Movie Review – Abominable

TL;DR – A truly charming film from start to finish.     

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There are some pictures during the credits that tell a story.

Abominable. Image Credit: Universal.

Review


Films targeted at children often have a perception that they are of lower quality than other forms of cinema. Indeed some of the trailers for upcoming films I watched before this backed that assessment up. But every now and again a film casts off those assertions and shows that if you focus on quality it should not matter whom your target audience is. Well, today we get just such a film, as we explore a monster on the run through China.

So to set the scene, we open in a laboratory in Shanghai scared and alone and not knowing where we are. After hearing Dr Zara’s (Sarah Paulson) intentions for us we flee captivity and that is when you discover the animal fleeing is a yeti. Everest (Joseph Izzo) flees into the city and tries to hide after being hit by a truck only to end up on the roof of Yi’s (Chloe Bennet) apartment complex. Yi is focusing all her life on doing odd jobs so she can earn enough money to go on a tour of China her dad always promised to take her on. But when she finds the injured Everest there is only one thing on her mind, getting him to his home.

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Movie Review – Shanghai Fortress (Shànghǎi Bǎolěi, 上海堡垒)

TL;DR – There is an interesting concept here, but the film goes out of its way to make its characters come off as bland and one-note     

Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars

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

Shanghai Fortress (Shànghǎi Bǎolěi, 上海堡垒). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

It has been an interesting couple of years for the Alien Invasion genre after being almost abandoned in the years since September 11. Long gone were the triumphant speeches and bold proclamations and in were gritty scenes of dirt and muck. However, then there was a resurgence with different countries taking a look with Attack the Block in the UK and Occupation in Australia to name just two. Well, today we get to see China’s take on the global destruction masterpiece. But will it soar or will fall, only time will tell.    

So to set the scene, in the not too distant future the first manned Chinese space ship brought back a new energy source Xianteng that revolutionised the world. Everything was great but the energy source was like a beacon drawing the aliens to Earth. Starting with Rio de Janeiro the mothership moved across the planet, destroying city after city. In a last-ditch effort, the United Nations and what was left of the world’s government set up base in the last major centre Shanghai. Here they hope to make a last stand and maybe just maybe fight back and take back the planet before more cities like Los Angeles and New Delhi are turned to ash.

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Movie Review – The Farewell (Bié Gàosù Tā, 別告訴她)

TL;DR – A truly emotional work of film that affected me in ways film rarely does.     

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

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

The Farewell (Bié Gàosù Tā, 別告訴她). Image Credit: A24.

Review

Wow, just wow, I thought I had some handle on how this film was going to affect me when I walked in, but I had no idea. I didn’t know I would be tearing up in the first five minutes and that it would not stop until the credits rolled. It is a film like this that shows the power of the medium to tell stories that can affect us on our deepest human level.

So to set the scene, Billi (Awkwafina) is struggling to find her place in the world after failing to get the fellowship that she was after. While at her parents to use their washing machine she notices that her mother Jian (Diana Lin) and father Haiyan (Tzi Ma) are acting odd. Wounding the worse, Billi discovers that her beloved Nai Nai (Shuzhen Zhao) has been diagnosed with late-stage cancer, but also that the family has decided not to tell her. Using a wedding as an excuse the whole family is going over to China in part to say goodbye without actually saying goodbye.       

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Movie Review – Pegasus (Fei Chi Ren Sheng, 飞驰人生)

TL;DR – An exploration of what it means to come back from nothing, good at times, but always held back a little bit from being great    

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

Pegasus (Fei Chi Ren Sheng, 飞驰人生). Image Credit: CMC Pictures.

Review

I am and always will be a sucker for a good redemption story, where someone comes back from nothing only to triumph. Today we get to explore this idea through the lens of professional racing. Which is always good because at the very least you will get some good car scenes throughout. However, while Pegasus is an interesting film, it is always holding itself back just that little bit more than it should have.

So to set the scene, Zhang Chi (Shen Teng) was one of if not the best rally car driver in all of China. However, one day he decided to take part in an illegal street race that was intercepted by the police. Five years later after serving a suspension, and having to sell everything to pay off his debts, he is a free man. He wants to get back behind the wheel and reclaim his championship for his son but in those five years the game has changed and there is a whole patch of new young drivers.  

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Movie Review – The Wandering Earth (Liúlàng Dìqiú, 流浪地球)

TL;DR –  At its core is an interesting idea, however, it is populated by the most unlikable characters in cinema at the moment  

Score – 1.5 out of 5 stars

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

The Wandering Earth. Image Credit: China Film Company Limited

Review

If you have read any of my reviews you will know I am a fan of Science Fiction. I love exploring the future and what it could be, I love interesting ideas and concepts, and I love the idea of exploring the universe. Today’s movie The Wandering Earth out of China does all of that and more. However as I walked out of the cinema I was not elated, instead, frankly, I was disappointed in how someone could squander such a good idea.

So to set the scene, at some point in the near future the Sun decides that it is ready to turn into a red giant now rather than billions of years from now and humanity has a choice. They can sit there and die as the Sun expands, or they can do something about it. They choose the latter and build hundreds of engines across the planet so that they can move the Earth to the Alpha Centauri system. To make sure nothing goes wrong they build a large space station that travels ahead of Earth to warn them of any danger. The one threat is that before they leave the Solar System they need to perform a gravity assist boost around Jupiter, but then it seems that Jupiter was not ready to let go. As all of this is happening Liu Peiqiang (Wu Jing) the senior astronaut on the Space Station has to watch helplessly as his son Liu Qi (Qu Chuxiao), father-in-law Han Zi’ang (Ng Man-tat), and adopted daughter Han Duoduo (Zhao Jinmai) are caught outside in the emergency and are marshalled into helping the Earth stave off disaster.

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Movie Review – The Foreigner

TL;DR – This is a movie with a lot of moving parts, some which are simply amazing and others that don’t quite work as well.

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

The Foreigner. Image Credit: STX Films.

Review

The Foreigner is a really interesting film, because it is a film with a lot of moving parts, and it is delving into an area and setting you don’t see very often these days. However, while some parts of this film are simply amazing, others just don’t work at all, which creates a kind of juxtaposition. You’ll be sitting there during these moments of high intensity, or fascinating filmmaking, but then something from the story will just rip you out of it. So today what we will do after setting the scene is break down this juxtaposition.

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Movie Review – Wolf Warriors 2 (Zhan Lang 2, 战狼2)

TL;DR – Wolf Warriors 2 brings Chinese propaganda films into the 21st century, however, it fails in presenting a solid story and in the production of many of its effects.

Score – 2 out of 5

P.S. – There is a mid-credit scene

Wolf Warriors 2 (Zhan Lang 2, 战狼2). Image Credit: Well Go.

Review

Well wasn’t this an interesting film, Wolf Warriors 2 is a film creating buzz across the world, and has broken box office records in its home China, so today we’re going to have a look to see if Wolf Warriors II holds up. Now before we start, I do have to make it clear that I have not seen the first film in the series, so I may have missed some of the nuances, however, the film does a good job of giving you all of the basic reminders of what happened, elite soldiers, one sacrificed themselves for the team, and there was a love interest. Which brings us to the start of the film, so let’s dive into the world of Wolf Warriors II. Now to do this we will be breaking down the production elements of the film, and then we will be looking at the story, and finally examining themes at play.

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