Friday, 16 August 2019

Django: Strikes Again

Let's jump seven years since the last movie, and hit what feels like a comeback movie: Django 2: The Grand Return.

Django is a monk, but when a woman turns up to let him know he has a daughter, and she's been kidnapped, he again takes up his mercenary ways. He gets caught by the bad guy, but gets away and returns to kill his way up the ladder of minor bosses until he faces off against the main guy again.

Being late 80s, this is a far more action movie that previous westerns. I'm thinking they saw Commando and thought "we can do that". As an action movie, it certainly gets on with it, and with particular change to Django...

Apparently, he's known for using a machine gun now? Huh? When did that happen? Certainly that's the gun he uses a lot in this movie, but I can't say I noticed him sporting that in any previous flick I saw.

As the last set of these movies I have on hand, this is a full on action piece to go out on. A rather odd collection of westerns, but I can see how they could just pump these out and I'm sure the audience of the time were well hooked.


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Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Michael Smither 10

I only managed to get to one film this NZIFF, but I had to round out the series of Michael Smither films.

This film had moments from the previous 9, but the bulk is just about Michael and him working on a painting or two. Just getting back to the basics and going back to the heart of what he does. It's simple, but it works.

But hark, now that this is finished up, how to see them all? There is NZIFF On Demand where you can go and rent them all! (Although 10 is not there yet.) I assume this will work for those outside New Zealand as well? No idea. That said, I still hope there's a box set release of similar (with commentaries would be great).

In and of itself, I'm not sure this movie works by itself. It could easily feel rather like it's coming out of nowhere, with no much background, but by this point I doubt you would dip into this series starting here.

That all said... I have only seen the last five, so if you'll excuse me, I have some movies to rent.


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Friday, 9 August 2019

Django: Against Sartana

Sartana is another classic spaghetti western with his own set of movies. So of course people were clamouring for the VS of their day, and they got Django Defies Sartana.

Django is out dealing with another group of banditos, as Sartana rolls into town. Django's brother, Steve, works for the bank and the bank sends him to pay Sartana off so they don't get robbed. However, the bank owner is killed and his sister kidnapped, and Sartana and Steve are given as the ones behind it. Steve is lynched, and Django goes seeking Sartana for revenge. However... it was just a set up, and they join forced to hunt down the real bad guys.

This actually feels like a proper and fully done story. Django is actually called Django, so this was done with him in mind, and I'm sure people were eager to see him come up against the other big name at the time Sartana. (I'm guessing, haven't watched any of those movies.) This does have the classic 'two heroes are opposed, then join forces', but it actually feels believable to the characters and not something stupidly forced. (Yes, I know you are thinking of that other VS movie, this is far superior.)

There is an odd choice of when Sartana shows up to show him in a close up freeze-frame (and do it twice!). However, I do like the choice of showing Steve with a rope in the foreground, freeze-frame, then cut to later. (Although they do show a hanging body later.) The gun fights are... gun fights, and not that interesting. People get their own chances to shoot, although the 'evil' woman doesn't get shot... instead she gets trampled to death by horses!

While only a few years later, 1970, this is one of the better Django movies I've seen of the lot.


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Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Shobbs and Haw

The Rock and Vin won't work together? Then let's make a spinoff movie! (Although I hear they are on good terms again, having a spinoff means you can make more money movies, so good?)

Via an amazing plot convenience, Hobbs and Shaw need to pair up to rescue Shaw's sister and play keep away while trying to get (plot point) dealt with. This involves many actions scenes which involve driving vehicles and ... actually, mostly driving vehicles largely covers it. There is also some fist bashing, but by and large it is vehicles and stunts, which is the point of this series.

Am I saying the story is irrelevant? By and large. People aren't going to these movies to see the latest development in what's happening in these character's lives, they are going for the stunts, with the story being the connecting device. And that works fine. Frankly, not thinking about it too hard is the best way to get around "how did they get there?" or "why didn't that thing happen?" because the answer is always "to get to the next part of the story", and considering you want to see the action the story isn't that important.

Although, to be honest, you saw most of the big action set pieces in the trailer. Often I was like "oh, this is where this thing will happen". Which is kinda of a shame, as if I had known that, I might not have been too interested in seeing it in the theater, so take that under advisement? (If you haven't seen it by the time this posts and this influences matter at all.)

No doubt there will be a full set of these spinoffs as I'm sure this is/was successful, so see you again for the next one!


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Friday, 2 August 2019

Django: Two Thousand Dollars for Coyote

Apparently this isn't even Spaghetti Western but Tortilla or Gazpacho Western... I'm not sure what to make of that, but look forward to Quesadilla Westerns. Either way, this is Two Thousand Dollars for Coyote.

A random gunslinger is shot and holes up in a farmstead with a brother and sister. Some gold is stolen by bandits (the Coyotes), so he gets involved to hunt them down.

Although this is lumped in with Django movies, this isn't actually one. James Philbrook plays Sam Foster, the gunslinger of note. In fact, this movie came out before the Django ones did. But it is so easy to rework this into being a Django movie, because it's not like him being Sam Foster comes up that much (although Sam's son does turn up), and this wouldn't be the first (okay, technically it is) movie to relabel the hero under the title.

