Friday, 25 December 2020

84th Wonderous Woman

Yeah, I seen it. That is to say, I saw it. The Embassy had a special event on Wednesday night and I decided to go along to that. Because it hasn't fully released yet, I'm gonna be more vague than usual.

It's 1984 and Wonder Woman is going about the place, doing really minor things to be honest. Then Max Lord comes in and (plot) slowly becomes a villain she has to deal with. Barbara Minerva gets to pal around with Diana but, as we know from the trailer, develops her own abilities. Oh, and Steve is back because reasons.

This movie is 150 minutes, and while it didn't feel long, it did feel like it could be tightened up in places. There were a few scenes I was wondering "what is the point of this?" Odd considering how long longer they had to bake this movie. Conversely, I was missing some plot connections, just chalked it up to "stuff happened off screen, I guess".

I am fine with Steve coming back. Explained well enough in the movie, and hey, in the comics, Steve has returned via coming from another dimension, or being a clone, so what the hey? Barbara to Cheetah was a bit of a stretch, feeling more like they wanted Cheetah in the movie more so than organically developed. And why was Max Lord in this? There is that rather (in)famous moment in the comics, but there is a much better Wonder Woman villain in the form of Dr Psycho who is just there, ready to go! (And has a better connection with Cheetah too.)

There's a lot of visual impact in this movie, and I'm glad Patty Jenkins got to do a sequel, and hopefully WB have already got a contract done for WW3, but ultimately this movie felt like it could have done with another editing pass.


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Thursday, 10 December 2020

She's an X

Hey, a documentary Maddy did about her latest album! I haven't really expressed my opinions about Madame X because... really I felt it was very over processed and not really her natural voice. And in some ways, it was 'get out of the way of the world music'. And this documentary goes into more about why she did the album that way.


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Monday, 7 December 2020

Honest Theif

It's a Liam Neeson movie where he has to bring up a special set of skills to deal with a problem after a female relation gets into trouble...

Again, if you've seen the trailer, you've basically seen the set up of the movie. Liam Neeson is a thief that tries to go legit, but immediately gets involved with the corrupt members of the FBI, and trouble ensues.

This is a pretty straightforward movie, and at 90 minutes, it just gets on with what you'd expect and does its job. Which also means there's nothing particularly impressive about it. Liam Neeson does a standard job, nothing outstanding, but decent enough. The other actors also put in workman jobs, and again are there to get the job done.

Looking for a way to pass the time? There are worse things.


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Sunday, 6 December 2020


Sure, this looks stupid and yet worth watching. Let's give it a go!

Basic premise is explained in the trailer: Swap the minds in the bodies of a high school student and serial murder, and have fun! The story doesn't deliver huge surprises after that set up... but then, it doesn't need to. It's a great story, well presented.

More or less. This is written by two men, so there are some dialogue choices for the female characters that made me go "uuhhh...". And the movie does rely on high school boys not being interested in Kathryn Newton (although some of that is to blame Hollywood for not being able to cast unattractive people).

The comedy is decent, the kills are... rather over the top, to be honest, considered the rest of the tone. No doubt we'll see this mixed in as part of the Happy Death Day universe later.


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Monday, 23 November 2020


It's an earnest Christmas movie. However...

Chris Cringle and his wife Ruth are trying hard to make ends meet, and the annual gig just isn't as profitable as it used to be. So they have to take on an extra contract to help make ends meet. In a completely separate story, a young punk of a spoiled rich kid doesn't like his gift from Santa and so calls out a hit on him, and we see the assassin slowly track down the location of the giver. And then at the, you will believe that the two plots collide.

Let's talk about the reindeer in the room. Yes, Mel Gibson is in this, and he gives an all right performance. So your willingness to put up with him will impact on how you accept this film. On the other hand, Walter Goggins gives a great performance and is the best thing in any scene he is in.

The problem with this movie is that it is very earnest... about being earnest. Aside from that, I'm not sure what the heck this movie was going for. The Chris plot was barely an arc, and the assassin bit was completely unrelated, so yeah... what was the point of this again?

Not a terrible movie, but not one that is going to stick in the memory either.


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Thursday, 19 November 2020


Yeah, okay, let's see this take on 2012.

A comet... maybe? It's a bad scientific phenomena they can't quite identity... is heading by Earth, only everyone is so mathematically incompetent they can't tell that the fragments are instead going to slam into the planet. And so in one night we have a small family trying to get to a shelter, and undergoing many stupid and pointless adventures as the point of the movie seems to be "civilisation is one hour away from going into chaos".

As you might be able to tell, I wasn't that impressed. This is better than 2014 in that there is at least some justification for why Gerald Butler and co might actually be involved in the end of the world, but otherwise this just feels like "how many horrible/stupid things can we have our stars deal with?" while still trying to fit it into one night. I don't know geography, but it feels like they are able to cover vast swaths of land in just an hour or so.

Oh, and there's a comet. Which feels very much an excuse for a) panic and b) for things to blow up. While listening to Plot Exposition Radio, they make it clear that science doesn't actually know what this comet is, how the fragments are moving, nor what is going on because "it came from another solar system" or some such rubbish. Try hard not to think too deeply about it, because I suspect the writers/editors didn't.

Despite the years since things like 2012, this feels like generic disaster movie, with only slightly more focus on the characters over the special effects.


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Saturday, 14 November 2020

They are Desert Bus

When you read this, the latest run of Desert Bus will have started. But if you can't watch that, you can watch this documentary on it!


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Wednesday, 16 September 2020

New Mewtents

I still don't know why this wasn't just released straight to VOD. Probably a contract thing that it had to hit theaters first and they didn't care enough?

So, new mutant Moonstar gets orphaned and is sent to this "institution" where there are four other mutants also institutionalised, one mutant lady in charge, and... no-one else. Seriously, this is a thin cast. Yes, there are other people filling in momentary roles, but this is basically a small cast in not much larger than a locked room. ANYWAY, spooky stuff starts happening, and who is to blame? Is it the new mutant with psionic powers who just turned up? Nah, couldn't be. But hey, gives them a chance for things to happen, so we get scenes, and thus a movie.

Really, this is fine, but it certainly had a build up of "when will this get released? we need to reshoot! ... but we may or may not use those reshoots... eh, we'll get this out some time." I don't know what the full production hold up was, but I find it hard to believe it was seriously reconsidered often, and, as I said, should have just been dumped on VOD.

The performances are all right, and I often spent time trying to remember "which mutant is this?" Pro-tip, they never actually give them their mutant names, so don't hang around for that. And there's the hand puppet... booooooo! The effects are decent, but at this point that should be the default (and yet still so many effects that aren't good).

Given than director Josh Boone said "nah, don't worry about covid, go see this," well, screw him, this isn't that important. Just wait for it to finally get put out on VOD.


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Wednesday, 9 September 2020


EDIT TO ADD: Given the actions of the movie makers, FUCK this movie.

So I'm going to talk about the live action, but here's the thing about that and the animated movie... we have both! You may like one, both, neither, but we have both so you can choose! Having one does not erase the other, they are different things, so let's move on.

The bulk of this movie does follow the animated version. Mulan isn't the typical daughter, her father is called to war and she goes instead, has to pretend to be male... then the main difference is a lack of guys dressing up in drag... I mean there is more emphasis on girl power. To the extent of the bad guys getting their own evil Mulan!

And as its own separate movie, it's fine. There are some very pretty moments, and frankly they could have lent harder into the wire fu and more supernatural elements. The opening feels like it is trying to be more real, but then we get a kite masquerading as a phoenix before the witch goes full force and, yeah, they could have gone harder into that for some really great sequences.

As for harking back to the animated movie, the score kept throwing in bits from "Reflection". Which does hammer on the "who is Mulan?" theme, but just made me want to go full on that song! This movie also echoes some of the other songs with spoken word versions of some of the lyrics, but doesn't get as obvious as "Reflection".

The real question we will see is, what will the live action sequels be like?


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Wednesday, 2 September 2020


So, can I talk about this movie? There is definitely one part I want to discuss, more from a film perspective, but it is the scene near the end, so I'll put that in spoiler space so you don't see it on the main page.

Someone said this is "temporal James Bond", and that's pretty accurate. There is a big gimmick to this movie, but that became more about filming (see below) than the story. At various surprise points where we were supposed to go "what is happening?" I was just "oh, it's that" and I was right. So... yeah, not really surprised by it.

But the main reason this film could be considered "impressive" is in the filming of it. The gimmick meant that things had to be done really careful, and, I'm sure, with much rehearsal. I'm sure CGI helped, but even then you still had to have all the pieces in place. However...


In the big fight at the end (shocking: there's a big fight at the end), we have two teams of good guys, and that was fine... but as far as I could tell, the fight was just them moving forwards and shooting. Aside from one or two plot scenes around the main leads, I couldn't even tell you that there were bad guys there, let alone what they did in the fight! It just felt like filming a war but only showing one side. The heck??


So I did see this in a theatre... and because of the situation, there were less staff around and plenty of seats empty, so I'm sure a few people were in there who never paid for a ticket. (That they were in a seat booked by someone else was a bit of a giveaway.) So now there is the joy of not only balancing seeing a movie vs crowds, but also vs people you can't even account for being there!


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Friday, 14 August 2020


No, I haven't seen enough movies recently. Especially when it is a New Zealand comedy!

Sean is looking for love... unfortunately the police are also looking at him, after he was declared innocent of having killed his family. While he does find a possible someone, the ex-police officer isn't letting up, sure he is the one, even after all this time. Will love prevail? Will justice?

This is an odd movie in presentation. There is the romantic subplot, but there is also the grim and at times rather aching story of the murder and its impact. However, there is another dichotomy in that sometimes these are normal movie scenes, and sometimes they are documentary style talking to someone interviewing them, with no sign of which is which (other than someone suddenly talking towards the camera). It's an odd mix, but it does help portray the movie and enable you to get into the people's heads without needing anything like inner narration.

And yes, it is funny in parts, usually quite a dry humour of people just being a bit crap. We get great performances from Robyn Malcolm and David White, and a great cast of characters to go with them.

I wouldn't say head out to the theatres to see this is you aren't comfortable, but certainly try to see it some time.


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Monday, 10 August 2020

The Perfect Candidate

I would usually use the title in the original language, but can't find it to copy.

In Sauda Arabia, a female doctor ends up running for local elections, because she can't travel... although that's not related, but the important point is that she is female. In Saudi Arabia. She faces more than a little opposition, but she has a lot of determination. Also, her father is on tour in a band.

That last line may seem rather odd, but it also feels like a completely separate plot in the movie too. It's sort of tied together at the very end, but only after a not very surprising conclusion to the a-plot.

But the point is the trouble the doctor faces, as people focus on the woman more than the doctor. We get just a small taste of what women figures over there have to face. Although something else occurred to me while watching this: do movies have a problem with showing women uncovered? Even filming them? And one point in the movie we are told that women can't speech in front of men as it is against the law, so how did filming that scene happen? Is there a documentary about that I can watch?

Anyway, decent movie to round out my Film Festival experience. 20 movies on my wishlist, and 20 movies seen!


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Sunday, 9 August 2020


I can't say I'm fond of zombie movies, but this is the Film Festival, so let's see what they think is festival worthy.

A young woman is going to a rather disreptuable clinic for a breast reduction, with her boyfriend and mother (who is also getting work done). But as this is a zombie movie, there are basically failed experiments which come back to life and start running rampant through the clinic, and so everyone must try to escape, while trying not to get bit, and not be arseholes. They fail on all fronts.

People keep telling me zombie movies are great, and the zombies are always standing in for something. The most obvious choice the zombies could be representing here are the seeking of beauty and perfection at all costs... but they aren't. There's a one line reference to "punishing for meddling with god's creation", which doesn't go anywhere either. No, the zombies here are representing "let's put zombies in our movie because we want a zombie movie!"

And it's not like this movie is taking itself seriously to need more than that. From blood splatters to axes slamming, the movie isn't going for any degree of subtly and just trying to have fun. The unfortunate aspect is that is just another zombie movie, with nothing else to make it stand out.

Yeah, this isn't making me change my position on zombie media.


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Saturday, 8 August 2020

Tabi no Owari Sekai no Hajimari

A foreign language film about dealing with foreign language.

A Japanese TV reporter is in Uzbekistan to do some travel news, and we see her be chipper on camera... and not so much off camera. She does get out, but is very unsure of the people and places around her, and the crew struggle to put a show together. She does have one idea involving a goat, but it doesn't go brilliantly. And definitely can't find a fish. What can she do when the big thing she tries goes very wrong?

This is one of my nightmares: being in a country where I don't speak the language, so I can totally relate to what she is going through. That said, she gives it more of a go than I probably would.

However... that's pretty much the whole movie. Japanese person has trouble being in Uzbekistan. It's a nice movie, but there isn't a lot to it.


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Friday, 7 August 2020

Le voyage du prince

Hey, an animated movie! About time I watched one.

A monkey turns up on a new continent and it taken in as a new marvel to be studied. However, he is just as intelligent as the monkeys already here, but the monkeys here aren't interested in him as a person, but it what he represents. Eventually he has to leave, perhaps there is a better society out there?

