Fast & Furious 9 (F9) – Movie Review

TL;DR – It is the bombast that you expect from these films, full of family and of course lots of cars.     

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

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

Fast & Furious 9. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Fast & Furious 9 Review

I am going to be honest. I did not get The Fast Saga for a long time. They were these big grandiose films that were inherently silly yet played so seriously. But many of my friends swore by it, which left me intrigued. So when The Fate of the Furious was announced, I thought it was time to give it another go, and it was watching that film that I finally understood what this was all about. I have now watched every movie in the franchise, so I was ready to dive into a new film with all that combined knowledge, well at least I thought I was ready.        

So to set the scene, we open up in 1989, as NASCARs race around the track, screeching their tyres along the route. As one car pulls in, we see a young Dominic Toretto (Vinnie Bennett) helping out his dad Jack (J. D. Pardo). However, tragedy strikes and in an instant, Dom’s life is changed. Back in the present, Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) have left the world of car-spy-shenanigans to stay on a farm and raise Brian (Isaac Holdane/Immanuel Holdane). However, one morning a car arrived baring Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Chris’ Ludacris’ Bridges), and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) because Mr Nobody’s (Kurt Russell) plane has crashed and there is a new operative on the scene, one with ties to Dom’s past.

Continue reading

Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard) – Movie Review

TL;DR – More of the same, so if you know how you feel about the first film, well, not much has changed    

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene and something at the end.

Disclosure – I paid to watch this film

Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard). Image Credit: Roadshow Films.

Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard Review

A few years ago, there was this small weird film that slipped into cinemas. The Hitman’s Bodyguard was a fairly average action film, with all the narrative beats that you would expect. However, with some good cinematography, action set pieces, and a cast that bought entirely into the premise, it turned out to be more than the sum of its parts. I wondered if they could capture that same energy twice, and the answer is both yes and no.

So to set the scene, Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) is no longer an AAA-rated executive protection agent, as the organisation took umbrage that he took a bullet for a known hitman. After some counselling from his therapist (Rebecca Front), he decides to instead of waiting for the review board he would take a sabbatical from bodyguarding and fly to Capri for a relaxing holiday. Which lasts about five seconds until Sonia Kincaid (Salma Hayek) arrives guns blazing as the Mafia has captured Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson), and only Michael can set him free.

Continue reading

Chopsticks Or Fork?: Season One – TV Review

TL;DR – This is a delightful documentary exploring a world that hits a deep nostalgic note for me.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I watched this on ABC IView

Chopsticks Or Fork? Image Credit: ABC TV.

Chopsticks Or Fork? Review

Tonight I was looking for something to watch as I ate my dinner, and in a world of streaming where you have so much choice, it is almost paralysing at times just to pick one thing. But as I sat there with all those windows open, there was this moment when a documentary series about rural Chinese restaurants in Australia appeared, and it intrigued me. Now that I have watched every episode, I can tell you that this was the right choice.

So to set the scene, the premise of this show is that presenter Jennifer Wong and the crew, including director Lin Jie Kong, travel to rural towns in Australia to look at the Chinese Restaurants that take up a focal point in these communities. Here we get a show that is a part travel show, part food exploration, and part look at the intersections of culture these restaurants make. We get these stories and more as we meet six different families from restaurants across Australia from The New Bo Wa in Moree, Raymond’s at Malua Bay, Oriental Palace in Hervey Bay, Pagoda Chinese Restaurant in Atherton, Gawler Palace & Happy Garden in Darwin.  

Continue reading

Loki: Glorious Purpose – TV Review

TL;DR – A complete set-up episode that was still filled with a lot of potential.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Loki: Glorious Purpose. Image Credit: Disney+.

Loki: Glorious Purpose Review

Of all the recent MCU/Disney+ shows, there has been one that I have felt a lot of trepidation for. The Character of Loki (Tom Hiddleston) had its big arc after the events of Avengers, so resetting him back to that mark. Well, it felt like it would take a lot of work to stick that landing. In today’s episode, we get to see if it all holds up or not.   

So to set the scene, we start right at the time heist amid Avengers Endgame, where Loki took an opportunity to escape when the Tesseract lands in front of him. Something that decidedly did not happen in the original Avengers. With the Infinity Stone’s power, Loki jumps out of New York and lands in the Gobi Desert, Mongolia. He immediately starts on his “you shall kneel” shtick when a door opens up and some goons in black walk out. Loki is charged with crimes against the Sacred Timeline and immediately punched in slow motion. We will be looking at the episode as a whole from here, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead. 

Continue reading

In the Heights – Movie Review

TL;DR –  It captivates you in the first moments and never lets you go until the very end.   

