The Banshees of Inisherin – Movie Review

TL;DR – A odd yet sad film of life in a small village that escalates out of all control

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to see this film.

Looking across the water to the mainland.

The Banshees of Inisherin Review

Today I have a slightly frustrating film to review, and unfortunately for them, it is not their fault. I work out of Australia, and for some reason, this year, many of the big Oscar chances got released a lot later than the rest of the world. For example, today’s film was already out streaming in some places before it got its theatrical release here. I had avoided all spoilers for this film until yesterday when someone ruined a single plot point for me, and I think it ruined a big chunk of this film for me.  

So to set the scene, it is 1923 on an island off the Irish coastline, where they are isolated from much of the world, bar the odd explosions from the Irish Civil War they can hear echoing across the water from the mainland. Pádraic Súilleabháin (Colin Farrell) spends his days working with his dairy cows and nights at the pub with his best friend, Colm Doherty (Brendan Gleeson). That is until one day, Colm stops talking to him. The town wonders if they have been rowing again, but Pádraic can’t remember them fighting, and his sister Siobhán Súilleabháin (Kerry Condon) is concerned that something has gone very wrong. But Colm insists, ‘I just don’t like you no more’, but that is not an answer for Pádraic.

Continue reading

True Lies (1994) – Exploring the Past

TL;DR – While some parts of this have aged as well as blue cheese in the sun, you can’t help but feel the pull and allure of a story swinging for the fences at every opportunity. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

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

True Lies Review

When getting ready for my 2022 best of lists, I discovered that I had revied 99 films this year. Which made me wonder, what could be the lucky number 100? Just as I pondered that, True Lies finally made its way onto streaming. I have not seen this in years, but while I loved it when I was younger, the years are rarely kind to films like this. But given the year that James Cameron has had with Avatar, it was all the better time to jump back to one of his classics.  

So to set the scene, an exclusive party is taking part on a snowy cold night at Lake Chapeau, Switzerland, at a heavily guarded chalet. But not all the guests are coming in the front door. Some are cutting through the gates to the lake under the ice. Harry Tasker (Arnold Schwarzenegger) works for a secret US counterterrorism unit called Omega Sector and is investigating the billionaire art dealer Jamal Khaled (Marshall Manesh) as a possible front for laundering money to Islamic Terrorists. But no one outside of the agency and his team, Albert “Gib” Gibson (Tom Arnold) and Faisil (Grant Heslov), not even Harry’s wife Helen (Jamie Lee Curtis) and daughter Dana (Eliza Dushku), knows what he does. One tango later, Harry must make a less-than-quiet exit from the party. But while his work and home life are separate entities, they are about to come crashing together.   

Continue reading

See How They Run – Movie Review

TL;DR – A delightful romp through post-WW2 London as a murder reaches into the heights of polite society.    

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

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

Mousetrap

See How They Run Review

We are seeing a resurgence of the Murder Mystery on our screens, which I have generally found to be an absolute delight. We have witnessed straight adaptations like Murder on the Orient Express, musical romps like The Bob’s Burgers Movie, and genre deconstructions like Knives Out. Today we’ll look at a film that is a lover of the genre and dances with a light touch while delving into some delightful meta-commentary.    

 So to set the scene, we open on London’s West End in 1953, where Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap is playing its 100th performance. Hollywood has tasked Leo Köpernick (Adrien Brody) to create a film adaptation of this dull play. After flirting with the star of the show Richard Attenborough’s (Harris Dickinson) wife, Sheila Sim (Pearl Chanda), Leo ends up backstage, where he is brutally murdered by someone dressed in black. But as Leo states as the narrator, it is always the most unlikeable characters that get bumped off. Now Inspector Stoppard (Sam Rockwell) and Constable Stalker (Saoirse Ronan) are on the case, but as Leo laments, if you have seen one Whodunit, you have seen them all.

Continue reading

A Knight’s Tale (2001) – Exploring the Past

TL;DR – A delight, a joy, a battle, and a film for the ages. 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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

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

lying on a bed of furs.

A Knight’s Tale Review

As I sit here at the time of writing, it is the night of Christmas Day, and I am not seeing any family today for the first time in a while. While I have never minded that isolation, it brings a certain melancholy on days like this. However, it also brings a particular reflective thought. It is in that mood that I thought I would take a moment and look back at an icon from my childhood, a film that still sits on my Top 10 films of All Time List.  

So to set the scene, and let’s just use the title card of the film itself, “In medieval times a sport arose. Embraced by noble and peasant fans alike, though only noble knights could compete. The sport was jousting.”. In this world, we meet three lowly squires of Sir Ector (Nick Brimble), who has unfortunately died before he can win the tournament. William Thatcher (Heath Ledger), Roland (Mark Addy), and Wat (Alan Tudyk) must move quickly because they have not eaten in three days, and they are about to forfeit the match. William decided to ride in his place, but you must be of noble birth to compete, so if they are discovered, it’s to the gallows they go. But if you can pull this off, maybe you don’t stop at just one tournament.    

