Movie Review – The Lion King (2019)

TL;DR – An animated marvel that unfortunately comes off as a disjointed mess at times   

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

The Lion King. Image Credit: Disney.

Review

I’m going to be honest right from the start here, I had some real trepidation on walking into The Lion King today. I consider the original animated film to be one of my all-time top animated films. In the 25 years since I first watched it, it still holds a special place in my heart, even though those 25 years were filled with hot takes about authoritarianism and plagiarism accusations. However, something about this remake just was not jiving with me. Well now that I have seen the full film I am happy to say that it was not the disaster I thought it would be, but wow does it have issues.

So to set the scene, and if you have seen the original film you can probably skip this section. We open with dawn breaking on a very special day in Pride Rock. Because this is the day that the new prince Simba (JD McCrary) is being presented to the animal kingdom. As Rafiki (John Kani) raised the young cub up in front of all the animals that have gathered Mufasa (James Earl Jones) and Sarabi (Alfre Woodard) watch on with pride, but someone is missing. Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor) the brother of the king is absent and his absence is notable. He wants the throne for himself and he will stop at nothing to make that happen. Well, one day when young Simba and Nala (Shahadi Wright Joseph) escape their watcher Zazu (John Oliver) and take a trip to the elephant’s graveyard an opportunity lands in Scar’s lap.

Continue reading

Movie Review – Kidnapping Stella

TL;DR – It starts really strong with moments of real tension, but it is let down by a muddled ending.

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

Kidnapping Stella. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Today we get to look at a film that is almost the reverse of the norm. It is not at all uncommon for there to be English adaptions of foreign language films as there is a long history of people assuming that subtitles are a real barrier for commercial success. Well, today we get to see a film that has made the reverse trip with Kidnapping Stella being the German adaptation of the English film The Disappearance of Alice Creed. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how well a film does going the other way across the channel. Though I must say that at times this is a deeply confronting film, and you should probably know that before jumping in.

So to set the scene, we open in on two gentlemen Tom (Max von der Groeben) and Vic (Clemens Schick) as they go about their day running errands and picking up supplies. They renovate a room, get a van ready, and put in a new bed. All really normal, but for the fact that they block out all of the windows, and that they have masks. Because what they are doing is not renovating, they are prepping the room for something, and that something is Stella (Jella Haase) who they kidnap off the street to ransom back to her parents.    

Continue reading

Movie Review – Point Blank (2019)

TL;DR – A solid, if not very imaginative action flick   

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

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

Point Blank. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

It has been a while since I have sat down and watched a solid action flick, the kind where you can get out some popcorn, sit back and not think that hard about what is going on. Well, today we have an example of just that with Point Blank which is a reimaging of À Bout Portant, a French film from a couple of years ago.

So to set the scene, we open with Abe (Frank Grillo) smashing his way out of a window leaving a dead District Attorney in his wake. On the run, with a gunshot wound, he texts his brother Mateo (Christian Cooke) for a pickup, but just when he arrives Abe is hit by a car. Later that night Paul (Anthony Mackie) is doing his rounds as a nurse at the local hospital leaving his very pregnant wife Taryn (Teyonah Parris) at home resting when he comes to examine the John Doe. Only to be ambushed by a masked figure, dramatically changing his life.  

Continue reading

Movie Review – Tomb Raider (2018)

TL;DR – A solid action flick, with a good homage to the titular video game, but it is not the golden gem the video game adaptation that is still eluding filmmakers

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene after the title card

Tomb Raider banner

Review

The elusive video game adaption, for years Hollywood has tried to crack that particular gem. While comic book films like The Avengers and unfilmable literary epics like Lord of the Rings have found their feet, video game adaptations have remained just out of reach for the industry. In this battle, we have had disasters like Super Mario Bros. and close-but-no-cigar films like Warcraft. So today we have our first major attempt in a while to cross that divide … and it almost gets there.

Continue reading

Movie Review – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable Chapter I (JoJo no Kimyō na Bōken Daiyamondo wa Kudakenai Dai-Isshō, ジョジョの奇妙な冒険 ダイヤモンドは砕けない 第一章)

TL;DR – This feels like a very respectful translation of the manga, but that also shows that what works on the page does not always work on the screen.

Score – 2 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene near the start of the credits

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure

Review

Have you ever watched an adaption of something and gone “this looks like a faithful adaption but it just not for me”? Well, I had that experience this week with JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. I should start by saying that I am coming to this film not having read the Manga or seen the Anime, so beyond the name recognition I had no idea what I was walking into. As such, this is a review coming from a first-time entrant into the world of Stands, and how well the film did bringing me into this universe. Manga and Anime are one of the areas that have yet to really find its feet when adapted to live action on the big screen, especially when it is Hollywood doing the adaptation, see Ghost in the Shell (see review), and the less said about Dragonball Evolution the better. Like video game adaptations it just feels like it is missing it moment genres like comic books have had. With that in mind, today we are going to take a look at what things translated well into film and what aspects really didn’t.

Continue reading

Movie Review – Beauty and the Beast (2017)

TL;DR – It is a beautiful recreation of the original film with a great cast and music, but while it is good, it does not do enough to separate itself from its animated inspiration.

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Beauty and the Beast. Image Credit: Disney.

Review

Beauty and the Beast was the crown jewel of the Disney Renaissance in the 1990s and were one of the few animated films to ever be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. As a film, it is as majestic today as it was when it was released, and that’s a testament to the original songs and animation. So for any movie that adapts the classic La Belle et la Bête is going to have the issue of being compared to one of the greatest films that have been made, so how do you compete with such a legacy, how do you set your work apart from that classic film … well, how about you do a mostly shot by shot remake of the original. So not only is this the 3rd remake we have had in the row (see Power Rangers & Ghost in the Shell), it is also the next in this long line of live-action remakes of classic Disney films (see The Jungle Book) which only Pete’s Dragon has really worked for me. So with all these remakes floating around how does Beauty and the Beast compare with its past as well as the current cinematic landscape, well that is the question that we will be exploring today. Now since this is a movie based off a 1991 movie based on a story written in 1740 there may be some spoilers here, but the movie has been out for quite a while.

Continue reading

Movie Review – Ghost in the Shell (2017)

TL;DR – This is a difficult film to review as it excels in so many different ways, the music, visuals, and it really nails the aesthetics, but something is missing and it just felt more ‘safe’ than anything else.

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Ghost in the Shell. Image Credit: Paramount.

Review

So it’s the future and the world has moved towards merging the biological and the machine with people adapting themselves with cybernetic implants. However, this is only augmentation, but now the supposed next step in human development is here, with a human brain inserted into a robot body, a ghost within the shell. Is this the next stage in human existence or simply a weapon being released into the world, a saviour or a curse? This is the set up for Ghost in the Shell a movie adaption of the original manga series of the same name. Well it has been a rocky launch for Ghost in the Shell, and we’ll get to that issue in a moment, but first I need to take a moment to explain my relationship with Ghost in the Shell before talking about its positives, and then we’ll get into what didn’t work.

Continue reading