TL;DR – While it works as a time capsule of the 90s, so much of this film was left back 30 years ago
Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There are mid-credit scenes
Disclosure – I paid for the Binge service that viewed this film
Austin Powers Review –
When you have had a bad week, one reflex you do is go back to old films from your youth. The only issue is that the movies of your youth might often not have the narrative legs you once thought they did, or you are just looking at them with new eyes. This week, the film in this situation is the James Bond spoofing Austin Powers.
So to set the scene, in 1967, somewhere outside of Las Vegas, Dr Evil (Mike Myers) is holding court with his minions, frustrated that none of them has been able to kill the famous British agent Austin Danger Powers (Mike Myers). Meanwhile, in London, after a significant musical number during the credits, Mrs Kensington (Mimi Rogers) lets Austin know that Dr Evil has set a trap for him at the Electric Psychedelic Pussycat Swingers Club. Not wanting to be left out, Austin goes to the club, but Dr Evil is about to escape and has himself cryogenically frozen. In 1997, NORAD is looking at their scopes, and suddenly an object appears, and they discover that Dr Evil has returned, and it is time for the world to need Austin Powers again.
TL;DR – Much more serviceable than I was expecting, but with some very odd narrative and production choices that hold it back
Rating: 3 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is an end credit scene
Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ subscription that viewed this movie.
High School Musical Review –
When it comes to cinema, we all have our blind spots. Whether that is films, we just have not been able to see or films that we presumed to be not great and never gave a chance. For me, one of those films is the one we will explore today. When it first came out, I was a touch older than the demographic it was looking at, while I also ran youth events for people who were 100% its target demographic, which gave me a very skewered view of the film. But now that I am older and wiser, it is time to take a look back and explore the film on its own merits.
So to set the scene, it is New Year’s Eve at a ski lodge, and while Troy Bolton (Zac Efron) would rather be playing basketball and Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens) would rather be reading a book, their parents independently suggest that they go to the young people’s party. They had never met before, but that did not stop them from getting lumped together in a surprise karaoke duet. While they exchanged numbers, they never saw each other again until on the first day back at East High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, when Troy discovers that Gabriella has transferred to his school and that there is a new musical about to audition.
TL;DR – A blast from the past that has unfortunately lost a bit of its sheen.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is an End Credit scene
Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix subscription that viewed this film.
Space Jam Review –
When Space Jam first came out in cinemas, I was in primary school, and I can remember that it was a film that teachers would put on when they needed a break from us but not that much more. It has been over a decade since I have seen the film, and besides the occasional look at the old website, I hadn’t thought about it much. However, then they went and made a sequel. I felt I had to give it another watch for due diligence to see just what it was that captured people all those years ago.
So to set the scene, in 1973, a young Michal Jordan (Brandon Hammond) is practising at his home well after midnight. When talking to his dad, the one thing he wants to be is a champion and play on a championship team. One montage of Jordan’s career later, and a now champion Michael Jordan (Michael Jordan) is retiring from basketball to join baseball. But on a planet in deep space, a theme park boss is Swackhammer (Danny DeVito), is trying to find a new attraction, and he decides to steal all the Looney Tunes. But instead of being captured, Bugs Bunny (Billy West) cons them into playing a basketball game for their freedom.
There are a lot of films that landing when you were growing up, that no matter what, will always charm and excite. For a child of the 1990s, it is those films like 10 Things I Hate About You that hit you in your core no matter how many times you have watched them. Well, today we get to look at one of those films that does it better than many others, which can take you back in time with a single first trumpet swell.
