Category Archives: Movies

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)

Broken Arrow

Broken Arrow
(1996)

Starring
John Travolta (Deaker)
Christian Slater (Hale)

Directed by John Woo

“I don’t know what is scarier, that we have a broken arrow or that
we have a term for this situation”

A broken arrow is when a nuclear missile goes missing. We need someone to steal it (Deaker) and a hero to go up against the bad guys, win the day (and get the girl), that’s Hale. Both are army officers only one has been eating American pie, the other just wants lots of money & a comfy place in the sun.

So it’s another testosterone filled action movie by the numbers. But what numbers. From the start the action doesn’t slow down. From destroying aircraft (1 steath bomber & 2 helicopters) to mines to vehicles and finally a scale train set. Some of the stunts are in the “how did they do that ??” and “WOW” category. The story keeps going, with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing to the end.

Christian Slater at times looks to relaxed to be in the Airforce, perhaps they were thinking of Keana Reeves (speed) for the part. John Travolta doesn’t do any dancing, but entertains with his one lines and psycho routine at the end. This is the third film where he has played the nasty (previously “Pulp Fiction” and “Get Shorty”). Perhaps this is a new career move. I understand he got around $10 million for the part.

It’s not that original, the train sequences reminded me of “Under Siege 2”, and the Blackmail/Hero saves the world has been done thousands of times.

It may not have JC Van Dammed in it, but if you can drag yourself (and M) away from the computer you should enjoy it. Don’t wait until it comes out on video, the explosions just don’t have the same impact.

Recommended.

Strip

 

StripTease (1996)
Starring :
Demi Moore
Burt Reynolds
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)

I knew that you would think that I would go to see this movie.
So I didn’t want to disappoint you. I only went because you will not be allowed to go.

Demi Moore plays the part of a nightclub stripper in a custody battle
with her husband over her daughter. Robert Patrick plays the slimy husband. The sort of low life that puts on a stethescope and doctors gown and roams hospitals snatching wheelchairs with his daughter. He moves when his wife finds out where he is hiding with his daughter.

Burt Reynolds plays a corrupt senator. With a white shock of hair,
and no morals, he hams it up to the max.

OK, yes you do see Demi’s breasts (several times). But in my expert
opinion the best breasts are on the stripper with a python that
almost kills her.

There is also a stripper with gravity defying breasts so large I
am sure that Industrial Light and Magic had a hand in their
constrction.

The story starts with Moore denied access to her daughter. One night at the strip club a drunk senator hits a customer over the head with a bottle. A photograph is taken that is later to be used as a bribe. It’s almost election time, so his minders are trying to keep the
senator in line.

Another customer offers to help Moore with her custody battle, he
knows a senator that can help. So the film sets itself up for a Tom Sharpe type satire about politics, life, sex etc. Unfortunately that’s about as far as gets.

The story drags too much and lacks any sting to succeed as a satire.
It lumbers on as a light comedy, with a few good laughs.

The ending is predictable.

My Rating 5/10

Waterworld

 

Review from 1995

A 170 million dollar flop, or the film of the year ?

In the future, the polar ice-caps have melted, drowning the planet
in seawater. The legend is that dry land exists somewhere.

Kevin Costner is the Marriner, sailing a triple hulled yacht around
the world that looks suspiously like Dennis O’Conners boat that won
the Americas Cup. During the film, it sprouts enough gadgets & gizmos that you would think that M (from the Bond movies) made it.

Dennis Hopper (Speed) plays the bad guy and gets all the good lines.
Jean Tripplehorn is the love interest and looks like a lost puppy
throughout the film.

So the film is about his search for dry land, and holding on to a
ten year old girl, who has a map tattoed on her back of where to find
it. The film looks like “Mad Max” on water, with massive sets of rusting iron.

The good parts are some completely improbable stunts. The bad part is the gooey ending.

The story has the potential for a good SciFi film, but it is just an
excuse for another hollywood good-guy-saves-the-world flick.

I read a review that described it as a B Grade movie.
I would agree, so 5/10.

Another 1/10 for everyone wondering what all the fuss is about.

Sense & Sensibility

Sense & Sensibility
(1995)

Starring :
Hugh (specializing in the did-I-do-something-wrong-Officer look) Grant.
Emma (specialising little-lost-dog look) Thompson

With
Hugh Laurie (“A Bit of Fry & Laurie”, “Blackadder”)
Alan Rickman (“Die Hard”, The Sheriff in “Robin Hood”)
Robert Hardy (“All Creatures great and small”)
and a few other actors frequently seen in British Dramas.

This is the story of a mother and her 3 daughters she is trying to
marry off after their father dies. Emma Thompson is the oldest, and two of the three are of marriageable age

All the women have heaving breasts and swoon at the sight of a
potential husband. All the men have collars around their necks and bow slowly on meeting everyone from the Queen to the local dog.

What is essentially a period drama has lots of laughs due to the
screenplay by Thompson (similar comedy to ex husband Ken Brannagh’s re-writing of Shakespeare)

The props department of the BBC has been used once again for the great costumes, and I am sure that parts of Great Britian have been kept out of the 20th century just for the film industry.

Overall, a good film and deserving of the recognition it got in the
Oscars.