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There may be a post-credit scene

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

In the Heights. Image Credit: Warner Brothers.

In the Heights Review

If there is one genre that has kind of disappeared from movie screens, it is the musical. Looking back, the last proper musical I saw on the big screen was The Greatest Showman. But something is exciting about being in a room full of people as the music and emotions wash over you. That moment when a song hits all the right notes, and you feel that emotion in your soul.  Today, I get to add another entry onto this list with the sheer delight that is In the Heights.

So to set the scene, we open with Usnavi de la Vega (Anthony Ramos) sitting on a beach telling a bunch of kids the story of the land of Washington Heights in the far off city of Nueva York. Here we see Usnavi go about his day, looking after his Abuela Claudia (Olga Merediz), opening up his bodega with his cousin Sonny (Gregory Diaz IV), and striking out with Vanessa (Melissa Barrera) while Sonny and his best friend Benny (Corey Hawkins) watch on. But something is happening on the street today, Kevin Rosario’s (Jimmy Smits) daughter Nina (Leslie Grace) is coming back from Stanford, and everyone is ready for the celebration.

Continue reading

Army of the Dead – Movie Review

TL;DR – This film is like a shotgun of ideas slapped up on the screen, and none of it lands. 

Rating: 2 out of 5.

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

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

Army of the Dead. Image Credit: Netflix.

Army of the Dead Review

I need to start this review with a little proviso about filmmaker Zach Snyder, the director, writer, and cinematographer of this film. I do think he can be a great filmmaker because when his particular style lines up with the right narrative, you can get great films like 300. Unfortunately, you need someone to help channel that style, or you get a bloated mess of a film, and I think we are in the latter today y’all.

So to set the scene, we open in as a military convoy with a high-value cargo leaves Area 51, transiting it somewhere safer. However, when a driver on an oncoming car becomes “distracted”, their car crashes into the convoy killing many soldiers. But just as the survivors regroup, something comes out of the cargo and rips them all to pieces. That would be bad, but what is worse is that those once dead come back alive, and Las Vegas waits over the horizon. Sometime later, after the government lost the battle and instead decided to wall off the infected town, a mysterious businessman called Bly Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada) enlists the help of Scott Ward (Dave Bautista) and his team to break into the city. Because there is a lot of money left in those casinos, and you might as well take it before the government nukes the place.

Continue reading

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (The Conjuring 3) – Movie Review

TL;DR – What starts with an interesting and creepy premise nevertheless does not have the pull to make it through to the end.    

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

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

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It. Image Credit: Warner Brothers.

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It Review

To be honest, The Conjuring as a series is not one that had piqued my interest before. Indeed I have never watched any of the other films and spin-offs before. But I knew they were famous, and there was a real following for the franchise. However, the film’s story is based on the event where someone pleaded not guilty because of demonic possession. Well then, now you have me interested.

So to set the scene, in the town of Brookfield, Connecticut, Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) are helping a local family out after their son David (Julian Hilliard) was possessed by a demon. The demon presents itself in all its power, ripping the house apart and giving Ed a severe heart attack. Arne Cheyenne Johnson (Ruairi O’Connor) compels the demon to leave the boy and enter him in the chaos. Only Ed sees this, but he soon passes out. Ed makes it through surgery. However, by the time he can tell what is going on, a boy is walking down the street of Connecticut covered in blood.        

Continue reading

A Quiet Place Part II – Movie Review

TL;DR – It builds upon the world in interesting ways, and when it focuses on Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe, it becomes thrilling.     

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to see this film

A Quiet Place Part II. Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

A Quiet Place Part II Review

The first A Quiet Place was a film that caught me off guard as I got sucked into this world. It is a time where every sound might not be your last, but you need to live as if it could be. Is that twig snap going to get you, or a misplaced nail, or a yelp in pain. It was such an interesting contained film that when I heard they were doing a sequel, I was intrigued about where they could take the story next and a little concerned that they could not strike lightning twice. Now that I have seen it, I don’t think it hits either of those extremes, but when it is good, it is really good.

So to set the scene, we open in on Day 1. Lee Abbott (John Krasinski), his wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt), and daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) were out in town on a lovely sunny summers day. They’ve gone to town to watch Marcus (Noah Jupe) play in his big baseball game. But as he goes up to bat, a large comet/meteor/something is seen falling through the sky. The family feel something is off, so they and the rest of the town start making their way home when the alien start their attack. Back at Day 474, we find the family in the immediate aftermath of the first film. However, there is no time to stop and celebrate their win or mourn their loss because the house and farm are destroyed, and they need to find some new shelter before the aliens come to finish them off.       

Continue reading

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.  

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading