TL;DR – A beautiful film from the animation, to the story, to the characters, a must watch this holiday season
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
P.S. There is an after credits scene
Moana is a powerful story which is brilliantly animated, wonderfully acted and tells a great story. All of that would have been enough for me to recommend it to you, but on top of this Disney took a big risk in telling a story from Polynesia a place that rarely gets a look in this modern media landscape yet it is full of fascinating stories. I highly recommend you check Moana out at the movies if you can.
Before we start I need to make it clear that this blog will be full of spoilers for the recent Rogue One and Suicide Squad, as well as last year’s The Force Awakens, and all of Star Wars in general, so proceed cautiously if things like this concern you.
So when I was watching Rogue One yesterday for the third time, at which point instead of watching the broad strokes of the story you instead focus on more of the details, it occurred to me that not only is Rogue One interesting in the fact that it kills off its entire leading cast (yes I said there were spoilers don’t complain that I didn’t warn you) but also how it kills them. Now of course, as most people know, there were extensive reshoots with Rogue One which may have drastically changed the outcome of how characters died, but that is a discussion for another day, today we will just be focusing on the movie as it is in cinemas.
TL;DR – La La Land has its issues, but it was such a joy to watch and I walked out of the cinema with a smile on my face and a song in my heart, and I can’t remember the last movie to do that to me.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
La La Land is a rare movie for these days, not only is it a live-action musical in an age where musicals are mostly restricted to animated children’s movies (with the odd Les Misérables to change things up), but it is also is an unapologetic homage to the films of the classical era, your Singin’ in the Rain and such like. However on top of all this, La La Land is also a very modern movie set in modern times, so at its core is this juxtaposition of old and new. Now this is a very difficult tightrope to manage, if you go too old the film will feel dated rather than the homage it is, and indeed if you go too new, then all those call-backs start to feel gimmicky and forced. Luckily for La La Land, it turns out to be the goldilocks of filmmaking, and a case study in getting that balance right, look there is a reason it is an Oscar favourite for many.
TL;DR – A bit of a mess at times, but any complaints I have are overridden by the strongest ending in the franchise’s history.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
So here we are with Star War’s first attempt at a standalone film (a film set in the Star Wars universe, but not one of the main numbered entries) and a prequel no less, by any measure this was a risky gambit for the Mouse House, because the last thing you want to do to your $4 Billion investment is damaging the brand with a bad movie. Now this coupled with extensive reshoots in a year where extensive reshoots have led to mediocre films like Suicide Squad and outright failures like Fantastic Four had a lot of people concerned, is the prequel curse going to continue? Well, I am happy to say those reshoots must have only improved the movie because Rogue One is a blast. Now is it a perfect film, oh no, it has some real problems, but any issue I could have with it is blasted away by some quality filmmaking. Now we will be discussing the story later in the review, so I’ll put a Spoiler Warning out before that, but I feel with a property like this, it is important to say, I will be discussing aspects of the film and the characters and you may find that to be spoilery, so you have been warned to continue with caution.
TL;DR – For The Love Of Spock is a beautiful reminder that human beings are immensely complex entities and a masterpiece in asking the question of where do our views of a man intersect with who he really is.
Tomorrow Rogue One is coming out in cinemas and once again Star Wars is going to absorb the cultural and science fiction landscape for a while, but before that happens I wanted to take a moment to look at the other sci-fi juggernaut Star Trek, and as we draw to a close on the 50th anniversary of Star Trek it is only fitting that we examine one of the characters that started it all Spock, and the man behind it Leonard Nimoy, and of course who is better to tell that story than Leonard’s son Adam.
TL;DR – This is the same kind of movie as every R-rated comedy of the last couple of years, but thankfully with a bit more substance than usual
Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars
So as we race to the end of the year, and in the lull before Star Wars destroys the box office, in its wake, we have Trolls and Office Christmas Party fighting it out to see who will get that dollar, dollar bill. Since I don’t have children I don’t have to be subjected to that Trolls nonsense (truly you guys are the MVPs) which I was over about the same time JT was performing at Eurovision, so instead this week we have Office Christmas Party. OCP is another in a long line of R-rated comedies that have sprung up in the aftermath of Hangover and Bridesmaids, and has many similarities with other films that we have looked at this year like Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, Bad Neighbours 2, Grimsby, and Dirty Grandpa, indeed it fits into the same category as The Night Before which was last year’s R-rated Christmas comedy, and more so it seems to be taking a lot of queues from Unfinished Business with its plot, but somehow OCP makes it work when most of these other films were a mess.
TL;DR – Honestly this was a surprisingly good film, though that may have something to do with my super low expectations I had going in and that I have never seen an Underworld film before.
Score – 3 out of 5 stars
I think I need to start this review off with this small issue, while I have always been meaning to watch all of these Underworld films until now I have never actually gotten around to it. You know each time a new one would come out in cinemas, I would endeavour to marathon the ones I missed and then watch the new movie, but alas I never actually ever got around to it. Also then Twilight was released and that killed any drive I might have had to watch the battle of werewolves and vampires. However it’s been four years since the last entry so this time instead of making the commitment to marathon the previous films I went blow it, let’s just go for it and see how good it is going in blind. I wanted to make that clear because not only did I come to Underworld: Blood Wars without seeing any of the previous films, I also come to it with really low expectations, like Leo McGarry going to a vice-presidential debate low. But despite this (or likely because of it), I have to say I was quite surprised how well I actually enjoyed Blood Wars. I mean let’s be clear here, this is not a cinematic masterpiece, but it is the best of this type of film I have seen in quite a while.
TL;DR – Honestly it is a bit of a mess at times, but usually, that is part of the charm for Gilmore Girls, but this time round I don’t think they quite stuck the landing
Score – 3 out of 5 stars
It is one of my secrets … well not anymore … that in the late 2000s I binge watched all the episodes of Gilmore Girls over a couple of months. So while I enjoyed the series, got annoyed with the lukewarm ending, I wouldn’t say it is one of my favourites or indeed in my top 30, but it was still a TV show that I very much enjoyed. Honestly the fact that I am reviewing a new Gilmore Girls is quite a rare turn of events on many fronts, we have a series coming back from cancellation after nearly 10 years and we have the original writers and showrunners returning after leaving, something that is very rare in Hollywood. So after 10 years does the show still hold up, did bringing the creators back mean we will finally get the conclusion that we wanted … um yes and no.