As for the movie itself, it doesn't stand out as anything of particular import. The Mexicans aren't portrayed in a particularly racist way (the native Indians on the other hand...), the gun fights are plenty, and there are plenty of hills to roam over.

My main critique is that the Foley work could have done with another pass.


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Friday, 26 July 2019

Django: Kills Softly

Next western, another random plot. In this Django Kills Softly.

Bill comes to a town where there are two groups, one group of dapper cowboy types doing gun running, and one Mexican group doing gun buying. Bill finds that neither group are particular trust worthy and sets one against the other and gets of the way and let's them take each other out.

Bill, in this case, is Django. And the only reason I know he is called Bill is because I saw the credit list on IMDB. In fact, the only way I know most of the character names is because of the cast list, they don't go around saying each others names, so that makes it a bit harder to work out who is whom. But then, being Django is pretty irrelevant to the plot, despite the name on the movie, so here we are.

One thing that has been common to these movies as well is that Django (or whomever his stand in is) is largely irrelevant to the plot. It mainly involves interactions of other groups and he just happens to be around. These movies aren't Django vs other, it's two other groups and Django just sometimes picks a side.

Anyway, this isn't feeling that exciting, but we'll continue with more movies.


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Wednesday, 24 July 2019

T4y St4ry

Hey, Pixar, where's my opening short? This is straight into it!

Bonnie, the kid, is about to start kindergarten and Woody is sure she needs a toy to help her along, because that's what Andy needed. She creates Forky, and so Woody is now invested in keeping Forky around for Bonnie. So, as you would expect (especially if you saw the trailer) Forky gets away and Woody has to get him back, and many wacky adventures are had along the way.

Oh, the emotions! Yeah, I cried at the end, because it's Toy Story 4!!! This is 25 years of a series, the kids who were there for Toy Story 3 aren't even really kids any more! Certainly the kid that was sitting behind me at the theatre wasn't getting that engaged with it, unlike their parent.

And let's admit it, these actors are getting on. Like Tim Allen, he sounded like a much older man now. Tom Hanks was pretty good, but even then. Fortunately some characters started with older actors so there wasn't a huge change for them, but with the leads getting on...

Still, this is Pixar, they can do this well, and it's well indeed!


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Friday, 19 July 2019

Django: A Few Dollars for

Because largely anyone could do a Django movie, getting the timeline of their release dates isn't easy. So let's just go with A Few Dollars for Django next.

Django finds a dead would-be sheriff and takes his badge, and thereby adopts his position as Sheriff in the town when he arrives. However, while he is there for some bounties, he gets caught up between the cattlemen and the farmers. One wants their animals to roam, the others want barbwire to restrict passage. As people take the law into their own hands, Django has his hands full and it is those very bounties he is after that is the key to resolving everything.

As I've been saying, anyone does Django... so much so in this case he is called Regan throughout the movie. Have the lead be a grizzled bearded man who is good with a gun, slap the Django name on the movie title, and there you go. Certainly this has some very typical story beats of 'new chap is sheriff and has to clean up the town', but it feels like there is enough mad libs in the plot outline to distinguish it from other such movies.

There is a decent gun battle or two, and I won't be surprised to find out that Sandalio Hern√°ndez is a character actor (certainly the character Smitty is a heck of a character). And I hope they were well trained horses, because they react very believably to gun fire.

Not a great story, but a typical western.


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Wednesday, 17 July 2019


But what if Superboy... BUT EVIL!!!????!!?!???! No, like, you aren't listening! What if SUPERBOY!!! But we did a completely unoriginal and obvious Evil Take on him!!!???

Small town Kansas has an alien baby land and brought up by a small town couple. Then, come age 12, small town kid starts showing abilities and a complete lack of any kind of moral core as his evil spaceship flicks his switch to evil. And then evil kid goes around being evil.

This movie basically assumes you know the Superman mythos and so skips a lot of set up to get to the evil part. Actually... to be honest... it looks more like this movie was just an excuse to show off some gore effects. (Which were so obviously gore effects that I didn't for a moment buy them as anything other than effects.) Certainly the story isn't doing anything impressive.

And while I'm no acting critic, the kid really wasn't very good. But then no-one seemed to be particularly trying. As I said, it's more about effects.

Some one has this idea and got money for it, and that's as far as people really cared.


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Monday, 15 July 2019

The 39 Steppes

Next Hitchcockian masterpiece: The 39 Steps!

By a complete accident, random stranger man gets caught up with a lady spy, who is struck down. He then decides to complete her mission of stopping important documents being leaked and heads to Scotland, barely escaping the police as he does so. He continues to barely escape, before running straight into the bad guys, but escapes and avoids more police while getting back to London, there the last step is taken.

Two movies in, and I'm sensing a pattern: Random stranger gets caught up in spy plot. I don't remember that happening in Psycho, but clearly Norman Bates was in over his head and it was all Marion's fault. Anyway, this chap seems not quite on top of things as Roger was, and is more lucky than good. As you could probably tell from my summary, it should have been called The 39 Escapes!

Robert Donat plays well 'guy with moustache' and Madeleine Carroll is the 'lady who gets treated as an object' (apparently consent wasn't a thing back then). I can't say that I recognise any of the other names, but we'll see if any of them grow on me as these movies go on.

Odd question: are those train carriages typical English carriages? With the compartments and being able to walk down one side. I can recall them in several movies, but can't say I've ever seen any in person.

