Those Who Wish Me Dead – Movie Review

TL;DR – While it starts a bit muddled, it soon picks up, and the third act had me on the edge of the seat.    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of the film.

Those Who Wish Me Dead. Image Credit: Warner Brothers.

Those Who Wish Me Dead Review

I am not sure what you feel when you hear the word ‘firestorm’, but for me and I think many Australians, there is a visceral terror as we have all seen that all-consuming force. We know that destruction, year after year, so when you set a film in this world, there is a kind of instant buy-in as to the danger from the moment that first spark gets set off. But for a movie to work, it needs to be more than that, which is what we get this week. 

Set the scene, we open with a group of firelighters jumping out of a plane and parachuting down into the oncoming storm. They’re smokejumpers, and they are trying to make a firebreak and shore up the defences when the wind turns the fire directly at them. A year later, two men walk into the house of a district attorney in Fort Lauderdale, and minutes later, the house explodes, killing the whole family. Back in Jacksonville, Owen Casserly (Jake Weber), a forensic accountant, is getting his son Connor (Finn Little) ready for the day when he sees the news and immediately knows he is next. The two flee to Montana, where Owen’s brother-in-law Ethan Sawyer (Jon Bernthal) works as a sheriff, but just as they get close, the two men Jack (Aidan Gillen) and Patrick (Nicholas Hoult), attack.  

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Fatale – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film with a solid concept that hits hard early and then gives diminishing returns after that.    

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film.

Fatale. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Fatale Review

When writing a movie, I would take it that one of the more difficult parts of any screenplay is to know when that wow moment will be and how that moment affects the whole film. I think we have all watched that movie where that wow moment has fallen flat, or when it came at the wrong part of the film. Well, today, we have an interesting case of a movie making a big statement with its wow moment that had me on the edge of my seat and then did very little with it from that point onwards.

So to set the scene, Derrick Tyler (Michael Ealy) is a basketball agent who has worked to build his company from a small operation to one of the big players in the industry. But while his professional life is reaching for the heights, his marriage with Tracie (Damaris Lewis) is on autopilot. All of this is made worse when Derrick, enabled by his business partner Rafe Grimes (Mike Colter), has an affair with a woman in Las Vegas. This was a turning point for Derrick, but he has to look in horror when the women Val Quinlan (Hilary Swank) turns out to be Detective Val Quinlan.

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The Mitchells vs. The Machines – Movie Review

TL;DR – A blast from start to finish

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene, but like a lot of work went into the credits, and there are some snippets of stuff here and there.

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix subscription that viewed this movie info here

The Mitchells vs. The Machines. Image Credit: Netflix.

The Mitchells vs. The Machines Review

For the longest time, Sony Animation was this studio that shows immense potential, but they always seemed to be chasing trends, which never led them to make anything that stood out. The Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs showed they had potential, but then Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse came out of nowhere and exploded onto the screen. Now, Sony Animation was setting the trends, and it made me wonder where can they go next. Well, today, we get to see that with the charmingly odd The Mitchells vs. The Machines.

So to set the scene, the Mitchells are your standard quirky/dysfunctional family heading towards their first major crisis. As time has gone on, father Rick (Danny McBride) and daughter Katie (Abbi Jacobson) have become equally frustrated with each other, and no amount of work from mum Linda (Maya Rudolph) and brother Aaron (Mike Rianda) can fix this divide. However, Katie is about to go across the country to college, and if she leaves while the relationship is still broken, well, that could be irreparable damage. Well then, the family decides to make one last-ditch effort to fix the unfixable by going on a long road trip to drop Katie off at college, on the same week that techbro Mark Browman (Eric Andre) of PAL Labs inadvertently starts a robot invasion after upsetting his AI PAL (Olivia Colman).   

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The Falcon and The Winter Soldier (Captain America and The Winter Soldier): One World, One People – TV Review

TL;DR – What a stunning end to a remarkable story.  

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a Mid-Credit Scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ subscription that viewed this episode.

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier (Captain America and The Winter Soldier): One World, One People. Image Credit: Disney+.

