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Black Widow (2021)
eeh It's just alright.
Black Widow is decidedly one of the more forgettable entries in the ever expanding MCU, a moderately entertaining movie that sadly came out at the wrong time.
The movie follows Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson); a character anybody who has so much as walked into a toy store will be familiar with, after she reconciles with her sister Yelena (Florence Pugh) and works to finally take down the elite assassin organisation the red room.
Along the way there are multiple side quests starring characters that ranged from memorable one liners to flat exposition providers that I had forgotten by the time the end credits scene rolled. All the performances in this movie are very solid, however Florence Pugh in particular stands out to me as being very good in her role as she is in most things. The issue with the characters stems from the writing, as a lot of the comedy fails to land and I found it difficult to be emotionally invested.
I don't think Black Widow was a bad movie in itself, but it failed to capture my attention with its plot and didn't break any records for great character writing. I think if the movie were to have been released pre infinity war I may have enjoyed it more, as it is difficult to connect to the movies main character in a prequel set before a movie so reality shifting as Endgame. I would recommend the movie to Marvel or Florence Pugh fans, however people who are not fond of Marvel's awkward and inappropriately placed jokes will probably not enjoy it.
Thanks for reading :)
I didn't watch this movie to cry, Gavin.
Mixed Martial arts is not something one considers when searching for the most tear jerking movie- but this does put a tear in my eye.
The movie follows former marine Tommy Conlon (Tom Hardy) after returning home and taking on training to compete in a high profile MMA fight, whilst his brother Brendan (Joel Edgerton) fights his own battles to support his wife and children.
The movie does not rely too heavily on experimenting with visual style, however is edited incredibly competently and is able to capture the madness and drive of the fight scenes with a great usage of shaky cam which I will admit becomes a little disorienting when it is used outside of action scenes.
The action in this movie is incredibly well choreographed and exciting, the usage of Beethoven helps to place the beats of the fight at certain points. I don't know quite how to describe how the action works so well when it does nothing I have not seen before.
I believe the most powerful part of this movie is the performances, Nick Nolte is incredible in one scene in particular and has such a convincing relationship with Tom Hardy's character that I almost cried at some parts.
I truly do believe that, whilst warrior plays it safe in some regards, it is an incredibly underrated movie which I can definitely recommend. I didn't expect to nor did I want to love this movie, but it was just so good that I found it difficult not to.
Thanks for reading :)
The Cable Guy (1996)
It's like Joker but not!
The Cable Guy is a movie that stretched it's long cable arms out the screen and whacked me around the face all the while Jim Carrey shouted unintelligible screams at me forcing me to stare at the screen.
The Cable Guy follows a lonely and socially isolated Cable Repair Man (Jim Carrey) who, in the search for a friend dedicates himself to becoming Steven's (Matthew Broderick) best friend and in the process begins to completely ruin his life with such wacky antics as going to a medieval themed restaurant, holding a wild karaoke night and kidnapping Steven's girlfriend atop a satellite dish. If any of this sounds at all unbelievable then you have successfully identified my exact feelings about The Cable Guy. I cannot believe I watched this in my very own lounge.
Jim Carrey is, as expected, incredibly over the top and silly, and he doesn't quite tackle the surprisingly serious elements of this movie like how you might expect an actor to. I can't quite explain his performance here as I think it needs to be seen to be believed. Matthew Broderick plays one of his two main character types- the straight faced every guy who usually wears a suit. And he is pretty much perfect for the role. There's not really that much else to talk about honestly, the movie is surprisingly funny but has more serious moments that always shocked me when they came up.
If I am seriously going to critique this movie then I would say that there is a very notable disconnect between scenes- it almost feels as though some parts were cut in the version I watched- meaning that there is a serious emotional whiplash with some scenes that, in all honesty, were probably not supposed to be emotional. Also, the murder subplot was really strange. Not bad, just strange.
But truthfully, the film doesn't need to do much different. It achieves everything it sets out to and doesn't expect to win any awards or anything. It's not a great movie, realistically it is not even a good movie, but I really enjoyed it for some reason. Also, it's a lot like Joker. Just an observation.
Shockingly, I recommend this movie wholeheartedly. It is not good, it is not deep or emotional, but hell it's enjoyable.
