The Gray Man – Movie Review

TL;DR – A perfectly serviceable if messy action film but one that struggles to find an identity.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

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

A plane about to crash.

The Gray Man Review

You can feel that Netflix is a company going through an identity issue. No longer is it just ‘the place where you go for binging streaming content’ because others are doing it just as well, and now even the concept of binging has lost its value. So what we are getting are things being cancelled left, right and centre, but then $200 million being dropped on big-name films. I am not sure how this will go for the company, but we are getting to see the results of this tonight with The Gray Man.   

So to set the scene, we opened in 2003 in a state prison in Florida, where Donald Fitzroy (Billy Bob Thornton) of the CIA is here to recruit Court Gentry (Ryan Gosling). He is looking for people to add to his black-ops team, whose central role is assassinations in the ‘grey’. Eighteen years later, in Bangkok, Court is now Sierra Six and is one of the CIA’s best assists in the field, where he takes an op from Dani Miranda (Ana de Armas). It is a time-sensitive mission to take out Dining Car (Callan Mulvey), which is why they are using Six. But when he won’t risk the collateral of children, things start spiralling out of control, and then Six discovers that the mark Dining Car is Sierra Four and that his boss Denny Carmichael (Regé-Jean Page), might not be on the up and up.

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Movie Review – First Man

TL;DR – There are times when you will be biting your nails due to the tension, times when you will be in awe, and times when you will be watching the film with tears rolling down your face.

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

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

First Man. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Review

There are these moments in life that define a generation, they bring everyone together, bonding them in such a way that nothing else can. For my generation, it was September 11, but for my parents, it was the landing on the Moon, and well I know which one I would prefer. They tell the stories of everyone in the street crowding into the house of the one person with a TV and as a community, they watched man’s first steps outside of our planet. While over the years we have got films that have explored around the Apollo Program such as The Dish and Hidden Figures (see review), it is surprising that no one has really tried to take on this particular narrative before. Well after seeing the film I can see why, as it is far from a simple narrative. With this in mind let’s dive into a world where the impossible is made possible.

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Movie Review – Blade Runner 2049

TL;DR – Visually stunning, and a wonderful follow up to a true Sci-fi classic.

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Blade Runner 2049. Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Review

Besides Star Wars later in the year, I don’t think there has been a film as anticipated in the sci-fi world more than Blade Runner 2049. As I mentioned in my retrospective of Blade Runner (see retrospective) the first time I watched the original was just the other day so I came into 2049 with that whole story being very fresh in my mind. Which turns out was a good thing, because Blade Runner 2049 is not just a sequel in name only. So without getting into spoilers here, you may want to go watch the first film in preparation of seeing it here, not that you should need an excuse to see one of the most transformative science fiction films of the last century. I do have to say from the start that I went see Blade Runner 2049 at a premium showing (Gold Class for those in Australia) which I paid for, and I went during the middle of the day when there is usually fewer people. However, still with all this, I was in a session with a couple that loud talked throughout the film, in the quiet contemplative moments, and even answered an unmuted phone at some point. So while I am professional, I can’t put aside the possibility that this might have impacted my perception of the film. Now overall I really liked Blade Runner 2049 but it is hard to talk about it without hitting spoilers, hell even the cast list is a spoiler at this point. So just for the sake of precautions be prepared for [SPOILERS] ahead if you have not seen the film, which you should.

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Movie Review – La La Land

TL;DR – La La Land has its issues, but it was such a joy to watch and I walked out of the cinema with a smile on my face and a song in my heart, and I can’t remember the last movie to do that to me.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

La La Land. Image Credit: Lionsgate.

Review

La La Land is a rare movie for these days, not only is it a live-action musical in an age where musicals are mostly restricted to animated children’s movies (with the odd Les Misérables to change things up), but it is also is an unapologetic homage to the films of the classical era, your Singin’ in the Rain and such like. However on top of all this, La La Land is also a very modern movie set in modern times, so at its core is this juxtaposition of old and new. Now this is a very difficult tightrope to manage, if you go too old the film will feel dated rather than the homage it is, and indeed if you go too new, then all those call-backs start to feel gimmicky and forced. Luckily for La La Land, it turns out to be the goldilocks of filmmaking, and a case study in getting that balance right, look there is a reason it is an Oscar favourite for many.

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Movie Review – The Nice Guys

TL;DR – A pretty solid buddy/cop film, not something I have seen in a while, it does have a lot of style, but it hasn’t quite got the substance to go along with it.

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

The Nice Guys. Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Review

This is an interesting film in that it is a good old fashioned buddy/cop film, and it has been a while since I have seen a good one, yes I am looking at you Bastille Day, in fact it is a genre that you just don’t see that often anymore, which is a pity because while it can be very cliché, when done well it is a lot of fun to watch.

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