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I generally visit all advance screenings. So Manage to get my reviews up early.
A Masterpiece - The only 10 I've ever given
Dark is simply the most well constructed show I've ever seen. How they can weave such a complex story together and still finish with something this cohesive is beyond me. The casting is unbelievably good, which won't fully become apparent untill the end of season 2, I can say no more there. The acting is outstanding, far beyond anything I've seen in a long time. The pacing is fantastic despite taking its time. The sets are wonderful, again it might take a while to truly uncover the scope of the show.
It also has great progression. The show goes somewhere, there's no smoke and mirrors, no Lost style unanswered questions.
It's an all round incredible show. If you at all like sci-fi or science, or drama, you'll be stunned by this show. If you watch 2 episodes and don't love it, I'd be amazed.
Incredible, incredible story.
Rick and Morty (2013)
Rick and Morty is the latest in a long line of animations aimed at young adults but mostly enjoyed by children and young teens. It has been done before, but not recently.
It's animation style has always massively out me off. It's pastel tones often leave me feeling tired and bored. But occasionally the show gets bright and interesting.
It's not particularly clever, even though some claim it is. It's no smarter than The Simpsons and doesn't have the Cajones of South Park. It's always a little too scared of itself and it's own themes.
The humour is classically American. And whilst it's silly and obvious, that doesn't have to be a bad thing. It's clearly designed to watch whilst getting high, with its frequent trippy sequences.
But unfortunately, Rick and Morty just isn't a compelling watch for most mature adults. Again, this isn't an insult. Rick and Morty is a whole lot of fun for anyone that can't be bothered to think any further than the screen. If you want something 'clever' or particularly thought provoking, you're in the wrong place.
And that's all there is to it. One day it will be replaced, just like family guy replaced the Simpsons.
Band of Brothers (2001)
An Essential, Timeless Masterpiece
Timeless, essential, a masterpiece. Perfect in just about every way, the special effects were literally groundbreaking. New technology developed for production is still the cutting edge available.
Every actor was cast perfectly, and even those that have gone to have mediocre career performances since, seem to have given their greatest performance here.
It's impressive that in such a short series, 10 episodes, that so much can be achieved. The series takes place over several years and still manages to make the viewer feel they have witnessed the entire journey. B.O.B manages to capture a wide view of the war, despite following (mostly) one group of the US 101st Airborne.
Nothing is sugar coated and they're not always the good guys. It's a well balanced and incredibly personal journey. You will cry, you will feel sorry for both sides, you will care about the characters.
There has never been a more essential war story.
Absolutely No Substance
If ever there was proof that a group of talented actors can make a terrible film, this is it.
From start to finish, 'Salazar's Revenge' is so convoluted it's had to believe anyone has watched it untill the end, unless like me, you just wanted to laugh at it's stupidity.
It's filled with twists that come from nowhere, twists added for their own sake. There is zero character progression, zero explanations, zero common sense.
My favourite part was the end of the film, am impossible to organise meeting, followed by a character running out of a jungle for no reason for a happy reunion. If this sounds like I'm doing a bad job explaining,it's because there is no way of explaining. The film is utter nonsense.
No one will remember this series in 5 years.
A mostly accurate story marred by some truly awful acting at times. It's interesting enough even if it does sometimes bend the truth and choose to follow the well disputed path.
Con O'neill's Pantomime villain, Bryukhanov belongs in a school production and Jared Harris' character is unbelievably boring. But, Jessie Buckley, Stellen Skarsgard and to a lesser extent, Emily Watson do a decent job.
Some of the CGI is good, some is terrible.
It's a reasonably good program, but it's not as endearing as band of brothers, ironically less believable than a Game of Thrones and less politically interesting than Boardwalk empire.
Despite it being one of the most scary and fascinating moments in human history, no one will remember this series in 5 years.
So much wasted potential.
It's a shame that Godzilla KOTM gets so much wrong when it has such strong potential.
The creature designs are wonderful but is almost always obscured by either strobe lighting, complete darkness, heavy smoke, rain and fog and the occasional eye bleeding bright light. Clear unobscured shots of creatures last for a mere few seconds, before the camera starts shaking and lights blind you. It's an obvious and tropey technique.
The dialog however, is abysmal. It has clearly been crafted with all the love of writer that was handcuffed and told they've got 10 minutes to write 100 lines of dialog or they'll be shot, but they finished in 5 minutes. The most obvious thing is always said. With no twists, no surprises.
