Mr Cruise and his stunts. Because you know there real and not CGI you are engaged in the shot.

Joseph Kosinski also does an incredible job at making sure the audience knows what’s happening. What I mean by this is we are instantly shown the mission, the time, and the threats. This is so effective because the audience are placed in the same cock pit as the characters. Kosinski makes you feel the danger of this mission by building it up throughout the whole film. We are constantly shown how impossible it is and then he just keeps adding more problems. From the beginning of the film, that final mission always like this harrowing and daunting task that we as the audience are a part of.

The Acting

You can’t talk about Top Gun without talking about the Top Gun, Mr Thomas Cruise line. Tom Cruise has not acted in a film since 2018 (Mission Impossible). He basically only acts in movies he has complete control over and honestly no complaints here. I think Mr Cruise knows exactly what works for him in this stage of his career. There are specific roles he truly cares about and everything else can fuck off and all. In Maverick, he absolutely smashes it. He has this amazing charismatic cockiness that could be acting or just him being himself. Tomothy just has this ability to make things feel so intense and extreme. He builds up the stakes so much just through a simple stare.

Everyone in this movie is really good. Miles Teller and Glenn Powell especially. Teller doesn’t really speak much but shines in the dramatic moments. Once again, that subtle arrogance of his performance is very appealing. Even the way he walks into a room and looks at his peers. Powell on the other hand, takes the arrogance much further. I know you were meant to hate him but honestly, I never really did. He was this perfect balance between the antagonist but also someone you might just actually know. Essentially his performance never felt too over the top as a villain.

What’s wrong with Top Gun?

Before you start attacking me, there isn’t much wrong with Top Gun Maverick. There is just two little things that bugged me. Firstly, the whole Jennifer Connelly plot. It wasn’t bad it was just kind of forced. I know he needs a love interest but to me Maverick makes more sense as a loner who is completely focused on the NAVY and nothing else. But obviously Hollywood will never do that. Secondly, the ADR feels a little off. This isn’t anyone’s fault cause obviously the actors can’t actually talk up in the jets. But it never feels like they are really speaking to each other up there. Especially in dramatic scenes, they have some line deliveries that are a little rough around the edges.

A perfect reinvention

As every film nerd across the globe is saying right now, Top Gun Maverick is a perfect sequel. Joseph Kosinski, the film’s director, doesn’t just repeat the first one and change it a little bit. Instead, he is clearly inspired by the original but still has his own creative vision. He takes elements from Tony Scott but adds his own eye – especially to the flying scenes. The music, football scene, characters all reflect the original but aren’t just carbon copies.

I will stop bagging on the first one after this trust me. I may be triggering a lot of alpha males above 40 out there but honestly Top Gun 1986 is just not that good. If you look back on it considering the time period, sure its solid. But looking back from 2022, it is tonally weird, sweaty, full of overbearing masculinity, written poorly and kind of boring. Despite this, Joseph Kosinski has managed to find that core that people do love. The tense action, the banter, the characters. He brings all these parts together and adds so much more for ultimately, a much better film.

Ultimately, I just have so much respect for this film. In the age where everything has to be superheroes with a ridiculous amount of CGI, it is so refreshing to see something real and practical. I truly believe that this film will affect action movies for the next 5 years. Hollywood will now start returning to a more practical approach. Top Gun Maverick may be one of the best action movies ever made and it comes down to a directors vision, an incredible crew and amazing practical work.

SHOULD YOU GO TO THE CINEMAS TO SEE THIS?

DEFINITELY. This movie is built for the cinemas, its sound design and scale are perfect for the big screen.

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Film Reviews

The Lost City: Review (Minor Spoilers)

The Lost City is finally here. Now just to clarify, I will not be reviewing the Lost City of Z or Dorah and the Lost City of Gold. These “masterpieces” will stay quiet for now. Instead, I will be diving into the newest blockbuster comedy – The Lost City.

Before I started writing this, I was sitting there thinking what the fuck do I talk about. That’s for one simple reason – this movie is very “straight down the line.” What I mean by that is that it is an extremely formulaic and simple Hollywood movie. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad but its just that and nothing more. There is so much wasted potential – let me explain.

The Writing

If you haven’t watched the trailer yet I would seriously recommend you skip it. This movie is everything you see in the trailer and nothing more. Call it Sony because they hide absolutely nothing. But even if you haven’t watched it, you could guess exactly what is going to happen. There is no twists, no reveals, no interesting character arcs. This plot is very simple, and it almost worked – except for one key problem.

The movie is not funny. Overall, it has some solid laughs (all of which are shown in the trailer) but apart from that it is pretty flat. I have a theory that this film is filled with a lot of         improv. Maybe I am completely off the mark, but it always feels like the camera is just placed on Channing Tatum and Sandra Bullock and they are told to just be funny. Now Channing Tatum is a very good comic actor, but Sandra Bullock is not, and I think that’s why it doesn’t work. He is trying to carry this movie, but he has no one to bounce off like in 21 Jump Street. His lines are good, he just has no one to keep it moving like Jonah Hill.

The biggest writing fuck up in this film is the location. For what feels like half the film, it is just Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum in a jungle. I do not understand why they weren’t exploring caves, going underground, or solving puzzles. Now I realised that this was because Sandra is keeping it all a secret from Mr Tatum. But this also made no sense. They should have made her tell him straight away and then have the two exploring ancient puzzles and booby traps like in Indiana Jones, The Mummy or even Moon Knight. Imagine how much more entertaining and funnier this could have been. It would have led to so many more and better-quality jokes.

The Acting

As I previously said, Channing Tatum carries this film. He brings such a charismatic energy to this movie that would have been dead in the water if it wasn’t for him. Not only for his comedic performance but also the dramatic elements. He really sells these heartfelt moments and adds layers to a pretty standard comedic character.

Sandra Bullock is shooting about 30%. She doesn’t seem to care or want to go for it in any way. Maybe its just her plastic surgery but she genuinely doesn’t do much with the comedic moments or even the dramatic ones. I truly believe she was given the role because they knew it would draw in 50-year-old woman.

Daniel Radcliffe is solid. I do like how he progressively gets more and more insane until he is just a ball of anger and fury. He often over acts but it seems to work for the most part. Realistically, he is just playing the same character as Now You See me.

Brad Pitt however is incredible. He has some great action scenes that were almost definitely all stunt double. Nevertheless, he really steals the spotlight for the short amount of time he is on the screen. He is funny without trying and as usual, very charismatic. As you would expect, he is introduced to the film by eating. Very nice.

Honestly, there is not much else I have left to say about the Lost City. It is ultimately a good film that could have been great with funnier actors and better writing. Instead, it is a simple and straight down the line blockbuster comedy that focuses on star power instead of comic writing.

Should you see it?
Yes definitely. This movie is perfect to go the movies and watch something easy that doesn’t require to much (or any) brain power).