Judas and the Black Messiah – Movie Review

TL;DR – This is a film that continues to show that Daniel Kaluuya is one of his generations best actors      

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Judas and the Black Messiah. Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Judas and the Black Messiah Review

There are moments when a film is perfectly timed with what the world is going through, and after the 2020 Black Lives Matter protest movement, it was the perfect time to take a look back in time at the Black Panther movement. This film delves into a difficult time and explores the intersection of revolution and government control in America.

So to set the scene, we open in the FBI’s halls as its Director J. Edgar Hoover (Martin Sheen), who is railing against a Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya) of Chicago who has the power and charisma to unite many of the different anti-government movements across the country. FBI agent Roy Mitchell (Jesse Plemons) is looking for a way to get a mole into the local Black Panther organisation that Hampton leads when William “Bill” O’Neal (Lakeith Stanfield) falls into his lap after being caught impersonating a federal officer, and now they have their Judas.    

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In The Land Of Lost Angels – Movie Review

TL;DR – An intimate exploration of a crime as it unwinds across the days.   

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

In The Land Of Lost Angels. Image Credit: The Filmbridge.

In The Land Of Lost Angels Review

In my exploration of cinema outside of my traditional Anglosphere, today I have another first. I think my previous investigation of Mongolian Cinema began and ended with watching The Hu on YouTube. Today, I take the first steps to fix that by looking at this brooding work of cinema.

So to set the scene, we open in the dark of a Los Angeles night. Ankhaa (Tumursukh Erdenemunkh) is on the phone back home telling everyone not to worry because his new job pays well, but clearly, this is not quite the truth. Along with his friend Orgil (Iveel Mashbat), they go through the motions of setting something up, including purchasing a gun, much to Orgil’s surprise. You are not sure where this is going, right up until they grab Scott (Mike Cali) from his car and slap a ransom note to the window.  

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The Map of Tiny Perfect Things – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film full of charm and heart that explores time in an authentic way   

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things. Image Credit: Amazon Studios.

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things Review

There seems to be a renaissance in the Time Loop genre in recent times, one of those perfect intersections of art and reality. You don’t have to sell someone on the concept of the same day over and over again because that is life at the moment. While it might be the case that there are not that many stories that you can tell within this genre, today we look at a film that shows that there is still more to see in this world.

So to set the scene, were open in the morning as Mark (Kyle Allen) wakes up and begins his day. But unlike reality, every movement is perfectly timed as if he knows everything that is about to happen. Of course, this means that he does know what is about to happen because Mark is stuck in a time loop. Mark is spending his days copying Groundhog Day trying court Phoebe (Anna Mikami) when one loop something changes as Margaret (Kathryn Newton) appears, and he discovers that he is not alone.  

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News of the World – Movie Review

TL;DR – A compelling ride through the 1890s with a man trying to his best in difficult circumstances    

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

News of the World. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

News of the World Review

There are few actors around that you know going in will always give their best performance no matter what film they are in. One of those few is Tom Hanks who gives his all even in movies that are not that great. Today we get to explore a film that puts him right in the centre of a world going through a difficult transition.

So to set the scene, we open in Wichita Falls, North Texas, 1870, on a cold a rainy night. Here we find a Captain Kidd (Tom Hanks) speaking with the fine folks of the town. They are cut off from most of society, so he lets everyone know the news of the time, like a local fever going around or river crossings being cut, for a fee of 10c. On the way to the next town he stumbles across a black man who had been lynched, and the young girl Johanna (Helena Zengel) who he was carrying. She had been taken in a raid by the ‘Indians’, and she had been brought back to what was left of her family. When some Cavalry riders arrive, we discover that Captain Kidd served with the Confederate Army in the Civil War. They tell him to take the girl to the next town, but things are never as easy as that.

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Greenland – Movie Review

TL;DR – A disaster film that leans into the emotion and is better for it.    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Greenland. Image Credit: STX Films.

Greenland Review

After falling off the face of the Earth, disaster films have started to make a resurgence in the cinemas. There have been good disaster films and bad, but one of the core similarities is that a bunch of them have stared Gerard Butler. Well, we now have another entry into this particular genre so let’s dive in.  

So to set the scene, we open in Atlanta, Georgia as architect John Garrity (Gerard Butler), is trying to keep things as normal as possible for his son Nathan (Roger Dale Floyd) after his marriage with Allison (Morena Baccarin) fell apart. While this is happening, all of Earth is looking up at the Clarke Comet that was picked up only weeks ago. The scientists say it will burn up in the atmosphere and make a great light show, but after John gets a Presidential Alert, he realises that something more is going on and then the first boom hits.

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High Ground – Movie Review

TL;DR – A challenging and confronting film exploring a part of Australia’s history that we don’t like to talk about.     

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

High Ground. Image Credit Madman Films.

High Ground Review

When I was growing up, every year at school we looked at the explorers that charted the coast, then the first fleet, finally the early penal colonies, and then we skip forward to Federation. At no time did we talk about the people who lived in the land before the colonists arrived, nor did we explore what happened to them as colonisation swept across the nation. The period known as the Frontier Wars was a bloody conflict about removing people from their land. In today’s review, we look at a film that explores this part of Australia’s history and all the ugliness that comes with it.

