Indiana Jones Series Review – Exploring a Franchise

TL;DR –.We look at the varied highs and lows of the Indiana Jones franchise up to now.   

Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ service that viewed these films

Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Indiana Jones

There are moments when you sit around with nothing to do for a weekend and decide it is time to dive into some nostalgia from the past. With Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny coming out later this month, and it has been years since I had seen the older films, some not since cinemas, it was good timing when they all appeared on Disney+ this week. Well, good time with a massive dash of marketing. So we dive back in time not quite to a galaxy far, far away, but not, not a galaxy far, far away.

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Evil Dead Rise – Movie Review

TL;DR – A good case study of what happens if you go to max-intensity right from the start and stay there.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is something at the end of the credits but not something you need to stay back for.

Warning – This movie contains scenes that may cause distress.

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

A sinister smile.

Evil Dead Rise Review

At the start of this year, I set myself the challenge to explore cinema that is more outside of my comfort zone, and one area that I don’t have a lot of experience in was Horror. I have dabbled here and there, but I know that I have barely scratched the surface of the diverse genre. When I heard there was a new imagining of the classic series Evil Dead, it felt like an excellent place to jump in.

So to set the scene, Beth (Lily Sullivan) is a guitar technician constantly on the road until she makes another mistake. When this happens, she always goes to visit her sister Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland), who lives with her children Danny (Morgan Davies), Bridget (Gabrielle Echols), and Kassie (Nell Fisher) in a bank that was converted into units. After realising that Beth has been out of her family’s lives for too long, the kids go off to get some pizza so the grownups can chat. But when an earthquake hits, a chasm reveals the old bank vault under the car park. Danny takes it upon himself to explore and disturbs something he should have let lie.

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Cocaine Bear – Movie Review

TL;DR – It is a film about a bear high on cocaine running amok. I am not sure I need to say much more than that.     

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There are two mid-credit scenes

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

A Bloody phone hangs.

Cocaine Bear Review

There are many reasons why a film can capture your attention. Maybe it is the cast, a name that immediately makes you intrigued? Could it be the genre, another period romance, or a sci-fi epic? They are the only two genres, apparently. But in rare moments, a film’s title can immediately hook you. This week we have just a movie because, if nothing else, the name Cocaine Bear is instantly provocative and makes you want to work out what the heck is going on.

So to set the scene, it is 1984, and the small town of Knoxville, Tennessee, wakes up to bundles of cocaine that started falling from the sky after a drug drop went very wrong. While some landed in suburbia, most of the stash lands in the state forest near Chattahoochee, Georgia. When the drug runners catch up to the cocaine, they find a surprise waiting for them, a 500 lb (230 kg) American black bear currently consuming their property. But this is a public park, and there is more than just the drug runners walking around. I mean, what’s the worst that half a ton of muscle and claw do when high as a kite? Cue the fatalities.

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Daughter – Movie Review

TL;DR – An unrelenting exploration of the subversion of the family unit.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I was sent a screener of this film

Warning – contains scenes that may cause distress.

A ritual.

Daughter Review

Some films pique your interest because of the genre or the narrative framework. Some still come from a casting choice that you must see how it plays out. This week we are looking at a film that hits all of these as we delve into a dark world.

So to set the scene, we open on a dirt road as a lady runs for her life as a pickup truck driven by two people in gas masks chases her down. Later a woman (Vivien Ngô) wakes up shackled to the floor with Father (Casper Van Dien) looming over her. She is to be called Sister and will soon be introduced to Mother (Elyse Dinh) and Brother (Ian Alexander). She will not be hurt … as long as she behaves because Brother is exceptional, and she needs to help him avoid the sickness out in the world.

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M3GAN – Movie Review

TL;DR – A weirdly wonderful film, full of camp and tension.

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.

M3GAN in a pile of soft toys.

M3GAN Review

Artificial life discovering sentience is one of those thematic moments that can land you on the whole spectrum of cinema. It can be thought-provoking life After Yang, menacing like 2001: A Space Odyssey, or could flip about in between, such as Lost in Space. Today we look at a film that skews more towards the menacing, where we see that Asimov might have been on to something.

So to set the scene, Cady (Violet McGraw) is travelling with her family when tragedy strikes, and she is left alone to go live with her aunt Gemma (Allison Williams). Her aunt is not ready to be a parent, and both struggle to bond until Gemma shows Cady what she is working on. A new toy and AI robot girl called M3GAN (Amie Donald/Jenna Davis) that pairs and bonds with her primary user. Everything is going well until one day, when they have a conversation about death.

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Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio – Movie Review

TL;DR – A work of art that hits on every emotional level from start to finish.    

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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

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

Pinocchio but just a puppet.

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio Review

Some names instantly intrigue you when you hear they are attached to a project. Which is entirely what happened when I heard that Guillermo del Toro was going to make a Pinocchio film. This alone was enough to interest me. Then you discover that it will be an animated film, not just that, a stop-motion animation film, and the masters of puppets, The Jim Henson Company, will produce it. Well, that is a combination that could not be missed, and I am fundamentally glad I watched it.   

