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Average horror movie with a couple of twists! 4/10
Although the director added some twists and turns to this psychological horror, I still struggled to find it interesting. The dragged out scenes became a bit ridiculous after a while, and the mirrored zombies were extremely odd, in a bad way. Lupita Nyong'o played both roles well, alongside her kids Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex), but her husband Gabe (Winston Duke), was completely useless. The scenes that are supposed to be horrific, weren't that frightening, but there is a sense of intensity, even though it's slightly predictable. The whole "2 worlds" theme was original but it was revealed a bit too late. With a lot of these horror movies set in small towns, it surprises me that other towns don't intervene, once they hear that there is a high death toll, mainly caused by Zombies. Anyway, the movie starts in 1986, was a young Adelaide (Lupita Nyong'o) goes on vacation with her parents to Santa Cruz. At the beach, she wanders off and enters a funhouse, where she encounters a "doppelgänger" of herself in the hall of mirrors. In the present day, the adult Adelaide is haunted by memories of the encounter. She goes with her family to their house in Santa Cruz. She is apprehensive about the trip, but Gabe, eager to impress their rich friends Josh (Tim Heidecker) and Kitty Tyler (Elisabeth Moss), brushes off her misgivings. That night, a family of four dressed in red appears in the Wilson's driveway. They break into the house and attack them. The intruders are the Wilson's doppelgängers, led by Adelaide's double, Red. As she is the only one who can talk, Red explains that the doppelgängers are called the Tethered, who share a soul with their counterparts, and that they have come to "untether" themselves. She tells them the story of a girl who is loved and happy while her "shadow" remains in the dark, suffering. The family is separated by their doppelgängers, and Red makes Adelaide handcuff herself to a table. Zora is pursued by her double, Umbrae, and Gabe is pursued by Abraham, while Jason is sent to play with Pluto. Zora evades Umbrae and Gabe kills Abraham, while Jason discovers that Pluto mirrors his actions and locks him in the closet. Red is drawn away by Pluto's cries, allowing Adelaide to break free. The family regroups and escapes on their boat. Meanwhile, the Tyler family is murdered by their Tethered. The Wilsons arrive and are forced to kill the Tylers doubles. They turn on the news to see that the Tethered have been murdering their counterparts across the nation. When Zora drives the family away in the Tylers car, Umbrae attacks, but Umbrae is killed when thrown off the car. At the Santa Cruz boardwalk, the Wilsons find the road blocked by their own car, which has been set on fire. Pluto has set a trap for the Wilsons, standing over a gasoline trail with a match. Jason, remembering that Pluto imitates him, makes Pluto walk into the fire. Red abducts Jason. While Gabe recuperates from his wounds with Zora, Adelaide returns to the funhouse and finds a secret tunnel in the hall of mirrors. It leads to an underground facility overrun by rabbits, where she finds Red. Red explains that the Tethered are clones, created by the government to control their counterparts on the surface. When the experiment failed, the Tethered were abandoned underground for generations, mindlessly copying the actions of their counterparts until Red organised them to escape and take revenge. Red and Adelaide fight, with Red countering all of Adelaide's attacks. Will Adelaide kill Red and save her family, you have to watch the film to find out! Whenever you watch a horror movie, and the family is happy and jolly at the beginning, you just know that something bad is going to happen! In this case, it started mysteriously and then it jumps to the present day, so that made it different from most of the films in this genre. Once the doppelgängers kick in, it follows the horror guide book, until the end when the twist kicks in. As I'm not a fan of horror movies, I'm not the best person to comment on how good a film is in this genre. From a personal point of view, I found this film to be pretty average, in terms of entertainment, and the shock value was quite low. It's still worth a one-watch but it will be quickly forgotten. Average!
Round-Up: This movie was written and directed by Jordan Peele, who also brought you Get Out in 2017. As an actor, he's starred in Little Fockers in 2010, Wanderlust and Keanu, which he also produced. He is mostly known for his comedic TV work, alongside Keegan-Michael Key, but after the popularity of Get Out, he has gained respect for his work behind the camera. With an Oscar for the best screenplay for Get Out, and a producer credit for the new Candyman, which is due to be released later this year, he must be pleased with the direction his career has taken so far, especially with the profits that his films have made.
Budget: $20million Worldwide Gross: $255million
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller Cast: Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Anna Diop, Cali Sheldon and Noelle Sheldon. 4/10
Disappointing and totally predictable! 3/10
This is yet another one of those typical, predictable horror movies, were you can tell who is going to be murdered right from the beginning. After waiting ages for something to happen, I really wasn't surprised by the outcome, but there is a sense of intensity which makes it slightly interesting. Some of the murders are gruesome, but the sketchy storyline was poorly written. With Hollywood running out of ideas for movies lately, it's not surprised that they resurrected Mike Myers, who was pretty scary back in the day, but the bulletproof villain seemed a bit dated now. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Officer Hawkins (Will Patton) are the only characters who seem to be taking the whole reappearance of Mike Myers seriously, so you end up shouting at the screen when the rest of the cast is falling into his hands. Anyway, on the 29th of October, 2018, Michael Myers, who has been institutionalised for 40 years following his killing spree in Haddonfield, Illinois, is being prepared for a transfer to a new facility. True crime podcasters Aaron Korey (Jefferson Hall) and Dana Haines (Rhian Rees) interview Dr. Ranbir Sartain (Haluk Bilginer), Michael's psychiatrist and Dr. Samuel Loomis former student, before meeting with Michael to gain some insight into his mind. During their encounter, Aaron brandishes the mask that Michael wore in 1978 at him, to no effect. The following day, as he is being transferred, Michael crashes the bus, kills a father and son for their car, and returns to Haddonfield. In Haddonfield, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), has lived in fear of Michael for 40 years, drinking heavily and rarely leaving her heavily fortified house, and alienating herself from her daughter Karen (Judy Greer), whom the state took away from her at age 12. The only person in the family she is on good terms with is her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak), Karen's daughter, who urges her to get on with her life. The following day, on Halloween, Michael spots Aaron and Dana visiting his sister Judith's grave in the local cemetery, and follows them to a gas station, where he kills them, as well as a mechanic for his overalls, and recovers his mask. Deputy Frank Hawkins ((Will Patton), who arrested Michael in 1978, tries to convince Sheriff Barker (Omar J. Dorsey) about the danger Michael poses after learning that he has escaped transfer. Laurie learns of Michael's escape after overhearing a news broadcast and attempts to warn Karen and her husband Ray (Toby Huss), but they dismiss her concerns. Later that night, Michael steals a kitchen knife and kills two women. Meanwhile, Allyson finds her boyfriend Cameron Elam (Dylan Arnold) cheating on her at a school-sponsored Halloween party and leaves with his best friend, Oscar (Drew Scheid). Allyson's best friend Vicky babysits Julian when her boyfriend Dave arrived. Michael, who had hidden in the closet, attacks them. Vicky sacrifices herself to save Julian, and Michael kills Dave. Hawkins and Laurie hear the incident over the radio and go over to the house, where Hawkins finds the bodies of Vicky and Dave. Hawkins and Laurie find Michael, and he and Laurie come face-to-face for the first time in 40 years. Laurie shoots Michael in the shoulder before he flees and Sartain persuades Sheriff Barker to allow him to help in the hunt for Michael. Laurie persuades Karen and Ray to seek protection at her house. Michael finds Allyson and Oscar, killing the latter. Hawkins and Sartain arrive just in time to rescue Allyson. Hawkins tries to kill Michael, but Sartain, whose obsessed with Michael's enigmatic motivations, kills Hawkins and reveals that he arranged for Michael's escape in order to study him "in the wild". Nevertheless, Michael kills him. Allyson flees, while Michael kills two deputies for their car. Michael arrives at Laurie's house, where he kills Ray. Will Laurie escape alive, while keeping her daughter and granddaughter safe? Will Mike Myers finally get what he deserves...... a slow and painful death! You have to watch it to find out, if you already haven't! With such a low budget, it's not surprising that this movie made a profit at the box office, but that's not to say that it's worth a watch. The director followed the "Horror" playbook, scene by scene, so there's isn't any twists and turns to make it unique. On the plus side, it's not that long and it was good to see Jamie Lee Curtis back in the lead, but it's not worth a second watch, once you know the outcome. Disappointing!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by David Gordon Green, who also brought you George Washington in 2000, All The Real Girls, Undertow, Snow Angels, Pineapple Express, Your Highness, The Sitter, Prince Avalanche, Joe, Manglehorn, Our Brand Is Crisis, and Stronger starring Jake Gyllenhaal. He's certainly had a versatile career to date, and he has worked when some established actors, but he played it a bit safe with this film. The whole "teenagers at school" theme has been done to death, so that became tedious after a while, and the way that Mike Myers was just roaming the streets murdering people, was completely ridiculous. Anyway, I wasn't a big fan of the resurrection of an old-time classic, and I hope they have decided to put it to bed.
Budget: $10million Worldwide Gross: $255.5million
Genre: Horror, Thriller Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, James Jude Courtney, Nick Castle, Haluk Bliginer, Will Patton, Rhian Rees, Jefferson Hall, Toby Huss, Virginia Gardner and Dylan Arnold. 3/10
It Chapter Two (2019)
Preferred the first movie! 4/10
Well, that's 3 hours of my life that I won't be getting back! I was really disappointed with this film because the plot is all over the place, and the whole back and forth in time thing, made the movie drag. The horrific Pennywise scenes were a bit random, and I didn't feel the chemistry between the characters like I did in the first film. On the plus side, there are some "jump out of your seat" moments, which were pretty scary, but you don't get to appreciate the attention to detail because it's mostly shot with a dark palette. I did enjoy the first movie, which is why I was so disappointed with this sequel, and I personally don't know why it's nearly 3 hours long. Anyway, in 2016 Derry, Maine, Don Hagarty witnesses his boyfriend Adrian Mellon being murdered by Pennywise after a gang of homophobic teenagers beat them up and throw Adrian off a bridge while leaving the annual Derry carnival. Overhearing a police scanner, Mike Hanlon (Isiah Mustafa) discovers It has returned and calls his childhood friends, Bill (James McAvoy), Eddie (James Ransone), Richie (Bill Hader), Ben (Jay Ryan), Stanley (Andy Bean), and Beverly (Jessica Chastain), back to Derry to honour the promise they made in 1989, to kill It if it came back. While the others travel to Derry with only hazy memories and a sense of dread, Stan slashes his wrists in the bathtub soon after getting the call. The Losers meet for dinner at a Chinese restaurant, where Mike refreshes their memories, while they are tormented by hallucinations and learn of Stan's death. Richie and Eddie decide to leave until Beverly reveals that ever since she was exposed to Its Deadlights, she has been experiencing visions of their deaths should they fail to leave town without fulfilling their promise. Mike takes Bill to his library abode and shows him, via a drug-induced vision, that they can stop It for good. After the others agree to perform the ritual, Mike explains that the ritual requires seven personal items from there past to be sacrificed. Henry Bowers, who survived being pushed into the well at the Neibolt house and was arrested for murdering his father in 1989, escapes from a mental institution with help from It. Meanwhile, in the Losers old clubhouse, Mike advises the others to find their artefacts by retracing their steps following their falling out after first entering the Neibolt house. Beverly finds Ben's love letter at her old home, still believing Bill wrote it and encounters It posing as Mrs. Kersh. Ben recalls his childhood encounter with It at high school before realising his artefact is the yearbook page Beverly signed which he kept in his wallet. Both Richie and Eddie recall their own personal encounters with It while retrieving their artefacts, a game token from an abandoned arcade, and an inhaler. Pennywise taunts Richie about his sexuality, leading to him deciding to leave again and reconsidering again after recalling Stan's bar mitzvah, before menacing Eddie in the guise of the Leper, but flees when Eddie standing up to It causes the being to shrink in size. Bill finds his childhood bicycle and recovers the paper boat from the storm drain where Georgie was killed. The group descends into a cavern beneath the sewers, and they perform the ritual in the remains of the meteor that brought It to Earth ages ago. The ritual appears to work in trapping the Deadlights in the sealing jar, but they escape after It emerges from the jar in a giant spider-like form. Will the Losers finally kill It with there new ammunition? You have to watch the 3-hour epic movie to find out! Although they used established actors in this movie, and they gave each of the characters some depth, I didn't feel the emotion that I did in the first film. Also, the storyline didn't seem to flow properly because it looked like various sketches pieced together. In terms of a horror film, it didn't have the same shock value as the first film, and for a movie in this genre with a 15 rating, I don't know what type of audience this was made for. With that aside, it still made a profit so I wouldn't be surprised to see a third movie in this franchise. Disappointing!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by Andy Muschietti, who also brought you Mama and It. With only 3 major releases, he has done a good job, in terms of box office takings, and now that he's working with established actors, the only way is up for this newcomer. With 9 movies in development, which include Dracul, Time Machine, Attack on Titan, The Howling, Robotech, and DC's, The Flash, which is due to be released in 2022, he's obviously become a bankable director that studios are willing to take a risk with.
