Movie Review – Battle at Big Rock (Jurassic World: Battle at Big Rock).

Battle at Big Rock (Jurassic World: Battle at Big Rock). Image Credit: Universal.

Review

While I was not alone here, I know when I walked out of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom I was greatly disappointed at all the talent that went into what felt like a missed opportunity. It was a film that had an end goal in mind but not how to get to that goal in an organic way. Well, today a little surprise was dropped on the internet with a short film showing the aftermath and if anything it shows just how good the goal they were shooting for was.

The setup is really simple, you have family with a Father (Andre Holland) and Mother (Natalie Martinez) cooking food from their three children (Melody Hurd, Pierson Salvador, Noah Cole & Ethan Cole). There is the usual bickering with a little extra edge because this is still a family coming together when the father notices that nobody is outside anymore and that is when you hear the first rumble.

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Movie Review – Shanghai Fortress (Shànghǎi Bǎolěi, 上海堡垒)

TL;DR – There is an interesting concept here, but the film goes out of its way to make its characters come off as bland and one-note     

Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars

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

Shanghai Fortress (Shànghǎi Bǎolěi, 上海堡垒). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

It has been an interesting couple of years for the Alien Invasion genre after being almost abandoned in the years since September 11. Long gone were the triumphant speeches and bold proclamations and in were gritty scenes of dirt and muck. However, then there was a resurgence with different countries taking a look with Attack the Block in the UK and Occupation in Australia to name just two. Well, today we get to see China’s take on the global destruction masterpiece. But will it soar or will fall, only time will tell.    

So to set the scene, in the not too distant future the first manned Chinese space ship brought back a new energy source Xianteng that revolutionised the world. Everything was great but the energy source was like a beacon drawing the aliens to Earth. Starting with Rio de Janeiro the mothership moved across the planet, destroying city after city. In a last-ditch effort, the United Nations and what was left of the world’s government set up base in the last major centre Shanghai. Here they hope to make a last stand and maybe just maybe fight back and take back the planet before more cities like Los Angeles and New Delhi are turned to ash.

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TV Review – The I-Land

TL;DR – This is really a slow burn but then it grabs you as all the different parts start to merge together and you discover what is behind The Island and the number 39.

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

The I-Land. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

One of my great joys is watching the TV Show Survivor where they throw a bunch of random people on an island and subject them to the elements and every puzzle under the Sun. It is such an interesting scenario, that I am surprised that we don’t see more people take advantage of it narratively. Well, today we get to look at a show that does just that, exploring a world where you can trust nothing and no one, not even what you can see with your own two eyes.  

So to set the scene, one morning you wake up, but you are not at home in your bed, you are on a beach lying in the sand with waves crashing into you. To add to this you cannot remember how you got there, or even who you are. As Chase (Natalie Martinez) tries to get her bearings she stumbles across KC (Kate Bosworth) and discovers that she is not alone. There are ten of them and no one can remember anything bar waking up on the beach. As they try to find something of their past lives, the reality of their situation dawns and soon the power politics show their heads and worse. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

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Movie Review – Downton Abbey (2019)

TL;DR – This is sort of the cinematic equivalent of sitting down under a doona in your PJs eating ice cream while vegging out on some TV. Perfectly pleasant and even enjoyable in places, but with not really any substance with it.    

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

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

Downton Abbey. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Review

Well, I am going to get something out of the way right from the start, I have not watched a single episode of Downton Abbey before today. I, of course, know what it is and also thanks to the internet and the enormous fan following it has, I know most of the main plot points but it never interested me to hunt down the DVDs. I say this so if you are a fan of the show you can put my critiques in context, however, I am mostly writing this for those like me who have never seen it before and may get brought along for what is billed as the cinematic event of the year.

