Robbing Mussolini (Rapiniamo il Duce) – Movie Review

TL;DR – It might not stick the landing, but it was an interesting romp through Italy at the end of WW2.   

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

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

The crew in cartoon form.

Robbing Mussolini Review

If there is one genre I adore when it is done well, it is a Heist film. The setup, the betrayals, the secret moments that impact all, and then the suspense. Add to that a true story, well as the film admits a true-ish story, a location that is impossible to enter, and a looming end to the war with a seven-day countdown. Well, you have a good foundation for a Heist.

So to set the scene, we are in Milano (Milan) in 1945 at the tail end of WW2. Chaos abounds at fascist checkpoints in the city, as the Allies have already taken the south, and the march north has begun. It is a difficult time, with the Italian Fascists and Nazis on edge. In a movie theatre as Mussolini’s propaganda blares Isola (Pietro Castellitto), one of the last black marketers and Yvonne (Matilda de Angelis), a noted singer plot. For you see, there are riches in Milan that are about to be looted from the city, well, not if they have anything to say about it. I mean, it was not for entirely altruistic reasons, but altruistic adjacent.

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Bros – Movie Review

TL;DR – While incredibly funny at times, it loses its momentum under the weight of the narrative.    

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.

Bobby Lieber records the podcast.

Bros Review

If there is one genre that has almost standardised its narrative, it is the Romantic Comedy. For better or worse, when you go into one of these films, especially the plethora of made-for-tv films that come out during the holidays, you can probably chart the course of the movie in the first five minutes. The business lady will discover she wants a family too. The widower will find love in the most unlikely [i.e. very likely] place. Old lovers, now foes, will become lovers again. This is not necessarily bad. You can still do great things with a tried-and-true formula, but I am always looking for a film that could break through those models, and we might have just such a film today.    

So to set the scene, Bobby Lieber (Billy Eichner) is a podcast host of The Eleventh Brick at Stonewall and has been chosen to be the curator of a new National LGBTQ+ History Museum in Manhattan. It is his dream job, and his complete focus, which, given he is incredibly single, works well for him. He prides himself on his independence, even if that means some awkward hook-ups along the way. However, one night at a nightclub, he connects with Aaron (Luke Macfarlane), who ghosts him, un-ghosts him, and then ghosts him again. It is perplexing, but for some reason, it makes Bobby more interested in discovering just what his deal is.

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The School for Good and Evil – Movie Review

TL;DR – There were hints of something fabulous here, but it just felt like it was always held back from reaching its true potential.    

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

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

The School for Good and Evil

The School for Good and Evil Review

Many genres land for me on a personal level; one of them is taking traditional narratives and bringing a new twist to them. You can see it clearly when someone takes a swing at an old fairy tale and brings new life into it. Today we are looking at just such a film in a land far from our own, full of good and evil.

So to set the scene, in the long past of the fairy tale world, two brothers, Rhian (Kit Young) and Rafal (Kit Young) created a school to bring balance between good and evil, a balance that is now broken between them and the world after the use of forbidden blood magic. A long time later, in the small town of Gavaldon, two outcast girls, Sophie (Sophia Anne Caruso) and Agatha (Sofia Wylie), are complete opposites but also best friends. One day while in town, they stop into Deauville’s Storybook Shop, they learn about the legend of The School of Good of Evil, and Sophie puts all her hope into the wishing tree that it is real. Well, one night, under a red sky, they find out the answer the hard way. Even worse, they might have made a mix-up as they stare down Lady Leonora Lesso, the Dean of the School for Evil (Charlize Theron) and Prof. Clarissa Dovey, the Dean of the School for Good (Kerry Washington).  

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The Peripheral: Pilot – TV Review

TL;DR – It does what you need to in a show like this and builds the world and the mystery from the start.  

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Prime Video service that viewed this show.

Warning – Some scenes may cause distress.

A mod

The Peripheral Review

It has been a while since I have sat down to a good sci-fi mystery. One that makes you scratch your head and wonder how all the different parts connect. I think the last one that truly captured me like this was Westworld. Which is good timing because you can see those influences in the show we are looking at today.