So to set the scene, in 1919 in Arnhem Land Australia, Gutjuk (Guruwuk Mununggurr) is being taught the dances of his people by his uncle Baywara (Mark Garrawurra) when they stumble across two men fleeing from troopers. They were accused of killing a cow, and they are allowed to stay the night, but then they must move on. However, before than can happen, the troopers arrive at the camp, but with a plan to discuss things peacefully. They were to move in as a group and announce their arrival. They brought the local priest Braddock (Ryan Corr) to help translate and if all went wrong the commander of the troop Travis (Simon Baker) was on the high ground overlooking the settlement and could fire down if needed. Well, that was the plan, but as Travis watches the group splits up, chooses to sneak up on the group, and ignore his command that only Travis can fire first. It is a recipe for disaster, and disaster is what occurs.

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Penguin Bloom – Movie Review

TL;DR – A beautifully charming film that will make you feel a lot of emotions    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Penguin Bloom. Image Credit: Roadshow Films.

Penguin Bloom Review

You may have many fears, some might be more obvious like spiders or heights, but others are deeper down like what if you were in a crash and became paralysed. This fear is at the heart of the film we are looking at today as we see the aftereffects of this profound change.

So to set the scene, we open with Noah Bloom (Griffin Murray-Johnston) giving a rundown of his life. It is full of living on the beach, going for a surf, and making honey as a family. However, on a fateful trip to Thailand, Sam Bloom (Naomi Watts), her husband Cameron (Andrew Lincoln), and their three kids Noah, Rueben (Felix Cameron), and Oli (Abe Clifford-Barr) were climbing up to the top of a building to get a look of the view. However, when Sam leans on a fence, some rotten wood gives way, and she falls over the edge to the concrete below. Back at home, Sam is trying to adjust to her life in a wheelchair, but as Noah is down the beach, he finds a magpie chick that had fallen out of a nest who they take home and call Penguin.

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The Dry – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film that captivates you in the first frame and never lets you go throughout the runtime.    

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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

The Dry. Image Credit: Roadshow Films.

The Dry Review

The murder-mystery who-done-it genre is one that can captivate me as we see the mystery unfold or frustrate me as the film throws in silly narrative choices to pad out the run time. Today we get to look at a movie that does the first as it brings you into this world and does not let you go until the end.

So to set the scene, we open with long pans over a dry and parched landscape full of dust and brown. When in the background we can hear a baby crying, we see it in its crib, but something is amiss and as the camera pans out there is blood everywhere. A couple of weeks later we are in Melbourne where we discover there has been a murder-suicide with a father killing his wife and son but leaving the baby behind. Aaron Falk (Eric Bana) is now an investigator for the Federal Police, but he grew up in the town and knew the husband Luke (Martin Dingle Wall) as they were childhood friends. A letter compels him to return for the funeral, but coming back to town is harder for Aaron because of his past and the suspicious death of one of his friends that caused him and his family to flee all those years ago.   

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The Midnight Sky – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film with a premise that does not hold up and then undermines the rest of the narrative   

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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

The Midnight Sky. Image Credit: Netflix.

The Midnight Sky Review

I think it is safe to say that I am a fan of the Science Fiction genre. Indeed I try to watch as much as I can get. However, sometimes you come across a concept that just does not work. Unfortunately for all the star power, good acting, and exciting design, today we look at a film that just does not work.

So to set the scene, we open in on the Barbeau Observatory in the Arctic Circle in February 2049 where we are told it has been three weeks since ‘The Event’. The Observatory is being evacuated chaotically, but Augustine (George Clooney) stays behind as menacing red circles appear over cities on maps on the computer monitors behind. Augustine is trying to contact the last mission away from the planet Æther to warn them when he finds that not everyone evacuated with a little girl Iris (Caoilinn Springall) being left behind.        

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True History of the Kelly Gang – Movie Review

TL;DR – A visually stunning film that unfortunately left me feeling hollow at the

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Warning – Contains significant strobe lighting

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

Awards

Nominated: Best Australian Film

True History of the Kelly Gang. Image Credit: Stan.

True History of the Kelly Gang Review

Well, there are many aspects of Australian life I just don’t get, and one of those is the veneration of Ned Kelly. But then it does have the distinction of being the subject of the first feature film ever made. Today we look at a movie that explores the life of Ned Kelly, the true story of the bushranger … well maybe not the whole truth …or even a little bit of it.

So to set the scene, in 1867 Australia, and a young Ned Kelly (Orlando Schwerdt) is trying to find his place in a rural world with no education and a mother Ellen (Essie Davis) with an ‘interesting’ view of raising children. She sells the boy to  Harry Power (Russell Crowe) a bushranger who introduces the boy to the violent world, including shooting Sergeant O’Neill (Charlie Hunnam) a member of the constabulary. After spending time in jail and away from his family Ned (George MacKay) returns home and gets brought back into the world he once escaped.

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