The cast are completely wasted. Millie Bobby brown hasn't really proven herself yet. We've seen one decent performance from her. But even a proven actress couldn't carry her script. At one point in the film she declares "she's scared" in one of the most unconvincing declarations I have ever seen on film. The fact that her few actions in the film are completely devoid of any self preservation or fear, completely undermine her words.
The action isn't anything special either. There's perhaps one moment in the entire film that gives us something new, in the franchise at least. And even then, it's nothing original or interesting.
As a casual viewer that thought the first film was enjoyable enough that I was excited to see the sequal, I was thrilled that I could leave the cinema when the film finished. It wasn't interesting, it wasn't enjoyable.
My girlfriend, who has a film degree, slept for an hour and a half in the cinema. Say no more.
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Objectively - Nearly Perfect
The very best of Marvel, without the cheap filler. Endgame is a near perfection. It's an emotional journey, the culmination of 20 other marvel films. It's hard to understand how the Russo brothers got this oh, so right.
Gone is the awful comedy from Captain Marvel, none of the boedom from Ant-man and the Wasp. What we get here, to quote Thanos from Infinity War, is "perfect balance". There is still humour, but it's generally very well placed.
It really is the very best of Marvel. There are the awesome set pieces we first saw in Thor: Ragnarok, there's all the fan service you can ask for, but I can't say much more without spoiling the film.
Even as somewhat of a Marvel skeptic, I really enjoyed Endgame. Even if it does have a few faults. There were a couple of moments that seemed slightly dull. But they were as I say 'moments', remarkable for a 3 hour film. It definitely didn't outstay it's welcome. I wanted more at the end, but I still felt satisfied.
There were a few long overdue scenes. I particularly enjoyed the moments of service to the female characters of the MCU. They have been well overdue, especially considering characters such as Black Widow, have never had their own feature film, yet still arguably is one of the most badass, pulling some of the wildest fight moves. But it wasn't in your face, it was well placed.
The film wraps up wonderfully, a real powerful conclusion. And I refuse to say any more. I wish I could argue the finer points of this wonderful film, but I won't spoil it.
Go and see it, and if you can manage to push yourself through Ant-Man and the Wasp, watch that, then infinity war, first. I wouldn't bother watching Captain Marvel first if you haven't seen it, it's completely unnecessary, and by far the worst marvel movie in years.
Anyway, go and enjoy this wonderful film. Have fun!
Captain Marvel (2019)
Even Larson Couldn't Save This Disaster
Captain Marvel assumes you've never watched a film before. Cliche after cliche, the first 20 minutes of Captain Marvel is utterly boring. You've seen it all before. A terrible training scene sets the tone. "Control your emotions", an awful training fight sequence with pauses for terrible quips. It never stops.
The CGI... What are you wasting your budget on?
Marvel comedy has been getting stale for at least half a decade, with the exception of the first guardians of the Galaxy. It has never been more stale than here though. Except for a couple of moments between Jackson and Larson, the comedy just ruins the scene.
It's not as if the comedy and dialog makes sense either. This is captain Marvel, not star Lord. But unfortunately since Guardians had so much success every marvel film needs to act the class clown.
Talking of Guardians, the soundtrack to CPT Marvel fitted the time period. But sadly the songs were so obvious. Of course there's Nirvana!
It's a shame because Larson is excellent and Jackson is decent too. Which is more than can be said for some of the others! Her friend is so wooden, she might aswell be a tree.
Overall, it was a bad, bad film. No reasonable explanations for any powers. Characters are shallow, dialog made me roll my eyes constantly.
I've never wanted to leave a movie as much as I did here.
Fighting with My Family (2019)
Another amazing Florence Pugh performance.
I wasn't sure whether I was going to like the film. I'm not really a WWE fan, at least not since I was 12. I was also worried it would be pointless comedy. But the film was way better than I expected it to be.
Florence Pugh is amazing as usual. She's one of the best young actresses in film right now. She nails her role, always completely believable. Lena Headey and Nick Frost are so good that it's hilarious when you see real footage in the credits. Jack Lowden really shows off his talent too.
The characters were complex too. At first, you'll be deceived by characters that appear shallow. But the writing is so strong that there's some great character development. You'll really find yourself questioning your preconceptions by the time the credits roll.