So to set the scene, we open in London in 2099 as Wolf (Gary Carr) sits on a park bench as holographic galleons recreate a battle on the pond in front of him. As he watches a young girl Aelita (Sophia Ally), approaches the bench without shoes. She wants to save a world, not the one they are in now, that is lost, but another world, one that can still be saved. In the Blue Ridge Mountains in 2032, Flynne Fisher (Chloë Grace Moretz) is helping her sick mother, Ella (Melinda Page Hamilton), when she notices that her medicine is being cut by her no-good brother Burton (Jack Reynor). Confronting him, she instead gets dragged into helping some guys beat a level in a WW2 VR Video Game, something she is very good at. At work, she is given a package for her brother, a new VR machine that she can beta test, and get money for her family. But the immersive VR set in a future London is more real than anyone expected. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.    

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Black Adam – Movie Review

TL;DR – This is a film where nearly anything of interest was sandblasted off to give us a bland expedition with some moments of interest.     

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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

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

Black Adam floats in the ocean.

Black Adam Review

I came into this film with a lot of trepidation. To say that Warner Bros has had a challenging year with its merger would be an understatement, losing nearly any goodwill they had with them. Add to this that the DCEU has struggled with very straightforward hero narratives. How would they go with an anti-hero? But if nothing else, the charisma of Dwayne Johnson is strong, and if anything can help a film, it is that.

So to set the scene, 5,000 years ago, in 2,600 BCW, in the land of Kahndaq, Black Adam (Dwayne Johnson) was chosen by the wizards to stand up to the local despot. SHAZAM, and the palace explodes. In the present, Kahndaq is still under the control of occupiers, and Adrianna Tomaz (Sarah Shahi) is trying to hide treasures from the Intergang mercenaries when she finds Black Adam’s tomb. He is finally let free, but all that time has not blunted his desire for revenge and rampage. Seeing a potential threat, Hawkman (Aldis Hodge) and the Justice Society Doctor Fate (Pierce Brosnan), Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell), and Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo) try to show him a different path or at least get him to surrender peacefully. But then, the Black Adam is not peaceful.   

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Avatar (2009) – Exploring the Past

TL;DR –. A tour de force in worldbuilding that still hits those emotional moments even after all this time.  

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to watch this film.

The fly through the floating mountains.

Avatar Review

When Avatar first came out, I, like nearly everyone else I knew, went and saw it, and it might have been the only film ever truly worth paying extra for those 3D glasses. But as the sequel approached, I realised I had not watched the movie since I watched the extended edition when it came out on DVD. I knew I had to catch up again, and there was no better time than when it was back on the big screen.

So to set the scene, it is 2154, and while the Earth is a hollow mess, humans have found a new world to wreck in the Alpha Centauri system on a moon called Pandora that orbits the gas-giant Polyphemus. Even though Pandor looks like a lush paradise, the high carbon dioxide content means you will be unconscious in 20 seconds without a mask. Jake Scully (Sam Worthington), the former marine that lost the use of his legs, has just made the 6-year trip to the planet in cryo-sleep, but he was not meant to be there. His twin brother, a scientist, was killed, but because they shared exact dnd, Jake could sub in for him on the planet as part of its avatar program with the local population, the Na’vi. All Jake has to do is convince them to move from their sacred home because underneath it is the biggest supply of Unobtanium on the planet, and the RDA needs to make their money.

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Don’t Worry Darling – Movie Review

TL;DR – While it nails the style, and the cast is giving their all, there is a lack of substance.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

Warning – Some scenes may cause distress.

Cars drive out to the headquarters.

Don’t Worry Darling Review

I am not sure any film has quite had as rough a publicity tour as Don’t Worry Darling for quite a while. It felt that every week there was some new drama going on behind the scenes, real or imagined. While this could have derailed the film for me, I quite liked the first trailer, I enjoyed Olivia Wilde’s first directorial work with Booksmart, and look Florence Pugh, and Chris Pine always give great performances. Which meant I was intrigued to see just how this would all play out.

