True Spirit – Movie Review

TL;DR – An impressively acted story that is let down by forced conflict and unnecessary padding.     

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

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

The Pink Lady leaves Sydney Harbour.

True Spirit Review

There are these moments that you remember because they touched all of society when they happened. Usually, these are moments of tragedy that cut through the world, but for Queensland and Australia, we had the moment built on triumph. Today’s film is based on that long journey by Jessica Watson across the planet.

So to set the scene, Jessica Watson (Teagan Croft) grew up on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia, where water was always on your doorstep. She learned how to sail on the open ocean, catching the wind and riding the waves here thanks to her coach Ben Bryant (Cliff Curtis). Jessica had one dream: to sail around the world by herself, which took a bit of a beating when her boat was severely damaged by a cargo ship in the 2009 trail run. But with everything going against her, Jessica is determined to make the trip before the government legislates that she can’t go.

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Knock at the Cabin – Movie Review

TL;DR – An intense, claustrophobic look at the potential end of the world    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is an audio queue at the end but not something you need to stay for.

Disclosure – I paid to see this film

Warning – This film contains scenes that may cause distress.

The Cabin.

Knock at the Cabin Review

If you look across the media landscape, the post-apocalypse is all the rage at the moment, but what about an excellent old-fashioned apocalypse? A film about struggle against all odds, looking doom in the face, and maybe not getting out alive in the end. Today we look at just such a film that both embraces and is a bit sly about it simultaneously.

So to set the scene, Eric (Jonathan Groff), Andrew (Ben Aldridge), and Wen (Kristen Cui) have gotten away from the world and are spending some time relaxing in a cabin in the middle of the countryside. A perfect escape from the world, so remote there is no cell service among all the trees and picturesque lake you can swim in. It is a delight until one moment, Leonard (Dave Bautista) walks up to Wen when she is collecting grasshoppers. He tells her not to be afraid, but he and his friends need to get into the cabin her fathers are in, and they need the whole family for something special to stop the end of the world.

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Spoiler Alert – Movie Review

TL;DR – Well, if ugly crying in the cinema surrounded by people ugly crying in a cinema is a recommendation for you, then here it is.     

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.

A bubble being blown.

Spoiler Alert Review

I am someone who does not mind a good cry in the cinemas. It can be cathartic and shows that the filmmakers have connected with you on an emotional level. However, there is a difference between having a good cry and being so emotionally devastated that you are ugly crying in a room full of strangers. And when I say ugly cry, I mean ugly. Well, today, we are looking at a film that did just that.

So to set the scene, Michael Ausiello (Jim Parsons) focuses his life on his work, like ranking all the Gilmore Girls from Best to Rory [which like fair]. But one night, after being dragged out to a club, he spots a man across the dance floor that smiles at him, so he waves back. Actually, Kit Cowan (Ben Aldridge) was smiling at his friend Nina (Nikki M. James) at the bar, but he took up the bait. It is the perfect meet-cute, bar the fact that, spoiler alert, we know from the start that this relationship is destined for tragedy.

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The Post-Truth World (罪後真相/Zui Hou Zhen Xiang) – Movie Review

TL;DR – A compelling tale of murder and coverup, where there are many potential suspects, and in the end, the truth might be the biggest casualty.     

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

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

The computer monitor.

The Post-Truth World Review

One of the most essential topics in modern times is the notion of truth and whether we can find it in our news anymore. Can you trust what you see in the news, read in the papers, or skim from the internet? With people yelling fake news at everything, how can you find the real in all the noise? Does the media care about the truth or just a narrative that can sell papers or subscriptions? It is within these questions we find our film today.  

So to set the scene, it is 2012, and all the bases are loaded, as a stadium dresses in yellow to support their team. As the game plays out below, different people’s lives start intersecting and collapsing. It is here where Zhang Zheng-yi (Edward Chen) walks out covered in blood, the blood of his now-dead girlfriend Wang Shi-yun (Tzu Hsuan Chan) and is promptly arrested and incarcerated for life. In 2019, Chang escaped jail by luring Liu Li-min (Joseph Chang), a journalist who ran the popular Dissecting the Society program back in 2012 and was at the stadium at the time of the murder. Today Li-min is trying to get a new title, True Standpoint, off the ground, and the biggest story of the year just kidnapped him. As the city begins a manhunt for Li-min, it is a moment of reflection on whether the truth matters.        

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Transfusion – Movie Review

TL;DR – It is a film trying to explore some essential issues. However, it felt like we only got a surface-level analysis.    

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

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

Blood in the sink.

