Minions: The Rise of Gru – Movie Review

TL;DR – While it might not hit as hard as its predecessors, it was still a joy to be back in this world.     

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

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

Gru and the Minions in the one bed.

Minions: The Rise of Gru Review

This may be due to my never having children, much to my mother’s chagrin, but I have always liked the Despicable Me films. Gru (Steve Carell) discovering who he is through the prism of his daughter’s love and then becoming a better person for it. Well, that is some compelling stuff. Heck, I even like those quirky little minions always up to mischief. I think I was the only one who laughed at their cameo in Mortal Engines. I am sure that would have changed if I had been subjected to them time after time. But coming in here, I thought that Despicable Me 3 might have started to show the limits of this story, and I wondered could a prequel help?

So to set the scene, it is 1976, and a very different set of villains torment the globe, which the film wastes no time showing as we see Belle Bottom (Taraji P. Henson) race through town, evading the authorities at every turn. In the lair of The Vicious 6, she reveals to their leader Wild Knuckles (Alan Arkin) a map to an ancient stone pendent of power. Well, one trip to Asia later, one betrayal, and one Bond-inspired title sequence later, there is now a free spot open in The Vicious 6, and a young Gru wants in.

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Elvis – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film that is equal parts electric, chaotic, and uncomfortable       

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

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

Elvis about to perform

Elvis Review –

If there is one genre that has exploded across the screen in recent years, it is the Biopic. Everyone from Aretha Franklin to the Sparkes Brothers and all in between being brought to life in a dramatic presentation or documentary. Given the strengths of these films, it was only a matter of time before someone would attempt to contextualise the life of the “King of Rock and Roll”. This would be no easy task given the life and death of Elvis and the legacy he has left in the world. Today we look at a film that might still be flawed in many ways, but it excels in capturing his energy and passion. 

So to set the scene, we open in the 1990s, and a frail Col. Tom Parker (Tom Hanks) wants us to know the story of Elvis (Chaydon Jay), well, the story that he wants to tell. From here, we jump back in time as Elvis (Austin Butler), a young boy who discovers the power of music and movement and who incorporates it into his world. As he grows older, his sound spreads around the south when Parker runs a travelling show. Watching one show, Parker knew the skinny kid in the pink suit would be a star, and he needed to get in on the ground floor before someone else grabbed his meal ticket.    

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Jurassic World Dominion – Movie Review

TL;DR – A disappointing dilemma for this dinosaur dynasty, a dismal and dreary debacle.    

Rating: 2 out of 5.

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

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

Claire hides from a Therizinosaurus in a lake.

Jurassic World Dominion Review

I go into this film with a conflicting stand with the Jurassic Park/World franchise. When it is good, it is so good, and without a doubt, the first Jurassic Park still sits in my top 10 Films of All Time. However, at this point, there may have more misses than hits in the franchise, and there comes a point that even the draw of dinosaurs can not fix that. Well, I am always an optimist, and well, I might be the only one who like Jurassic Park III, so can I say that I went into this film hopeful but still warry. I should have been a touch more warry.

So to set the scene, at the end of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the team had a choice to kill all the dinosaurs off or release them into the North American continent, and they chose the latter. We saved them from a second extension, but maybe at the cost of our own lives. As the Battle at Big Rock showed, there may be awe but also sharp teeth. As the world starts to work out how this new existence will play out, Owen (Chris Pratt), Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), and Maisie (Isabella Sermon) live a quiet life out of the way, right up until Blue’s child is kidnapped and Owen swears to her that he will get that baby back.

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Spiderhead – Movie Review

TL;DR – A bunch of ideas that never coalesced into a whole     

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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

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

Miles Teller rides on a boat blindfolded while two goons sit on either side.

Spiderhead Review

Finding the tone is one of the most challenging parts of making a film, from the script to the filming to the edit. It is said a movie is made three times, and in that creation, a feeling can be discovered or a story lost. This week we look at a film that is trying to do many things, but in the mix, it never finds itself.