So, this isn't subtle, but sod it, some times it's nice to have a clear allegory for things, especially if that means I can actually get it. The new world mocking the old world and being short sighted about what it allows, oh yeah, we are all there.

It's also very nicely animated. The images are clean and clear, and everything flows well. This is just a great movie that's a joy to watch.


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Thursday, 6 August 2020

Bor Mi Vanh Chark

A time travel sci fi supernatural foreign language film? Don't mind if I do!

A hermit can see ghosts, and spends time alone. When one woman dies, her daughter comes to him seeking to talk to her. However, one particular spirit he has been spending time with as well can link him to himself as a young boy, so he can help his younger self overcome problems. Which has no repercussions at all...

Except that it does. This does do somewhat interesting things with time travel and you need to reasonably be paying attention to keep up with what is going on, but I feel I followed along well. There are certainly many things to pick up on, and I'm sure a thorough second watch is warranted... but I don't feel that I would be doing that any time soon.

Apparently Mattie Do likes to make genre movies, so I should keep an eye out for what she's done.


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Wednesday, 5 August 2020


While not a documentary, this is based on a true story... at least, on a true thing that does happen to some people.

Jeanne works at a fair park, where there is a new attraction, a large seat whirling machine known as the Move It. Or, as Jeanne calls is, Jumbo. She develops an attraction to Jumbo and Jumbo responds to her. She tries to tell her mother, but her mother doesn't understand. No-one does. She even tries to be with the park operator to see if that works. But Jumbo is the only one for her, but can that last?

Objectophilia is a known thing, and that is the basis of this. A lot of the movie is showing a) that Jeanne and Jumbo are having a perfectly normal relationship, and b) that no-one understands this. For the movie we are on Jeanne's side, but can't say we don't agree and understand that others are having trouble with this.

Jeanne cleans the park at night and ends up alone with Jumbo, which reacts and moves. So we get that feedback that she is seeing, but this isn't presented as something supernatural and eventually we find out Jumbo is alive! No, we just get to see Jumbo through Jeanne's eyes and really helps to show how this works. That said, I'm not sure everyone who has objectophilia goes through this, but it's a good way to show it.

Decent movie, but as it is French, hope you like nudity!


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Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Coded Bias

Systems can only be as good as the data lying underneath them (and even then).

This documentary talks to a few different people about how machine learning/algorithms are being put into place around the place and used to run things. Especially how the people running the algorithms don't really understand them. And that the algorithms are putting into code biases that are already in the data but are socially accepted anyway (especially disfavouring women and people of colour). London already has identification in place, and it's going wrong. China has identification everywhere and people are happy about it (honest, guv). And America is looking into it. Not yet, but let's be honest, it isn't far off.

While we see cases of where the algorithms are deficient, being efficient isn't necessarily good either. Depending on what has been programmed, by those that control the programs, what you get out will depend a lot on what you put in. Not that that's always known.

And even if it is known, and this point isn't addressed although they bring up resume and teacher etc assessment, what gets measured gets done. So if people find out "you need X", then "X" is what they will focus on. We already see this in terms of what is taught for students to pass exams, now extend that to whether or not you get hired, or can keep your job, or get a mortgage, or... That's just as inequal as everything else.

We definitely need to keep an eye on this, but acknowledge something basic: as soon as something happens (as it already has) that the lawmakers can point to to say "we need technology to do this for us", this will be implemented with all the bugs inherent in place.


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Monday, 3 August 2020

Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist

Documentary... or commentary?

Just a quick FYI: William Friedkin is the director of The Exorcist. And so this movie is him talking about how he made The Exorcist. That's it. In some ways this is The Exorcist: The Commentary Track: The Film. Friedkin takes us through various scenes, tells us about his inspirations, and how he decided shots should go. It is, in short, fascinating.

Which kinda makes it hard to review. Either you want to hear him talk about how he made The Exorcist, or you don't. I did, so this movie was aimed right at me, and I enjoyed it immensely.

However, that does make this review rather short.


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Sunday, 2 August 2020

Huo zhe chang zhe

Based on a documentary.

A Sichuan Opera troupe is experiencing trying times. Audiences are less and less as opera becomes less popular, and all the buildings around them are being destroyed. The troupe tries to stay together, but the younger members want to move on to other activities, and their theatre is about to be demolished as well. They face the end, and must accept what is happening.

This features an actual Sichuan Opera, but they haven't quite disbanded yet as this was filmed, but it is looking inevitable. In the mean time, Johnny Ma takes advantage to tell their story and portray the conflicts the team went through as well as extrapolate out what is going to happen. (All events are real if not actually as they occurred.)

This is quite a charming story, and I quite enjoyed it!


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Saturday, 1 August 2020

Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets

Another documentary... or is it a "documentary"?

It's the last night of the bar, and we are there as it happens. From the opening at 11am through to the close at around 5am the next morning, we see various dezidens of the bar make their home there, chat about anything and everything, and pass the time in their home one last time.

There isn't much to say about the plot, because that's it. Just filming people on the last day of the bar, as they pass time away. There isn't much more to it...

...or is there? This might be spoilers, on the other hand I do think the movie is better knowing this fact (which I have only seen on a review or two), to whit: the bar is a fake. This is all on a sound studio somewhere else and they are all just putting it on. Certainly this seems real, but then it goes to say a lot that this could just be any bar anywhere. There isn't any particular traditions being observed, and while they are saying goodbye, no-one seems that really upset... and some of the names are actually actors who have appeared in other things. Suspicious much?

Given that this puts a different spin on it, it's a well captured moment that neatly encapsulates a lot of human experience. Otherwise it's just a bunch of people drinking at a bar.


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Friday, 31 July 2020

Martin Margiela: In His Own Words

Sure, another documentary. This time about an unseen fashion icon.

Martin Margiela has put in 20 years into the fashion industry, and this movie basically charts each fashion show. He has a rather unusual sense that appeals to a lot of people, and we can see the creative process in action as he takes clothes and presents them in rather odd ways. And one of his common gimmicks is covering the faces of his models so that people concentrate on his clothes. In a similar vein, he never gives interviews because he's fed up with the questions and doesn't want to deal with them, just let his clothes speak for him.

He's definitely an admired figure, a lot of praise for his stuff. We get him talking about things, and get to see him... putting things together. Hands and arms is about the most we get of him, in keeping with the "don't see him" attitude.

While I can see his fashion pieces as art, I'm not sure I see them as clothes, as things people would wear on any basis other than "hey, I have this strange outfit I'm going to show off at this strange party". This makes me wonder if anyone has done a documentary on "once the clothes leave the catwalk, what happens to them next?" Are people buying these things in droves? Are they just art pieces for the moment? I have no idea.

A decent documentary that has the idea of showing off his work, and just getting on with it.