Budget: $79million Worldwide Gross: $473million
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Horror Cast: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Isiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, Andy Bean, Bill Skarsgard, Javier Botet and Xavier Dolan. 4/10
Alita: Battle Angel (2019)
Brilliant animation, with a great storyline! 8/10
What a brilliant movie! The attention to detail is truly amazing, and the storyline was unique and interesting throughout. I honestly don't know how some of these movies are hitting the Billion dollar mark, but a movie like this, which knocks down all of the boundaries, doesn't even make half that amount. I know that the advertising campaign wasn't that great, and some of the Alita die-hard fans weren't that impressed, but I personally thought that it was a great movie. As I didn't know anything about the original Manga character, I was seeing this movie from a standalone point of view, and I was glued to the screen from the beginning to the end. You kind of forget that she is an animated character after a while because her facial expressions and movements are so real, against the real-life characters. I know that she was James Cameroon's baby, after buying the rights 15 years ago, so many people are saying that he would have done a better job, but we will never know, as his commitments to Avatar took over. Anyway, I can't wait for the sequel, if there is one, and I'm hoping that Alita comes face to face with the evil Nova, played by Edward Norton. The movie is set in the year 2563, 300 years after Earth is devastated by a catastrophic interplanetary war known as "The Fall" or "The Great War". Scientist Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) discovers a disembodied female cyborg with an alive and intact human brain while savaging for parts in the massive scrapyard of Iron City. Ido attaches a new cyborg body to the brain and names her "Alita" (Rosa Salazar) after his deceased daughter. Alita awakens with no memory of her past, and meets Dr. Chiren (Jennifer Connelly), Ido's estranged ex-wife, and befriends Hugo (Keean Johnson), who dreams of moving to the wealthy sky city of Zalem. Hugo introduces Alita to Motorball, a battle royale sport played by cyborg gladiators. Secretly, Hugo robs cyborgs of their parts for Vector (Mahershala Ali), owner of the Motorball tournament and the ruler of the Factory, Iron City's governing authority. One night, Alita follows Ido, and they are ambushed by a gang of cyborg serial killers led by Grewishka (Jackie Earle Haley). Ido is injured, and Alita instinctively fights using "Punzer Kunst", which is a lost combat art for machine bodies. She kills two of the cyborgs and damages Grewishka, who retreats underground. Ido reveals that he is a Hunter-Warrior, a type of bounty hunter hired by the Factory. Grewishka goes to Dr. Chiren for help, who is working for Vector. Despite Alita believing that fighting will help her rediscover her past, Ido discourages her from becoming a Hunter-Warrior. Alita finds a highly advanced cyborg body in a crashed spaceship outside the city. Recognising that the body belonged to a Berserker, Ido refuses to install Alita in it. Frustrated with Ido, Alita goes off and registers herself as a Hunter-Warrior. At the Kansas Bar, she and Hugo are unable to recruit other Hunter-Warriors to help take down Grewishka. Zapan (Ed Skrein), a cyborg Hunter-Warrior bully, provokes Alita and she severely beats him in a fight, triggering a chaotic bar brawl until Ido arrives to intervene. Suddenly an upgraded Grewishka appears and challenges Alita to a duel, revealing that he has been sent by Zalems technocrat overlord, Nova, to destroy her. Despite her combat skills, Alita's body is sliced up by Grewishka's chain-bladed fingers, but Ido, Hugo and Hunter-Warrior dogmaster McTeague (Jeff Fahey) arrive and force Grewishka to retreat. Ido apologises and transplants Alita into the Berserker body. Having fallen in love with Hugo, Alita enters a Motorball tryout race for the prize money to send Hugo to Zalem, where Vector has bought off the other players and attempts to have her killed. Meanwhile, Hugo's relationship with Alita leads him to decide to quit his criminal job. He confronts his partner Tanji, but Zapan appears, kills Tanji and frames Hugo for the murder of another cyborg. Hugo narrowly escapes and calls Alita for help. She abandons the race and finds him just as Zapan does, but Zapan mortally wounds Hugo. Dr. Chiren, having changed her mind about working for Vector, offers to help save Hugo by attaching his severed head to Alita's life support system. When Zapan sees through the trick and attempts to stop Alita, she seizes his prized Damascus blade and slices most of his face off. Ido transplants Hugo's head onto a cyborg body and tells Alita that Vector's offer to help Hugo reach Zalem was a lie. Ido is certain that citizens of Iron City cannot enter Zalem without becoming a Motorball champion. Alita storms the Factory and confronts Vector, who reveals that Chiren has been harvested for her organs for her betrayal. Vector summons Grewishka, but Alita's new nanotech body allows her to easily destroy him. She forces Nova to speak to her through Vector. When Nova threatens to harm her friends, Alita fatally stabs Vector. Ido tells Alita that Hugo has fled to climb a cargo tube towards Zalem. Alita catches up to him and pleads with him to return with her. He eventually agrees, but a serrated defence ring dropped by Nova shreds his body and throws him off the tube. Alita catches him but cannot pull him up, as his arm is breaking off. Hugo thanks Alita for saving him before falling to his death. Months later, Alita is the rising superstar of the Motorball tournament. Cheered on by the crowd, she pledges vengeance by pointing her plasma-charged sword toward Zalem, where Nova watches from above. Will Alita ever get her revenge? I honestly couldn't tell you because I haven't read the graphic novels, or heard about the plot for a sequel. It did end a bit abruptly, with a lot of unanswered questions, so I hope they release a sequel soon. I was extremely impressed with the action scenes, and Alita's superb skills, and I liked the chemistry between Alita and Ido. It's hard to find a fault with the film, which is why I was surprised that it didn't make more money at the box office. Anyway, it's definitely worth a watch, especially if you have a cranked up system, and I can't wait for the sequel. Brilliant!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by Robert Rodriguez, who also brought you El Mariachi in 1992, Desperado in 1995, Four Rooms, From Dusk Till Dawn, The Faculty, Spy Kids 1, 2 & 3, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Sin City, The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl, Grindhouse, Planet Terror, Shorts, Nespresso: The Piano, Machete, Spy Kids 4, Machete Kills, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For and Red 11. He is due to release Machete Kills In Space, which is in development, but there aren't any plans for another Alita as of yet. I don't know if that's because this movie didn't make a big profit, or if James Cameron's is just ultra-busy, but the story really needs an ending.
Budget: $170million Worldwide Gross: $405million
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller Cast: Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skein, Jackie Earle Haley, Keean Johnson, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Jeff Fahey, Idara Victor and Lana Condor. 8/10
Total Let Down! 3/10
I was so disappointed with this movie, which is a shame because it would have been half decent if Shazam! wasn't a blithering idiot. I didn't understand how Billy Batson, who is the human version of Shazam, acted more like an adult compared to the grown superhero. On top of that, the humour was awful and the storyline went from bad to worse. The evil side of the plot would have worked if the evil Dr. Thaddeus wasn't fighting against a pathetic imbecile, who just would've shut up. I also wasn't that impressed with the CGI, which didn't seem to suit the tone of the film, and none of the cast seemed that shocked with the all of the mysterious happenings that were going on in Philadelphia. Basically, it was a waste of time and money in my eyes, and I couldn't wait for it to end. The film kicks off in 1974 in Upstate New York, was a young Thaddeus Sivana is arguing with his father and older brother, Sid, during a car trip. Thaddeus is transported to the Rock of Eternity, a magical temple hidden in another dimension. He meets the Ancient Wizard, Shazam, last of the Council of Wizards, who has spent centuries searching for a new champion who is "pure of heart" after the previous champion, driven by revenge, released the Seven Deadly Sins upon the world, which killed the other Wizards. He then decides to test Thaddeus by telling him to touch the Eye of Sin. Thaddeus is easily tempted by the Sins entrapped in their statues to free them by taking the Eye. After being prevented from doing so by Shazam, he deemed unworthy by the Ancient Wizard. Upon returning to Earth, the confused Thaddeus makes a scene, causing the car to crash and cripple his father, with Sid blaming him. Back at the Rock Of Eternity, Shazam tries again to find another worthy person by casting a Seeking Spell. In present-day Philadelphia, foster child Billy Batson runs afoul of the law, while searching for his birth mother and is placed in a group home run by Victor and Rosa Vasquez with five other foster children, Mary, Pedro, Eugene, Darla and superhero enthusiast Freddy Freeman. Meanwhile, an embittered adult Sivana discovers a way to return to the Rock of Eternity and steals the eye of Sin, becoming the Sins vessel and besting the Wizard. He returns to Earth accompanied by the Sins, confronting and killing his father and Sid along with Sivana industries board of directors. At School, billy saves Freddy from bullies and is chased into a subway, where he is transported to the Rock of Eternity as Shazam summoned Billy to be the champion. By calling Shazam's name, Billy is transformed into an adult superhero, and the wizard turns to dust, leaving his staff behind. At home, Freddy is taken into Billy's confidence and helps Billy explore his newfound powers: electricity manipulation, near-invulnerability, super strength, speed and flight. Freddy's YouTube videos of Shazam testing his powers become viral, and Billy begins skipping school to use his powers as Shazam for money and fame. Seeing Shazam save a bus on the news, Sivana challenges and easily defeats him, demanding he surrender his powers, but Shazam transforms back into Billy and escapes into a crowd. From the news, Sivana deduces Billy's identity and abducts Freddy to find Billy. At the Vasquez home, the other children also infer Billy's secret and tell him they have also found his mother, who lives nearby. Billy reunites with his mother but is disheartened to discover she had abandoned him on purpose, feeling unqualified as a single teenage mother. Billy returns the compass she gave him as a toddler and leaves, telling her he needs to return to his "real family". Sivana calls Billy, having taken his foster siblings hostage, so Billy as Shazam agrees to give Sivana his powers in exchange for his family's safety. In agreement, Sivana and Shazam travel to the Rock of Eternity where Sivana takes the wizard's staff, but the siblings follow and attack Sivana. From their attack, Shazam realises that Sivana loses his powers when all seven Sins leave his body. Sivana pursues Shazam and his siblings to a winter carnival, unleashing the Sins upon the crowd. As Wrath battles Shazam, the other Sins capture his siblings, demanding his powers. Will Shazam save the day against the evil Sivana? You have to watch the film to find out! Personally, I think the director made a simple film over-complicated, which is why it's over 2 hours long. One of the most annoying things about the movie is that it takes a long time for Shazam to come to terms with his newfound powers, and by the end of the movie, he's still not taking anything seriously, so it's obvious that they plan to make a sequel. God forbid! I will give the movie a couple of stars, mainly because of Mark Strong's performance and some of the epic action films, but apart from that, I thought that it was badly written, and it seemed to go round in circles. I think you can tell that I wasn't entertained at all, so I can't recommend it to anyone, but I'm sure there are people who enjoyed it because it did make a slight profit at the box office. Disappointed!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by David F. Sandberg, who also brought you Lights Out in 2016 and Annabelle: Creation in 2017. He's known for his horror shorts, and with only 2 major releases behind him, I'm not sure that he was the perfect director for this project. After watching the bonus material on the Blu-ray, you can tell that David was overwhelmed with the budget, and the whole scale of the film, so it seems like he concentrated on the vision more than the script. With that aside, the movie did make a profit, so he must be pleased with his first high budget film, but I personally could tell that it was made by an unestablished director. There are so many question marks over some of the scenes, which were so far-fetched, and he really let Zachery Levi run wild. It's rumoured that there will be a sequel in 2022 with the same director and Zachery in the lead again, so I hope that David has learnt from this experience, and listened to the critics, to produce something special for the DC franchise.