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Review

And so it has come to an end. I was unsure what The Falcon and The Winter Soldier would explore rather than let Anthony Mack and Sebastian Stan banter with each other for six episodes. However, as we have gone through this first(?) season, it is clear that the show was, of course, ready for the banter, but it wanted more. Well, today, we take a look to see, after all that promise, if the show sticks the landing.  

So to set the scene, we open in one the end of Truth, as the Flag Smashers make a move and attack the central GRC meeting in New York. Karli (Erin Kellyman) holds off until Sam (Anthony Mackie), Bucky (Sebastian Stan), and a surprise Sharon (Emily VanCamp) arrive on the scene. But Sam understands the plan. Karli wants them to evacuate because that is where she is going to attack. The question is that in the chaos, can Sam stop things before they go too far. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead. 

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Stowaway – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film that understands the weight of the question it asks and the damage that would do to people.     

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix subscription that viewed this movie

Stowaway. Image Credit: Netflix.

Stowaway Review

It should come as no surprise to long or short term readers that I love Science Fiction. While the fantastical location of space is an excellent place to set your film, and I enjoy them no matter how they come. What can make a film special is when they use that setting to ponder important questions about the human condition. Today we have a look at a film that delves into crucial Kobayashi Maru territory.   

So to set the scene, we open in as the Hyperion mission on MTS42 is about to launch. Mission commander Marina Barnett (Toni Collette) is setting the ship on a course for a two-year mission out to Mars and back. Along for the mission is Zoe Levenson (Anna Kendrick), a medical researcher and David Kim (Daniel Dae Kim), the ship’s biologist. You feel the rumble of engines, the shake that makes you think the very ship will through itself apart, but then you break free into the void. Once connected with the main module, they begin the long trip to Mars. However, this is a mission with supplies for three people, but as the title implies, someone else made the journey into orbit.

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Mortal Kombat (2021) – Movie Review

TL;DR – Gory, gruesome, and yet also just a ton of fun.    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film.

Mortal Kombat. Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Mortal Kombat Review

When I was growing up, Mortal Kombat was this illicit thing that everyone knew about because the adults kept trying to get it banned. A baby Brian’s first experience with the Streisand Effect. So when you got to play it, well, it was almost an act of defiance, which of course, added to its appeal. As time when on, it mostly faded from my radar, and the two past films did not help, well more the second, the first still had the banging soundtrack if nothing else. But when you hear that they are doing a remake holding nothing back … well, this is something you need to check out.

So to set the scene, we open in on 1617, Japan, at the house of Hanzo Hasashi (Hiroyuki Sanada) and his family. Hanzo is the Shirai Ryu ninja clan leader, and as such, his home is well protected from threats. However, one fateful day while he was out fetching water, Bi-Han (Joe Taslim) of the Lin Kuei assassins arrived and killed all the guards and Hanzo’s family. They fight, but Bi-Han uses his ice to win the day and stop the prophecy of Hanzo’s bloodline being Earth’s salvation. Well, almost, as Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano) arrives, he hears a cry call out from the house, for a baby had been hidden away and was saved from the slaughter. Today, Cole Young (Lewis Tan) is just going about his life as an MMA fighter when that birthmark shaped like a dragon turns out to be a bigger deal than he ever thought.

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Land – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film where profound sadness and haunting beauty intersects on the mountains of rural Wyoming.  

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of the film.

Land. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Land Review

There is a genre of cinema that is sometimes derogatory referred to as a vanity project. This when a star gets enough clout to be able to direct their first film and then casts themselves in the lead role. These are usually overly dramatic works hoping to buy into that Oscar love. However, every now and again, you get a film that cuts through that noise and shows a real talent both behind and in front of the camera. With Land, we get just such a film and a phenomenal directorial debut from Robin Wright.  