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Thursday, 30 July 2020

Aasta täis draamat

I do seem to like documentaries. Such as this one about going to the theatre... or is it? (Again, no IMDB entry, so I'll link to their main site.)

This started as an experiment: someone is picked (Alissija) to go to a play nearly daily for a year, and write about her experiences, the intention to being "how does an everyman view the theatre experience?". We follow her as she goes to many plays, some in more indie set ups, some in full on grand theaters, and some even in a community style. Moreover, she goes through some life events (she is a young woman), as theatre casts its spell on her, and she falls out of interest, back in interest again, in and out of love with someone else, and otherwise spends the year dedicated to this one thing, with only some thought as to: what next?

This movie didn't really work for me, and I've been trying to work out why. I think the answer is: they made the wrong movie. The concept they went with for the movie "what if someone saw (basically) a theatre a day, what would that mean?" but what they got was "this is the movie of Alissija and how she changed over a year", but since they were insisting on the gimmick, the movie doesn't really work.

(If you want to recast this as a review of a theatre experience, I'll leave that to you, but note that in a theatre production you generally have more control over the script than what happens in a documentary.)

This movie could probably be reedited into one thing or the other, but at the moment it is in a very unsatisfying middle ground.


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Wednesday, 29 July 2020


Documentary time... I didn't realise this was from 2008. Damn this film festival with fine films from all sorts of times...

We are at the Choral Clinic, run by one Dr. Masatomo Yamamoto. We follow several of his patients as they talk about their mental health issues, helped by what services the Clinic can provide. We definitely get the tales that these people need help, and there is little being done to help them aside from limited services, and there is a bill about to be passed which could start costing them money (which we don't get a resolution on). These are people that are otherwise capable to some degree, but suffer from depression or similar that just making living in society that much worse without support.

The main reason I mention 2008 at the start is that I hope things are better now a decade later... but I doubt it. Mental issues are seen as taboo in Japanese society, and while cultures are improving, the less fortunate are always hidden away by most societies and I can't say that even New Zealand is doing overwhelming in this area.

This movie does help in that it helps raises awareness, or "removes the curtain" as the film puts it. These people do need support... but then so do so many others...


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Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Hong Kong Moments

A documentary about modern day Hong Kong. Well, this won't be political. (I would link to IMDB, but it isn't on there yet.)

The movie follows seven different people over three different days, two around protest moments, one around an election day. They demonstrate the different aspects of life in Hong Kong, a protestor, a police man, a first aider, two people involved in elections, and two people just doing their work, all with different takes on what life in Hong Kong is like at the moment and how they view the protesters and the police.

While this movie definitely lets people speak for themselves, I wouldn't say it was entirely neutral. No one specific person is portrayed as "the bad guy", but when you see the actions of the police as a large force they speak for themselves. And yes, I agree that it isn't simple, there are a lot of stupid things the rioters do, such as trash shops and such. But this isn't a black and white situation.

However, there are parts of the stories left unsaid, assumed to be known. For example, that there is a "pro-democracy" group and a "pro-Beijing" group, as they style themselves. And one of the protestors mentions the five demands they have, without anyone saying what that is.

And no doubt many people seeing this will compare this to what is happening in America at the moment, but I'll let better people than me take up that conversation.

A good look at what is happening, but it might be better to learn some facts before watching this to appreciate it more. Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times.


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Monday, 27 July 2020

Le Miracle du Saint Inconnu

Want to see a superior Arabic version of Bluestreak? Here you go!

A thief is on the run, buries his cash and marks it as a grave... and after spending time in prison comes back to find it is now the shrine of an unknown saint, has a town cropped up nearby which ruined another nearby town. So begins the tale of this town, the thief trying to get his money back, the guard loving his dog more than his son, a new doctor who immediately gets bored with this life, and other characters.

"Black comedy" is an easy go to, but this is correct for this movie. Although this movie is slow, it is really good, and the humour is light enough to not be too depressingly black. This movie reminds me a lot of Catch 22 in its humour of "you know what, just roll with it".

There are one or two suitably serious actors playing serious characters, but otherwise the rest of the crew seem to happily be leaning into the absurdity of this.

Great movie, much recommend.


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Sunday, 26 July 2020


Documentary time, with this movie about the mayor of Ramallah.

Ramallah is in Palestine, within sight of Jersulam, and we are following the Mayor as he is trying to make sure his city has a brand. And then we get Trump's announcement of moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, and... not great things happen. There are initial riots he has to deal with, then go on an international stage to bring light to their situation. And then we get the moment when soldiers enter the city and the Mayor, and the crew, are stuck inside while that is happening.

The Mayor is quite charismatic, although you can get a sense of the frustration he has running the city... and you can also get a sense that he speaks big about some promises you know are going to get into trouble getting done. So, typical mayor then.

I don't know how much David Otis filmed, but the Trump line was a great moment to examine this city. What do they have to put up with as this overseas buffoon makes random announcements he doesn't really care about. They survive, but there are some not pretty moments.

Nice time capsule captured, well done movie.


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Saturday, 25 July 2020

The Last Wave

Looks like I'm sticking with Australia for this movie that features a lawyer and Aborigines.

After some weird weather events, a group of four Aborigines seem to kill a fifth. A lawyer comes into the case, which is odd as he mainly deals with corporate tax, but something about this case draws him in. As do the beliefs of the Aborigines. Could the magic of the Aborigines be responsible? And what did the man do to earn death? Can the lawyer find out... should he?

I have no idea how this movie was received by Aborigines and I would like to know. ... They felt it was a good one it seems. Okay then. Certainly there are some fine performances on display here, and their beliefs aren't treated as rubbish, aside from a couple of cynical characters (mostly it is just treated as something that is there).

However, with Richard Chamberlain playing the lead role of the lawyer, there is a whiff of White Savior about him as he tries to get them off of a murder charge. And then towards the end, we get a bit of the White Colonist coming in and invading the local culture. A bit all over the place really, and then there is that last shot...

I hope there are lot of Aboriginal movies there, of which I have no clue.


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Friday, 24 July 2020


Right, I need a good horror movie, and this Australian movie is available.

The elderly grandmother disappears, so the mother and daughter turn up to find out what happens. She does turn up later, but is complaining of other people around and doesn't trust her descendants. And the house has mold... and then the grandmother has mold... and then the house has more house and they all get trapped and...

Now, I'm not one (DEMENTIA) for spotting themes and (DEMENTIA) motifs, but I suspect there might (DEMENTIA) have been something this movie (DEMENTIA) was trying to get across. Fortunately, we all know that media handles mental (DEMENTIA) issues properly and what happens to the grandmother is only a metaphor that isn't going to be (DEMENTIA) suffered by the others.

