TL;DR – A film that is haunting, captivating, terrifying, but also a bit frustrating.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene/sequence.
Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film
Candyman Review –
When the first Candyman arrived on screens, I was a bit too young to watch horror films, with my introduction coming a little later with movies like Scream. But when I talk to people a bit older than me, they speak in almost hushed tones about the film. That it made them fear reflections, indeed one friend suggested that I pre-emptively leave a couple of lights on for when I got home after seeing it. I thought it was all a bit silly, but now I am kind of glad that I did.
So to set the scene, we open in the 1970s in the Cabrini Green neighbourhood of Chicago, Illinois. Billy (Rodney L Jones III) is taking his family’s washing to the laundry room in the basement while cops ask everyone if they have seen a man with a hook for a hand. Ignoring them, Billy goes down into the basement, where a piece of candy comes from nowhere and lands on the floor. Within moments a figure appears from a hole in the wall, candy in one hand, a hook in the other. The boy’s screams could be heard for miles around. In the present, the Cabrini Green neighbourhood has been gentrified, and Anthony (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), an artist, lives with his girlfriend Brianna (Teyonah Parris) in a new apartment. Anthony is trying to find inspiration for his next artwork when Brianna’s brother Troy (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) lets slip about the Candyman urban legend, and Anthony goes off to explore if it was true.
TL;DR – One of those films that are close but no cigar, but you have to admire that they go at 100km an hour from start to finish
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
One of my true joys in life is watching and witnessing a new work of glorious Science
Fiction for the first time. Like those moments when you watched Farscape
for the first time or watched the flaming guitar in Mad
Max Fury Road explode out into the desert sun. However, sometimes it
can be just as interesting to watch a film/TV show that is close but just not
quite there and today we take a look back at just such a film.
So to set the scene, we open in on Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) who lives with
her extended family in Chicago after her father Maximilian (James D’Arcy) was
murdered back in Russia and her mother Aleksa (Maria Doyle Kennedy) fled to the
States. Jupiter spends her time cleaning rich peoples houses and dreaming of
getting out of it all. Well one day she gets that wish after a genetic test
shows that she is the perfect reincarnation of the old matriarch of House
Abrasax, an ancient alien dynasty that seeded life on Earth all those years
TL;DR – This is a perfectly
fine film, but it felt like it could have been more if they had gone for
something other than the shotgun approach to storytelling.
Score – 3 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene
It has been a long time since the sort of wholesome teen romance film was in vogue.
You know the sort of film that can get away with having bloopers during the end
credits. In some respects, this feels like a lost art that was only recaptured recently
thanks in part by a number of films on Netflix. Well today we take a look at an
interesting example of this genre that has moments of real joy in between
moments of real dullness.
So to set the scene, it is the last summer after the end of high school where
everyone is having fun before having to move away for college. Our story
revolves around a group of teens that sort of know each other from school as
they endure heartbreak after heartbreak. You have Griffin (KJ Apa) who is
coming home from prep-school, so he feels disconnected for most of the people who
stayed in Chicago. You have Alec (Jacob Latimore) and Erin (Halston Sage) who
are going to different colleges so they decide to pre-emptively break up. Also
Audrey (Sosie Bacon) has been put on the wait-list from even her back-up,
back-up College and does not know what she wants to do with her life. All of
these stories sort of collide with each other over the summer as people’s priorities
are put into focus.
TL;DR – Emotional, yet funny, Completely relatable, yet deeply personal, a look into what makes us who we are.
Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars
So The Big Sick was one of those delightful films where I knew nothing about it before I went to see it, which is rare in a time where not only are movie trailers plastered everywhere, but they routinely spoil the films they are promoting. To be fair I had seen one clip, the Thanksgiving Day parade, and you could infer things from the poster, but in this day and age that’s as close to not knowing as you can get. Also, I was going to give this one a pass because I’ve not found the Rom-Com genre to be anything but rehashes of the same material, for years now. So I was completely surprised, because The Big Sick turned out to be nothing like the film I was expecting to see, I’ve not been this surprised since The Dressmaker (review).
TL;DR – This is the same kind of movie as every R-rated comedy of the last couple of years, but thankfully with a bit more substance than usual
Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars
So as we race to the end of the year, and in the lull before Star Wars destroys the box office, in its wake, we have Trolls and Office Christmas Party fighting it out to see who will get that dollar, dollar bill. Since I don’t have children I don’t have to be subjected to that Trolls nonsense (truly you guys are the MVPs) which I was over about the same time JT was performing at Eurovision, so instead this week we have Office Christmas Party. OCP is another in a long line of R-rated comedies that have sprung up in the aftermath of Hangover and Bridesmaids, and has many similarities with other films that we have looked at this year like Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, Bad Neighbours 2, Grimsby, and Dirty Grandpa, indeed it fits into the same category as The Night Before which was last year’s R-rated Christmas comedy, and more so it seems to be taking a lot of queues from Unfinished Business with its plot, but somehow OCP makes it work when most of these other films were a mess.