Movie Review – Dredd (2012)

TL;DR – A film that combines great action, compelling characters, visual storytelling, and creative worldbuilding making it a must watch   

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

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

Dredd. Image Credit: Lionsgate.

Review

There are some films out there that just don’t find their audience the first time around, yet over the years they build upon and continue to find their voice as a slow burn. These are films that are often referred to as Cult Classics. Today I want to take a look at a film that is both of these things. It is an action film, both beautiful and violent, it is a look at society, and also is the home for some of the best one-liners in cinema.

So to set the scene, in the far future the world has been ravaged by war with people crowding into mega cities where violence and murder are commonplace. Long gone are democratic governance and due process, replaced with the Judges. These are judge, jury, and indeed sometimes (a lot of the time) executioners. They have the power to hand out justice as they see fit, only answering to their other judges. One such Judge is Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) who is tasked by the Chief Judge (Rakie Ayola) to give a new recruit Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) an evaluation. She had marginally failed the final test but she is the best psychic the Judges had ever seen so this is her sink or swim moment. They can pick anything to respond to so they choose Peach Trees a mega block with 75,000 residents where ‘Ma Ma’ (Lena Headey) had just killed three men and made an example of them. Judges rarely come to Peach Trees, but when they capture one of her key lieutenants Kay (Wood Harris) alive and take him away to be interrogated, Ma-Ma locks down the entire block forcing the Judges to fight their way out.   

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Movie Review – Destroyer

TL;DR – This is a film that holds its cards very close to its chest but that makes the slow burn that much better   

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

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

Destroyer. Image Credit: Madman.

Review

Okay … wow, this is a difficult film to parse because its structure and tone jump all over the place and it is a film guards its biggest conceit at all times. This also makes it a difficult film to review because there are vignettes throughout that I really like and really didn’t and it is hard to conceptualise that without immediately running into spoilers. However, that is what we will attempt to do.

So to set the scene, we open on Erin Bell (Nicole Kidman) a detective in the LAPD who has clearly had a tough life, and is clearly worse for wear after a long night of drinking. She is arriving at a murder scene of a John Doe that had been shot multiple times. The police on site were not happy to see Erin, and even less so when she implies she knows who did it because she recognises the tattoo on the back of his neck and the money covered in die spread around the body as a warning. All of this is confirmed when we next see Erin at her office and she gets a letter with one of the dyed bills revealing a past that haunts her to this day.

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Movie Review – Triple Frontier

TL;DR – While it has all the components for a good film, it feels like it is spending more of its time imitating than driving its own course.     

Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars

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

Triple Frontier. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

This is an interesting time for the action films, there are spaces where it is showing brand new filmmaking techniques, films that build tension as I have never seen, or simply shots where you go, how did they get that? Unfortunately, today I am not looking at a film like that, because today we review one of the most paint-by-numbers films I have seen in a very long time.   

So the set the scene, we open in Colombia where Pope (Oscar Isaac) works as an ‘independent observer’ helping the local police take down one of the local drug cartels. While there he becomes friendly with a local informant Yovanna (Adria Arjona) who lets him know how to get to Gabriel Martin Lorez (Reynaldo Gallegos) the local big bad. This is not a mission that he can pull off alone, nor does he want to involve the locals because they might tip his hand. So instead, he goes back to the States to recruit his old military Special Forces team. Redfly (Ben Affleck) now sells condos … badly and can barely keep his head above water after the divorce, Ironhead (Charlie Hunnam) spends all his time giving talks to military trainees, and his brother Ben (Garrett Hedlund) is now an MMA fighter, and Catfish (Pedro Pascal) can no longer fly planes after an incident. Together they go down to provide expert reconnaissance, and maybe a bit more than just that.    

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Movie Review – Aquaman

TL;DR – Bombastic, silly, overly long, but still by far some of the best fun DC has made so far.    

 Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

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

Aquaman. Image Credit: Warner Bothers.

Review

To say that the DC Expanded Universe has had a rough launch up to this point would be a bit of an understatement. Indeed, of all the past films, only Wonder Woman (see review) felt like a coherent film in any great sense. So, more than ever, the first film after Justice League had to hit the ground running, even more so after background conversations that the expanded universe was losing a lot of its big-name talent. Now while Aquaman is not a perfect film, it is a film with a lot of style, and more than most of the films that have come before it was just fun.

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Movie Review – Bumblebee

TL;DR – From start to end this film is just fun, with more humanity than the last films combined.     

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

Bumblebee. Image Credit: Paramount

Review

I have always had a difficult relationship with the Transformers films, at the start I was so glad to see them be brought to the big screen. But Transformers I failed to stick the landing, and every other film from then was well … okay, sorry, they are not great. Yes, you get the big fight scenes and explosions aplenty, but Michael Bay’s very particular style just did not match the franchise. All of this combined into The Last Night (see review) which was just painful to watch at times with its awfulness. With all of this, when they announced that they would be doing a spin-off prequel, I gave a sigh in exasperation, as the thought of sitting through a Transformers cinematic universe when it was being handled so poorly was not a great feeling. However, as more information was released, it became clear that this was going to be a different type of film, and after seeing it, I can tell you that this is the best Transformers live-action film to date.

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Movie Review – Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle

TL;DR – While at times this film has moments of technical brilliance, huge issues with tone, and a story we already know to death means that the film ends up being just dull.     

Score – 2 out of 5 stars

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

Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle. image Credit: Netflix

Review

There are warning signs in the industry that happens sometimes that lets you know a studio is not really confident with what they are about to release. This could be not screening it for critiques,or putting an embargo on reviews before release, or in this day and age it is a film suddenly disappearing from the cinema schedule and being sold off to Netflix. Now, this is not always a case of it being a bad film, just a case of the distributors not knowing what they have, see this year’s Annihilation(see review). However,today we look at a film that probably falls squarely into this category.

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Movie Review – Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

TL;DR – A masterpiece in animation, in incorporating comics into film,and exploring all the emotions, a must watch.      

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a post-credit scene and the credits are a technicolour dream coat

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Image Credit: Sony/Marvel

Review


When I first heard that they were going to do a new Spider-Man animated film outside of the MCU I honestly didn’t have a lot of hope. It felt like a plan of a company that is trying to scramble while not doing anything new with a property that had stagnated for years. Then they announced that the story was from Phil Lord, and that piqued my interest, and then that first trailer dropped and I knew instantly that I was going to have to eat my words. Now that I have seen the movie proper I can honestly say that this is not only one of the best films of the year, but it might be the best superhero film I have seen in a while. This has been a bumper year for Spider-Man with Infinity War, the Spider-Man video game from Insomniac Games, but Into the Spider-Verse is the crown achievement and I have never been so glad to be wrong.

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