Black Widow – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film with a great cast, strong banter, engaging action, but the third act does not capitalise on all these.     

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to see this film.

Black Widow. Image Credit: Marvel Studios.

Black Widow Review

Back when Spider-Man: Far From Home came out in July 2019, I don’t think anyone knew just how long it would be before we got another Marvel film up on the big screen. Well, just over two years later, it is time to dive back into this world by going back to a time just after Civil War.

So to set the scene, we begin our film in the deep dark days of the far past, the 1990s. In Ohio, we are introduced to a completely average family, normal except for the fact that it is entirely manufactured and the father Alexei Shostakov (David Harbour) and mother Melina Vostokoff (Rachel Weisz) are Russian spies. They are here to steal secrets from SHIELD (well, HYDRA pretending to be SHIELD). One emergency flight to Cuba and the family is split up and forced into the Soviet machine. Years later, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) is now on the run after Civil War, and it just so happens to be time for a family reunion.  

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Gunpowder Milkshake – Movie Review

TL;DR – Stylistically fascinating, tonally inconsistent, and yet still engaging      

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to see this film

Gunpowder Milkshake. Image Credit: StudioCanal.

Gunpowder Milkshake Review

There has been a real struggle for independent stories to break through in a world of franchises and sequels. So when you see a new film emerge, you want to see it thrive. However, there are still as many hits and misses when you have new ideas as what happens when you are working with a solid franchise base. Today, we look at a film which has aspects of both sides, both the good and the bad.

So to set the scene, we open with a phone beeping off the hook as blood and bullets scatter the room. It is here where we are introduced to Sam (Karen Gillan), who is a cleaner for a secret organisation called The Firm. 15 years ago, a young Sam (Freya Allan) was abandoned at a diner by her mother Scarlet (Lena Headey) after a shootout with the Russian Mob. Now, Sam is here with her handler Nathan (Paul Giamatti), and she is on the last legs with the organisation. All she has to do is hunt down some missing money. What could go wrong?     

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The Tomorrow War – Movie Review

TL;DR – An interesting film with a concept that intrigues you, delights you, and also kind of terrifies you.    

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime subscription that viewed this film.

The Tomorrow War. Image Credit: Amazon Studios.

The Tomorrow War Review

The Alien Invasion genre and the Time Travel genre are ones that you would expect to crash into each other more often than they do. But there are times when they crash into each other you get fantastic, weird works like Edge of Tomorrow. Today we get another entry into this world with a war that is coming in the future, but we are fighting it now.   


We open with Dan Forester (Chris Pratt) crashing into a city on fire. War has come to this land and left carnage in its wake. Twenty-eight years earlier, in December 2022, Dan is with his wife Emmy (Betty Gilpin), and daughter Muri (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) are watching the World Cup after Dan lost out to another private-sector job when an explosion happens in the middle of the final match. It was not a bomb, but Lt. Hart (Jasmine Mathews) and her team coming back from the future. They are at war with an Alien force, and humanity is losing. They need people from the past to jump to the future and help them fight, or all humanity is doomed.  

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Fast & Furious 9 (F9) – Movie Review

TL;DR – It is the bombast that you expect from these films, full of family and of course lots of cars.     

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

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

Fast & Furious 9. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Fast & Furious 9 Review

I am going to be honest. I did not get The Fast Saga for a long time. They were these big grandiose films that were inherently silly yet played so seriously. But many of my friends swore by it, which left me intrigued. So when The Fate of the Furious was announced, I thought it was time to give it another go, and it was watching that film that I finally understood what this was all about. I have now watched every movie in the franchise, so I was ready to dive into a new film with all that combined knowledge, well at least I thought I was ready.        