Anyway, at not even ninety minutes, this movies ducks in and out. It's not an astounding work, but another one I can check off.


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Friday, 12 July 2019

Django: Shoots First

I got a random collection of that SpaGetWestern Django, so why not watch? First up I have Shoots First.

Django encounters a bounty hunter bringing his pa in, and takes over after an exchange of bullet. (He does indeed shoot first.) It turns out his pa is part owner of a town, so Django steps into that responsibility. However, his partner isn't as interested in having a partner at all, so after having arranged pa's dismissal, he goes after Django as well. And so we get more bullets and bad guys and a couple of revelations. Fortunately there are also pretty ladies around, although they have their own plans.

Okay, so I missed some previous movies, but it's not like there's a deep and complex lore here, especially when the Django movies can be produced by whoever decided they wanted to do more. (Okay, not quite, but close enough to mean I'm probably going to encounter a variety of actors in the role.)

Pretty nice start to the series (for me). We aren't dealing with overly complex plots, but there's enough going on to keep my attention and it isn't just one strand to go on. The characters are pretty simple, but that doesn't mean they don't have their own things to do.

Sure, I'm on board for this. (Although I only have another four, so it's not a huge train ride.)


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Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Far From Spiderman

So ends Phase 3... and we have no concrete announcements for Phase 4. A murky future lies ahead...

Since we are ending Phase 3, we get some fall out from Endgame to deal with, but then we are off with Peter in a class trip to Europe. However, while over there, there are attacks from big monsters and Peter gets caught up in that, although not to worry, Mysterio is there to take the lead. Because what Peter really wants is to be with the girl. And fortunately there are no issues happening to cause any problems in that relationship at all...

This is very much in the Endgame space, with what happens with Tony Stark hanging over Peter's head a lot. So much so that the motivation and the character beats work well for this movie and that flows nicely. (There is also a huge coincidence/just-so-happens factor, but without that most movies wouldn't exist.)

Also nice is that this keeps the movie simple. You know what is happening, and there aren't a billion plot threads to follow. (Although no doubt by this time there are hundreds of "easter egg" videos on YouTube to point out things people either got obviously or didn't care about.) That said, there are some nice stingers to tie into wider arcs, so we'll see what, if any, of that pans out.

And the best part? Only two hours. A nice easy movie to watch compared to the last go around.


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Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Creedy 2nd

I've watched all the other Rocky movies, so of course I had to watch this.

The Creed v Drago comes back in this rematch as a sequel not only to the fourth movie but also the first Creed movie. Creed faces having to fight as he thinks he has to prove himself to his father as well as becoming a father himself. But it isn't even that simple as so Rocky needs to step in to help out.

This is a great character piece, as the Rocky movies generally are, that happens to include some moments of boxing. Indeed, the best moments are the ones around the boxing matches when we get to see the characters interacting and being human. We have great performances from Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson and of course from Sylvester Stallone himself.

Say what you will about Syl, he does great in these movies, and it's always great to see him in them. Although he's now bowed out so we'll see if the Creed set of movies even continue. Sure, there are more they can do, as it is a series of boxing movies, but they become centered around Rocky, even when they are about Creed, so we'll see.

In the meantime, whether you've seen Rocky movies or not, this is a good movie (although I doubt it will make much sense if you haven't seen the other movies).


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Monday, 24 June 2019

Northwest by North

The Embassy is doing a Hitchcock set of screenings, so this seems like a good time to catch up when times align. First up, North by Northwest.

A complete coincidence has a group of bad guys thinking that Roger Thornhill is George Kaplan. And from such small beginnings... Roger Thornhill proves to be a very able not spy and is caught up in big events and manages to survive quite well, coming across dashing women (well, one) and thugs, while managing to avoid gadgets and slow moving death traps.

Bond references? Yes, but this is a far more down to earth adventure than anything that English chap does through. Thornhill is not an agent, but does get caught up in a similar sense of events, and aside from some movie reality suspence is quite believable as things play out. (It's amazing how well action men managed to go on with not much food, while being able to cross large distances, and, most importantly, find many women to instantly attract.)

That said Cary Grant is quite attractive, as in Eva Marie Saint, so what the heck, of course they will go for each other. And hey, James Mason! (Although I kept thinking of Eddie Izzard doing his James Mason impersonations.) And is that Martin Landau I spy? Yes it is! And Hitchcock's own cameo is quite amusing.

These classic movies are classic for a reason, and I'm willing to affirm this classic status.


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Wednesday, 19 June 2019


I watched the previous three. They were fine. There was some nice comedy bits sprinkled throughout, and we aren't talking a tough plot with lots of twists. I like that in a movie at times. So I went into this happy to be watching it.

A new agent joins the MIB, teams up with an agent from another branch, and when an alien is assassinated they have to find out what's going on. So far the first movie, right? But what if the MIB are involved somehow? Huh? Bet you never saw that twist before!!!

For all that I just made it sound generic it is... perfectly fine. It isn't amazing, it's just fine, a perfectly adequate entry into the franchise. We get some places that aren't New York (so yay!), but as I mentioned, they were never going to really roll the boat out on a complex plot.

Acting wise, people where waiting for Hemsworth and Thompson and... they're fine. They look like they are cruising on easy acting here. We also have was is barely more than cameos from Emma Thomson and Liam Neeson and they are... fine.

