Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) – Exploring the Past

TL;DR – While it works as a time capsule of the 90s, so much of this film was left back 30 years ago  

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There are mid-credit scenes

Disclosure – I paid for the Binge service that viewed this film

A henchmen and the Steam roller.

Austin Powers Review

When you have had a bad week, one reflex you do is go back to old films from your youth. The only issue is that the movies of your youth might often not have the narrative legs you once thought they did, or you are just looking at them with new eyes. This week, the film in this situation is the James Bond spoofing Austin Powers.

So to set the scene, in 1967, somewhere outside of Las Vegas, Dr Evil (Mike Myers) is holding court with his minions, frustrated that none of them has been able to kill the famous British agent Austin Danger Powers (Mike Myers). Meanwhile, in London, after a significant musical number during the credits, Mrs Kensington (Mimi Rogers) lets Austin know that Dr Evil has set a trap for him at the Electric Psychedelic Pussycat Swingers Club. Not wanting to be left out, Austin goes to the club, but Dr Evil is about to escape and has himself cryogenically frozen. In 1997, NORAD is looking at their scopes, and suddenly an object appears, and they discover that Dr Evil has returned, and it is time for the world to need Austin Powers again.   

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Thor: Love and Thunder – Movie Review

TL;DR – While it was missing some of the substance of the last film, I found Thor: Love and Thunder to be a fun romp through the galaxy.    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to see this film.

Thor sits under a tree as four suns set.

Thor: Love and Thunder Review

I don’t think I have made it any secret that I found Thor: Ragnarok one of the best films in the MCU, and indeed a film that I will always sit down and watch when it is on. But I thought this would be a one-off because of some unwritten rule that stops solo films after three outings. Well, call me surprised when it was announced that we were getting Thor 4 because that was probably the best news out of this somewhat fractured start of Phase 4.

So to set the scene, we open in on a parched land as Gorr (Christian Bale) and his daughter Love (India Hemsworth) walk one step at a time, praying for deliverance from their god Rapu (Jonny Brugh). But there is none to be found as Love dies from exposure. Gorr is beside himself when he hears voices in the wind and stumbles into an oasis, where Rapu is having a glorious feast and does not give a hoot about Gorr or his daughter. In that moment of horrific destruction of faith, the Necrosword appears in his hand, and he slays the god and begins a campaign to exterminate all the gods. Meanwhile, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been hanging out with the Guardians of the Galaxy, trying to find his place in the world. When Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander) calls out, Thor comes to her aid and discovers that a mad man has their next target, New Asgard.

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Minions: The Rise of Gru – Movie Review

TL;DR – While it might not hit as hard as its predecessors, it was still a joy to be back in this world.     

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

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

Gru and the Minions in the one bed.

Minions: The Rise of Gru Review

This may be due to my never having children, much to my mother’s chagrin, but I have always liked the Despicable Me films. Gru (Steve Carell) discovering who he is through the prism of his daughter’s love and then becoming a better person for it. Well, that is some compelling stuff. Heck, I even like those quirky little minions always up to mischief. I think I was the only one who laughed at their cameo in Mortal Engines. I am sure that would have changed if I had been subjected to them time after time. But coming in here, I thought that Despicable Me 3 might have started to show the limits of this story, and I wondered could a prequel help?

So to set the scene, it is 1976, and a very different set of villains torment the globe, which the film wastes no time showing as we see Belle Bottom (Taraji P. Henson) race through town, evading the authorities at every turn. In the lair of The Vicious 6, she reveals to their leader Wild Knuckles (Alan Arkin) a map to an ancient stone pendent of power. Well, one trip to Asia later, one betrayal, and one Bond-inspired title sequence later, there is now a free spot open in The Vicious 6, and a young Gru wants in.

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Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers – Movie Review

TL;DR – While the ideas behind this film are solid, I found myself just not connecting to it at all, even though I am probably its target audience.    

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

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

Chip and Dale in disguse

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers Review

Today we have an odd duck to crack. From all accounts, Chip’ n Dale: Rescue Rangers is a film designed specifically for me. It is hitting nostalgia that I grew up with, with actors I enjoy, with a narrative device that usually hits the mark for me. However, at no point during the film’s runtime did I engage with it, and I am not 100% sure why.