So to set the scene, we open in the 19th century, when the Grande Dame (Jeanne Moreau) invited The Brother’s Grim to her bedside. She loves their collection of folk tales … well all that is bar one, The Little Cinder Girl. Noticing a painting on the wall, one of the brothers asks about its providence, which lets the Grande Dame tell the story of her great-great-grandmother Danielle de Barbarac (Drew Barrymore). As a young girl Danielle (Anna Maguire) lived in a grand manor house her father Auguste (Jeroen Krabbé). One day in his travels he brings home a new wife the Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent (Anjelica Huston) and her two daughters. It is another happy time, until when leaving on a trip to Avignon, Auguste has a heart attack at the gates of the property, leaving Danielle very much alone.
A while ago when I was writing my Top 10 Films of All Time, I mentioned that one of the contenders for the list was 10 Things I Hate About You. To this day, I keep going back and forth on that list and how that would probably be one of the changes I would make. With this in mind, and because I was feeling a bit glum, today I cracked open the TV put out a cheese platter and dived back into this seminal film from my youth, and boy does it still hold up.
So to set the scene, we open in on Cameron James (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) a new student at Padua High School as he is shown around all the groups and hierarchies by Michael Eckman (David Krumholtz). It is here where he spies the enchanting Bianca Stratford (Larisa Oleynik) and is immediately entranced. The one small catch (other she has no idea who he is) is that it is widely known that the Stratford sisters can’t date. Well, all that changes when Walter Stratford (Larry Miller), Bianca’s dad changes the rule, Bianca can date when her sister Kat (Julia Stiles) dates. This sets off a chain reaction that involves bad boy Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger), local cashed-up rich boy Joey Donner (Andrew Keegan) and a school formal that goes disastrously wrong.
TL;DR – A pure fun ride from start to finish, the kind that leaves a smile on your face for a time after you finish watching it.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
There are some films out that that you can only watch once and then there are those that you can watch any time someone suggests it. Today we are looking at the latter, a film that is full of joy from start to finish.
So to set the scene, in the 1800s in Great Brittan there was a little town called Wall. It was a mostly unremarkable little hamlet bar for one odd feature an old wall that runs along its boundary that has an old man (David Kelly) guarding the only opening. Well, one day a young man from the village call Dunstan Thorn (Ben Barnes) decided to go see what was on the other side of the wall. Here he found a marketplace full of bizarre creatures for sale and also servant girl (Kate Magowan) enslaved to an evil witch Ditchwater Sal (Melanie Hill). It was almost a fever dream until nine months later when a baby arrived at Dunstan’s door. Eighteen years later and the young boy Tristan (Charlie Cox) is now grown up and trying to court Victoria (Sienna Miller) when he makes a suggestion that he chases down a falling star and brings it back as proof of his affections. The only problem is that the Star fell across the wall in Stormhold, the star is not an it but a she in Yvaine (Claire Danes), and also Stormhold’s king (Peter O’Toole) has just died and the remaining heirs are trying to track down the necklace that brought Yvaine crashing to the ground, and also also, there is a witch Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer) who is very interested that a new star has fallen because she would very much like to cut out its heart and eat it.
TL;DR – An exploration of a film that effortless blends music, visuals, story, and passion into something that is greater in almost every way.
There are some movies that just touch you in your heart, you can’t really explain why? They just fill you with joy and no matter how many times you have watched it, you are always ready to crack open that DVD/BluRay/digital copy/whatever and give it another watch. For me, one such film is Tron: Legacy, it is the hill I am ready to die on and I love it with all my heart.
So to set the scene, in the years since the first Tron, there has been joy and tragedy. Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) has become CEO of ENCOM International and had a son Sam (Owen Best). However, tragedy struck and took his wife away. Flynn refocused his work and made a huge discovery, something that would change everything but days after finding it out he disappears leaving Sam an orphan. Years later Sam (Garrett Hedlund) has grown up but while he is the main shareholder of the company he basically leaves ENCOM alone, bar the yearly prank, which this year involves sneaking into the company releasing their new software for free and then base jumping off the top of the tower. This might be a big joke for Sam but is not for Kevin’s old friend and Sam’s mentor Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner). He lets Sam know that he got a page from his father, the first communication since he disappeared. It came from the old arcade, so Sam goes to investigate and finds more than he bargains when he gets transported into the world of the computer and discovers all is not well on the Grid.
