Category Archives: Movies

Toy Story 4

Toy Story 4 is a computer-animated comedy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios for Walt Disney Pictures. It is the fourth installment in Pixar’s Toy Story series and the sequel to 2010’s Toy Story 3.

It was directed by Josh Cooley (in his feature directorial debut) from a screenplay by Andrew Stanton (who had co-written the first three films) and Stephany Folsom; the three also conceived the story alongside John Lasseter (director of the first two installments in the franchise)

The film stars the voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Madeleine McGraw, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves, Ally Maki, Jay Hernandez, Lori Alan, and Joan Cusack.

The film continues from Toy Story 3, where Sheriff Woody and Buzz Lightyear, among their other toy friends, have found new appreciation after being given by Andy to Bonnie. They are introduced to Forky, a spork that has been made into a toy, and embark on a road trip adventure.

Rotten Tomatoes



I am Mother

This is a science fiction thriller film directed by Grant Sputore, from a screenplay by Michael Lloyd Green. It stars Clara Rugaard (Daughter) , Rose Byrne (Mother) , and Hilary Swank as ‘Woman’.

Set after the human civilization has almost been eliminated. This is the story of Daughter, a young woman grown from an embryo and the start of the Human re-population of the earth.

The film takes on themes of Artificial Intelligence, genetics and philosophy.  Hilary  Swanks character enters half way through to upset the balance between the girl and her benevolent carer. It soon becomes clear things are not what they seem.

While the ending is somewhat ambiguous and not all plot threads are resolved (many questions left unanswered) it still is one of the best science fiction films I have seen for some time.

It’s notable for for Weta Workshop’s involvement in making and operating the robot. Adam Savage Interviews the robot.




Godzilla 2

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Directed by Michael Dougherty and written by Dougherty, Zach Shields, and Max Borenstein. A sequel to Godzilla (2014), it is the 35th film in the Godzilla franchise, the third film in Legendary’s MonsterVerse, and the third Godzilla film to be completely produced by a Hollywood studio. The film stars Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Bradley Whitford, Sally Hawkins, Charles Dance, Thomas Middleditch, Aisha Hinds, O’Shea Jackson Jr., David Strathairn, Ken Watanabe, and Zhang Ziyi.

It is dedicated to executive producer Yoshimitsu Banno and original Godzilla suit performer Haruo Nakajima, who both died in 2017.

In the film, humans must rely on Godzilla to defeat King Ghidorah, who has awakened other Titans to destroy the world.

What a mess !
The plot is incomprehensible. Character motivations are unknown, logic disappears  and it’s all done at night !

The only good thing is that while the CGI animation is dark, gloomy and filled with smoke there is a good sense of weight to the creatures movements.


Shazam! is a superhero movie based on the DC Comics character of the same name.

Directed by David F. Sandberg from a screenplay by Henry Gayden, and a story by Gayden and Darren Lemke, the film stars Asher Angel as Billy Batson, a teenage boy who can transform into an adult superhero, played by Zachary Levi. Mark Strongs play the evil genius.

Widely touted as ‘Big’ combined with a superhero movie. This is light in tone and generally funny until the final act where a traditional good vs evil narrative takes over. Zackary Levi is perfectly cast as a 14 year old boy in an adult body. Mark Strong is just having fun going over the top as the villian.


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: 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

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

First netflix movie reviewed !

Early Man
Fun & silly Ardman clay-mation

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)

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.