Judas and the Black Messiah – Movie Review

TL;DR – This is a film that continues to show that Daniel Kaluuya is one of his generations best actors      

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Judas and the Black Messiah. Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Judas and the Black Messiah Review

There are moments when a film is perfectly timed with what the world is going through, and after the 2020 Black Lives Matter protest movement, it was the perfect time to take a look back in time at the Black Panther movement. This film delves into a difficult time and explores the intersection of revolution and government control in America.

So to set the scene, we open in the FBI’s halls as its Director J. Edgar Hoover (Martin Sheen), who is railing against a Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya) of Chicago who has the power and charisma to unite many of the different anti-government movements across the country. FBI agent Roy Mitchell (Jesse Plemons) is looking for a way to get a mole into the local Black Panther organisation that Hampton leads when William “Bill” O’Neal (Lakeith Stanfield) falls into his lap after being caught impersonating a federal officer, and now they have their Judas.    

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The Map of Tiny Perfect Things – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film full of charm and heart that explores time in an authentic way   

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things. Image Credit: Amazon Studios.

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things Review

There seems to be a renaissance in the Time Loop genre in recent times, one of those perfect intersections of art and reality. You don’t have to sell someone on the concept of the same day over and over again because that is life at the moment. While it might be the case that there are not that many stories that you can tell within this genre, today we look at a film that shows that there is still more to see in this world.

So to set the scene, were open in the morning as Mark (Kyle Allen) wakes up and begins his day. But unlike reality, every movement is perfectly timed as if he knows everything that is about to happen. Of course, this means that he does know what is about to happen because Mark is stuck in a time loop. Mark is spending his days copying Groundhog Day trying court Phoebe (Anna Mikami) when one loop something changes as Margaret (Kathryn Newton) appears, and he discovers that he is not alone.  

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Greenland – Movie Review

TL;DR – A disaster film that leans into the emotion and is better for it.    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Greenland. Image Credit: STX Films.

Greenland Review

After falling off the face of the Earth, disaster films have started to make a resurgence in the cinemas. There have been good disaster films and bad, but one of the core similarities is that a bunch of them have stared Gerard Butler. Well, we now have another entry into this particular genre so let’s dive in.  

So to set the scene, we open in Atlanta, Georgia as architect John Garrity (Gerard Butler), is trying to keep things as normal as possible for his son Nathan (Roger Dale Floyd) after his marriage with Allison (Morena Baccarin) fell apart. While this is happening, all of Earth is looking up at the Clarke Comet that was picked up only weeks ago. The scientists say it will burn up in the atmosphere and make a great light show, but after John gets a Presidential Alert, he realises that something more is going on and then the first boom hits.

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First Blush – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film looking at people trying to find other people to plug that hole in their lives   

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

First Blush. Image Credit: Gravitas Ventures.

First Blush Review

There has been a lot of reframing of traditional relationships in the post-modern era. However, when cinema has started to explore this realm, it rarely explores this world’s realities. Today we have a film that gives it a solid try if nothing else.

So to set the scene, Nena (Rachel Alig) and Drew (Ryan Caraway) are a mostly happy married couple living in Los Angeles. While everything is good, it does feel like they are sleepwalking through their lives until one day Drew plans a surprise birthday party for Nena with her annoying friend Carrie (Jordee Kopanski). The party is a bit rubbish, but while they are there, Carrie runs into Olivia (Kate Beecroft), and soon their worlds come crashing together.      

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Outside the Wire – Movie Review

TL;DR – An interesting film that attempts to integrates some complex issues, but could not make the landing stick.    

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Outside the Wire. Image Credit: Netflix.

Outside the Wire Review

I have been looking forward to an exciting action science fiction film for a long time. I do like that sort of real, sort of future, mash-up like we got in Edge of Tomorrow, but it is a hard line to get right. Well, today we get a film that walks that line into interesting, even if it clear that they don’t know a whole lot about Ukraine.

So to set the scene, it is 2036, and Eastern Europe (Ukraine) has collapsed into war with the USA controlling to the border to stop the chaos spreading. Along this border, a platoon comes under attack and Lt. Thomas Harp (Damson Idris), a drone pilot breaks with command to kill a potential target but taking out two marines as collateral. As a punishment, he is sent to the front line to meet Captain Leo (Anthony Mackie), an android military officer, to gain some perspective on war’s realities through first-hand experience.     

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Monster Hunter – Movie Review

TL;DR – This is a film dipped its toes into the weirdness, and I wished it had done a bomb dive of the highest platform into the weirdness instead    

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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

Warning – There is extensive use of strobe lighting effects

Monster Hunter. Image Credit: Sony.

Monster Hunter Review

Alas, another video game adaptation bites the dust. I wish this were something I didn’t have to keep saying, but time after time we see that adapting a video game to the big screen is a difficult job and very few films can pull it off. In today’s entry into the list, we have a film that should get credit for adding elements of the gameplay into the film and then frame it around one of the most generic action films imaginable.