Really, the whole movie is just fine. If you find yourself watching it, you will be entertained, but this isn't the next big thing you must see.


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Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Doerk Phanix

This is the last X-Men movie to be made under Fox before the merger brings it back into Disney/MCU hands, and... ooh boy.

Things happened to Jean in her childhood that now come back to her as she suddenly gains in power and... heard this before. Yeah you have. It wasn't great then, and now...

I was bored. There were just so many scenes of Jean angsting and people saying 'don't angst'. Now, that is true to the comic, but that doesn't make it good then either. Angst != character development, no matter how much of the former you might have. And as I remembered other X-men movies, we didn't even get the relief of new angst either.

Now previously, this was the third movie, so we already spent two movies with these characters. Now, all we have is whatever parts of Apocalypse you can remember, and most people can't even do that. So while this is seen as one of the key storylines people think they know, jumping straight to it isn't that interesting. Even the Batman movies don't break Batman's back immediately, and Superman isn't just meeting his Doomsday (although that also does happen... A LOT).

This movie doesn't have anything to offer, and takes two hours to not offer it.


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Wednesday, 5 June 2019

King Gojira


We are definitely in the zone of the sequel with even more monsters, but well... dammit, it's great! Big monsters fighting! That's what we want. The movie is still attempting to pretend the humans are interesting and there is a plotline involving them, but I seriously didn't care. And the motives for all this are cartoon villain worthy.

And if you want references to Kong, there are plenty of those.

Now, I don't know the Godzilla monster pantheon, but I could at least name the main ones. The movie does feature a fair few, but keeps a tight focus that you aren't overwhelmed with too many CGI beasts... although there is a lot of grey variant CGI on screen. Yes, you can tell who is who, but don't expect lots of colour on screen here.

Frankly, I look forward to the upcoming movie in which Gamera comes to help...


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Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Wicky Wicky Wick

Gun, gun, gun, gun... gun, gun Gun!

Following on from 2, John Wick is excommunicated and thus on the run from other people hunting him. For some reason, he has a plan that involves him talking to people, but others still want him dead, so he has to deal with them. And there are a lot of people who want him dead.

I can't even recall all the various scenes of fighting. There are a lot of them. I'm going to say this... there are too many. Do I need to watch another moment of John Wick shooting someone or punching someone? I'm good. There is a pretense of a plot going on, so maybe we don't need another few minutes of nameless, faceless mooks being tossed around and taken out.

There are some impressive camera work moments, with some long oners on screen. But then we cut to more people coming in, then more fighting and... it's hard to say "I was bored" in this movie, but somehow I managed to be.

So, a decent enough movie, but could have been trimmed down. And the worse thing? There was more than 15 minutes of trailers/ads before the movie. Is this a new trend? I hope not.


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Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Detective Peekatyou

I had a Pikachu plush once... it was in the Stats House building. You may be aware of what happened to that. I got another one, which I left behind in our new building over Christmas Break... and never saw it again. Gotta lose 'em all?

Harry is a detective who dies, and his son Tim has to deal with that. And so we have Tim dealing with daddy issues for the entire movie, and there are also pokemon and other things going on, but it's mainly about the missing dad.

I'm not a Poke-fanatic, although I've seen a fair bit of the original anime. This works well to have pokemon all over the place and it's reasonably believable in the pokemon/real people interactions. Mostly. There's a few times where you wonder where the eye line is actually is, and Tim holding air doesn't work, but hey, I brought it.

And then we hit the third act, and we find out what's going on, and... that's when I fell out of the movie. That's a plan a cartoon villain would blush at. And the action is more than a little ridiculous, even taking into account again that this is a cartoon based movie adapting a video game story. Nope, sir, I don't buy it.

I'd be happy if we get more, but there are some limits to what I will put up with.


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Wednesday, 8 May 2019


No, don't see it, it's horrible! ... oh wait, you've already seen it, and it's great? Okay then.

So Adam Warlock organises the heroes together and throws them at Thanos to distract him, while he and one or two others try to sort out a sneak attack, but Thanos doesn't fall for it. However, he does fall for taking the glove off...

...hang on, I'm thinking of the comic again.

This is the big tie up of everything that has gone before. Everyone is in this, one way or another (and maybe with stock footage rather than anything new shot), so of course this is epic. And it is way more character focused. And humourous. And that line is tricky. They have big emotional scenes between two characters dealing with the after effects of the snap, and then skip to something goofy involving Ant Man.

There is a lot of cover (story-wise) in this movie, which means it really does feel long at times. (So much so I had to go for a pee break around the two hour mark!) This also can make the movie feel rather unbalanced in that we have a lot of big emotional moments... but you know there is still big action sequences coming up which makes it rather lopsided.

No doubt there will be many think pieces coming out of this, the biggest of which is of course: just how much money can Marvel make anyway? There is a limit to the amount of money in the world.

But if you haven't seen it, I will give you this... there is no post-credit scene, so if you need to go, just go.


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Saturday, 4 May 2019

Cruisin' 2019

Back in March I went on a two week cruise... and I'm lazy enough to only get around talking about it now. And even then I'm not going to talk about it much. just a picture per place. While the cruise started and ended in Melbourne, it was all about New Zealand. Full photo album here.