Wild Rose (2018)
A wonderful rose, surrounded by thorns.
Wild Rose is not a movie I'd ever watch, but I did! As part of the Odeons 'screen unseen', you pay £5 to watch an unreleased film, but you don't know what it is untill it starts. They're always excellent films. Wild rose was no exception. But it does have flaws.
Positives: The lead, Jessie Buckley is really strong. At times she's so strong that other actors looked really weak. For the most part the supporting actors somewhat let the film down. But Buckley is the star attraction anyway.
The soundtrack is really good and won't be too obvious to most people. Buckley's voice is ecstasy at times. Especially in a cinema theater.
The film is smarter than it appears. There was a jarring moment in which the whole film suddenly feels as though a different director has taken over. From that moment I felt the quality of the film really took of and was rather enjoyable.
Weaknesses: The first 20 minutes is marred by awful, cringy British comedy. Not the good kind. Just bad.
Supporting cast are at times, shocking.
Sophie Okonedo demolished her character with almost childish emotion. Her character is on the edge of believable. But the writing didn't allow for much relationship development. Sophie really had to nail her scenes to make it work and she just isn't up to the task.
You can tell the writers are up against it at times.
But that I felt emotional at the conclusion really sums up that the film is at least powerful enough to worth watching.
The Umbrella Academy (2019)
The Good The Bad and the Just Why?
Umbrella Academy has a lot going for it. It might appear familiar from the outside with it's X-men-esque set up. But it feels completely new. It's as Dark as DC Titans wanted to be and far deeper. I genuinely cared about a bunch of characters by the series conclusion.
The characters whilst often bizzare are somehow still relatable. And you'll not be bored. Klaus is a revelation, the British actor really helps hold the series together. Which unfortunately is more than can be said for its other British star, Luther. The giant actor puts on by far the worst American accent I've ever heard. At times he'll start sentances in American and finish with a few blatantly British accented words. It's jarring at times.
The series isn't without its flaws though. Ellen Page is... Ellen Page. It seems obvious that she struggled to get anything outstanding from her character. Her story is interesting but her character isn't.
With time travel as a central plot from the first episode, at times you might wonder if there will be any reprecussions at all. But don't be alarmed, or perhaps, be alarmed because things do happen in this series.
It builds up to a decent conclusion that clearly begs a second season.
Overall its a good, interesting TV series. If you like comics or superheroes in general, you'd definitely be missing out if you passed it up.
Cold Pursuit (2019)
Hints of uniqueness
There's nothing exactly 'new' here. But Cold Pursuit has some really interesting angles, and some scenes reach great peaks of irony.
The general premise is just interesting enough to watch. It's nearly standard Liam Neeson fare, family member dead/missing etc. So he takes matters in to his own hands. Obviously he's isolated by pretty obvious movie tropes.
But there's some really interesting angles here. There's a really interesting, cringy and amusing couple in the film. There's the bizarre but eventually comical (in a good way) tribute screens and at times hilarious irony.
There's one paticular moment where the irony of the situation is masterful and required great intellect to create.
The film really drifts off in the end and I did question why anybody actually bothered to make the film. I enjoyed it, but to be honest I forgot I went to see it untill I saw the popcorn box in the car.
Alita: Battle Angel (2019)
Here's why Alita is a good film - But if you didn't like Avatar, then it's not for you.
Screenplay Co written and adapted by Avatar creator, James Cameron and Sin City creator Robert Rodriguez. Alita is a deep film that covers a wide range of themes such as female empowerment, personal growth, sacrifice and loss.
The world is wonderfully imagined. Its also incredibly beautiful. In 3D, Alita looks amazing, she's vibrant and full of life, her skin looks so natural. Some people are moaning about the eyes. But those people are missing the point that Alita isn't human. Battle Angel borrows from other sci-fi stories in places. But this is a 20 year old graphic novel series. You can't expect total originality here. But like it's cousin, Avatar, Alita manages to carve out an interesting new world for itself, which in some ways is similar to its protagonist.
The film had drawn some criticism for Alita's portrayal, as overly sexualized. I would argue those critics have entirely missed points made in the film. Or perhaps they haven't even seen it yet. Without giving anything away: calling Alita out for having an unrealistically small waist and big eyes is like moaning that the terminator sets an unfair standard for men. They're not human!