Transfusion Review

It is one of modern society’s great tragedies, actually no, not a tragedy, embarrassments, that we send people off to war and wars with dubious pretensions, and then we ignore them when they return home. We give lip service to trying to do something about it, but the damage remains. Today’s film shines a light on that trauma and how it can have generational effects.     

So to set the scene, an Australian special forces team in The Middle East infiltrates a secured compound at night. The mission was a success until a surprise combatant sneaks up on the team, and Ryan Logan (Sam Worthington) is shot protecting his team. Back home, Ryan must adjust back to life with his wife Justine (Phoebe Tonkin) and son Billy (Gilbert Bradman), but where the trauma of the past still lingers. But when tragedy strikes, the bond between a father and a son is stretched to breaking point.     

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The Last of Us – When You’re Lost in the Darkness – TV Review

TL;DR – A faithful and tense introduction to the series.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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

The Last of Us Review

I came into this week’s The Last of Us with some trepidation. On the one hand, the series, especially the second game, holds a special place in my heart as it was the streaming event that sucked me into this world. However, since then, many shows have come into this post-apocalyptic space, and some, like Station Eleven, have been transcendent. My question is, has The Last of Us missed the bus, or is it the perfect time to jump back into this world?   

So to set the scene, it is September 26th, 2003, in Austin, Texas, and there is a sense of strange calm as Joel (Pedro Pascal), and his daughter Sarah (Nico Parker) celebrate his birthday as the news reports something weird happening in Jakarta. Joel and his brother Tommy (Gabriel Luna) have to work a double shift to get the house they are working on fixed. While Sarah is out getting her father’s watch mended, police start tearing up the streets. Hours later, things move from bad to worse as the city implodes, and Joel desperately tries to get his family to safety. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead for the show and Schindler’s List.    

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The Pale Blue Eye – Movie Review

TL;DR – It has a mood and the performances to match, but the narrative just didn’t hook me.

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.

Warning – Contains scenes that may cause distress.

Cadets in formation.

The Pale Blue Eye Review

It is time to jump back in time when women’s dresses came in many layers, the army was dressed in blue, and mutton chops were everywhere. It is an era I like when we jump into mysteries because it feels like a world where everyone is prim and proper, but that is just a veneer. It is in this world we find ourselves in as people start dying in the most unpleasant ways.   

So to set the scene, it is a foggy night, but from the gloom, we can see a man hanging from a tree. It is 1830 in Hudson Valley, New York, and Det. Augustus Landor (Christian Bale) has just been summoned to West Point Military Academy by Superintendent Thayer (Timothy Spall). They need someone with discretion. A cadet killed himself, and then his body was violated. This is a political timebomb, and the academy is desperately trying to get the case solved before certain senators in Washington find out.                   

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The Woman King – Movie Review

TL;DR – A powerful film of courage in the face of insurmountable odds.    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to watch this film

The Agojie rise from the grass.

The Woman King Review

It is now time for us to take a look at the final film before we finalise our best of 2022 lists. The Woman King was a film that I tried to see several times when it was in cinemas, but the times never lined up. Indeed, I could only add it to the run-down because it just dropped on-demand. But in a year of stellar action films, we have another understanding contender to add to the mix.

So to set the scene, in West Africa in 1823, a new king Ghezo (John Boyega), has just ascended to power in the Kingdom of Dahomey. But they are under attack from the Oyo Empire, who have been pillaging Dahomey villages using proxies to sell the people to the Europeans as slaves to work in the plantations of Brazil. Ghezo is on the losing side of this war, but he has one last strength: the Agojie, led by Nanisca (Viola Davis). It is a time of castigation as many forces move inside and outside the palace, and it is uncertain if Dahomey can survive the coming storm.    

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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.

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After Yang – Movie Review

TL;DR – There is a beautiful sadness to After Yang as you connect with the characters on the screen while also becoming introspective of your own life.   

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to watch this film.

Yang's memories.

After Yang Review

At the start of the year, one of my colleagues recommended that I should check out After Yang, and well as is clearly apparent, I have been quite tardy on that request. But a promise is a promise, and also, a soft-science fiction film exploring the nature of sentience in a shifting world should be 100% my jam, so it is silly that I missed it up until now.  

So to set the scene, we open with a family in a green field trying to take a photo together. While things look fine on the surface, with father Jake (Colin Farrell), mother Kyra (Jodie Turner-Smith), and kids Mika (Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja) and Yang (Justin H. Min) coming together to join in on a family dance-off contest. But Yang is an android built by the company Brothers and Sisters bought to help connect Mika with her Chinese culture. However, something has gone wrong with Yang’s central core, and he has shut down, and now Jake and Kyra have the difficult job of finding out what to do next.

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