As such, while there were definite elements of creepiness creeping in, it didn't really feel like it was going anywhere because it was already there. Surprise! Something creepy happened! Which we all knew was going to happen! ... Creep!

Overall.. it's fine.


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Thursday, 23 July 2020

Last and First Men

I recently worked through an anthology of time travel stories, so when this movie started with "we are the last men from billions of years from now", I was able to take that on board and work with it.

This is a missive from them into the past. We get some information about what life is like now, find out that it's not a utopia, it's just people being people (where people has changed, but still). But there is an unfortunate event that is gonna wipe everyone out. And so they speak out, to be heard, before they are gone.

...oh dear gods. Ever watch a movie and think "this was a waste of time and resources for everyone involved, including the audience"? This is Tilda Swinton narrating this almost essay (this was adapted from a book... should have stayed there). And under this is... completely irrelevant black and white imagery of mosaics from around the world. Actually, I don't know if they just found these things or made them, and they are nice as monuments in and of themselves, but have nothing to do with whatever point this movie is going for.

I admit I watch movies at quicker that 1x speed... never more so glad to be able to do so when dealing with a movie like this.


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Wednesday, 22 July 2020

La odisea de los giles

The New Zealand International Film Festival is coming, and it's online, so I'm probably gonna watch a lot of them. But I can see something of them before hand. Such as this one about the Argentinian Corralito.

A small group of townspeople decide to pool money on starting a communal effort, raise money and put it in the bank to be safe. Then a thing happens. They find out that one man swooped in and removed their money just before it, so he has a lot and they don't. And he happens to put a vault nearby that contains the money. And so the rest of the film is them trying to work out what to do about that and eventually hopefully get the money back for themselves.

Okay, I know nothing about the corralito, but having seen a few "economic events", I could guess the basics and the precise details don't really matter. What we have is a very rural take on the heist/revenge movie, that while being comedic is also about a father who loses his wife and doesn't want to put his son at any risk.

Decent movie, moves along well, and keeps the stakes personal. And doesn't exactly end up as you'd think.


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Wednesday, 8 July 2020

The Boookselllers

I went to the movies! (How dare I! Actually, it is fine for New Zealand, and indeed the Welling Film Society is back up and running. Although that is at the Embassy and this movie was at the Lighthouse Cuba, and I was a bit more worried about space, but I was able to get a good enough seat that was away from other people.)

Anyways, this movie is about, as it says on the tin, booksellers, in particular the booksellers around New York. We talk with various people who are booksellers, mainly of rarer items, about how they got into it and the issues they are now facing. Which is a few. Some see the internet as a good thing... many don't. A lot of them will be "aging" out soon and think the age of the bookseller is coming to an end, but there are some younger ones who are quite excited (and by younger, they look to be around my age). In all, they all have large collections crammed in small spaces and they basically view a book as an object and not something to actually sit down and read.

This is mainly talking heads about their lives. I would have liked to have seen some more about how they deal with books and such, but that wasn't this movie. Most of the heads are elderly, so you definitely get a large dose of their world view, especially with the more pessimistic edge of things coming to an end. (I can't say I've been buying tons of physical books myself.) While there are the younger ones, the film doesn't spend much time with them nor their ideas, beyond saying "hey, we're not out yet."

While being a bookseller has an interest for me (and my bookishness), ultimately I don't think that lifestyle is for me.


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Wednesday, 29 April 2020

The Grodge

I'm pretty clearly on the record for loving the Ju-on movies, so I was savouring watching the 2020 version. Okay, sure, small hitch with certain events closing down cinemas, but we live in a connected world so it wasn't that much a problem.

After having been to a certain house in Japan, Fiona Launders returns home, and a new cycle begins. Later there's a cop, and she investigates Fiona's house. And there are other people living there. And there is someone else in a car. And there's another detective, who is obsessed with what happened. And there are other people too.

What you might be able to tell is that there is a lot of people in this movie. What you might not be able to tell is there is not a lot of scares or deaths. By halfway through a normal Grudge movie, half the cast would have been killed in gruesome ways! In this, we're still introducing new people! (The movie jumps about in time.) This is sort of saving up the death scares for the end, but... what we actually get is a really boring movie with just a whole of people and not much happening. A Grudge movie shouldn't be boring, but this is!

There is the usual palaver of ghosts sort of being seen and random jump scares, but they aren't effective. Well, except one. Otherwise they are all telegraphed and you just wait for... there it is!

The director, Nicholas Pesce, has ideas for a sequel. And this was supposed to be a reboot, but he tied it in anyway. After this, then yes, let's reboot, but give it to someone else.


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Wednesday, 15 April 2020


This was one of the last movies in the before times, but I only got around to watching it now.

We have Vin's character... I don't recall his name, and frankly it's just Vin the whole time, so I'm not going to bother, we have Vin's character be a kick arse military guy, who's wife is killed, then him, then he comes back as a supersoldier and kills for revenge. Then we find out this was a fictional set up, and the bad guys are just created digitally. So far, this is what is in the trailer. And we take about half the movie to get this point which, again, everyone knows because of the trailer. Then Vin has to deal with the company that did this to him, and that is the rest of the movie.

When this movie was coming out, I grabbed the comics so I could get the story and see how well the movie did. What the movie does it just the first two (approximately) of the comics, although with more action/violence pumped in because this is an action movie. The rest of the comics deals with "what happens next". Which I guess this means this could be a whole series of movies? And the comics also crossed over with other comics, so this could spin out into its own Valient Comics universe... but I doubt they're going to go that far.

What we get in this movie is the basic set up of the character, and that's about it. Frankly, a lot more could be done with the character, but given the focus of this movie is "let us do action sequences with CGI bits", I don't get the feeling the producers actually cared beyond "action movie vehicle for Vin, check".

To be honest, the most interesting part of the movie was noting that one of the leads was Guy Pearce and this easily could have been his AIM character and this movie fitting in that quite easily.


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Wednesday, 8 April 2020


Well, it's Pixar, so of course it's going to be the greatest thing ever. When has Pixar ever failed?

It's a literal coming of age story as Ian becomes of age, 16, and goes on a quest with his older brother to make a man... out of his dad. Because it has to be about father issues. Which isn't to say the mother isn't in this, but it's about the guys dealing with their father who has been gone for a while, but hey we can say that at least this movie has a plot featuring women in it. And I guess it passes the (low standard of the) Bechdall test in that they talk about a curse, but it is about getting an item to help the boys with their father, so it's in service of a man? Not sure about that one.

Anyway, this is a road trip movie, where the gimmick is that these are DND style creatures, and aside from the magical staff, the fact that these are different creatures isn't really relevant to anything. Could just have easily been different flavours of humans.