So to set the scene, in some desert on Earth (there are actual GPS location coordinates but I was not quick enough to jot them down, if you got them, please let me know) a military expedition is out exploring trying to discover what happened to another of their teams. The United Nations team is led by US Army Ranger Captain Natalie Artemis (Milla Jovovich), and they find the last position of Bravo Team just as a large sandstorm appears out of nowhere. As Alpha Team tries to outrun the storm, markers on the side of the road start flashing, and then the world falls out from underneath them. They wake up on some sand dunes that look nothing like where they left, which is about the point where Alpha Team comes under attack from things that lurk beneath.    

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Soul – Movie Review

TL;DR – A perfectly fine film, with great animation, but it felt like it was missing something.   

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a post-credit scene (sort of)

Awards

Nominated: Creative Animation & Exquisite Musical Score

Soul. Image Credit: Disney.

Soul Review

Well, it has been a long, and let’s call it, interesting year, but today brings to a close our last reviewed of a film from 2020. To round out the year, it is time to look at Pixar’s next entry, and given we already had a strong movie in Onward this year. I came into Soul with some reasonably high expectations.   

So to set the scene, Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx) is a high school music teacher, but his real passion is performing jazz. This puts him in conflict with his mother Libba (Phylicia Rashad) who wants him to have a stable job. Well, those two worlds are about to collide when he is offered a full-time position teaching while also getting the chance to perform with the famous Dorothea Williams (Angela Bassett). This would be a big decision for Joe if he didn’t then fall through an open manhole and wake up on the escalator to the other side.

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Palm Springs – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film about broken people reliving their broken lives, day after day after day after …   

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Palm Springs. Image Credit: Amazon Prime.

Palm Springs Review

There have been many media properties that have attempted to recapture the joy that was the time loop in Groundhog Day. I mean even Stargate SG1 gave it a shot. However, no one has quite gotten there. Well, today we might have a contender with Palm Springs

So to set the scene, we open in on the day of a wedding between Tala (Camila Mendes) and Abe (Tyler Hoechlin), but our focus is not with them. Instead, it is with Nyles (Andy Samberg) the boyfriend of Misty (Meredith Hagner) one of the bridesmaids. Nyles is the type of guy that will wear a Hawaiian shirt and swim pants to distinctly not beachside wedding. But still, he saves the day when Sarah (Cristin Milioti) the Maid of Honour has to make a surprise wedding speech, and she has had too much wine. It is all going swimmingly, with Nyles and Sarah about to hook up when an arrow comes out of nowhere and a masked man Joe (J.K. Simmons) starts hunting Nyles for sport. Wounded Nyles crawls into a glowing cave, and even though he asks Sarah not to follow she does, and then they both wake up at the start yesterday again.  

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Sound of Metal – Movie Review

TL;DR – A profoundly moving and confronting film that explores a man’s life after it has been ripped asunder    

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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

Awards

Nominated: Fascinating Worldbuilding.
Winner: Fascinating Worldbuilding.

Sound of Metal. Image Credit: Amazon Studios.

Sound of Metal Review

There are times when you have seen an actor nail every role that you have seen them in, but they have only been in supporting roles. So you can’t wait to see someone take a chance and cast them in the lead. One of those actors is Riz Ahmed, and I am glad that I get to see that happen today with Sound of Metal.

So to set the scene, Ruben Stone (Riz Ahmed) is a musician, specifically a drummer, who is on tour with his partner Lou (Olivia Cooke). One night when he is performing a ringing starts in his ears, but it goes away. However, it continues to relapse till he has only 20% hearing in both his ears. Ruben is told that he has to stop drumming or he could lose all his hearing. He ignores the doctor and goes back to drumming until it is all gone. In a moment of despair, he starts to backslide after being clean for four years. Lou calls his sponsor, and they are able to find a place that can help him with both his addiction and help him work through his loss of hearing. The head of the facility, Joe (Paul Raci) needs Ruben to cut himself off from the world for this to work, which is a difficult transition.

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Mulan (2020) – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film that is desperately trying to differentiate itself from the past while still hitting all the same story points.     

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

Mulan. Image Credit: Disney.

Mulan Review

When I was growing up, I was at the perfect age for the original animated Mulan. It was this joyous riot of humour with music that I can still repeat verbatim today. However, it is also one of those films that as you grow up and the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia start to fade you begin to see it is not a film without its issues. With that in mind, this was one of the only Disney remakes that I was interested to see remade in live-action, but I am not sure it got to where it wanted to go.

So to set the scene, along the Northern Silk Road, a witch Xianniang (Gong Li) is helping a Rouran warlord Böri Khan (Jason Scott Lee) attack garrisons of the Imperial Chinese Empire. To respond to this threat, the Emperor (Jet Li) signs an edict that one man from each household must be conscripted into the army to fight the menace. This is a dilemma for one family because the only man is Hua Zhou (Tzi Ma) who badly injured his leg in the last war and has only daughters. Being called up to the army would be a death sentence for him, something his wife Hua Li (Rosalind Chao) sees. Seeing the inevitable outcome, Zhou’s daughter Mulan (Yifei Liu) takes his place even though it would mean her death if she is found out.

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