Thursday, 7 December 2017

The Disaster Artist (2017) - Film Review

Review:

*Originally written December 7th, 2017*

"In Los Angeles, everyone want to be star"

The Room is a flash of demented, once in a lifetime genius created by one of the most fascinating people to ever grace the planet. A film based around the production of the film and the friendship between its creator and co-star was a hard thing to pull off, yet, somehow, James Franco pulled it off. Delivering one of the funniest and most heartfelt films of the year.

Let's get the strongest and most anticipated part out the way. James Franco. He completely loses himself in the role of the enigma that is Tommy Wiseau, a bizarre man with a mysterious background full of contradictory stories. 

Franco nails Wiseau's unique accent and mannerisms while managing to be both hilarious and a little sad and heartbreaking. If Franco doesn't at least get an Oscar nomination for his role, I will be outraged. Dave Franco also does a great job as Greg Sestero, an actor who gets sucked into Wiseau's Planet and becomes more and more disillusioned by his behaviour.


Franco does an excellent job as a director too. Setting up the complicated relationship between Wiseau and Greg Sestero. Greg being an aspiring actor in San Francisco who becomes fascinated by Tommy after seeing how fearless he is in an acting class. They quickly become friends and move to Los Angeles on Tommy's seemingly never ending supply of money. After having trouble finding acting jobs, they decide to fund their own film 'The Room' 

Greg and Tommy's relationship is easily the core of The Disaster Artist. Two people brought together by the dream of becoming an actor. It really is an ode to creativity and friendship. Sure, The Room was a disaster, but they tried hard to create a piece of art that people would enjoy, so in a way, they succeeded. 

Their road to making the film is not an easy one though, as Tommy's behaviour becomes more and more outrageous, controlling and a little bit unstable. He's clearly a very damaged and not right in the head person, making his a relationship with Greg seem more like something from Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master than your usual comedy.


While this is based on a true story, this is most definitely a comedy at heart, which it exceeds at incredible and might just be one of my favourite comedies of recent years. No question the best comedy of 2017 at the very least. Even among the drama and genuine poignancy on display, I laughed so much. Pretty much every word that came out of Franco's mouth was pure gold. Him as Wiseau is just an endlessly watchable creation.


The Disaster Artist is much more than just a film about the making of the best worst film of all time. It's a tribute to the creative process and following your dreams, being proud of what you've created, no matter what people think. The best comedy of 2017 with a ton of heart and possibly the best performance of James Franco's career.

10/10 Dans (First time watch)

The Disaster Artist is out now in cinemas in the UK
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Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Battle of the Sexes (2017) - Film Review

Review:

*Originally written November 28th, 2017*

"Game on"

I'm always surprised by sports dramas. I personally find sports a painful chore to watch, repetitive and boring, but I understand there's plenty of interesting people behind these sports with stories to tell. Battle of the Sexes was a surprise in the best possible way. I'd only recently watched Little Miss Sunshine for the first time (Which I LOVED), so I was interested to see what that team would do with a sports comedy drama.

Battle of the Sexes tells the story of the famous tennis match between Billy Jean King and Bobby Riggs, although it's about more than just a tennis match. It's about a landmark moment in history of pushing forward with equality for women in sport and just in general. Despite the '70s setting. It's still very much relevant today.

Emma Stone and Steve Carell shine in their roles. Carell plays such an insanely fun to watch and larger than life character as Bobby Riggs. A self proclaimed misogynist and pig on camera, but he brings a lot of depth to the role, showing him more than just a sexist asshole, but someone who is pretty damaged and just wants to be in the spotlight again.


Stone is also excellent as King, a woman fighting for equality and trying her hardest to train for this landmark match while balancing her messy private life. King really is the heart and soul of the film, her story is one that is immensely entertaining and easy to root for. I was surprised at how nearly unrecognisable Stone was in the role. It wouldn't shock me if she bagged at least another Oscar nomination out of this.

It might go through the motions a bit as a sports drama. There's the training montage, moment of doubt etc, but I can overlook that when I was so compelled by what I was seeing. Everything just clicked for me. Including some extremely funny moments, usually at the expense of Carell's stealing the show.