I'm not saying this is a bad movie (it's not in the Cars franchise after all), but it definitely didn't feel like anything amazing to me. It just feels... generic. Standard storyline you can get anywhere. Pixar can do some really moving storylines, but this...

It's not terrible, but I've seen better.


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Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Da Hunt

With it going straight to VOD, let's check out this masterpiece that was too controversial for its original release date.

You remember the trope of "the most dangerous animal is man", and the many many many films made around "let's hunt man", well, what if you made another movie that was that? But this time, it was class divide, but only using the most over the top trope stereotype characters. Are you rooting for everyone to die? Most likely, I know I was.

The big deal for this movie seems to be Betty Gilpin... but since I don't know who that is, that isn't really a drawcard for me. The actress playing Athena is shown as really mysterious, so lots of shots from behind until a big reveal later to show it was... actually I had to look up the cast to realise who it was, so that wasn't a big moment for me either. I may not be the target audience for this.

That said, this is a very goofy movie. It isn't subtle, but it is fun with it, so that works more me. As such, sure, check this movie out, it's watchable enough.


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Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Indivisible Mon

Gaslighting the movie? Well, at least Abusive Husband The Movie.

Cecilia wants to get away from her abusive husband... who then dies... and leaves Cecilia a lot of money... and then proceeds to stalk her. Why he needed to leave her the money? Who knows. But she isn't stupid. While people turn against her on the slimmest of excuses, she does some rather intelligent things to deal with him, as best she can. And the gormless guards don't help. But does she finally over come him?

There is a LOT wrong with this movie from a science perspective. Somehow he doesn't make any noise while moving about. And can get through doors etc without disturbing them. And is a master of combat. And can also somehow see (which is a perennial issue with invisible men). However, and I kept reminding myself of this, from a movie/story perspective it doesn't matter. He can do that, for the story to work, so he does do that.

Elizabeth Moss goes through a lot of acting chops, but hey, Aldis Hodge! I kept being distracting by trying to remember where I saw him from (Leverage) that I didn't quite pay full attention to his acting abilities. The effects are pretty good, the main stage being when Elizabeth has to fling herself (or however they did it) around the kitchen. I guess keying out is getting better?

But that ending... I like how they went for more ambiguity, but... it does undermine certain characters. Although the movie could be setting up for how the sequel will go? I'm not sure.

As a horror movie, not terrible. It had a good pace. Is this going to spark a new Dark Universe, or are they going to just revive the monsters one at a time for now? We'll see.


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Saturday, 21 March 2020

Washmister 4

This is it, this is the end. How could it go like this?

Young love has trouble after an accident, he breaks his legs, she is still attractive. The lawyer gives her a box that contains a red gem, but she doesn't want it. However, she has unleashed a djinn, and he takes over the lawyer. The lawyer gets her to make some wishes, and so three wishes are wished. Which means at long last the Djinn are released! One small problem...

Yes! Finally! All this time, I've been saying go 'softly softly' with the wishes, and this djinn does. But then she makes the third wish, which only she can grant? What? The djinn can't force it? Like he does every other wish, twisting them into weird things? Wha? That is extremely convenient. But hey, so is the idea that another creature turns up to stop the Waker, somehow after the third wish has been made but not granted? That doesn't really work. But hey, at least there's now a weapon that can conveniently end the issue.

So this movie is far better than the third one, but the unnecessary boobs and rather lackluster deaths mean it only rates third overall. John Novak does better as the djinn than in the third movie, but the sudden turn towards romance does not work well and he doesn't sell it well either.

Which means that fortunately this series ends on a better note than the previous movie, and I'll take that considering how Direct-To-Video it is.


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Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Samic the Hofeheg

It's that movie they patched following pre-audience feedback... (as opposed to the one that patch post release).

A creature from another world comes to this one, and after a moment of existential crisis brings danger to the world. He tries to run away, fails immediately, and has to get help from the humans to retrieve his 'get away' mcguffin. Meanwhile, Evil Human(tm) is after him because ... mainly because he's Evil(tm), but something about power? But not really. There's lots of running at various speeds, but it's all in aid of... Sega making money, I think.

Okay, so I have never played the games. I am barely aware of the range of games, have seen snippits at best, and whenever I've watched Let's Plays, it just looks severely annoying. Which is to say, I'm not a Sonic fan, and so am only really aware of all the references because various people have been "Hey, look at this reference!" such as Sanic or his shoes.

Ignoring the video game background, this is otherwise a fine low grade buddy comedy movie. One person is super fast but hasn't lived, the other is more worldly but feels stuck in place. Together they can find the power of friendship to... I can't even really say complete their arcs. James Marsden gets an arc, but Sonic? He has to leave, but then decides not too because... he doesn't want to. Despite the fact that he is the direct reason for all the trouble in his movie, and the sequel bait doesn't indicate that's going to change.

We also get Jim Carrey tapping into his "let's act bizarre" self, but considering he sides with Jenny McCarthy, fuck 'im.

So a fine movie, but I was never really the target for it.


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Friday, 13 March 2020

Washmister 3

Oh.. oh buddy... oh no...

While looking at an Ancient Artifact, a student pulls out a gem and, yep, awakens a Djinn, who then possesses the professor. The rest of the movie is the student trying to find out how to deal with the Djinn while the Djinn tries to find her. And also brings in an Archangel, 'cos why not?

This... this is bad. Like, there's Direct-To-Video, and I don't know even if this is good enough for that. Aside from not casting Andrew Divoff as the Djinn, the Djinn has no class, and there aren't any interesting wishes. The Djinn (and this is just a Djinn, not the previous Djinn) just grants a few wishes that kills people straight away, and goes for the girl.

And because they are not going for class here, be prepared for boobies. Like front and center, not even trying to not to have them, just "here, have some boobies to enjoy". This series was better than this previously.

I really hope the fourth one picks up, 'cos this one is rubbish.


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Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Gams Akambo

So this is what Daniel Radcliffe is up to these days, is it? Still, Rhys Darby!

I mean, the basic plot is given in the trailer. Daniel Radcliffe is a nobody that is caught up in an underground fighting situation and has to survive. At a tight 97 minute, this movie doesn't waste a lot of time and get around to showing you what you want.

Although that is largely the point. Not that the movie is pretending to be subtle about this, but this movie exists because this is the sort of thing people want to watch. Lots of violence and mayhem. Not the first movie to do so, and I doubt it would be the last.
(That said, it might be refreshing, if you could only get away with it once, for people to actually switch off.)

Daniel Radcliffe is clearly having fun. This isn't reaching deep for acting talent, but getting into the role has its own charms. And although a minor role, Rhys Darby does a great bit too. Oh, and Samara Weaving, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, and Ned Dennehy are also in this, and also clearly having a ball.