So to set the scene, it has been two years since the series finished off and life at Downton is moving on at its usual pace, but no one could be prepared for the letter that is making its way through the Royal Mail system all the way from London. For you see King George V (Simon Jones) and Queen Mary (Geraldine James) will be spending the night at Downton as part of their Yorkshire tour. Suddenly everything is thrown into chaos as Robert Crawley (Hugh Bonneville) and Cora Crawley (Elizabeth McGovern) rush to get the house ready, but there are more problems on the horizon and I am not just talking about the boiler kicking it in.

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Movie Review – The Farewell (Bié Gàosù Tā, 別告訴她)

TL;DR – A truly emotional work of film that affected me in ways film rarely does.     

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

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

The Farewell (Bié Gàosù Tā, 別告訴她). Image Credit: A24.

Review

Wow, just wow, I thought I had some handle on how this film was going to affect me when I walked in, but I had no idea. I didn’t know I would be tearing up in the first five minutes and that it would not stop until the credits rolled. It is a film like this that shows the power of the medium to tell stories that can affect us on our deepest human level.

So to set the scene, Billi (Awkwafina) is struggling to find her place in the world after failing to get the fellowship that she was after. While at her parents to use their washing machine she notices that her mother Jian (Diana Lin) and father Haiyan (Tzi Ma) are acting odd. Wounding the worse, Billi discovers that her beloved Nai Nai (Shuzhen Zhao) has been diagnosed with late-stage cancer, but also that the family has decided not to tell her. Using a wedding as an excuse the whole family is going over to China in part to say goodbye without actually saying goodbye.       

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Video Game Review – Civilization VI: Red Death Battle Royale Mode

TL;DR – Adding aBattle Royale to a Civilization game seems really counterintuitive, that is until you play it.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Civilization VI: Red Death. Image Credit: Firaxis Games.

Review –

In 2019 if there was ever a trend that could be considered the new hotness that every video game company wants a chunk of, well that has to be the Battle Royale mode. For those who may not know, a Battle Royale mode/game is where you have an ever-shrinking map so you need to gear up, get to the safe zone, defeating any enemies you come across, and be the last one standing. This is where you get your chicken dinner, or in this case your escape from a dying planet. But most Battle Royale games like PUBG, Fortnite, and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4: Blackout are first/third-person shooters, surely it can’t work in a strategy game, well I’ve been able to play a couple of rounds so far so let’s see.

My experience with Battle Royale games is not as extensive as some people, however I have played/watched enough of the genre to get a good sense of the common aspects of the game. You have the same phases in a match, when you land you have to roam around quickly to try and get resources, troops from ruined cities, helicopters from raider camps, or even a coveted nuclear weapon. You need to move quickly because everyone else is out there doing the same, so you have to stretch your resources, but not so much that you overburden yourself. Then you might pick off one of the players that were not quick enough while keeping to the ever-shrinking safe zone until there are only one or more players left and you battle it out head-to-head.

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Movie Review – Good Boys

TL;DR – This is a film that on the surface is really crass, but they use that crassness as a cover to tell a story with real heart    

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

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

Good Boys. Image Credit: Universal.

Review

Well, this might be one of the biggest surprises that I have seen so far this year. To be honest, I was not really sure what I was going to see when I sat down at my screening of Good Boys. However, given it was being produced by Seth Rogan, and written by this guy who wrote Year One there may have been some subconscious preconceptions floating there. But what I could not expect was a film with real heart.

So to set the scene, we open in on our main trio Max (Jacob Tremblay), Lucas (Keith L. Williams), and Thor (Brady Noon) who are in the first weeks of Middle School in year six. They have been friends forever and call themselves the Beanbag Boys, but while they have been inseparable in life to this point things are rapidly changing. Max is trying to get the courage to ask out Brixlee (Millie Davis), Lucas is struggling with changing family life, and Thor is trying to escape his past reputation and be accepted by the cool kids like Soren (Izaac Wang). All of this comes to a head one day when Max is invited to a kissing party setting off a chain of events that change everything.

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