I was pleasantly surprised at just how little tennis there was in the film. It's mostly all about character, while the only real extended play of the tennis is the titular Battle of the Sexes at the end. That's when I really love sports film, when the sport takes a backseat and they focus on character and being a two hour film, the two leads were able to be fully explored and made us care for them, despite the inevitable outcome. 


Battle of the Sexes is one of my favourite sports films in a long time. A character focused showcase of Emma Stone and Steve Carell's acting with just enough heart and humour without being overbearing and overly sentimental. Please support films like this.

9/10 Dans (First time watch)

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Suburbicon (2017) - Film Review

Review:

*Originally written November 28th, 2017*

"Suburban life"

Suburbicon is an odd film of two halves, some of it is very good when it wants to be, while the rest of a big mess of muddled ideas that rarely come together to make a great film. It's a weird mix of a crime mystery, black comedy and a drama about race. It's certainly interesting to watch and held my attention, but I just couldn't help but feel a little more work on it could have made for a truly good film.

It feels like a Coen Brothers film (It was written by them), but George Clooney is no substitute for them as a director. He has a decent visual eye to make a nice looking film, but when it comes to balancing a film of many ideas, none of it comes together massively well. He does have an attention for detail in terms of the satirical period setting of the fictional suburban haven of 'Suburbicon'. 

I really liked some of the ideas here. A perfect suburban family in the 1950's are put on the radar of two loan sharks for the mob after Gardner (Matt Damon) gets in trouble and things spiral out of control for him. In the background of all this, a black family move into Suburbicon and the entire town is in an uproar.


If that sounds out of nowhere, that's because it is. These two stories never meet up or connect with each other. It's bizarre. There was potential here for a satirical drama about a family moving into an all white, racist and backwards haven for white people, which could have been an entire film in itself. Instead it's a few random shots shoved in the background of this crime mystery. It was so weird.

I will at least say that the crime mystery at the forefront of Suburbicon is actually pretty decent. Matt Damon was such a strange character that you slowly learn to find out is a psychopath. It helped I had no idea where this was going, making for a fun ride with some surprises. Like most Coen Brothers films, it does get violent and grizzly out of nowhere towards the end. There's some really funny moments of pitch black comedy too.

Oscar Isaac steals the show in his brief scenes as a claims investigator. I was surprised to see him feature so heavily in the trailers, as his appearance amounts to nothing more that a couple of scenes. Julianne Moore was also fantastic in her duel roles, basically walking straight from her role in Kingsman: The Golden Circle. I just wish there were a few more memorable characters thrown in. The two villains were largely forgettable and not very interesting.


Suburbicon is a mess of ideas that amount to an entertaining and watchable film that's not sure what it wants to be. I feel there's a genuinely great film here after a few more edits.

6/10 Dans (First time watch)

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Sunday, 26 November 2017

Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) - Film Review


Review:

*Originally written November 26th, 2017*

"I was wrong"

If I have anything to be proud of, it's my ability to admit when I'm wrong. I've seen Bram Stoker's Dracula a few times now and I hated it with each watch. I'd even considered it one of my most hated films of all time. Then I rewatched it today, and I loved it? I'm not sure what happened, but everything clicked for me. This a gorgeous looking, terrifying and creative Gothic horror. 

Honestly, the set-production and visual effects are awesome. LOVED everything with the shadows, the way blood sprayed, the lighting, it looked awesome. I don't know what I smoking the other times I watched this. I'm sure I'll grow to love it more with each watch though.

If there's one problem, it's easily the casting of Keanu Reeves. Reeves is a guy who can act well when he wants to, especially within the realm of action films. Here, he is completely out of his depth. Delivering some of the worst line deliveries I've seen and sporting an outrageous accent. I love Reeves, but he's severely miscast here.


Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins fare much better here. Oldman is terrifying as Dracula, helped by some really disturbing makeup and design (His hair still looks like a pair of boobies or Will Ferrell in Zoolander though). Hopkins delivers a surprisingly fun performance filled with charm and a dry sense of humour. A far cry from whatever that Hugh Jackman film was (Must revisit that at some point). 