Tauranga: (which they insisted on pronouncing Too-wrong-a)

Auckland: ... okay, no picture of Auckland, but if you want to see how far I traveled:


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Wednesday, 1 May 2019


It is apparently internet dictate to hate this movie. Ehh... not really.

A bad guy recreates the Blood Queen who will bring about the full potential of Hellboy and end the world. Too simplified? Probably, but there is a lot of scenes, and I don't want to go into them all. And don't worry if you don't know who these characters are, there are backstory flashbacks for everyone to let you know their story. I actually lost count of the number of flashbacks, that's how many there were. But aside from that, this is a traditional movie story of "oncoming big bad we need to fight".

I refer to this movie as "90%". As in, "what about this aspect of the movie?" It's about 90% done. Script? 90%. Acting? 90%. Effects? 90%. This isn't saying that if it was 100%, then this movie is perfect, but it would be a full proper movie then. As it is, it feels like their vision was just outside their grasp of their talent.

I know this movie is being downvoted a lot, and I do wonder how much of it is "not GDT then 0!", but there are issues with this movie on its own. But I do think people are overreacting to "not quite there", possibly too used to finally honed and polished movies. I know I've seen plenty of dreck (looking at you Netflicks movies) that I'm not holding high ideals, but this movie just isn't as bad as everyone is complaining out. It's not great, but it isn't terrible either, not in the way of what a terrible movie usually is.

So if you are going to see this movie, just set your expectations to about "90% of good enough".


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Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Leggo my Movie Again!

I'm not sure if I saw the first one in the theater... but I definitely saw the second one there!

The brother and sister are playing together, but of course the brother and sister can't really play that well together, and so we have the lego figures, who are living in the battle that ensues between people not wanting to share their toys but having to. But that's all backdrop as the heroes we know from the first movie are kidnapped by aliens and need to find a way to get back, while also dealing with the obvious extreme brainwashing.

It's a lot of fun, let's start with that. This movie doesn't take itself at all seriously, and that's a good thing at the moment. Even the dark moments are done with poking fun at itself. And the songs... they are intentionally written as catchy and insidious, but fortunately my brain has already recovered from them.

While there are all the characters we remember, the main focus is Emmet, Rex and Wyldstyle... and they kinda miss an important point they themselves raised. Wyldstyle did all the work in the previous movie, but Emmet is considered the leader. The movie brings this up... but then again makes the movie all about Emmet. Either actually make Wyldstyle the lead, or don't point it out if you aren't going to follow up on it.

We get more of the 'real world', and how the lego figures exist in it, but I have to say I had to actively suspend my disbelief at what was happening with the crossover moments. They were emotional beats and funny moments (with the kids in the audience liking one particular scene), but you really don't want to think about what it means in the universe of the movie.

Anyway, although we got this movie about a month or so after it was released elsewhere, it's worth the watch!


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Thursday, 18 April 2019

Well, that's Album of the Year sorted...

New album from Madonna is "Madame X" due in June. Here's the first track.


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Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Shaz 'em!

Apparently each DC movie is better than the last, so this post is redundant.

To be honest, it's been a few days since I saw this, and already it's starting to fade. Which isn't to say this is a bad movie, but I can't recall more than the basics of the plot, kid gets superpowers, fights another guy who didn't but has different powers, only it's a lot more about family than it is about the fighting.

As mentioned above, people are claiming this is the best DC movie, better than Wonder Woman and Aquaman. And this movie certainly is... the latest. It doesn't get gloomy, it isn't dark (as in visually, you can actually see the characters!) and it romps along well enough.

Just that... this is an origin story, and I don't feel like I need another origin story. A lot of people won't know about Captain Marvel/Shazam, so we need an origin, but this runs through the basics so nothing really is a surprise. You can see the character arc (kid becomes a superhero, needs to learn how to be a hero) coming a mile away, and you can call the beats as they happen. At least the villain is played by Mark Strong (who's previous DC villain role was Sinestro), and I always like his performances.

But at least I found out some useful information about how to act at movie theaters. Did you know that it is now acceptable etiquette to take, and tweet out, selfies during the movie? And that when they say things like "turn off your phones", that doesn't apply to Apple watches? The more you know...


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Wednesday, 10 April 2019


Yep, there is Get Out and now there is this. I'm in, let's check it out!

A family goes to a beach house where the mother rather a rather traumatic experience... and now there is a mirror family that is after them. (I don't really want to say more, and this is what is in the trailer, so, yeah.)

I know I watch a lot of films in fast mode, so that might have an impact, but... this movie felt really slow. Like I got what was happening quite quickly, so have the scenes just play them out slowly just felt like it was taking too much time to get on with it.

And then when we get what is going on... I get that as well. I still have questions, but I guessed the twist at the beginning, so was waiting to see which way they were going to go with it, and while some things make sense, a lot doesn't.

Good? There could be more done with it, I felt.


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Wednesday, 3 April 2019

The Wand or Ring Earth

Big budget Chinese movie that, from the trailer, looks reminiscent of 2012.

With the sun dying, the people of earth decide to leave, so gather together to install large engines on the equator and smaller engines on one side, and push the earth into orbit around a different star. However, as they get close to Jupiter, some issues occur that puts that plan in jeopardy. We follow a brother and sister as they first go joyriding, but then get caught up in the race to save the planet, at whatever the cost.

