News of the World – Movie Review

TL;DR – A compelling ride through the 1890s with a man trying to his best in difficult circumstances    

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

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

News of the World. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

News of the World Review

There are few actors around that you know going in will always give their best performance no matter what film they are in. One of those few is Tom Hanks who gives his all even in movies that are not that great. Today we get to explore a film that puts him right in the centre of a world going through a difficult transition.

So to set the scene, we open in Wichita Falls, North Texas, 1870, on a cold a rainy night. Here we find a Captain Kidd (Tom Hanks) speaking with the fine folks of the town. They are cut off from most of society, so he lets everyone know the news of the time, like a local fever going around or river crossings being cut, for a fee of 10c. On the way to the next town he stumbles across a black man who had been lynched, and the young girl Johanna (Helena Zengel) who he was carrying. She had been taken in a raid by the ‘Indians’, and she had been brought back to what was left of her family. When some Cavalry riders arrive, we discover that Captain Kidd served with the Confederate Army in the Civil War. They tell him to take the girl to the next town, but things are never as easy as that.

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High Ground – Movie Review

TL;DR – A challenging and confronting film exploring a part of Australia’s history that we don’t like to talk about.     

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to see this film.

High Ground. Image Credit Madman Films.

High Ground Review

When I was growing up, every year at school we looked at the explorers that charted the coast, then the first fleet, finally the early penal colonies, and then we skip forward to Federation. At no time did we talk about the people who lived in the land before the colonists arrived, nor did we explore what happened to them as colonisation swept across the nation. The period known as the Frontier Wars was a bloody conflict about removing people from their land. In today’s review, we look at a film that explores this part of Australia’s history and all the ugliness that comes with it.

So to set the scene, in 1919 in Arnhem Land Australia, Gutjuk (Guruwuk Mununggurr) is being taught the dances of his people by his uncle Baywara (Mark Garrawurra) when they stumble across two men fleeing from troopers. They were accused of killing a cow, and they are allowed to stay the night, but then they must move on. However, before than can happen, the troopers arrive at the camp, but with a plan to discuss things peacefully. They were to move in as a group and announce their arrival. They brought the local priest Braddock (Ryan Corr) to help translate and if all went wrong the commander of the troop Travis (Simon Baker) was on the high ground overlooking the settlement and could fire down if needed. Well, that was the plan, but as Travis watches the group splits up, chooses to sneak up on the group, and ignore his command that only Travis can fire first. It is a recipe for disaster, and disaster is what occurs.

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Let Him Go (Let Him Go: Fight For Family) – Movie Review

TL;DR –  A film that explores tension at every moment that leaves you sitting on the edge of your seat as it all falls apart.   

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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

Warning – Contains scenes of abuse

Awards:

NominatedBeautiful Cinematography, The Emotion, All The Tension & Fascinating Worldbuilding.

Let Him Go (Let Him Go: Fight For Family). Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Let Him Go Review

It has been a while since a film has had me sat on the edge of my seat as the tension overwhelmed me. Well, today, we look at just such a movie that I was honestly struggling to find the right genre to categorise it. It is sort of a western but not, it is sort of a noir film but not, a detective hunt but not. But whatever it is, it was engaging from start to finish.

So to set the scene, we open in on a family in a full happy mode as they get ready for the day.  James Blackledge (Ryan Bruce) is out working breaking in a horse as his father George (Kevin Costner) watches on. Back in the homestead, his mother Margaret (Diane Lane) is making breakfast while his wife Lorna (Kayli Carter) is trying to corral their new baby. As James takes out the horse for a ride, everyone is working together, that is until the horse comes back without its rider. Three years later, Lorna is re-marring Donnie Weboy (Will Brittain), and she and her little one Jimmy (Bram Hornung/ Otto Hornung) go to move in with him. Much to the consternation of Margret and George, that is only elevated when one day Lorna and Donnie skip town without telling and take Jimmy along with them.

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The Comeback Trail – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film full of everything I should love in cinema, but it felt hollow and more than a bit mean.   

Rating: 2 out of 5.

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

The Comeback Trail. Image Credit: Madman Films.

The Comeback Trail Review

There are times when you watch a film, there are certain aspects of cinema that start to stand out, and one of them is that Hollywood loves stories about Hollywood. They love films about films being made like in Dolemite Is My Name, films about washed-up actors like in Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood, even better films about Hollywood coming into rescue everyone like in Argo. Today we get a film that falls into this category but unfortunately fails at nearly every point.  

So to set the scene, uncle Max Barber (Robert De Niro) and nephew Walter Creason (Zach Braff) are movie producers … and not very good ones at that. With their latest film about sexy mob Nuns being protested by the Catholic Church. The issue is that Walter borrowed $350,000 from local mobster Reggie Fontaine (Morgan Freeman) who is now VERY concerned that he is not going to see his money back. On a short timeframe to get all the money back, Walter gets the idea for a scam after tragedy strikes the production of fellow producer James ‘Jimmy’ Moore (Emile Hirsch). He hires a washed-up Western actor Duke Montana (Tommy Lee Jones) in his next film, dumps a lot of insurance on him, and then waits for the money to come rolling in.    