So to set the scene, since they were kids, Chip (John Mulaney) and Dale (Andy Samberg) have been best friends who, of course, took the same bus to Hollywood to become stars. It was a hard slog, but finally, they landed their first big break with Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers. However, as Season Three came along and Dale decided to branch out and star in Double-O-Dale and the two part ways. Thirty years later, Monterey Jack (Eric Bana) calls the two as he is in trouble with the criminal Valley Gang and is afraid of becoming a bootleg, which is what everyone fears when Monty goes missing, and Chip and Dale must team up again after so long apart.

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The Bob’s Burgers Movie – Movie Review

TL;DR – This was so full of charm and joy that I had a smile on my face for the entire runtime, well, when I was not laughing, that is.     

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

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

Bob pats a burger

The Bob’s Burgers Movie Review

When I walked in to see The Bob’s Burgers Movie, I had two main concerns, one personal and the other professional. The personal being that I had kind of fallen out with Bob’s Burgers. During the Covid pandemic, when they finally released it easily here in Australia on Disney+, I binged that series hard, which might not have been for the best. Professionally, I had to wonder, could it make a show that was deserving of a feature-length runtime. The last show to do this on a similar scale was Simpsons, and even Family Guy fell back on that Star Wars riff when doing something similar. However, as I walked out of the cinema, I was glad to say that neither of these concerns was an issue because the film was a blast.  

So to set the scene, it is 6-years beforehand, and one night, in the dark night, there is a scuffle, and then a bang as someone is murdered. Flash forward to the present day, and there is a feeling of nervous cheer in the Belcher family. Bob (H. Jon Benjamin) and Linda (John Roberts) are going down to the bank to ask for an extension on their loan payment, and Bob is making a special burger to help seal the deal. However, as the kids Tina (Dan Mintz), Gene (Eugene Mirman), and Louise (Kristen Schaal) go to school, Louise is called a baby because she still wears bunny ears. Well, Bob didn’t get the loan, and worse, a pit hole opens up in front of the restaurant, but in that hole could be the Belcher’s salvation or their doom.    

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The Lost City – Movie Review

TL;DR – While this is not charting any new ground narratively, the solid work from the cast makes it an enjoyable romp through the jungle.    

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to see this film

Sandra and Channing tied up surrounded by snakes.

The Lost City Review

There is a group of films that fit within the ‘romantic-comedy’ genre that I think you may have watched before. This is where two people not in a couple are dropped into a life-or-death situation and must learn how to get along with each other or more by the time the film has finished. They can be good like Romancing the Stone and My Fellow Americans, and well, they can be not so good. Today, we are looking at a film that hits all the main points of this world and manages to shine due to a cast committed to the chaos.

So to set the scene, Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock) is a prevalent romance author. However, she has been stuck with writer’s block since her archaeologist husband passed away. She put together a new book for her agent Beth Hatten (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), but her heart was not in it, and even less so in the book tour that she had to go on to promote it. Sensing this, Beth asks the popular model Alan Caprison (Channing Tatum), who has been the cover model for all of Loretta’s books, to come along to boost attendance at the events. That also goes poorly, but as Lorretta is leaving, she is kidnapped by reclusive billionaire Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe). For you see, as an undergrad, Loretta was an expert in a small Indigenous people’s group in the Atlantic and incorporated that work into her novel. Abigail is after a lost treasure from those people, and Loretta might be the only one who can help him.

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The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent – Movie Review

TL;DR – A bombastic blast of a film that holds its meta-commentary together by the skin of its teeth as it explodes across the screen    

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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

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

Nicolas Cage by the pool

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent Review

Some actors can pique your interest by their very presence, and I think Nicolas Cage is high on that list for many people. You can just call your film Pig, and people will go see it out of sheer interest [also, you should go watch Pig]. Today, we look at a film that does not just lean into that phenomenon but makes it the central premise of its narrative.

