TL;DR – A film anchored by a transcendent performance that captures you from the start and never lets you go.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene
Disclosure – I attended a Press Screening of this film
Respect Review –
It has been the era of the musical biopic, with Elton John, Freddie Mercury, and even the Sparks Brothers getting a film all about them. But if one person is missing from this list, it would be the seminal Aretha Franklin. Her voice is like no other, and you get taken to another world every time you hear it. Today, we get to look at a film that not only fixes that glaring gap but does so in a way that left tears in my eyes.
So to set the scene, we open in Detroit, 1952, in the house of Reverend C. L. Franklin (Forest Whitaker). He is hosting a party for several influential people in the African-American community. Making his way to the back of the house, he finds Aretha ‘Re’ Franklin (Skye Dakota Turner) asleep in her bed. He asks her if she wants to sing, and the answer is, of course, yes. Even at a young age, she leads the choir at her father’s church, but as Aretha (Jennifer Hudson) grows older, she wants to do more to help Martin Luther King Jr. (Gilbert Glenn Brown). But at a party, her father surprised her with a ticket to New York to meet with John Hammond (Tate Donovan), a famous music producer, who could make her into a star.
TL;DR – Wow, just wow, every part of this film comes together to make something people will be talking for years to come.
Score – 5 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid and end credit sequence
I was expecting Black Panther to be good, all the Marvel films so far have been at least ok and this was tracking to be better than average. However, nothing prepared me for just how good the film was going to be, and also just how challenging it was going to be, it does not hold back, not one single bit. So today we will explore the world of Wakanda, the people, history, and locations. But before we do that, can I suggest if you have not seen the film to go do that right now, without reading on, you will be much better to go into Black Panther with as little pre-knowledge as possible, well other than it is really good.
TL;DR – A bit of a mess at times, but any complaints I have are overridden by the strongest ending in the franchise’s history.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
So here we are with Star War’s first attempt at a standalone film (a film set in the Star Wars universe, but not one of the main numbered entries) and a prequel no less, by any measure this was a risky gambit for the Mouse House, because the last thing you want to do to your $4 Billion investment is damaging the brand with a bad movie. Now this coupled with extensive reshoots in a year where extensive reshoots have led to mediocre films like Suicide Squad and outright failures like Fantastic Four had a lot of people concerned, is the prequel curse going to continue? Well, I am happy to say those reshoots must have only improved the movie because Rogue One is a blast. Now is it a perfect film, oh no, it has some real problems, but any issue I could have with it is blasted away by some quality filmmaking. Now we will be discussing the story later in the review, so I’ll put a Spoiler Warning out before that, but I feel with a property like this, it is important to say, I will be discussing aspects of the film and the characters and you may find that to be spoilery, so you have been warned to continue with caution.
TL;DR – A beautiful story of loss, change, the role of language, and how it’s better to work together than apart, a movie we kind of need at the moment.
Score – 5 out of 5 stars
Review – Arrival, based on the short story by Ted Chiang, is a really interesting movie as it looks at issues that are not usually covered in science fiction or indeed movies in general. It is a fascinating look into language and its role in shaping culture and society but also what happens when the unknown actually happens and how do we respond to that. While I loved Arrival its one of those movies that I think will be quite polarising as you may indeed find it either meditative or ponderous, I myself fall into the first camp.
TL;DR – What a waste of a movie and a promising franchise
Score 1 out of 5 stars
Oh Taken 3 how far have we fallen that we reached here? Before I get into my review of Taken 3 it is important to look at where we have come from. Taken 1 is great, fantastically great, the casting of Liam Neeson was a master stroke, the setting was visceral and it had a real emotional push behind it. It was so good it made you forget just what a stupid set up the premise was if you know anything about human trafficking.