Thanks for reading :)
La La Land (2016)
Exactly what I needed.
The past year has been hectic and incredibly stressful, and has been for everyone. Fortunately I believe La La Land may be the movie we all need whilst not necessarily being a feel good movie.
The film follows Mia, a struggling actress trying (and failing) to find success in Hollywood. Sebastian is a jazz pianist with dreams of opening his own club, who often finds it difficult to further his career because of the public's dismissal of jazz. Together, they try to follow their dreams whilst also trying to find happiness.
This movie is a visual masterpiece and is a love letter to classic cinema, with references to such films as casablanca. It also contains many gorgeous and incredibly well shot and choreographed dance scenes that are able to keep my interest for longer than the average musical.
However that does bring me to my one true issue with this movie- and I feel the need to stress that this issue is not a problem with the film, rather a personal preference- and that is that none of the music in this film stands out to me as an instant favourite, most of them sound slightly similar and can sometimes merge together in my memory. There are stand out songs however and the recurring leitmotifs help to bring the movie's themes together.
I love the performances in this movie, Emma Stone is a definite stand out as she conveys so many emotions without needing to express them verbally and she is also a very good singer which I didn't actually know before. Damian Chazelle has many trademarks in his directing style and themes, and also appears to have a slight obsession with Charlie Parker. I love the style of this movie and its themes and classic cinematic style. This is a beautiful movie that made me feel very nostalgic for things I haven't yet experienced. I think that is the best way to describe it. It hit me very hard and came into my life just when I needed it to. I would recommend this film to everybody, and I especially think it might be what people need right now.
Thanks for reading :)
The Breakfast Club (1985)
The breakfast club is a very misleading title for this film, I thought I was in for a rom-com about a pancake making and the subsequent eating of these pancakes however instead I was hit by an incredibly emotional and well written movie that is more topical now than it may have been when it came out.
The Breakfast Club follows a group of students spending a Saturday in detention. If this sounds like a boring plot then you'd be surprised, as the characters get up to a number of comedic and heart wrenching discussions and activities throughout the course of the movie, ranging from whistling when supposed to be silent to smoking in the school library. It's definitely a movie that will entertain you at some point, even if it fails to keep your attention the whole film.
The plot of the breakfast club, despite being very straightforward, is a plot with great potential, which Hughes definitely knew and utilised. The crazy adventures that Bender (Judd Nelson) leads the other children into seem basic and boring at first glance, however through witty dialogue and interesting scenes. That being said, not every scene here is a 10/10, some parts felt needlessly dragged out and made me feel slightly bored. High school drama comedies are not usually my thing and very few films that take place in a school setting are able to catch my attention (not you 'mean girls' and 'ten things I hate about you' you're perfect.) but that should go to say how good this film is that I was so rarely bored.
I was very impressed by the performances in this movie, Judd Nelson was always going to be perfect for his role but my personal favourite is Anthony Michael Hall as Brian, whose childlike appearances betray his incredibly mature and gut wrenching take on the character help to bring a level of understanding and tragedy to the character that may have been missed if it weren't for the beautiful writing and performance. All the actors in this movie are perfect for their respective roles and give the characters a great voice and personality with tons of unique feelings and discussions.
I believe the breakfast club is a movie that brings up many important issues such as peer pressure, depression, parental roles and high school feuds. These issues are tackled with such respect and maturity that it has become even more important as it has grown older and as these issues have become more serious and prevalent. Whilst this film may not keep me glued like some films do and there are some scenes which feel drawn out and unneeded, but this film is a near perfect blend of comedy and harsh realism and is a definite recommendation for teenagers and all ages, especially if they like high school comedy dramas.
Thanks for reading :)
Whiplash made me care about Jazz music, that is astonishing as it is not a genre of music that has crossed my mind since watching 'Soul'.
'Whiplash' follows 19 year old Andrew (MIles Teller) after he is accepted into an elite school jazz band and is subjected to extremely harsh teaching methods at the hands of his teacher/mentor Terrence Fletcher (JK Simmons). The film follows him on a slow decline down the hole of obsession and insanity.