So family based drama, and global catastrophe. In that way, like 2012 check. In terms of a story that actually brings you in, and has you invested in whether or not they survive, this beats 2012 in spades. Not to say there aren't overly emotional moments, but they actually help the story to move on and not just one selfish guy trying to get his family to safety to spite everyone else.

But the physics... oh, the physics. Whenever they said 'the engines do this' or 'the earth does that', I was like 'nope, physics don't work that way'. I get they needed to for story purposes, but even so, I couldn't hang my disbelief that much.

Well, considering the number of big budget pictures fired at the Chinese market, about time we had something come back the other way. Although since it would involve reading, I can see this not being successful in the USA... BOO-YAH!


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Wednesday, 27 March 2019

The Preposession of Hannar Grace

Another exorcism movie? No, not really. But a horror movie certainly.

Hannah Grace was possessed and they tried an exorcism... and she straight kills the priests. Well, that's different. Cut to later, a police officer is now a morgue attendant on night shift, and one body that is delivered is one Hannah Grace. However, she's not quite as dead as it seems, and as she kills, she gets better. But who would believe that?

So... this is actually quite a good horror movie. Although the dark night time morgue is an easy set, it is well used, and this has one of the key components that I love: atmosphere. This sets it up, plays with it in ways that is inkeeping with the universe, namely motion activated lights, so it gets creepy and effectively.

And people aren't stupid. They call for security when weird things are happening, and there is better reasonable doubt than "I can't believe this for the plot to go forward".

This all said, this isn't some big budget production piece. But it is quite effective with what it has. Definitely check it out if you have the chance.


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Wednesday, 20 March 2019


It's a movie with a Hemsworth name attached to it! And that's about the biggest point going for it. Too bad it's a lesser Hemsworth.

A space pod falls from space. Rather than turn anyone into a plant that wants to take over the world, or give out space tech, it helps a cripple man walk again and relive memories of his ex-wife and dead child. Fortunately, the FBI are aware of these things (they seem to be dropping all over the place) so send out two not very good agents to track the new one down. But in the end, all the seed wants it to take a piece of everyone, and be loved.

Wow, this was rubbish. I'm sure in someone's mind there was great sweeping character moments, but what we get is just pablum and hogwash. And the FBI agents couldn't agent their way out of a paper bag.

(Not to mention that what happens at the end is that they are minus one character and plus another character, and you know the government ain't just gonna let that ride.)

No-one in this is acting in a believable way, but that's okay because none of the actors bother to commit to their parts, clearly realising they are just in this for a paycheck. The movie looks terrible, and if this was done over a weekend, I wouldn't be surprised.

No doubt they are relying on the Hemsworth name to get some recognition, but it's not worth it.


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Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Captan Mar-Vell

Yeah, it's the latest movie. Most likely a lot of you have already seen it, and otherwise have made decisions to see it or not, so don't let me stop you.

However, rather than talk about the plot, I'm just going to get into it. I will need to discuss one or two elements, but nothing that spoilery, but feel free to skip if you want to. And the fact that this is a female lead movie isn't a problem, although it may lie at the heart of the issue.

The main issue I have with this movie is that... at no time did I get the sense that Captain Marvel was in any real danger. She just acted competently at every moment and always seemed in command of what was going on, that the threat level of the scenes were way down. Even when she just turns up on earth, and has to deal with our backward environment after having been raised Kree, and with Kree technology, and no point is there anything that's hard for her to deal with. (You can excuse that by saying she was trained to deal with all sorts of things, but even to the extent of being able to randomly adapt bits of previously unknown earth electronic components?)

And so while we have big set pieces and such, and yes there were 'punch in the air' moments, but I didn't really feel like any of them mattered. She just ramps up her abilities to deal with whatever, so... I wasn't bored or anything, but this movie didn't feel like it really had anything to say or do, it was just generic.

Coming back to the female part, was this because Marvel, in an attempt to correct for not having a female lead, swerved into having her be too competent? It didn't feel like her gender mattered at all, so this could have been any person in the role and it would have been just the same. Not that, off the top of my head, I can think of any particularly feminine things that should matter to the plot, but again this is just so generic that why did they bother with this as their female lead movie when nothing else about it stands out?

As said, you've either seen, or made up your mind about this. I'm not saying this is a bad movie, or that this is the downfall of Marvel, and certainly not saying that female lead movie is a bomb, just that... there's nothing particularly noteworthy to this movie aside from that female lead that makes it worth watching.


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Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Leg End of Hollow Weenie Jack

I really should not watch Andrew Jones' movies. Although I don't realise they are by Andrew Jones until it's too late. Such as with this one.

The movie opening titles starts with clips from far better movies, such as Nosferato, Night of the Living Dead, Dracula, etc., as if to say "hey, this movie is going to be as epic as those ones were". Not even slightly. A man accused of murder has his case thrown out of court because of bad procedures, so a group of townies decide to take matters into their own hands, and kill him, after first dressing him up to look like a scarecrow because... we need a costume for the bad guy. One year later, one of the guilt ridden members kills himself over the grave and up comes the dead guy, now with supernatural powers of not being noticed, despite being in a stupid costume, and being able to keep his clothes clean despite the death he causes. Slip into standard 'killer hunts them down' fodder, and we're done.

