The Comeback Trail – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film full of everything I should love in cinema, but it felt hollow and more than a bit mean.   

Rating: 2 out of 5.

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

The Comeback Trail. Image Credit: Madman Films.

The Comeback Trail Review

There are times when you watch a film, there are certain aspects of cinema that start to stand out, and one of them is that Hollywood loves stories about Hollywood. They love films about films being made like in Dolemite Is My Name, films about washed-up actors like in Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood, even better films about Hollywood coming into rescue everyone like in Argo. Today we get a film that falls into this category but unfortunately fails at nearly every point.  

So to set the scene, uncle Max Barber (Robert De Niro) and nephew Walter Creason (Zach Braff) are movie producers … and not very good ones at that. With their latest film about sexy mob Nuns being protested by the Catholic Church. The issue is that Walter borrowed $350,000 from local mobster Reggie Fontaine (Morgan Freeman) who is now VERY concerned that he is not going to see his money back. On a short timeframe to get all the money back, Walter gets the idea for a scam after tragedy strikes the production of fellow producer James ‘Jimmy’ Moore (Emile Hirsch). He hires a washed-up Western actor Duke Montana (Tommy Lee Jones) in his next film, dumps a lot of insurance on him, and then waits for the money to come rolling in.    

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Freaky – Movie Review

TL;DR –  A film that finds that balance between horror and comedy, till maybe the last 10 minutes.  

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Freaky. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Freaky Review

You have probably watched more than a few films where two people running into each other, or a wish, or just the universe deciding to be a dick, cause the people to swap bodies. It is usually a parent and a child, and by the end of the film, they have both learnt the lesson that both of them have complicated lives and everyone should cut everyone else a lot of slack. I have seen a number of these films, and variations upon, however, I have never seen a horror/comedy version of this … well that is until now.

So to set the scene, Millie Kessler (Kathryn Newton) is your usual high school student that is not one of the popular kids, so thus is fodder for the popular kids that make her life hell. Adding to that, the Blissfield Butcher (Vince Vaughn) a notorious serial killer is still at large with no one being able to catch him. Well, one night as Millie is trying to walk home after her mother forgot her, the Butcher attacks. But instead of killing her, the knife he used swaps their bodies. So now Millie has a day to fix this before it becomes permanent and she takes the fall for all those murders … which are still going on but in a different body. 

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Irresistible – Movie Review

TL;DR – Based on some strong character work, Irresistible is a riot of laughs from start to finish, but it still has something important it wants to say.     

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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

Irresistible. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Irresistible Review

It is rare for a film to catch me completely off guard these days. In the era of trailers giving most of the game away and the pretty standard plot structure that most films follow, you tend to know what you are getting yourself into before you sit down in the theatre. Well, today, I look at a movie that surprised me from the start and never let up.

So to set the scene, we open on the night before the 2016 Presidential elections where Democratic party representative Gary Zimmer (Steve Carell) and his Republican counterpart Faith Brewster (Rose Byrne) are giving their final pitches to the nation in the ‘spin room’. Well, we all know how that election turned out, and much like the literal depiction of a cannonball to the gut Gary is in a state of despair. However, a couple of years later as mid-terms approach he is trying to find a way to reconnect with heartland voters when he stumbles across a viral video of Colonel Jack Hastings (Chris Cooper) in Deerlaken, Minnesota. Jack is standing up to the local Mayor Braun (Brent Sexton) over his stance on immigration. Gary has found his gateway to the heartland and flies to Minnesota and agrees to run Jack’s campaign for Mayor.

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Enola Holmes – Movie Review

TL;DR – A funny, engaging, and enjoyable film that casts a new spin on an old tale

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Enola Holmes. Image Credit: Netflix.

Enola Holmes Review

As the march of the copyright extension powers forward more and more, few stories are both in the public domain and have enough thematic strength to be engaging after all this time. However, I should note that not even Sherlock Holmes is not entirely removed from this mess. One of the few stories that match both of these criteria is the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. We have reached the point that not only have we had the many different interpretations of the original stories but also original works within the universe. Today we look at an adaption of the later as we delve into a mystery at the heart of a family … well families.      

We open with Enola (Millie Bobby Brown) running through the English countryside giving us a back story of her life with her mother Eudoria Holmes (Helena Bonham Carter). A life that was full of mystery and joy. However, on the day of Enola’s 16th birthday, she woke up to find her mother missing. The only thing that was left was a single gift for Enola, a box of notes about flowers … or a box full of clues. Hoping to get some assistance she enlists the help of her two brothers Sherlock (Henry Cavill) and Mycroft (Sam Claflin) … and that goes about as well as you can expect.  

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The High Note – Movie Review

TL;DR – A completely charming film from start to finish    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

The High Note. image Credit: Universal.

Review

Films about the music industry are tricky to pull off because they demand you have genuine emotion in a world of fake glitz and glamour. Indeed the best films in this genre either focus on a newcomer trying to break in or pulling back the curtain to reveal the reality of the industry. Today we look at a film that has elements of that outside story, but it takes a risk by centring it on the heart of the industry with all its glitz, glamour, and biases.

So to set the scene, Mags/Maggie/Margret (Dakota Johnson) works as a personal assistant to the great Grace Davis (Tracee Ellis Ross). Grace was a musical icon in her day, but these days she spends her time touring and releasing ‘best of’ albums. Maggie has been her PA for three years, but she wants to take her carrier to the next level and has secretly been remixing Grace’s new live album in her free time. This comes to a head when Grace’s manager Jack Robertson (Ice Cube) finally convinces Grace to get someone to produce the album and Maggie has to decide if she is going to stay quiet or speak up and take her chance.

