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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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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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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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Why Netflix’s newest film Spiderhead doesn’t work? (Minor Spoilers)

After Top Gun’s huge opening around the world, director Joseph Kosinski returns with Spiderhead. The sci fi / thriller stars Chris Hemsworth and Miles Teller and was released by Netflix yesterday. Alongside all of the film nerds out there, I was very excited for this, for one key reason – Joseph Kosinski and Miles Teller teaming up again. Unfortunately, Spiderhead is not even on the same playing field as Top Gun. Let me explain.

Pick a Genre

Spiderhead has a couple core problems that I believe if they were fixed, would make this movie very very good. The first one being the weird tone that is trying to be balanced. Writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick are amazing comedic writers (Deadpool, Zombieland). In this film, they seem intent on inserting jokes as much as possible. Moments of high drama and tension are ruined by weird lines that don’t fit and poor music choices. I truly believe that if Spiderhead kept a simple dramatic / thriller tone it would completely change this film. Lately, every Hollywood movie has this need to be “funny” and “witty” where it doesn’t even work. Creating genre pieces is good and should be done more.  

Chris Hemsworth is good in this. He is solid but not amazing and it is absolutely not his fault. He is playing a standard charismatic / manipulative antagonist. The problem is that I was never afraid of his character. He never felt like a villain and there is so much room for him to be a terrifying two-faced force of evil. Instead, they give us Chris Hemsworth just playing Thor for 2 hours. YAY…. Once again, the writers seem intent on making him funny and charming. Just imagine if in the first 30 minutes he was all fun and games and then slowly we see cracks of this evil and crazy man.

Predictability

As with Top Gun Maverick, Spiderhead is extremely predictable. With Top Gun it doesn’t matter because the action carries it but with Spiderhead, it has nothing keeping me glued to the screen.  There is some twists in this film and while I didn’t necessarily guess all of them, I didn’t care. They happen but don’t really affect the outcome of the movie. More weirder and creepier shit needs to be going on in this film. There is nothing in Spiderhead that is keeping me guessing or intrigued.

Even the shooting and colour grading of this film is generic. It has this boring look where I feel there is so much creative space to explore. The whole complex was even mundane. Kosinski constantly just cuts to these overhead shots of the facility with some pop music on top that gets very tiring very quickly. Maybe it was the studio, but I don’t understand why a simple script like this one does not have a bold and engaging style to it. Missed opportunity.

FRAZIER’S PITCH (Spoilers)

Now its time for a new segment called Frazier’s pitch. I will explain how I wish this film was done. I don’t want to sound like arsehole because I know nothing about filmmaking. This is just what I wish I saw.

First things first, Spiderhead should’ve been a strict sci fi / thriller. As a result, we could have focused more on the program and characters and less on shitty jokes. The whole Spiderhead program should have also had more suspicious activity going on so that the audience is always guessing. Essentially, more creepier clues that Jeff and Rachel slowly uncover. For example, belongings from previous patients, body parts etc etc. The reveals about Jeff and Rachel’s past should have been done earlier on as well because it had this big build up and was very underwhelming. In addition, the whole B6 drug and program needs more of a backstory. But what is most important is the tone and style. If Spiderhead had a unique look and feel to it I guarantee you critics would be raving about it. Instead of feeling like Michael Bay’s the Island, it could have been like Ex Machina. Yes exactly, a big difference.

Should you watch Spiderhead?

I very rarely say this because I enjoy most movies, but you can probably miss this one. It is so bland and formulaic that I don’t think a modern audience will leave being grateful they watched it.

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Something Completely New: The Wolf of Snow Hollow Review

The Wolf of Snow Hollow came out in 2020 (I know I’m late, don’t @ me). It is a comedy / horror / drama directed and written by up-and-coming filmmaker Jim Cummings. The film is about murders in a small town that may or may not be by a werewolf. It is not what I expected in the slightest. I have seen his debut, Thunder Road, and loved it. Thunder Road took over the indie film scene and launched Cummings into the spotlight. As a result, I thought his style and stories would be affected but they are most certainly not, let me explain:

Style, style, style

Cummings has such a unique (you guessed it) style. Going into this film, I had a pretty clear idea the tone and plot it would go for. I was so wrong. The Wolf of Snow Hollow barely dives into the Wolf. It jumps between genres, styles and pacing with no care for what your film schoolteacher told you. It has this chaotic energy that once you settle into is kind of addicting. At one point I verbally said to my self “what the fuck is happening?” But while I said this, I had the fattest smile on my face you have ever seen.