Was this movie shot over the weekend? It looks like it was shot over the weekend. If they aren't all first takes, I'd like to know what happened that they had to reshoot, maybe someone tripped over something. And the sound mixer gets his own credit... when the sound mixing is terrible! That may seem like an odd thing to call out, but I had to continually adjust the volume up during the too quiet talking scenes, then get my ears blasted as we switched to a music club.

This guy is prolific, so good that he's living his dream. I just need to stop getting caught up in them.


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Wednesday, 27 February 2019

The Clock with the Walls in its House

Children's fare? Well, it's for children, fair.

Kid's parents die (family picture!), so he goes to live with his uncle. Who lives in a kooky house because magic is real! However, in an attempt to impressed a so called friend, the kid brings a dead warlock back to life, and who hasn't done that? But then they have to fight, and it turns out there's a clock in the house that's really bad, so we can't be having with that.

On the one hand, this is light hearted fun. On the other hand, this is light hearted fun. This is the good and bad because the writer/director tries to turn up the whimsy, which just results in cutesy for the same of being wacky and no real sense of menace, despite how often Jack Black says 'creepy'.

Which is the other issue. This does feature Jack Black and Cate Blanchett but neither of them are trying. You can tell they see this as an easy child-friendly gig, and just relax and just cruise on through the movie. Owen Vaccaro isn't too annoying as the kid, although don't worry, he is annoying. But the overham performance goes to Kyle MacLachlan, which is impressive considering that the main role is Jack Black.

It's certainly a breezy movie that won't challenge you, so if that's what you are after, go for it.


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Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Frist Mon!

Hey, it's that one guy from the space program that people know of! And people only really seem to know that one guy, despite Tom Hanks' movies.

Neil Armstrong is flying a plane really high, has a small problem, and gets back down. He has some time with his family, has a tough time of it, then goes back to work. He goes up in a shuttle, has a bigger problem, but gets back down. He has some more time with his family, but is really stiff, and goes off to work. Finally, he gets to the moon, but comes back to be with his family.

Yes, this is relating the events of history (more or less, you can look up how they truncated the timeline and such elsewhere), but this is more about Neil the man rather than the astronaut, and as such there is a certain repetition of events to drive the story home that he was better astronaut than husband/father.

My star of choice in this is Claire Foy, who, as the wife, gets some excellent moments to play off against Ryan Gosling's more controlled stance. And, hey, Kyle Chandler is still getting work. But...

You know what... dammit! I want a Michael Collins movie! He gets no love. You could do it as a comedy where he's up there having slapstick adventures with the ship having problems while the others are oblivious, or have him do the "real mission" while the other two are a distraction.


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Sunday, 17 February 2019

In Blackest Night...


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Saturday, 16 February 2019

In Brightest Day...


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Wednesday, 13 February 2019

The Pre Dater

Yeah, I have some "big" movies to catch up on, so let's go with this original...

Two Predators are attacking each other, and one ends up on Earth. We then switch to Predator vs the military, then switch to random militia group vs military, then vs another Predator. With also a 'lone kid' plot. And also there's a plot about Predators upgrading themselves... or not because we saw the original had the human dna, not the upgraded up...

What I'm saying is that there's a lot of plot threads here, and the movie jumps around a lot of them as it wants to without really settling down and getting something sorting out. I'm sure Shane Black had an idea, but what we end up with a large hodge podge of different scenes with recurring characters. And the kid is considered important and special to the plot... does Shane Black have kids that he wants to show this too?

Not to say it's bad, there are good scenes, fun characters, there is a lot going on, and lots of effects. It's just that I'm not sure what the point of any of this is.

Still, there is a set up for a sequel, so I'm sure that's going to happen...


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Wednesday, 23 January 2019


I had not heard great things about this, but I wanted to see it anyway. I reckon that's the cause of most people seeing it.

Through a contrived set of circumstances, Bruce Willis in a Poncho, James McAvoy with Multiple Character Schtick, and Samuel L. Jackson in a wheelchair all end up in the same hospital. And I hope you like that hospital because the majority of the movie takes place there, with talking, more talking and then other characters talking. There are a couple of action sequences, but by the end M. Night is going "I am amazing, don't let others bring me down!"

The premise is "what if they aren't superheroes?" when the fiction of the previous movies already established "hey, they are superheroes". So guess how well that is going to go down. Frankly, most of the time I was spent waiting for them to get on with it, and while the waiting wasn't terrible it was just watching a lot of filler.

The ending may annoy people, but there are different bits that will annoy different people. That we don't get the location doesn't bother me. The first twist I saw coming. The second twist ties into the "I'm really amazing" aspect M. Night is trying to sell with this. So your own patience may vary with how you want to deal with aspects of that.

This feels meh. Not great, but as long as you don't have high expectations of M. Night at this point, it clears the bars.


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Wednesday, 16 January 2019


Everyone who says this movie says it is good nee great. I am really adverse to seeing over hyped movies. However, I also found myself with time to go to a theater so there you are.

So the premise is that Peter Parker dies and co-incidentally Miles Morales gets bitten and is there when that happens. And the time that it happens there's a breach across multiple parallel universes, making the various Spiderpeoples of those universe turn up in this one. They must come together, and Miles must learn what it is to be a Spiderbeing, in order to save the entire city (and several realities) from collapsing.

