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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Movie Review – Black is King

TL;DR – A visual masterwork and required viewing if you have Disney+    

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

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

Black is King. Image Credit: Disney+.

Review

Today we review a film that might be the oddest film I have watched from a conceptional perspective. It is a reinterpretation of the story of the Lion King remake, a movie I thought was okay but not much more. But this reframing is the barest framework the film uses throughout to explore everything from religion to music to race and more. This should not work, but it does.      

Black is King. Image Credit: Disney+.
It explores many themes during its runtime and gives each and every one of them the justice they deserve. Image Credit: Disney+.
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Movie Review – The Speed Cubers

TL;DR – A look into the world of Rubik’s Cubes and those who can solve them in under 7 seconds.    

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

The Speed Cubers. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

One of the great things about documentaries is when they take you into a world that you have no idea about. Today we get a film that does just that, with the world of Rubik’s Cubes. I don’t get Rubik’s Cubes. My brain cannot compute them. The skill involved boggles my mind, so watching it all unfold is a real joy.

Where this documentary works is by offering us an insight into a world that everyone has a handle on but then also something you can’t quite comprehend. I think everyone has played with a Rubik’s Cube at some point in their lives. It is a novelty thing, that let’s be honestly more than a few of us have only finished one because we pealed the colour panels off and switched them around. It is a tactile situation that we can all relate to, so when you see people move their fingers in a blur and shift chaos into order in mere seconds.

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Movie Review – Liza, Liza, Skies Are Grey

TL;DR – A film that takes an interesting premise and then does nothing of note with it.     

Score – 1.5 out of 5 stars

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

Liza, Liza, Skies Are Grey. Image Credit: Vision Films.

Review

Today we look at a film trying to be a snapshot of a time and a place, which unfortunately fails on both accounts. Which is a real shame because there is a lot of potential in the direction the film was heading in that just never eventuates. Because of this, our review will be more of a constructive look at some of the ways it went wrong so you can avoid these traps in the future.    

So to set the scene, in 1966, the world is on the precipice of global failure with two nuclear powers on the brink of calamity and the draft for the Vietnam War accelerating. Liza (Mikey Madison) is just finishing up the school year when she runs into the new trumpet player Brett (Sean H. Scully). They lament on the state of the world, and of their mutual issues with their guardians. When Brett, let’s Liza know that he is moving across the country after the summer, they decide to take a trip up the Californian coast while they still can.        

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Movie Review – Follow Me

TL;DR – Out of all the things I expected to fell when I sat down to watch this movie, dull was not one of them, but here we are.     

Score – 1.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is are some mid-credit scenes

Follow Me. Image Credit: Studio Canal.

Review

I have to be upfront before we get started. Today was a bit of a milestone because it was the first time since March (when we looked at The Legend of Baron To’a) that I have been able to go to a regular showing of a film in a cinema. So I may have gone into this film with some unconscious higher expectations than I probably should have. However, all that said and done did I pick a good choice from my first film in a long time? Unfortunately, the answer to that would be a hard no.

So to set the scene, Cole (Keegan Allen) is a stream/influencer/online personality/ etc. who can get tens of thousands of people tuning in when he goes live. He is always about finding extreme situations to film for that #Content. Well, when his friend and fellow streamer Dash (George Janko) lets him know of this super exclusive escape room set up by this cashed-up Russian Alexei (Ronen Rubinstein) he jumps at the opportunity. Well, a couple of months later and Cole, Dash, Cole’s girlfriend Erin (Holland Roden), and their friends Thomas (Denzel Whitaker) & Maya (Tia Valentine) find themselves on a first-class flight to Russia. With no idea what will be waiting for them when they arrive.

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Movie Review – Where’d You Go, Bernadette

TL;DR – A film full of promise that somehow fails to land     

Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars

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

Where'd You Go, Bernadette. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Review

When you watch a film that is not just bad but lazy, it is easy to critique, as it a movie that nails it. However, one of the most challenging parts of this job is when you get a film that a lot of passion has gone into its production, it has all the components needed to be amazing, and yet still it just does not come together. Today we look at just such a film with Where’d You Go, Bernadette.

So to set the scene, many years ago Bernadette Fox (Cate Blanchett) was an aspiring architect, winner of a MacArthur Grant, and a revolutionary in her field. However, today she is just a recluse living in an unfinished house in Seattle with her tech industry husband Elgin (Billy Crudup) and their daughter Bee (Emma Nelson). While she spends most of her life supporting her daughter and feuding with the neighbours like Audrey Griffin (Kristen Wiig). Things are about to change as Bee is about to leave for boarding school, and Bernadette’s past is about to catch up with her.

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