Budget: $100million Worldwide Gross: $364.5million
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy Cast: Zachery Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Adam Brody, Djimon Hounsou, Faithe Herman, Meagan Good, Grace Fulton, Michelle Borth and John Glover. 3/10
Will Smith saved the movie! 5/10
Will Smith definitely saved this movie, because I was falling asleep after the first half an hour, and the singing was getting on my nerves. In true Disney fashion, the sets are spectacular, and the animals, which include a tiger, a monkey and a parrot, are terrific but the two main characters, Aladdin (Mena Massoud), and Jasmine (Naomi Scott) became a bit dull after a while. The movie really picks up when the genie, played by Will Smith, enters the plot, just like Robin Williams in the original movie, and he brings a whole new light to the popular character. Guy Ritchie makes full use of CGI throughout the movie, and the fabulous costumes and humongous sets look great on the big screen, but it could have done with some other established stars in the cast. If your not familiar with the storyline, it's about a kind-hearted street urchin, Aladdin, who lives in the Arabian city of Agrabah along with his pet monkey Abu. Aladdin rescues and befriends Princess Jasmine, who has snuck out of the palace to explore the city because she is tired of her sheltered life. Meanwhile, the grand vizier, Jafar, schemes to overthrow Jasmine's father as the Sultan. He, along with his pet parrot sidekick Lago, seeks a magic lamp hidden in the Cave of Wonders that will grant him three wishes. He has been unable to retrieve the lamp himself because only "the diamond in the rough" is allowed to enter the cave. Jafar discovers Aladdin is the diamond in the rough, and when Aladdin sneaks back into the royal palace to talk to Jasmine, he is captured and persuaded by Jafar's deal to help him retrieve the lamp. As Aladdin can enter the cave alive, Jafar offers him enough riches to impress Jasmine, in exchange for the lamp. Jafar warns Aladdin not to take anything but the lamp. Inside the cave, Aladdin finds a magic carpet and obtains the lamp, but Abu accidentally causes the cave to collapse after he catches a fallen ruby. Aladdin gives the lamp to Jafar but he double-crosses Aladdin and throws him and Abu back into the cave, but Abu manages to steal the lamp back. The magic carpet catches Aladdin and saves him from falling to his death. Trapped in the cave, Aladdin rubs the lamp, unwittingly summoning an omnipotent Genie, who lives inside it. Genie explains that he has the power to grant Aladdin three wishes, with the exceptions of murder, romance, the resurrection of the dead, and more wishes. Aladdin tricks Genie into freeing them from the cave without using a wish. After they get out of the cave, Aladdin uses his first official wish to become a prince to impress Jasmine, and promises to use his third wish to free Genie from servitude and turn him human. Aladdin enters Agrabah as Prince Ali of Adawa, arriving in an extravagant spectacle. However, Jasmine is unimpressed by his first presentation, including an assortment of gifts and gems. The two later bond when he takes her on a ride on the magic carpet to show her the world she wants to see, while Genie goes out with Jasmine's handmaiden, Dalia. Jasmine realises who Aladdin is and tricks him into revealing his true identity, however, he convinces her that he is actually a prince and only dressed like a peasant to meet the citizens of Agrabah beforehand. Jafar discovers Aladdin's identity and to test his theory, throws Aladdin into the sea, saying if he lives, it will be because he found the lamp and the Genie saved him. If he dies, he really is a prince and doesn't have the lamp. Abu and the carpet arrive with the lamp and Aladdin rubs it just before losing consciousness. Genie saves him but at the cost of his second wish. At the palace, Jafar tries to turn the others against Aladdin with lies but when Aladdin returns, Jafar is exposed by him and Jasmine, who was also suspicious of Jafar. He is arrested and imprisoned in the dungeon. The Sultan offers Aladdin the position as heir to the throne. Fearing he will lose Jasmine if the truth is revealed, Aladdin needs Genie with him now and refuses to free him, much to Genie's disappointment. Lago snatches one of the guards keys and he frees Jafar. Jafar stealthily steals the lamp from Aladdin and becomes Genie's new master. He uses his first two wishes to become Sultan and then when the guards refuse to acknowledge the change at Jasmine's request, to become the world's most powerful sorcerer, imprisoning the guards and Jasmine's pet tiger Rajah. Will Aladdin save the day and reunite with his loved one, and take down the evil Jafar? You have to watch the film to find out. The core of the plot is very much like the animated version, so you can easily work out the ending, but the main changes are the Genie, who made the movie watchable. All of the songs that we grew to love in the original, became tedious after a while, and the additional songs didn't really work. With all that aside, it made a hell of a profit at the box office, which must please the bigwigs at Disney, but it got mixed reviews from the critics. Personally, I much preferred the Disney classic, mainly because of Robin Williams as the Genie, but I must commend Will Smith for taking on such an iconic role. In all, it's a watchable film but I didn't like the singing. Watchable!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by Guy Ritchie, who also brought you Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels in 1998, Snatch, Swept Away, Revolver, RocknRolla, Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. He also released The Gentlemen in 2020, which I'm yet to see, and he is due to direct Cash Truck and Empire Rising, which are both in the development stage. Compared to Guy Ritchie's previous movies, this movie is definitely out of his comfort zone, but he managed to pull it off, even though I wasn't that impressed. Like a lot of directors, including Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, his earlier work is much better than his later projects, but they have become bankable filmmakers, mainly because of the profit that their movies make at the box office. Personally, I'm yet to fell the magic that I did when I watched Lock Stock & Snatch, in his latest projects so I'm hoping that he has gone back to his original style of filmmaking with The Gentlemen.
Budget: $183million Worldwide Gross: $1.05billion
Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy Cast: Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, Navid Negahban, Nasim Pedrad, Billy Magnussen, Aubrey Lin, Nina Wadia, Alan Tudyk and Jamal Sims. 5/10
Looks great but the storyline was dull! 4/10
Although this movie looked great, I found it to be quite dull and depressing in parts. Michael Keaton and Danny DeVito added a touch of wit to the film, but I struggled to find it entertaining. I wasn't a big fan of the original, so my expectations weren't that high, and the fact that Tim Burton stuck to the original concept, I wasn't that surprised with the outcome. With all of the live adaptations of the Disney movies nowadays, a lot of the directors are relying on CGI to bring the magic back to screen, and in terms of the look of this film, it certainly did work. With that aside, I did fall asleep a couple of times because it all seemed a bit too safe. I did find some of the scenes emotional, and the extravagant sets were impressive, but it wasn't enough to keep me entertained. Colin Farrell put in a decent performance, and I was surprised to see Eva Green play a goodie for once, but the kids became a bit annoying after a while. If you're not familiar with the storyline, it's set in 1919, were an equestrian performer and World War I amputee, Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) returns after the war to the Medici Brothers Circus, run by Maxi Medici (Danny DeVito). The circus has run into financial troubles and Medici had to sell the circus horses after Holt's wife and co-performer, Annie, dies from the Spanish flu, so Medici reassigns Holt as the caretaker for the circus pregnant Asian elephant, Mrs. Jumbo. Mrs. Jumbo gives birth to a calf with unusually large ears and Medici orders Holt to hide the ears before allowing the public to see the calf. However, the calf accidentally reveals his ears in his debut performance in Joplin Missouri, and the crowd laugh and mockingly names the calf Dumbo while pelting him with peanuts and other objects. Mrs. Jumbo, horrified and enraged by her son's mistreatment, rampages into the ring, causing extensive damage and accidentally collapsing the big top, which results in the death of an abusive handler. Afterwards, to prevent a public relations problem, Medici resorts to selling Mrs. Jumbo. Holt's son and daughter, Joe and Milly, comfort Dumbo and discover that he can fly by flapping his ears. The children also discover that feathers are the key to Dumbo's willingness to fly. In another performance, Dumbo plays the role of a firefighter clown to put out a fire with water sprayed from his trunk, but the performance goes awry, and Dumbo is trapped on a high platform surrounded by flames. Milly delivers a feather to Dumbo, giving him the confidence to fly. The audience is astounded when Dumbo flies, and word of his talent begins to spread. V.A. Vandevere, the entrepreneur and owner of a bohemian amusement park called Dreamland in New York City, approaches Medici and proposes a collaboration, were Medici would become Vandevere's partner and the Medici Brothers Circus troupe would be employed to perform at Dreamland. Colette and Dumbo's debut performance at Dreamland goes awry with Dumbo nearly falling off a high platform leading to him trumpeting in alarm since there is no safety net. Dumbo hears his mother's call in response and realises that his mother is in an exhibit (Nightmare Island) elsewhere in Dreamland. Dumbo flies out of the circus ring, reuniting with his mother, which leads to the disappoint of the audience. Fearing that Mrs. Jumbo may become a distraction to him and ruin his reputation, Vandevere orders her to be terminated. Vandevere also fires all the Medici performers from Dreamland. When Holt and the rest of the Medici troupe learn that Vandevere intends to kill Dumbo's mother and it's no longer safe for the two elephants to live with them, they resolve to set both her and Dumbo free. Will the performers save Jumbo and Dumbo from the evil Vandevere? You have to watch the film to find out! Although it's a touching story for all ages, there's nothing really upbeat about the film, and there isn't much depth to the characters. I liked the facial expressions from Dumbo, and the fact that it could show how it was feeling through his eyes but I can't see myself watching it again in a hurry. Average!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by Tim Burton, who also brought you Pee-wee's Big Adventure in 1985, Beetlejuice in 1988, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns, Ed Wood, Conversations With Vincent, Mars Attacks!, Sleepy Hollow, Planet of the Apes, Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride, Sweeney Todd, Alice in Wonderland, Dark Shadows, Frankenweenie, Big Eyes and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, which also starred Eva Green. It's been rumoured that he would be directing another Beetlejuice movie, but I doubt that it will have the same magic as the original film did. He's known for his collaborations with Johnny Depp, who can't seem to star in a decent film without him, so it's obvious that their chemistry works on film. He is definitely a unique director, whose dark and warped sense of humour usually works on screen, but he played it safe with this project, which didn't go down to well with the critics. It still made a profit at the box office, which is a plus, and I doubt that it will tarnish his reputation, but it won't go down as an all-time classic.
Budget: $170million Worldwide Gross: $353million
Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy Cast: Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Eva Green, Alan Arkin, Nico Parker, Roshan Seth, Lars Eidinger, Joseph Gatt, Douglas Reith and Phil Zimmerman. 4/10
The Lion King (2019)
Brilliant Animation! 7/10
I must be one of the only people in the world that wasn't a big fan of the original, which is why I wasn't that excited about this film. I must admit, the CGI is pretty amazing, and the way that the director, Jon Favreau, adapted the 1994 movie for a modern age, was quite impressive. It did lack the wit that Timon & Pumba brought to the original film, and the storyline was exactly the same, so there weren't any surprises. With that aside, it's still a well-made film, which includes some of the same songs that we all grew to love the first time around, and I still found the emotional storyline, touching. In terms of entertainment, it's perfect for the whole family, and the cast was a great choice for all of there roles, but it seemed a bit too safe, in terms of the director thinking out of the box. If you're not aware of the original plot, the film is set in the Pride Lands of Africa, where the lions rule over the animal kingdom. King Mufasa & Queen Sarabi's newborn son, Simba, is presented to the gathering animals by Rafiki the mandrill, the kingdom's shaman and advisor. Mufasa shows Simba the Pride Lands and explains to him the responsibilities of kingship and the "circle of life", which connects all living things. Mufasa's younger brother Scar covets the throne and plots to eliminate Mufasa and Simba, so he may become king. He tricks Simba and his best friend, Nala (to whom it is expected Simba to marry) into exploring a forbidden elephants graveyard, where they are attacked by spotted hyenas, led by the ruthless Shenzi. Mufasa is alerted about the incident by his majordomo, the hornbill Zazu, and rescues the cubs. Though upset with Simba, Mufasa forgives him and explains that the great kings of the past watch over them from the night sky, from which he will one day watch over Simba. Meanwhile, Scar visits the hyenas and manages to convince them to help him overthrow Mufasa in exchange for hunting rights in the Pride Lands. Scar sets a trap for his brother and nephew, luring Simba into a gorge and having the hyenas drive a large herd of wildebeest into a stampede that will trample him. He informs Mufasa of Simba's peril, knowing that the king will rush to save his son. Mufasa saves Simba but ends up hanging perilously from the gorge's edge. Scar refuses to help Mufasa, instead sending him falling to his death. So Sad! He then convinces Simba that the tragedy was Simba's fault and advises him to leave the kingdom and never return. He orders the hyenas to kill the cub, but Simba escapes. Scar tells the pride that both Mufasa and Simba were killed in the stampede and steps forward as the new king, allowing Shenzi's clan to live in the Pride Lands. Simba collapses in a desert by Timon and Pumbaa, a meerkat and warthog, who are fellow outcasts. Simba grows up in the oasis with his two new friends and other animals in their oasis, living a carefree life under the motto "hakuna matata" ("no worries" in Swahili). Now a young adult, Simba rescues Timon and Pumbaa from a hungry lioness, who turns out to be Nala. She and Simba reunite and fall in love, telling him that the Pride Lands have become a drought-stricken wasteland under Scar's reign. Feeling guilty over his father's death, Simba refuses and storms off. He then encounters Rafiki, who tells him that Mufasa's spirit living on in Simba. Simba is visited by the ghost of Mufasa in the night sky, who tells him that he must take his rightful place as king. Realising that he can no longer run from his past, Simba decides to return to the Pride Lands. Will Simba save the animals from the evil Scar, and revenge the death of his father? I don't want to spoil the ending if you've been living under a rock most of your life and don't know what happens, so I will stop the explanation right there. For those people who are not into there Disney type animation movies, it's still worth a watch because the CGI is outstanding. The music didn't seem as magical as it did in the original film, and I was a bit disappointed with the Elton John song at the end, but the attention to detail was brilliant, even though they could have done more with the hair on the animals. Personally, I would watch the movie again, and in terms of the animation, it is the best that I have seen in a long time, but I was unable to give it a perfect score because the comedy element needed more work. Enjoyable!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by Jon Favreau, who brought you Made in 2001, Elf, Zathura: A Space Adventure, Iron Man 1 & 2, Cowboys & Aliens, Chef and The Jungle Book. He is due to direct another Jungle Book movie but that is just rumours at the moment. He is definitely a versatile director, who has given his projects his all, even Cowboys & Aliens, and with a successful acting career, and an infectious passion for film, I commend him for his achievements in cinema so far. He has been responsible for some of the biggest movies of all time, including Iron Man and Elf which is always guaranteed an airing over Christmas time. His use of VR in this film was a unique method to show different angles of the characters and scenery on screen. The actors also acted out every scene, except for just talking into a microphone, so the chemistry between the various character's was actually real. It certainly deserved the massive profit that it made at the box office, and it's currently the 7th biggest movie of all time, beating the original movie which is in 49th place.
