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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Fatale – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film with a solid concept that hits hard early and then gives diminishing returns after that.    

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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

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

Fatale. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Fatale Review

When writing a movie, I would take it that one of the more difficult parts of any screenplay is to know when that wow moment will be and how that moment affects the whole film. I think we have all watched that movie where that wow moment has fallen flat, or when it came at the wrong part of the film. Well, today, we have an interesting case of a movie making a big statement with its wow moment that had me on the edge of my seat and then did very little with it from that point onwards.

So to set the scene, Derrick Tyler (Michael Ealy) is a basketball agent who has worked to build his company from a small operation to one of the big players in the industry. But while his professional life is reaching for the heights, his marriage with Tracie (Damaris Lewis) is on autopilot. All of this is made worse when Derrick, enabled by his business partner Rafe Grimes (Mike Colter), has an affair with a woman in Las Vegas. This was a turning point for Derrick, but he has to look in horror when the women Val Quinlan (Hilary Swank) turns out to be Detective Val Quinlan.

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The Mitchells vs. The Machines – Movie Review

TL;DR – A blast from start to finish

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene, but like a lot of work went into the credits, and there are some snippets of stuff here and there.

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix subscription that viewed this movie info here

The Mitchells vs. The Machines. Image Credit: Netflix.

The Mitchells vs. The Machines Review

For the longest time, Sony Animation was this studio that shows immense potential, but they always seemed to be chasing trends, which never led them to make anything that stood out. The Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs showed they had potential, but then Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse came out of nowhere and exploded onto the screen. Now, Sony Animation was setting the trends, and it made me wonder where can they go next. Well, today, we get to see that with the charmingly odd The Mitchells vs. The Machines.

So to set the scene, the Mitchells are your standard quirky/dysfunctional family heading towards their first major crisis. As time has gone on, father Rick (Danny McBride) and daughter Katie (Abbi Jacobson) have become equally frustrated with each other, and no amount of work from mum Linda (Maya Rudolph) and brother Aaron (Mike Rianda) can fix this divide. However, Katie is about to go across the country to college, and if she leaves while the relationship is still broken, well, that could be irreparable damage. Well then, the family decides to make one last-ditch effort to fix the unfixable by going on a long road trip to drop Katie off at college, on the same week that techbro Mark Browman (Eric Andre) of PAL Labs inadvertently starts a robot invasion after upsetting his AI PAL (Olivia Colman).   

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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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The United States vs. Billie Holiday – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film with one of the best individual performances I have seen in a long time, bolstered by an amazing supporting cast but ultimately held back by some odd stylistic choices.    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Warning – Depicts scenes of abuse.

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

The United States vs. Billie Holiday. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

The United States vs. Billie Holiday Review

Billie Holiday has one of those voices that you can instantly pick out. It has this uncanny ability to be soft and harsh all at once. When writing this review, I wondered when the first time was I had heard a recording of her performing? And it could have been off one of my grandfather’s records as he always had Jazz and Big Band playing. Or at the very least, it was on one of the radio stations in Fallout. But knowing about her voice, I realised before watching this film that I did not know much about her life at all. Well, today, I help fix that with a movie that charts some of the struggles she faced.

So to set the scene, we open with an older Billie (Andra Day) as she and her manager Miss Freddy (Miss Lawrence), sits down with interviewer Reginald Lord Devine (Leslie Jordan) to chart her life and explore why the government is so opposed to her. Well, we flashback in time to 1947, as a young soldier Jimmy Fletcher (Trevante Rhodes) makes his way to a jazz club in New York City where Billie is about to perform a complete set, including the one song no one but the audience wants her to sing Strange Fruit. Someone who especially wants her to stop the song is Agent Harry J. Anslinger (Garrett Hedlund) from the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.

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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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Voyagers – Movie Review

TL;DR – While it is clearly treading across old ground, I still found the narrative and the cast to be compelling throughout.    

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.