So to set the scene, we open in Chicago with Edee (Robin Wright) in a therapy session, trying to talk about why she is alone with her pain and why she refuses to share it with anyone. She is there out of her sister Emma (Kim Dickens) insistence, who is scared that her sister might self-harm. Edee instead decides to sell everything she owns, rents a car and drives all the way to rural Quincy, Wyoming. Here she buys a cabin off the beaten track that was already off another beaten path to be alone from everyone. But living with no running water, electricity, or phone has more challenges than first encounters, especially when winter starts.

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The Falcon and The Winter Soldier: Truth – TV Review

TL;DR – It takes what could have been a boilerplate story, and elevates it with emotion and strength.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a Mid-Credit Scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ subscription that viewed this episode.

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier: Truth. Image Credit: Disney+.

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Review

If there is one running theme that we have been seeing so far in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, actions have consequences that can ripple out. We have seen that pop up time and time again, but this week it reveals itself in sharp contrast after the events of The Whole World is Watching and the desecration of a symbol in a moment of anger.

So to set the scene, we pick up right after the closing frames of last week’s episode with John Walker (Wyatt Russell) running from the scene covered in blood and still brandishing the murder weapon. He is trying to justify the unjustifiable when Bucky (Sebastian Stan) and Sam (Anthony Mackie) catch up to him in a warehouse. They both know that after what happened and that John’s best case scenario at this point is that he is not court marshalled, but his tenure as Captain America is over. As they try to talk John down from the cliff and disarm him of his shield, John sees what they are doing and attacks without abandon. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead. 

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The United States vs. Billie Holiday – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film with one of the best individual performances I have seen in a long time, bolstered by an amazing supporting cast but ultimately held back by some odd stylistic choices.    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene.

Warning – Depicts scenes of abuse.

Disclosure – I was invited to a screening of this film.

The United States vs. Billie Holiday. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

The United States vs. Billie Holiday Review

Billie Holiday has one of those voices that you can instantly pick out. It has this uncanny ability to be soft and harsh all at once. When writing this review, I wondered when the first time was I had heard a recording of her performing? And it could have been off one of my grandfather’s records as he always had Jazz and Big Band playing. Or at the very least, it was on one of the radio stations in Fallout. But knowing about her voice, I realised before watching this film that I did not know much about her life at all. Well, today, I help fix that with a movie that charts some of the struggles she faced.

So to set the scene, we open with an older Billie (Andra Day) as she and her manager Miss Freddy (Miss Lawrence), sits down with interviewer Reginald Lord Devine (Leslie Jordan) to chart her life and explore why the government is so opposed to her. Well, we flashback in time to 1947, as a young soldier Jimmy Fletcher (Trevante Rhodes) makes his way to a jazz club in New York City where Billie is about to perform a complete set, including the one song no one but the audience wants her to sing Strange Fruit. Someone who especially wants her to stop the song is Agent Harry J. Anslinger (Garrett Hedlund) from the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.

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Love and Monsters – Movie Review

TL;DR – While it never quite gets to the heights it aims for, it is still a delightful ride with some stunning effects.     

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix subscription that viewed this film.

Love and Monsters. Image Credit: Netflix..

Love and Monsters Review

There are times when people can be stringent around how films can be categorised. Then films can come along and blow those strict delineations apart. You see it in movies like Zombieland or Warm Bodies, and we see it again today in the film we are about to look at.   

So to set the scene, in the near future, there was an asteroid Agatha 6-1-6 hurtling towards Earth. The governments grouped together to shoot it out of the sky, which they did. Unfortunately, the chemicals they used in all those rockets fell back down to Earth. They contaminated and mutated all the cold-blooded animals, from ants to crocodiles and everything in-between. While the militaries and the giant mutants wiped each other out, 95% of the world’s population died, leaving only those who were able to find security in bunkers. One of the survivors was Joel Dawson (Dylan O’Brien) from Fairfield, California. He made it to safety, but he has a habit of freezing in front of the monsters, not a good long-term survival trait. After an incursion into their bunker, Joel makes up his mind to go out into the world make the trek 90 odd miles to where his old girlfriend Amiee (Jessica Henwick) now lives. Ninety miles of infested territory that is trying to kill everything.

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