Bram Stoker's Dracula is just proof that some films need to be revisited frequently until you finally love it. A gorgeous Gothic horror that I cannot wait to revisit and/or hopefully see in a cinema one day. Looks like there's hope for 2001 and a few other classics I hated yet.


8/10 Dans (Rewatch)

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Monday, 20 November 2017

Justice League (2017) - Film Review

Review:

*Originally written November 20th, 2017*

"Assemble"

My expectations for Justice League were never that high to begin with. The road for the DCEU has been rocky at best with a few bright spots like Wonder Woman, but then lows like Suicide Squad (It gets worse with every watch). It's a shame that all of DC's heroes have come together in such a messy fashion in a film that's as boringly simple as it is incoherent at times. If that makes sense.

It seems Snyder has not learned from his criticisms of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Tonally, the film is all over the place. Murky, ugly coloured cinematography then some quips shoved in place to try and balance it. It has no idea what it wants to be. I can only imagine the worst quips come from the talentless hack Joss Whedon, a man who seems to only know how to write in quips. Seriously, Avengers: Age of Ultron is basically Big Bang Theory: The Movie.

At the very least, Justice League does have some very funny moments, mostly at the expense of The Flash, who is played with a sort of awkward charm and sense of childlike wonderment from Ezra Miller. There's the odd lame line that doesn't work, which adds to the tonal mess of the film.


Most of the Justice League do get their moments to shine. Gal Gadot is still excellent as Wonder Woman, bring the humanity to the team. Affleck is still solid is Batman, but they sadly go a different direction with him that they established in BVS. I like Affleck as Batman, but I wish they kept the brutality they led with. The worst off from the team by far is Cyborg, such a bland and ugly character, made worse by such poor CGI. Jason Moama's Aquaman was a pleasant surprise, a functioning alcoholic rock-star who was actually quite bad-ass. 

For such an expensive film, it is outrageous how poor a lot of the special effects are. Nothing feels real or genuine. The designs are poor and the green screens are trash. Every time The Flash uses his powers are some of the worst looking things I've seen all year. The action has moments of fun throughout. Lots of that Snyder slow-motion, so much of it. It's stylish, if a little hollow.

A lot of this film feels hollow. The stakes are low and the villain is poor, a common problem of superhero films and it just lacks any real surprises in general. Everything goes exactly how you'd expect it to go. The Justice League is formed, the bad guy is defeated and everything is okay in the end. It's boring and I'm just pretty sick of it. I won't spoil it, but even Superman's return was exactly how I expected it. At least they solve that "Lois is the key line" from BVS.

Danny Elfman's score is completely forgettable. To the point not a single track stood out. There's some use of familiar themes from previous Batman and Superman films, but nothing new left anything close to a lasting impression. I wish Junkie XL or Hans Zimmer did some work on this. 


Justice League really could have used some work and been made longer, which is not a thing I usually say. Every single side character is wasted. I'm not entirely sure why J.K. Simmons Commissioner Gordon was even in this film. The same problem with Amy Adams or Amber Heard, no one was given enough screen time justify even being in the film. I can only bet there's an "Ultimate" or extended edition of this film coming out on Blu-ray, it really could have done with more.


If Wonder Woman was a step in the right direction for the DCEU, then Justice League is a step back. A bland, generic blockbuster that's watchable and has its moments, but lacks anything close to original or unique. A real disappointment.

5/10 Dans

Justice League is out now in cinemas in the UK
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Friday, 10 November 2017

Murder on the Orient Express (2017) - Film Review


Review:

*Originally written November 9th, 2017*

"Choo-Choo"

I've never seen a previous adaptation of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express or anything with Hercule Poirot outside of spoof, but this seemed as good a start to this material as you could get. It's not massively new or inventive. It's just an incredible entertaining murder mystery that makes the most of its cast and setting.