Voyagers. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Voyagers Review

When you are talking about scenarios that immediately capture your attention, humans escaping Earth to try and colonise another planet to make sure humanity survives is one of those that immediately catches my attention. When it is done well, you are drawn into this world of desperation and struggles of leaving behind what you love for the unknown, but you lose the humanity for spectacle when it is done poorly. Today we look at a film that kind of swings between these poles in parts, but never the less left an impact on me.

So to set the scene, in 2063, the climate on Earth is steadily worsening as the planet warms, leading to the genuine suggestion that humanity might not survive as a species. However, in this moment of darkness, scientists find what they believe to be a habitable planet. The only problem is that it will take over 80 years to reach it with the current technology. This means that those who leave on the trip will likely not be alive when it arrives, and indeed it will probably be their grandchildren, the third generation, that will survive. Given the danger and pressure to get a scouting ship out as soon as possible, they decide to grow a purpose crew that has never seen the big open world so they won’t miss it during the long ride. However, that means they are just children, so Richard Alling (Colin Farrell), their teacher decides to join them on the one way trip into the dark to help prepare them for those moments when it all goes wrong.     

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Nobody – Movie Review

TL;DR – An incredible violent romp through the suburbs after the Russian mob picked the wrong man to come after.    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I was sent a screener of this film.

Nobody. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Nobody Review

When John Wick first blasted onto the scene, it was this dramatic shift in how action movies could be presented. Instead of a disjointed mess, there was flow. Instead of shying away from the realities, you saw it all up close and personal. Many films have tried to copy that style with mixed success, but today we look at a movie that nails it, and all it took was the same writer and producer to make it happen.

So to set the scene, the film opens with Hutch Mansell (Bob Odenkirk), a man who goes through the same dull routine each week (which makes it surprising that he can’t remember to put out the rubbish). There is a growing distance between him and his wife Becca (Connie Nielsen) that is exacerbated when the house is robbed, and Hutch lets his son Blake (Gage Munroe) get punched rather than take someone out with a golf club. But while the world sees Hutch as mild-mannered, or more clearly a wimp, he is actually a former CIA wet work expert known as an Auditor, which local Russian Mafia boss Yulian Kuznetsov (Aleksei Serebryakov) discovers the hard way when he comes after Hutch and his family.

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Godzilla vs. Kong – Movie Review

TL;DR – A bombastic visual spectacle that explodes on the screen and never lets up.    

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.

Godzilla vs. Kong. Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures.

Godzilla vs. Kong Review

There have been several attempts to create Cinematic Universes across modern cinema, but most of them have fallen flat. However, one of the few rays of light in this space has been the visual delight that has been the MonsterVerse. It has been bombast on the big screen, as giant monsters battle each other for supremacy as we watch on. Today, we look at the next film in that franchise that pits our two heroes from the previous movies against each other.     

So to set the scene, it has been several years since Godzilla became the alpha at the end of Godzilla: King of the Monsters. In that time, Godzilla has kept the other titans in their home areas, much to the joy of the humans living in the world. However, one day, Godzilla surges out of the water near Pensacola, Florida. The titan makes a beeline for the Apex factory tearing apart everything in its way. In the factory, a whistleblower Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry), is trying to find what Apex is up to because they are up to something shady. Meanwhile, on Skull Island, King Kong is taking his daily walk when he comes across a little girl, Jia (Kaylee Hottle), in the forest. However, as they bond, Kong feels a threat coming and sharpens a tree javelin, ready to take it down.

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Zach Snyder’s Justice League (The Snyder Cut) – Movie Review

TL;DR – A better film than the original, but some of the old flaws are still there, and with some new ones to boot.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

End Credit Scene – There is no end credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Binge subscription that viewed this series.

Zach Snyder’s Justice League Review

When the first Justice League came out, there were whispers of its difficult production but no hints about what went on behind the scenes. Looking back on my review of the first film, I don’t think I was as harsh with the film’s final cut as many other people were. However, that may have just been the feeling of inevitability as to where the DC Expanded Universe was heading. Since then, rumours of the Snyder Cut have permeated popular culture, creating a less than ideal back and forth between the different sides. Well, today, we get to see that original vision of the director come to pass, with the official cut being released on home media.

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