The Wolf of Snow Hollow reminds me a lot of An American Werewolf in London. Oddly enough, not for the Wolf. Instead, it is for the world building. Both movies have these very interesting and unique settings. The characters and environment is so engaging because its not afraid to simply feel like a movie. Essentially, both films don’t strive for realism. They understand the absurdity of the concepts and heavily lean into them. As a result, the audience is more inclined to accept how batshit crazy these worlds are.

Indie Acting

I think a big problem with indie filmmaking is finding talented actors. Not necessarily because of the budget but simply the resources to find people who suit the part. No one in this film is terrible (I genuinely mean that). It’s just that some of the actors don’t really suit the parts. In particular, Robert Foster and Jimmy Tatro. These two are very very good actors. BUT they are kind of built for a specific part. Jimmy for the jock / idiot guy and Robert for a moody / grumpy old man. Now these characters are similar to that but just slightly off. I hate typecasting but it just felt like a weird decision by Cummings. Maybe he wanted to subvert expectations.

Scary or Funny?

The Wolf of Snow Hollow jumps constantly between horror, comedy, and drama. However, it doesn’t really dive into any of these for too long. Essentially, Cummings clearly doesn’t want this to just be one genre of filmmaking. I think this is something that applies to all of his work, and we will see a lot more of as he grows in Hollywood. While this style of writing is not necessarily for me, it is appealing to watch as you are constantly kept on your toes and there is never a dull moment.

The Ending (Spoilers)

Spoilers!! The ending of this film was interesting. It did get me, and I didn’t expect it, but didn’t really feel satisfying. I think this is because there wasn’t enough clues for it or honestly focus on the plot. If this was a dark crime thriller where there’s two detectives searching for a killer who could be a werewolf, this ending would bang. But since this film doesn’t focus much on the crime aspect, it just feels a little underwhelming.

Ultimately, every little complaint I had is simply a consequence of someone with a very specific creative vision. I have so much respect for Jim Cummings because he doesn’t give a fuck what modern audiences, critics, or the box office think. He simply sticks to his path and ignores the rest. Thereby, there is going to be things I don’t enjoy or a lot of audiences like. But I would rather see a real vision that is refreshing than another Hollywood remake.

Should you watch it??

Yes definitely. Just go in expecting something very different and you wont be disappointed.

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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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Go see this film before its too late!

Everything everywhere all at once. Wow. What a fucking movie. I went in with very high expectations for this film and I was still blown away. Not even about the absurd concepts but simply the writing and the characters. It is one of those movies that could genuinely change your perspective on life, and definitely did for me.

I am going to keep this extremely short for two reasons. Firstly, I don’t want to spoil anything (don’t even watch the trailers for this) and secondly, I only have one major point. Go see this film in a cinema near you. I know its still playing at certain cinemas and trust me, it is worth it. It is one of those films that are built for the cinematic experience. Not only for the spectacle of seeing these amazing visuals on screen but also for the audience experience, let me explain…

For me, seeing a film in cinema is amazing for one specific reason – the audience’s reaction. Seeing people laugh, shit themselves or cry is one of the best bits of going to the movies. It is why I want to be a filmmaker and why I love cinema so much. Everything everywhere all at once is built for this. It has everything I just said and more. Everyone in my cinema was audibly shocked at some of the moments in this film and that is truly incredible. They went from laughing to crying to simply stunned with the absurd concepts the writers created. Trust me, go see it in the biggest cinema you can.

I have one more point to make as to why film goers should go see this movie and as usual, it comes back to Marvel. This point has been made a lot and honestly better then me by some people but I will still give it a crack (check out Karsten Runquist video here). Dr Strange 2 recently came out and it filled up cinemas everywhere. For some cinemas, that is all they played. Everything everywhere all at once is a very similar movie. They both dive into the multiverse and also the relationship between a mother and their children. EEAAO is by far a better film. Apologies to Sam Raimi, but it is not even in the same league. It has better characters, goes way weirder with the concepts, has better writing, action, dialogue, everything except the horror is better. And yet EEAAO was barely played in cinemas and Dr Strange took them over. I am not nieve. I know its Marvel verses an indie film – I get that but if people who love cinema are reading this, I really believe they should go support it. Otherwise, all we are going to see on the big screen is Disney, reboots and remakes. Seeing this film in a cinema is supporting original stories and new ideas. Trust me, go see this film.