Kenneth Branagh does a fantastic job in front and behind the camera. His role as Hercule Poirot is pure pantomime and camp, which worked perfectly with the film. He's funny, smart and endlessly glorious to watch. His moustache is something of majesty. A piece of facial hair every man in the world should grow.

The story at the centre is immensely engaging. It really helped going into this blind. I had no idea who the killer was or why it happened, so it made the reveals that much more effective and surprising. It's rare twists come out and they don't feel forced. It doesn't itself too seriously, the ending is pretty mental, but with fun tone this was going for, it all worked in its favour. 


It's hard to split the run time and fully develop thirteen characters, which is something the film struggled with. That said, everyone gets a chance to shine and have fun with the roles. Willem Dafoe is always wonderful, and I was reminded a little of Tim Roth in The Hateful Eight. It was also nice to see Daisy Ridley outside of the Star Wars series. Johnny Depp was a disgusting and horrible character, so it made it that much more satisfying as he was the victim. Peep Show's Olivia Coleman was a little underused, but it's cool to see her as part of a huge ensemble cast in a film like this. Everyone does fine, if a little under served, but it really is Kenneth Branagh's show. 

Even as a director his work is solid. Orient Express is a fast and flashy film with a lot of style. It's a gorgeous looking film that manages to be creative with its enclosed location of a single train for the most part. Loved the overhead angles and long takes of stuff like Poirot investigating a train carriage. There is some poor CGI and green screen here and there, it's not much, but it is very noticeable.


Murder on the Orient Express won't reinvent cinema or anything, but it's still an extremely fun and entertaining murder mystery with a great cast and a standout Kenneth Branagh sporting a glorious piece of a facial hair.

8/10 Dans

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Monday, 6 November 2017

A Bad Moms Christmas (2017) - Film Review

Review:

*Originally written November 6th, 2017*

"Family Christmas"

I don't remember a lot about the original Bad Moms, but I remember it being at least a little better than this. A Bad Moms Christmas walks such a fine line of mediocrity it's oddly interesting. I was amazed at just how little of this Christmas film was memorable. I only saw it a few hours ago and I'm failing to recall what really happened.

It was disappointing to see the three leads spend so little time together. Instead focusing on their own mums (I'm English) who all appear just in time in for Christmas. In all fairness, the new mums introduced for the sequel were the highlight, especially the mother of Mila Kunis's mother played by a sociopathic  Christine Baranski. 



I wanted to see more of what I liked about the first one. From what I remember it was more about how being a mum takes away from the fun of life. Here it's just an obsession about making Christmas good for your kids. Aside from the montage of the mums getting drunk at a mall, there's very little of these characters taking control of their life. It's played very safe, and it's very disappointing. I was just reminded on the outrageous amount of montages used in this. Seriously, there's about 3 too many.

I guess my main problem was just the lack of actual jokes for the most part. I'm honestly not recalling a single time Mila Kunis even tries to attempt comedy in this. It even goes the route of unearned sentimentality towards the end in order to try and earn its place as a Christmas classic. None of it works. I was on the side of these characters pushing their mothers out their lives for good by the end, but no, of course they couldn't have that. So it's a suitably bland and generic happy ending that sets up a potential sequel/spin-off.


I sound like I hated this, but in all honesty, it is very watchable. It just walks its line of mediocrity and never dips into anything atrocious, but never great. There are a couple of genuinely funny moments, but nowhere near enough to call this a recommended comedy. One of the easiest 5/10's I've given this year.

5/10 Dans

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Friday, 3 November 2017

Seed of Chucky (2004) - Film Review

Review:

*Originally written November 3rd, 2017*

"Chucky Goes Bananas"

While many believe Seed of Chucky to be the absolute low point of the series, I actually find it to be one of my favourites. Sure, it swaps any actual horror for campy nonsense, but I actually really love the absolute creative insanity on display here as Chucky goes to Hollywood.

This is by far the most crazy and bizarre of the franchise. Chucky gets a child who can't decide his gender, gets caught masturbating into a cup by a photographer, Jennifer Tilly plays herself in an inspired choice, Chucky kills Britney Spears and a lot of other stuff happens. It's batshit bonkers and I loved it.

