Category Archives: Movies

Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel is a 2019 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Carol Danvers.

Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the twenty-first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, with Geneva Robertson-Dworet also contributing to the screenplay.

Brie Larson stars as Danvers, alongside Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg, and Jude Law. Set in 1995, the story follows Danvers as she becomes Captain Marvel after Earth is caught in the center of a galactic conflict between two alien worlds.


When I heard the name Danvers I immediately thought of Supergirl. But why do two super-heroes have the same surname ?

But according to one account, Roy Thomas (who created this first version of Carol Danvers) admits he might have been unconsciously thinking of Supergirl’s name even though he was writing a very different kind of character. Interestingly enough, if we assume that the name “Danvers” did remind people of Supergirl back in the 60s and 70s, it might have actually propelled this US Air Force security chief into a narrative path that led to her getting powers like flight and super-strength — a destiny that just resonates with the name, perhaps?

As for the film, while I had all the right ingredients, it things didn’t really come together in a satisfying way. There was humour, action and plenty of CGI effects.

The story starts strong, then appears to go into a rather confusing flashback. Things don’t really get sorted out until the third act. It does have Jude Law, who appears to he having fun strutting around in a cool uniform.

Overall, just OK.. as Mark Kermode explains….

Alita


Alita: Battle Angel is a 2019 American cyberpunk action film based on Yukito Kishiro’s manga series Gunnm, also known as Battle Angel Alita. It was directed by Robert Rodriguez, written by James Cameron and Laeta Kalogridis.

Rosa Salazar stars as Alita, a cyborg, with supporting roles portrayed by Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley and Keean Johnson.


There are some amazing graphics in this film. Fortunately that’s not all as there is a good story. Sure, it’s taken a lot of tropes and cliches from other science fiction, but it is well done and there are plenty of unexpected turns. At one point near the end I though it was going to take a very schmaltzy ending. Fortunately that was avoided and end ending left scope for sequels.

 

Lego 2

Everything is (still) awesome

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

The sequel to The Lego Movie (2014), it is the fourth film in the franchise, following the release of two spin-offs, The Lego Batman Movie and The Lego Ninjago Movie (both 2017).

The film is directed by Mike Mitchell, with Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (writers and directors of the first film) returning as producers and writers.

Reprising their original roles are:
Chris Pratt (Emmett)
Elizabeth Banks (Lucy)
Will Arnett (Batman)
Nick Offerman (Metalbeard)

At the start Lucy and her gang are captured by an alien and taken off-world. Five years later, it comes back and prompts Emmett into action. He is going to get the girl and save the day. However as the plot progresses, it becomes apparent that it’s not about this at all. The story is about siblings competing. There are ideas thrown in from just about all Science Fiction franchises and movies like ‘Toy Story’ and ‘Inside Out’. The roles of the major protagonists change and soon the story changes from the predictable.

Then, near the end the the Judge enters:

Maya Rudolph as Mom

 

Maya Rudolph as Judge Hydrogen in ‘The Good Place’

 

Mark Kermode explains how awesome the movie is:

And ‘that’ song…

 

Plus a new one:

 

Dragon Training #3

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

An animated film loosely based on the book series of the same name by Cressida Cowell, produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by Universal Pictures.

A sequel to 2010’s How to Train Your Dragon and 2014’s How to Train Your Dragon 2, it is the third and final installment in the How to Train Your Dragon film trilogy.


Despite the technical brilliance in sound and animation (sometimes the score really stood out as brilliant orchestral writing, distracting from the action). I didn’t really get and emotional involvement from the story. It was all very well done, and wraps up the trilogy nicely. But not in an outstanding way.

Movies 2018

All the Movies of 2018 with comments

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
American art-house film gets awards

Coco
My review at the time (4 Feb) called it the best movie of 2018 – it still is !

Black Panther
Black Americans take over film industry, make cracker of a movie.

The Death of Stalin
Grim comedy

Pacific Rim: Uprising
Not as good as the first

Ready Player 1
Can never replace the book

Annihilation
First netflix movie reviewed !

Early Man
Fun & silly Ardman clay-mation

Rampage
Dwayne Johnson vs a Gorilla !

Avengers Infinity War
Long, too many characters and no ending

The Breaker Uppers
Kiwi comedy

Deadpool 2
Misses the point of the first (see Kermode Review)

Star Wars: Solo
Dark in colour and tone.

Jurrassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Dinosaurs on the rampage – again

Incredibles 2
Good, but I have already forgotten the plot

Ant-Man & Wasp
Fun B-Movie, Evangeline Lily gets starring role

Mission Impossible: Fallout
Best action movie of the year. Filmed in NZ

Mortal Engines
Just too derivative (maybe it’s the book)

Aquaman
Colourful underwater adventure

Ralph Breaks the Internet
Surprisingly good, ignore reviews.

More Mary

Mary Poppins Returns is directed by Rob Marshall, with the screenplay written by David Magee and a story by Magee, Marshall, and John DeLuca.

Based on the book series of the same name by P. L. Travers,the film is a sequel to the 1964 film Mary Poppins, and stars Emily Blunt as the eponymous character with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walters, Dick Van Dyke, Angela Lansbury, Colin Firth, and Meryl Streep in supporting roles.

Set in 1930s London, twenty-five years after the events of the original film, it sees Mary Poppins, the former nanny of Jane and Michael Banks, returning after a family tragedy.