So to set the scene, Nicolas Cage (Nicolas Cage) is at a precarious point in his professional and family life. He is dead broke, his marriage has fallen apart with Olivia Henson (Sharon Horgan), and therapy is not helping his estrangement from his daughter Addy (Lily Sheen). At his lowest point, he is given a lifeline from his agent Richard Fink (Neil Patrick Harris). A wealthy Spanish benefactor, Javi Gutierrez (Pedro Pascal), is willing to pay a million dollars. All Nic has to do is show up at his party, and surely nothing else will go wrong on the Islands of Mallorca.

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Everything Everywhere All at Once – Movie Review

TL;DR – You may have been told how wild this film is, but trust me, whoever was talking to you was completely underselling it.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to see this film

Everything Everywhere All at Once. Image Credit: A24.

Everything Everywhere All at Once Review

The word surreal gets thrown around quite a bit and usually means something that might be a bit cerebral or weird or maybe both. But for something to be genuinely surreal, it needs to challenge the nature of reality, to contest the very bedrock we live our lives on. Films will often dip their toes into the surreal, but every now and again, a film will dive in headfirst. Today, we are looking at just such a film that just might nail everything it sets out to do.

So to set the scene, in a city in America, Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh) lives above the laundromat that she runs with her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan). Things are pretty stressful for Evelyn at the moment. The IRS is auditing the business. She is trying to put together a party for he estranged father, Gong Gong (James Hong), she is feuding with her daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu), and Waymond is about to drop divorce papers on her. As they arrive at the IRS to be audited by Deirdre Beaubeirdra (Jamie Lee Curtis), Waymond suddenly changes into a completely different person. He declares that Evelyn is in trouble because a force from another universe is hunting her down, and it just might have found its prey, and that is when the alarms go off.

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The Bubble – Movie Review

TL;DR –  While the central conceit  is good, and the cast is there for it, unfortunately, the concept runs out of steam about halfway through

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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

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

The Bubble. Image Credit: Netflix.

The Bubble Review

I don’t think it is a surprise that the pandemic has sucked, impacting every industry, including motion pictures. We have seen films like Spider-Man, where it is clearly filmed in social distancing but were still written beforehand. However, now we are starting to see films that were both written and produced during COVID, and it is going to be interesting to see how it all pans out.

 So to set the scene, in the era of big-budget franchises, one of the somewhat more successful runs was that of Cliff Beasts staring Sean Knox (Keegan-Michael Key), Carol Cobb (Karen Gillan), Lauren Van Chance (Leslie Mann), Dustin Mulray (David Duchovny), and Howie Frangopolous (Guz Khan). Having several successful sequels like Cliff Beasts Re-Extinction, Cliff Beasts Oceana, Cliff Beasts Beijing Beast, and Cliff Beasts Space Fury, the team have come back together to film Cliff Beasts 6. Unfortunately, this occurred during the COVID pandemic, which this documentary explores. How does a film get made in the age of a bubble?       

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The Pirates: The Last Royal Treasure (해적: 도깨비 깃발/ Haejeog: Dokkaebi Gisbal) – Movie Review

TL;DR –  A fun romp across the ocean that does lean quite heavily into that slapstick world but nearly always lands the joke.  

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix subscription that viewed this movie.

The Pirates: The Last Royal Treasure. Image Credit: Netflix.

The Pirates: The Last Royal Treasure Review

Ever since the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise floundered, I have been looking for another film to step up and show just how good pirate films can be. Well, it turns out to find just such a film, I needed to dive up to Korea into a world of comedy and adventure.  

So to set the scene, in 1388 Goryeo Dynasty was collapsing, and some patriotic generals plundered the Dynasty’s wealth and took it far out to sea. Sometime later, we open with a group of bandits led by Woo Moo-chi (Kang Ha-neul) floating on a wreck ready for death when they are rescued by the famous pirate Hae-rang (Han Hyo-joo). Three months after the recuse, there is still friction between the two as they capture Japanese Pirate ships. However, this particular ship they captured is searching for a treasure, a lost ship of Goryeo treasures, and now they have the map.

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