I'm not massively sure how I feel about Chucky and Tiffany's child 'Glen' or 'Glenda' in a fun homage to that Ed Wood movie I should probably see. He's a character that looks a bit freaky and gets a little annoying. I would like to see him return in a future film though.


Some of the kills are also marred by some of the worst CGI in the franchise (It never hits the lows of the truck kill in Bride of Chucky though). A lot of the kills have good ideas on paper, but the execution looks cheap and a bit rubbish. It's a shame too. This easily feels like the cheapest of the Chucky films.

There's not too much to say about Seed of Chucky. I know a lot of people hate it, but I have a lot of fun with just how mental this film gets. I also prefer it a lot more than Curse of Chucky, which I just found to be a bit boring. Thankfully Cult returned the series to the more campy tone with some gruesome violence. I wish they'd do some truly crazy in the future. Chucky in Space? Maybe.

7/10 Dans

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The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015) - Film Review

Review:

*Originally written November 18th, 2015*

"Spy Games"

Much like most of Guy Ritchie's filmography, The Man from UNCLE is another fun, yet instantly forgettable exercise in style over substance.

Set in the 60's, 2 agents, one CIA, one KGB, are forced to work together to take down a criminal organization working on making nuclear weapons.

First off, the two leads Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer, have really good chemistry here and make for all the film's funnest scenes. The two opposing cultures working together is a concept that has been done to death, but of all the things done in mediocre fashion, this is not one of them.

The biggest problem with The Man from UNCLE is just how plain and vanilla it is. Sure, Guy Ritchie makes a stylish film with some fun action-scenes and set-pieces, but nothing really feels like it has any weight to it. All the characters are just fairly bland cardboard cutouts with nothing interesting to say about them. 


I have literally just finished watching it too, and despite mildly enjoying it, I'm having a hard time thinking of any scenes or elements that really stood out. I guess it's just a shame that UNCLE came out the same year as other spy films that were far more memorable like Kingsman, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Spectre and even Spy.

I just don't think Guy Ritchie is that good of a filmmaker. He seemed to have moved on from his British Tarantino knock-off's to largely forgettable blockbusters like the Sherlock Holmes series. It's a shame that UNCLE wasn't handled by a better director, as the spy buddy-comedy thing set in the 60's could have been a really cool idea if it was executed better.


The Man from is UNCLE is what it is, a very forgettable, but enjoyable spy action comedy that there really is not a lot to say about.

6/10 Dans

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Thursday, 2 November 2017

Geostorm (2017) - Film Review

Review:

*Originally written November 2nd, 2017*

"*Geoturd"

Oh, Geostorm. What a fool I was. I was expecting this to be some post-Emmerich disaster-film fun, instead what I got what a boring slog that was poor on near enough every level. I wasn't expecting high art from this, but at the very least I wanted some dumb, trashy fun involving Gerard Butler.

This is a confused film of two halves. The first being a film about Gerard Butler on a space station trying to deactivate a rogue satellite that people have hacked to cause natural disasters around the world (Or something). While the other half is his brother on Earth trying to find out who's doing it and save the president from assassination.

The problem is that none of this silly story works or even makes a bit of sense. I could have accepted this better had it taken itself less seriously, but it doesn't. It's pretty dead-faced serious and even tries to make you care about these cardboard characters, giving you some moments that try to be emotional, but fails miserably.

There's a few odd bits of humour thrown in that are just embarrassing. There's an insane joke referencing the Guy Ritchie film Gerard Butler starred in 'Rock N' Rolla', which was bizarre. Then there was a point where a character shouted "I'm Mexican" which made no sense. I'll admit I did laugh a few times at how bad this mess was a few times. I also loved at what I hoped was an intentional reference to Peep Show when a character kept referring to 'Project Zeus'.


As a disaster film, this was also pitiful. We're teased with some high destruction action, but it's all too brief and kept cutting away from the set-piece. It reminded me of the 2014 Godzilla film, but that at least paid off in the end. There were a few decent pieces of imagery with some decent CGI I'd expect from a film this over budget, but then there were some bizarre shots that looked like a PS1 cut-scene. Including a moment where the frame rate drops and it looked awful. I have no idea where the budget to this went.