Budget: $260million Worldwide Gross: $1.7billion
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Drama, Family, Musical Cast: Donald Glover, Beyoncé, Chiwetel Ejiofor, John Oliver, James Earl Jones, John Kani, Alfre Woodard, JD McCrary, Keegan-Michael Key, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, Amy Sedaris and Chance the Rapper. 7/10
The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019)
Worth a One-Watch! 6/10
Although the animation is half-decent, and Snowball is hilarious, I still found this movie to be quite average. The various characters made the film watchable, and some of the jokes are funny, but it seemed pretty basic compared to other films in this genre. Personally, I would have preferred the movie to be based on Snowball (Kevin Hart) and Daisy (Tiffany Haddish), except for Max (Patton Oswalt), who was very much like Woody in the Toy Story movies. Rooster, voiced by Harrison Ford, was also a great addition to the cast, and the short but hilarious "Panda" song, made me rewind it loads of times, but it still seemed like there was something missing. There is enough material to keep adults, and the little ones, interested throughout, but once you know the outcome, I cant see many people going back for a second watch. Anyway, the movie is set sometime after the events of the first film, was Max & Duke's owner, Katie, get's married to a man named Chuck. After a while, they get married and have a son called Liam, whom Max disapproves of at first due to his rough play, but eventually softens up to him. Later, Max's overprotective feelings for Liam develop into an itch which prompts Katie to get him a dog cone from the veterinarian, in an effort to lower his symptoms. Max's luck changes when Duke reveals that the family is going on a road trip outside the city. When Max and Duke's family reaches a farm owned by Chuck's uncle, Max grows unaccustomed to the farm's ways, including local sheepdog Rooster. After an incident, they soon become friends, and on his departure, Rooster gives Max one of his handkerchiefs as a souvenir. Before Max left, he had entrusted his favourite toy, Busy Bee, to Gidget. Unfortunately, Gidget loses Busy Bee in a cat-infested apartment owned by a cat lady. She receives cat lessons from Chloe, Mel, Buddy and Sweet Pea in order to sneak in the apartment easier. With the help of Norman, she successfully retrieves Busy Bee and unintentionally gets hailed as the "Queen Of Cats". Meanwhile, Chloe and Snowball meet Daisy, who explains that she needs Snowball, to assist her rescuing a White Tiger cub named Hu, who Is being held captive by an abusive circus owner named Sergei. Daisy and Snowball sneak in and find the circus Hu is in. With much difficulty from Sergei's black wolves, they free Hu from the circus. However, in the heat of the escape, Daisy accidentally drops her flower clip, which the wolves use to track her down. She and Snowball take him to Pops apartment first. Pops reluctantly lets Hu live there at first, but due to the destruction of the apartment, Hu is kicked out and relocated in Max and Duke's apartment. Around the same time, the family returns from the trip. Sergei and his wolves track Daisy down and capture both Hu and Daisy. Sergei escapes in a train moving for the circus in which Snowball, Max and Norman pursue, whilst contacting Gidget. The cats take their owner off to pursuit the train. Will they save the day... You have to watch it to see what happens if you haven't already. There are a lot of similarities to Toy Story 4, in terms of how much the toy/animal meant to a child, but I personally think that Toy Story 4 was written much better. With that aside, it's still a watchable movie, especially when Snowball is in Kung Fu mode, but the 3 parallel storylines, do become a mess after a while. If they do decide to release a 3rd movie, they really need to concentrate on Snowball, or even give him his own franchise because, without him, this film would have got the thumbs down from me. Watchable!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by Chris Renaud, who also brought you, No Time For Nuts, Despicable Me, The Lorax, Despicable Me 2 and The Secret Life of Pets. This movie obviously didn't go down to well with film-goers because it just about made half the amount thaN the original, even though it had a decent cast. It's still fun for the whole family, but it lacked originality.
Budget: $80million Worldwide Gross: $430million
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family Cast: Patton Oswalt, Kevin Hart, Harrison Ford, Eric Stonestreet, Jenny Slate, Tiffany Haddish, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey, Bobby Moynihan, Hannibal Buress, Chris Renaud and Ellie Kemper. 6/10
Toy Story 4 (2019)
A Great End To Woody And His Pals Journey! 8/10
What a great movie! The animation was on point, along with the storyline and the various characters, who all brought an emotional and amusing tone to the film. The plot goes from strength to strength, as we follow Woody and his pals on an epic journey to get Forky to his true owner, and with the additional characters like Gabby Gabby and Duke Caboom, who cracked me up, I was glued to the screen from the start. There is enough material to keep adults and kids entertained, and the simple but detailed storyline has proved that Pixar is the kings of animation. We all fell in love with the Toy Story characters after the first movie, but the 2nd and 3rd films in the franchise, didn't do as well, and when it was announced that this was the last rodeo for Woody, I didn't know what to expect. Now that I've seen the film, I'm extremely happy with the direction that they took characters, and I highly recommend it to all movie-goers. The film is set nine years earlier, following the events of Toy Story 2, were Bo Peep and Woody attempt to rescue RC, Andy's remote-controlled car, from a rainstorm. Just as they finish the rescue, Woody watches as Bo is donated to a new owner, and considers going with her, but ultimately decides to remain with Andy. Years later, a teenage Andy donates them to Bonnie, a younger child, before he goes off to college. While the toys are grateful to have a new child, Woody struggles to adapt to a new environment, where he is not the favourite as he was with Andy. On the day of Bonnie's kindergarten orientation, Woody worries over her and sneaks into her backpack. After a classmate takes away Bonnie's arts and crafts supplies, Woody covertly recovers the materials and various pieces of garbage from the trash, including a plastic fork. Bonnies uses these to create a bipedal fork with googly eyes, whom she calls Forky. Forky comes to life in Bonnie's backpack and begins to experience an existential crisis, thinking he is garbage rather than a toy and wishing to remain in a trash can, which is absolutely hilarious. As Forky becomes Bonnie's favourite toy, Woody takes it upon himself to prevent Forky from throwing himself away. When Bonnie's family goes on a road trip, Forky jumps out of the RV window and Woody pursues him. After Woody explains how important he is to Bonnie, Forky decides to accompany Woody and return to her. Near the RV park where Bonnie's family is staying, Woody spots Bo Peep's lamp in an antique store window and goes in, hoping to find her. Inside, he and Forky encounter a talking doll called Gabby Gabby, who desires Woody's voice box to replace her broken one. While Woody is able to escape, Gabby captures Forky. At a playground, Woody is reunited with Bo Peep and her sheep, who now live as "lost toys" that aren't dedicated to one child. Bo agrees to help Woody save Forky and get back to Bonnie. I won't go into the outcome because I don't want to spoil it for those people who haven't seen it. With the introduction of some new characters to help Woody to save Forky (Tony Hale), who include Ducky (Keegan-Michael Key), Bunny (Jordan Peele), Duke Caboom (Keanu Reeves) and Giggle McDimples (Ally Maki), the writers covered every aspect, right to the very end. Like most Pixar movies, the animation is supreme quality, and I really couldn't find a fault. In my eyes, it is a must-see for all ages, especially if you're a fan of any of the previous Toy Story films. Enjoyable!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by Josh Cooley, who also brought you George and A.J. and Riley's First Date, which were unheard of. For his first project, he had a massive task on his hands to put this franchise to bed. Luckily, he did a better job than the previous directors of the 2nd and 3rd movies, which were made by Pixar creator John Lasseter and Lee Unkrich. In terms of money, Toy Story made $407million, Toy Story 2 made $509million and Toy Story 3 made $1.06billion, which makes this film the highest-grossing in the franchise to date, and that's before it is released to buy. I just hope the next movie's from Pixar, Onward & Soul, live up to there expectations.
Budget: $200million Worldwide Gross:$1.07billion
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Fantasy Cast: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Madeleine McGraw, Christina Hendricks, Jordan Peele, Keanu Reeves, Ally Maki, Jay Hernandez, Lori Alan, Joan Cusack, Bonnie Hunt, Carl Weathers, Jeff Garlin, Mel Brooks, Betty White, Carl Reiner, Bill Hader, Patricia Arquette, Timothy Dalton and Flea. 8/10
Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)
Why do these filmmakers have to over-complicate the simplest of storylines? This is supposed to be a film for all ages, but there is so much technical jargon throughout the film, it just became a right mess. With that aside, the annoying leading characters, Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) and Lucy Stevens (Kathryn Newton), really couldn't act, and they made the film seem like it should be made for TV. Ryan Reynolds, who supplied the voice for Detective Pikachu, really saved the day, with his witty lines and unique sense of comedy, but he wasn't able to shine alongside such a weak cast and an awful storyline. We also didn't get to see the true powers of the Pokemon's, mainly because the director chose to concentrate on Tim's life story, which made the film extremely dull. On the plus side, there are some epic action scenes, and the CGI looked half decent, but I really was expecting more from this well-known franchise. The film is set in the Pokemon universe, was Tim Goodman is a 21-year-old insurance adjuster, who gave up his dream of being a Pokemon trainer following the death of his mother and becoming estranged from his father, Harry Goodman. Tim is contacted by the police of Ryme City, a city where humans and Pokemon live together in peace and catching and battling Pokemon is outlawed. He's told his father has died in a car accident. While visiting Harry's apartment, Tim meets a deerstalker clad Pikachu that is able to talk to Tim and be understood by him. At a cafe, Pikachu explains he has amnesia, and the only clue of his identity is Harry's name and address on his hat, leading him to believe he was Harry's partner. Because Pikachu survived the car crash, he surmises Harry also survived. Lieutenant Hideo Yoshido shows Tim security footage of Harry's accident to convince him that Harry could not have survived. Tim & Pikachu are contacted by Howard Clifford, the founder of Ryme City, who believes living with Pokemon is beneficial to his ailing condition. Howard shows Tim a holographic recreation of the car crash, revealing Harry survived and was captured by Mewto, who erased Pikachu's memory. Howard tells him that if he finds Mewto, he can find his father. Tim and Pikachu recruit Lucy and travel to the lab facility Harry was investigating, which had been experimenting on Mewto and synthesized R from his genes. After being attacked, by genetically enhanced Greninja, Pikachu is gravely injured during there escape. Tim manages to communicate to a Bulbasaur for help and they take Tim to a clearing where they meet Mewto. Mewto heals Pikachu, but before it can reveal its intentions, it is captured. Pikachu comes across the area where Harry crashed and finds evidence that it was the Greninja, not Mewto, who was responsible. Now, this is where it gets complicated, so I'm not going to try and explain what the hell happens next. Some of the plot is obvious from the beginning, so it won't be that surprising when you see how the whole story panes out, but the director really makes a meal of it. Although it's a watchable film, mainly because of Ryan Reynolds, I can't see myself watching it again in a hurry, and I can't see a sequel making as much profit as this did. It was a big task to take on a live-action version of Pokemon, especially with all the die-hard fans around the world, so I personally don't know why they didn't spend more money on the cast, and tone down the plot. On the whole, it's worth a one-watch but I was disappointed!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by Rob Letterman, who also brought you Shark Tale, Monsters vs. Aliens, Gulliver's Travels and Goosebumps. Judging by his previous movies, I'm not surprised that this movie turned out how it did. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy Monsters vs. Aliens and Shark Tale, but his latest projects were a big flop. That's why this movie should have gone to a more established director, who could have made something special with this unique concept.