Amazing Video on what I was talking about

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Why Dr Strange is Important for Marvel – Review (Minor Spoilers)

Dr Strange and the Multiverse of Madness is finally here. Going into this film, I had a lot of expectations and ideas about what would happen and how it would feel. I could not have been more wrong. It is undoubtedly the weirdest Marvel movie I have ever seen, and that’s exactly why it is so important. Let me explain:

Sam Raimi

Dr Strange is a Sam Raimi film (director of Evil Dead, Spidermans). It is not an MCU or Kevin Fiege production, it is a Raimi film at its heart. That all comes down to the film’s horror. There is some incredible sequences in this film that are actually scary (a very big challenge for a PG-13 movie). How he uses the sound design is mmmmwah, a chef’s kiss. It will go so quiet in the cinema you can hear people shuffling uncomfortably, building up for that perfect jump scare. He even manages to sneak in demons and ghouls that feel eerily similar to the Evil Dead.

This is the weirdest Sam Raimi film. There are sequences in this film that I cannot believe Kevin Fiege allowed to happen. In my head this is what happened:

Sam:

I want to have them fighting a giant intergalactic octopus to start the film.

Kevin:

No fuckhead, this is the MCU not Evil Dead.

Sam:

Mmmm fine…

10 Months Later…

Sam:

I want reshoots or I will do an Edgar and dip.

Kevin:

Fuck it, do whatever you want

I have so much respect for the MCU and Mr Fiege for letting Sam’s vision come to life. This film completely contrasts all other MCU projects. The concepts and fight sequences in Dr Strange are unlike any movie I have ever seen. Even the colour grading is bright and colourful compared to the grey bullshit of other Marvel Movies. I pray that this what his vision from the beginning and was not fucked over by producers.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange in Marvel Studios’ DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

The Acting

Elizabeth Olsen steals the show. While I admit, she is given the most to work with, every scene she is in Wanda takes over. She may also be Marvel’s best villain. In all of the MCU, Wanda is the first one to finally be scary. The way Elizabeth moves her eyes and changes her voice and breathing shows her anger so clearly. How Sam makes her enter rooms shows Wanda not as a person but almost this possessed demon. Through this, her character reminds me so much of Regan in the exorcist and Carrie – two iconic villains. One slight problem with her performance (that has bugged me for years) is the accent. As with all her other films, it kind of dips in and out. But maybe that’s on purpose because she is switching between personalities.

Benedict Cumberbatch is solid. Whenever he goes evil it shows how good of an actor he truly is. Apart from that, I don’t think the script gives him much to work with. Even in dramatic scenes, his performance feels cut down and rushed. Benedict Wong is amazing as ever. He has so much charisma on screen. Wong is just funny in such a natural way that never feels forced unlike some other actors.

Xochtil Gomez performance is interesting. For the majority of this film, she is simply screaming and running around scared. When she isn’t, she is able to shine in dramatic moments. But there is very little of this. The script does her no favours. For some reason, everyone in the MCU has to be funny. This actress is not funny at all and yet they are trying to make her witty like Spiderman. I do think she is a good actress, just not good for this role.        

The Writing

This brings me onto my next point. The writing of this film is its biggest let down. Firstly, the plot is simple yet feels so unnecessarily convoluted. There are so many new rules and elements introduced that are clearly created just so the writers could get from point A to B. Also, the one liners in this film are fucking horrible. Now here is where I believe Sam Raimi may have had some influence. He clearly loves corny comic book tropes. Thereby, I think he told them to say this on the day and then in the edit snuck them in.  They are just so cringey and forced, even the audience was laughing at them.

Dr Strange 2 is an exposition dump fest. Every line in this film feels like it’s just telling the audience exactly what is happening. The writers do not respect the audience in anyway whatsoever. There is one scene where someone is very clearly being killed and the writers have them say ‘You’re killing me.” So many lines in this film are just unnecessary. Let the audience figure it out themselves and not treat them like idiots.

Two things the writers did well in this film is the pacing and the lack of cameos. This film has a breakneck speed. It is constantly moving and never slows down. While some may hate this, I think it serves the idea of madness and chaotic energy better. Also, the film does not go over the top with cameos. It has a few surprising ones, but they don’t take away from the main characters.

So why is Dr Strange 2 so important? Well, I think this is what Marvel has to become to survive. Less bland shit like Eternals, Shang Chi and Black Widow, and more weirder films where directors have complete control over their vision. And Kevin Fiege knows this. The next few Marvel films look like the director has complete power. Moon Knight and Dr Strange is the direction Marvel needs to move. Audiences will definitely get sick of the same old origin stories and a big laser battle at the end.

Should you see it in cinemas?

Yes absolutely.

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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).