Whilst I really enjoyed Alita, it could have, should have, been two films. There's so much going on that at times, some scenes can seem insignificant on reflection. In the grand scope of the story some moving moments are lost. Some feel a little rushed.
So overall, a good film. Personally I loved it. Visually it's stunning. If you love sci-fi, if you liked Avatar or if you're a film lover, go see it! But watch it in IMAX 3D or at least 3D. Most films aren't worth it. But like Avatar: This isn't just 3D, this is James Cameron 3D. It's made for 3D.
If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)
Powerfully Hopeless, a Wonderful film.
Powerful and Heart Wrenching. If Beale Street Could Talk is a moving and emotional roller-coaster.
The direction on the film is super strong. Everything works perfectly. From the moment the bass hits on the first track of the film, the sound design is flawless. The films original score flirts perfectly with on screen imagery.
In many ways, the films powerful imagery is thanks in no small part, to the wonderful acting. The two leads are utterly convincing. The connection between the leads was astounding.
The film never manages to give much time to the wider-family members. Whilst this could be a criticism, the film does a wonderful job of establishing complexity of these characters.
It's a moving film. Nothing much happens. And yet the whole world changes. It's a film for those who love cinema. It's for the viewer that cares about others and their lives.
It's not often you'll visit the cinema and find a story this convincing.
My only real criticism would be the final 10 minutes feel rushed. I'm not sure I had enough time to really accept the inevitable.
But maybe that was the point. Sometimes in life, you just find yourself somewhere you never planned to be.
Not for the Simpletons.
Thought provoking philosophy and a deep dose of science. Don't expect any action.
But this is a wonderful film about human connection. There is a fantastic and interesting world which we never quite get to explore. But that's the point, nobody can!
In some ways this film reminds me of the incredible, post apocalyptic masterpiece, The Road. It's slow, but it never feels like it. The film ended before I ever needed any progression. Margaret Qualley is perfect. Incredible casting, she seems to perfectly embody her character. Even her mannerisms seem so, right. Anthony Mackie is a little bit over the top, and it's the relationship between the two that perhaps needed a little more development to understand.
The last half 40 minutes suffers from a lack of serious threat. I never really felt the characters were in danger.
Overall I really enjoyed IO. Really confused why so many hate it. But then again, this is debuting on Netflix. Not exactly the center of intellectual viewing. I'm not exactly sure what people expected. Anyway, if you have a brain, give it a go, you'll probably like it.
Finally, A Quality DC Series.
Let's be honest, DC have a habit of missing the mark. But not here! It beat every one of my expectations by a wide margin.
You'll get a wide variety of DC characters. And you might be surprised at how far they've gone this time. There are no end of exciting and realistic portrayals of brilliant characters.
Be cautious of angry, low star reviews. Some people have clearly forgotten that DC comics created these characters decades ago. You can't expect to see groundbreaking new character nuances in a series about ancient, well established characters.
If you're here for a gritty, action packed DC series. We've finally all found a home.
The CGI is good when you consider this is a television series, it at least matches a Game of Thrones for example. The acting is mostly very good. Rachel is a little unconvincing at times. But the rest of the main cast are very strong and have some incredibly well acted scenes.
The story arc is fairly good, it is constructed in a way that allows the first season to establish plenty of history. Whilst that means at times you might not be seeing endless amounts of character progression, there is a lot of character development.
The action scenes are varied and creative. Always at its best when 'Robin' is around. It may in its next season reach the heights of Marvel's Daredevil.
Overall, this is a good series. I'm a Netflix snob, have an Odeon cinema pass, I'm not short of options. I binged this over visiting the cinema today for 3 films I wanted to see.
If Marvel on Netflix is Dead, this is without doubt the best superhero comic book series on TV right now. Even if Daredevil did get a series 4, it would be looking over its shoulder.
A Masterpiece of Emotion
A masterpiece of emotion, extra- terrestrial Arrival tells a truly human tale. It's less about them and more about us. I can see why some viewers would dislike Arrival. Arrival asks more of its viewers than many films and emotional maturity is a must.
Unfortunately there will be many that miss the point entirely. Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and the rest of the cast are tremendous. Subtle acting and a truly unsettling soundtrack flood the atmosphere, it's almost difficult to breathe at times, I've not seen so much emotion in a film in a long time.
If you have a smart head on your shoulders, have experienced love, you'd be insane to not abandon what you're doing right now and watch this film.