The subtle shifts in Andrew's personality as he continues with his lessons with Fletcher help to show his gradual slip as his emotions and frustrations build up to a boiling point when he reaches a near mental breakdown. The screenwriting in this movie is so smart and well written that they tell the whole story of Andrew's emotions through the ways his discussions and comebacks with Fletcher and his family become more and more hostile and aggressive as he becomes more and more frustrated and annoyed with Fletcher's teaching and lack of willing to commend him on any achievements. (ALSO I just want to say how creative some of these insults are- seriously, I am making notes.) The performances are stellar and help to alleviate the story with Fletcher's aggressive and curse ridden outbursts towards Andrew and Andrew's growing frustrations. Every side character has a distinguishable personality most likely because every actor gives their roles their all and help to bring another dimension to their characters.
The cinematography in this film, whilst not being it's standout point, is exceedingly good and its use of colours helps to make certain scenes very unsettling. This films main highlight is its perfect story outline and set up. The ending is beautiful yet tinged with doubt and a strange feeling of oncoming tragedy. It hits every plot and emotional beat and is, in my opinion, perfect. I cannot recommend this film enough, if you are OK with excessive bad language and fast, exciting editing and story beats then this is definitely the film for you. Thanks for reading :)
The Village (2004)
M Night Shyamalan films cause one of three reactions with me. 'Wow', 'Alright' and 'That's enough Netflix for today.'
The village follows a small town (it's more of a village I just didn't want to use the same word twice) that is plagued by attacks from mysterious cloaked figure. Sadly, this film falls into the second option.
The first 50 or so minutes of this movie are amazing and that is not an overstatement- I genuinely could see this film rivalling the sixth sense if it was able to keep up such a high quality for the remaining 58 minutes. The characters in this film are its strongest point and they are excellently set up to be likeable and compelling protagonists, Joaquin Phoenix's Lucius Hunt is a silent but compelling character and Bryce Dallas Howard's Ivy is a compassionate and wise protagonist. They are supported by some great performances from the likes of Adrien Brody and Brendan Gleeson and the growing mystery of the strange nighttime attacks raises the tension to a breaking point after a suspicious attack. (I won't say any more for spoiler reasons.) Sadly, this film begins to derail slightly after this point, it feels as though it reaches a high then crashes as the final forty or so minutes feel flabby and boring, despite the amazing performances. I feel as though the film wastes its most compelling and exciting moments in the first half and drags in the second with a twist that could be so much more interesting if it were padded with the same tension from the first two acts.
The Village is an alright movie with an amazing cast and some spectacular performances but an ending that does not do its beginning justice. The soundtrack backs up the film incredibly well throughout however, the lone violins provide a suspenseful atmosphere to the film. This is far from Shyamalan's worst film, but also far from his best. I would recommend to horror fans who don't want to watch anything too scary or gory or even just if you're looking for a film to watch of an evening. Just don't let your hopes get too high.
Thanks for reading :)
I think it would be very interesting to go back in time and give Joaquin Phoenix the script for Joker whilst he was filming this. That has nothing to do with the quality of the movie I just think it would be interesting.
'Signs' is a criminally underscored movie. The movie follows a man, his brother and his two children as they struggle to survive an alien invasion and their own inner struggles as a family.
M Night Shyamalan is able to build levels of tension in his movies unlike any other director, this movie, 'the village' and 'the sixth sense' are clear examples of his skills as a horror director- the constant questions his movies throw at you may seem to have answers laying in plain sight upon re-watch, but upon initial viewing it is near impossible to see where the films are going.
'Signs' is not Shyamalan's best example of a growing mystery, as the plot is quite easy to make predictions about and a pre-established knowledge of his movies will most likely mean you can guess almost every plot beat.
However what it lacks in mystery it makes up for in suspense and character, the eerie silence of the house and the world surrounding it leaves the viewer vulnerable and almost expecting a monster to appear out of nowhere at any second, helping us to see and experience the characters motivations and feelings.
All of the performances in this movie are spectacular; Joaquin Phoenix in particular elevates his character past an unneeded side character which he so easily could have been.
The movie does feel as though it crumbles under its own weight in the last few minutes- the tying up of all the plot threads is very satisfying however it feels very rushed.
Overall, Signs is a very good movie with a few issues with it's plot; I would definitely recommend it and it deserves more praise than it has received.