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TV Review – The Mandalorian: Season 1 (Part 1)

TL;DR – This is a really interesting show in around its characters and setting, however, the overarching plot just does not quite seem to land yet.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

The Mandalorian. Image Credit: Disney+.

Review

With a new Star Wars film only weeks away, you would think that it would be all everyone is talking about but no, for if you go on the internet the one thing that is dominating pop-culture at the moment is ‘Baby Yoda’. It is almost all-absorbing at the moment and it is telling that Star Wars still has that cultural reach. Well, when some friends asked if I wanted to watch the ‘Baby Yoda’ show, well how could I refuse and it was a fascinating dive.

So to set the scene, in the years following the destruction of the second Death Star in The Return of the Jedi, the Empire has mostly collapsed but the New Republic is yet to really take control. This leaves large parts of the galaxy outside of the core in a state of flux. In that confusion, there are some systems that still work and one of them are the bounty hunters guild because irrespective of who is in power people still ditch out on their bail. This is where we met the titular Mandalorian or Mando (Pedro Pascal) to his well not really friends but more workplace proximity associates. One day he is offered a special bounty by his main contact Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) to work off-books for A Client (Werner Herzog) to find something special, only to discover that the bounty is a child. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

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TV Review – Westworld: Season Two

TL;DR – When it works it is some of the best TV on the planet at the moment, when it doesn’t well at least it is still well shot and acted.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

 

Season Two. Image Credit: HBO

 

Review

With The Passenger (see review) coming to a close we have reached the end of Westworld’s Season Two. It was a season of competing timelines, the coming of a war, a mother searching for her child, and a lone warrior standing up when everyone needed him too. Today we are going to look at the highs and lows of Westworld’s sophomore season as we return to the holiday destination now turned into a massacre. So say goodbye The Maze and hello to The Door.

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TV Review – Westworld: The Passenger

TL;DR – It is the end and more than I expected they actually brought the timelines to a conclusion, whilst providing more and more questions for every answer they answered.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a Post-Credit Scene.

 

The Passenger. Image Credit HBO.

 

Review

It started all the way back in Journey into Night (see review) with someone washing up on a beach while surrounded by death at every turn and as the season has gone on it has been more of the same. There has been slaughters, a jaunt into The Raj and Shogun World, betrayals, love, loss, and a threat of a mecha bison. Well after all this time, today we come to the end of Season Two as multiple timelines rush together and we finally make it to the Valley Beyond.

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TV Review – Westworld: Vanishing Point

TL;DR – We are back to where the rest of this second half of the season has left us, and well I just wish at this point it was a bit more.

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

 

Vanishing Point. Image Credit: HBO.

 

Review

Today we get into the pointy end of the season with the penultimate episode, where lines are drawn, armies marshalled, and the endpoint is in sight. I do have to say coming into this episode I am much more optimistic than I have been for a while. As Season Two has progressed it has felt like it has been a season of diminishing returns as the Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and Man in Black (Ed Harris) storylines really started to drag. Indeed, one of the few things that have been getting me through the season has been Maeve’s (Thandie Newton) story of trying to get back to her daughter (Jasmyn Rae). However, all of that changed in last week’s Kitsuya (see review) when we were introduced to Akecheta (Zahn McClarnon) properly was a jolt to the system, but can it continue, well let’s see.

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TV Review – Westworld: Kiksuya

TL;DR – In a dramatic return to form, Westworld shows that when it is firing on all cylinders it can be so very good, and this week we see it as we focus in on only one character.

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

 

Kiksuya banner

 

Review

Well, this was a complete surprise and I honestly didn’t see it coming. In a season that has all been about jumping timelines, exploding trains, mystery boxes, and rampaging warriors. However, this week we take a step back and focus in on really only one character someone who has been there all season on the periphery and now we find out that there I much more to their story.

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TV Review – Westworld: Les Ecorches

TL;DR – As we move towards the end of the season the different timelines have started to fall into place and I can see the heart of the story it wants to tell, but I don’t know if I am in for the ride to the end.

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

 

Les Ecorches banner

 

Review

At the end of last week’s Phase Space (see review) I was beginning to wonder how all the timelines crashing together was going to work given what we knew already this season and I postulated that there must be either multiple copies of some of the hosts or that the timelines were not adding up. Well today in Les Ecorches we discover that I was both wrong and right, as we find out that there were two different occupations of the Mesa that included Charlotte (Tessa Thompson) and Ashley (Luke Hemsworth) that had been spliced together, however we do discover that someone has had a couple of clones made, so part marks? And as always a reminder that we will be looking at the episode as a whole so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

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