So to set the scene, we open up in 1989, as NASCARs race around the track, screeching their tyres along the route. As one car pulls in, we see a young Dominic Toretto (Vinnie Bennett) helping out his dad Jack (J. D. Pardo). However, tragedy strikes and in an instant, Dom’s life is changed. Back in the present, Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) have left the world of car-spy-shenanigans to stay on a farm and raise Brian (Isaac Holdane/Immanuel Holdane). However, one morning a car arrived baring Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Chris’ Ludacris’ Bridges), and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) because Mr Nobody’s (Kurt Russell) plane has crashed and there is a new operative on the scene, one with ties to Dom’s past.

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Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard) – Movie Review

TL;DR – More of the same, so if you know how you feel about the first film, well, not much has changed    

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene and something at the end.

Disclosure – I paid to watch this film

Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard). Image Credit: Roadshow Films.

Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard Review

A few years ago, there was this small weird film that slipped into cinemas. The Hitman’s Bodyguard was a fairly average action film, with all the narrative beats that you would expect. However, with some good cinematography, action set pieces, and a cast that bought entirely into the premise, it turned out to be more than the sum of its parts. I wondered if they could capture that same energy twice, and the answer is both yes and no.

So to set the scene, Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) is no longer an AAA-rated executive protection agent, as the organisation took umbrage that he took a bullet for a known hitman. After some counselling from his therapist (Rebecca Front), he decides to instead of waiting for the review board he would take a sabbatical from bodyguarding and fly to Capri for a relaxing holiday. Which lasts about five seconds until Sonia Kincaid (Salma Hayek) arrives guns blazing as the Mafia has captured Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson), and only Michael can set him free.

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Army of the Dead – Movie Review

TL;DR – This film is like a shotgun of ideas slapped up on the screen, and none of it lands. 

Rating: 2 out of 5.

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

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

Army of the Dead. Image Credit: Netflix.

Army of the Dead Review

I need to start this review with a little proviso about filmmaker Zach Snyder, the director, writer, and cinematographer of this film. I do think he can be a great filmmaker because when his particular style lines up with the right narrative, you can get great films like 300. Unfortunately, you need someone to help channel that style, or you get a bloated mess of a film, and I think we are in the latter today y’all.

So to set the scene, we open in as a military convoy with a high-value cargo leaves Area 51, transiting it somewhere safer. However, when a driver on an oncoming car becomes “distracted”, their car crashes into the convoy killing many soldiers. But just as the survivors regroup, something comes out of the cargo and rips them all to pieces. That would be bad, but what is worse is that those once dead come back alive, and Las Vegas waits over the horizon. Sometime later, after the government lost the battle and instead decided to wall off the infected town, a mysterious businessman called Bly Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada) enlists the help of Scott Ward (Dave Bautista) and his team to break into the city. Because there is a lot of money left in those casinos, and you might as well take it before the government nukes the place.

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A Quiet Place Part II – Movie Review

TL;DR – It builds upon the world in interesting ways, and when it focuses on Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe, it becomes thrilling.     

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to see this film

A Quiet Place Part II. Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

A Quiet Place Part II Review

The first A Quiet Place was a film that caught me off guard as I got sucked into this world. It is a time where every sound might not be your last, but you need to live as if it could be. Is that twig snap going to get you, or a misplaced nail, or a yelp in pain. It was such an interesting contained film that when I heard they were doing a sequel, I was intrigued about where they could take the story next and a little concerned that they could not strike lightning twice. Now that I have seen it, I don’t think it hits either of those extremes, but when it is good, it is really good.

So to set the scene, we open in on Day 1. Lee Abbott (John Krasinski), his wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt), and daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) were out in town on a lovely sunny summers day. They’ve gone to town to watch Marcus (Noah Jupe) play in his big baseball game. But as he goes up to bat, a large comet/meteor/something is seen falling through the sky. The family feel something is off, so they and the rest of the town start making their way home when the alien start their attack. Back at Day 474, we find the family in the immediate aftermath of the first film. However, there is no time to stop and celebrate their win or mourn their loss because the house and farm are destroyed, and they need to find some new shelter before the aliens come to finish them off.       

