My Octopus Teacher (2020) Film Review

One of the big hits on Netflix mid-pandemic was My Octopus Teacher. It’s a beautiful story of the ‘friendship’ between doco filmmaker Craig Foster and an octopus. Craig dives daily as a form of therapy as he recovers from burnout, and films the beautiful wildlife he sees. And each day, he sees this octopus, and they become closer and the footage is amazing. Totally stunning.

Multiplicity (1996) Film Review

It’s funny how much you can remember enjoying a film, but when you go back to re-watch, it’s nowhere near as funny or clever as you remember…

So, Multiplicity. Doug (Michael Keaton) is a contractor with more work than he can handle, plus a wife, Laura (Andie McDowell) who is ready to return to work and young kids. He just can’t have it all… until he meets a scientist who can solve his problems. He has a magic cloning device that can create another Doug. One can work, one can do family stuff. Great… although then Doug 2 wants more and there’s Doug 3. And Doug 4…

So, forget about all of the ‘what if’ questions that are raised. Forget about the fact that there are 4 identical looking men wandering around one property and around the suburb. Forget about the fact that Laura surely would have noticed more. It’s just… not that funny. In fact, for the most part, it’s pretty boring. And long. And then there’s the ableism and the misogyny… (of it’s time? Could have still been better).

If you remember this being a hilarious film, watch the trailer. That pretty much gets all the funny stuff.

Moonstruck (1997) Film Review

Loretta (Cher) is a widow living a safe life in New York with her parents, courted by the very safe Johnny (Danny Aiello). When Johnny proposes, then heads to Italy to be with his ill mother as she dies, he sends Loretta to invite his estranged brother, Ronny (Nicholas Cage) to the wedding. Despite his highly aggressive outburst (which is apparently romantic), Loretta falls for him. Meanwhile, there are a whole heap of others in Loretta’s world all having romantic struggles. It’s the full moon. It’s sent them all love crazy.

The soundtrack is wonderful. The style is stunning. The story is somewhat questionable, seriously, and both my friend and I were far more interested in the story of Loretta’s mother, Olympia Dukakis, as she deals with her philandering husband. Cher won an Oscar for this, as did Olympia Dukakis, and it also won a screenwriting Oscar.

Love and Monsters (2020) Film Review

There was a monster apocalypse and now people live underground in colonies, only venturing out for emergencies. Joel (Dylan O’Brien) is in regular contact with his girlfriend since before the disaster. But, with all of the young people in his colony paired off, he can stand it no more. He’s a coward, but he sets out to find her and start a new life. He finds a dog, a little girl and an older man, and his courage. Aw. Heartwarming.

It’s a great film, a lot of fun. It feels an awful lot like Zombieland, with a similar sense of road trip in disaster times, but it works. And some of the monsters are just adorable!

Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) Film Review

An English super-secret spy organisation which kind of takes the piss out of MI5 and Bond whilst still being a decent spy film? Yeah, ok. I feel like this had all the stuff that I usually love in an action film, but it kind of missed the mark for me. I think it’s a strong film. It’s funny. It’s got fabulous and ridiculous action sequences. But… What is it that’s missing? I couldn’t tell you. It just… it was fine. That’s it.  I still expect I’ll watch the sequel.

John Wick 3 (2019) Film Review

In case you’ve forgotten from John Wick 2, the entire world is out to get John Wick (Keanu Reeves). Everyone. Amazingly, as was established at the end of the previous film, pretty much every single person in New York is an assassin, so with 90 minutes head start, how will he survive?

The interesting thing about these films is that with each one, they get closer and closer to having an actual plot. But they don’t lose what we’ve come to love from a John Wick film – glamourous fighting scenes, great music, and Keanu Reeves being repeatedly kick-arse. So good. And apparently two more on the way, so that’s great.

In The Heights (2021) Film Review

Usnavi (Anthony Ramos) runs a bodega in Washington Heights, and his dream is to return to his father’s homeland, Dominican Republic. Meanwhile, he’s in love but scared to act on it, a woman wants to pursue a career in fashion design but can’t see how to achieve this, a young woman returns from college scared to tell her father she’s dropping out, a young man sees his future failing because of his undocumented status, and a young man is about to lose his job as the owner sells. Oh, and the local beauty salon is being priced out and has to move. Essentially, everything is changing.

Before seeing this, one of my mate’s kids told me that there was too much singing and she didn’t really understand what was going on. While I had a fair understanding of what was happening, there were a lot of plots and it felt a bit all over the place. And it was a long film with a lot of singing. Yes, there are plenty of great songs, and some really amazing sequences, and it’s certainly worth a watch, but I’m not going to be racing to watch it again.

Happiest Season (2020) Film Review

Abby (Kristen Stewart) and Harper (Mackenzie Davis) have been happily together for some time when Harper accidentally invites Abby home for Christmas. The problem – she hasn’t told her family that she’s gay, much less that she’s in a long-term relationship with a woman. And things don’t go smoothly.

It’s not a great film, and I think that’s because it’s been pitched wrong. It’s pitched as a comedy and it’s really not. It’s a drama with some (few and far between) funny scenes. I think it’s because the premise is not funny anymore – it’s been a long time since I saw The Birdcage (1996), but it’s 25 years later and maybe the idea that acting straight to be accepted is a bit passé.   Dan Levy’s character said it best when he said “There’s nothing more erotic that concealing your authentic selves”. It’s not funny, it’s heartbreaking.

Girl on the Train (2016) Film Review

Rachel (Emily Blunt) is an alcoholic who is obsessed with an ideal couple she sees from the train each day. But one day, she sees the woman with someone else, someone not her husband. When, shortly after this, the woman disappears, she thinks she might know something, but her blackout drunkenness won’t allow her to remember it.

I enjoyed this book immensely, and I’m glad I let several years pass before watching the film. My memory of the plot was there, but not the final twists and turns, and so I could thoroughly enjoy every step of it. There’s some upsetting violence, but only what is appropriate to the story. I thought it was fantastic, a really good thriller.

Flying High (1980) Film Review

What a classic. The utterly ridiculous comedy of a disaster film spoof. So many top lines and wild sight gags. This is a great film, very much to be watched through a lens of the time, and to acknowledge that many of the jokes wouldn’t be considered these days. But surely a lot of it is just clever wordplay? Yes, and please, don’t call me Shirley.