Category Archives: Film Reviews

Vice (2018) Film Review

What do you know about Dick Cheney? What does anyone know about Dick Cheney? I knew a bit here and there, certainly had read a bit about his involvement, as Vice President to George W Bush, in the conflict in Iraq and in extraordinary rendition and torture in the years post 911. This film tells his story – well, it tries. It admits, both at the start and at the end, that it is a flawed telling, and anyone who knows my struggle with biopics will know how much I appreciate this. But the story it tells is of a man who initially has little motivation but, with the almost Lady MacBeth urging of his wife, rises through the White House enjoying the ability to manipulate people and situations as he sees fit. He appears to have no real moral compass and his sole drive appears to be power.

This film is told in an unusual manner, with direction narration to the camera by some unknown bloke. There are twists and turns and, honestly, at times I was wondering what was going on. I walked out wondering about it but, after talking about it with a few people I decided that I really liked it. A lot.

Vice won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy (Christian Bale) and was nominated for Best Screenplay – Motion Picture (Adam McKay), Best Director – Motion Picture (Adam McKay), Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Amy Adams), Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Sam Rockwell)

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The Favourite (2018) Film Review

Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) is unwell both physically and, at times, mentally. She is advised by Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) who is serving her own interest, advising against the men in parliament. Then Abigail (Emma Stone) turns up, a relative who has fallen on bad times and begins working in the palace.

This is the new film by Yorgos Lanthimos who previously made The Lobster and Killing of a Sacred Deer, and I love his style. This is quite different to his previous films, but with plenty of the wonderful absurdity. Everyone in it is magnificent, but Olivia Colman is incredible.  What an amazing actress, she does funny, she does tragic, she’s got it all, and this role was absolutely made for her.

The Favourite won Golden Globes for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy (Olivia Colman) and Best Screenplay – Motion Picture (Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara) and was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Emma Stone), Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Rachel Weisz) and Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.

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Crazy Rich Asians (2018) Film Review

Rachel(Constance Wu) goes with her boyfriend Henry(Nick Young) to Singapore for his best friend’s wedding. What he hasn’t told her is that his family has a lot of money. They are not simply rich – they are crazy rich. When she is brought into his world, she has to deal with judgement and accusations of gold-digging and a whole heap of nastiness, which is especially annoying because Rachel is just so totally good and adorable and awesome. Thank goodness she has kooky friend Peik (Awkwafina) and kooky family – also very rich (not crazy rich, just very rich) to help her through.

It’s a romantic comedy, so there is bound to be a fair whack of cheesiness. But my goodness, I feel like I spent quite a bit of the movie laughing at things which were not really supposed to be funny – like the “eating and smiling” montage at the market, or the strange over the seat hug which they’re driving around. It’s a really fun film, beautiful (and with so many hot men and hot women in amazingly stunning and luxurious locations – it’s worth watching for that alone) and a hell of a lot of fantastic, familiar faces, but it’s lacking something. I feel as though it needed someone to go through and tighten it up a bit. Maybe lose a few characters, or the odd scene, or just give it a bit more of shape. But having said that, it was so much fun, especially seeing in a cinema with a good audience who laughed loudly and really enjoyed it. Plus, the soundtrack is fabulous.

Crazy Rich Asians was nominated for Golden Globes for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy (Constance Wu) and Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.

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BlacKkKlansman (2018) Film Review

Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) is the first African-American policeman in Colorado Springs, Colorado who manages to start an investigation into the Klu Klux Klan via one very fortunate phone call. While he is able to develop the relationship on the phone, he’ll need a white guy for the in-person meetings, and in steps Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) and between the two of them (and a few others) they start rubbing shoulders with some extremely bigoted and dangerous people.

One of the things that I always find difficult with historical films about injustice is that I feel like things should have changed. In my lifetime, things should have changed. And Spike Lee was not going to let the audience pat themselves on the back and say that good on us for being in 2018 and things have changed. The KKK still exists and is active and mainstream, and Lee gives us one final punch in the guts right before the credits.

BlacKkKlansman was nominated for Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director – Motion Picture (Spike Lee), Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama (John David Washington) and Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Adam Driver)

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Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) Film Review

Bohemian Rhapsody is a biopic of Queen and Freddie Mercury. Not a lot more to describe than that. It seems that everyone I know who has mentioned it on Facebook has loved it, so I guess I’m flying in the face of popular opinion when I say that I really didn’t like it much.

For me, the story was too big for a movie, even a film that goes over 2 hours. I didn’t really enjoy the style of filming, and there were far too many close-ups. I didn’t feel much of a connection with the characters. It just did very little for me. Apart from the live scenes, which were amazing. I struggle with biopics about how factual they are, and what has been changed for dramatic effect. And given that they couldn’t get Freddie’s eye colour right, what else was changed?

What I got from this film is a real desire to see a live concert by Queen in a cinema with a whole bunch of folks, singing at the top of our lungs. I need to clean my house this afternoon, and I know what I’m going to put on for inspiration.

Bohemian Rhapsody won Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture – Drama and Best Performance in a Motion Picture – Drama (Rami Malek).

 

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A Star is Born (2018) Film Review

Ally (Lady Gaga) works in a hotel and in her spare time, sings in a small bar. One day alcoholic superstar musician Jack (Bradley Cooper) comes in. They fall in love, her career kicks off and a star is born! But his addiction is ruining everything around him and it seems to only be her love for him that keeps him going.

Look, I like the music, and the performances were very enjoyable, and I do have a soft spot for Lady Gaga, but it was quite problematic in many ways. I especially hated the whole ‘woman needs to fix broken man’ story. I was just thinking about the film and trying to remember the other female characters and I realised that I couldn’t recall any, so I had a quick squiz on IMDB and there are no other women in the film. No wait, yes, there were a couple of dancers, there was a wife of someone. What world is this that there are no women? No wonder I didn’t like this film. Yup, in writing this, I’ve decided that I just didn’t like it. Man is broken, needs woman to fix him. Woman is star struck, stays in a destructive abusive relationship why? For the fame? Romanticising the idea that women should tolerate appalling behaviour to save face? Ugh. Now I’ve made myself cross. No, let me correct that. This film has made me cross. Seeing as IMDB was open, I thought I’d quickly look at the writing credits. All men. Not really surprising. I suppose an argument could be made that not every film needs to take into consideration the women’s perspective, or the non-white perspective (it’s an extremely white cast), or the LGBT perspective (the couple’s first encounter does happen in a drag club, but this ‘family’ for Ally is left behind pretty darn quickly). But a woman’s story being told by men and excluding women from every aspect of her life? Surely we’re beyond that now? Aren’t we?

A Star is Born won a Golden Globe for Best Original Song – Motion Picture (Shallow ) and was nominated for Best Motion Picture- Drama, Best Director – Motion Picture (Bradley Cooper), Best Performance by an Action in a Motion Picture (Bradley Cooper) and Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture (Lady Gaga).

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Fast & Furious (2009) Film Review

We’re back in the US and back with Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) who is back in the police. Returning to the US after the death of Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) is bent on finding out who killed her. When their paths cross, lots of high-speed chases and big stunts are bound to follow.

This is getting back to the good stuff of the first. While there are hardly good roles for women, at least they are used a lot less as skimpily clad set dressing. It’s a bit darker, but it’s still a lot of fun.

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