Yes, this is a silly movie in all the ways you expect... and in all the ways you want.


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Friday, 6 March 2020

Washmister 2

Let's once again Master those Wishes!

Due to some museum thieves, the Djinn is once again set free... d'oh! However, the Djinn is happy to take the blame and get sent to prison, where there's just a big buffet of people with wishes. Meanwhile, the one surviving thief, Morgana, is getting visions of him, and turns to her previous boyfriend, now priest for help and support. However, and this is a neat bit, the Djinn doesn't have much truck with Christianity, "wrong team", so how is Morgana going to defeat him?

I really like that "wrong team" moment. I would like to see more 'fighting demons' movies where the religion base of the demon is completely different to the religion of the fighters. There are tons of various demons and monsters in other cultures, why should people be lucky to only face ones of their own faith?

One odd thing this movie does is increase the number of souls the Djinn needs. The basic premise of these movies (so far?) is that the Djinn needs to get a number of souls to charge up his stone, then the person who released him makes three wishes and he's free to rampage. For some reason, in the first movie, this was just six to charge, now in this movie it's 1,001?? With lesser number of wishes, the movie can go in depth into the wishes and the practical effects, but with 1,001, a lot happens off screen. And the Djinn always goes heavy handed when it comes to the three wishes. Something about fly and honey there Djinn.

Andrew Divoff does come back as the demon, and plays an a-hole well. There are also good practical effects again, and the minor CG effects are still dodgy, but at least minor.

I'm waiting for the movie that brings it crashing down, but maybe we'll stay flying high?


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Wednesday, 4 March 2020


I've heard a few people talk about this, and it was on my list, so finally got around to it.

A group of PhD students decide to take a break and do some research, which involves going out to Sweden and hooking up with Local Strange Swedish Cult. Although strange things happen, this written off as Local Customs for Local People, and then they all get caught up in it all.

Okay, I'm gonna be honest here, and I've seen Wicker Man, and this is no Wicker Man. From the very start, you know what's going on, and that people are gonna die and... you know what, they do die. There was nothing here that surprised me, aside from this movie needing to take three hours to get there.

Apparently we are supposed to praise Florence Pugh for whatever she's in, but I was more distracted by Will Poulter. The acting is fine, and the effects are present, but again I wasn't surprised by anything, and that includes the state of the people. (There is one amusing moment where they are very clearly placing a dummy instead of an actual person.)

Despite getting good ratings from many people, this movie just didn't do much for me.


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Friday, 28 February 2020


Sure, let's check out another range of horror movies. This time Master of Wishes!

A Djinn a creature that grants wishes. Like GM level of wish granting, ie guaranteed to screw you over. When an old Djinn hits modern (for 1997) America, people get their wishes granted, unfortunately, and it is up to one woman to realise first, what is actually going on, then to work out what to do about it. It takes a while.

First, let's get one thing straight... this movie is here for practical horror effects, and I am here for that! There are a few moments of absolutely terrible CGI, but the practical effects more than make up for it. A skeleton ripping free of a body, a woman turning into a tree, a man turning into a snake... and that's just in the opening scene!

This movie knew what it was going. You don't bring in Robert Englund and Kane Hodder without making a statement about how much better this monster is over Freddy and Jason. It seems like Andrew Divoff didn't quite get the same name recognition (although I have yet to see if he returns to the role).

So far, a great start to the series. Let's hope this keeps up!


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Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Birbs of Pery

Yes, it's the Harley Quinn movie. Basically this is the "backdoor pilot" to the Birds series in the Harley Quinn series.

So Harley has broken up with the Joker, and immediately becomes a target. At the same time, another plot is instigated by the Black Mask and that brings in the rest of the women who are the supposed Birds of Prey. And so they run across each other and bounce off each other and there's a lot of feminist moments.

By which I mean incredibly unsubtle moments where men have power over women and there isn't much they can do about it. Because empowering? Checks. Oh, female writer and female director. Yeah, they really didn't want to go for the subtle route. And speaking of, the music is clearly following the same direction as Suicide Squad in the Obvious Music Pick for each scene.

While most of the focus is on Harley, we do get Renee, Dinah, Helene and Cassandra, but don't worry, there's voice over by Harley too to remind you that this movie is all about her. Which isn't to say that this is a bad movie, just that they knew Margot Robbie was going to lead it, so plunked her front and center in a movie that is supposed to be about others, who should have been called the Gotham City Sirens, because that roster lines up better.

Oh, and I could tell that they wanted Sam Rockwell for the role Ewan McGregor had. That was basically written as Sam Rockwell. Even had Ewan do a little dance!

Ultimately, it's fine. But if we never hear of the Birds of Prey again, I won't be surprised.


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Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Colur out of Spuce

This is the second adaption of Color I've seen. And they both use an unnamed colour that is Purple.

The Gardner place is out in the middle of nowhere, although they do have alpacas. Into this lands a meteorite, which emits a strange unknown colour that proceeds to infect the surrounding land. Which no-one notices. And so they go crazy because no-one thinks this new vegetation and the like is unusual or anything that is different or should be concerned over.

Go on, guess how I feel about these idiots. The problem with presenting this as a 'family under threat' is that we have to like these people and be worried when they are in danger. I, for one, didn't like any of them, and so when bad things happened to them, they brought it on themselves for being idiots.

It doesn't even feel like Nick Cage is putting any effort into this. Sure, he gets crazy, but nothing that outrageous. Just really low on the Nick Cage Crazy scale. And the rest of them also feel like they are putting in minimal effort. Tommy Chong has the most fun, but the best acting is done by Elliot Knight as Ward Phillips... Get it? It's an HP Lovecraft reference! 'Cos his name is (Ho)ward Phillips Lovecraft! Although being black, no doubt HP would not have liked him.

Richard Stanley sees this as one of three adaptions he wants to do. At this rate, I doubt any of them will be rocking any Top 10 lists.


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Wednesday, 12 February 2020


It's that director who did that train movie I liked. I also heard a lot of good things about this.

Picture a family of con artists. One of them gets a rather cushy gig working for a rich family, and slowly the other members of the family are brought in under various roles. They must have a great time, right? And then we get to a point in the movie where it suddenly goes "hey, there's this stuff happening as well".

Bong Joon Ho gives them a great set of personalities that even though I didn't think I would get that engaged. But no, he drags me in and keeps up the pace, and then that other thing happens. I didn't see any of that coming, and from that point on I didn't call anything that was going on.

There are good performances on display. I'm not going to try to point out particular names because I would get them wrong, but it's clear that the director got good actors.

Well shot mostly, there was one scene near the end I wasn't quite sure who was where, but otherwise a rather strange movie that is quite something to watch.