Budget: $150million Worldwide Gross: $432million
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Mystery Sci-Fi Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Bill Nighy, Ken Watanabe, Chris Geere, Suki Waterhouse, Rita Ora and Karan Soni. 4/10
Not As Good As The First Movie! 5/10
I really enjoyed the first movie, mainly because Batman was hilarious, but I found this film to be more for the kids than the adults. The storyline gets a bit manic towards the end, and there is way too much going on-screen, to appreciate the attention to detail. I'm sure the kids, and adults, will be singing along to the catchy songs, even though they got on my nerves after a while, but the hidden message about the brother and sister in real life was quite touching. It did seem to drag on after a while because it really didn't have to be near the 2-hour mark, but there are some funny moments that are worth a watch. With Chris Pratt voicing the lead character Emmet, it's not surprising that the directors added some Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic Park moments, especially with the Kurt Russell type character, Rex Dangervest, who was surrounded by dinosaurs, and I'm sure I'll find more Easter eggs if I watched the film again. I'm not going to spend ages typing what the movie is about because there is way too much going on, and it will spoil it for those who haven't seen it, so I will give you an outline of what to expect. Following the events of the first film, Finn's younger sister Bianca has been invited to play with their father's LEGO collection, and in the LEGO universe, this is represented by the arrival of Duplo aliens. Emmet builds the aliens a heart as a token of friendship, but one of them eats it, and demands more. Lucy and the Master Builders believe this to be an attack and retaliate, and the ensuing battle ravages Bricksburg. Emmet tries to reassure Lucy that "everything can still be awesome". Five years later, the now-teenaged Finn has rebuilt Bricksburg into a post-apocalyptic wasteland known as Apocalyseburg, explained in the LEGO universe as the result of repeated Duplo invasions, and the disappearance of various characters. A mini-doll named General Sweet Mayhem arrives looking for Apocalypseburg's leader and captures Lucy, Batman, Benny, Metalbeard, and Unikitty, and then flies to the Systar System. There Queen Watevera Wa'Nabi, the shape-shifting leader of the Systar System, tempts the group into supporting her, and all the Master Builders believe her, except Lucy, who remains sceptical and suspicious of her intentions. Although Batman is initially tricked into agreeing to marry Wa'Nabi, the two eventually fall in love. Emmet decides to rescue his captured friends by himself, after failing to convince the Master Builders to join him, and whilst going through an asteroid field, he is saved by the rugged adventurer, Rex Dangervest. Emmet begins to toughen up, with Rex's help, while Lucy escapes, hoping to find him. Whilst evading the Systar System, Rex and Emmet find Lucy and they come up with a plan to stop the wedding between Batman and Wa'Nabi, which they think is a front for Armageddon. However, Mayhem explains to Lucy that the wedding is a way to unite their two worlds to forestall Armageddon, as reflected by Bianca's desire to have Finn play with her, but they were just bad at communicating that. When Lucy finds out that her captured friends were having fun, and not brainwashed, she also finds out that Rex is the true villain, so she tries to stop Emmet, who is aided by Rex. After destroying the temple, Emmet realises his mistake but is seized by Rex. When Emmet refuses to give up on his friends, Rex throws him under the dryer to ensure Rex's future existence. Everything in Lego universe begins to crumble and fall into the dark hole of the "Bin of Storajj" as Finn and Bianca dismantle their creations and place them in storage bins as punishment for their arguments. Ashamed and remorseful for his selfishness, Finn rebuilds the heart for Bianca, reviving Wa'Nabi and in turn restoring the Lego Universe, allowing the others to escape from the Bin of Storajj in various spacecraft to save Emmet from the Dryar System and stop Rex. Emmet and Lucy overpower Rex and destroy his remote time machine, preventing him from escaping to the past. Emmet's self-acceptance causes Rex to fade from existence, and Emmet and Lucy reconcile. Now for a movie that is made for a young audience, I really think that the makers over-complicated the storyline when it could have been simpler and shorter. With so many interesting characters popping up throughout the film, I personally would have liked to have seen some of them get the spotlight because Emmet did become slightly annoying after a while. With all that aside, it's definitely worth a watch with the whole family, but I don't think that it's the type of film that you would watch twice, from an adults point of view. Average!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by Mike Mitchell, who also brought you Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, Surviving Christmas, Sky High, Shrek Forever After, Alvin & The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water and Trolls. This is definitely one of those cases were the director of the first movie, Phil Lord, should have returned for the sequel because this film lacked the wit and punch that the original had. Phil Lord did return as a producer, alongside Christopher Miller who also contributed to the first movie, but it still seemed like something was missing in this film. The original took double the money at the box office, so it would have to be a brilliant storyline to make this franchise into a trilogy.
Budget: $99million Worldwide Gross: $191.3million
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Musical Cast: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Tiffany Haddish, Stephanie Beatriz, Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, Charlie Day, Maya Rudolph, Will Ferrell, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Richard Ayoade, Ben Schwartz, Noel Fielding, Jason Momoa, Ralph Fiennes, Will Forte, Bruce Willis and Gary Payton. 5/10
A Decent Watch For The Whole Family! 7/10
After deciding to give movies a break for a while, mainly because I was so disappointed with the releases in 2019, I finally made up my mind to watch the films that I missed towards the end of last year. This was the first film that I chose, out of the many movies that I haven't seen in my collection, and I didn't have high hopes for the outcome. I must be getting over-emotional in my old age because I actually enjoyed this film, especially the love story between Toothless and the White Fury. I wasn't a big fan of the 2nd movie in this franchise, but I found this film quite touching throughout, and the various characters brought different elements to the epic adventure. The animation isn't Pixar standard, but the attention to detail looked great on the big screen, and there were enough elements in the storyline to keep it interesting throughout. The movie kicks off one year after the events of the previous film, where Hiccup, Toothless and their fellow dragon-riders continue to rescue captured dragons in order to bring them to Berk and the bustling dragon and human utopia. Hiccup decides to move the dragons to the "Hidden World" because Berk is becoming overcrowded, so he follows his father journal to try and find the magical kingdom. Meanwhile, a white female Fury dragon, held captive by warlords, is given to infamous dragon hunter Grimmel the Grisly as bait for him to capture Toothless for the warlords use as an alpha. When Toothless discovers the Light Fury in the woods, the two become enchanted with each other but when she senses Hiccups presence, she flees. After Grimmel burns down Hiccup's house and most of Berk with six of his Deathgripper dragons, Hiccup rallies the citizens and dragons to leave Berk on a quest to find the Hidden World and safety from the dragon hunters. Mid-journey, the Berkians discover an island on which they initially plan to rest for a short while, but soon begin to settle there. While Toothless is flying around with the Light Fury, Valka decides to go on a scouting patrol and notices Grimmel and his fast-approaching army, so she quickly reports back to Hiccup, who gathers his riders to capture Grimmel. They end up falling into a trap, and barely escapes. With Toothless missing, Hiccup and Astrid manage to find the "Hidden World" and they see Toothless and the Light Fury leading the dragons there as a happily mated couple. They soon realise that humans are seen as intruders in the Hidden World, so Toothless takes them to safety before the dragons are able to attack them. Suddenly Grimmel appears and captures Toothless and the Light Fury. With Astrid's encouragement, Hiccup sets out with the dragon riders to stop Grimmel and his army, igniting a battle. Grimmel drugs the Light Fury into obeying him, so Hiccup and Toothless give chase, with Toothless using his newly acquired ability to draw in lightning to kill the remaining Deathgrippers. Hiccup manages to jump onto the Light Fury, but Grimmel tranquillises Toothless midair causing the dragon to fall helplessly. Hiccup realises that he cannot rescue Toothless alone, so he frees the Light Fury and implores her to save Toothless. Hiccup us fully prepared to sacrifice himself in order to save Toothless as both he and Grimmel plummet toward the sea. The Light Fury returns to save Hiccup as well while Grimmel impacts the water and drowns. Back on the island, Hiccup realises that dragons will never be safe in the human world, so they bid an emotional farewell, as all of the Berkians set their dragons free to live in the "Hidden World". Three months later, Hiccup and Astrid finally marry on New Berk. I personally do think that it is a bit much for the young ones to understand, but the vibrate colours and comedic scenes will keep them entertained. F. Murray Abraham voiced the villain, Grimmel, extremely well, and Jay Baruchel's unique voice was a great choice for Hiccup, but on the downside, it didn't have the same impact than the first movie. Don't get me wrong, it is worth a watch, but I can't see myself rushing to watch the movie twice. Enjoyable!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by Dean DeBlois, who also brought you Lilo & Stitch and the first 2 How to Train Your Dragon movies. He also directed a movie called Go Quiet in 2010, which was unheard of, so he's really known for the How To Train Your Dragon franchise. In this day and age, movie franchises have different directors, which usually spoils the flow from one movie to another, but the fact the whole cast and the director returned for all 3 movies, which spanned over 10 years, made this a successful project. Judging by the ending, it would be silly to make a 4th movie, even though the characters are loved by many moviegoers. It was definitely a good way to end the Adventures of Hiccup and Toothless story, and when you see the grown Hiccup with his family towards the end, you can't help feeling emotional about his amazing journey throughout the years.
Budget: $129million Worldwide Gross: $521million
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure, Family, Fantasy Cast: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, F. Murray Abraham, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kristen Wiig, Kit Harington, Justin Rupple and David Tennant. 7/10
Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)
Promising, but failed to deliver! 4/10
This is yet another movie which had a brilliant concept and a great cast but failed to at the last hurdle. I really enjoyed the first half an hour of the film, were a Catholic priest Daniel Flynn (Jeff Bridges), a singer Darlene Sweet (Cynthia Sweet), a salesman Leramie Seymour Sullivan (Jon Hamm), and a hippie Emily Summerspring (Dakota Johnson) arrive at the El Royale at the California-Nevada border, but the director seemed to have lost it after that. When it's revealed that Leramie is really an FBI Agent, sent to remove FBI surveillance equipment from the honeymoon suite, I found the plot intriguing, and I really couldn't see where it was going, especially when he found additional surveillance equipment of unknown origin. He also discovers a secret corridor from which guest's rooms can be observed via two-way mirrors and filmed via a 16mm camera setup, so the plot could have gone down many avenues, to make this movie special. Once Jon Hamm is taken out of the picture, the film goes drastically downhill, and the long singing scenes, along with the weird appearance of cult leader Billy Lee (Chris Hemsworth), really let the movie down. His lecherous and sadistic, but charismatic demeanour didn't really work for me, and I couldn't get to grips with the way the concept switched direction from the beginning. I liked the storyline behind Miles Miller (Lewis Pullman), who played the hotel's only remaining employee, and he put in a brilliant performance, alongside all of the A-listers in the cast. The director portrayed the 1969 time period well, and the attention to detail in the El Royale was quite impressive, but the storyline became a bit of a miss towards the end, and the characters that were interesting, were dropping like flies. I did like when they showed a certain point of the film, from different angles, which must have been hard to shoot, but I personally think that each of the characters back stories could have made their own movie, hence why the film felt like a right mess. Anyway, Jeff Bridges put in his usual top performance, and although I didn't see the point of adding Billy Lee (Chris Hemsworth) to the cast, I did think that he played it convincingly well. With so much going on at once, the ending was pretty poor, especially when the old vicar was beating a young a butch Billy Lee to a pulp, but I couldn't help rooting for Miles when he switched to a super sharp sniper. On paper, it must have looked unique, which is why so many top actors agreed to take on the project, but it really didn't have to be 141minutes long. On the plus side, the soundtrack was great, and the whole Tarantino "noir" approach, made the film different from other movies in this genre. Average!
Round-Up: This movie was written and directed by Drew Goddard, who also brought you the Cabin in the Woods, which also starred Chris Hemsworth. As this is only his second major release after 7 years, it might explain why he tried to cram in so much material in two and a half hours. He also earned an executive producer credit for the Martian and The Cloverfield Paradox, and he wrote the screenplay for Cloverfield, the Cabin in the Woods, World War Z, the Martian and the Daredevil series. Judging by his previous projects, this film was a step in a different direction for Drew Goddard, who must have been disappointed with the box office takings after all of his hard work by making the hotel from scratch. Personally, I think that it was a waste of a brilliant cast, and he wasted to much time on insignificant scenes, which didn't play a big part in the core of the plot. Although this movie didn't make a profit, he still has been chosen to direct X-Force with Deadpool and Cable, which is in production at the moment, so I hope that he has learnt from this experience, and taken into account why this movie didn't go down too well with audiences.
Budget: $32million Worldwide Gross: $32million (Terrible!)
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller Cast: Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Chris Hemsworth, Cailee Spaeny, Lewis Pullman, Nick Offerman, Xavier Dolan, Shea Whigham and Mark O'Brien. 4/10
Mile 22 (2018)
Surprisingly enjoyable, for a Wahlberg movie! 7/10
I surprisingly enjoyed this film, about a middle-aged CIA Officer and former U.S. Marine war veteran, James Silva (Mark Wahlberg), who leads a Special Activities Division team code-named Overwatch to raid a Russian FSB safe house in the United States. Under the remote supervision of James Bishop (John Malkovich) and his team, the mission is to locate and destroy shipments of caesium before the highly radioactive substance can be weaponised. Once I got to grips with the plot, I was able to enjoy the fast-paced action, which was pretty intense, but I was surprised to see Wahlberg take a backseat in this one. Most of his team did the hard work, while he's barking harsh orders to them, and his unsympathetic attitude, due to Asperger does go a bit far. Once Li Noor (Iko Uwais) is introduced to the plot, the whole movie steps up a gear, and the brilliant fighting scenes and intense shoot-outs made the movie a frill ride. It's nothing out of the ordinary, like the Raid which made Iko a star, but the non-stop action and various twists in the plot towards the end did make it stand out from the rest in 2018. One of the problems that I had with the film, was the fact that the Russians managed to kill everyone in the Overwatch team, except for the actual person who killed the ladies son, which must have been a coincidence. Maybe they left it open for a sequel. I must admit, I did think that Li Noor was the innocent party and that he was targeted by baddies, who went through hell to try and capture him, so the writers did a good job by misleading the audience until the very end. I was also impressed with the cinematography, and the believable shoot-outs, which had a touch of Heat, in terms of the sound and artillery. Once the action hits the apartment building, I liked the tribute to the Raid, which was the same in many ways, but nothing will touch the original. Although I have highly praised this film, it still felt like a Mish-Mash of other movies, hence the mediocre rating. I can't help feeling that it would have been more of a raw film without Wahlberg's name tied to it, which would have been better in many ways, but it wouldn't have been distributed as well. Anyway, I personally think that it deserved a bigger profit at the box office, mainly for the effort to make it unique, and the brilliant casting of Iko, who actually made Wahlberg look like an amateur when it came to the action scenes. Watchable!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by Peter Berg, who also brought you Very Bad Things in 1998, Welcome to the Jungle, Friday Night Lights, The Kingdom, Hancock, Battleship, Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon and Patriots Day. His next project sees him pairing up with Wahlberg again in Wonderland, which is about an ex-felon named Spenser, who returns to Boston's criminal underworld to unravel a twisted murder conspiracy, which is due out this year. They did announce that Mile 22 is going to be a trilogy, at the 2017 CinemaCon, but there isn't a script in development yet. As it didn't smash the box office, there isn't a high demand for a sequel, but I personally think that it would compliment this movie if they brought out a sequel sooner, while the plot if fresh in people's mind. With films like Six Billion Dollar Man, Home Invasion, Wonderland, Good Joe Bell and Scoob, which is a feature-length animated Scooby Doo movie, Mark Wahlberg hasn't really got time to fit in a sequel any time soon, which is a shame because it's a promising concept.
