Gold – Movie Review

TL;DR – Brutal, uncomfortable, and completely compelling.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid for the Stan subscription that viewed this film

Gold. Image Credit: Stan.

Gold Review

When you are creating a film that wonders into the Survival genre, there are two very different ways you can engage your audience. The first is through shock, a sudden event or trauma like a bear attack. Or you can slowly pull everything away from people like a tide coming in or an approaching winter you are not ready for. Today we look at a film that explores the latter, but instead of the chill of winter, we get the brutal, unrelenting heat of the desert Sun.   

So to set the scene, some time, someplace, not far from now, a man is sitting in a train carriage boosting a ride in cargo. Man One (Zac Efron) has the clothes on his back and not much else as he walks out into the desert heat at Greenview Outpost. He is heading to the compound in the restricted Eastern Territories and gets a lift with Man Two (Anthony Hayes) through the inhospitable landscape. Man One goes off to take a leak after the car blows its radiator, which is when he spots something shiny in the desert, a gold nugget.

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King Richard – Movie Review

TL;DR – A fascinating picture of a complicated man.    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

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

King Richard. Image Credit: Warner Bros.

King Richard Review

There has been a resurgence in biopics in recent years, mainly in the music space. However, if there is one area where we could see more coverage, it would be in the sporting space. Today, we are looking at just such a case, but instead of a sporting star, today we are looking at one of their parents.

So to set the scene, back in the day, Richard Williams (Will Smith) and his wife Oracene Price (Aunjanue Ellis) are raising their five daughters in a two-bedroom house in Compton, California. Richard works night as a security guard, and Oracene works as a nurse. Still, in all their free moments, they are helping their daughters Venus (Saniyya Sidney) and Serena (Demi Singleton) by coaching them in tennis. But for the girls to take the next step, they need to have more professional support, but Richard has a plan for that.     

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The Great: Season 2 – TV Review

TL;DR – There is an absurd chaos on display from start to finish.  

Rating: 4 out of 5.
The Great: Season 2. Image Credit: Stan.

The Great Review

There is something so odd watching something proposing to be one thing but is another. There is a level of tonal dissonance that can take you out of the experience if there is not a deft hand on show. Today we look at a show that dances through history while ignoring actual events for a more engaging story.

So to set the scene, at the end of Season One, Catherine (Elle Fanning) finally made her move on Peter (Nicholas Hoult) with the help of her advisors Orlo (Sacha Dhawan) and Velementov (Douglas Hodge). Catherine had to sacrifice her lover to take the crown, but her love for Russia overtook her personal desires. However, Peter still has some support at court and weeks in. He still controls part of the Palace even though he is now surrounded. Time is short, and the one constant is everyone around Peter and Catherine has made it clear, they need to kill the other. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

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The Green Knight – Movie Review

TL;DR – Visually visceral, narratively interesting, and almost entirely engaging. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

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

The Green Knight. Image Credit: Amazon Prime.

The Green Knight Review

Everyone has a narrative style that they are just a sucker for, it could be road trip movies or WW2 war films, or like me, it is taking myths from the old and reinterpreting in a modern context. This can be the bombasticness of Greek Legend, the sharpness of Norse Legend, or, as we get today, the weirdness of Arthurian Mythology.

So to set the scene, we start the film with a bucket of water in the face as Gawain (Dev Patel) is woken up in a brothel by his lover Essel (Alicia Vikander). Gawain might be hungover, but it is Christmas morning, and Gawain has duties to attend to. While his Mother (Sarita Choudhury) stays at home, Gawain heads to the keep to the feast of King Arthur (Sean Harris) and Queen Guinevere (Kate Dickie). However, a stranger on horseback arrived during the feast, a man made of bark and leaves, the Green Knight (Ralph Ineson). Walking up to the King, he lays out a challenge, and Gawain is the only one to take up the charge.

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Minari – Movie Review

TL;DR – It captures a snapshot of a life so perfectly that it is almost difficult to watch sometimes because you feel like a voyeur eavesdropping on someone else’s life.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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

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

Minari. Image Credit: Madman Films.

Minari Review

Some films you can tell are works of personal nature because of the breath intimacy at every turn. You feel it in the story, the world, and the characters. This makes it a more intimate film, but it also can be more challenging to watch. Today we look at a movie that might be the most personal film I have ever seen that wasn’t a direct autobiography.

So to set the scene, in the 1980s, the Yi family make the trek inland from California to Arkansas. Jacob (Steven Yeun) picked the house because of the land, but his wife Monica (Han Ye-ri) is less than impressed that Jacob bought a trailer and not a house. Jacob wants the land to be a farmer to grow Korean crops for the diaspora, while Monica is fearful that they are too far away from the cities as their son David (Alan Kim) has a heart problem. Things get better/worse when Monica’s mum Soon-ja (Youn Yuh-jung) arrives to watch David and his sister Anne (Noel Kate Cho) as Monica and Jacob spend their days sexing chickens in a local factory.  

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Pig – Movie Review

TL;DR – This is a film that has so many disparate parts that it threatens to come apart at every turn, but they hold it together into this heartfelt journey.     

