Lightyear – Movie Review

TL;DR – While a solid entry, it did feel like the narrative push to the end didn’t land    

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ service that viewed this film.

Buzz looks into the reflection on his helmet.

Lightyear Review

I have made no secret over the years just how much I love the Toy Story movies. Toy Story 3 comes in at number 3 in my all-time favourite animated films, and I even thought Toy Story 4 worked in the context of being an epilogue for the series. But the question is, Can they turn Toy Story from a series of excellent films into a bonified franchise? Well, with today’s film, we are about to find out.

So to set the scene, in 1995, Andy got a Buzz Lightyear toy for his birthday, but this is the film’s story that inspired the toy. This means in uncharted space 4.2 million lightyears from Earth, The Star Command SC-01 exploration vessel with a crew of 1200 is looking for uncharted planets to … well, to chart. Captain Buzz Lightyear (Chris Evans) diverts the vessel’s course after finding a new world, and when they land, the rangers start to explore the planet. When they get attacked by vines and bugs, they must evacuate before the ship is destroyed. But Buzz needs to save the rookie (Bill Hader) from death as Alisha Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba) reboots the ship, and while they almost escape, they crash the ship and have to make an emergency landing. When testing a new propulsion device to escape the planet and go home, Buzz jumps four years into the future, feeling guilty for stranding everyone, he keeps making jumps until one day he comes back, and the colony is occupied by Zyclops robots led by Zurg (James Brolin).

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The Gray Man – Movie Review

TL;DR – A perfectly serviceable if messy action film but one that struggles to find an identity.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix service that viewed this film.

A plane about to crash.

The Gray Man Review

You can feel that Netflix is a company going through an identity issue. No longer is it just ‘the place where you go for binging streaming content’ because others are doing it just as well, and now even the concept of binging has lost its value. So what we are getting are things being cancelled left, right and centre, but then $200 million being dropped on big-name films. I am not sure how this will go for the company, but we are getting to see the results of this tonight with The Gray Man.   

So to set the scene, we opened in 2003 in a state prison in Florida, where Donald Fitzroy (Billy Bob Thornton) of the CIA is here to recruit Court Gentry (Ryan Gosling). He is looking for people to add to his black-ops team, whose central role is assassinations in the ‘grey’. Eighteen years later, in Bangkok, Court is now Sierra Six and is one of the CIA’s best assists in the field, where he takes an op from Dani Miranda (Ana de Armas). It is a time-sensitive mission to take out Dining Car (Callan Mulvey), which is why they are using Six. But when he won’t risk the collateral of children, things start spiralling out of control, and then Six discovers that the mark Dining Car is Sierra Four and that his boss Denny Carmichael (Regé-Jean Page), might not be on the up and up.

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Movie Review – Knives Out

TL;DR – A charmingly delightful film about murder filled with fantastic performances and a real heart.    

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

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

Knives Out. Image Credit: StudioCanal.

Review

For reasons that are far above my pay grade, there are film genres that come in and out of fashion all the time. One of these is the murder-mystery. I honestly can’t remember how long it has since I have seen a good old-fashioned murder-mystery up on the big screen. A film where you don’t know who done it because everyone is lying about something and there are many motives to go around. Well fear no more because today I get to talk about a film that takes this genre and not only produces a great version of it, but it also elevates the genre in the process.

So to set the scene, one-night wealthy murder-novel writer Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is celebrating his 85th birthday with every member of his extended family in attendance. There is his daughter Linda (Jamie Lee Curtis) the real estate mogul and her husband Richard (Don Johnson), his son Walt (Michael Shannon) who runs his publishing agency, Joni (Toni Collette) the wife of his now-deceased son and her daughter Meg (Katherine Langford), and of course the black sheep of the family Hugh ‘Ransom’ Drysdale (Chris Evans).  It is a fun evening of catching up and putting plans into place but the next morning as Fran (Edi Patterson) the housekeeper brings up his morning meal she discovers that Harlan has killed himself in the night. A week later everything has settled but then Marta (Ana de Armas), Harlan’s nurse, is called back to the house with the family by Detective Lieutenant Elliot (Lakeith Stanfield) because famed private eye Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) has been hired to look into the matter. Why is he there? Well because someone does not think Harlon’s death was suicide… they think it was murder. Now because of the nature of the film, it is hard to discuss it without getting into spoilers, so keep that in mind if you have not seen the film.

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Movie Review – The Red Sea Diving Resort

TL;DR – A really ambitious film that unfortunately falls into the same traps as a lot of Hollywood films do when depicting Africa’s history.    

Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene but some pictures of the resort during the credits

The Red Sea Diving Resort. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Tonight we take a look at a film that attempts to discover a part of our history that has not been explored at all. However, Hollywood has a very poor history in exploring Africa’s history with film after film glossing over the complexities for hero moments of usually a white protagonist saving the day. While The Red Sea Diving Resort attempts to step away from this past it can’t help but fall into the same traps.

So to set the scene, in the 1980s Ethiopia was tearing itself apart during a bloody civil war, a lot of the innocents were being caught in the crossfire, especially minority groups. One of those groups that were targeted was Ethiopia’s Jewish community. However, there is some hope with Israel’s Mossad sending agents like Ari Levinson (Chris Evans) in to help them get to refugee camps in Sudan. However, this is just a temporary measure, they need a way to get them out of the country. So a plan is set in motion to set up a fake resort on the coast of Sudan as a front to help them smuggle them out to waiting boats. However, this is not something that you can do forever without attracting notice, made worse when actual tourists arrive at the fake resort.