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The Black Emperor of Broadway – Movie Review

TL;DR – A look at a revolutionary figure in Broadway’s past and the layers of oppression he had to go through to get where he did.     

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Warning – Extensive use of blackface

The Black Emperor of Broadway. Image Credit: Vision Films.

Review

If there is one large blind spot in my art history, it is Broadway. I didn’t come from a musical theatre background, so any introduction to this world is welcome. Today we look at a film that explores this through the life of Charles Sidney Gilpin one of its first Black stars. I should say that before we dive in as a bit of a warning that this is a film very much set in the 1920s and the language and depictions used in the movie are consistent with that time which may be difficult for some viewers.

So to set the scene, Charles Sidney Gilpin (Shaun Parkes) is working in a blackface minstrel show that goes around entertaining white people at parties. He hates the work and tries to get a job a legitimate actor which is difficult in a time when few roles are written for black men, and white people in blackface perform most of them. That chance finally comes when noted play write Eugene O’Neill (John Hensley) writes his newest play The Emperor Jones about a leader of Haiti and he wants Charles for the role.

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The New Mutants – Movie Review

TL;DR – A perfectly okay film but a bit of a missed opportunity.     

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

The New Mutants. Image Credit: 20th Century Studios.

Review

After thirteen films, and running for twenty years, the current X-Men franchise has drawn to a close. Today we review the last movie in the series The New Mutants, though it was never planned or designed to be a swan song it is what it has become. Well, let’s dive into a film that swerves into the horror of what it would be like to wake up one day with powers.

So to set the scene, we open in on a reservation in America when Danielle “Dani” Moonstar (Blu Hunt) is woken up by her father William (Adam Beach) and told to run. All around them, some outside force is destroying the reservation with snow and flames everywhere. William asks Dani to hide in a tree and goes back to help only to be killed, Dani runs form the oncoming storm and crashes down the side of the hill, hitting her head. When she wakes up, she is handcuffed to a medical gurney in what looks like an old hospital. Over the speaker Dr Cecilia Reyes (Alice Braga) askes her to calm down and lets her know she is safe, but that she was the only survivor of her reservation, everyone she knows is dead.  

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Tenet – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film that blasts onto the screen with a roar of trumpets only to get bogged down in its own worldbuilding.     

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Tenet. Image Credit: Warner Brothers.

Review

There are some filmmakers out there whose work has been consistently engaging that every new release gets immediately put on the must-watch list. For me, these are filmmakers like Denis Villeneuve, Ryan Coogler, Roger Deakins, Patty Jenkins, Taika Waititi, Wayne Blair, George Miller, and if I am honest with myself, at the top of that list for me is Christopher Nolan. His film Inception is still on my Top 10 Films list, and his work is always interesting even if like Interstellar the film does not capture me. Well, we live in precarious times, and I was not sure if I was going to be able to see Tenet in some form for a while, but thankfully I did get to see a screening today, and well, I think this is a film that is going to fall in the latter.

So to set the scene, we open in on an opera house in Kyiv, Ukraine, as a group of armed terrorists surge through the band and occupy the theatre. As the police arrive, one van is not what it seems because onboard is a CIA team led by our unnamed protagonist (John David Washington). This whole attack is a ruse to take out an operative whose cover has been blown, and it is our protagonist’s job to get the agent out. It all went wrong, but instead of dying to a cyanide capsule, he wakes up on a boat heading to an off-shore wind farm. It is here where he is informed that he is dead to the world, but a new opportunity has opened up. He is to explore Tenet, a mysterious phrase that is being used by arms smugglers and the like and which could be more dangerous than a missing nuclear weapon.  

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Last Shot – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film that is trying to tell an interesting story but is held back by its narrative.     

Rating: 2 out of 5.

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

Warning – Depicts scenes of abuse

Last Shot. Image Credit: Vision Films.

Review

One of the most important things about a film is its narrative. It ties the characters, events, action, drama, well everything together. While the narrative can be a core driver in how successful a film can be, it can also be affected by other elements in the movie for better or worse. Today we look at a film that presents an interesting narrative that unfortunately fails due to a single action of one of its characters.     

So to set the scene, we open with Nick Heirs (Cody Carter) making his way back through the town. He just got released from prison after spending ten years behind bars. Living with his cousin Mark (Carlo Campbell), Nick has to navigate the difficulties of getting a job and working through parole requirements all while living with the ramifications of his past.

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Fast & Furious Franchise Review

TL;DR – It starts ridiculously serious for its subject matter before finding its groove after several films.     

The Fate of the Furious (Fast and Furious 8). Image Credit: Universal.

Well, when you are stuck at home unemployed in the middle of a pandemic, you can either head down some very unhelpful rabbit holes, or you can take the time filling in some blanks in your life. After spending too much time with the first, I decided to give the later a chance. So which movie blank should I look at correcting? This was the query set before me. There are a lot of films and genres to choose from but if there is one that most of my friends have seen, but I haven’t it would be the Fast & Furious Franchise, and well where better than to start there.

This has always been an odd franchise for me as I set well out of its target audience, hell I can’t even drive a manual, let alone parse most of the racing dialogue. Indeed, the only reason I know one of the characters is driving a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda and the other is driving a 2012 Nissan GT-R R35 Bensopra is that I looked it up in the Wiki. However, it keeps going from strength to strength, and while I had reviewed some of the later films, it was an oversight not to go back to the beginning and start anew.  To fix this, over the last few days, I have now watched all of the feature films in the franchise. So let’s dive into The Fast Saga a world of fast cars, high-speed crashes, so many different heists, and family above all.

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