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to watch this film

Pig. Image Credit: Madman Films.

Pig Review

There is this phrase that gets used today: that things can be a ‘mood’. It is one of those concepts that is difficult to define, but you instantly recognise it when you see it. Today, we have a film that is a mood from the moment it starts till the moment it ends.

So to set the scene, we open in a forest by a river where Robin “Rob” Feld (Nicolas Cage) lives with his pig Pig and spends his days rummaging for truffles. He trades his truffles for supplies once a week with Amir (Alex Wolff), who is concerned that he lives up here all alone without even a phone. But one night, Pig is upset. Rob thinks it is coyotes right up until someone kicks down the door and knocks him out, and steals Pig away.               

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Shadow In The Cloud – Movie Review

TL;DR – Conceptionally, this is an interesting film, but I am not sure it makes the leap from concept to the final film.     

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this movie.

Shadow In The Cloud. Image Credit: Roadshow Films.

Shadow In The Cloud Review

Well, today, we look at a film that is clearly swinging for the fences in what it wants to do. It’s a wild ride, like anything experimental, but like some experiments, it doesn’t quite work in places.  

So to set the scene, we open in World War 2 with a short cartoon reminding everyone that there is no such thing as gremlins, and only airmen can stop disasters in the sky. At an Allied Airbase in Auckland, a B-17 bomber called The Fool’s Errand is waiting to take transistors to Apia, Samoa. However, just before they take off, Flying Officer Maude Garrett (Chloë Grace Moretz) arrives with a broken arm, a mysterious package, and secrecy orders. The crew is quite miffed about the change of plans, but they relent, and the plane takes off, with Maude in the Sperry Ball turret on the bottom of the aircraft. Her goal is working until they see some Japanese planes and a creature crawling on the wing.  

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Licorice Pizza – Movie Review

TL;DR – One of the funniest and engaging films I have seen this year, but also an experience that made me deeply uncomfortable in places.     

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

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

Licorice Pizza. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Licorice Pizza Review

There have been several films I have watched this year, but I don’t think any of them left such a complicated feeling with me as I left the cinema. This was a film that was a roller coaster that you strapped into at the start, and it never let you go. But it was an old roller coaster, so some sections rattle a bit more than they should (for my Brisbane fam, image the Thunderbolt towards the end of its life).

So to set the scene, we open in San Fernando Valley on a school picture day. Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman) is with his friends as they prime themselves to get the best picture, while Alana Kane (Alana Haim) is working with the photo company. When Gary and Alana first meet, there is an instant connection even though they come from different worlds. Well, those worlds now collide all across 1973, Los Angeles.

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Dear Evan Hansen – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film with equal parts frustrating and problematic, but when the emotions hit, you can’t help but be caught up with it.     

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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

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

Warning – Deals with themes regarding suicide

Dear Evan Hansen. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Dear Evan Hansen Review

Dear Evan Hansen is one of those films you have never heard of before or a film you have been listening to on repeat for years. For me, my first introduction to the film came from that first trailer that dropped this year, and that was a lot. But I go into this without the legacy of the musical to either help or hinder my experience with the film. However, now that I have seen the movie, well, ‘a lot’ was an understatement.

So to set the scene, Evan (Ben Platt) is struggling because he is about to start high school back after a long, difficult summer, and social interactions were not easy for him before. On the instructions of his psychiatrist, Evan starts writing letters to himself. However, when Evan goes to print one of the letters out at school, one of the troublemakers in the school Connor (Colton Ryan), intercepts it and takes it with him. Evan is expecting the worst but is surprised that Connor does not plaster it all over the internet. The reason becomes apparent when Connor’s parents Cynthia (Amy Adams) and Larry (Danny Pino), ask to speak to him. For Connor had taken his own life, but they had found Evan’s note. The only problem is that they think Connor was the one to write it.  

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Dune (2021) (Dune: Part 1) – Movie Review

TL;DR – A cinematic work of genius and masterclass in literary adaptation     

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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

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

Dune. Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures.

Dune Review

Few films have filled me full of trepidation and promise, like the prospect of another Dune film. Dune is a book series that means a lot to me, and the miniseries fits in as one of those foundational moments where you discover the joys of filmmaking. Add to this the spectacular run of films from Denis Villeneuve from Sicario, Arrival & Blade Runner 2049, one of which was my top movie in 2016. Look, this is a long way of saying I came into this with very high expectations, and can I say that this film exceeded all of them.  

So to set the scene, in an empire that spans the galaxy, the most valuable commodity is The Spice Melange. It extends life, allows intergalactic travel, and can only be found on one planet in the entire galaxy: Arrakis, Dune. The brutal House Harkonnen runs Dune, though its cruel Barron (Stellan Skarsgård) and his nephew Glossu Rabban (Dave Bautista), commonly called “Beast Rabban”. But their time running Arrakis is up, as the Emperor has decreed that House Harkonnen’s mortal Enemies House Atreides, led by Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac), manages the planet. All is well, but Leto is fearful for him, his son Paul (Timothée Chalamet) and consort Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson). Because while this is a great opportunity, it could also be a trap.

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