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Movie Review – Avengers: Endgame (No Spoilers)

TL;DR – Now all together “Baaaaaaaar bar bar bup barrrrr, barr barrr, barrrrr bup bup barrr baaar bomp barrrrrrr, Baaaaaaaar bar bar bup barrrrr, barr barrr, ba dum, ba dum, ba dum, ba dum, Baaaaaaaar”

Score – 4.5 out of 5 Stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit sequence and a hint at the end

Avengers: Endgame. Image Credit: Marvel/Disney.

Review

Wow and here we are. Honestly, when I sat down to watch Iron Man in cinemas all the way back in 2008 I don’t think I really comprehended just what it was that I was watching. I didn’t know it would spawn a 20+ movie franchise that would take us into the past, into the deep reaches of space, and create one of the biggest events in movie history. In many respects, it feels like this is my generation’s Star Wars moment, and I have not seen queues like this to go see a film in a long time. Well, today we take the plunge and see if they can work out one of the biggest cliff-hangers in movie history and can this be a film that gives closure to the films that came before it.

So to set the scene, at the end of Infinity War the one thing they were trying to stop happening actually happened, as Thanos (Josh Brolin) obtained all the infinity stones after ripping the mind stone out of Vision’s (Paul Bettany) head and snapped his fingers. All at once across the galaxy, 50% of everything turned to dust and we had that gut-wrenching moment as everything literally fell apart in people’s hands. Indeed Peter (Tom Holland) looking desperately at Tony (Robert Downey Jr) pleading that ‘I don’t want to go” is one of those moments that just stays with you and it stays with the cast. Because as we start everything is in a bad place. Tony is trapped with Nebula (Karen Gillan) on a ship running out of fuel, air, and food, and those Avengers that survived are counting the losses on Earth where no one has been left unaffected. However, one should never give up all hope, because you never know when deliverance will come from an unlikely place, and then hope is lost again. Now with today’s review, we will be doing something a little different. In this review there will be no spoilers, you will get my general impressions of how it all worked, however, I won’t mention any plot details that happen after the first act. Also, if you really want to be spoiler free, don’t examine the credits below. If you have seen the film and would like to see a full spoiler discussion of the ending you can go HERE.        

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Movie Review – Avengers: Infinity War

TL;DR Infinity War brings everyone together and then tares them apart leaving you with a foreboding as to what will happen next, but also an excitement as they try to work it all out.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars (this is a tentative score, it might change after Part 2)

Post-Credit Scene – There is an end credit scene

Avengers Infinity War Banner

Review

It should be no surprise that I have been eagerly awaiting the new Avengers film. In preparation not only did I map out the Marvel Cinematic Universe (see here) but I also ranked every film released in the build-up (see here). However, if I am to be perfectly honest, part of this stemmed from a nervousness, could they stick the landing, could they create a story that would give justice to all the desperate characters they were involved, could they actually bring on Thanos? Well as you can probably tell I have seen the film now, so I can now answer those questions … sort of. Now a quick note today, there will be [SPOILERS] for several of the recently released Marvel films including Thor: Ragnarok (see review) and Black Panther (see review). As well as this, I will try to avoid most of the major spoilers until a paragraph at the end when we discuss the ending, but because of how quick the film moves this is just a general [SPOILER] warning if you have not seen the film yet.

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Movie Review – Spider-Man: Homecoming

TL;DR – A brilliant relaunch of a much-loved character, which tells an origin story without telling an origin story

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

P.S. – There is a Mid and Post Credit scene.

Spider-Man Homecoming. Image Credit: Marvel/Disney/Sony.

Review

So here we are with our first big standalone Spider-Man feature now that he is in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Before we go on, we should probably take a moment and talk about how amazing it is that we actually got Homecoming at all. Indeed a lot had to fall into place to make this work. I’ve not seen companies work like this, and as well as this since, well maybe since Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Props have to be given to both Sony and Marvel to being able to put aside their differences and making this work, because that would not have been an easy set of negotiations, but they have made the integration almost seamless. So let us begin as we swing into the world of high school proms, alien weapons, explosions, and award conversations about life changes when you become a teenager.

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Movie Review – Captain America: Civil War

TL;DR – This is without a doubt the Marvel film so far, it gets the action right, the story right, the characters right, it is a fantastic film that I highly recommend.

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

P.S. There is a mid and end credits sequence

Captain America: Civil War. Image Credit: Marvel/Disney.

Review

Ok wow, what a film and so far the best film for 2016 and indeed the only one so far to get a 5/5 score. After the recent poor outing of Batman v Superman, I was wondering if Marvel could actually pull this off. Can they contrive a plausible reason these characters would be fighting, actually manage all the characters in a movie that is totally not Avengers 3, but let’s be honest, this is totally Avengers 3. However, I needn’t have been concerned, the Russo Brothers are masters of their craft and they show it here in spades. Ok to lay out how this review will go, the first part will just give a general spoiler-free analysis, and then in the second part we will be going full spoilers, there will be a warning so you can skip it if you have not seen the film.

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Movie Review – The Avengers: Age of Ultron

TL;DR – Not as good as the first Avengers, but still a great movie and a great addition to this whole experiment

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Image Credit: Disney.

Review

Well phase 2 is almost over (still have Ant Man to go) and the culmination of the last few years has to lead us to this, and you know what, it was bloody good.

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