Gerard Butler is in his element here, stupid action films, where he completely phones it in. He's a charmless, boring character with a bland backstory and no charisma. Whatever his character here was called was no Mike Banning. The rest of the cast were equally as expendable. Even Ed Harris who plays the villain with some of the most insane motivations I've seen in quite some time.


Geostorm should have been a dumb fun disaster film, instead it doesn't even land in the category of "So bad, it's good", it's just boring. A bland, uninspired and overpriced film that couldn't even deliver on the low promise of dumb fun. It's just dumb and boring.

3/10 Dans

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Monday, 30 October 2017

Monsters: Dark Continent (2014) - Film Review

Review:

*Originally written January 16th, 2016*

"The real monsters are the ones who made this"

The first Monsters was a small and touching sci-fi drama that managed to do a lot with it's extremely low budget. This cash-in sequel on the other hand, does nothing. Nothing that made the first one so great is on display here, the acting is brutal, the action is poorly filmed and the story delves into dull war cliches. I don't even know why this was made as a sequel? Apart from the fact the same aliens are in it, there is nothing that connects to the first.

Gareth Edwards was obviously busy doing the Godzilla reboot when they made this, although I'm not sure if he could have saved this terrible screenplay. Tom Green (Not that one) takes over here and this one takes the action to the Middle East and features soldiers. 

The soldiers were all obnoxious douche bags. Warning signs flew at me very early on during a scene where the soldiers were fucking cheap whores. It just rubbed me the wrong way. All the performances are brutal and unbearable.


There wasn't even any decent action. It was all shakey-cam bullshit and poorly filmed. It looked really cheap and ugly too, which is no excuse considering the first had an even lower budget. Aside from the creatures which are sparsely used (The only thing similar to the first), nothing else looked good. The visual style of this film made me want to fucking vomit.


I don't have any reason to recommend Monsters: Dark Continent, it really was cheap garbage that never should have seen the light of day. Everyone involved in this cash-in should be ashamed.

2/10 Dans

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Thursday, 26 October 2017

Freddy vs. Jason (2003) - Film Review

Review:

*Originally written October 26th, 2017*

"KO"

I probably should have picked a better film for my last day of being 20, but nostalgia and the lack of anything else being on Netflix, plus the factor of being round a friends who wanted a horror film, I thought I'd revisit Freddy vs. Jason. A film I LOVED as a child, I watched this on DVD a lot, more than I care to remember. Watching it as an adult... it's... bad. 

The idea of pitting two of cinemas greatest slasher villains against each other is a novel idea, and one that had the potential for a lot of fun, but it's just such a mess. A confused mash-up of both mythologies that end up as a poorly directed slog of a film. It fails as both a Friday the 13th film and a Nightmare on Elm Street film.

This whole thing reeks of a cheap cash-in. It looks like shit. It's so cheap and special effects are laughably bad and outdated. There's a moment where Freddy turns into a slug and it looks like a PS2 game. It's pathetic. The lack of care and effort put into this film is embarrassing. It seems like they thought they'd have a good film just because they had these two iconic characters together. 


There were a couple of grizzly kills that I laughed at. The girl getting smashed into the tree was pretty choice. It's just a shame a lot of it is ruined by the poor visual effects. None of this stuff is creepy either. I'm not massively sure where this fits into either of the series, but each of them seem wasted. 

The brawls themselves are very weak too. We get two punch ups between the two. One in Freddy's dream world, then one in the real world. Neither are satisfying or interesting. It feels like watching someone play Mortal Kombat, but completely lifeless.


It's such a shame when things like this happen. Watching a film you loved as a kid, only to watch it as an adult and realise it's pretty terrible. Freddy vs. Jason is a pathetic attempt at a vs horror film. Made even worse by the fact this is the last on-screen appearance of Robert Englund as Freddy. What a terrible note to end such an iconic character on. Kinda surprised they never went anywhere with the sequel hinting ending though.