Continue reading

Who Killed Santa? A Murderville Murder Mystery – TV Review

TL;DR – This special shows that they have learned from performing the first season and put those lessons into designing one of the funniest things I have seen in a while.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Santa's Dead.

Who Killed Santa? A Murderville Murder Mystery Title Review

Earlier in 2022, there was the odd show that dropped on Netflix. It was a bunch of comedians being dropped in a murder mystery, but they don’t have a script. I thought the first season of Murderville was fine, but you could feel the story wrenching people in one direction rather than organically developing. I didn’t think much of it after I watched it. However, when I saw there was a Christmas special, well, I had to give it a look.

So to set the scene, Detective Terry Seattle (Will Arnett) is home alone, feeling bad about Christmas. Still, Mayor Palmer (Tawny Newsome) needed security at a Christmas event, and Chief Rhonda Jenkins-Seattle (Haneefah Wood) ain’t gonna do it because she is on holiday. But Seattle can’t do this by himself, bring on his new trainee Jason Bateman (Jason Bateman). Everything was going fine until lights went out, and when they came back, Santa, aka John ‘Johnny’ Blaze, aka Sean Hayes, was dead with a candy cane sticking out of his chest. They need to find out who the killer is, but they have to do it before the Sun comes up, or the orphans will not get their presents.  

Continue reading

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish – Movie Review

TL;DR – A fun delight of a film that goes hard thanks to the charisma of Antonio Banderas   

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is something after the credits, but you do not need to stay for it

Disclosure – I was invited to a screening of this film

Goldilocks and the three bears.

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish Review

When I think back, there will always be a soft spot in my heart for the Shrek series, even the later films that did not quite hit the same mark. The characters and world were always a delight as they took what was familiar and made a modern twist to it. One of those characters that shined was Puss in Boots, and today we see if they hold a whole film together with the sheer force of will that is Antonio Banderas’ charisma.

So to set the scene, Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) is galivanting around the world and is having a ball drinking, dualling, and having many musical interludes. In one such town, he usurps a Governor’s mansion and would have gotten away with it had it not been for a forest giant and a misplaced bell. Puss is on his last life, which should not be a problem until the Big Bad Wolf (Wagner Moura) arrives, wanting to take that final life. Running from the threat, Puss becomes an average lap cat which almost works until he hears of a fallen star and a hope that the one final wish could restore his lives. But he is not the only one out for that wish.

Continue reading

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special – Movie Review

TL;DR –  A absolute delight that understands how not to outstay its welcome through charm and joy.   

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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

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

The Guardians of the Galaxy in Knowhere

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special Review

When you hear the word ‘Holiday Special’, there can be a certain dread. That is because history is littered with failed examples, sometimes infamously failed. In my experience, they are, at best okay. However, today we have a model that might buck that trend.  

So to set the scene, back in the past, we find a young Peter Quill (Luke Klein) and Kraglin (Sean Gunn) setting up their own little Christmas tree on the Ravanger spaceship when Yondu (Michael Rooker) walks in and trashes it because it shows weakness. Back in the post-Endgame, post-ditching Thor present. The Guardians of the Galaxy have bought Nowhere and have started bringing it back to its former prime. However, the gang feels that Peter (Chris Pratt) is still sad about losing the love of his life. Well, it is Christmas time, and Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) have a plan, let’s kidnap Kevin Bacon (Kevin Bacon).  

Continue reading

Bros – Movie Review

TL;DR – While incredibly funny at times, it loses its momentum under the weight of the narrative.    

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

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

Bobby Lieber records the podcast.

Bros Review

If there is one genre that has almost standardised its narrative, it is the Romantic Comedy. For better or worse, when you go into one of these films, especially the plethora of made-for-tv films that come out during the holidays, you can probably chart the course of the movie in the first five minutes. The business lady will discover she wants a family too. The widower will find love in the most unlikely [i.e. very likely] place. Old lovers, now foes, will become lovers again. This is not necessarily bad. You can still do great things with a tried-and-true formula, but I am always looking for a film that could break through those models, and we might have just such a film today.    

So to set the scene, Bobby Lieber (Billy Eichner) is a podcast host of The Eleventh Brick at Stonewall and has been chosen to be the curator of a new National LGBTQ+ History Museum in Manhattan. It is his dream job, and his complete focus, which, given he is incredibly single, works well for him. He prides himself on his independence, even if that means some awkward hook-ups along the way. However, one night at a nightclub, he connects with Aaron (Luke Macfarlane), who ghosts him, un-ghosts him, and then ghosts him again. It is perplexing, but for some reason, it makes Bobby more interested in discovering just what his deal is.

Continue reading

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.   

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading