Last Night in Soho – Movie Review

TL;DR – Well Last Night In Soho is a film that threatens to go off the rails at any moment yet somehow manages to hold on just by its fingertips   

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene, but there are images during the credits

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

Warning – This film depicts scenes of abuse

Warning – This film features sequences with flashing lights

Last Night in Soho. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Last Night in Soho Review

Some directors out there have built up such a strong reputation that you know you will be checking out their next film no matter the genre/tone/story. For me, one of those directors is Edgar Wright, who has never once bored me with one of his films. Indeed, we have already gotten his take on a talking-heads documentary this year with The Sparks Brothers, and I was not going to turn down the chance to see two new films from him in the one year. I will say that this is a film that is best seen with as little information as possible, so if you are intrigued, you may want to stop reading here.

So to set the scene, Eloise “Ellie” Turner (Thomasin McKenzie) lives in rural Cornwell but has always dreamed of being a major fashion designer in London. She is obsessed with the style of the 1960s and capturing that time in her work. It was good news for Ellie when she got accepted into the London College of Fashion; thus, she made the long trip into the big city. After some interesting interactions with her roommate Jocasta (Synnøve Karlsen), Ellie moves into a bed/sit in Goodge Place being rented out by Ms Collins (Diana Rigg). This old lady had owned the property for decades. It is perfect for Ellie, but as she sleeps, she visits an apparition from the past, Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy), a singer and dancer in 1960s London. 

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No Time to Die – Movie Review

TL;DR – A solid ending for Daniel Craig’s run as Bond, giving James the most to play with as the world explodes around him.     

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

No Time to Die. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

No Time to Die Review

Well, it has been a long time, getting from there to here. Eighteen months since it was meant to be released, and Bond is finally making its return. Part of me was concerned that we would never get to see the film out in the real, another part of me was concerned given how Spectre turned out, but here we are. There is always a trepidation going into the film where you know it is an actor’s last. Thankfully, I should not have been concerned because this film almost knocks off Skyfall as my favourite of the Craig era.  

So to set the scene, we open in the middle of the Norwegian winter as a young girl (Coline Defaud) is looking after her sick mother (Mathilde Bourbin). As she is cleaning up a spill, she sees a man in the window wearing a mask. He is here to kill Mr White, but his family is an excellent second choice since he is not there. In the present, Bond (Daniel Craig) and Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) are enjoying their retirement travelling down the Italian coastline arriving at the town of Matera. Swann is concerned that James keeps looking over his shoulder, but that seems fortuitous given that soon bullets start ringing out across the countryside. 

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The Sparks Brothers – Movie Review

TL;DR – An absurd story of an equally odd yet compelling bad that survived many different seismic changes.    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

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

The Sparks Brothers. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

The Sparks Brothers Review

To be honest, when  I heard the pitch of a documentary about a band that has been both hugely influential but also under the radar? Well, I didn’t know quite what to think about it? Then you find out that Edgar Wright of Hot Fuzz and Baby Driver fame was directing it, and well, then you go from unsure to very interested in a moment, and I am glad that I did.

So to set the scene, we open all the way at the start, where brothers Ron Mael and Russell Mael growing up in California. Then coming together after college to form the band Sparks after a couple of failed starts. From here, they would put out some well-received but not as popular albums until someone in their record had the idea “let’s try them in England”, and the story snowballs from there. Now I should say that my screening was interrupted by a fire alarm, which may have influenced my thoughts on the film, but given the documentary style, there was a moment at the start when I thought the warnings were some sort of immersive element, so I think it was fine.

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Emma – Movie Review

TL;DR – Charmingly silly, yet deeply compelling    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Awards:

Nominated: Beautiful Cinematography, Stunning Costumes, Most Fun, Exquisite Musical Score & Fascinating Worldbuilding

Emma. Image Credit: Universal.

Emma Review

It has been said of me lately that I have been rather a bit dismissive of the old works of writers like Jane Austen. Well, in my attempt to catch up on some of the films I missed in 2020, I thought it would be the perfect time to remedy this, a little.

In England’s Regency-era, a local matchmaker has made her latest match in the rural countryside village of Highbury. Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor-Joy) has set up her governess Miss Taylor (Gemma Whelan) and local widower Mr Weston (Rupert Graves). She loves the game, and her latest intrigue is Harriet Smith (Mia Goth) who brings her into a confrontation with George Knightley (Johnny Flynn), a friend and yet sometimes rival.

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Death to 2020 – Movie Review

TL;DR – A mockumentary that tries to walk the line between entertaining and informative and often fails even before it stops its narrative to do an ad for Netflix halfway through.    

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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

Death to 2020. Image Credit: Netflix.

Death to 2020 Review

I don’t think it is a controversial statement to say that 2020 has been a crap year on many fronts. It was so bad that I forgot some of the bad things that happened only to be reminded of them tonight. When a documentary film titled Death to 2020 comes along … well you have my attention, even when you find out it is a mockumentary that could still be good if executed well. However, I am not sure this one stuck the landing.

Death to 2020 starts in an interesting place because it is a documentary presented by actors playing roles. Right from the start, there is an interesting juxtaposition between reality and fiction as Laurence Fishburne’s calm tones narrate the coming calamity. This kind of set up gives you a lot of potential because it removes you slightly from the material, giving you avenues for comedy and introspection. However, that is a tricky line to walk, and frankly, this film slipped off that edge on multiple occasions.

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The Death of Stalin – Exploring the Past

TL;DR – A farcical look at the reality of when an inept leader dies and leaves a vacuum to be filled.     

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

The Death of Stalin. Image Credit: Madman.

The Death of Stalin Review

Way back in the before times, I had planned to see The Death of Stalin in cinemas, with a planned double session. However, after being emotionally obliterated by Gurrumul, that got put on hold and very came to fruition. I have kept meaning to watch it since then, but now given I have some time thanks to the current state of the world, I thought it would be the perfect time to dive in.  

In 1953, Joseph Stalin (Adrian McLoughlin) was ruling the country with an iron fist, killing all those who oppose or even annoy him. There is a raucous almost frat house feel around dinner as Nikita Khrushchev (Steve Buscemi) and Lavrenti Beria (Simon Russell Beale). While this jocularity goes on, Stalin requests the recording of a concerto performance he just heard on Radio Moscow, one small problem. No one recorded it. Chaos erupts as Yuri Andreyev (Paddy Considine) tries to record the performance, while buses round people up across the city. It would be the worst time for something to happen to Stalin, but as the title of the film suggests that is what happens because pianist Maria Yudina (Olga Kurylenko) slipped a note of sedition into the recording. As Stalin read it, he suffers a cerebral haemorrhage and becomes paralysed, and no one comes to his aid till morning.

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The Gentlemen – Movie Review

TL;DR – A fascinating and engaging story filled with great performances and many yikes moments     

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

TL;DR – A fascinating and engaging story filled with great performances and many yikes moments     

The Gentlemen. Image Credit: STXfilms.

Review

When you sign up to watch a Guy Ritchie film, you sort of know what you are going to get yourself into as he has a very specific style. It is one that is a very flash in the pan, but with a lot more substance than similar filmmakers. On the whole, I do tend to enjoy his style of filmmaking and the stories he focuses on because at the very least they will be entertaining. Well let’s dive into his latest that I was not able to catch in cinemas given ‘waves hands around’, but I am looking forward to now.     

So to set the scene, we open with Michael ‘Mickey’ Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) walking into a pub he owns ordering a pint and a pickled egg and phoning his wife Rosalind ‘Ros’ Pearson (Michelle Dockery). Only to find out there is someone unknown in the house with her which is just the moment that someone puts a bullet in the back of his head. Jump to Raymond ‘Ray’ Smith (Charlie Hunnam) arriving at his home only to find general sleazeball and private instigator Fletcher (Hugh Grant) waiting for him with a story and a demand for 20 million dollars. A tale of a bad man who wants to get into the world of legitimacy from a world of danger and it goes about as well as you can expect.      