4/10 Dans

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Child's Play 3 (1991) - Film Review

Review:

*Originally written October 26th, 2017*

"Chucky Goes to Military School"

Not entirely sure why I watched this tonight. I guess because it was 2:30am and I wanted something that was short and I fancied some Chucky. Plus it's October, so always time for a slasher film, right?

This was always my least favourite of the original trilogy growing up, and it still is. There's nothing massively wrong with it as a horror sequel. The military school is a nice change of scenery. The 8 year jump is a bit jarring (Placing the film in 1998 despite being released in 1991). Luckily, I think Bride of Chucky played catch up by taking place a month after this. 

It's by far the most nasty and mean spirited of the first 3. There's just something a lot more brutal and dark this time round. Chucky is still the lovable scamp he usually is with the same charming vocabulary. Maybe the whole thing is tainted by the James Bulger connection (A case I've read too much about at this point). I dunno, something just seems off.


At least some of the kills are fun and creative, which they did more with the swapped paintball rounds for bullets though. I feel a massacre of the kids could have been a lot more effective and sick. There's also some excellent puppetry going on here and Chucky's lip syncing seems much more refined from what I remember. 

There's a nice change where Chucky isn't after Andy for once, but it's a shame they abandoned all the original actors due to the time jump. It's made worse by the fact all the performances (Aside from the hairdresser) are universally awful. I feel bad picking out a child for his acting, but Jeremy Sylvers is atrocious.

I did love the setting of the finale. I just love stuff that takes place in a Halloween maze/ride. Kinda reminded me of the finale of The Guest, but with a ginger midget of a doll rather than Dan Stevens. Brad Dourif is still wonderful as Chucky. I still love the fact he's a more vocal killer that mocks his victims more in line with Freddy Krueger rather than the silent killers like Michael Myers of Jason Voorhees. 


I'm looking forward to revisiting Bride and Seed of Chucky that have both finally been released on Blu-ray in the UK. Which is about damn time. Child's Play 3 though is just fine, it's nasty, mean-spirited and violent, but it's more Charles Lee Ray going bananas. So I can't complain too much.

6/10 Dans

Child's Play 3 is out now on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK
Watch the trailer below:



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Thor: Ragnarok (2017) - Film Review

Review:

*Originally written October 26th, 2017*

"Third time's the charm"

They finally did it. It took Marvel three attempts, but they've finally made a Thor solo film that didn't make me want to kill myself. The first two Thor films are by far the worst outings of the MCU (Aside from the pathetic Age of Ultron). Thankfully, Disney seem to finally be allowing directors to finally take creative control and make unique films. For the third time in a row this year, Marvel have knocked it out the park and have finally dropped that garbage televisual look many of their films have.

Thor: Ragnarok is a gorgeous, gorgeous film with a striking and varied colour palette. They seem to be moving more in the direction of Guardians of the Galaxy with its zany and cosmic weirdness and they embrace it, which I loved. There's so many cool and different sci-fi ideas and designs here to embrace here. It's the only Thor film that I feel will grow on me with each watch. 

Chris Hemsworth is still great as The God of Thunder, Thor. Playing it charming and funny. There's not much range outside of that, but I'll get to that with my main problem with the film. I was surprised by Tom Hiddleston as Loki here. Loki is a character I've grown sick of in the recent years. We get it, he's smug and slimy, there's been a few times for him to stretch, but being played as the joke rather than the threat really worked here. Mark Ruffalo is a welcome return as Bruce Banner/The Hulk, it's shame we'll probably never get a solo film with him, but Ruffalo continues to be an excellent Hulk. The visual effects artist also seem to improve him with each portrayal too.

What makes Thor: Ragnarok so strong is just how much fun it is. We jump from location to location. Most of the film takes place on a planet run by an overlord played by the always excellent Jeff Goldblum, where Thor is forced to be a gladiator while his home is being taken over by a new threat 'Hela' (Cate Blanchett). I always appreciate when these films tell their own stories without the need to be annoyingly connected with the rest of the MCU. Aside from a couple of references, Ragnarok stand completely on its own. 