Budget: $50million Worldwide Gross: $66.3million
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Iko Uwais, Lauren Cohan, John Malkovich, Ronda Rousey, Carlo Alban, Natasha Goubskaya, Sam Medina, Terry Kinney, Peter Berg, Keith Arthur Bolden and Jenique Hendrix. 7/10
Green Book (2018)
Highly entertaining! 8/10
What a brilliant film! For such a low budget, and no fancy graphics, this highly entertaining film proves that a good story, and excellent acting, is all you need to produce something special. This reverse "Driving Miss Daisy" type road movie, see's Viggo Mortensen (Tony Lip), playing an Italian bouncer, who is forced to take on a job, to drive a African American pianist to various locations during his eight-week concert tour through the Midwest and Deep South, while the Copacabana nightclub, were he works, is closed for renovations. The eccentric and highly educated classical pianist, Doctor Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), hires Tony on the strength of his references, even though there were several candidates up for the job. As this movie was set during the early 1960's, it's extremely rare that a white man chauffeur's a black man, so they had there ups and downs throughout there tiresome journey. The fact that this film is based on real characters, made it even more of a joy to watch, and the various obstacles that Tony and Don tackled together, made them become closer as friends, even though Tony had a problem with black people at the beginning of the film. For this day and age, the subject matter was extremely relevant, especially with the American president trying his utmost to divide us. From an entertaining point of view, there is enough content to keep you glued to the big screen, which is rare for a movie in this genre. Throughout there journey, Don helps Tony write letters to his wife, correctly spelling and rephrasing passages, which I found touching and emotional in places. Even after the episode in the YMCA pool, which I thought would change the direction of the film, was brilliant because the director chose not to dwell on the matter. The main element that made this movie unique, has to be the excellent performances from the leading actors. Their chemistry on screen was amazing, like Cruise & Hoffman in Rainman, and the director shot the period well, but it's not the type of movie that you can watch time and time again. In real life, Tony Lip and Dr. Donald Shirley remained friends until they died within months of each other in 2013, so you're actually watching a life-long relationship unfold on screen. In all, I highly recommend this movie to all adult movie-goers because it has something for everyone, and you will be left feeling hope and joy. Great!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by Peter Farrelly, who also brought you Dumb and Dumber in 1994, Kingpin, There's Something About Mary, Me, Myself & Irene, Osmosis Jones, Shallow Hal, Stuck On You, The Perfect Catch, The Heartbreak Kid, Hall Pass, The Three Stooges, which was awful, Movie 43 and Dumb and Dumber To. His change of direction with this film has really paid off because it won the Best Motion Picture of the Year Oscar, along with the Best Original Screenplay and the Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting role for Mahershala Ali. Personally, I thought that Viggo Mortensen deserved the Oscar for Best Actor, but he sadly lost out to Rami Malek for his great performance in Bohemian Rhapsody. For such a highly rated movie, which has won many awards and loved by critics, it still didn't smash the box office like a lot of the weaker movies did, but at least it was recognised by the people in the academy, even though they don't always get it right. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, and for a director who has produced more comedic movies than serious drama's, he put together a good script, along with great actors, who brought this true story to the big screen with style.
Budget: $23million Worldwide Gross: $319million
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Music Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini, Sebastian Maniscalco, Mike Hatton, P.J. Byrne, Joe Cortese and Maggie Nixon. 8/10
Big let down but McAvoy smashed it! 4/10
After the success of Split and Unbreakable, I had high hopes for this film, especially as the whole cast was returning, but once again, it turned out to be a total disappointment. The movie is based in a mental institution, which was a bad idea from the get-go because you don't get to see the 3 main characters, David Dunn (Bruce Willis), Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) and the Beast (James McAvoy), use their unique powers until the very end. Although it's called Glass, it's mainly about the Beast in my eyes because Elijah plays dumb for most of the movie, and David is locked up in a room, playing the "Good Samaritan" who gets treated like the enemy. After an hour and a half of boring psychoanalysis, and the beast constantly changing from one character to another, I got fed up with the film, and the ending was appalling. Samuel L. played his usual type of role, where he is superior to others, but James McAvoy was excellent throughout. Without his character, the movie would have been much worse because Bruce Willis looked like he didn't want to be in the film. All of the action scenes which involved Willis, were really weird because you could see that he was struggling to play the role convincingly. As I had watched Split and Unbreakable, the whole Mental Institution concept seemed pointless because I already knew about there powers and what they were capable of. Towards the end, the director finally woke up and started to add some complex elements, which didn't make any sense to me, but by that time it was way too late. It seemed like he did a tribute to the Usual Suspects, in terms of the way that Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) pieced together the whole suicide plot at the end, but there were way too many holes in the script and I was left feeling that it was a total waste of a great cast. Personally, I thought that we were going to get an in-depth look into Elijah's character as we did with Unbreakable for David and the different personalities of McAvoy's characters in Split, but we ended up with pointless hospital jargon about comic book heroes and fake superhumans. On the plus side, the beast was pretty scary, and his physique was a drastic change from the usual size of McAvoy, but this film really didn't live up to its expectations. If they do decide to gather other superhumans for another movie, I really hope that the director gets back his spark because his last few movies, except for Split, haven't been that great. Average!
Round-Up: This movie was written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, who also brought you Praying for Anger in 1992, Wide Awake, The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs, The Village, Lady in the Water, The Happening, The Last Airbender, After Earth, The Visit, and Split. His career has certainly had its ups and downs, and he's worked with some top actors when they were in there prime, but his complex storylines sometimes leave the audience baffled and confused. After creating 3 brilliant characters, who brought different elements to make a perfect movie franchise, I don't know how he made a shambles of the whole thing. He had already done the hard work by giving all of the characters an in-depth back story, which was why it was weird that he didn't give Glass his own standalone movie, and then made a 4th movie about all three characters together. Anyway, judging by the box office takings, it's obvious that the public has grown to like these characters, which was why they rushed to the cinema to see them all together on the big screen, but after reading the critics reviews, it certainly didn't go out with a bang.
Budget: $20million Worldwide Gross: $247million
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller Cast: James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Anya Taylor-Joy, Sarah Paulson, Spencer Treat Clark, Charlayne Woodard, Luke Kirby and Adam David Thompson. 4/10
Great CGI, poor concept! 4/10
This is yet another average movie from the Transformers franchise, which certainly looked good, in terms of the CGI, but the storyline and poor characters, really let the movie down. It starts off well, with the war on planet Cybertron, were the Autobot resistance, led by Optimus Prime, is on the verge of losing the civil war against the Decepticons but once it switches to planet earth, it goes from bad to worse. It's set in 1987, and the director portrayed the period well, but it's really the weak characters, and poor wit, that really didn't work. Bumblebee made the movie watchable, but the miserable Charlie Watson (Hailee Steinfeld) got on my nerves after a while. I can understand why she had to play the part in that manner because she is traumatised by the death of her father, and she's resentful of her mother for moving on too quickly with her new boyfriend, but we have seen Bumblebee teamed up with a character like this before. After finding the Volkswagen Beetle in a scrapyard, her life changes, and she becomes more upbeat, but once the Decepticons track Bumblebee on earth, the movie becomes extremely far-fetched and totally ridiculous in places. A lot of the previous Transformer movies had messy action scenes, which were hard to notice the attention to detail, but this movie had clean and clear shots which looked good on the big screen. The transformations were brilliant, especially when the Decepticons were switching from planes, cars and Transformers, but it wasn't enough to make the movie a unique cinematic experience. The relationship between Charlie and Bumblebee was quite emotional in parts, especially when they had to part company towards the end, but her ridiculous family who didn't really seem that bothered when their house was totally destroyed by Bumblebee, was a pointless addition to the cast. It did follow the usual Transformers concept because the same thing happened in the very first movie, starring Shia LaBeouf, were his family were also a nuisance, so it wasn't that surprising. Anyway, I'm surprised that the movie got a PG rating because some of the action scenes are pretty gruesome, especially when the Decepticons are executing there enemies. As for the other characters in the film, I didn't really see the point of Memo (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.), who seemed like a blithering idiot throughout the film, and Agent Burns (John Cena) didn't act like he was taking the whole "Decepticons destroying earth" seriously. Bumblebee looked tiny compared to the other Transformers, but he always stood his ground, even though he got beaten to his very last screw most of the time. With the 3 storylines running together at the same time, which are Charlie's dysfunctional family, Charlie's relationship with Bumblebee, and Bumblebee vs. The Decepticons, the movie seems a bit of a mess but it all comes together with a final showdown, which was pretty intense. I didn't have high expectations for the film, after the disappointing last couple of Transformers movies, so I wasn't totally disappointed. I do think that it's time for a darker and more adult version of the Transformer movies because this "teenage sidekick" concept, has been done to death. Watchable!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by Travis Knight, who also brought you, the spectacular Kubo and the Two Strings. He was the lead animator for Coraline, ParaNorman and the Boxtrolls, which he also produced, so his background has mostly been in animation, hence why the attention to detail in this movie was so good. Although Kubo and the Two Strings didn't smash the box office, it was a great movie and a fantastic achievement for his first major release. This movie made a hefty profit, but that's not to say that it's a better film. Visually it's brilliant, but it failed when it comes to bringing something new to the Transformer legacy. Time for a reboot!
Budget: $135million Worldwide Gross: $468million
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Cast: Hailee Steinfeld, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., John Cena, Jason Drucker, Pamela Adlon, Stephen Schneider, Ricardo Hoyos, John Ortiz, Glynn Turman, Len Cariou and Fred Dryer with voices by Dylan O'Brien, Peter Cullen, Angela Bassett and Justin Theroux. 4/10
Creed II (2018)
Didn't have the same impact than the earlier Rocky movies! 5/10
I've grown up watching the Rocky movies, and I always used to get excited when I heard that Sylvester Stallone was working on another one, but they went downhill after the 4th instalment. Now with the Creed movies taking over, the first movie was quite good, but this film just seemed like a "Mish Mash" version of the 4th movie, were Rocky went toe to toe with the gigantic Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), who was basically a laboratory experiment. In this movie, Creed (Michael B. Jordan) is out for revenge against Drago's son, Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), who is quickly moving up the ranks, and seeking the heavyweight champion belts. After losing his dad in the ring during a fight against Ivan, Adonis (Creed) agrees to fight Viktor, but without the backing from Rocky, who thinks the fight is a bad idea. I did find the movie quite slow, from the beginning to the end, and the fighting scenes weren't as dramatic as the earlier Rocky movies. The whole concept was, more or less, exactly the same as Rocky 4, and the predictable storyline, which had some corny lines, did become a bit tedious after a while, but it's what's we have grown to expect from Rocky/Creed movies. Michael B. Jordan seems to act the same in all of his movies, so his performance wasn't that surprising, but once he had the baby, and he actually took the fight seriously, it was good to see an emotional character who became more technical with his fighting skills. I did realise a Father/Sons theme, which must have been hard for Sylvester Stallone after losing his son, Sage Stallone in 2012 at the young age of 36. Anyway, I didn't get that "underdog coming good" feeling after watching this movie, but it's watchable, once it eventually gets going. I would have liked to have seen some banter between Ivan and Rocky, and it would have been good to hear Viktor speak. As we live in a day and age of endless remakes, I doubt that another franchise is ever going to able to give you that amazing feeling that you get when you hear the Rocky theme again, and the fight choreography looks more staged than intense like the olden days, which is why this average movie didn't meet all expectations. On paper, the thought of Ivan and Apollo's sons coming face to face in the ring sounds like it's going to be a movie spectacular but it lacked the action and intensity that the original Ivan vs. Rocky fight did. A lot of time was wasted on Adonis's back story, which made complete sense in one way, but I personally just wanted to see the fight. With opponents like Apollo, Mr. T and Ivan Drago, Viktor certainly looked the perfect candidate but he wasn't that entertaining out of the ring. I just think that it's time for a new boxing franchise, with some flamboyant characters who will light up the screen. Watchable!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by Steven Caple Jr., who also brought you the Land in 2016. As this is his first major release, he wouldn't have been my first choice to direct a movie which could affect a whole franchise. He did a decent job, but he seemed to have followed the Rocky handbook, more than trying something fresh and new. One of the things that let this movie down, was the annoying backing track, which made the film feel cheap and a bit stale. With Rocky IV being the most successful movie in the Rocky franchise, taking in $127million, closely followed by Rocky III, which was my favourite, I'm not surprised that they chose this concept to carry on the Creed franchise. It would be good to see Mr. T talking trash again, but that's just wishful thinking. Anyway, Creed II definitely didn't have the impact that the early Rocky movies did, but it's still a decent boxing movie, which had some emotional moments.