 So to set the scene, master craftsman Geppetto (David Bradley) lost his only child Calro (Gregory Mann), during the Great War when he was only ten years old. A stray bomb destroyed the church that they were working in, and it is a loss that he has never recovered from. Sometime later, Sebastian J. Cricket (Ewan McGregor), a travelling cricket, came to live in the tree planted at Carlo’s grave and watched as a drunk Geppetto laments over his lost son. But as that is happening, some old spirits from the forest who typically ignore humanity hear the pleas of the grieving father and when he cuts down the pine tree that was planted at the grave to turn it into a puppet. So The Wood Sprite (Tilda Swinton) looks over the creation and then brings that puppet Pinocchio (Gregory Mann) to life.   

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The Mummy (1999) – Exploring the Past

TL;DR –.While some parts of the film have not aged well, it is still a fun romp from start to finish.   

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

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

Camels in the desert crossing sand dunes.

The Mummy Review

There are those films from your childhood that should stay there because revisiting them can never come back to those heights. One of those films is The Mummy. I have fond memories of over everyone crowding around the VCR to watch it and then the unfortunate moment when someone decided to hand out tea and coffee. Every couple of years, I will think about watching it again but then wonder if too much time has passed. But then, when they keep remaking it both in name with The Mummy and in spirit with films like Jungle Cruise means that no matter what, there is a core here that is timeless.

So to set the scene, in Thebes, the capital of the Ancient Egyptian Empire in 1260 BC and home to Pharaoh Seti I (Aharon Ipalé) and his High Priest Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo). One fateful day, the Pharaoh’s mistress Anck-su-namun (Patricia Velásquez) and the priest were caught in their affair when Imhotep brushed the makeup from her shoulder, and they struck the Pharaoh down with his own blade. Soon they were all captured at Hamunaptra, the City of the Dead, and cursed for their crimes. In 1923 AD, Hamunaptra is at most a ruin, but for many, just a legend. But the French Legion found it and was massacred, with only Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) and Beni Gabor (Kevin J. O’Connor) surviving to tell others of the treasure and curse that may await you there. Three years later, one Evelyn Carnahan (Rachel Weisz) might just take them up on that.

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The Menu – Movie Review

TL;DR – This is one of those films that revels in subverting something that brings me great joy and captivates me the entire time it is doing that.    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to see this film

Warning – Some scenes may cause distress.

Oyster Foam, with lemon lemon gel

The Menu Review

There is always a delight when you walk into s film with no idea what you are about to witness. Even more so when that film goes to places, you would never have expected. Well, today we have just such a film which was taken to the next level with me only seeing it because of a mix-up, and I am delighted that mix-up happened because goodness, what an experience.

So to set the scene, we open at a boat dock as Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy) and her date Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) wait in fancy evening attire. They and a bunch of important critics, celebrities, foodies, and businessmen are taking a trip to one of the world’s most exclusive restaurants, Hawthorne, run by Julian Slowik (Ralph Fiennes), hidden away on its own island. The restaurant’s maître d’ Elsa (Hong Chau) takes them on a tour of the island, revealing all its natural bounties and constructed eccentricities. Everything has been tailored to each guest. The only issue is that Margot was not meant to be there, and no one let the restaurant or Chef know.

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Bones and All – Movie Review

TL;DR – A modern fairy tale coming-of-age road trip through middle America where two young people find love while eating people because they are cannibals.

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 – This film contains scenes that may cause distress

Timothée Chalamet's eyes

Bones and All Review

Rarely have I walked out of a film, and my first thoughts were, ‘well, that was a lot!’. However, I think that statement perfectly defines those first moments as the credits rolled and the multitudes of thoughts from the audience leaving the theatre filtered past me. If nothing else, Bones and All is a movie that elicits strong responses from the people who watched it, but I am not sure they were all positive.

So to set the scene, Maren Yearly (Taylor Russell) spends time by herself at high school but finally starts to find some friends. She slips out of the house she is locked into to go to a sleepover, and everything is going well until she bites her friend’s finger off. Her dad Frank (André Holland), gives her 3 minutes to pack before they move, something they have clearly done before. Moving to a new state, Maren wakes up one morning to find her dad missing and only a tape-recorded note left. Maren then has to find her place in the world all alone/ Well, maybe not completely alone because there may be more people like her. But they may not be friendly.

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Werewolf by Night – Movie Review

TL;DR – A delightful romp through times past, made with the techniques of today.    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

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

Marvel Studios logo in black-and-white.

Werewolf by Night Review

Given that today is the culmination of the spoopy season, I wanted to delve into something a little horror or horror-adjacent. But I didn’t have much time between everything I had to do and what I wanted to see. Good thing something I needed to catch up on was only one hour long. Also, after loving his musical composition and watching his take on Short Treks, I wanted to see what Michael Giacchino could do with a longer runtime.  

So to set the scene, we open on a dark night in a mansion deep in the woods where Ulysses Bloodstone’s (Richard Dixon) funeral is about to take place. All across the globe, the hunters gathered because this was both a funeral and a hunt. Whoever of the death dealers wins the ceremonial hunt gets the coveted Bloodstone, a relic of immeasurable power. But one of the hunters may actually be the hunted?  

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