So to set the scene, in a remote location, accessible only but seaplane is the Spiderhead Penitentiary and Research Centre. Inside, the man in charge of the facility, Steve Abnesti (Chris Hemsworth), runs experiments on the inmates [with their sort of consent], and if they commit, they will get time off their sentences. One of the inmates, Jeff (Miles Teller), gets to go on field trips to test the compounds but coming off the high can impact his speech and cognition, impacting his attempts to flirt with Lizzy (Jurnee Smollett). But you can’t help but ask: the question in the background: Is everything what it seems?

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Interceptor – Movie Review

TL;DR – A one-dimensional film that gives the narrative nowhere to hide, thus revealing its flaws at every stage.   

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix service that viewed this video.

A terrorist stares through a window in a door.

Interceptor Review

There are some films that you know were filmed in Australia without checking. It can be the supporting cast being filled with characters actors you have grown up with, or it could just be the specific energy the film gives off. Today, we look at just such a film, also one that might just have a significantly higher opinion on the ability to shoot down nuclear weapons than what is born out in reality.  

So to set the scene, we open with a military base under attack, a substantial military base because Fort Greely in Alaska is one of only two places where America can launch interceptors to shoot down nuclear weapon attacks from Russia. On the only other INTERCEPTOR base, the floating SBX-1, Captain JJ Collins (Elsa Pataky) is returning after a battle with the US Brass around sexual assault, which is when they discover that first that Greely has gone dark and then that Tavlinka, a nuclear facility in Russia, has been attacked and terrorists have stolen 16 nuclear weapons. Those weapons are now aimed at America, looking to take out 16 major cities like Los Angeles and Boston. JJ and the base commander Colonel Marshal  (Rhys Muldoon), began preparations to lock down the base when they discovered the hard way they had been infiltrated by the terrorist as well. Now JJ has to fight for her life to stop America from being attacked.                           

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Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers – Movie Review

TL;DR – While the ideas behind this film are solid, I found myself just not connecting to it at all, even though I am probably its target audience.    

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ streaming service that viewed this film

Chip and Dale in disguse

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers Review

Today we have an odd duck to crack. From all accounts, Chip’ n Dale: Rescue Rangers is a film designed specifically for me. It is hitting nostalgia that I grew up with, with actors I enjoy, with a narrative device that usually hits the mark for me. However, at no point during the film’s runtime did I engage with it, and I am not 100% sure why.

So to set the scene, since they were kids, Chip (John Mulaney) and Dale (Andy Samberg) have been best friends who, of course, took the same bus to Hollywood to become stars. It was a hard slog, but finally, they landed their first big break with Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers. However, as Season Three came along and Dale decided to branch out and star in Double-O-Dale and the two part ways. Thirty years later, Monterey Jack (Eric Bana) calls the two as he is in trouble with the criminal Valley Gang and is afraid of becoming a bootleg, which is what everyone fears when Monty goes missing, and Chip and Dale must team up again after so long apart.

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Top Gun: Maverick – Movie Review

TL;DR – A glorious sequel from start to finish, filled with heart-pounding adrenalin and a boost to the more dramatic parts of the script.    

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to see this film

A Jet over the desert.

Top Gun: Maverick Review

Two different reactions can happen when you try a sequel decades after the first film. The first is that you are trying to capture something whose time has passed, and you can’t walk back into that world. The second is that they tap into a nostalgia that is there and use it to propel them forward. Today we look at a film that lands with the latter as it soars across the screen. Because Top Gun: Maverick fixes those elements that did not work in the first film and then takes what did work and amps it up to 11.                           

So to set the scene, it has been decades since the first Top Gun, and after flying planes in Bosnia, Afghanistan, and both Iraq’s Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) now works as a test pilot for experimental jets in the Mojave Desert. When told that his unit is about to be shut down because Rear Admiral Chester “Hammer” Cain (Ed Harris) thinks that drones are the future. Well, one illicit test later and intervention of Admiral Tom “Iceman” Kazansky (Val Kilmer), Maverick is not grounded, but instead, he is sent back to Top Gun to be a teacher. Because they need to undertake a perilous mission, and only Maverick can teach them. The only issue is that one of the possible recruits for this potential suicide mission is Lieutenant Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of Maverick’s late radar co-pilot.   

