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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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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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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The Invitation – Movie Review

TL;DR – A completely generic story slightly elevated by a cast understanding what type of film it is and playing to it.    

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to see this film.

A DNA Test.

The Invitation Review

There is a whole world of mythology waiting to be mined for ideas, yet we always seem to come back to one or two touchstones, one of which is vampires. The question then becomes, can you do something new in a space that has been mined for hundreds of years? Probably not, but can you still make it entertaining? Well, that is the question we get to explore in today’s film, The Invitation.

So to set the scene, we open in a dark mansion on a stormy night. A woman in a white dress breaks out of her locked room and runs through the building but not seeing an escape, she decides to kill herself than stay where she is. Moving to New York City, we meet Evelyn “Evie” Jackson (Nathalie Emmanuel), a struggling ceramics artist who takes up catering jobs to make a living. After one of those jobs, she gets one of the leftover goodie bags with a DNA kit. Lo and behold, she discovered that she had a relative, a cousin called Oliver (Hugh Skinner), who happened to be coming to New York from England on business. When they meet up, Oliver invites her to the social wedding of the century at the estate of Walter De Ville (Thomas Doherty). There be red flags a plenty, but without any family of her own left, Evie takes the trip, unsure of what she will find on the other side of the pond.  

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Nope – Movie Review

TL;DR – This is a film that swings wildly, where you have moments of pure terror, but I am not sure it all comes together in the third act.    

Rating: 3.5 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.

a feild of waking inflatable men

Nope Review

Today, I look at a film that is quite difficult to review. Challenging in that from a production perspective, I have rarely seen a movie that works as well as this. But from a narrative perspective, there were moments that negatively impacted me that I am still trying to process the day after. It is also a film that is hard to talk about without immediately heading into spoilers that might impact your time with the film. Well, it might be difficult, but I’m still going to take a solid crack at it. As such, it is time to dive into our review of Nope.

So to set the scene, we open on a TV set in the 1990s, a sitcom with rows for audience seating, but only there is no one there even though the applause signs still flash. But we see a chimpanzee sitting with blood on its hands while a lifeless body lies in the background. Flash forward to the current time, and we are introduced to Otis Jr. “OJ” Haywood (Daniel Kaluuya), who works with his father Otis Haywood Sr. (Keith David) at Haywood Hollywood Horses. A ranch that trains horses for TV and movie productions. While OJ is doing all the work and wondering where his sister Emerald “Em” Haywood (Keke Palmer) is, he hears something odd coming from the sky. Then what looks like hail starts hitting the ground on a clear day, but it is not hail but metal shrapnel like keys and coins, one of which strikes Otis Sr. in the head. While the siblings struggle to keep the ranch going in the wake of this tragedy, the story of the objects falling out of a plane just does not hold up, and they start to wonder what else might be out there in the sky.

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Luca – Movie Review

TL;DR –  A film that is a pure delight from start to finish.  

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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

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

Luca. Image Credit: Disney.

Luca Review

We have a longing for those moments in our childhood when everything seemed to come together. I think this is an almost universal drive in people, the place and location might be different, but that drive is still the same. Today we look at a film that captures this drive and crafts it into a narrative that will delight.

So to set the scene, once evening off the coast of the Italian Riviera, two fishermen decide to fish close to Isola del Mare even though the reputation that monsters surround it, which was sort of true because around the island live a village of sea people. Among the sea people/monsters is Luca Paguro (Jacob Tremblay), who lives with his family herding goatfish. However, one day in the fields, a human approached collecting the flotsam on the bottom of the ocean. Luca runs but soon finds that this is not a human but another sea person called Alberto Scorfano (Jack Dylan Grazer). Alberto lives on the surface in a tower because once a sea person leaves the water, they can turn into a human when they dry out. 

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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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Movie Review – Abominable

TL;DR – A truly charming film from start to finish.     

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There are some pictures during the credits that tell a story.

Abominable. Image Credit: Universal.

Review


Films targeted at children often have a perception that they are of lower quality than other forms of cinema. Indeed some of the trailers for upcoming films I watched before this backed that assessment up. But every now and again a film casts off those assertions and shows that if you focus on quality it should not matter whom your target audience is. Well, today we get just such a film, as we explore a monster on the run through China.

So to set the scene, we open in a laboratory in Shanghai scared and alone and not knowing where we are. After hearing Dr Zara’s (Sarah Paulson) intentions for us we flee captivity and that is when you discover the animal fleeing is a yeti. Everest (Joseph Izzo) flees into the city and tries to hide after being hit by a truck only to end up on the roof of Yi’s (Chloe Bennet) apartment complex. Yi is focusing all her life on doing odd jobs so she can earn enough money to go on a tour of China her dad always promised to take her on. But when she finds the injured Everest there is only one thing on her mind, getting him to his home.

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Movie Review – The Meg (2018)

TL;DR –  A film that knows how to be a bit silly while still playing it mostly straight about a shark that suddenly not extinct.   

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

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

The Meg. Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Review

Last year there was a film that came out about a killer shark destroying the world, and not just a shark but a megalodon. I wanted to go see it, but the timing never worked out and I think I was going through Jurassic World fatigue at the same time. Well, this week with the release of Godzilla and after playing Sea of Thieves I had been interested to give it a look and what would you know the very day I was pondering The Meg popped up on Netflix. Well never one to look a gift horse in the mouth I knew now was the best time to check it out and wow, it did not disappoint.

So to set the scene, off the shore of China a billionaire Morris (Rainn Wilson) has built Mana One a purpose built deep ocean observatory. Its goal is to study the life in the oceans around the Mariana Trench but to also investigate a theory of chief scientist Zhang (Winston Chao). He believes that the trench is actually deeper and there is a layer of cold water creating a thermocline (barrier) protecting an undisturbed ecosystem underneath. So they send down Lori (Jessica McNamee), Toshi (Masi Oka), and The Wall (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson) in a submarine and lo and behold Zhang was right. However, just as they start to explore this new region they are attacked by something large and fast, sending them crashing into the ocean floor. With time being on the line and few people qualified they call in Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) a rescue diver who is now out of the game after a rescue went wrong and people blamed him for the deaths of his team.

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TV Review – Doctor Who: Arachnids In The UK

TL;DR –  If you have a deep-seated fear of spiders, well this might be one of those hide behind the coach kind of episodes for you.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

 

Doctor Who: Arachnids In The UK. Image Credit: BBC

 

Review

Today we continue looking at Doctor Who’s 11th season, a season with a lot of promise but also some recurring issues. This has created a bit of a problem that you see all the good they are trying to do, but also how they are being held back for some odd reasons. Well, today we come crashing back to Earth for a creepy episode just in time for Halloween that is going back to a Doctor Who staples, monsters, running, and the failure of capitalism, oh my.

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