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Those Who Wish Me Dead – Movie Review

TL;DR – While it starts a bit muddled, it soon picks up, and the third act had me on the edge of the seat.    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

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

Those Who Wish Me Dead. Image Credit: Warner Brothers.

Those Who Wish Me Dead Review

I am not sure what you feel when you hear the word ‘firestorm’, but for me and I think many Australians, there is a visceral terror as we have all seen that all-consuming force. We know that destruction, year after year, so when you set a film in this world, there is a kind of instant buy-in as to the danger from the moment that first spark gets set off. But for a movie to work, it needs to be more than that, which is what we get this week. 

Set the scene, we open with a group of firelighters jumping out of a plane and parachuting down into the oncoming storm. They’re smokejumpers, and they are trying to make a firebreak and shore up the defences when the wind turns the fire directly at them. A year later, two men walk into the house of a district attorney in Fort Lauderdale, and minutes later, the house explodes, killing the whole family. Back in Jacksonville, Owen Casserly (Jake Weber), a forensic accountant, is getting his son Connor (Finn Little) ready for the day when he sees the news and immediately knows he is next. The two flee to Montana, where Owen’s brother-in-law Ethan Sawyer (Jon Bernthal) works as a sheriff, but just as they get close, the two men Jack (Aidan Gillen) and Patrick (Nicholas Hoult), attack.  

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Mortal Kombat (2021) – Movie Review

TL;DR – Gory, gruesome, and yet also just a ton of fun.    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

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

Mortal Kombat. Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Mortal Kombat Review

When I was growing up, Mortal Kombat was this illicit thing that everyone knew about because the adults kept trying to get it banned. A baby Brian’s first experience with the Streisand Effect. So when you got to play it, well, it was almost an act of defiance, which of course, added to its appeal. As time when on, it mostly faded from my radar, and the two past films did not help, well more the second, the first still had the banging soundtrack if nothing else. But when you hear that they are doing a remake holding nothing back … well, this is something you need to check out.

So to set the scene, we open in on 1617, Japan, at the house of Hanzo Hasashi (Hiroyuki Sanada) and his family. Hanzo is the Shirai Ryu ninja clan leader, and as such, his home is well protected from threats. However, one fateful day while he was out fetching water, Bi-Han (Joe Taslim) of the Lin Kuei assassins arrived and killed all the guards and Hanzo’s family. They fight, but Bi-Han uses his ice to win the day and stop the prophecy of Hanzo’s bloodline being Earth’s salvation. Well, almost, as Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano) arrives, he hears a cry call out from the house, for a baby had been hidden away and was saved from the slaughter. Today, Cole Young (Lewis Tan) is just going about his life as an MMA fighter when that birthmark shaped like a dragon turns out to be a bigger deal than he ever thought.

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Love and Monsters – Movie Review

TL;DR – While it never quite gets to the heights it aims for, it is still a delightful ride with some stunning effects.     

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

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

Love and Monsters. Image Credit: Netflix..

Love and Monsters Review

There are times when people can be stringent around how films can be categorised. Then films can come along and blow those strict delineations apart. You see it in movies like Zombieland or Warm Bodies, and we see it again today in the film we are about to look at.   

So to set the scene, in the near future, there was an asteroid Agatha 6-1-6 hurtling towards Earth. The governments grouped together to shoot it out of the sky, which they did. Unfortunately, the chemicals they used in all those rockets fell back down to Earth. They contaminated and mutated all the cold-blooded animals, from ants to crocodiles and everything in-between. While the militaries and the giant mutants wiped each other out, 95% of the world’s population died, leaving only those who were able to find security in bunkers. One of the survivors was Joel Dawson (Dylan O’Brien) from Fairfield, California. He made it to safety, but he has a habit of freezing in front of the monsters, not a good long-term survival trait. After an incursion into their bunker, Joel makes up his mind to go out into the world make the trek 90 odd miles to where his old girlfriend Amiee (Jessica Henwick) now lives. Ninety miles of infested territory that is trying to kill everything.

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