TL;DR – A good concept for a disaster film, but it does not quite hit where it needed to hit.
Score – 3 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Given the state of Australia, where I live at the moment, it has been difficult to turn on the television and not see another disaster unfold. With that in mind, it was interesting timing that saw a film about not being able to breathe outside just as it is happening in real life. Today we dive into a film that does just that, though not in the streets of Australia, but in Paris, France.
So to set the scene, in the not too distant future Mathieu (Romain Duris) lives across the road from his ex-wife Anna (Olga Kurylenko) and their daughter Sarah (Fantine Harduin). While they are no longer together, they work to help raise their daughter who has Stimberger’s Syndrome and is confined to a protective bubble to isolate her and keep her safe. One day Paris is shaken by an earthquake and as Mathieu goes out to investigate he discovers a deadly mist exploding from underground killing all those who breathe it in. Running he is able to get Anna to safety upstairs, but they have to leave Sarah behind in her bubble as the smoke comes pouring in.
TL;DR – Its music, story, animation, worldbuilding, and characters that you really care for even though they are all broken in some way
A while back I took a moment to write about Why I loved Star Trek DS9 and since it was a great time of writing I have been meaning to get back at it again. I had a couple of choices but with the announcement that Netflix is producing a ten-episode live-action remake of Cowboy Bebop, well I got instantly dragged back in time to my high school days when the show rippled through my life with every beat of those conga drums, and well I instantly knew what to do next. Why Cowboy Bebop? Well, there are a lot of reasons, the music, story, animation, characters, but more than anything, it was the way it shaped how I viewed television and animation as a medium and got me more and more interested with how it is all made. It is also one of the go-to shows, as well as Samurai Champloo (サムライチャンプル), that I recommend whenever someone want to start exploring animation. So with that in mind let us dive into the neo-noir space-western from Shinichirō Watanabe (渡辺 信一郎) all about trying to escape the past and then realising that you can’t, and then also Ed, hello Ed.
In the Cowboy Bebop world, the human race has expanded out into the Solar System when the first Astral Gate (a faster than light transport system) exploded next to The Moon raining down Luna debris on Earth. The world had one choice escape or die on Earth and so they expanded out terraforming the Moons of Jupiter, Venus, creating the crater cities of Mars, and also Asteroid outposts across the Solar System like Tijuana (TJ). By 2071, because the human race is spread out across such a large region of space it has meant that enforcing law and order has become a challenge, so the powers at be implemented a bounty system and so Cowboys spread out chasing bounties and bringing back criminals to face justice … for a fee of course. This is where we meet our crew of the Bebop the ship they travel around the Solar System catching criminals while trying not to have to spend all its bounty on repairs.
TL;DR – From the action to the story and the music. First Contact captures a real moment in Science Fiction history and is still probably my favourite Star Trek film.
As the march of time continues forth, I was reminded that it has been twenty-three years since Star Trek: First Contact came out in cinemas. Goodness, 1996, such a long time ago, a time when I was not even in high school. However, in all the time since and before I don’t think any Star Trek film has had the same impact on me (though Wrath of Khan and Beyond come pretty close). As the time is right, and we all know how important time is, let’s dive into the joy that is Star Trek: First Contact.
So to set the scene, in Generations the USS Enterprise-D was destroyed by assailants and so a new ship the Sovereign-class USS Enterprise-E was commissioned with all our familiar faces making the transition. However, just with the Enterprise is in the middle of its shakedown cruise the worst possible news happens. The Borg are back. A large cube ship is on a trajectory with Earth but the Enterprise cannot help as Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) was once assimilated by the Borg and Starfleet wants it away from the battle. But to hell with orders, which is good because this time the Borg is messing with the timeline and only the Enterprise can fix the damage before it is too late.