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Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Derminator: Fark Tate

More Terminator? Haven't they learned? Apparently not.

Is this a reboot? A remake? A sequel? Who knows. Someone comes back from the future to protect someone, and a CGI robot also comes back. But hey, Sarah Conner is also here! Then we get a run around as people try to protect Dani and survive the robot.

Which is what these movies basically are. Just full on action sequences of running across country... which makes this a movie in the classic mode. And yes, which makes this a lot better movie than certain other Terminator movies that could be mentioned. Not just because of Sarah Conner, but because it just gets back to basics. Never mind Skynet, this is Legion now, but otherwise this could be the second movie all over again.

Linda Hamilton is good, but Mackenzie Davis gives a good turn as a hardened warrior. Gabriel Luna gets put through action paces, and Natalia Reyes does a lot of dramatic pieces. The CGI is standard for this year (ie decent) and some decent action pieces, although... overall the movie doesn't really do anything terribly amazing other than just in essence redo the second movie.

Which, again, puts it high on the list of Terminator movies, although the others are low bars to clear.


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Wednesday, 29 January 2020

J and Silencio Bob

While I'm not a fan of stoner comedies, I do tend to give Kevin Smith a pass. So yeah, I'll absorb this.

Jay and Silent Bob return to go to Hollywood over the Bluntman and Chronic movie... sound familiar? It is supposed to, because this is clearly meta-commentary on the whole reboot/etc stuff. It gets even more meta when most of the story line revolves around Jay being the unknown father to one character, who is played by Harley Quinn Smith... yes, Kevin's daughter. (And Jason's daughter also turns up.) You can tell a lot of scenes were aimed squarely at that relationship.

I did find a lot of this fun. I'm sure people will bounce off it, but I've been on board with their other movies, so no reason I'm not down for this. There are some moments when they just go whole hard on the unsubtle message, but since that is about Nazis, sod it, I'll give that a pass too.

As ever, there are a lot of 'hey, that actor', but they seem to be having fun, so...

Basically, I'm giving this whole movie a pass, but your mileage will depend on how you feel about those movies.


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Wednesday, 22 January 2020


A movie about how bad Fox is? You don't say. Although, to be fair, it's not just Fox that has this issue, just that this is the corporation that this movie focuses on.

Gretchen Carlson has had enough of sexual harassment at Fox, is fired, and decides to sue. Meanwhile, plenty of other women are also suffering this, mainly at the hands (and other appendages) of Roger Ailes, but there are a range of reactions from 'it's what you have to put up with' to 'I'm not putting up with this'. Although that latter is far rarely, however we follow Megan Kelly as she decides to finally move into that latter camp. We also see Kayla Pospisil as the 'new girl' who encounters this system.

Women get treated horribly in businesses run by men. That is a fact, as awful as it is. This was a particularly public lawsuit happening, but this is an ongoing mess that is happening elsewhere. And so ultimately, I didn't really connect with the ongoing struggle here, because I know a lot of women have a lot worse in other places.

Now, this does give some kind of visibility, but I'm not sure other women are going to see this and then decide to stand up to their bosses, because this isn't really a cherry picture. Gretchen and Megan have a lot of money, a (admittedly limited at times) support network and can afford good lawyers, moreso than others, and that can help a lot.

Maybe I just wasn't in the best mood to watch this? I do come across as rather down on the movie, but that's mainly because I kept thinking of the wider context rather than getting into the movie itself.


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Wednesday, 15 January 2020

The Yentlemen

A Guy Ritchie film about tough criminal side of London? Is he the English Martin Scorsese?

When a drug king decides it's time to retire, suddenly people come out of the woodwork to consider and possibly overtake his domain. Although we do get most of the story as told to us by a dirty reporter, so already I'm suspicious of 'untrusty narrator', so I'm not incredibly sure of who is going to turn out to be after who. That said, it's a tale spun with Ritchie's style of lots of gangsters being lots of tough and many dirty dealings.

I think Guy has gotten mellow in his old age. Not so much blood and gore, just some decent performances all around. Even Matthew McConaughey isn't as over the top cowboy as he is in other movies. Charlie Hunnam is great in the supporting role, and Hugh Grant gets to extend himself. And, hey, good roles by Henry Golding and Colin Farrell. Oh yes, there are some women in this too, but they are largely considered property from the point of view of the movie.

Overall it's rather fun, but it doesn't really feel like Guy is stretching himself here. Still, very watchable.


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Wednesday, 8 January 2020


A nice fun movie, let's go for it!

First of all, let's cut to the chase: did they have to be more than slightly contrived to get all the original players back as well as throw in some new ones? Yes. But is it still fun? Of course it is!

Frankly, you can see why Dwayne Johnson and co want to play this. They get to play as different people as them, so they get to do a range of characters, not just stuck with one. Although this does raise the point of character interaction vs actor interaction. Is it still meaningful if the characters interacting aren't being played by the actors that developed them?

Anyway, there's a plot, but since this is a video game, it's just a silly series of set pieces. While that could describe a lot of movies, this does get away with it more because it's supposed to be a video game and really a lot of video games don't have a sensible plot when it comes to stringing set pieces together. So that's still on brand.

We also get Danny Devito doing 'old man schtick' and Danny Glover just playing himself as a relaxed old man. I'm also fairly sure that Awkwafina isn't going to be seen as doing a typical role, but hey, see above.

So, all in all, fun movie that is basically want you want for casual enjoyment.


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Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Doctor Sleeeeeeep

Ewan McGregor, okay, I'll buy that. But Stephen King? I'm not so sure.

Danny grew up and had problems. Big surprise. But he managed to find a place in society and keep quite. Enter a group of travelling vampires that feed on people with steam (aka shine), and a particular girl they set their sights on. Who connects with Danny. But he's not eager to get involved.

And it takes over half the movie for that to happen. Some of this is quite captivating, but I'm looking at the time and wondering when the hell the story actually begins. A lot of time is spent on set up of the villains, of the girl, of Danny, but it just takes too long. Get on with it.

Eventually the people do come together, and then it's quite quick. There's one part where you go 'huh, guess they weren't that much of a problem after all', which is an on-going problem with this movie. The main villainess is decidedly evil... but when the rest of them get dealt with easily, and the girl doesn't see her as a threat, why should I?

Eventually, yes we get back to the Overlook Hotel, and there are some great moments where they recreate the sets and some of the previous characters, and those moments are nice. There's likely all sort of emotional reasons for it not to be that way, but I would have liked to see the Overlook Hotel play more of a role of bringing these people together and have them have to deal with each other because of that, as well as with the hotel.

In all, it's decent enough, but easily could be cut into something tighter.


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