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Movie Review – The Windermere Children

TL;DR – A deeply emotional and confronting film that looks at the aftermath of trauma and how you can walk back from it.   

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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

Awards:

Nominated: The Emotion.

The Windermere Children. Image Credit: Fremantle.

Review

There are those moments in life where we get to see the full depths of human cruelty and few moments have exemplified it more than the Holocaust. It was a moment where human depravity was industrialised and weaponised in the endeavour to exterminate an entire race. Today we explore a film that deals with the aftermath and trauma through the eyes of the children that survived it.     

So to set the scene, we open in on a bus full of children as they make their way through the British countryside at night. The bus is full of children refugees rescued from Holocaust camps. One thousand children brought from the camps to Brittan and 300 of them came to Calgarth Estate on the shores of Lake Windermere. As they arrive, there is a real fear that they have swapped one camp of despair for another. Their families are likely all dead, and all of them have suffered travesties that make every dog a threat and food something you hide when you can. They only have funding for four months to help them with their trauma, which is not enough time given everything they had gone through.

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Exploring the Past – Stardust (2007)

TL;DR – A pure fun ride from start to finish, the kind that leaves a smile on your face for a time after you finish watching it.   

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

Stardust. Image Credit: Paramount.

Review

There are some films out that that you can only watch once and then there are those that you can watch any time someone suggests it. Today we are looking at the latter, a film that is full of joy from start to finish.

So to set the scene, in the 1800s in Great Brittan there was a little town called Wall. It was a mostly unremarkable little hamlet bar for one odd feature an old wall that runs along its boundary that has an old man (David Kelly) guarding the only opening. Well, one day a young man from the village call Dunstan Thorn (Ben Barnes) decided to go see what was on the other side of the wall. Here he found a marketplace full of bizarre creatures for sale and also servant girl (Kate Magowan) enslaved to an evil witch Ditchwater Sal (Melanie Hill). It was almost a fever dream until nine months later when a baby arrived at Dunstan’s door. Eighteen years later and the young boy Tristan (Charlie Cox) is now grown up and trying to court Victoria (Sienna Miller) when he makes a suggestion that he chases down a falling star and brings it back as proof of his affections. The only problem is that the Star fell across the wall in Stormhold, the star is not an it but a she in Yvaine (Claire Danes), and also Stormhold’s king (Peter O’Toole) has just died and the remaining heirs are trying to track down the necklace that brought Yvaine crashing to the ground, and also also, there is a witch Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer) who is very interested that a new star has fallen because she would very much like to cut out its heart and eat it.

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TV Review – Sex Education: Season 2

TL;DR – This is a show that deals with sex and sexuality in a very frank and refreshing way which you will find endlessly engaging or very off-putting

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Sex Education: Season 2. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

There are some shows that are irreverent for no reason other than the fact that cheap humour gets looks, so pitching your show at the lowest common denominator is a good business model. The crassness has no reason to be there bar being a punchline for people to awkwardly laugh about. However, once in a while you get a show that goes through all the different sex jokes you can have, and indeed it starts with a montage about someone discovering masturbation, however, not once is it about playing it low but instead, it finds a voice for those who don’t quite know how to express each other.

So to set the scene, at the end of last season everything at Moordale Secondary School was in a state of flux with Adam (Connor Swindells) being sent away to military school, Maeve (Emma Mackey) has been expelled, and while Otis (Asa Butterfield) final finds someone to love him back with Ola (Patricia Allison) but it comes at the expense of his one true love Maeve. In the time since Otis has discovered how to achieve release, Maeve has started work in a local mall to get by, Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) has developed a crush on the new kid Rahim (Sami Outalbali), and Otis’ mum Jean (Gillian Anderson) is still seeing Ola’s father Jakob (Mikael Persbrandt) even though they had told their kids that they had broken up. Which is the perfect storm for a chlamydia outbreak to cause the school to fall into a state of chaos. Now we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there may be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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