Budget: $50million Worldwide Gross: $214million
Genre: Drama, Sport Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Dolph Lundgren, Florian Munteanu, Russell Hornsby, Wood Harris, Brigitte Nielsen and Milo Ventimiglia. 5/10
Visually great but bad storyline! 5/10
I was surprised to see that this movie is in 21st place in all-time box office takings because I really didn't think that it was that amazing. Jason Momoa is the perfect Aquaman, but the script was awful, and the music throughout the film REALLY got on my nerves. Some of the scenes looked great, especially on the big screen, and the few witty moments were delivered well from Momoa but I found the core of the plot to be predictable and a bit annoying in places. The whole "step-brother wanting to gain the power to control the seas" theme was weak, and Aquaman's sidekick, Mera (Amber Heard), seemed to take centre stage during the important parts of the concept, more than Momoa. Dolph Lundgren put in a decent performance as King Nereus, alongside Patrick Wilson (King Orm), but that Fly looking "Baddie", Manta (Yahya Adbul-Mateen II) was completely useless, and the acting was terrible. I liked the relationship between Aquaman and his father Tom Curry (Temuera Morrison), but Nicole Kidman seemed a bit out of place, as Atlanna. Visually, it was a great achievement because it must have been hard to make the characters look like they were actually underwater, and some of the action scenes were put together well, but it's really Momoa's fresh acting style, that saved the day. He would have been great in a Marvel movie, but now he's stuck with DC's Aquaman, it really could do with Ragnorak's director, Taiki Waititi, touch. With all that aside, it is a decent watch, and it's much better than some of the movies that have come out of DC's camp, but it wasn't memorable and I'm glad that I didn't pay top dollar to watch it in the cinema. With a sequel due to come out in 2022, it's a shame that the same director is making the movie because I can't see it being dramatically different from this one. Now that Aquaman is king, there are many different avenues that they can take the character, but I don't think that the director is willing to take many risks, in terms of wit and really letting Momoa loose. Judging by the scenes after the credits, it's obvious that Manta is returning to revenge his dad, and the fact that King Orm is in a room with a view, I'm sure that he will be returning to gain the throne but it really needs a charismatic character to make this movie something to remember. Anyway, it's worth a watch, especially if you're a comic book fan, but I preferred Wonderwoman. Watchable!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by James Wan, who brought you Saw in 2004, Dead Silence, Death Sentence starring Kevin Bacon, Doggie Heaven, Insidious 1 & 2, The Conjuring 1 & 2 and Fast & Furious 7. He has quite a versatile filmography, which was originally based on horror mysteries, so he was a questionable choice to bring this epic movie to the big screen. He also produced all of the Saw movies, Annabelle, Demonic, Lights Out, Jigsaw, Annabelle: Creation, The Nun and the Curse of La Llorona, so he has a passion for the supernatural genre. As this is the highest grossing movie from DC, including all of the Batman movies, it certainly passed all expectations, especially after the disappointing Justice League movie. I just hope they cut down on the visuals, and concentrate on a decent plot for the sequel.
Budget: $160-$200million Worldwide Gross: $1.15billion
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi Cast: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Temuera Morrison, Lundi Lin, Michael Beach and Randall Park. 5/10
Mortal Engines (2018)
Waste of time and money, but the original concept was decent. 3/10
What a total waste of time and money! All of the details that went into the extravagant sets, were wasted because there was way too much going on from one scene to the next. On top of that, all of the actors didn't put in a good performance, and the depth throughout the film was uninteresting and quite pointless. I liked the robot, Strike because his back story and determination to catch Hester Shaw, made complete sense, but the rest of the cast just got on my nerves after a while. I am also getting fed up with Hugo Weaving playing the same "Baddie" roles because he is a good actor who has a bigger range. The whole movie just seemed like a "Mish Mash" of other movies like Star Wars, Mad Max etc, which is why it really didn't go down well with audiences around the world. I do appreciate that the movie was based on a book, so I can't totally blame the crew of this film, but I must say that it's a terrible adaptation which must have looked good on paper. I'm not going to type an in-depth review about the storyline like I usually do because it has was too many twist and turns, and the technical jargon will is too complex and confusing, so I'll carry on giving my opinion of how the creators made a right shambles of this film. Now, on top of the corny script and awful looking ships, the ending was terrible, and I was expecting Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmer), to be some kick-ass Ninja skills, which she totally didn't. I can understand that she was miserable about her past, after losing her mum to the evil Thaddeus Valentine, but after being saved numerous times, she could have at least showed some sort of appreciation. As for Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan), he just got on my nerves from the very beginning, which is a shame because he was excellent in The Umbrella Academy. On the plus side, I was shocked to see that they actually built a lot of the sets, which makes it worse when you see how much it lost at the box office. They did use the hell out of CGI, but a lot of the action scenes were a right mess, especially the air battles. I will give it a couple of points because the concept was promising, but it's not in the same league as the Hunger Games or other movies in this genre. With Hugo Weaving being the biggest star in the movie, it's obvious that they would have to get some bigger names to get back the money they lost if they decide to make a sequel. I just hope they concentrate on the script more than the stupid moving cities, which looked ridiculous. I think you can tell that I really didn't like this film, but I stuck with it because I was expecting a big showdown towards the end, which turned out to be yet another disappointment. Waste of Time!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by Christian Rivers, who also directed Minutes Past Midnight, which was an unheard-of movie. For such a big film, I'm surprised that he was given a big budget. Maybe it's because Peter Jackson contributed to the screenplay, and he also co-directed and produced this film, so the studio must have thought that it would be a guaranteed blockbuster after the success of the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit franchises. It has been calculated that the film lost the studio $174.7million when factoring together all expenses and revenues, making it the biggest box office bomb of 2018.
Budget: $100million Worldwide Gross: $83.6million (Flop!)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Thriller Cast: Hera Hilmer, Robert Sheehan, Hugo Weaving, Jihae, Ronan Raftery, Leila George, Patrick Malahide, Stephen Lang, Colin Salmon, Mark Mitchinson and Rege-Jean Page. 3/10
Great animation and storyline! 8/10
When I heard they were making an animated version of Spider-Man for the big screen, I wasn't overly excited, but after watching a couple of trailers, I saw that they really took a chance with the unique style and concept of the film. It still didn't make me want to pay to see it on the big screen, so I waited for it to be released on Blu-ray, and I must admit, it was a great movie. The whole black Spider-Man concept was brilliantly put together, and I liked the family element throughout the film. The various Spider-Men & Women were great but it did take me some time to get used to the animation, which was done just like a comic book. The mannerisms and facial expressions of Miles Morales were brilliant, and the kingpin looked nuts but it really is the storyline which I have to give top marks. It did get a bit confusing when it came to the quantum leap concept because they seemed to be flying in and out of time, but apart from that, I really did enjoy it. The movie is about a teenager called Miles Morales, who struggles to live up to the expectations of his father, police officer Jefferson Davis, who sees Spider-Man as a menace. Miles changes to a boarding school, but he sneaks out and goes to his Uncle Aaron Davis house. When he takes Miles to an abandoned subway station to paint graffiti, Miles is bitten by a radioactive spider and gains spider-like abilities. Miles returns to the station to search for the spider and discovers a particle accelerator called "The Super-Collider" built by Wilson Fisk. Fisk hopes to access parallel universes to find alternative versions of his deceased wife and son, who died in a car crash after they found Fisk trying to kill Spider-Man. Spider-Man tried to disable the collider while fighting Fisk's enforcers, Green Goblin and Prowler. Spider-Man saves Miles and senses that they are alike. Green Goblin shoves Spider-Man into the collider, causing an explosion that kills Green Goblin. Wounded, Spider-Man gives Miles a USB drive to disable the accelerator and warns that the machine could destroy the city if activated. Miles watches in horror as Fisk kills Spider-Man, and flees from Prowler. Miles damages the hard drive whilst trying out his newfound abilities. At Spider-Man's grave, Miles meets Peter B. Parker, an older and worn down version of Spider-Man from another dimension. Upon meeting Peter, Miles inadvertently discovers a power to emit a bio-electric pulse to disable his victim. Peter reluctantly agrees to train Miles in exchange for help stealing data to create a new drive. In Fisk's research facility, Miles discovers he has the power to turn invisible. They are confronted by chief scientist Olivia Octavius, who reveals that Peter will die due to cellular decay if he stays longer in their dimension after taking DNA samples from Peter. Miles and Peter are rescued by Gwen Stacy, Spider-Woman from another dimension. They find Peter's aunt, May Parker, who is sheltering more heroes from other dimensions. Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Ham and Peni Parker are also deteriorating. Miles offers to disable the collider so the others can return home, but the heroes tell him he lacks experience. Miles retreats to Aaron's home, where he discovers that Aaron is the Prowler. He returns to May's house, where Peni has completed the drive, however, he is followed by Fisk, Prowler, Octavius, Scorpion and Tombstone, leading to a brawl. Miles flees, but is captured by Prowler and unmasks himself. Unwilling to kill Miles, Aaron is shot by Fisk. Miles flees with Aaron, but Aaron dies of his injuries. Jefferson sees Miles mourning over Aaron and concludes that Spider-Man killed him. The heroes regroup with Miles in his dorm. peter restrains Miles with his webs to ensure his safety before heading out with the heroes, choosing to sacrifice himself by staying behind and deactivating the collider. Miles masters his powers and goes to Aunt May's, where he gains web shooters and repairs Peter's suit. He joins the heroes and helps them defeat Fisk's enforcers before activating the USB drive and sending them home. Fisk and Miles fight throughout the collider and Miles paralyses Fisk with his venom blast and throws him at the kill switch, destroying the collider. Fisk and his enforcers are arrested and Jefferson recognises Spider-Man as a hero. Back in their home dimensions, the heroes return to their lives. Peter prepares to fix his relationship with Mary Jane, and Gwen finds a way to connect Miles across dimensions. It's definitely not a straight forward plot, but it makes more sense when you're watching it. The directors tried their utmost to stay close to the comics, which is why it was popular with the die-hard fans. Personally, I haven't read any of the comics but I still found the movie entertaining, and completely different from any of the movies. It wasn't made with young kids in mind, which is why it didn't smash the box office, and it's "Street" concept isn't for everyone, but there are many different elements that will satisfy all ages. I just hope that they carry on this animated franchise because it's one of the best Spider-Man adaptations that I have seen to date. Surprisingly Enjoyable!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by 3 different directors, who all brought there own fresh idea's to make this movie truly unique. The first director, Peter Ramsey brought you Rise of the Guardians in 2012, and he was a storyboard artist for movies like Predator 2, Backdraft, Far and Away, Bram Stoker's Dracula, The Shadow, Tank Girl, Batman Forever, Eye For An Eye, Independence Day, Men In Black, Godzilla, Edtv, Being John Malkovich, Fight Club, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Cast Away, A.I., Panic Room, Minority Report, Adaptation, The Core, Spartan, Shark Tale, Penguins of Madagascar, Sausage Party and a Wrinkle in Time, so he has loads of experience when it comes to his profession. The second director, Bob Persichetti hasn't directed any other movies, but he was also a storyboard artist, and rough inbetweener, for Hercules, Mulan, Tarzan, Fantasia 2000, The Emperor's New Groove, Treasure Planet, Shrek 2, Shrek The Halls, Monsters vs. Aliens, Puss In Boots and the Little Prince in 2015, so he was perfect when it came to the animation department. The 3rd and final director, Rodney Rothman, produced Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Year One, Get Him To The Greek and The Five-Year Engagement, so he was obviously brought into the mix for his experience in the comedic world. He also wrote Grudge Match and 22 Jump Street, and he supplied the screenplay for this movie alongside Phil Lord, so he played a big part in bringing this movie to the masses. It's not very often that 3 directors, that come from completely different backgrounds, are able to make a successful movie together, but in this case, it actually worked. It's a thumbs up from me!