Thanks for reading :)
Raya and the Last Dragon (2021)
Raya and the Last Dragon is the latest animated Disney movie, following Raya (Kelly Marie Tran) and her ragtag bunch of intrepid explorers as they seek to rid the world of an evil magic that turns people to stone.
There is also, as you may have guessed, a dragon named Sisu, who, for all she is made out to be, does not actually do very much in this film.
Raya and the Last Dragons plot is disappointingly cookie cutter, and some side characters sink to new comedic lows for the Disney brand, meaning that you can definitely foresee every event before it happens.
The traditional 'go on a quest to get an object and then do something with the object' is not a bad plot line, shows such as Avatar The Last Airbender follow a similar narrative but turn it on its head and introduce new perspectives and ideas to the age old story.
Raya and the underused dragon character fails to bring anything new to the story; none of the characters outside of Raya and Sisu are properly developed and it's moral viewpoint of 'trust' is dis-proven by so many characters that X Files' advice of 'trust no one' is looking more and more appealing the more I think about it; and it's message of greed bringing people apart feels very awkwardly written and doesn't come in with an air of subtlety. (Then again it is for children so that could've been intentional.) The voice acting and casting however is near perfect; whilst I have admittedly not seen many Awkwafina movies outside of Jumanjii, I definitely think she was right for the role and puts her all into some pretty un-funny jokes.
I'm glad to see Kelly Marie Tran get another shot after the disappointing way her character was sidelined in Star Wars, and she definitely brings an emotional and fierce voice to the character of Raya.
The animation was touch and go, as a person who has had to animate water before now I have such respect for the animators who worked on the fluid effects for this movie as the water looks gorgeous.
The rest of the animation was very cookie cutter standard for Disney and did not seem to improve or variate from previous movies as the characters looked very smooth and clay-like and didn't add many new techniques or styles into the mix. The paper sequence at the beginning was very well made however and I do not fault any animators who worked on this movie as everything looks very bright and well animated, if a little standard.
Raya and underutilised blue talking toothless suffers from flat, underdeveloped characters, iffy dialogue and a very standard plot, however I am about ten years over it's target audience and if kids like it then it doesn't really matter what issues it may have.
I recommend this film to families with young children, however this is far from a Disney best.
Thanks for reading :)
Bruce Almighty (2003)
B E A utiful
Bruce Almighty has no right to be as good as it actually is; and indeed a film of it's nature would not normally be a film I would actually get emotional over.
Jim Carrey's Bruce Nolan is a news anchor who often finds himself being underutilised and underappreciated in the workplace (Or at least that is how he perceives it) and longs to prove himself to the world- an aspiration which he finds much easier to achieve after being gifted god like powers.
The core of this film lies in its comedy- the over the top performances from Steve Carell and Jim Carrey elevate the already well written comedy, providing arguably one of the funniest scenes put to film.
The more emotional heart to the film can be easier to miss but the more genuine moments provide a nice moment of respite amongst the exaggerated comedy of the rest of the movie, the growing conflict and eventual split between Bruce and Jennifer Aniston's Grace culminates in an emotional final moment between Bruce and God.
The film does lack many important emotional beats, none of the characters outside of Bruce and Grace feel particularly well developed and the comedy is very hit or miss and does rely on the viewer having a very silly sense of humour, but I don't really care because I don't think the film needs to be excellent to be enjoyed and the comedy- which is all that really matters- hits the mark in most places.
I would recommend Bruce Almighty to nearly everyone, just maybe don't go into it with high expectations or expecting a masterpiece. Also a definite recommendation for Back to the Future fans- look out for the clock tower in the background of some scenes!
Thanks for reading :)
Honestly I was shocked to find that this film was 126 minutes long, it doesn't feel it; probably because of how enjoyable it is.
For a film named Batman the bat eared billionaire surprisingly appears very little in comparison to Jack Nicholson's Joker, who has a great screen presence and aesthetic.
The comedic nature of the Joker on screen shines best in this movie; his extravagant nature helps him shine in the otherwise very toned down movie, however it can overpower the more frightening nature of the character and means that he is not a very threatening villain, especially when compared to later incarnations of the character.
Michael Keaton gives a very toned down performance of the character, both in the suit and out however this works very well with the more extreme version of the Joker and the silent brooding personality he brings to the role helps to distinguish this version from other portrayals.
