Movie Review – The Legend of Baron To’a

TL;DR – A bonkers fun film from first till last    

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

The Legend of Baron To'a. Image Credit: Madman.

Review

Do you know what I needed this week? I needed a bit of fun, you know what I think a lot of people need this week, a little fun, well, have I got news for you. It has been great over the last couple of years to see Pasifika Cinema go from strength to strength and today we get to look at another entry into the great canon.

So to set the scene, we open in on the great Baron To’a (John Tui) himself as he does a tour of his home and local culdesac Kinlock Ave. He is the heart of the local community and he is most proud of his son Fritz (Lotima Pome’e). However, it cannot last and twenty years later when Fritz (Uli Latukefu) returns to help sell his house after his uncle Otto (Nathaniel Lees) stops returning his calls he finds that the sac is a very different place than what he remembered.   

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Movie Review – Guns Akimbo

TL;DR – There is a kernel of a good idea here, and there are parts of it where you can see how it could have made a really good film, just maybe not the one we got    

Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars

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

Guns Akimbo. Image Credit: Madman

Review

When you here that the premise of a film is that someone has bolted guns to Daniel Radcliffe’s hands and let him loose in the world. Well, that congers up a lot of images and expectations, indeed Daniel has been bouncing from one delightfully odd film to the next since his time in/as Harry Potter. At the very least, it is the kind of set up when you know before walking in that it is either going to be amazing or a dumpster fire but not in-between. Well trust me, I am just as surprised as you that I got it very wrong.   

So to set the scene, Miles (Daniel Radcliffe) is your usual loner who lives a less than great life as a code monkey for a soul-sucking corporation. But at night, he finally comes alive as he trolls, well other trolls. One night, however, things take a turn as he discovers ‘Skizm’, which is kind of like Twitch but with murder, indeed we are introduced to the program with Nix (Samara Weaving) annihilating another contestant because two people start and only one comes out alive. Well, Miles starts trolling the chat and eventually gets noticed by the admin Riktor (Ned Dennehy) who smashes down his door, knocks him out, and performs a little surgery. Miles wakes up with a splitting headache … oh and two guns bolted to his hands.

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Movie Review – Take Home Pay

TL;DR – A look at what happens when the competing interests of money and family collide

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

Take Home Pay. Image Credit: M2S1 Films.

Review

Today we get to dive back into the world of Pasifika Cinema as we explore a film that takes on themes like tradition v modernity, brother v brother, money v family, and honour v fun. However, all of this is tempered by a comedic style that is unique to this part of the world and a heart that just shines.

So to set the scene, Popo (Ronnie Taulafo) and Alama (Vito Vito) are brothers living in rural Samoa working for their father planting, harvesting, and selling taro. Alama dreams of ways to make things easier for his family, even if it does not always go right, and Popo just dreams of getting out of the country. Well that opportunity arrives when they need labourers in New Zealand and both Alama and Popo get the chance to earn some more money for home. They spend their days picking kiwifruit and all is going well until the day they have to leave and Popo runs off, with both his and all of Alama’s money.

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Movie Review – Mortal Engines

TL;DR – This is a visually impressive film, full of moments that make you go wow, but you can see that they have been held back by fitting the whole first book into the one  film   

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

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

Mortal Engines. Image Credit: Universal

Review

The Mortal Engines series is one of those books that I have always been meaning to read but just have never gotten around to it. The idea where cities have become mobile and drive around hunting for prey is one of those conceptional ideas that is just genius, and I have a lot of friends that are super excited to see this world brought to life on the big screen. Add to this the fact that you have the minds behind The Lord of the Rings working to bring this to life and I have to say it definitely piqued my interest. Now that I have seen it, I can say I mostly enjoyed it, even if not everything worked.

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Movie Review – The Breaker Upperers

TL;DR – At times hilarious, at times incredible farcical, and at times a deeply moving look at the trials of friendship.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

The Breaker Upperers. Image Credit: Piki Films/Madman.

Review

For a long time, there has been this growing bubble of particular dry absurdist comedy coming out of New Zealand. You see it in the work of Taika Waititi, Jemaine Clement, Bret McKenzie, Rhys Darby, Rachel House, and also some of Peter Jackson’s early films. These are films that mix comedy and emotional understanding in equal measures. Whenever one of these movies like Hunt for the Wilderpeople (see review) or Hibiscus & Ruthless (see review) make it across the ditch I always really look forward to seeing it. Well, today we get the chance to look at a new entry into this wonderful genre The Breaker Upperers, from the comedic team of Madeleine Sami and Jackie van Beek.

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Movie Review – Hibiscus and Ruthless

TL;DR – A beautiful, funny film of charting family expectations

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit sequence as the credits roll

Hibiscus & Ruthless. Image Credit: M2S1 Films.

Review

Families are complicated’, I think that is a phrase that just about anyone in the world can relate to. There is pressure to conform to your parents wants, and there is pressure to try and help the next generation succeed more than you did, and sometimes those two drives crash into each other in explosive fashion. Today we will be looking at a film that deals with just this very issue, as we explore this fascinating film from New Zealand from the same creative team behind Three Wise Cousins. There will be laughter, there will be tears, and there will be bread rolls on people’s heads for some reason.

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Movie Review – Pork Pie

TL;DR – Some of the best car chases I have seen, but this is coupled with a story that just doesn’t work all that well

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Pork Pie. Image Credit: Studio Canal.

Review

So this is a bit of a perplexing film because there are some parts that really work, they pull you into this world, and you be sitting there having a ball watching it unfold. However, then the story, or lack of story, or some other factor rears its head and yanks you right out of the film. This creates a dissidence that on the one hand makes it difficult to review, but on the other makes the film interesting to dissect. So since I’m a cup half full kind of person, we will look at what worked before explore some of the film’s issues, however, before we dive into all that jazz, let’s set the scene.

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