Budget: $90million Worldwide Gross: $376million
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure, Family, Sci-Fi Cast: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Lily Tomlin, Luna Lauren Velez, Zoe Kravitz, John Mulaney, Kimiko Glenn, Nicolas Cage, Kathryn Hahn, Liev Schreiber, Chris Pine, Natalie Morales, Oscar Isaac and Stan Lee. 8/10
The Grinch (2018)
Great attention to detail but could have been funnier! 6/10
For an animation movie made for kids, I actually enjoyed this film. Maybe I'm going soft! The animation was top class, and the vibrate colours and attention to detail was quite impressive. The director stuck to the original concept, which was a plus, and I must admit, I did get a bit emotional towards the end. Don't get me wrong, it's not in the same league as the old Pixar movies, but there is something for the whole family, especially the little ones. The movie kicks off in the town of Whoville, were the humanoids called Who's are filled with excitement about celebrating Christmas. The only one who isn't amused is a cantankerous, green-furred creature called The Grinch (Benedict Cumberbatch), who has a heart "two sizes too small" and lives in a cave on the top of Mount Crumpit just north of Whoville. The Grinch has a pet dog named Max and they both only visit Whoville when the Grinch needs to buy food and do bad things. Meanwhile, 5-year-old Cindy Lou Who notices that her mother Donna is overworked trying to take care of herself and her baby twin brothers, Buster and Bean. At First, she decides to send a letter to Santa Claus to help her mother, but after encountering the Grinch, who sarcastically says that she'll have to talk to Santa face-to-face about it, she then decides to go to the North Pole to talk to Santa, but when Donna tells her that it would take a month to get there and back home, her final decision is to try and trap Santa with the help of her friends. With Christmas approaching, all the Whoville festivities give the Grinch a flashback, recalling his disjointing childhood spent mostly alone and unwanted in an orphanage. The Grinch soon decides that he will steal Christmas from Whoville to assuage his distress. He acquires a fat reindeer whom he calls Fred to help him pull a sleigh that he stole from his neighbour, Mr. Bricklebaum. After a test run, the Grinch discovers that Fred has a family. With a heavy heart, he lets Fred go home with them. On Christmas Eve, after making a Santa Claus disguise and dozens of gadgets to help him with his plan, the Grinch and Max, who pulls the sleigh in Fred's place, go down to Whoville to steal the decorations and presents. He soon encounters Cindy after falling into her trap. Her request to help lighten her mother's workload, and her kind advice about listening to the Who's singing to alleviate his sadness, touches the Grinch's bitter heart, but he still carried on with his mission. After stealing every Christmas present, the Who's wake up and are shocked to see that the presents and decorations are gone. At first, Cindy believes that she's to blame because she trapped Santa, but Donna tells her that Christmas is more than just about presents and that Cindy's the best thing that ever happened to her. The Who's then join together and sing, which puzzles the Grinch because they are still celebrating Christmas, despite the theft. After heeding Cindy's advice and immersing himself to their singing, his small bitter heart grows up three times it's original size. The Grinch and Max decide to return to Whoville to return the stolen items. A guilt-ridden and remorseful Grinch admits his crimes to the Who's, and apologises before returning to his cave. Feeling sorry for the Grinch, Cindy Lou comes to invite him to celebrate Christmas at her house, and he awkwardly attends. When seated down for dinner, he realises and confesses that it wasn't really Christmas he despised, but being alone and his bitterness over being neglected. Before carving the roast beast, the Grinch affects a toast "To kindness and love, the things we need most. What a sweet story! Personally, I can't see myself watching it more than once, but I still enjoyed this adaptation of an old classic. Although he was a grumpy so and so, I liked the relationship between the Grinch and his trustee companion Max, who was always there for him. I did think that the soundtrack didn't suit the film, and the narrating got on my nerves after a while but judging by the box office takings, and the decent reviews, it's still worth a watch. Watchable!
Round-Up: This is the first major release for director Scott Mosier, who did a decent job with this project, even though it has been made a few times before. It was also directed by Yarrow Cheney, who was co-director for the Secret Life of Pets, The Very First Noel and the Minions short, Puppy!. After watching the bonus material, It's amazing to see the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes in the animation world, which is why it takes so long to release movies in this genre. Every hair, colour and facial expression is finely detailed, which goes through many processes before it's final render, so I appreciate the work that went into making this film. With that aside, I do think that the humour could have been much better, and I would have liked to have seen some more depth from the various characters but it's still fun for the whole family.
Budget: $75million Worldwide Gross: $512million
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Musical Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Cameron Seely, Rashida Jones, Pharrell Williams, Tristan O'Hare, Kenan Thompson, Sam Lavagnino, Ramone Hamilton, Angela Lansbury, Lori Alan and Michael Beattie. 6/10
Hunter Killer (2018)
Decent plot but only worth a one-watch! 5/10
This is yet another mediocre movie from Gerard Butler, which does have its intense moments, but it's nothing that we haven't seen before. I did enjoy the Navy Seal part of the plot, which I thought Butler should have played, and it did have a Hunt for the Red October feel, but without the Connery class performance. Gary Oldman should have played Butler's role, which would have worked perfectly in the submarine, but with that aside, I did like the whole "American's teaming up with the Russian's" concept, which is rare in this day and age. The film kicks off under-water, were the USS Tampa Bay vanishes while shadowing a Russian Akula-class submarine in the Arctic. Rear Admiral John Fisk (Common) sends a Virginia-class submarine, the USS Arkansas, under the command of newly-promoted and unorthodox Commander Joe Glass (Gerard Butler) to investigate. At the same time, a Navy Seal team under the command of Lieutenant Bill Beaman (Toby Stephens) is sent in to discreetly observe a Russian naval base, but their mission is swiftly complicated when Martinelli (Zane Holtz), the team's new designated marksman recruit, is rendered unconscious during the HALO drop. When they arrive at the naval base, they witness defence minister Dmitriy Surov (Mikhail Gorevoy) conducting a coup d'etat and taking Russian President Nikolai Zakarin (Alexander Dyachenko) prisoner and swiftly realise that Duroc intends to trigger a war. Meanwhile, Arkansas discovers the lost U.S. submarine, and also finds a sunken Russian submarine damaged in a manner that suggests internal sabotage rather than external attack. They are attacked by another Russian submarine that has been hiding under an iceberg, but Glass is able to destroy the ambushes and rescue Russian survivors from the wreck, including submarine captain Sergei Andropov (Michael Nyqvist). Now I know that it sounds confusing, but believe me, it's pretty straight forward when you watch it. Anyway, back at base, the U.S.government learns about the coup, and Admiral Charles Donnegan (Gary Oldman) recommends preparing for war, while Fisk suggests that Arkansas be sent to rendezvous with Beaman's team after they have rescued Zakarin. Glass manages to convince the reluctant Andropov to help, and with Andropov's knowledge of the minefield around the base, Glass navigates the Arkansas near the base undetected. Meanwhile, Beaman's team infiltrate the base and succeed in retrieving President Zakarin, but lose two teammates in the process. Beaman delivers the injured president to Arkansas's DSRV, then goes back alone for Martinelli, whom he was forced to leave behind due to prior injuries. As U.S. and Russian fleets face off for battle, Arkansas sustains further damage when they are attacked by Andropov's old ship. Andropov is able to communicate a message affirming that President Zakarin is aboard the submarine. When Duroc orders his forces at the base to fire missiles at the surfaced Arkansas, Glass refuses to take action, recognising that firing back at the Russians could start the war he is trying to stop. In the last seconds, Andropov's old crewmates defy orders and destroy the incoming missiles with CIWS before they can strike Arkansas, and subsequently destroy Durov's naval base headquarters with their missiles. With the war averted, Glass docks Arkansas to the Russian naval base to return Zakarin and Andropov's surviving crew to their country. Although the movie flopped heavily at the box office, even with big names like Butler and Oldman in the cast, it's still a well-written story, with realistic sets, but it's not the type of film that I would personally watch twice. It's obvious from the very beginning that Butler is going to save the day, again, but with the many twist and turns in the plot, it does make it watchable. It's just a shame that the director didn't take full advantage of the great cast! Watchable!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by Donovan Marsh, who brought you Spud in 2010, Spud 2 and iNumber Number, which are all unheard of. He did do a decent job with a complex storyline, but I personally think that it would have been a smash hit if it went to an established director. With Butler's name on the producer credits, the failure at the box office must have hit everyone hard, especially after the amount of work that went into the 3 parallel concepts. As this film didn't get a big distribution campaign, I can't see it damaging any of the actor's reputations, but I still think that it would have been a better watch of Butler was in the action role, with Oldman controlling the submarine.
Budget: $40million Worldwide Gross: $16million
Genre: Action, Thriller Cast: Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman, Common, Corey Johnson, Adam James, Christopher Goh, Carter MacIntyre, Michael Nyqvist, Caroline Goodall, David Yelland, Jacob Scipio, Shane Taylor and Henry Goodman. 5/10
Robin Hood (2018)
Predictable & Unentertaining! 2/10
This movie is really poor quality! Although there are some epic action scenes, it still looks and feels cheap, and the weak and unrealistic plot didn't help. The mediocre performances and terrible pairing of Foxx and Egerton were also a contribution to the failure of this film, but Mendelsohn plays the "Baddie" well, like in most of his movies. I couldn't grasp what accent Foxx actually had, and the typical "period drama" English accent from the rest of the cast became tedious after a while. The love story wasn't bad, but it didn't touch the other interpretations of this classic story. In this 2018 version, Lord Robin of Loxley (Taron Egerton) lives in Nottingham, and enjoys a good life with his lover Marian (Eve Hewson), before he is drafted by the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn), to fight in the Third Crusade against the Saracens. After four years away from England, Robin becomes disillusioned with the Crusades when he fails to prevent his commander, Guy Of Gisbourne (Paul Anderson), from executing prisoners, including a teenage boy, despite the pleading of the boy's father, which prompts Gisbourne to send Robin back home. When he returns to Nottingham, Robin learns from his old friend Friar Tuck (Tim Minchin), that the Sheriff had him officially declared dead two years prior in order to seize Robin's land and wealth to continue funding the war effort at the behest of the corrupt Cardinal (F. Murray Abraham), exiling the citizens from the city and into the coal mine town across the river. Investigating "the Slags", Robin witnesses the commoners planning to rise against the government that oppresses and exploits them and learns that Marian is now involved with their aspiring leader, Will Tillman (Jamie Dornan). Robin is prevented from making contact with her by the Arab whose son he tried to save. The man introduces himself as Yahya, which he says can be translated to John, and proposes that he and Robin work to end the war by stealing the money taken from the people to fund the church's conflict. Marian seeks Robin upon learning that he is alive, but he chooses not to tell her his plans for her protection. After hours of training with John, Robin begins stealing the riches that the Sheriff has extorted from the townspeople, earning the nickname The Hood, while concealing his activities by masquerading as a frivolous playboy who supports the Sheriff's regime. During a party in the Cardinal's honour, Marian and Robin discover the war is a ploy of the church, which is also funding the Saracen army, to defeat the king and claim total power after his death. Gisbourne and his men raid the Slags, in order to find the Hood. Marian attempts to intervene despite Will's objections and crosses paths with the Hood, whom she discovers is Robin. John is captured by Gisbourne and tortured by the Sheriff but refuses to reveal the Hood's identity. Robin reveals himself to the commoners and is embraced as their leader, upsetting Will. Will leads a riot to distract the Sheriff's men while Robin intercepts a caravan transporting the Sheriff's fortune out of Nottingham, to be delivered to the Saracen army. Robin then leads the townspeople in a battle against the Sheriff and his forces. During the confrontation, Robin shares a kiss with Marian, which is witnessed by Will, moments before he is horribly scarred by an explosion. Disillusioned by Marian's betrayal, he abandons her and the revolution. When the tide of the battle begins turning in the Sheriff's favour, Robin surrenders to avoid further bloodshed and is taken to the Sheriff's castle to be executed. One of the guards is actually John, having escaped his cell, and he finally claims revenge on the Sheriff by hanging him by the chain on an oil burner. Robin and John flee to reunite with Marian and the townspeople who assisted them in Sherwood Forest, taking refuge there as outlaws. Meanwhile, the Cardinal approaches a vengeful Will and offers him the chance to claim the power vacuum in Nottingham if he is loyal to the church. Will is appointed the new sheriff and brands Robin and his follower's criminals, with Robin defiantly challenging Will to come after him. They have definitely left it open for a sequel, but after the terrible box office takings, and the bad reviews from the critics, I can't really see it happening. This film reminded me a lot of the terrible King Arthur movie, where they tried there utmost to bring an old tale into the 21st century, but they got it totally wrong. Anyway, I won't be watching this film again in a hurry, and I personally think that it was one of the worse films of 2018. Disappointing!
Round-Up: This is the first major release from Otto Bathurst, who must be disappointed with the outcome. He was able to pull together a decent cast, especially with the demand for Taron Egerton after the success of the Kingsman franchise, but the predictable action scenes and poor wit made it unentertaining and a strain to watch.
Budget: $100million Worldwide Gross: $85million (Flop!)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller Cast: Taron Egerton, Jamie Foxx, Ben Mendelsohn, Eve Hewson, Jamie Dornan, Tim Minchin, Paul Anderson and F. Murray Abraham. 2/10