Swiss Army Man (2016) Film Review

What the… what did I just watch? A film about Hank (Paul Dano) who appears to be stranded on a beach somewhere when a dead body, Manny (Daniel Radcliffe) washes up. He uses this body not only to survive, but to get him back to civilisation. Only… what?

This is magnificently weird, and I was surprised that I actually loved it. Well, most of it. It had that wonderful quirky US Independent film feel, and I was unsure if I was living in a very strange reality or the mysterious world of a delusional man –  and I didn’t care. And then it ended, and I really didn’t like the end at all. I felt like the world I was inhabiting was ruined, and I was left feeling that I just didn’t like the film, and that’s not true. I really did like it, just not the end bit.

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Rize (2005) Film Review

Remember krumping? I wonder what happened to that? Rize is a documentary surrounding some of the dance culture of South Central LA around a decade after the riots that happened in response to the outcome of the trial of the police who beat Rodney King to death in 1992. Specifically, the rise of Clown groups who put on clown makeup and attended kids parties to dance which then led to krumping. Groups who would get together and dance. It was aggressive, but it was an alternative to so much of the street violence that was happening.

It’s a fabulous documentary that I remember watching when it was first released. This is a world a long way from suburban Melbourne. Watching it again now makes me wonder what happened to these guys. I’ve just had a look – Tommy the Clown, the guy who started it all, has a website, runs an academy and there was a Battle Zone event just last year. Cool.

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Oblivion (2013) Film Review

Jack (Tom Cruise) and Victoria (Andrea Risebrough) are living in a future where aliens attacked the Earth and in the war, the moon was destroyed and the Earth fell to pieces. Humans quickly built a space station and moved everyone onto it and now Jack and Victoria are on a mission on Earth to find and repair drones. Humans have their memories wiped, yet Jack has dreams of the times before the war. However, it turns out that not all is as it seems, as Jack discovers when he meets his wife, Julia (Olga Kurylenko), who he knows from his dreams, and the mysterious Beech (Morgan Freeman).

I enjoyed the look of the film and, generally, I like Tom Cruise in a sci-fi action film. But I had very little idea of what was going on. I just could’t really engage and so kept drifting off and then I was lost. And I wasn’t quite sure what had been achieved at the end. I presume things were saved?

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The Lego Ninjago Movie (2017) Film Review

I wanted to like this. Even though I keep forgetting that I didn’t love either The Lego Movie or The Lego Batman Movie, I wanted to like this. I just kind of didn’t. The story was blah, and yes, I know kids movies kind of need to have some kind of good morals and all that, but really, if you want me to be accepting of that, do better. There were 6 main ‘hero’ characters- 5 male. The bad guy and almost all of his henchmen – male. The kid at the start and the shop keeper – male. There needs to be more female characters. It just needs to happen. Come on. 2017.

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Mission Impossible: Fallout (2018) Film Review

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) has another impossible mission. And he has some of his old friends with him, and some new folks. Who can you trust? Anyone? No-one? I predict no-one most of the time. Certainly, there is bound to be a lot of double and triple crossing.

The difficult thing with a series like this is that every film needs to be bigger and better than the last, and eventually there is only so much bigger you can get. The scenes in Paris are fun, but the end sequence up in the mountains with the helicopters? Ridiculous. Stupid. Perfect for this film. At least Ethan Hunt was looking tired at times, I mean he is incredibly fit and can still run like no-one else, but Tom Cruise is no spring chicken and I think he’s allowed to get out of breath once in a while.

Also, I will watch more of these. I don’t care how ridiculous they get, I will continue to watch them.

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Sicario (2015) Film Review

Kate (Emily Blunt) is an FBI agent who is dealing with horrific situations happening around the US/Mexico border relating to the drug gangs and the police. She is enlisted into a task force to go into Mexico and try to follow several leads to resolve the situation, but her idealism and belief that she is able to make a difference is challenged at every step.

This is a horrible film- extremely good in many ways, but just awful and violent, and maddening and I just wanted it to end. I wouldn’t recommend this film to a lot of folks because I found it very hard to watch, but I think if you don’t mind feeling outraged at the world and angry that things can be so unjust, you might like it. I am in two minds about the end – I feel as though it suddenly became quite a Hollywood film when it had the chance to be more… I’m not sure if real is quite the right word, but different. Though maybe a more real story would be too long for a film.

Sicario was nominated for Oscars for Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Sound Editing and Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score.

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United Skates (2018) MIFF Review

So, I know about Roller Derby. That part of skate culture has been on the rise in recent times, and it’s for strong, tough women, and it’s stylish and cool and there are great outfits and names and… but this isn’t about that. In the US, skate rinks are closing and this doco presents two key reasons. Firstly, that developers and the like are offering the owners of the land massive amounts of money to rezone for profit. The second is racism – large groups of African-American people getting together for what is known as ‘Adult Nights’ – all night skate parties that look like an insane amount of fun. That’s probably simplifying it, but it is the way it comes across. Filmmakers Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler follow the story of some of the people for whom skating is a way of life – a way to be with friends, to relieve the tension of everyday life and to have a good time.

There’s a lot in this 89-minute documentary, but I wanted more, especially more of the skating. What I’d love is if the film makers were able to release either an extended cut or perhaps just a whole heap of the footage. It’s amazing that each city has their own style and to see these styles coming together. The history of the rinks is also fascinating. It really made me want to strap on some wheels – though probs best not.

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