So to set the scene, we open in The Victory Project, a company town in the middle of the desert where all the women stay home manning the house while their husbands go to a mysterious headquarters working on secret new materials. In a perfect house filled with every modern convenience, Alice Chambers (Florence Pugh) gets breakfast ready for her husband Jack (Harry Styles) and watches with the neighbourhood as all the men leave for work simultaneously. She spends her days cleaning the house, making dinner, rehearsing ballet, and drinking with her best friend and neighbour Bunny (Olivia Wilde). The couple enjoys being young and fun, days drinking with friends, and nights partying with the neighbours. Things are going well for both of them. But as they chat at a party held by the boss Jack Chambers (Chris Pine) and his wife Shelly (Gemma Chan), their former friend Margaret (KiKi Layne) questions everything, and soon it has Alice wondering too.  

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Jurassic World Dominion (Extended Edition) – Movie Review

TL;DR – While a clear improvement, those improvements are but like sticking band-aids to a broken bone.    

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to watch this edition of the film

A Dead T-Rex.

Jurassic World Dominion Review

Earlier this year, the newest edition to the Jurassic World franchise was released in cinemas. While it went on to make just over a billion dollars at the box office, Jurassic World Dominion fell thematically flat with me. However, the original Jurassic Park still ranks as part of my favourite films of all time, so when I heard the was an extended edition that fixes many of the issues with the film, well, I had to give it a watch.

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, which is shown in stark relief as a T-Rex smashes through a drive-in theatre. 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.

Now, we will not be giving a full review of this film as you can read the original coverage for it HERE. However, we will look at the areas where the extended edition improved the film and where it didn’t.

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Drifting Home (Ame wo Tsugeru Hyôryû Danchi/雨を告げる漂流団地) – Movie Review

TL;DR – A fascinating look back to the power that a home can have over us, more than just four walls and a roof.   

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

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

The clouds over an ocean.

Drifting Home Review

At the end of last year, I realised that I had not watched enough animated films in 2021 and that needed to change in 2022. I think I succeeded on that front, but when I looked back, I realised that there was one hole in that catchup, Anime. Today I start fixing that blind spot by diving into a film full of mystery.    

 So to set the scene, in town in Japan at the onset of summer, there is an apparently haunted apartment block about to be torn down. While the old building is being removed to put something better, it is still considered ‘home’ for Natsume Touchi (Asami Seto) and Kosuke Kumagai (Mutsumi Tamura), who grew up there. However, since they moved out, the two have drifted apart as they went through separate lives. One day before they tear down the buildings, Kosuke and a group of boys visit one of the buildings and find Natsume hiding in their old apartment. As more school students show up, a concern about a mysterious boy called Noppo (Ayumu Murase), whom no one has met before but who lives in the building, raises the tension. It is all the building blocks for an argument between Natsume and Kosuke that had been percolating for months. As the two fight, Natsume slips off the roof, but before she hits the ground, a storm envelops the apartments, and the group finds themselves in the middle of the ocean, all alone.

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The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: The Great Wave – TV Review

TL;DR – This is an episode with joy and tears, warmth and horror, action and romance, and warnings for the future

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this episode.

Queen regent Míriel walks towards the sounds of crushing water.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Review

When they announced that Amazon would commission a new Lord of the Rings prequel series, many people [including myself] doubted if they could pull it off. Especially when it was revealed just what they could work with given the limited window their licence gave them. However, as I sit back from watching the fourth episode, it has become clear that those concerns were misplaced because few episodes of televisionthis year have moved me as much as this one did today.

So to set the scene, in Adar, we were introduced to the island kingdom of Númenor. A land was once given to man by the Elves, but a land that Elves are now unwelcome, something that Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) discovers first-hand when she is brought there by Elendil (Lloyd Owen). However, there is something behind Númenor’s reluctance, which haunts the dreams of the queen regent Míriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson). However, things are going from bad to worse in the Southlands because the orcs have returned and are capturing people to dig their tunnels. Still, as Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova) stands in chains, he looks in horror as the leader of the orcs is an elf called Adar (Joseph Mawle). Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.   

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