This is a great sequel, Emily Blunt is just right for the character as she can act, sing and dance. Ben Whishaw is the most sympathetic character and the reference to marmalade must have been as a reference to his earlier role as Paddington Bear.

Colin Firth has fun playing a very mean banker. The film is fun, with good, but not memorable songs. The graphics and animated sequences are well done.

There is a very uplifting ending, but strangely doesn’t have much emotional impact or character development.


Review Part 2:

After seeing a review, it’s interesting to see the film from a political perspective. In the film, Mary comes back to help a bumbling upper-class man to find money he thought lost to retain his status in the top 1 percent of society.  And his sister, while engaged in labour advocacy is soon sidelined for the main story. Then, near the end Mary engages lots of working class men to undertake a dangerous quest, but it turns out that she can just fly in a fix the problem.

 

Ralph 2

Ralph Breaks the Internet is an animated comedy film by Walt Disney Animation Studios. It is the sequel to the 2012 film Wreck-It Ralph about an arcade game villain who wants a role reversal. It is Disney’s 57th feature-length animated film.

The film was directed by Rich Moore and Phil Johnston (who wrote the screenplay with Pamela Ribon).

Cast

  • John C. Reilly as Ralph, a gigantic but soft-hearted man who is the antagonist of the arcade game Fix-It Felix Jr.
  • Sarah Silverman as Vanellope, a glitchy racer who is the main character of Sugar Rush and Ralph’s best friend.
  • Gal Gadot as Shank, a tough and talented racer in Slaughter Race, an online multiplayer game introduced in the film.
  • Jack McBrayer as Felix, a repairman who is the protagonist and playable character of Fix-It Felix Jr., as well as the husband of Calhoun.
  • Jane Lynch as Calhoun, the lead character of Hero’s Duty and Felix’s wife.
  • Alan Tudyk as KnowsMore, a character representing a fictional search engine of the same name.
  • Ed O’Neill as Mr. Litwak, owner of Litwak’s Family Fun Center & Arcade.

It’s been a while since seeing the first, so I didn’t have a good basis for comparison. Many think it’s not as good as the original. I though it was great and contained a number of laugh out loud moments. The best sequence is undoubtedly the ‘Princesses’ scene where all the Disney Princesses deconstruct their characters.

The movie starts out and most of the first half is a quest story. Then around the half way mark the character motivations take over and reward with a fun but poignant ending.

 

Aquaman

Aquaman is a 2018 American superhero film based on the DC Comics character of the same name. It is the sixth installment in the DC Extended Universe.

Directed by James Wan, with a screenplay by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and Will Beall, from a story by Geoff Johns, Wan and Beall.

Starring Jason Momoa as the title character, with Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Nicole Kidman in supporting roles.

Arthur Curry (Aquaman), the heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, must step forward to lead his people against his half-brother, Orm, who seeks to unite the seven underwater kingdoms against the surface world.


The film starts with a strangely young Temuera Morrison and Nicole Kidman. Once the backstory of the hero is established, it’s on the the present day. In a big action scene involving a submarine, Aquaman saves the crew and eliminates pirates, establishing he in impossible to mutilate or annoy; he just keeps coming back with quips, punches and scenery destroying mayhem. From then it on through a film of amazing graphics and over the top battle scenes.

It’s just bonkers ! and strangely it works.

It has a $160-200 million budget (and it shows). So far it has made $666 million. There will will be a sequel !

Mortal Engines

Mortal Engines is a 2018 post-apocalyptic adventure film directed by Christian Rivers and with a screenplay by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson, based on the novel of the same name by Philip Reeve, and starring Hugo Weaving, Hera Hilmar, Robert Sheehan, Jihae, Ronan Raftery, Leila George, Patrick Malahide, and Stephen Lang. An American-New Zealand co-production, the film is set in a post-apocalyptic world where entire cities have been mounted on wheels and motorised, and prey on one another.


This film took a while to get into, there was a lot of back-story to explain and this continues throughout the story. However once the set-up is sorted out and the characters established, it moves at a good pace and ramps up to an exciting ending.

The visuals are impressive. It has a symphonic score that at times is a but overwhelming.

And despite Peter Jackson’s claim that it’s not steam punk, it certainly looks like it.

So although a good film, it probably won’t rank up there with the other Wingnut films.

Siege 2

The Cook, his Niece The Nerd and the Thief
OR
Under Seige 2 (1995)
Stevan Seagal stars as Casey Ryback. Ex SEAL, monosyllabic hero of
another Hero-saves-the-world movie.

You can guess certain things from the start. That the young girl (his
niece) is going to be captured by the bad guys at some stage and used as a hostage. That the *big* bad guy will know our hero, and that he will insist in taking him on at the end of the film hand to hand. Why the hero doesn’t just pick up a gun & blow him away I don’t know.

The plot goes something like :
The USA military develops a particle beam weapon that is launched into space under the guise of a mapping satellite. An ex-employee (the nerd, who looks like a young Eliot Gould) and a band of mercenaries capture a train. They install computers & satellite tracking equipment to gain control of the satellite. The bad guys blow up a chemical factory to show they are serious, then threaten to turn California into an undersea world by triggering the San Andreas fault.

Seagal does the job OK under the direction of NZ director Geoff
Murphy. Unfortunately, speech isn’t one of his good points. A scene
early in the film to establish the relationship between him and the
niece isn’t very convincing. The one-liners only *just* work, and he
is looking a bit too old for the karate moves.

The action, with just enough suspense, makes up for the acting.

Overall 7/10 (OK, but NOT at the James Cameron level)