The aesthetic of this movie is a very comic based one, however in keeping with it's toned down atmosphere it does not go to such lengths as a movie like Scott Pilgrim (this is also because of the time it was made in and the technical constraint) and this unique style once again makes it shine out in amongst the hyper realistic superhero movies of the modern day.
This film does have some emotional whiplash with it's more comedic moments against its toned down backdrop meaning that moments such as the art gallery scene can feel very out of place and disconnected. That particular scene is very fun though so it gets a pass in my books.
I would recommend this movie to most people however do not expect a perfect film or a very sophisticated take on the character. As a big Nolan movies fan this film doesn't rival his trilogy, but it doesn't need to to be an enjoyable movie. Batman Returns does improve upon many of the negative points I had so I can definitely recommend that film. Thanks for reading :)
Who knew fashion design could be so lethal?
As the Disney live action remake train continues I find myself getting more and more tired of the same cgi hybrids that seem to be churned out like rabbit babies- fortunately, Cruella does defy some of the tropes that have defined this genre, and does it with such a good soundtrack that I would almost say it was semi-original.
The performances given range from very good to average, however Emma Thompson steals the show in every scene she is in giving a cold performance that seems to fill the screen with prude and snobbish style.
The dresses in this movie are stunning, and that's coming from somebody who despises wearing anything with any semblance of fashion, and the rival fashion show scenes with the vibrant colours and gorgeous makeup are the highlights to the film.
The soundtrack provides a great backdrop to the 70s punk scene London aesthetic (Whoever decided to set it in amongst this era deserves a round of applause!) and helps move the story along.
Unfortunately however, I cannot entirely rave about this movie- it felt quite overstuffed at times and definitely had some unnecessary additions to the backstory of Cruella De Vil, meaning it has difficulties being linked to the original as many plot points that I saw as being a foreshadowing of 101 Dalmatians were dropped or resolved too neatly to mean that this film has any sense of continuity. The timeline just falls short of the new x men movies in it's confusing nature.
The movie does not feel as though it is willing to commit to it's darker take on the story, and will often go to lengths to ensure that the film is never too scary for the family aimed audience, meaning a lot of the scenes can feel gimmicky and trope fuelled and there is never any true suspense or genuine fear. It also means it is difficult to build a picture of the titular character as she flits from personalities so quick that she is almost a bit comedic.
I would recommend it if you are interested in the punk scene or chaotic fashion shows; however this doesn't have enough redeeming qualities to be called a must watch or even a should watch. I can't say if it's Joker for kids as many critics seemed convinced it was; but I look forward to eventually watching that film much more than I do to rewatching this one. Thanks for reading :)
I don't know if truthfully I can give a proper opinion on this movie as I spent half of it trying to figure out what was going on.
From what I could understand however the film didn't really draw me in very much, however I did feel quite moved by one particular scene which I won't spoil, but truthfully I can't say that it was a very enjoyable movie. That's not to say that I don't think it could be enjoyable for others who are perhaps bigger fans of the semi-dystopian genre; it just didn't draw me in. Thanks for reading :)
Refreshing take on the comic book genre
Let me preface this by saying that I have not seen the follow up films so some points I make may not have as much merit as if I had seen the others; however this film stands up on its own incredibly well. As a long time comic book fan I really appreciated the integrity and research that went into making this film a loyal love letter to the art form.
Bruce Willis gives a great performance as David Dunn however the true standout performance of this movie comes from Samuel L Jackson as Elijah Price, who toes the line between thoughtful and honest and silently manipulative so well I was constantly on the edge of my seat trying to figure out his real motives.
My one true gripe is that the movie does end quite abruptly; meaning it can be difficult to see David's character change over the course of the movie as it feels as though it ends just as it should be beginning- however I am aware of the sequels that exist and I believe that they may continue the story appropriately. I just have to find the time to watch them now!
The sharp end does shake up the traditional action movie plot in a way that does not feel overly underdeveloped in its world or story, meaning that this film is a nice deviation from the average action flick- and yes, it did come out 21 years ago now, before the sudden influx of marvel movies- however age has not wearied it and I can especially recommend it in amongst the action movies of today.