My main problem with Ragnarok is the same problem I had with Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2. The jokes. There's just too many and they weigh down any kind of emotion the film could have had. It seemed any moment there was potential for a tense scene, it would be undercut by a joke. Not to say it wasn't funny, most of the jokes are actually very solid. It's just I wish they'd let some stuff breathe more and make us care. It's all good fun, but it felt like a very emotionless film, despite some of the big events that happen.



Then there's a common problem with Marvel films. The villain. Cate Blanchett doesn't give a bad performance at all, she's actually pretty fun in the role, hamming it up completely. It's just there's not a lot to the character, making her another disposable Marvel villain that will be quickly forgotten. At the very least, it's an improvement on those stupid goblins from The Dark World. Karl Urban is also pretty wasted as the secondary villain, he has a moment to shine towards the end, but was mostly just there.

If there's a big problem Marvel overcame this time, it's the score. Ragnarok delivers a wonderfully '80s electronic score that suited the film perfectly from Mark Mothersbaugh. It's the first film from the MCU where I've actually remembered stuff from the score. There's also a few choice songs spread throughout. 

Marvel are now officially 3 for 3 with their MCU films this year and Thor: Ragnarok is a massive improvement on the previous two films. It's a little hollow, but it's a gorgeous, fun and funny blast of a sci-fi adventure. Keep it up, Marvel. 

8/10 Dans

Thor: Ragnarok is out now in cinemas in the UK
Watch the trailer below:
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Happy Death Day (2017) - Film Review

Review:

*Originally written October 26th, 2017*

"Live. Die. Repeat" 

Not a lot to say about Happy Death Day a mostly serviceable and entertaining spin on the Groundhog Day formula, but with a horror/slasher twist.

It's all just fairly watchable, yet highly forgettable. It made for breezy watching, mostly thanks to its 90 minute run time, but it just feels lacking in many areas. 

All the characters are pretty horrible. Jessica Rothe (Blake Lively's long lost twin sister) does a fine job as the lead, a college student forced to relive the day she's murdered again and again until she survives it. There was no problem with her performance, she shines at times and is genuinely funny and charming, but the character is such a bitch at the beginning, it was hard to root for her. Luckily she gets easier to root for as she starts to see her wrongs as the film goes on.

I liked the fact they never explain why the 'Groundhog Day' effect happens, she just wakes up with the ability. No nonsensical fantasy element, it just happens. I appreciate that, rather than most films way of over explaining things. 


The mystery of why the girl is killed is pretty weak, resolved in a pretty laughable and insane twist. I'd argue most of the film is very stupid, but that's the point. There's a crazy amount of times the lead could have figured out who was trying to kill her, but decides to give it a different try. They don't take the Edge of Tomorrow approach of the lead trying the same tactic until it worked. It was just kind of infuriating to see the lead knock down the killer and run off, when she had the perfect opportunity to mash his brains in while he was down.

For a 15 rated (In the UK) film, I was surprised at how tame this was. There was potential for a variety of gruesome kills, but instead the camera tended to cut away before any of the gore could be seen, I assume this was to secure a lower age rating in other countries, but in the UK, it just seems another addition to the 15 rating the BBFC shove on tame films purely for being "Horror". 

I sound quite negative, but I did have a lot of fun with Happy Death Day. I didn't expect this to be as funny as it was, but it worked more as a comedy than it did a horror. There's a few lame jump-scares, but it never takes itself seriously. The highlight was easily a montage of the lead continually dying in order to cross of the list of suspects it might be. 


Happy Death Day is far from one of the best horror films of the year, but as a passable slasher film with the Groundhog Day gimmick, it did its job and is obviously appealing to the teen crowd. What I'm trying to say is, it was better than I was expecting. Hey ho. 

6/10 Dans

Happy Death Day is out now in cinemas in the UK
Watch the trailer below:


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The Disaster Artist (2017) - Film Review

Review: *Originally written December 7th, 2017* "In Los Angeles, everyone want to be star" The Room is a flash of demented...