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Uncategorized

The Adam Project Review – Minor Spoilers

As with most people, I recently watched the Adam Project over the weekend. Directed by Shawn Levy, the film stars Ryan Reynolds, Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Garner. It is a time travelling adventure where Ryan’s character, Adam Reed, crashes in 2022. He then has to fix the future by fixing the past. Anyway, enough with the recap shit, lets dive into the film.

For some reason as I was watching this film, I thought it would be perfect to do a SWOT analysis of. So if you ever did a business subject, this is for you.

Strengths

This film is fucking entertaining. I can safely say I was never bored watching this and was on board from the get-go. I think this is down to a few key factors. Firstly, the pacing. The Adam Project is paced extremely well. The 30 writers and Shawn Levy keep you locked in the entire time. As a great man once said, it feels like a theme park ride. And I think this is a good thing. Similar to Levy’s other work, it is designed for children. It supposed to be breakneck speed with little breathing room. As a result, it doesn’t give you time to reflect on some of plot holes.

The film also has Ryan Reynolds. He truly has to be one of the biggest draw cards in the box office right now. If you simply slap his face on any project people are going to watch it (Red Notice, I am looking at you). But in this he feels a little different. As expected, Ryan is playing the same character as usual however he takes the emotional scenes much further. Maybe it’s because I have only seen his big performances, but he is really going for it in those deeper moments. It adds a level of realism that I never really see in his characters in films like Free Guy, Deadpool and most of his other work. Also, his whole character is very appealing. I love how he has become the complete opposite to his younger self and even his father. Every little detail shows how much he wanted to be different from his Dad.

Building on from this, the movie has some solid dramatic moments. Any scenes between young Adam and his parents are pretty brutal and also Ryan and his wife. But the key theme that really hit me was the regret Adam has towards his parents. Maybe its just a personal thing, but this is such a depressing and realistic portrayal of grief. Adam has all this unexpressed love for his father – who passed – and also his mother. Its so simple yet grounds the story perfectly.

The Adam Project also looks like a real movie. By that I mean it doesn’t look like your standard shitty Netflix Film. I even like its over stylised and bright coloured look. Also, the rest of the cast smashes it. Especially Mark Ruffalo. He is just so charismatic in what ever he does.

Weaknesses

Holy fucking shit, whose idea was it allow that deep fake garbage in the film. It is so distracting and shitty looking that it completely removed me from the scene. Even worse, it took me away from what could’ve been a great villain. Catherine Keener is such an excellent actress, and she is completely wasted in this film. We see her for about three scenes and when we do, she is overshadowed by a Madam Tussauds Wax Figure of her. JUST USE MAKEUP!

I also thought the writing of Mark Ruffalo’s character was a bit whack. Maybe I am just dumb, but I was very confused if he was supposed to be a shit dad or a good one. They made him out to seem like he neglected Adam but to me he seemed like just a normal Dad who is working hard.

There is one line in this film that triggered me to my core. I mean that literally. As young Adam lands in the final acts, he says the words ‘Superhero Landing.” Now obviously, this is a direct call to Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool. They did it in Free Guy as well with the captain America shield and lightsabres. I HATE THIS SHIT. Its so forced and has no relevance in this world. Like why would a young Adam say “superhero landing” in this film? Producers do this shit because they think its what nerds like. Instead, it is completely forced and just made me realise that this is still at Hollywood blockbuster at its heart.

Opportunities

For this segment, I want to talk about Shawn Levy and the announcement he is directing Deadpool 3. Now I think a lot of his work is solid. Free guy is very average, but I have always liked films like Reel Steel and the Night at the Museums, even if they don’t appeal to critics. After looking at his IMDB, I realised that through the majority of his work, Levy loves looking at everything through a child’s eyes. Similar to Spielberg, he always has core themes about parents and their kids. Which for the most part seems to work for him (it definitely did in the Adam Project.) However, I don’t know if this will apply to Deadpool 3. Maybe they will bring back Julian Dennison as Rusty or look at Deadpool’s childhood? Honestly, I would just love for him to bring his take to it. Not try and be like the first two films but instead follow his own path.

Threats

Honestly the biggest threat is maybe to Ryan Reynolds. He is now literally playing himself no matter what role he is in. It gets very distracting. Personally, whenever I watch a movie of his I do not view his character as a real person. Instead, it is simply just Ryan on screen. Obviously, his career is his decision, but I would love to see him diversify more like he used to.

So should you watch it tonight?

Yeah absolutely. I think this movie definitely appeals to the “majority” of film viewers. It is not a challenging watch and very uplifting and funny.