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The Bob’s Burgers Movie – Movie Review

TL;DR – This was so full of charm and joy that I had a smile on my face for the entire runtime, well, when I was not laughing, that is.     

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

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

Bob pats a burger

The Bob’s Burgers Movie Review

When I walked in to see The Bob’s Burgers Movie, I had two main concerns, one personal and the other professional. The personal being that I had kind of fallen out with Bob’s Burgers. During the Covid pandemic, when they finally released it easily here in Australia on Disney+, I binged that series hard, which might not have been for the best. Professionally, I had to wonder, could it make a show that was deserving of a feature-length runtime. The last show to do this on a similar scale was Simpsons, and even Family Guy fell back on that Star Wars riff when doing something similar. However, as I walked out of the cinema, I was glad to say that neither of these concerns was an issue because the film was a blast.  

So to set the scene, it is 6-years beforehand, and one night, in the dark night, there is a scuffle, and then a bang as someone is murdered. Flash forward to the present day, and there is a feeling of nervous cheer in the Belcher family. Bob (H. Jon Benjamin) and Linda (John Roberts) are going down to the bank to ask for an extension on their loan payment, and Bob is making a special burger to help seal the deal. However, as the kids Tina (Dan Mintz), Gene (Eugene Mirman), and Louise (Kristen Schaal) go to school, Louise is called a baby because she still wears bunny ears. Well, Bob didn’t get the loan, and worse, a pit hole opens up in front of the restaurant, but in that hole could be the Belcher’s salvation or their doom.    

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How to Please a Woman – Movie Review

TL;DR – A story that explores a part of life that rarely gets to make it to the cinema, even if it does take some wild turns and does not quite come together in places.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to watch this film

Swimming in the open ocean.

How to Please a Woman Review

I am not quite sure what I expected when I sat down to watch How to Please a Woman. I had not seen any of the trailers, and there was only the poster to go on that, at best, gives off a ‘Cougar Town after they worked out what Cougar Town was and regretted calling it Cougar Town’ energy. However, no matter what I would have thought, I am not sure I was ready for the wild turns this film takes.

So to set the scene, Gina (Sally Phillips) spends her mornings swimming in the ocean off the West Australian coast with her friends, which is the one part of her life that gives her purpose. Her marriage with Adrian (Cameron Daddo) is loveless, and her boss Gary (Ben Mortley), is more interested in his staff’s physical attributes than how good they are at their jobs. Knowing she is in a bad place, her friends buy her a stripper called Tom (Alexander England) for her birthday. They just didn’t realise that the ‘premium package’ meant they had actually paid for a prostitute and not a stripper. Not wanting to cheat on her husband, Gina takes his ‘I can do anything you want for two hours’ to instead clean her house, which is the point that she has an idea for a new business.

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Top Gun (1986) – Movie Review [Exploring the Past]

TL;DR – Still a triumph, even if parts of it have not aged well in the years since.     

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid for the Paramount+ streaming service that viewed this film

F-14A Tomcat

Top Gun Review

Top Gun is one of those films that, even though it came out when I was young, I did see it thanks to it being on a constant rotation on local TV. However, as the new film was about to come out, I had to think about what did I remember from the film, and the answer was not that much. Sure there was the “I Feel The Need… The Need For Speed!”, the charged volleyball scene, the copious amount of Danger Zone, and the somewhat infamous way the US Military shaped the narrative and used it for promotion. Well, there is no better time like the present to dive back in and relive a classic.

 So to set the scene, on March 3, 1969, the United States Navy established an elite school for the top one percent of its pilots. Today it is called the Fighter Weapons School or TOPGUN. Over the seas, based off the USS Enterprise, pilot LT Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) and Radar LTJG Nick “Goose” Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards) flying an F-14A Tomcat ping an unknown target and got to intercept. They think it was just one target, but it is a pair of MiG-28s. After some ‘fun’, they get the planes to disengage. But their wingman LT Bill “Cougar” Cortell (John Stockwell) freezes and is only saved by Maverick talking him down to a landing. It was a stupid stunt given how much fuel they had left, but it saved the day and booked them a ticket to TOPGUN at Naval Air Station Miramar.    

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