Exploring the Past – The Great Buddha+ (Dà fó pǔ lā sī, 大佛普拉斯) (2017)

TL;DR – This is a film of dissonant halves, both funny, yet confronting, sad but also hopeful, engaging but also infuriating

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene but it does not offer any answers

 

The Great Buddha+. Image Credit: MandarinVision

 

Review

Today I get to review a film thanks to the Brisbane International Film Festival that I would not have normally been able to see. I have been trying to increase the films that I have seen from Asia, and while this has included films from Hong Kong and China, today is my first dive into Taiwanese filmmaking with Huang Hsin-yao’s odd The Great Budda+. This is an interesting film but also a frustrating one at times, so to properly review it we will first give a general overview before we enter into spoiler territory as we dissect its ending, and what an ending it is.

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Movie Review – First Man

TL;DR – There are times when you will be biting your nails due to the tension, times when you will be in awe, and times when you will be watching the film with tears rolling down your face.

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

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

 

First Man. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

 

Review

There are these moments in life that define a generation, they bring everyone together, bonding them in such a way that nothing else can. For my generation, it was September 11, but for my parents, it was the landing on the Moon, and well I know which one I would prefer. They tell the stories of everyone in the street crowding into the house of the one person with a TV and as a community, they watched man’s first steps outside of our planet. While over the years we have got films that have explored around the Apollo Program such as The Dish and Hidden Figures (see review), it is surprising that no one has really tried to take on this particular narrative before. Well after seeing the film I can see why, as it is far from a simple narrative. With this in mind let’s dive into a world where the impossible is made possible.

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Movie Review – Venom

TL;DR – There are moments when Venom comes together and is a really entertaining film. However, those moments are spread in-between a dull story with some bland action, and an anti-climactic ending.

Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene, and a post-credit trailer thingy (that you should totally stick around for)

Venom. Image Credit: Sony.

 

Review

I don’t think I have seen a film that gave such a bad first impression in quite a while. As a rule, I try to avoid trailers where possible, because of both the spoilers and also because they could taint my view of the film before I have even walked into the cinema. But even with that policy, it was hard to escape the “like a turd in the wind” quote, one of the worse lines of dialogue uttered in a blockbuster film in recent memory. Add to this the filmmakers are trying to build a universe around just Venom, after failing to do the same thing with Spider-Man. All of this was a recipe for disaster. However, walking out of the cinema I have to admit I might have been a bit too harsh on Venom … well, only just a little bit.

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Movie Review – Searching

TL;DR – A film that is both revolutionary filmmaking, but also deeply centred on the question of what would you do if you lost everything

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

Searching. Image Credit: Sony

Review

Films can be revolutionary for a number of reasons, maybe they have a new actor that blows the world away, maybe they are looking at a subject that no one dared venture before, or maybe they revolutionise filmmaking in some way. With Searching, we have the later because this is a film that is shot entirely from the perspective of a computer screen. We see the YouTube video, the webcam, the documents as if we were living in the screen and peering out in the world. It is both disorientating but also oddly comfortable as it has all the tactile notions of the world we live in. With that in mind, today we are going to see if this is a film that is just a gimmick, or if it is using this new technique to tell a story.

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Movie Review – Mandy

TL;DR – This is a film that is all about the style, and if you dig it you find it to be one of the best movies ever, or like me you if you don’t, well then it turns out to be a dull frustrating mess

Score – 2 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a post-credit thing, but you don’t need to stay for it

Warning – There are several scenes that have extensive strobe effects

 

Mandy. Image Credit: RLJE Films

 

Review

Style is something that can make or break a film for people, it is one of the reasons that you tend to see a lot of dull monotonous films pumped out, desperately trying to be something for everyone. So in this regards, I deeply respect Mandy, for in no way playing it safe, and committing to its style like there is no tomorrow with a full line-up of sex, violence, and nudity. Unfortunately, the style did not gel with me at all, so while I appreciate what the film was trying to do, I cannot say I found it to be a particularly good film at all.

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Movie Review – Ladies in Black

TL;DR – This is a film that is filled with joy from start to finish, a truly beautiful film

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

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

Ladies in Black. Image Credit: Sony

 

Review

There are times when you need to delve into the complex machinations of a political intrigue or see two superheroes brawl in the ruins of a fallen civilization or explosions in space as ships rocket past. However, there are times when you need to take a step back and just immerse yourself in the world of other people living extraordinary lives filled with glamour and beauty.

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Movie Review – Mile 22

TL;DR – This is a film that fails at almost everything it sets out to do bar maybe one or two decent action sequences

Score – 1.5 out of 5 stars

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

 

Mile 22. Image Credit STX Entertainment

 

Review

 

I really enjoy action films, I appreciate the skill that has gone into the fight choreography, the explosions, and gunfights, brawls, all of it. While films that are about something are better for incorporating those themes, I don’t think it is necessarily barrier to enjoy an action film if the craft is there. This week I had not been feeling the best so I thought I would go see Mile 22 as I kind of pick me up, and well the fact I was the only one in the cinema should have been the first clue that this was not going to go as planned.

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