A common thing people talk about is the animation styles, and that is styles as each Spider gets their own style in keeping with their original comics. It can get a little confusing with mess on the screen at times, and other times I watched the dots overlaying the animation rather than the pictures themselves, but for the most part it was fine and helped kept things fresh. (And then there was the end credits joke - Ha! I joke that! Memes!) Although I did spend far too much time not accepting their model of Wilson Fisk.

Story wise, aside from the parallel reality thing, yeah, this is fairly standard. New hero is born, needs to learn how to be a hero while contending with threat that killed off previous hero. That's a trope I plan on using myself! Performances are good, with a few voices that you might not get until you see the credits list (at least I didn't). Production side... there were a few moments where the visuals and the sounds were a big overwhelming and I couldn't work out what was being said, so that could have been tweaked. But only a few moments of that.

So yeah, the movie is good. I'm not going for great, and I know some people immediately felt like seeing it over again and I'm nowhere near that hard for it. But it is at least good.


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Friday, 11 January 2019

Mulhullund Druve

Just five minutes into this movie you can already tell this movie is Lynchian AF. And it feels like it came straight out of the Twin Peaks universe too.

Betty comes to Hollywood and finds Rita in her apartment, after Rita suffers an accident. They become friends, then more, and Betty is trying to become an actress. Then Betty is Diane who is friends and more with Rita now Camilla and...

Okay... what the hell? I can usually follow Lynch well enough that even if I can't explain everything, I can at least follow the ideas and trend he is going for. But this... this I have no idea. I gather what is the typical explanation (dream sequence), but I don't buy it. In some ways, because that is too simple for Lynch, and frankly alternative realities would be more his style.

This is two halves of decent enough films, but I'm not sure what they are together.


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Wednesday, 9 January 2019


I will say up front that this movie makes me want to check out Justice League again. I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing.

Orm has had enough and decided to gather the undersea forces to attack the surface world. However, some of them don't want that, so get Arthur Curry involved to stop him. And go on a fetch quest, because that's always important. And there are other bad guys to fight because this is a superhero movie.

One strange thing this movie did was framing around the villains. We have Black Manta and Orm, and when they are the main characters in (their own) scenes, the film is shot as if they are the heroes, no matter what they are doing. Which, yes, they do say everyone is a hero in their own movie, but this isn't their movie, so if we are supposed to be rooting for them in their scenes, why then should be on Aquaman's side when he has to fight them?

On the plus side, while this movie is long, it does flow well, so the time does pass quickly. It's well paced, easy to follow, still has enough going on to be a substantial story but...


It just doesn't feel that deep (sic). It's a good time, but it's not a great time.


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Monday, 7 January 2019

Doctor Who 11.X

So this is a Chibbers New Years treat. I'll allow that we can have an iconic creature back for it, but there's a lot in here that just feels like padding to get to an hour long special.

First of all, hey, a bunch of humans managed to defeat a Dalek! Way to go guys! And then the British completely hump everyone else by killing the guy that was going to secure it. Way to go guys! Fortunately the Dalek has magical teleportation powers, otherwise we might have been somewhere that wasn't Sheffield. Also fortunately, it being New Years Day, no-one is around to be anywhere, from an archaeology site to a major research institute to ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT GOVERNMENT SECURITY BUILDINGS EVER. But, hey, we don't have UNIT either because... screw you Chibbers! I know you are trying to establish your reign as a separate and special thing, but screw you!!

Never mind, it's all about the companions, although once again Yaz has less than nothing to do. For a moment, I thought they might actually leave Graham behind, which will allow more focus on Yaz in the next season, but that clearly isn't something they want to do. We do have Aaron, and he is... more there for the microwave oven than being Ryan's dad. Again there could have been an interesting point if Aaron did die to sacrifice the Dalek, but that would be going too far. Instead, after a heartfelt moment where Aaron and Ryan connect over the Dalek conflict... Aaron is just "goodbye". Wha? Chibbers really isn't that interested, is he?

Anyway, the Dalek. I will allow that one Dalek is a problem, and again we see a Dalek vs an army and the Dalek winning. As it should. Even the new body of the Dalek is growing on me. But this story mainly reminds me of Dalek, which is so much better than this will ever be.

Next Time: A whole year away...


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Wednesday, 2 January 2019


So yeah, this turd of a movie. They really should not have done that line.

A space vehicles falls from space and infects various creatures around the place and converts them into horrendous beasts that rampage the city... no wait, that was Rampage. This is alien creatures coming down and infecting people and .. sort of turning them into creatures? Goo shoots all over the place for Eddie/Venom, and then there's a big fight. With CGI creatures, because of course it comes down to a fight with CGI creatures.

The most surprising fact was that this was only a 90 minute movie, with 20 minutes of credits. Really, we hit the 80 minute mark, and I'm like "hang on, there's 30 minutes more, but it feels like it is done, what else are they going to do?" Credits. That's what. That is not a great sign of a movie when a huge part of it can be walked out on. (Yes, there are some mid-credit scenes, but not worth sticking around for.)

A common comment is that the second half of the movie is a lot better than the first half. Certainly the first half drags, and it doesn't really find any fun until the second half, and that part works a lot better. There are plenty of stories around about that, which shows there could have been a better integrated movie.

But ultimately, no-one is really trying that hard. Again I point to effectively the 90 minute run time. They weren't really putting effort in.


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